African countries rely on both Russia and Ukraine for the import of food grains. The African Union(AU) themed 2022 as the ‘year of nutrition and food security’, but the impact of climate change, Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine has had a huge impact on its intended outcome. The United States holds Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports responsible for the reversal of the goal as most of the grain destined for Africa goes through the Black Sea.* Fears of famine arose due to a surge in food prices since the war scenario began in February, as a consequence of which, a number of African leaders visited Russia to discuss the impact of the port blockade.
Pakistan is an agricultural country that normally grows enough to meet the needs of its population. The arrival of wheat in the last two years has not played a significant role in curbing the bullish trend in local prices. Pakistan’s flood response centre said ,“A huge stock of wheat for the next 6 months is available along with strategic reserves which is sufficient till next harvesting season.”
Saudi Arabia is among the importing countries hit by disruption to Ukraine and Russia’s grain exports and surging prices of wheat and other commodities.
Saudi Arabia maintains at least 6 months of stock for various grain products to overcome any food shortages.
After the onslaught of Covid, businesses and traders around the world expected 2022 to bode well in their favour. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Covid already left its mark on the global supply chain which is still vexing international trade. Also, the crisis between Russia and Ukraine added to the problems. Moreover, this year, major agro-based countries around the world are facing adverse weather conditions. All of this has caused food and fuel prices to shoot up and this directly prompted both developed and developing economies to take steps to aid the situation.
Wheat markets could be getting a demand bump in 2022-23, says an analyst.* Tight global rice supplies could result in changing trade patterns in the Indian Subcontinent. On Sept. 9, India imposed a ban on exports of broken rice and a 20 percent export tariff on paddy, brown and white rice with an exception to basmati and parboiled rice. These are the first restrictions that the country imposed since 2011.
Australia, one of the largest wheat exporters in the world, will produce another huge crop this season, which is set to boost agricultural export earnings of the country by almost 50% from a decade ago thanks to the favourable weather conditions and high global prices after accounting for inflation.
Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, has changed the long standing way it buys grains in order to help it better manage the volatile and high food prices that have resulted from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It also received $500 million from the world bank for funding wheat purchases and to improve its wheat storage capacity to alleviate the impact of war between its main suppliers. Before the war, Ukraine and Russia together accounted for 85% of Egypts wheat imports.
Owing to the topography of Egypt, inadequate water resources and limited arable land, it is impossible for Egypt to be self-sufficient when it comes to crops, mainly wheat. Egypt has a national diet that is heavy on bread. And since they can’t produce sufficient amounts of wheat locally, Egypt is one of the biggest importers of wheat in the world. It depends mainly on Black Sea wheat and imports around 12 million tonnes every year.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24th of February, 2022 hindered the world’s leading grain exporter from shipping any commodity to the global market. With Russia enforcing a naval blockade, Ukraine was unable to ship food grains for 5 long months through its Black Sea ports despite having grains stocked up in the silos.