Ukraine has enough grain in storage to meet both local and global demand, with deliveries taking place by the end of 2022, as long as the blockade on Ukraine’s ports is lifted, wrote Oleh Ustenko, and economic advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a statement on May 26.
Ustenko notes that Russia planned to blockade Ukraine’s Black Sea ports from the very beginning of this war, specifically to induce this global food crisis, which could then be leveraged to pressure the West to step away from supporting Ukraine.
“They’re playing very different cards simultaneously – that’s energy resources and food supplies, and then they’re conducting their so-called “military operation” on our territory and ruining our infrastructure, destroying our food reserves,” said Ustenko.
While Russian ships are currently targeting all commercial vessels in the Black Sea, the countries involved will have to come to some sort of ceasefire agreement to allow Ukraine to restart exports. Anything short of that is unlikely to work, Ustenko believes.
“I think this is the only option to deliver grain to the global markets – to stop the war or at least to stop any military actions in the Black Sea,” Ustenko emphasized.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, during her official visit to Kyiv in May, stated that her country is paying close attention to the problems of exporting Ukrainian grain, most of which is stuck at port due to the blockade.
Earlier, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that his country is willing to assist Ukrainian farmers in delivering their grain to global markets.
The United Nations has warned that current food supply situation in the world economy is unsustainable.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian corn producers are considering using their stocks for the energy sector if they will be unable to export the corn that they have harvested. Corn may be used as a biofuel, namely ethanol, said Tair Musaev, commercial director of the Baryshivka Grain Company.
In 2021, Ukraine’s agricultures exports amounted to $27.3 billion – 40% of all export revenue for the country.
Grain demand may soon fall somewhat, however, as the Chinese economy is slowing down, according to Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.