Experts are watching for signs of political distress in the Middle East that are heavily dependent on food imports from the Black Sea region, and often provide generous subsidies to the public. And Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, is already seeing enormous pressure on its huge subsidy program for bread. The country recently set a fixed price for unsubsidized bread after prices spiked and is trying to secure wheat imports from countries like India and Argentina instead. Droughts and conflict in countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Burkina Faso have created a food security crisis for more than a quarter of the continent’s population, the International Committee of the Red Cross said this week. The situation risks getting worse in the coming months, it continued. Political instability has already been building in parts of the continent. A series of coups have taken place in West and Central Africa since the start of 2021.
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