Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has massively disrupted grain shipments, with a blockade of Ukrainian ports of Russia’s Black Sea fleet trapping millions of tonnes of grain that has added fuel to the exacerbating existing supply chain problems. Ukraine and Russia usually supply over 40% of Africa's wheat, the African Development Bank says. However, the war has led to a shortage of 30 million tonnes of food in Africa, stifling food supplies for 47 million individuals to face ‘acute hunger’ across the globe. Global commodities prices have soared, with the shortage contributing to a 40% rise in food prices across the continent especially within wheat-based products becoming more costly with the price of flour rising by 42% and bread by 25% in Yemen, according to the UN.
Egypt, one of the world’s top wheat importers, bought 80% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine last year, and has been conflicted between ties to Moscow and its relationship to the west. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov has reassured Egypt over Russian grain supplies where under the terms of the signed deal, Russia will not target ports while shipments are in transit and Russian exports of gain and fertiliser will be facilitated across the Black Sea. Almost 20m tonnes of grain have been trapped from being exported, with as much as 30% of Ukraine’s 86m tonnes of grain will not be harvested. The Ukrainian Grain Association, a trade body, says only 1.5m tonnes of grain a month at most has been exported where prior, Ukraine had been exporting as much as 7m tonnes of grain a month.