Russia is exporting more grain at higher prices than ever before while suppressing Ukrainian shipments, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday. “Every member of this council, every member of the United Nations should tell Moscow: Enough using the Black Sea as blackmail, enough treating the world’s most vulnerable people as leverage.”
In a reflection of international tensions, the Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to prohibit China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from purchasing U.S. agricultural land and agricultural businesses. The language was added to a military spending bill that was sure to pass the Senate and then be reconciled with a House version.
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.
The United States will work with allies to find new ways to get Ukrainian grain onto the world market following Russia's decision to effectively blockade its ports again, said an administration spokesman on Monday. Nonetheless, exports from Ukraine, a leading supplier of wheat, corn, and sunflower oil, are sure to decline with the demise of the year-old Black Sea grain agreement, he said.
The United States would block foreign adversaries from snatching up agricultural land by putting a 60-percent excise tax on purchases by people and companies from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela under a bill sponsored by the chairman of the House's tax-writing committee.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had a devastating impact on global food security, said Group of 7 agriculture ministers on Sunday in a communique that called for expansion of Ukrainian grain shipments via a the Black Sea Grain corridor that is exempt from attack.
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.
Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate, inspired by rising international tensions, would block China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from buying U.S. farmland or agricultural companies, said sponsors on Thursday.
With their 2022 crop fetching the highest season-average price on record, wheat farmers sowed 36.95 million acres of winter wheat for harvest this spring and summer — the largest total in seven years, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine drove food prices to record levels during 2022 and the Food Price Index remains elevated after a nine-month decline, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
UN and European leaders called on Russia on Sunday to revive the international agreement for grain exports from Ukraine, calling it crucial for stabilizing grain prices and keeping food flowing to tens of millions of people.
U.S. growers reaped their second-smallest wheat crop in 20 years due to drought in the Plains, said the Agriculture Department. The smaller-than-expected harvest would delay any American role in restoring grain flows disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The government will award up to $500 million in grants to increase domestic fertilizer production, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday at a meeting of state agriculture directors. Some of the money will go to projects that would pay off in 2023 or 2024.
Nearly one-third of the people in 77 low- and middle-income countries are food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy and active lifestyle, said an annual USDA report. The 9.8-percent increase to 1.3 billion people this year included 41.7 million affected by higher food, fuel and fertilizer costs attributed to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian farmers may reduce plantings of wheat and other crops for harvest in 2023 because warfare has reduced their income at the same time they face high fuel and fertilizer costs, said two IFPRI analysts during a briefing on Tuesday. A small crop in Ukraine, usually a leading wheat and sunflower oil exporter, could prolong tight global supplies that have driven up grain prices worldwide.
Russia will set a record for wheat exports during the current marketing year while Ukraine rebuilds its grain shipments, aided by the recent international agreement to end a blockade of its Black Sea ports, said USDA analysts. Bayer, the world's largest seed and ag chemical company, said on Monday that it would help rebuild Ukraine's agricultural system but also would continue to sell crop inputs in Russia, the instigator of war with Ukraine.
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Monday voted to reject steep duties on ammonium nitrate fertilizers from Trinidad and Tobago and Russia, going against a recommendation for tariffs from the Commerce Department.