Biofuels are far more responsible for high vegetable oil prices than Russia's invasion of Ukraine, said agricultural economist Aaron Smith of UC-Davis, and the biofuel industry will drive up vegetable oil prices further. Ukraine and Russia produce more than half of the sunflower oil in the world but the oil accounts for only 10 percent of global production of vegetable oils.
The United States will export a record $191 billion worth of agricultural products this fiscal year as the world scrambles to replace the corn, wheat, and vegetable oil it would normally get from Russia and Ukraine, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. It would be the second year in a row of record-high farm exports.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine focused world attention on wheat prices and disruptions of supplies to poor countries that rely on imported grain. Now analysts at the IFPRI think tank say there is “another important emerging food security issue: the war’s impact on vegetable oils.”