War between Ukraine and Russia poses risks and challenges for Mexican food supply

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Russia’s war in Ukraine has triggered a series of consequences for food supplies around the world and some Mexican officials are calling on the country to take steps to become more self-sufficient to avoid food shortages.

Russia and Ukraine are responsible for 28% of world wheat exports and 15% of corn exports. According to some sources, almost a third of Ukraine’s land will be unusable and uncultivable in 2022, compromising the calorie intake of 60 to 150 million people.

While Latin America is not Eastern Europe’s largest importer of cereals, the disappearance of 26.4 million tonnes of wheat, maize and barley from the markets will have an impact on international prices. cereals, which will disrupt food prices in the region.

For Mexico, trade with Eastern European countries is not as important in terms of cereals. In 2021, Mexico imported about 83,000 tons of wheat from Russia and 192,000 from Ukraine.

However, Russia is the main supplier of fertilizer enabling Mexican farmers to grow their own crops, accounting for 27% of total fertilizer imports, according to GCMA, an agricultural advisory firm.

Rising prices and disrupted logistics in the supply of fertilizer pose a risk to inflation rates and the country’s food supply, as in 2021 Mexico imported just over 60% of its needs in fertilizer.

According to a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), food inflation in Mexico will hit double digits in 2022, raising concerns about food security in a region with high food inflation rates. undernourishment have been increasing for two years.

Faced with rising global food prices exacerbated by the war, the Mexican government has launched a recovery plan to ensure the autonomy of food production while fixing the products of Mexico’s basic food basket to offset ongoing inflation. .

The Package Against Inflation and Scarcity (PACIC) is a six-month plan that will increase production of grains such as corn, beans and rice, and stabilize gasoline and diesel prices, LPG benchmark prices and electricity, an investment of $16 billion. .

In addition, fertilizer distribution programs in the country and zero tariffs on imports are among the tasks of the plan.

José Antonio Abugaber Andonie, president of the Confederation of Industrial Chambers (Concamin), expressed his concerns about Mexico’s dependence on food exports, saying that after the war, the depletion of food in Mexico is more than likely .

“If this is not resolved or not resolved quickly, there is going to be a problem, and on top of the war, we are going to start having food shortages,” Abugaber said.

Citing a global food crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, climate change and war in Eastern Europe, the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development called on the current administration to achieve food self-sufficiency by increasing production agricultural, animal, aquaculture and halieutic. .

Agriculture Minister Víctor Villalobos Arámbula hailed Mexican agricultural products as a turning point in the food crisis, saying growing natural fruits and grains on Mexican soil will help stem the current crisis.

As noted by officials, Mexico managed an inflation rate of 7.7%. However, thanks to various subsidies, inflation in the country did not reach the expected 10%.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador maintained a positive outlook on the global situation. On one occasion, the Mexican leader said that the war offered interesting opportunities for Mexico.

“Now, with this new economic crisis, a product of war, Mexico becomes, if not the first, at least the second or third country with the most investment opportunities in the world,” Mr. López Obrador said.

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