UN Food Agency Says Almost 25 Million Tonnes Of Grain Stuck In Ukraine

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A massive backlog of grain shipments is piling up in Ukraine

Almost 25 million tonnes are stuck and unable to leave the country due to ‘infrastructure challenges’ and blocked ports in the Black Sea according to a report by Reuters citing a UN food agency official.

According to the UN’s top food agency, the country’s storage capacity is reaching its limits as the world gets hungrier

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Zero Hedge reports: Ukraine was the fourth-largest exporter of maize (corn) in the 2020/21 season, and the sixth-largest wheat exporter in the world, according to the International Grains Council.

It’s an almost grotesque situation we see at the moment in Ukraine with nearly 25 mln tonnes of grain that could be exported but that cannot leave the country simply because of lack of infrastructure, the blockade of the ports,” said FAO Deputy Director Josef Schmidhuber during a Geneva press briefing via Zoom.

According to Schmidhuber, the full silos could result in storage shortages for this year’s July and August harvests.

“Despite the war the harvest conditions don’t look that dire. That could really mean there’s not enough storage capacity in Ukraine, particularly if there’s no wheat corridor opening up for export from Ukraine.”

He alluded to destroyed grain storage as a result of the Russian invasion, without elaborating.

CNN, however, reports from ‘multiple sources’ that Russian forces have allegedly plundered farm equipment and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grains from Ukraine, with the Ministry of Defense estimating on Thursday that 400,000 tonnes of grain had been stolen to date.

[And given the source(s), the usual ‘grain of salt’ disclaimer applies as to the extent and accuracy of claims.]

Oleg Nivievskyi at the Kyiv School of Economics told CNN the thefts of farm equipment, such as tractors and harvesters, by Russian forces have been absolutely devastating for Ukrainian farmers. 

“Even if these regions are liberated tomorrow, it will take time to restart the production cycle,” perhaps two to three years. Buying fertilizer and equipment and hiring workers would be tough for farmers who have been cleaned out by the Russians — because their grain is their working capital for the next season,” Nivievskyi said.