70% of Ukraine is a prime agricultural area. It is responsible for producing a significant portion of the world’s wheat, potatoes, corn, rye, barley, and sunflower oil. Crop shipments from Ukraine to the European Union, India, China, and other parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East are falling as Russian forces block Ukrainian ports. Meanwhile, the flow of grain exports from Russia, the world’s largest wheat producer, is being disrupted by harsh Western sanctions.
Today’s discussion focuses on the global impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on agricultural and food security. Ukraine and Russia are both agricultural superpowers, exporting a substantial amount of wheat, maize, oilseeds, and fertilizers worldwide. Russia’s war in Ukraine is impacting all elements of Ukrainian agriculture.
Russia isn’t the only country limiting its exports. By the 10th of April, 17 countries had banned or restricted food exports. Inflation is being fueled by this significant drop in supply. When considered, the consequences could be disastrous for some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. If the fight continues, several countries already burdened by pandemic debt may be compelled to borrow more to subsidize basic necessities, putting even more people at risk.
The timing of this unnecessary, unwanted, unjustified war couldn’t have been worse. While a military conflict in Ukraine was always going to impact the world’s food supply, the timing is just off.
Take, for example, the cost of food. Prices of essential commodities have risen to their highest levels in the recent past since the 2008-2012 increases. People throughout the world erupted in civil upheaval at the time.
Ukraine and Russia have both become “important engines” for feeding the world in recent years. The various agricultural goods sold by the two countries account for around 12% of the calories traded globally in an analysis.
Wheat is responsible for a large portion of this. According to Glauber, Ukraine alone accounts for more than 10% of the global market. When Russia is included, the percentage rises to above 30%.
But the story does not end there. In addition, the two countries are important producers of cereals such as corn and barley, which are mostly used to feed livestock. For example, Ukraine produces around 15% of the world’s corn supply. Ukraine and Russia account for just under 30 percent of the total.