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The impact of the war in Ukraine on the agri-food industry

The impact of the war in Ukraine on the agri-food industry has not been long in coming. The barbaric conflict that Russia has unleashed in Ukraine has direct repercussions on grain production and the manufacture of livestock feed. In addition to the problems caused by the pandemic and the rise in energy prices, Europe’s breadbasket has been frozen for a period of time that no one dares to predict, leading to an unimaginable price increase in raw materials, like cereals and chemical fertilizers.

Ukraine produces 16% of the world’s corn and 12% of the wheat consumed in the world each year, and Russia is responsible for 17% of the world’s global grain, which together represents almost 30% of the stocks used annually for human and animal consumption.

Ukraine’s ports are blocked and the sanctions imposed on Moscow will affect global trade relations with Russia, regardless of each country’s position in the war.

What’s next? 

If the conflict drags on, not only this year’s harvest, but also next year’s will be at risk. And with a lower supply, prices are likely to soar, even to the point of shortages. We have already seen this reflected on the stock exchanges in Chicago and Paris, where wheat and corn prices have reached their highest levels since 2012.

Therefore, if this situation is prolonged to the point where Ukraine’s agriculture sector cannot work in spring, the world vegetable oil market will also be impacted. Because Ukraine produces half of the sunflower oil consumed worldwide.

A possible way forward for the agri-food industry 

Keeping our future population in mind, agriculture’s impact on climate change and our dire current situation, we need to optimize our resources. And ensure at the same time a minimum level of sustenance. In my humble opinion this will rely on our ability to produce alternative sources of protein and fat for animal feed. And biofertilizer for plant and soil nutrition. In this context, Tebrio’s work is now more important than ever.

Connect with the author Adriana Casillas on LinkedIn.