The German government intends to help Ukraine export its grain, which was blocked in the country’s ports, Agriculture Minister Cem Ezdemir said today, talking about “targeted attacks” by Russian forces on elevators, granaries, warehouses and other similar infrastructure.
Russia is destroying Ukraine, the German minister said. “Behind all this is an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to eliminate Ukraine as a future competitor,” D. Ezdemir (Τζεμ Έζντεμιρ) told the German publication RND. In addition, he stressed, prices are constantly rising, and this serves the interests of Russia.
4.5 million tons of grain left in Ukrainian ports
The German minister said that Germany will strive to ensure that its partners in the G7 guarantee Ukraine’s access to international food markets. The discussion will take place during the meeting of the G7 agriculture ministers, which will be chaired by Germany on 13 and 14 May.
According to the UN food program, about 4.5 million tons of grain remain in Ukrainian ports and ships. Before the war, Ukraine was one of the largest grain producers in the world and a major producer of corn. As it became known, despite the situation in Ukraine, grain crops were still planted in its western territory this year.
Lambrakis Lazos, the largest grain producer and exporter in Ukraine
Given the ongoing Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, Mr. Lazos’ company has experienced export problems: “We now have large volumes of grain blocked in the ports of Nikolaev and Odessa. We try to export some volumes through smaller ports, such as Reni, but the volumes are, of course, negligible compared to large ports. Some companies export through Romania and Poland, sending grain in railcars, but the infrastructure does not support large volumes. That is why thousands of wagons are blocked at the border, which is costly.”
What is the situation with crop production in Ukraine? The new season starting in July is believed to be lost
“In an absolute sense, this is not so,” says the Greek businessman. — Having personal experience as a producer of agricultural products, since I am the owner of an agricultural enterprise, I can say the following: today we have done all the necessary work. Even when our neighbor, Zhitomir, was bombed, we continued to do our job. We didn’t stop for one day. Of course there are many problems. In the most dangerous areas, such as Eastern Ukraine, the necessary preparatory field work was not carried out.
Some other growers were short of fertilizer and seeds, as they were hard to come by during martial law. There is no doubt that this year there will be no production in Ukraine, which was in recent years. It is difficult to say how much production will be this year. Wheat can make up 70% of last year’s production, corn – 50%. The biggest problem, of course, remains the closure of ports and problems with exports. If this issue is not resolved by the summer, and given that Russia has officially announced that it will only export grain to “friendly countries”, then the likelihood of a food crisis is almost inevitable. For example, political unrest in Africa and the Middle East, which largely depend on the supply of grain from Ukraine.”