Russia's Exit From Ukrainian Grain Deal Could Mean Higher Food Prices

The war between Russia and Ukraine continues to impact the price of food on a global scale and it appears things are only escalating. Over the weekend, Moscow suspended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative that allows ships to export grain internationally, according to CNN. The country claims it was pulling out of the deal because Ukrainian forces initiated a drone attack on its military fleet in the Black Sea — an assertion that Ukraine denies.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said it was critical to repair this agreement to avoid a large-scale food crisis. "We underline the urgency of doing so to contribute to food security across the world, and to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people," he said.

Since Russia has ended its involvement in the initiative the price of grain has already risen by 5% in early trading, which amounts to $8.74 a bushel, per Food Business News. The price of corn futures and palm oil has also risen. This comes on the heels of many countries already facing large price hikes at the grocery store, which has pushed millions of people into extreme poverty, reports The World Bank. These rise in costs were initially created by the pandemic and has been exacerbated by climate change and the war in Ukraine.

Foreign policy expert says Russia is weaponizing food

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken condemned Russia for using food as a weapon of war, according to Food Business News. "Any act by Russia to disrupt these critical grain exports is essentially a statement that people and families around the world should pay more for food or go hungry," Blinken said. "In suspending this arrangement, Russia is again weaponizing food in the war it started, directly impacting low- and middle-income countries and global food prices, and exacerbating already dire humanitarian crises and food insecurity."

Despite Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, attempts are being made to allow over 200 ships to leave their port, per CNN. Ukraine's Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov reported 12 ships transporting 354,500 tons of grain and other foods to several different countries left Ukraine's Black Sea port today.