The condition of China’s winter wheat crop could be the “worst in history,” the agriculture minister said on Saturday according to Reuters, raising concerns about grain supplies in the world’s biggest wheat consumer. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Chinese regime’s annual political meetings, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian said that heavy rainfall last year delayed the planting of about one-third of the normal wheat acreage.
A survey of the winter wheat crop taken before the start of winter found that the amount of first- and second-grade crop was down by more than 20 percentage points, Tang said.
Russia’s war on Ukraine threatens global food supply
The Russian tanks and missiles besieging Ukraine also are threatening the food supply and livelihoods of people in Europe, Africa and Asia who rely on the vast, fertile farmlands of the Black Sea region – known as the “breadbasket of the world.”
Ukrainian farmers have been forced to neglect their fields as millions flee, fight or try to stay alive. Ports are shut down that send wheat and other food staples worldwide to be made into bread, noodles and animal feed. And there are worries Russia, another agricultural powerhouse, could have its grain exports upended by Western sanctions.
While there have not yet been global disruptions to wheat supplies, prices have surged 55% since a week before the invasion amid concerns about what could happen next. If the war is prolonged, countries that rely on affordable wheat exports from Ukraine could face shortages starting in July, International Grains Council director Arnaud Petit told The Associated Press.
That could create food insecurity and throw more people into poverty in places like Egypt and Lebanon, where diets are dominated by government-subsidized bread. In Europe, officials are preparing for potential shortages of products from Ukraine and increased prices for livestock feed that could mean more expensive meat and dairy if farmers are forced to pass along costs to customers.
Food protectionism is spreading as Hungary bans grain exports
Governments around the world are taking steps to safeguard domestic food supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roiled trade and sent prices of key staples soaring.
Hungary is banning grain exports, its agriculture minister told television channel RTL on Friday. Argentina and Turkey also made moves this week to increase their control over local products. And Moldova, albeit a small shipper, temporarily halted exports of wheat, corn and sugar from this month.
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