Ukraine may export little or no wheat this year, experts fear Business News

War-torn Ukraine could see most of its grain exports wiped out this year, adding to financial pressure on British households and increasing the risk of food shortages elsewhere.

The country, known as “Europe’s breadbasket”, was expected to account for 12% of global wheat exports and almost a fifth of global corn production this year, according to figures from ING Bank and of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Today, commodity analysts and agricultural experts fear production and exports could be devastated by the Russian invasion. International wheat prices have already reached record highs.

Many Ukrainian farm workers have been redeployed to fight on the front lines, while the roads and bridges needed for deliveries to farms have been destroyed, and with little diesel to spare for farm vehicles, the country’s crops are coping. to bleak prospects.

The country’s ports were closed when war broke out last month.

Harvests often vary from year to year, but economists and commodity experts are scrambling to determine the impact of losing much, if not all, of the wheat crop. Ukraine.

“The longer hostilities continue, the greater the impact on crop yields and production,” said Mike Lee of Green Square Agro Consulting. The Independent.

Green Square forecasts crop yields for countries in the Black Sea region, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania and Moldova.

Mr. Lee visited sites near Ukraine’s border with Poland and interviewed Ukrainian farmers to assess the prospects for grain production in the region.

Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has devastated parts of the country


Even assuming a 50% yield of Ukrainian wheat – which might turn out to be overly optimistic – this would amount to around 15 million tonnes of post-harvest wheat.

That would mean little, if any, left to export after taking into account the roughly 10 million tonnes that typically remain in the country to feed the domestic population, Lee said.

Yet this also assumes that crops can be harvested at all. Some farmers reported large shrapnel in the fields, which could make it impossible to use farm machinery to harvest the crop.

Winter wheat is already planted in the country’s fertile black soil and is due to be harvested in July, although yields are likely to be badly affected by a lack of fertilizer.

The maize crop is normally sown in the spring, but only about 60 percent of the seed needed to plant maize has been delivered to farms, Lee said.

Russia is also a major wheat producer


“If there is still fighting going on around the wheat harvest in July, then very little could be harvested,” he added.

Ukraine is expected to be the world’s fourth largest corn exporter and produce 50% of the world’s sunflower oil.

“The spring planting season is fast approaching, and if the current conflict continues into late spring, it is hard not to see a significant downward impact on maize planting for the 2022 season- 23,” Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, said in a note to clients.

“Sunflower seeds face the same risks as corn for the 2022-23 crop, with potentially delayed and significantly lower plantings,” he added.

The risk to Ukrainian crops comes at a sensitive time for the global economy following the pandemic. Politicians in China, a major importer of Ukrainian grain, have previously warned that it faces a poor national winter wheat harvest, compounding supply problems.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, sources around 80% of its food from Russia and Ukraine. Several other countries in North and East Africa are likely to be heavily affected.

Over the past 10 days, several countries have introduced restrictions on shipping certain grains and vegetable oils overseas, according to Simon Evenett, professor of international trade at the University of St. Gallen.

These include Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, but also Lebanon, Egypt, Hungary, Serbia, Moldova, Algeria, Turkey and Indonesia, Professor Evenett said. Data on food export restrictions are collected as part of St. Gallen’s Global Trade Alert, which documented the wave of export limits imposed on healthcare products during the pandemic.

The global lender of last resort, the International Monetary Fund, warned on Monday that Ukraine’s economy could face a drop of at least 10% in GDP this year, but potentially as much as 35% if the Russian invasion extends.

Agriculture accounts for around 12% of Ukraine’s economic output, according to figures compiled in the CIA’s World Factbook, behind services and industry at around 60% and 28% respectively.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-15 19:29:57

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