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Trade and technology

After Ukraine: The new geopolitics of food security

Published 14 June 2022

War in Europe has exposed the fragility and vulnerabilities of the world’s food supply system and threatens to intensify both food insecurity and competition. Like other strategic sectors such as semiconductors and critical materials, food-related global value chains face increased fragmentation, regionalization, and localization.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended geopolitics and hastened the international community’s departure from an open global trading system. Even before the Ukraine war, a more widespread strategic decoupling has been underway, driven primarily by systemic incompatibilities with China’s economic model. Governments are increasingly seeking to secure and ring-fence their own critical supply chains within friendly shores. Following the semiconductors, cleantech, and pharmaceuticals industries, the last area to succumb to decoupling involves arguably the most vital of traded commodities: food.

This study by Research Fellow Alex Capri examines the realpolitik of food security by focusing on food generating and enhancing technologies that governments have resorted to in their pursuit of food-related strategies.

  • Section I begins with a snapshot of Russia and Ukraine’s position at the center of the world’s food supply chains and an examination of how the war is fundamentally shaking up this system.
  • Section II reviews the different types of emerging technology associated with food production in a world undergoing the challenges of climate change.
  • Section III peers through the lens of techno-diplomacy to explore trends in emerging strategic partnerships related to food security.

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Alex Capri

Alex Capri is a research fellow at the Hinrich Foundation and a lecturer in the Business School at the National University of Singapore. He also teaches at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

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