War in Ukraine: the wheat export conundrum

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Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine, an agricultural powerhouse, expected to supply around 12% of the world’s wheat exports this year, and more than 16% of the corn. But fighting and fuel shortages have upended its agriculture. Today, the most pressing problem is the difficulty in getting cereals out of the country.

Until the war, almost all of Ukraine’s grain exports were by sea. But Russia is now occupying some Ukrainian ports or, elsewhere, has destroyed their infrastructure. Those that remain intact and under government control are unusable, due to the danger posed by Russian mines and warships cruising the Black Sea.

Emmanuel Macron and other Western leaders have promised a solution. In the meantime, exporters are seeking by all means to transport at least part of the products outside the country. Huge queues are thus forming at the borders, on the roads but also on a river: the Danube.

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