China Claims It Will Try to Fill Wheat Shortage Caused by Ukraine-Russia War

This photo taken on June 6, 2020 shows an aerial view of farmers harvesting wheat in a vil
STR/AFP via Getty Images

China’s Agriculture and Finance Ministries issued a joint notice on Friday urging farmers to maximize China’s spring plowing season of wheat and soybeans from early April in an effort to alleviate an expected global food supply shortage caused by Russia’s latest war with Ukraine, China’s state-run Global Times reported.

Beijing’s recent edict encouraged local agriculture authorities to foment an “all-out effort to guarantee the harvest of summer wheat and expand the planting of soybeans by all means.”

The document enumerated specific goals, including the “release [of] one-time subsidies to farmers to alleviate the impact of agricultural materials’ price hikes.”

“Authorities will also offer subsidies to corn, soybean and rice producers, raising the minimum purchase price of rice and wheat, as well as implementing planting subsidies to farmers who boost the crop cultivation of corn and soybeans,” according to the Global Times.

The notice comes in the wake of Russia’s latest war with Ukraine, which began on February 24. Observers have expressed concern in recent weeks that the war could jeopardize the world’s wheat supply as Russia and Ukraine combined account for more than 30 percent of the global wheat trade.


Ukrainian servicemen carry rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles as they walk towards the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 13, 2022. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

China’s March 25 agriculture communique “highlighted the latest of a concrete effort from the Chinese government to secure the spring plowing of staple grains and bumper harvest against the potential impact of geopolitical tensions,” according to the Global Times.

China’s government announced on February 24 it had lifted all remaining wheat import restrictions on Russia.

“Wheat from all of Russia’s producing regions will be cleared for export to China, provided they meet certain requirements,” China’s General Administration of Customs said at the time.

Russian wheat exports to China were subject to certain restrictions prior to February 24. Beijing had imposed the limitations on Russian wheat out of concern over Moscow’s ability to prevent the transmission of dwarf bunt, an agricultural crop disease.

“China will now accept wheat and barley from all over Russia, up from a previously allowed seven regions which excluded major growing areas,” Rosselkhoznadzor, the supervisor of Russia’s agriculture ministry, said on February 4 after Moscow and Beijing first negotiated the wheat export arrangement.

“China will no longer restrict trade in the cereals to certain parts of Russia, raising the prospect of Russia being able to send large vessels through the key Black Sea export route,” Reuters reported of the trade agreement on February 4.

Beijing announced that it had finalized the deal relieving Russia of any remaining wheat import restrictions on February 24, the same day that the U.S. and the U.K. imposed financial sanctions on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine hours earlier.


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