Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s more concerned about getting grain out of Ukraine longer-term, even while exporting short-term to a hungry world will be a big challenge.
Vilsack says it’ll be tough enough getting 20 million tons of stored grain out of Ukraine with its war-impacted ports, roads, and rail lines, but longer-term could be worse.
“Because, if not all that 20 million tons gets moved, and then you have another crop, the estimates that we heard from the Minister of Agriculture is that he expects and anticipates, weather permitting, that maybe 50, 60-percent of the normal crop would be produced in Ukraine, in which case, there’ll be additional grain that has to be moved out of the country.”
With Russia blocking and mining Ukraine’s ports, roads damaged, and rail lines not compatible with those of neighboring countries, the risk of global hunger and starvation is growing. Vilsack says USDA is acting.
“CRP, where about a million acres is coming out of that program, we are looking at ways in which we can expand the number of counties in areas where double-cropping is possible, we’re going to allow folks to get in the field a little bit sooner, with the CRP acres that are coming out of the program.”
And the U.S. is not alone according to Vilsack. “Canada is doing something similar, and the EU with its ‘Farm to Fork’ program, is also providing a bit of flexibility to bring, perhaps as many as 4 (M) million hectares into the effort.”
All, as Congress moves another tranche of humanitarian aid for Ukraine, and the African and Middle Eastern nations most dependent on its grain and sunflower oil, and now in danger of shortages, soaring food prices and hunger.