Egg producers in Ukraine have not been without their difficulties before the Russian invasion.
In 2021, due to increasing feed, natural gas and electricity costs, resulted in a drop of 11 million hens.
Export of eggs to UAE, Latvia and Saudi Arabia, dropped from 90,000 tonnes to 32,000 tonnes.
Egg prices at that time rose by 66% and at that also, the producers looked forward to increased production again in the Spring of 2022. Little did they know of Russia’s intention at the time.
Certainly in the interim, domestic egg consumption has grown, but the war is now having severe detrimental effects.
Even before the war, 800 million people worldwide, 10% of the global population, were suffering from chronic food security. The Russian invasion has made things worse on a global scale.
There is about 1.25 million tonnes of grains on ships in Ukrainian ports which cannot be delivered. Much of this could deteriorate in the near future. 57 vessels are involved, and the cargo includes oilseed such as sunflower, already being experienced as oil shortages in UK supermarkets.
At the moment, the only export of grains is by rail. The railway company has just extended temporary restrictions on the transportation of some agricultural goods to Poland until 3rd May. Transportation over the Romanian border is also restricted.
Apparently there is a backlog of wagons at the border, and a shortage of Polish inspectors.
Ukraine is desperate to empty it’s silos of at least 13 million tonnes, to make way for the new harvest in July, war conditions allowing. This is estimated to be up to 40 million tonnes, but some pundits estimate that up to 30% of winter crops will not be harvested.
The Ukraine government is attempting to support farmers in the areas not affected by the war, by offering loans with guarantees of 80% and subsidising interest payments.
Avanguard, one of the largest egg producers in Ukraine have reported that it was unable to supply feed to some 3 million layers in the Kherson region of S.E. of the country near the Crimea. They have donated as many birds as they could to citizens and military.
Some movement of grains is beginning to be achieved. It’s reported that 80,000 tonnes have been delivered to silos in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta.
Barges on the Danube have been used in the shipment and Romanian port services charges have been waived for Ukrainian cargo.
There are credible reports of drifting mines in the Black Sea.
The UK government have just announced that all tariffs on goods coming from the Ukraine will be cancelled. Currently, the tariffs are about 22%.
As the projected grain harvest is now anticipated to be 20% down on the 2021 figures, farmers are donning bulletproof vests and helmets while working the fields.
The export position may improve if the Romanian plans to rebuild an old Soviet-era railway, from Galati on the Danube, to Ukraine, come to fruition. The tender has been put out and after 10th May, should take about 2 months to complete. The gauge of the tracks is about 10 cm wider than other European railways.
This will result in much greater amounts of wheat, maize and sunflower to reach markets.