Africa: The impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Africa’s food supplies

In the same way, Ukraine exported agricultural goods worth $2.9 billion to Africa in 2020. Wheat made up around 48% of this, maize 31%, while sunflower oil, barley, and soybeans made up the balance. [Image: courtesy]
Africa—Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, wheat and other crops are once again at the center of geopolitics. In the global agriculture market, both nations play a significant role. Leaders in Africa must pay notice.

A substantial amount of agricultural commerce takes place between African nations and Russia and Ukraine. In 2020, African countries would import agricultural goods from Russia worth $4 billion. Wheat accounted for 90% of the total, with sunflower oil accounting for 6%. Egypt was the largest importer, accounting for about half of all shipments, followed by Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Algeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

In the same way, Ukraine exported agricultural goods worth $2.9 billion to Africa in 2020. Wheat made up around 48% of this, maize 31%, while sunflower oil, barley, and soybeans made up the balance.

In the global commodities market, Russia and Ukraine are major actors. Russia produces around 10% of the world’s wheat, whereas Ukraine produces only 4%. This is approximately equal to the total wheat production of the European Union. The wheat will be used for both domestic and foreign markets. Together, the two countries export a fourth of the world’s wheat. In 2020, Russia will account for 18% of the market, while Ukraine will account for 8%.

Both nations are also significant producers of maize, accounting for 4% of global maize output. Ukraine and Russia, on the other hand, contribute even more in terms of exports, accounting for 14% of global maize exports in 2020. In addition, both nations are major producers and exporters of sunflower oil. Ukraine’s sunflower oil exports will account for 40% of world exports in 2020, while Russia will account for 18% of global sunflower oil exports.

Some observers are concerned about Russia’s military activity. The danger is that escalating war would impede commerce, posing a serious threat to world food security.

These are my fears as well, notably the repercussions of large price increases in global grains and oilseeds. Since 2020, they’ve been one of the main causes of global food price increases. This is mostly due to dry weather in South America and Indonesia, which led in low harvests, as well as increased demand in China and India.

The African continent, which is a net importer of wheat and sunflower oil, is concerned about this. Furthermore, there are concerns about dryness in various parts of the continent. The disruption of commodity shipments would add to the widespread fear of food price increases in an area that imports wheat.