Russia increased export supplies of wheat by about 60% in March 2022 (Google Translate)
U.S. Senators Call for Expanded Wheat Cultivation on Protected Lands Like the EU
Reuters columnist Leah Douglas writes that “the two senators are joining farmer groups and other lawmakers in asking the USDA to allow farmers to plant acres of mothballed acres this spring without penalty. The European Union has already taken steps to allow its farmers to plow up biodiversity deposits, and allocates funds for this purpose.”
Bloomberg News also notes that “Russia increased wheat supplies by about 60% in March 2022, despite a change in state taxes on grain exports: the country exported about 1.7 million tons compared to 1.1 million tons sold in March 2021”.
Wheat exports from Russia slowed in February but have since recovered as famine looms in African countries, analysts said.
Abdi Latif Dahir reported in the New York Times that “Throughout East Africa, below-average rainfall has resulted in one of the driest seasons in four decades, according to the United Nations, putting more than 13 million people at risk of starvation.” Seasonal crops are at their lowest levels in decades, malnourished children are admitted to hospitals malnourished: “A devastating drought has engulfed much of Somalia, leaving almost a third of the population starving. In neighboring Kenya, the drought has left more than three million people without food and killed more than 1.5 million livestock. And in Ethiopia, where civil war has prevented the delivery of aid to the northern region of Tigray, food insecurity is more widespread than at any time in the past six years.
Russia and Ukraine are among the leading suppliers of agricultural products such as wheat, soybeans and barley in the African region. At least 14 African countries import half of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
International conflicts have disrupted the supply of nearly half of the world’s sunflower oil exports, forcing companies to turn to less desirable alternatives like palm oil in products ranging from potato chips to biscuits.
As far as fertilizers are concerned, prices are still breaking records. Farmers in Brazil, the world’s largest importer of fertilizers, are having trouble getting crop nutrients due to the difficult political situation, while in China, COVID-19 restrictions are still causing problems, disrupting the supply of fertilizers to the northeast the country’s breadbasket just a month before spring planting, threatening this year’s corn and soybean crops if not addressed soon.
“Despite Beijing’s efforts to cut prices, the China Wholesale Fertilizer Index (CFCI) is up 40% from a year ago,” said Reuters writers Dominic Patton and Hallie Gu. (Google Translate).