NewsEconomicsUkraine, organic blocked in warehouses puts Italy at risk

Ukraine, organic blocked in warehouses puts Italy at risk

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by Stefania Marignetti Ukrainian organic stuck in warehouses where it remains unsold, exports have stopped, a market that is likely to jump completely, with strong repercussions also on Italy which over the years has made up for a constantly decreasing national production, such as that of organic corn , through imports, especially from Ukraine. This is the scenario that opened with the war in progress, “a perfect storm”, as Aldo Cervi, coordinator of the FederBio members and services section defines it. “The situation that is occurring, for example with absolutely lacking corn in Italy and what we need, comes from afar. The Ukrainian crisis has accentuated this situation – Cervi explains to AdnKronos – What happens today is that we have Ukrainian corn blocked in Ukraine, the contracts have been partially canceled by appealing to the cause force majeure because Ukrainian producers are unable to get him out of the country, the market has completely jumped in the face of Italian productions that have experienced a constant decline over the years. A perfect storm that highlights previous critical issues “. Ukrainian organic production focuses on arable land, extensive crops in particular of wheat, sunflower, corn, soybean, rapeseed and protein pea, important crops for Italy (especially for the organic farming) which mainly imports corn, soybeans and sunflowers. According to Sinab data, in 2019 Italy imported 4,200 tons of organic corn, of which 3,000 of Ukrainian origin; 6 thousand tons of soybeans of which about 3 thousand of Ukrainian origin, therefore half; 3,500 tons of organic sunflower seeds, of which 2,200 from Ukraine. Numbers that alone give the size of the problem with a halt to Ukrainian exports. And we also import from Russia so the risk is that of a double impact “, adds Cervi. Supply difficulties linked to logistics, blocked ports and skyrocketing truck prices” The crisis we are seeing with supply difficulties – explains Cervi – is not linked to the shortage of product, also because at the moment the product of last year’s agricultural campaign is being sold and on the basis of the information that I have collected, a good part of the sowings just completed in these days have been carried out, albeit with difficulty (yes estimates that around 30% of the agricultural land used organically in Ukraine has limited accessibility due to the ongoing conflict). The problem is mainly logistical, linked to the export of the product “. The main export channels in fact foresee the passage and storage of the product in the ports and a movement by ship, but the Ukrainian ports are now almost all blocked. The trucks” are almost impossible to find and with prices more than doubled compared to February, in any case not suitable for the transport of large quantities, not to mention that before February several Russian and Belarusian transport companies were operating in the sector – adds the FederBio expert – We are trying to organize transport by train, but here all logistic channels have to be remapped “. Ukrainian producers, however, do not seem to want to throw in the towel.” No producer appears to have stopped or expressed their intention to leave organic even if 15% did is declared to be about to stop the activity for reasons related to problems such as lack of fuel or access to financial resources, and a 32 % declared a reduced operation compared to normal activities “. What do they need? “70% expressed the need for financial support, then asked for support for exports and for the promotion of the national internal market”. The Ukrainian organic sector, a sector in strong growth before the war In the last 5-6 years, the Ukrainian organic sector has been confirmed as very dynamic, lively and growing. Ukraine’s organic agricultural area has grown from around 300,000 hectares in 2018 to 460,000 in 2022, an increase of 50% in three years. If Italy has a national agricultural area used organically equal to 16% of the total, Ukraine travels around 1% but with this growth it certainly has great potential. To date there are about 650 estimated certified operators (there were about 500 in 2018), of which 400 farms and about 200 processors, exporters and stockers of product and for the remainder small businesses, from beekeepers to spontaneous harvesting. “Six hundred and fifty may seem like a small number compared to 80 thousand Italians, but the Ukrainian organic companies have a different size from ours: they are large and medium-sized companies, from several hundred to a few thousand hectares of agricultural land used, while in Italy the average of organic farms is 28 hectares “, explains Cervi. An organic, the Ukrainian one, mainly focused on exports. In 2020, the country’s organic exports were calculated at around 300,000 tons, 200,000 of which to Europe.

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