Addressing the Global Food Crisis: Beyond Ukraine and Russia

Published by Guy Taylor on

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Last Updated on 6 months by Guy Taylor

Writing this blog has required careful consideration, as I aimed to avoid delving into political debates. However, discussing the global agricultural issue stemming from the Ukraine-Russia conflict inevitably involves some politics. It is important to clarify that it is not relevant on who you think is right or wrong, I have my own personal political and military beliefs that will not be discussed in this blog. We all have our beliefs but it is important to differentiate between personal belief and this topic which is a very serious issue.

The root of the issue can be traced back to the invasion, or as Vladimir Putin calls it, a “special military operation,” in Ukraine by Russia on February 24th, now 1 year, 9 months, 2 weeks and 4 days since the commencement of Vladimir Putins special military operation against Ukraine. This special military operation disrupted the export of Ukrainian wheat, as Ukraine was the world’s sixth-largest exporter, shipping 20 million tons of wheat and meslin (a wheat-rye mix). This has significantly impacted the global food market.

The major problem lies in the lack of foresight by world leaders. While the situation in Ukraine is tragic, Western governments are overly fixated on it, complicating matters. I believe there are solutions that can bridge these gaps, not only in the grain sector but also in oil and gas. Russia is not the sole supplier, and diversifying sources, such as increasing production in the UK, Alberta, Texas, and the UAE, could ease these issues.

The conflict in Ukraine, if not escalating beyond conventional warfare, into something more sinister and global may persist for years. Thus, we must look beyond Ukraine’s borders for grain import and export solutions.

Countries with substantial grain farming infrastructure, like the United States and Canada (particularly Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba), can play a pivotal role. According to the 2020 data from World Population Review, the top wheat-producing countries were:

  1. China: 134,254,710 tons
  2. India: 107,590,000 tons
  3. Russia: 85,896,326 tons
  4. United States: 49,690,680 tons
  5. Canada: 35,183,000 tons

Neither Ukraine, nor Russia play a significant role in wheat exports. Even if either country were to concede defeat, trust between nations and Ukraine may take time to rebuild, ruling out Russian grains for the foreseeable future.

To address the impending global food crisis, we need to find ways to boost grain production. Encouraging grain-producing nations to increase production and yields through incentives and agricultural grants is possible. This could involve providing equipment and personnel for seeding and harvesting, making operations more intensive. This approach would alleviate the current issue and enhance future production for both local and export markets.

Countries with lower grain yields, like Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya, could also be incentivized to increase wheat production. While it would be unfair to expect significant contributions from these nations due to their population’s needs, even a partial return to pre-2000s in Zimbabwe export levels, for instance, could benefit them significantly.

Although Russia and Ukraine’s contributions can’t be entirely replaced until they return to the global stage, gaps can be filled through increased production. Even countries with high yields, such as China, India, the United States, and Canada, have the potential to increase production. For instance, British wheat farmers could also boost production, benefiting their agricultural sector in the long run.

Further Reading: (links)

World Population Review

US States That Produce The Most Wheat

Crop Statistics Alberta (Canada)

Categories: Agriculture

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