Russia, the United States and Australia were the world’s top wheat exporters in 2021, with sales of more than $7 billion each.
Russia and Ukraine have in recent years accounted for about a quarter of world wheat exports.
According to a World Bank report, Ukraine‘s exports have stopped due to the closure of all Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, which account for about 90% of Ukraine’s wheat exports.
This outage was due to crashes and as such there is less room for diversion. Since the beginning of March, limited quantities of wheat have started to be exported through rail and road corridors.
While precise estimates of such exports are not available, perhaps as much as half of Ukraine’s exportable wheat (estimated at 20 million tons, or 10% of world exports) could eventually be exported overland, albeit at a cost greater than maritime transport.
Russia’s wheat exports have so far been unaffected, according to the World Bank.
In 2021, the exports of the three leaders were as follows: Russia (7,302 million dollars, -8%), the United States (7,287 million, +15%) and Australia ((7,247 million, +167 percent).
More than 17,000 years ago, humans collected plant seeds and ate them. After rubbing the husks together, ancient people simply chewed the raw, dried, or slow-cooked kernels.
In particular, wheat originated in the “cradle of civilization” in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, near what is now Iraq.
Currently, wheat is the most exported cereal in the world, with more than 55,000 dollars in 2021.
Other major exporters were Canada ($6.639 million, +5%), Ukraine ($4.723 million, +31%) and France ($4.551 million, no percentage change).
Disruptions in Ukraine’s wheat exports have already affected several importing countries, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt and Lebanon.
As a result, several countries have introduced (or announced) trade policy measures that reduce or prohibit wheat exports.
By the end of March, 53 new political interventions affecting food trade had been imposed.
However, the World Bank indicated that the trade restrictions imposed so far are not as extensive as they were during the commodity price spikes of 2007-08 and 2011-12.
Among the largest exporters of wheat, in the following positions were: Argentina (2,973 million dollars, +46%), Germany (1,982 million, -6%), Romania (1,822 million, +89%) and India (1,723 million, +609 million).