Go collect it yourself
Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has already disrupted food supply chains and caused grain prices to skyrocket. Countries heavily depending on imports, such as Egypt or Sri Lanka and many more, are already confronted with supply squeezes as Ukraine is one of the most important grain suppliers in the world. Vysotsky reckons that the Russians may steal most of the 1.5 million mt of grain stored in occupied territories, although the Kremlin denies any allegations, as Reuters and AP report.
Reuters further reports that Moykola Solskiy, Ukraine’s Minister of Agriculture, has emphasised that the theft has gained momentum in the past two weeks. The ministry quotes him stating that “I personally hear this from many silo owners in the occupied territory. This is outright robbery. And this is happening everywhere in the occupied territory.”
He is very much concerned that this situation may disrupt food supplies in areas that are presently not controlled by Russia, especially since harvesting is about to start. “There will soon be a wheat harvest in the south. But farmers in this situation may well say: ‘Here are the key to the tractor – go collect it yourself, if you want,” Solskiy reckons.
On Thursday, the ministry confirmed that six regions had finished sowing early spring grains, despite Russia’s invasion. Although the ministry has not issued any official estimates so far, analysts reckon that this year’s production will slump by more than 50%. Estimates range at 41.4 million mt as opposed to last year’s 86 million mt. The information and analytical agency APK-Inform reports that the Ukraine may be able to export 33.2 million mt of grain in 2022/23, whereas 45.5 million mt are expected for 2021/22, which ends in June.