Home Business Great uncertainties about the next world wheat harvest

Great uncertainties about the next world wheat harvest


“Wow, the rain! » The exclamation is from Benoît Piétrement, president of the specialist “field crops” council of the public body FranceAgriMer. It illustrates the relief of cereal farmers after the heat wave and drought experienced by France this spring.

According to the latter, who was speaking on June 9 during a press briefing, a hot and humid month of June could “save the furniture”, at least in the main French cereal regions, as the summer harvest approaches. This harvest takes on an exceptional geopolitical dimension this year due to the war in Ukraine and threats to supplies for many countries.

The French agriculture ministry is expected to wait until early July to provide wheat harvest forecasts. However, some private analysts have recently forecast 33 million tonnes, which would make 2022 an average year, halfway between a very poor harvest like that of 2016 (27.5 million tonnes) and a very good like that of 2020 (more than 39 million tonnes). Year after year, about 50% of production is exported…

Every ton will be precious

Every ton will be precious! Ukraine is indeed a key player in the market and regularly competes for the 4e place of exporting countries to France. According to some observers, Kyiv may bring out only 10 million tonnes of wheat for the 2022-2023 season, almost half of its exports in an ordinary year. However, according to the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, between 20 and 25 million tonnes of cereals from the previous harvest are blocked in the country.

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In this context, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) again warned on June 9 of the increase in cereal prices and the risk of food crises in the countries most dependent on cereals. . “Global food import spending is expected to increase by $51 billion (to $1.8 trillion) from 2021, including $49 billion from higher prices alone,” he estimates in his report “Prospects of food”.

Wheat prices have admittedly “calmed down” relatively with the hopes aroused by the announcement of discussions between Russia and Turkey on the opening of maritime corridors to get cereals out of Ukraine. But they remain very high. On Euronext, on June 8 in the early afternoon, soft wheat was selling at €387 per tonne for delivery in September. What weaken many countries, especially in the Maghreb or sub-Saharan Africa.

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Excellent harvest expected in Russia

Who could ultimately remedy the absence of Ukrainian wheat on international markets? Russia in part, since observers are expecting an excellent 2022 harvest. existing, i.e. more than a billion tonnes available. Production slightly down on the previous year (750 million tonnes).

Faced with this production, demand should increase slightly to 750 million tonnes (including more than 500 million tonnes intended for human consumption). The quantities should be sufficient, at least on paper, even if China, the world’s largest wheat producer, does not export wheat and is building up huge stocks. According to the International Grains Council, these stocks could represent the equivalent of an entire year of the country’s consumption.

In addition India has announced that it is giving up exporting the cereal. Prices will therefore be decisive for millions of people’s access to food.

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