Farmers Raise Concerns About Food Shortages as Wheat Prices Reach 14-Year High

© REUTERS / Jim YoungA combine drives over stalks of soft red winter wheat during the harvest on a farm in Dixon, Illinois (File)
A combine drives over stalks of soft red winter wheat during the harvest on a farm in Dixon, Illinois (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2022
Last week, wheat prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rose to their highest level since 2008 due to fears of grain supply disruptions. The fact that Russia and Ukraine, who account for up to 30 percent of the world's wheat supply and are now isolated from the international market, has raised concerns of an acute shortage across the globe.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, prices worldwide have already reached record highs in February, up almost 21 percent from last year, and further supply disruption will worsen the situation.
Chicago wheat futures have reached highs not seen for the last 14 years, surging by 41 percent over the course of a week.
Farmers have also faced overall price increases on other components such as gasoline and fertilisers due to a supply chain crisis.

"While US wheat prices rose, farmers have also been experiencing a price increase for key inputs – not only related to this conflict – but from the existing stresses that have been impacting the entire supply chain for some time", CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, Chandler Goule, told Fox Business.

As Russia is also one of the suppliers of the three main types of fertilisers, farmers can additionally expect disruptions to these components.

"We're paying more for parts", Ryck Suydam, owner of Suydam Farms said. "We're paying more for everything so that all that stuff adds in, especially even transporting the fertiliser to get here, it costs more to get it here".

He noted that the costs would fall on consumers as farmers opt to raise prices by 25-30 percent.
Analysts earlier also noted that other aspects had contributed to high prices. The grain reserves of the globe's largest exporters of wheat (the European Union, Russia, the United States, Canada, Ukraine, Argentina, Australia, and Kazakhstan) are expected to be reduced to 57 million tonnes, a nine-year low.
These countries account for one fifth of the world's reserves, while world wheat consumption is said to be 781 million tonnes. The reserves, according to analysts, is enough for the world for 27 days, and without the resources of Russia and Ukraine – less than 21.
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