Invasion of Ukraine puts Zimbabwe maize crop at risk

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is putting food security in an African nation 11 000km to the south at risk, another demonstration of how disruptive the conflict is to the world economy.

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Russia, which is being subjected to sanctions by countries from the US to Japan, is trying to halt exports of fertiliser by its producers and the war has largely closed trade out of the Black Sea region, used by other producers.

Zimbabwe imports about a quarter of a million tons of nitrate fertiliser from Russia annually and while there is enough in stock to allow the growing of wheat this southern hemisphere winter there is likely to be little left for corn, the country’s staple food, when summer planting starts. If sourced from elsewhere, fertiliser prices are likely to surge.

“Zimbabwe’s exposure to the Russia and Ukraine conflict is that of nitrate,” said Graeme Barr, managing director of Nutrimaster, a company that imports fertiliser into Zimbabwe. “There is no plan B. Prices for nitrate are going to soar.”

Even for wheat farmers costs are already surging with fertiliser prices having risen by 50%, Graeme Murdoch, depuity chairman of the National Wheat Contract Farming Committee, said in an interview.

While farmers of tobacco, also grown in summer but with higher profit margins, may be able to absorb price increases, maize farmers won’t, he said.

Post published in: Agriculture

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *