CROPPING

Global wheat supply shortage possible

WORLD wheat stocks are running low, with global food insecurity reaching levels not seen since 2008.

Staff writer
Global wheat supply could run out in 10 weeks time.

Global wheat supply could run out in 10 weeks time.

Widespread fertiliser shortages, supply chain issues, grain shortages and record droughts are all contributing to the global food crisis, resulting in the world having about 10 weeks of wheat on hand, according agriculture analytics firm, Gro Intelligence

"We currently only have 10 weeks of global consumption sitting in inventory around the world. Conditions today are worse than those experienced in 2007 and 2008," Sara Menker, the CEO of agriculture analytics firm Gro Intelligence said.

"The Russia-Ukraine War was not the cause of a food security crisis but simply added fuel to a fire that was long burning.

"This isn't cyclical, this is seismic. Even if the war were to end tomorrow, our food security problem isn't going away anytime soon without concerted action," Menker added.

Russia and Ukraine combined account for almost a third of the world's wheat exports.

Last year, Ukraine produced around 33 million tonnes of wheat, of which 20 million tonnes was exported. This year, the country only has the potential to produce approximately 21 million tonnes of wheat, down 23 per cent on the average of the previous five years.

Ukraine has already moved to ban exports of grain and many other food products, in an effort to preserve its own food supplies.

Official government estimates put world wheat inventories at 33 per cent of annual consumption, but stocks may have slumped to as low as 20 per cent, according to agricultural data firm Gro Intelligence

The war has disrupted agricultural production in the region and sent global food prices soaring to a record high.

Global wheat prices leapt by 20 per cent in March, due to the direct impact of the war on wheat production, as well has higher fertiliser prices and weather factors.

Carlos Mera, a Rabobank analyst, said prices would remain high as it was unlikely leading global producers would be able to increase production significantly, due to high fertiliser prices and pressure to grow other crops where prices are also rising.

The crisis in wheat has been worsened by India, the world's second largest producer, banning exports of cereal grains and high costs for farmers from fertiliser, feed and fuel.

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