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The blockade has to be lifted. Grain traders have no room to store millions of tons of newly harvested grain

Grain storage in Ukraine 2022: how the sea blockade is a global threat. Photo: Slovoidilo.ua

Grain storage in Ukraine 2022: how the sea blockade is a global threat. Photo: Slovoidilo.ua

In 2022, Ukraine can expect to produce 70 million tons of grain and oil crops. This is quite a good result given the full-scale Russian invasion, landmines in the fields, ruined agricultural infrastructure, and stolen grain.

Considering that Ukraine consumed about 25 mln tons, 70 mln tons is a decent result. However, logistical problems that limit exportation can be a threat to the country’s economy, Ukrainian agricultural producers, and millions of people in the world who can be affected by hunger, while tens of millions would fly from the hunger-struck countries of Africa and the Middle East to the EU.

Ukraine’s inability to export surplus crops to the global market puts over 100 million people worldwide in a very tough situation. At the same time, Ukrainian agricultural producers and the economy will also suffer a major blow.

Today, Ukraine has about 26 mln tons of carry-over stocks of grain and oilseeds left from the previous season, adding 70 mln tons of the new harvest, while the certified storage capacities are about 66 mln tons (of which 10 to 15 mln tons are located on the occupied territories or were destroyed) and additional 15 to 20 mln tons of temporary grain storage on farms.

Taking into account the remaining stocks from the previous year and the current exportation level of 2 mln tons, we lack 10 to 15 mln tons of storage capacity to stockpile the new harvest.

However, the worst problem is the inability to export grain at an acceptable price, which deprives Ukrainian producers of the revenue needed to cover the expenses.

As a result, the producers who have crops but cannot sell them will go bankrupt and won’t be able to sow the fields next year. This will further increase the deficit of grain, especially in underdeveloped countries, and food prices will further rise worldwide.

In this case, Ukraine will lose income from grain exports, budget revenue will fall, and the economy will be crippled. Alternative export routes through the western land border can only be a temporary grain transportation solution.

The cost of export transportation has already risen to $180 per ton, which is already over 60% of the grain price in the port of Constanţa, and this amount is deducted from the price Ukrainian producers receive for their grain on the global market.

Ukrainian agricultural producers have already been forced to sell their grain below cost at a discount of over 50%.

By waging war in Ukraine and blocking Ukrainian ports as well as international trade routes, Russia has already caused a crisis and a surge in global grain prices.

Traditional consumers of Ukrainian grain in the countries of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa could be deprived of food stocks and unable to buy the required amounts elsewhere due to increased prices.

Hence, the UN predicts that tens of millions of people will be on the brink of starvation, which will cause unrest, revolutions, fighting, and a mass migration of people looking for food to the trouble-free EU. Various estimates give a prediction of up to 40 million new migrants. Europe simply won’t be able to handle such large numbers of refugees and is quite likely to plunge into chaos.

Russia has a long record of weaponizing hunger. In Ukraine, it used this weapon three times: in 1921-1923, in 1932-1933, and in 1946-1947, when it starved to death millions of Ukrainians. Now Russia wants to use hunger as a weapon against the whole world to destabilize it and gain victory over Ukraine and the West by causing devastating turmoil over a whole continent.

Edward Lucas, a well-known expert and a former editor of The Economist, has called mass migration Putin’s most powerful weapon, which has already been used repeatedly. Timothy Snyder, a Yale historian, says that Russia has a plan and is preparing to starve the majority of the developing Asian and African countries as the next stage in its war in Europe.

Hence, the West understands this plan and all its horrific consequences awaiting not only Ukraine but all the developed Western countries, unless urgent measures are taken.

The blockade of Ukrainian ports and exportation of Ukrainian grain by the Russian regime has two purposes: first, to ruin the Ukrainian agriculture and economy, and second, to cause mass starvation in Asian and African countries and instigate mass migration to Europe, thus destabilizing it and throwing it into utter chaos.

The West needs to act resolutely in supporting Ukraine and lifting the blockade of Ukrainian ports and international trading routes in the Black Sea, or else it will have to reap a bitter harvest of the Russian famine policy, which will imply tremendous casualties for all the civilized world.

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