Monday July 25, 2022
The agreements signed in Istanbul on Friday regarding the export of grain out of Ukraine and Russia catch the headlines as a major development from the angle of global food security, which it surely is. Between around 22 million tonnes of grain from last year’s harvest now trapped inside Ukraine due to the war, and an estimated 41 million tonnes from Russia’s 2022/23 wheat exports, around 60 million tonnes, are reaching the world grain market.
A conservative estimate is that Russia’s 2022 wheat crop will reach 85 million tonnes and if the weather holds good, it may go up to 90 million tonnes, a record harvest. Suffice to say, Russia’s importance to the global wheat balance in the new season is likely to be unprecedented. Supplies from Russia will account for more than 20 percent of the 2022/23 global wheat trade, consolidating its position as the world’s number one wheat exporting country.
Thus, two sets of agreements were signed in Istanbul, one relating to the modalities of transportation of the Ukrainian grain from three designated ports on the Black Sea — Odessa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhne — via a “grain corridor” to Turkey and a second one between Russia and the United Nations relating to the lifting of western sanctions on Russia’s exports of wheat and fertiliser.