An Approach To The Global Grain Issue
Last Updated on 2023-01-02 by Guy Taylor
It has taken quite a lot of forethought on writing this blog, primarily because I have wanted to avoid turning it into a political piece, or involving diving into any political debate or opinion and as this is centred around a global agricultural issue and an affected global agricultural issue which means a global food issue which means an affected global economy. But the reality is with a piece like this you cannot help but delve into some politics.
Of course the issue started with the invasion, or as Vladimir Putin prefers “special military operation”, of Ukraine by Russia, on Thursday, 24th of February so we are now approaching the two month mark. This invasion has obviously affected the export of Ukrainian wheat with Ukraine having been the world’s sixth largest exporter shipping 20 million tons of wheat and meslin, which is a mix of wheat and rye. This of course does indeed have a massive impact on the global food market.
However, I think the major issue here is the lack of foresightedness by the powers that be, and while what is happening in Ukraine is beyond tragic I believe that governments, especially our Western governments are putting too much of an emphasis on the Ukrainian issue, making this way more complicated than it already is and whilst it is true I believe there are ways to plug the gaps. Of course they are not only complicating the grain issue but they are complicating the oil and gas issue which is simple to rectify as Russia is not the be all and end all of our oil and gas problems and while I am no politician or economist I see opportunities that governments could take that could make these issues far less complicated. That issue could be rectified by increased production of North Sea oil in the United Kingdom, by increased oil production from Albertan and Texan oil facilities, as well as increased production from the UAE. Something which all have stipulated. But that is my take on the oil and gas problem, something I have very little understanding on. But as I always say these days, “who needs Russia when we have Alberta?”
We all know that this Ukraine issue, if it does not develop beyond conventional warfare could span on for years more, that is a foregone conclusion and although Ukraine have had massive military achievements by way of forcing Russian forces to retreat and by sinking a few warships a new offensive is currently being waged by the Russian offenders against their ancestral Cossack counterparts, a massive oversight, or underestimation by the Russians but due to how long this war could be waged we need to start looking beyond Ukraines borders for grain import and export.
When I say that we need to start looking beyond Ukraines borders for grain import and export I am talking about countries with major grain farming infrastructures, such as in the United States and the main grain producing provinces in Canada (with the three main provinces being Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba). According to an article by World Population Review these are the top ten wheat producing countries in 2020, I do not have data from 2021 and for obvious reasons data for this year is not yet available.
- China: 134, 254, 710 tons
- India: 107, 590, 000 tons
- Russia: 85, 896, 326 tons
- United States: 49, 690, 680 tons
- Canada: 35, 183, 000 tons
- France: 30, 144, 110 tons
- Pakistan: 25, 247, 511 tons
- Ukraine: 24, 912, 350 tons
- Germany: 22, 172, 100 tons
- Turkey: 20, 500, 000 tons
Of course with global sanctions on Russia and their assault on Ukraine, neither are currently key players in the export of wheat and even if Russia were to concede defeat (which I believe is highly unlikely any time soon) and make reparations with Ukraine I doubt the world or Ukraine will trust, forget or forgive in too much of a hurry which will count Russian wheat or any other grains out for the foreseeable future, and this is what happens when you’re a bad boy.
Ukraine on the other hand with the EU and global assistance could rebuild and become bigger and better on many fronts, not just their agricultural infrastructure. Let’s hope this war ends without it turning into something much bigger and uglier.
What needs to be done is to find a way to plug the hole of this impending global food crisis. Of course the world must not rely on or expect countries with low grain yields to contribute as they need to feed their populaces but what can be done, and it is possible is to encourage grain producing countries to increase production and yields possibly by way of offering incentives and governmental agricultural grants to help with agricultural equipment as well as staff to help in both times of seeding and harvesting as this proposal would bring intensive operations. This would not only assist the current issue, but not completely eliminate it but could also help those countries in the future with further production; for both local and export markets.
Countries producing low yields such as Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya but to name a few others could also be encouraged and offered incentives for their farmers to increase wheat production. Of course at the level those countries are at now on wheat production in terms of tonnage would be unfair to expect them to contribute to the world’s backdrop as feeding their people must come first but if Zimbabwe were able to return to a fraction of what their export levels were in pre-2000s it could benefit that nation superbly on many levels. Of course Zimbabwe will almost very likely suffer from its corruption forever but if there was a way to alleviate that pressure on both an international and national level it could be beneficial for the world entire.
Of course missing Russian and Ukrainian contributions will never be filled entirely, until either return to the global stage but gaps can be filled with the increase of production, even within countries that already have high yields such as China, India, the United States and Canada. British wheat farmers for example have the ability to increase wheat production and although not on levels such as those in the United States and Canada, or even as close as France but it is still possible to increase that production and it should be a consideration as it would further help British agriculture in general in the long run.
Further Reading: (links)
US States That Produce The Most Wheat
You must log in to post a comment.