Export of grain continues, but at a very low rate, through Poland and Romania. This is principally due to the need to transfer from the Ukrainian railway system to a different sized European system.
At the same time, President Putin has cynically offered to allow export of grains through the Black Sea ports that Russia control, and with safe passage through the blockade of ships and with clearance of the mines seeded by the invaders.
In return, he demands lifting of sanctions. With this strategy, he is holding Africa and the Middle East nations to ransom.
Russia has destroyed agricultural infrastructure, including silos, warehouses and oilseed crushing plants.
Although the spring planting went better than expected, it is now being undone by Russian use of incendiary bombs to destroy the standing crops.
Many farmers have been killed, and the bulk of the remainder in the eastern Donbas area, are fleeing westward, taking tractors and as much other equipment as possible, before it is stolen by Russians.
As mentioned earlier, the invading forces have already stolen over 400,000 tonnes of grain in elevators.
The second largest egg producer in Ukraine, Ovostar, has suffered badly from the invasion in the east and South of the country.
A major facility in Makarov ceased production after occupation by invading forces. They are attempting to rebuild the damage, following reoccupation by Ukrainian forces, but, the 75% shell eggs/25% egg product former output loss has resulted in a net loss of $16 million equivalent.
Normally, 87% of output is sold on the domestic market and the remainder exported to the Middle East.
In the first quarter of 2022, 371 million eggs were produced, a decrease of 11% from the same period in 2021. Two million eggs were given to the Ukrainian forces.
As the end of June approached, the Russians got up to even more devious and disgusting activities.
We have already reported on the theft of 2 x £245,000 combine harvesters, as well as other farm equipment, to no avail, as they were remotely neutralised.
Also, the theft of 400,000 tonnes of grain.
Now it is reported that the farmers are being forced to sell their grain to buyers in the Russian-occupied Crimea at 90% discount.
At the same time, they are ordering complete destruction of fresh fruit and vegetables. These are to be dumped, rather than sold, or even given away.
It has re-ignited memories of similar events in the Stalin era, when it was attempted to starve the Ukrainian population to death.
The Ukrainian government claim that they will export 2 million tonnes of grain by the existing land routes in June, compared to 1.7 million tonnes in May.
They also estimate that, if the Black Sea ports could be opened, this would rise to 5 million tonnes, but, even this is well short of the 8 million tonnes found before the invasion.
As far as this year’s harvest is concerned, even with the theft and standing-crop destruction, it is still expected that some analysts, including APK, have forecast 52.4 million tonnes, including 18.2 million tonnes of wheat and 22.7 million of maize. This compares to 86 million tonnes pre-invasion.
The sowing area has been reduced by 25% in eastern and southern regions.
On the egg front, the Russians continue either to raid production units, or force producers to give the eggs to the military. The largest group of egg farms are in the occupied easter region. Several units have actually been physically destroyed.
Domestic egg consumption has fallen from the 2019 level of 278/capita.
As the end of June arrived, re-calculation and new discoveries, reveal that Russia has supposedly stolen upwards of 800,000 tonnes of grain, compared to the 400,000 reported earlier.