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Black Sea Nations Are Circling The Wagons on Grain Supply

The term “food nationalism” is being applied to policy shifts being seen in the Black Sea countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan to protect their domestic grain supply amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past two months the price of grain in Eurasia has soared, with the price of wheat reaching US$195 per ton for the first time in history, exceeding the price of Russian oil, according to the Russian Agricultural Ministry. The decline of the Russian ruble has not only driven up prices, but has led to the strategy of holding grain in stock. In response, the Russian government has set grain export quotas for April-June, however, as supplies began running dry, the country has halted grain exports until July 1.

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have also put limits on grain exports, posing a threat to neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, who rely on Kazakhstan for as much as 50 percent and 60 percent of their domestic supply, respectively.

And as the price of grain in Russia reached US$210 as of mid-April, the country’s entire baking industry is in dire straits, while its feed industry is expecting to see prices increase by as much as 50 percent in the coming months. Meanwhile, Ukraine is also open to considering placing limits on grain exports if it sees export volumes rise too high.

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