Thursday, March 17, 2022

Even If The War In Ukraine Ends, Sanctions Will Stay - So How Bad Will The Food Crisis Get?


We have posted in this blog two keynote articles and several shorter pieces in the past three weeks on the likely  catastrophic consequences for the world's food supply of Russia’s Ukraine incursion as the loss of Ukranian and Russian exports of wheat, maize and edible oils are lost. The war may end within a couple of week and for the sake of Ukranian people we have to hope that is the case. However while the shooting war is about local issues the economic war has much wider and more complex implications which means that the west's sanctions on Russian finance and retaliatory Russian bans on exports of agricultural produce, raw materials for commercial fetilizers (Russia produces two thirds of the world's ammonium nitrate according to some sources,) will therefore remain in place much longer.

Ukraine is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of wheat (Russia is largest,  followed by USA, Canada and France,) and at this time of year Ukrainian farmers ought to be seeding their fields in some of the richest soil in the world.  The best agricultural land in the country is unfortunately at the heart of the conflict zone and consistently under bombardment from air and ground. 

Ukrainian farmers like to tell the world they are a resilient, adaptable and innovative people but  they also know that in the current situation their our priorities must be different. And while Ukrane's agricultural communities prioritise  capturing Russian weapons, blowing up fuel convoys and allowing demoralised Russian soldiers to talk with their mothers.

In Odessa’s formerly bustling docks of Ukraine’s main port  are now still, the approaches to the harbour blockaded by Moscow's Black Sea fleet.

The grain and corn stored in huge silos on the farm where where Svitlana Sirko (below) works should at this time of year be on their way to the dock for export. Along with countless others across the huge country, this medium-sized farm with 20 labourers contributes to Ukraine’s reputation as the breadbasket of Europe. After harvestwait exporting in late summer up to 10,000 tonnes can be stored in the silo to await export. This year it must stay there because no ships can enter or leave the port.

Farm administrator Svitlana Sirko, like many Ukrainian agriculture workers, has found her work curtailed by the war
Farm administrator Svitlana Sirko, like many Ukrainian agriculture workers, has found her work curtailed by the war Credit: Simon Townsley for The Telegraph

The Ukraine war has contributed a trio of economic crises for the wider world, a dearth of wheat and other staple foods, rocketing fuel prices (due in part to the failure of green energy sources and the idiocy of 'net zero' committments,) and the ban on exporting raw materials for fertiliser products which will cause reduced yields across all this year's harvests. 

And the economic bad news does not end there. Because of its vast area Russia with Siberia hosts many other natural resources essential to high tech industries, metal bashing industries and agriculture. The world faces a commodity catastrophe with oil, gas, coal and agricultural chemicals prices all spiralling higher together, with metals catching up fast. It is a problem not just for central bankers but for all of us.

A statement from Roman Leshchenko Ukraine’s agriculture and food minister said that while export blocks had been placed on badly needed commodities like beef, sugar, salt and millet, the country still wanted to export wheat and corn. Yet that had been made nearly impossible by a blockade of Ukraine’s southern ports by the Russian navy. March, April, May and June should be the peak export months, but instead the ships are stationary and the terminals closed. 

It looks as if 2022 is going to be an even rougher ride than '20 and '21.

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Boris and Biden Can't Blame Ukraine War For Energy Crisis
With typical arrogance and condescension towards the people who elected them Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and their respectiive presstitutes are trying to spin the energy crisis Europe and North America are currently facing as somehow being linked to the conflict in Ukraine and therfore blame is being attactched to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Do they really think we are stupid enough to believe such unmitigated bollocks? ...

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