The Russia-Ukraine war will severely challenge global grain production and is likely to worsen world hunger and poverty, according to agricultural experts and policymakers.
The longer the war in Ukraine continues, planting is prevented, ports and infrastructure destroyed, and sanctions and export controls impede Russian exports, the greater the likely shortfall in global grain production.
Former USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber on a Farm Foundation forum; “We’re going in very, very tight to begin with. And, again, if we’re actually talked about not a lot of wheat coming out of Russia, either, this is going to be very, very tight. Again, I think these countries, these big wheat importing countries are going to pay for wheat, we’re going to draw down world stocks…come out of 22/23, even tighter than we went in.”
The shortage driving wheat, corn and oilseed prices sky-high, forcing poorer Middle East and North African countries to subsidize food prices.
India has offered to export more wheat. Producers in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Brazil and Argentina will respond to higher prices, but Ag Senator Chuck Grassley says there’s just so much they can do. Grassley; “I don’t know how you make up 14-percent of the exports, or the production globally, coming out of Ukraine, but it’s a sizeable amount to make up. And I guess, I figure farmers plant pretty much, corn row to corn row, anyway.
And wheat is an even bigger problem, with Russia and Ukraine producing nearly 30-percent of world supply. Raising a huge concern of global hunger. Grassley; “Humanitarian groups, I read, have been very predictable of an increase in poverty, an increase in adequate nourishment, and so, people that follow world humanitarian food needs, are very worried.”
And even more so if the war in Ukraine drags on, fertilizer prices rise more with sanctions against Russian natural gas, or drought in the U.S., Canada and Argentina worsen.