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HomeMaritimeAmidst growing wheat shortage, Grain may spoil as inflation continues to rise

Amidst growing wheat shortage, Grain may spoil as inflation continues to rise

As tensions with Ukraine and Russia rage on, the cost of food continues to climb. With many forced to seek help feeding their families through food pantries, those too are faced with shortages. In March, reporters and world leaders alike warned the public of potential food and oil shortages alongside the rising cost of living. However, as summer rolls around the corner, the world is dealing with a wheat shortage resulting directly from the war between Russia and Ukraine.

As Ukraine continues to take blow after blow from ever-intimidating Russia, the world is forced to deal with the ramifications ensued on us by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since the initial invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian Navy had Ukraine’s Black Sea and Sea of Azov ports blockaded. Seeing that Russia and Ukraine both heavily outsource their wheat and grains worldwide and Ukraine has their major ports blocked off, it’s questionable to think what Russia’s initial thought was; in this game of chess, we call a War.

Because of the blockade, more than 80 ships have been trapped in the ports that the Russian Navy sealed shut. An estimated 1,000 seafarers also got trapped in the ports alongside their vessels.

This past Friday, the Ukrainian Farms Minister, Mykola Solskyi, stated that 57 vessels carrying 1.25 million tonnes of Ukrainian grains and oilseed were stranded near Ukraine’s seaports. It has been nearly two months since the invasion began; if the blockade continues after three months, the risk of spoiled goods increases.

Ukraine and Russia are responsible for ⅓ of global wheat and barley exports. They are also significant exporters of other grains and sunflower seed oil used for cooking and food processing. However, with the disappearance of Ukraine from the Wheat market, as food prices, including grains, skyrocket, the world is now facing supply chain issues with little to no hope of prices dropping until either the war ends or tensions ease.

The most recent report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said food prices in March in total rose 12.9 percent over what they were in February, and grains, in particular, jumped 17.1%.

According to the consultancy APK-Inform, Ukrainian Railways also halted grain exports to Poland and Romania. No reason was given for the suspension. However, many believe there’s a correlation between Russia shifting its intentions to the East and Ukraine temporarily restricting the exporting of grains into Eastern Europe. This has the potential to lead to further cost increases in the U.S.

The rapidness of the shortage has had a significant impact on the developing world. Countries like the Middle East, Asia, and Africa have depended on the European and Soviet countries to feed millions of people subsisting on bread and bargain noodles. With two major players in the wheat and grain industry incapable of exporting, major grain producers in the U.S., Canada, France, Australia, and Argentina are currently sitting under a microscope. The world hopes they can efficiently increase their output rapidly enough to fill in any gaps from losing Ukrainian and Russian supplies.



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