Kenyans face expensive breakfast on Russia invasion, export cuts


Bread for sale. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenyan households are set to for an expensive breakfast as the ongoing war in Eastern Europe forces Ukraine to introduce export quotas on wheat days after Russia temporarily banned shipping out of the commodity.

Ukraine, which is one of the world's top wheat producers, has set export restrictions on the crop and other agricultural products.

Kenya relies on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia and the two countries are currently at war following Moscow’s invasion of their western neighbour.

A government decree published Sunday said a license issued by the authorities is now required in order to export wheat, poultry meat, eggs and sunflower oil, a move aimed at checking the volumes being shipped out in order to protect local stocks for consumption.

Locally, millers have warned that the prices will be going up in the next couple of months on the account of the high international price.

“There could not be an immediate impact because the wheat stocks that we have at the moment were paid for before the crisis,” said Bimal Shah, the managing director of the Broadway Group of Companies.

Wheat prices have doubled in a span of two weeks with a bushel of the products selling at a high of $13.48 from $7.50 when the war broke out.

Countries like Egypt, which consume a lot of wheat from these countries will now be seeking an alternative source market in order to meet the demand for the commodity.

Russia and Ukraine are key players in the global grain market, with their wheat exports accounting for 23 percent of international trade in the last financial year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Global media reported last week that Russia had suspended exports of some of the agricultural commodities including wheat.

Last year, Russia introduced a 25 euro (Sh3,225) duty per tonne of exported wheat to discourage shipping out of the commodity to protect its local market, a move that had a negative impact on Kenya as it impacted negatively on the price.

The interruption caused by the war will also have an impact along the Black Sea, which is a major corridor for ships.

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