World Grain - May 2020 - 7

FROM THE EDITOR

COVID-19

puts grain-poor nations at risk

W

hen assessing the impact of
the new coronavirus (COVID-19) on grain and grainbased foods production and distribution, much of the attention thus far has
been focused on the countries with the
highest number of cases and deaths.
Interestingly, the illness and death toll
are highest in many of the world's most
developed nations, including the United
States, and Western European countries
such as Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. All are major grain producers, with the United States and France
ranking among the world's top exporters. Two other major grain suppliers to
keep an eye on are Russia and Ukraine.
Russia, which saw a sharp increase in
COVID-19 cases/deaths in mid-April,
is the world's largest wheat exporter
and has indicated it will limit exports
through the remainder of the marketing
year. Ukraine, which still has relatively
few cases, also announced wheat export
restrictions after Ukrainian millers and
bakers raised supply concerns.
While the food supply chains within
these countries have been functioning
adequately, a bigger food security threat
looms in developing countries, many of
which have fewer reported COVID-19
cases but are highly dependent on grain
imports, most notably in African and
Middle East countries, several of which
also are mired in one of the worst locust
outbreaks in decades.
COVID-19 containment measures
have started to make movement of grain
commodities from country to country
more challenging. The World Food Programme (WFP) issued a report in April
outlining a worst-case scenario for poor,
developing countries with a limited domestic grain supply. The WFP said logistical challenges are more likely to
unsettle global markets for basic staples
than a supply shortage, so maintaining
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6

routes, such as the Black Sea ports and
the US gulf ports in Louisiana, will be
critical. An analysis by Chatham House
warns that "a serious interruption at one
or more of those chokepoints could conceivably lead to supply shortfalls and
price spikes."
Even if the supply chains continue to
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economic nosedive resulting from the
necessary but draconian social distancing measures taken by many nations is
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agree it will be the worst global downturn since at least the Great Depression
of the 1930s. It's possible, and perhaps
likely, that millions of people will descend into extreme poverty.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, an estiPDWHG  PLOOLRQ SHRSOH VX൵HUHG IURP
KXQJHU LQFOXGLQJ  PLOOLRQ FODVVL¿HG
with acute hunger, according to the United
Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. For that number not to grow exponentially in the coming months, government leaders in the nations hardest hit by
COVID-19 will have to shift from a public
health-centric policy to measures that also
take the health of the domestic and global
economy into greater consideration. The
argument that the cure can't be worse than
the disease is about to come into play.
At the same time, nations with abundant grain supplies must look beyond
their borders and work with organizations
like the WFP to ensure
that nations heavily
dependent on grain imports for survival aren't
overlooked. Although
self-preservation is a
natural human instinct
during crisis, it is also imperative to continue to provide aid to the world's most
vulnerable citizens.
Arvin Donley
Editor

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WORLD GRAIN (ISSN 0745-8991) Volume 38, issue 5,

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May 2020 / World Grain / www.World-Grain.com


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World Grain - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - May 2020

World Grain - May 2020 - 1
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_05_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_03_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_02_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_01_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_12_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_11_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_10_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_09_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_08_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_07_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_05_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_03_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_12_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_10_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_07_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_05_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_10_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_06_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_12_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_02_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_12_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_02_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_12_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_02_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_12_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_02_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_05_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_04_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_03_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_02_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_01_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2008_12_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2008_11_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2008_10_01
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