Ukraine is losing its place as one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and corn because of warfare, and its role could shrink further with the closure of Black Sea shipping lanes this week, said analysts at the IFPRI think tank. Russia, which has attacked Ukrainian grain ports for three days in a row, declared on Thursday that ship travel was unsafe in parts of the Black Sea.
For decades, the rule of thumb has been that as a country’s income rises, so does its meat consumption. Now a turning point may be at hand among high-income nations, especially in Western Europe and North America, where per capita consumption of meat is projected to decline in the coming decade, said a report on the world agricultural outlook on Thursday.
Women are as widely employed as men in agrifood systems around the world, but their working conditions are often worse and they earn much less than men, said an FAO report on Thursday. “Closing the gender gap in farm productivity and the wage gap in agrifood system employment would increase global gross domestic product by 1 percent, or nearly $1 trillion,” it said.
World grain supplies will rise marginally in 2023/24, buoyed by larger corn harvests in the United States, the EU, and Argentina, said the International Grains Council on Thursday. The council’s monthly Grain Market Report said corn production would rise 4.5 percent, to reach 1.202 billion tonnes worldwide.
Ukrainian scientists say soil samples from the Kharkiv region show that “high concentrations of toxins such as mercury and arsenic from munitions and fuel are polluting the ground,” according to a Reuters report.
Low producer prices and high input costs will discourage grain production in Ukraine this year, said an IFPRI blog, as the Russian invasion of its neighbor hit the one-year mark. “Reduced plantings in Ukraine mean that the world will need to produce additional grains and oilseeds to help rebuild stocks and moderate price levels,” wrote IFPRI senior research fellow Joe Glauber on Thursday.
Economic growth and inflation will slow in the coming months, but commodity prices are likely to be volatile as the world’s farmers try to catch up with the global appetite for food, said two leading agricultural economists on Wednesday. “I think that 2023 still looks pretty strong” for U.S. farm income, said Nathan Kaufman, the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s principal expert on agriculture economics.
By disrupting food production, climate change threatens “death from starvation on a scale that no living human today has ever witnessed,” said the head of an anti-hunger foundation during a panel discussion of malnutrition on Wednesday.
The global demand for food is rising at the same time that climate change is affecting agricultural production, especially in developing nations, said a new report that calls for increased funding of agricultural research and extension programs to boost productivity on smallholder farms.
Agricultural automation, ranging from tractors to sensors, drones, and artificial intelligence, can play an important role in making food production more efficient and environmentally friendly, said the annual State of Food and Agriculture report on Wednesday.
With world corn production down 4 percent, the global stockpile of grain will shrink for the sixth year in a row, said the International Grains Council on Thursday. In a monthly report, the IGC said the 2022/23 global harvest would be 1 percent smaller than last season’s record output.
The FAO Food Price Index, a barometer of prices for food commodities, rocketed to a record high immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine and disrupted food supply chains. Now it is down for the third month in a row, with large global harvests at hand, but Ukraine is a new entrant on the list of nations needing food aid, said the UN agency.
Jeff O’Connor gave President Biden a firsthand introduction to double-cropping on his 800-acre Illinois farm on Wednesday and agreed with the president that America can help fill the gap in global food supplies created by the war in Ukraine. “We have the ability to raise two crops in one growing season while simultaneously providing conservation benefits,” said O’Connor. “The farming community stands ready to maximize production, which we do so well, in this time of world need.”
President Biden will announce three steps to encourage American farmers “to boost production, lower food prices, and feed the world” during a visit to a family farm in northern Illinois on Wednesday afternoon, said the White House. Action by the USDA would be a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to high inflation at home.
NASA climatologist Cynthia Rosenzweig, one of the first scientists to document the impact of climate change on food production, is this year’s winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize, said the Food Prize foundation on Thursday. “Dr. Rosenzweig has brought powerful computational tools into practical application in agriculture and food systems,” said foundation president Barbara Stinson during an announcement ceremony at the State Department.
The world should create a fund of up to $25 billion to help poor nations deal with the surge in food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Wednesday. The FAO estimates that an additional 13 million people will face hunger in the near term because of warfare in the Black Sea region, ordinarily a major source of wheat and corn on the world market.
The United States stands ready to provide food aid overseas if it is needed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a letter to grain merchandisers. At the same time, the letter closed the door to suggestions for the emergency planting of crops on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve, saying it would be impractical.
American farmers say they will plant more soybeans — a record 91 million acres — and less corn and spring wheat despite tight global wheat supplies that have been compounded by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s largest wheat exporters, and Ukraine is a leading corn supplier.