Ukraine war sparks UK food shortage fears for millions- key ingredients banned from export

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The Ukrainian government has halted the export licensing of key foodstuffs including wheat, corn, poultry meat, and sunflower oil, according to the Ukrainian news agency Interfax Ukraine. This comes amidst fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could trigger a global food crisis.

The government passed a resolution on Sunday that introduced zero quotas for exports of corn, oats, buckwheat, millet, sugar and salt suitable for human consumption, subject to licensing in 2022.

On the same day, Interfax Ukraine reported the country’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal saying that the government will limit the export of various socially important goods and the raw materials from which they are produced.

This announcement has sparked fears of food shortages, both in the EU and in the UK, as Ukraine is a key exporter of agricultural products.

For the European Union, Ukraine alone accounts for 19% of the bloc’s wheat imports and 13% of oilseed imports.

According to the UK Department of International Trade, Britain imports £147.7 million worth of cereal, £114.0 million of oil-seeds & oleaginous (oil rich) fruits, £109.4 million of vegetable oils & fats, and £18.1 million of organic chemicals, which could be used to produce fertilizer.

Together, these account for 58.6 percent of the UK’s total imports from the country.

The Russian invasion has to wheat prices soaring, with warnings that stretched commodity prices could lead to food price inflation pushed to even greater heights.

Prices of wheat have surged to a 14-year high after climbing 38 percent since the start of February, and around 75 percent so far this year.

Both Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat, accounting for nearly a third of the world’s demand combined, meaning the escalating conflict threatens to put a major dent in supply.

Countries like Albania have already issued warnings that this war could result in bread and other grain-based staple goods being wiped off the menu.

This announcement has left farmers in the EU scrambling to secure their food supply, with the EU farmers’ association COPA-COGECA issuing a statement on Sunday warning against fallout from the war.

The statement read: “This war which affects Europe will have worldwide repercussions for several years to come.”

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It also added that “most productions will be directly or indirectly impacted”.

Earlier today, the UN’s World Food Programme Executive Director, David Beasley warned that the war in Ukraine will send food prices soaring worldwide.

He also warned the devastating invasion of Ukraine would put more people at risk of starvation.

He said: “Just when you think hell on earth can’t get any worse, it does.”

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