Russia and Ukraine together account for around one quarter of global wheat production, so it comes as no surprise that the war they’re currently fighting is upending global supply.
The dynamic is straightforward enough on the Ukrainian end: with large swathes of the eastern part of the country occupied by Russian forces and a severe shortage of able hands as Ukrainians head to the front, some 20-30% of Ukrainian agricultural land will remain either unplanted or unharvested this year, as per FAO estimates. For example, it’s believed that some 50% of the land that the normal winter wheat crop is planted on is now occupied by Russia, along with some 40% of rye crop land.
The fallout isn’t just restricted to wheat exports. Ukraine is a major producer of sunflower oil as well, accounting for roughly 50% of the global market, with Russia also a significant player with a 25% market share. Sunflower oil represents around 13% of the global vegetable oil market, and certain African states are highly dependent on imported oils, namely Namibia (100% of supply imported), Botswana (100%), Madagascar (90.9%), Gabon (88.6%), Algeria (84.7%), and Ethiopia (81.7%).