In this file:
· Putin Says Large Russian Grain Harvest to Support Higher Exports
· EU moves to help Ukraine export grain as Russia blocks sea routes
Putin Says Large Russian Grain Harvest to Support Higher Exports
via U.S. News & World Report - May 12, 2022
(Reuters) - Russia, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, will increase wheat exports this year due to a potentially record harvest, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
Russia competes with the European Union and Ukraine for supplies of wheat to the Middle East and Africa. It continues to export despite difficulties with logistics and payments caused by Western sanctions on Moscow over what Russia terms its "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Russia currently expects to harvest 130 million tonnes of grain in 2022, including 87 million tonnes of wheat, Putin told a meeting of top economic officials in Moscow.
Russia produced a record grain crop 133.5 million tonnes in 2020, including 85.9 million tonnes of wheat. The crop was smaller in 2021.
"If this happens, which we are counting on, it could be an all-time record [for the wheat crop] in Russian history," Putin said. He did not provide an export estimate.
Higher exports from Russia in the new July-June marketing season could help to partly meet rising global demand in the event that Ukraine's exports remain low and Kyiv does not regain access to its Black Sea ports...
EU moves to help Ukraine export grain as Russia blocks sea routes
By Jan Strupczewski, Reuters
May 12, 2022
BRUSSELS, May 12 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday it would work with EU governments to help Ukraine export millions of tonnes of grain stuck in the country because the Russian navy is blocking Ukrainian ports.
Ukraine was the world's fourth-largest grain exporter in the 2020/21 season, International Grains Council data shows, selling 44.7 million tonnes abroad, mainly to China, Africa and Europe. It is also one of the biggest producers of sunflower oil.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 90% of the grains and sunflower oil were shipped out through Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea - a route now closed off. Problems with getting the grain out of Ukraine threaten to cause a food crisis, especially in poorer regions like Africa.
"20 million tonnes of grains have to leave Ukraine in less than three months using the EU infrastructure," EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean said.
"This is a gigantesque challenge, so it is essential to coordinate and optimise the logistic chains, put in place new routes, and avoid, as much as possible, bottlenecks."
Getting Ukrainian produce out quickly by train is a challenge too, because the Ukrainian rail system has a different width of tracks from Europe, so the grain has to be transferred on the border onto different trains. To makes matters worse, there are not many such transfer facilities on the border...