MENA Faces a Crisis as the World’s Key Wheat Producers Are at War


As two of the world’s key wheat producers face off in an all-out war, tomorrow looks grim for the Middle East and North Africa countries that need wheat from Ukraine and Russia. Russia is the world’s number-one wheat exporter—and largest producer after China and India—Ukraine is among the top five wheat exporters worldwide. “The wheat harvest starts in July and this year’s yield is expected to be a healthy one, meaning abundant supply for global markets in normal conditions. But a protracted war in Ukraine can affect the harvest in that country, and therefore global supplies,” Karabekir Akkoyunlu, a lecturer in politics of the Middle East at SOAS, University of London, told Al Jazeera.  

In addition, the planned expulsion of some Russian banks from the international SWIFT banking system in retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to hit the country’s exports. “At a time of global food crisis and supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is a real concern and it is already pushing prices up to record levels,” he said.  

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