Global wheat supply suffers as conflict persists in Ukraine and other key suppliers endure weather-reduced crop

UKRAINE— Global wheat supply suffers as conflict persists in top producer Ukraine and as other key suppliers, India and USA endure weather-reduced crop.

The yield of the next wheat harvest in Ukraine could be 35% lower than that of 2021 due to the Russian invasion, according to satellite images analyzed by the geolocation company Kayrros.

The conflict severely disrupted the ongoing planting season, forcing farmers to work under the pumps, struggling to find fuel.

Farmers who manage to plant will face a storage problem, as exports by rail and road can only make up a fraction of the shipment of goods by ship.

Russia keeps the Ukrainian ports blocked, both in the Black Sea and in the Sea of Azov, seriously hindering commercial exchanges.

The conflict promises to aggravate the fragilities of countries highly dependent on Russian and Ukrainian grain exports, such as Somalia or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

India, one of the world’s largest wheat producers, has recently stepped-up export sales to fill the supply shortage in the global market caused by the war in Ukraine.

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However, after the worst heatwave in the nation’s record history severely affected this season’s crop, the country’s wheat export potential and thus the part the nation will play in supplementing global supply into the future remains uncertain.

Similar conditions erode U.S. winter wheat yields. American wheat is not developing properly in hot, dry conditions, and there has been a recent late fallout in parts of the southern plain as the harvest approaches.

“There is a general shortage of wheat worldwide,” said Jack Scoville, a market analyst at Price Futures Group.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says global food security concerns cannot be resolved without restoring Ukrainian agricultural production and Russian food and fertilizer production on the world market.

The forecast for wheat production in Ukraine remains unchanged and at a below-average level, the effects of the conflict foreseen to reduce the harvested area by at least 20 percent.

In FAO’s Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, the forecast for world wheat production in 2022 has been scaled back moderately since the previous month.

However, standing at 782 million tonnes, FAO still predicts global wheat production to grow this year.

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