As a major exporter, Russia wants to limit grain exports. The United Nations warns of a catastrophe – especially in the countries of Africa and the Middle East.
TUNIS – Panic buying is not only available in Germany: Hedi Bouleg now patrols grocery stores in his Tunis district every day in search of semolina and oil. “I am willing to pay double that amount,” says the pensioner. Because of the conflict in Ukraine*, people in Tunisia and other North African countries are hoarding food out of fear that soon there may be nothing left.
The Russian grain export ban is expected to last until the end of June
A sign warning of “only one kilo per customer” in a supermarket in the Tunisian capital. But the shelves of flour and semolina are empty. Three packets of sugar are still available. The manager says the problem isn’t shortages, but panic buying. Customer Hoda Hojeij complains about the absence of rice or flour for two weeks. In her eyes, the authorities are to blame: “In light of the war in Ukraine, they did not act with foresight.”
Because Russia has announced that it will restrict the export of wheat, barley, rye and other grains. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Russia produces more than 11 percent of the world’s wheat. The export suspension must initially last until June 30. Putin’s government wants to use it for domestic needs.
Occrian influences: everything is clear to Germany
Germany will not suffer from an export ban, the Central German Bakery Trade Association warns. “The export ban initially had no direct effects because in Germany and the European Union we have a degree of grain self-sufficiency of over 100 percent in some cases.” There were also long-term supply contracts that further stabilized prices.
However, in the long run, bakeries can certainly feel the effects of rising grain prices on the world market. In addition, Ukraine and Russia are important suppliers of seeds, such as sunflower seeds. This will also have an impact on prices.”
“Hurricane of hunger” caused by the Ukraine war? Expert: 100 million people affected
On the other hand, southern European countries are severely affected by restrictions on Russian exports. According to UN figures, about 40 percent of the wheat consumed in Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Sudan came from Russia in 2020. “We must do everything we can to avoid a hurricane of hunger and a collapse of the global food system,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
At worst, the war in Ukraine*, according to agricultural economist Matin Gaim, could starve up to 100 million people. In addition to North Africa, the Near East and the Middle East, countries are also affected “the poorest, where many people are already hungry: in Somalia, Chad, Madagascar and Bangladesh, to name a few”.
Al-Qaim explained that if the price of wheat rose by 50 percent, bread and pasta would also be “a few cents more expensive” in Germany. Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper Sunday. For many people, this is not a small matter, but most of them can afford it in this country. On the other hand, in large parts of Africa and South Asia, almost all income is spent on food.”
After Cereal Exports and the Ukraine War: Responsibility for Global Nutrition
In Tunisia, baker Salim Talbi worries about the future. He says he already pays three times what he was paying for flour. “We have not yet felt the real effects of the war.” Tunisia imports nearly half of the soft wheat used for baking from Ukraine. According to the authorities, the country’s supplies are sufficient for three months. Even Libya gets 75 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, and Morocco is also highly dependent on imports from these countries.
Some fear that the war in Europe will lead to hunger and turmoil in North Africa. Rising food prices have also played a role in the uprisings in many Arab countries over the past ten years.
The expert explains that it is difficult to predict how the Ukraine war will develop in the coming months. “It is critical that other countries now assume their responsibility to feed the world
Realize. “For this, global trade must remain ‘as open as possible’; in the end, the export ban has affected people in the world’s poorest countries.
With material from dpa and AFP
* Merkur.de is an offering from IPPEN.MEDIA