The International Grains Council (IGC) has strongly condemned Russia's war against Ukraine and expressed solidarity with Ukraine. The Independent Organization of Grain Exporting Countries has called on Moscow to immediately stop all military operations and withdraw its troops.
The clearly pro-Ukraine positioning puts the Grain Council in a financially difficult position. Because of its large share of the worldwide export of wheat, barley and sunflowers, Russia is a major contributor to the IGC. Excluding Russia would likely lead to significant revenue losses. The IGC's harvest and supply balances are internationally regarded as an important basis for decision-making for politicians and markets.
The IGC also called on all other countries to keep agricultural markets open and not to impose export restrictions. Ukraine's Minister of Agriculture Mykola Solskyi made it clear that some 3.5 million hectares of arable land cannot be used because of the fighting. It is therefore unlikely that these gebieden play a role in the 2022 harvest.
The Ukrainian minister has discussed agricultural exports by rail via Poland to Lithuanian Baltic ports with his Lithuanian counterpart Kestutis Navitskas. Such a transport would not only have the advantage that the Ukrainians have a new sales channel, but also that the empty trains on the way back could take fuel and fertilizer back with them. In peacetime, Ukraine transports 98 percent of its agricultural exports through ports on the Black Sea that are now blocked by the Russians.
According to Polish Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk, Poland is building a so-called “dry port” annex transfer station on the eastern border to increase rail capacity. Ukraine has also discussed with Romania the possible use of the Danube River and Romanian seaports on the Black Sea.