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THE STRATEGIST | Food supplies squeezed by Ukraine war and trade bans

The impact of the Russia–Ukraine war on global food supplies is being magnified by nations imposing bans on food and fertiliser exports to preserve stocks for their domestic needs.

Since the invasion, 15 nations have imposed restrictions on food and fertiliser exports, including new bans imposed last week by India on wheat exports and Indonesia on sales of palm oil.

As the Financial Times trade columnist Alan Beattie comments: ‘It’s a global prisoners’ dilemma: it’s in everyone’s interest to keep exports flowing, but no one wants to run short by being the only country that does.’

As a major food exporter, Australia could be doing more to alleviate the crisis through food aid. However, there’s currently no mechanism for this given that exports are managed by private trading businesses.

At a time when national income is being boosted by $15 billion from the record prices resulting from the global food shortage, Australia could do more.

The national grain lobby group, Grain Producers Australia, has launched a fundraising appeal, Grain4Ukraine, calling on farmers to donate a share of their proceeds to assist their erstwhile competitors in Ukraine, so there is good will for international assistance in Australian farm communities.


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