‘Special report’ highlights global food crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

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Not only did Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunge that country into turmoil, it had resounding effects around the world, including for other nations that depended on Kyiv’s grain and fertilizer exports.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘breadbasket of Europe’, Ukraine’s rich agricultural sector came to a halt earlier this year as the country came under Russian military strikes and blockades at its ports.

In the “Special Report,” Lieutenant Colonel Brett Beyer described in detail how the entire world has been negatively affected, and what world leaders are doing to resolve the crisis.

Bayer said that while Americans have faced some shortages related to the Ukraine war, it is more bleak on the other side of the world.

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Zelensky
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“The war in Ukraine has exacerbated supply chain problems around the world. But with Russian ships continuing to block exports and Ukrainian farmers preparing for the 2022 harvest, the next phase of the global food crisis could only get worse,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently referred to the crisis as well, claiming that “the world depends on our food exports.”

Bayer said Ukraine is a major producer of corn and wheat, separate from its large exports of urea – a key ingredient in Western fertilizer products.

The country accounts for 10% of the wheat and 14% of the world’s corn exports, and much of that goes to the developing world where countries are even more lacking in the resources for such farming.

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Lexion gathers harvest cutters across a wheat field during the harvest season in Benfleet, UK, on ​​Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

Lexion gathers harvest cutters across a wheat field during the harvest season in Benfleet, UK, on ​​Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
(Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty)

He stated that Ukraine’s five largest wheat buyers are all considered developing economies by the United Nations, citing Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Lebanon.

Roger Cryan of the American Farm Bureau Consortium told Bayer that the scarcity of exports creates instability in the global market, which in the United States is driving up prices.

European Council President Charles Michel of Belgium said in one clip that breaking the blockade on the Black Sea was a top priority, while others cited uncertainty about the number of exports leaving Ukraine since February when the invasion began.

Bayer noted President Biden’s repeated statements that the food crisis in the United States is Russia’s fault, as the president also appears to be referring to the Black Sea blockade.

“[W]”We’ve never seen anything like Putin’s tax on both food and gas,” Biden said.

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Suffering from skyrocketing diesel prices, American farmers are once again exposed to skyrocketing fertilizer prices, in part due to Ukraine’s exports of urea.

Bayer reports that fertilizer prices rose 80% last year and another 30% so far this year, making it the lowest affordable fertilizer year since 2008.

He added that in meetings between Biden and other G7 leaders in Germany earlier this year, plans were formulated to send $4.5 billion to countries hardest hit by food shortages.

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