War in Ukraine threatens sowing

War in Ukraine threatens sowing

Anyone who wants to harvest must sow. But the war in Ukraine threatens the sowing of important crops and jeopardizes the global food supply. If the fighting spreads to the west of the country, there is a risk of major crop losses which could have a disastrous effect on other regions of the world. Food prices will rise due to scarcity.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

As the English "Financial times" writes, the war in Ukraine will have an "enormous impact" on food supply and prices. As John Rich, CEO of the leading Ukrainian food supplier MHP says, the spring planting season is at risk for rape, barley and maize. It is also unclear whether the wheat already planted in the fall can be harvested in the summer. Because Ukraine is one of the most important exporters of wheat and vegetable oil, this would have an impact not only on Ukraine's security of supply, but also on many other regions of the world.


30 percent of agricultural land is threatened

According to Rich, the planting season would be more at risk if the war shifts further to the west of Ukraine. Accordingly, the United Nations has already warned that around 30 percent of agricultural land in Ukraine cannot be planted or harvested due to the war. According to Rich, this could cause an "inflation spiral” in the costs of wheat, maize and other raw materials. The droughts of last summer, 2021, as well as increased demand due to the post-Corona recovery, meant prices had risen before the conflict. "It's a pretty toxic mixture," says Rich in the "Financial times."

In addition to Ukraine, Russia is also one of the most important exporters of wheat. It is still unclear how much Russia can supply the world with agricultural products following international sanctions. However, due to the lack of sales markets, the FAO expects production to decline among Russian farmers. The agriculture ministers of the G7-countries called for the avoidance of export bans and for the borders to be kept open for food and agricultural products.


Fertilizers and animal feed are also becoming scarce

In addition to wheat and sunflower oil, however, other products from Russia are also in danger of becoming scarce. The EU, for example, purchases around one third of its fertilizers from Russia. Belarus, which is allied with Russia, is also an important supplier of fertilizers. The sharp rise in natural gas prices is also driving up the prices of nitrogen fertilizers, as nitrogen fertilizers are extracted directly from natural gas. According to the "Financial times", there is therefore a threat of a supply shortfall for fertilizers, which in turn has an increasing impact on the fragile situation regarding the security of supply of food.

According to the "Financial times", the Spanish Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas drew attention to Europe's dependence on plant proteins and fertilizers in a recent interview. Spain has no reason to worry about the population's food supply. However, in the field of animal feed, too, – for example, maize for cattle – 22 percent are dependent on Ukraine. He therefore calls for relaxation of rigid EU pesticide residue requirements and of requirements for GMOs so that more can be imported from Argentina and the USA.

The Minister of Agriculture also expressed concern about the impact of the price rises in the Mediterranean, particularly in North Africa. The events surrounding the Arab Spring of 2011 were partly caused by high grain prices. Last but not least, there is the question of solidarity in agricultural production.

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