Updated on 05/12/2022 at 18:49
- Because of the war, millions of tons of cereals are blocked in Ukraine and are missing from the world market.
- The Russian aggressor is now announcing a record harvest and sees itself as a problem solver in the global food supply.
- The EU is also working on a solution.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expects a record wheat harvest this year and has announced an increase in exports. “According to specialists – these are, of course, only preliminary estimates – the grain harvest could amount to 130 million tonnes, including 87 million tonnes of wheat,” the Kremlin chief said on Thursday. a government meeting. According to him, this would be a record for wheat.
Russia is one of the largest grain producers in the world and plays an important role in global nutrition. The situation of grain warehouses in Ukraine, which is also one of the largest wheat exporters in the world, is becoming more and more problematic: “20 million tonnes of grain must leave Ukraine in less than three months”, said Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport. The grain threatens to block deposits that would be needed for future harvests. Ukraine is currently unable to export due to Black Sea ports blocked by Russia.
The G7 group of major democracies wants to ensure Ukraine remains a major grain exporter. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said at the start of consultations with colleagues from other G7 countries at Weißenhäuser Strand on Thursday that they were discussing how to unblock Russia’s current grain blockade and how to bring Ukrainian grain to the world. the Baltic Sea.
25 million tonnes of grain blocked in Ukraine
Currently, 25 million tons of grain are blocked in Ukrainian ports, including Odessa. Grain is an urgent need in African countries and the Middle East. A food crisis is brewing in the sky, which is exacerbated by the global climate impact.
Putin announced that exports would be boosted again if the harvest produced the desired result. The record “not only allows us to easily meet our own needs, but also to increase shipments to the global market for our partners, which is important for the global food market,” he said.
kyiv accuses its neighbor of looting grain warehouses and bringing agricultural products into the country or destroying them. On Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told ARD Morgenmagazin that Russia is now trading in Ukrainian grain it has taken possession of in southern Ukraine.
In the context of the Russian war against Ukraine, food prices have increased significantly in recent weeks. Crop failures are expected in many regions as Western sanctions on Russia and Belarus also affect fertilizer exports.
EU wants to allow Ukrainian exports again
Due to the tense situation, the European Commission has published an action plan on how Ukrainian exports can be sold overland. Goods such as humanitarian aid must also be brought into the country via so-called solidarity traces. One of the challenges is that Ukrainian wagons are not compatible with most of the EU rail network, so most goods have to be transhipped onto trucks or other wagons. Moreover, there are only a few border facilities for this time-consuming process.
The European Commission is now calling on private and government agencies to make more vehicles available and to set up a logistics platform to coordinate the processes. Ukraine’s food exports should be given priority, and EU states are also urged to staff customs and other agencies sufficiently and “to show maximum flexibility”.
The tense situation in agricultural markets is also the focus of a meeting of G7 agriculture ministers on Friday and Saturday in Stuttgart. Federal Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens), as host, said this weekend that this should send a signal: “The ranks for safe food in the world and for free trade are closed.” The head of the Ukrainian department is also expected. The G7 group includes Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and Great Britain. (dpa/eng)