The trade fallout from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine threatens to add to the pressures producers face in what was already shaping up to be an expensive growing season.
Responding to international sanctions, Russia has urged its producers to halt exports of fertilizer, which was already in short supply in Europe due to production disruptions. This has put pressure on the global supply, with the world price of fertilizers increasing $200 a ton in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.
Supplies of fuel will also be under pressure, as countries shift purchases away from Russia to other regions. Canada’s natural gas is being eyed by countries such as Latvia, while fuel prices here have been scaling record peaks.
“What this conflict will do is bring to the agri-food sector a new layer of uncertainty, at the worst possible time,” remarked Sylvain Charlebois of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University last week. “Canadian farmers are likely to do well with markets, but prohibitively expensive fertilizer prices could impact agricultural output in the northern Hemisphere, including Canada.”
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada will be holding a call with sector stakeholders today to discuss the impact of the war and hear what impacts it’s already having.
However, at least one BC company is looking beyond the challenges to make a difference.
Handlers Equipment Ltd. of Abbotsford will be donating $500 from the sale of every new Mahindra tractor, Hyundai excavator and wheel loader, and Avant compact loader this month to relief efforts through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It challenges other businesses to do likewise.
In addition to Handlers, which aims to raise $10,000, the province has pledged $1 million to relief efforts through the Canadian Red Cross. The province has also hinted that it may consult its Land Owner Transparency Registry to take action against Russian nationals who own BC property.