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Thursday, 31 March 2022 from 13:00 – 14:00 SAST/CAT

PLAAS invites you to a webinar titled ‘War and food: How will the Russia-Ukraine conflict affect African food systems?

The speakers include:

  • Prof. Steve Wiggins, Research fellow at Overseas Development Institute in United Kingdom.
  • Refiloe Joala, Food Sovereignty Programme Manager at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, and a Phd candidate at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies in South Africa.

The webinar will be chaired by Professor Ruth Hall from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies.

As the world reels from one crisis to another, food is once again the frontline where global politics shape access to food. Russia and Ukraine are among the top ten global producers and exporters of wheat and other cereals. The rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine is likely to affect African countries, as exports of wheat, maize, sunflower oil and fertilisers from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are interrupted, likely for a prolonged period. The last serious spike in world commodity prices was triggered in part by a failed Russian wheat harvest, and the wider 2007/08 food price crisis contributed to a global land rush, as investors sought out farmland as a hedge against volatility in commodity and financial markets. At present, global stocks of grains are low and grain prices will likely rise on world markets, sharpening rises in prices already evident in 2021. While recovering from the pandemic and its shock effect on food systems and price, African countries now face another immediate threat as the war in Ukraine and its effects on trade, commodity prices and financial markets is likely to have a negative compounding effect on food access and welfare. But there could be diverse outcomes for African farmers and consumers in countries that are more – or less – dependent on food imports. The fragility of the corporate food system, laid bare during the COVID-19 pandemic, exposes African countries to global volatility, through dependence on imports not only of food but also farming inputs. Higher costs of food production will be carried through to consumers in the form of rising food prices. At the same time, climate shock and contested and/or inadequate responses to climate crises are failing to confront the underlying causes of vulnerability. All this makes ever more urgent the need to understand African countries’ changing food systems, and how to build resilience in the face of multiple converging crises.


  • How will war in Ukraine affect food prices, food supplies and reserves in Africa? 
  • What are the dominant policy narratives about food and agriculture with a narrow focus on productivity, techno-fixes and corporate control?
  • What lessons for policy response may be drawn from the last serious spike in world commodity prices that began in late 2007 and early 2008?
  • What are the opportunities for alternatives to further integration of African food systems into global commodity markets?

Come and interact with the speakers in this interactive seminar. We will also have discussants from African movements campaigning for food sovereignty and food justice.

Tune in on Thursday, 31 March 2022 at:

13:00 South African Standard Time (SAST)/Central African Time (CAT)

12:00 West African Time (WAT)

11:00 Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) (Ghana)

14:00 East African Time (EAT) (Tanzania)

Registration link: