EU steps up monitoring of agricultural markets impacted by Russia-Ukraine war

27 May 20223 min reading

The European Commission decided to gather monthly data on levels of stocks in the EU of cereals, oilseeds and rice. This is a direct follow-up of the Communication on “safeguarding food security and reinforcing the resilience of food systems” presented on 23 March. The aim is to better monitor stock levels in the current environment of high prices and perceived uncertainty about supplies.

Having up-to-date information on levels of stocks of the main commodities of cereals (like wheat, maize or barley), oilseeds (like rapeseed, sunflower, soya bean), and rice is essential to decide on relevant measures to prevent and mitigate market disruptions. EU Member States will have to notify the European Commission on the level of stocks of cereals, oilseeds, rice and certified seeds of these products held by producers, wholesalers and operators. The notifications are expected on a monthly basis, to be provided by the end of the each month in respect to the preceding month. The implementing regulation enters into force on 20th May and the first notifications are expected at the end of July, to allow necessary time for Member States to set up the required monitoring and reporting processes.

The European Commission will publish the notifications to ensure market transparency and to give a timely and accurate picture of the availability of essential commodities for food and feed.

In the context of its increased monitoring of agricultural markets impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission also launched a dedicated dashboard presenting up-to-date, detailed statistics on prices, production, and trade of milling wheat, maize, barley, rapeseed, sunflower oil, and soya beans at EU and global level. Expected future prices are also included, as well as energy input prices and links to other useful sources. This provides market operators with the most relevant information in one place.

Ukraine accounts for 10% of the world wheat market, 13% of the barley market, 15% of the maize market, and is the most important player in the market for sunflower oil (over 50% of world trade). Food availability is not at stake in the EU, since the continent is largely self-sufficient for many agricultural products. The immediate impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine rather lies in the increase of costs throughout the food supply chain, the disruption of trade flows from and to Ukraine and Russia, as well as to their impacts on global food security. In addition to closely monitoring the situation of food security worldwide, the EU keeps advocating to avoid export restrictions and export bans on food.

As part of the EU's solidarity response with Ukraine, the Commission also presented recently an action plan to establish ‘Solidarity Lanes' to ensure Ukraine can export grain, but also import the goods it needs, from humanitarian aid to animal feed and fertilisers.  The European Commission also adopted a support package of €500 million to support EU farmers to increase their production and face the impact of rising input prices and market disturbances.

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