the wheat war breaks out

The winds of war Russian-Ukraine they weigh not only on gas and energy prices, but also swell i costs of the most popular foods, the pasta and the pane. In fact, one third of world wheat exports originate from that crisis front. A possible Russian invasion of the neighboring country would upset not only the energy market but also that of cereals and agricultural raw materials with effects on prices and supplies and the real risk of famine and social tensions. Coldiretti is convinced of this, who yesterday gave a heartfelt cry of alarm. Wheat prices rose 12.5% ​​in January, after the 80% increase in wheat groats in 2021 due to energy and gas increases.

“Russia – underlines the association chaired by Ettore Prandini – is the main exporter of wheat worldwide while Ukraine ranks third and at the same time is fifth in the world (with 36 million tons) for production of corn for animal feed and seventh (25 million tons) in the production of soft wheat for bread ». The destruction of the Black Sea ports, or in any case their blocking for military reasons, could be a disaster of planetary dimensions, considering that entire countries – many North Africans – depend 100% on supplies of cereals from the East to feed their populations. Italy itself does not have to remain calm: the pasta, bread and biscuit industry, the spearhead of agri-food exports, imports (Coldiretti data) even 64% of its wheat needs.


In detail: in 2021 it imported over 120 million kilos of wheat from Ukraine and another 100 million kilos from Russia which, moreover, has just decided to limit its wheat exports from 15 February to 30 June with the aim of to counter the rise in domestic inflation. “The growing and worrying tensions between the Russian Federation and Ukraine can destabilize the international cereal market”, underlines the president of Confagricoltura, Massimiliano Giansanti. He adds: «The European Union must defend its food independence as a strong point. Also because the EU is able to produce a quantity sufficient to cover internal needs and to feed an important flow of sales outside the Union ».

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The most recent estimates by the European Commission for the 2021-2022 campaign indicate a production of cereals in the EU of over 290 million tons. Furthermore, Confagricoltura pays attention to “the possible new sanctions that the European Union could impose on the Russian Federation, after those of 2014, which closed the Russian market to European imports”.

Pasta. Per kg it increases by € 0.60

It is not noticed, but the cellophane of the package also contributes to the price of a packet of pasta. The cost of which in the last year has increased by 25%. Adding the increases in energy, seeds and fertilizers (which are produced through gas), a kilo of spaghetti went from just over a euro last summer, to 1.40 on Christmas days, to 1 , 60 these days. The result of inflation, of the winds of war, but also of the speculation of those who take advantage of it.

Pane. For now it only rises by 5-10%

At least the price of bread does not rise dramatically, perhaps because most of the sales take place in local shops with retailers and artisans aware of the economic difficulties of customers. But their accounts are clearly at a loss: in one year gas costs 40% more, electricity 80%, soft wheat flours 25%, durum wheat semolina 80%. Instead, the price of bread only increased by 5-10%, clearly eroding the profits of small business owners.

Desserts. Eggs and butter cost more

During the Christmas holidays, receipts higher than 10-15% for sweet leavened products and fresh pasta went almost unnoticed. The artisans link the increases to the increases recorded by all raw materials, not just cereals: butter rose by 70%; the rice semolina, needed to sprinkle many products, by more than 40%; the eggs needed for egg pasta and many desserts by 40%. Furthermore, plastic, paper and aluminum also affect: trays and cartons cost from 20 to 50% more.