Russia’s war in Ukraine has already affected about 25% of the world cereal trade
Russia’s war in Ukraine disrupted the usual functioning of the world food market because these two countries together account for 30% of world exports of wheat and barley, 18% of corn, and about 80% of oil and oil meal, explained Taras Vysotsky, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine. In 2021, Ukraine supplied agricultural products to more than 180 countries and primarily to EU countries — almost 30%.
As of mid-April 2022, more than 30% of the country’s territories are either unsafe for production or occupied. Part of the agricultural lands is damaged and mined, and the agricultural infrastructure, warehouses, transport, and energy industries are damaged. Seaports are blocked, and logistics and economic connections are broken. Ukrainian farmers experience an acute shortage of fuel, seeds, fertilizers, plant protection products, spare parts, etc. Workers of agricultural enterprises are involved in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defense, and volunteering. All these factors have resulted in a critical decline in production for both Ukraine and the world.
“The war in Europe has already affected about 25% of the world cereal trade and has caused an increase in world prices, food inflation, and reduced access to food in the countries importing food from Ukraine and Russia. In particular, those are wheat and sunflower oil,” Vysotsky said.
Ukrainian forecasts of agricultural exports in 2022 will be much more modest due to the Russian aggression, compared to the 2021 exports. Last year, the Ukrainian exports were $27.7 billion, whilst the forecast for this year is only $15.1 billion, according to the Deputy Minister. This temporary breakdown alone in the usual food exports from Ukraine is equivalent to the loss of 4% of wheat, 9% of corn, and almost 30% of sunflower oil exports worldwide.