Global grain trends and transformations discussed at Black Sea Grain Conference

13 March 20245 min reading

The 20th International Conference “Black Sea Grain. Europe,” hosted by UkrAgroConsult on February 27-28 in Prague, brought together over 400 delegates from 36 countries, including key players in the global grain market. The conference served as a pivotal platform for information exchange, featuring intensive discussions on crucial topics such as global agricultural market trends, 2024 crop forecasts, supply chain transformation, and Black Sea & Danube grain and oilseeds market dynamics.

Participants included producers, crushers, commodity traders, representatives from agri-food, logistics and finance sectors, government authorities, and industry associations, fostering effective interaction in commodity supply chains originating in Ukraine and expanding globally.

Addressing the conference, Taras Vysotsky, First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, highlighted the resilience of Ukrainian farmers amid ongoing conflicts. He emphasized the country’s commitment to agricultural production and delivery, stating, “Despite the war, Ukrainian farmers are all working. In 2023, we harvested more crops than in 2022. This is a very important signal to the world that Ukraine is ready to produce and deliver food to those who need it. The Ukrainian grain corridor is showing good results. 70% of all products are exported by sea. Yes, we have challenges on our western borders, but I believe that we will overcome them and successfully complete EU integration.”


Dan Basse, President of AgResource

Dan Basse, President of AgResource, delivered a comprehensive presentation at the Black Sea Grain Conference in Prague, addressing macro trends in grain economics and geopolitics. Basse provided insightful analysis into the challenges currently facing world grain farmers, as global prices experience a three-year low while costs remain elevated. With the approach of the spring planting season in the Northern Hemisphere, limited profit margins persist, aggravated by adverse weather conditions in Brazil. Basse issued a cautionary note regarding the prevailing bearish trends in the current grain market, cautioning against undue optimism until the global economic outlook improves or a genuine weather threat to a key producer emerges. The transition from El Niño to La Niña, he explained, raises world grain yield risks. Additionally, Basse emphasized the pivotal role of China’s consumer demand in the context of the upcoming U.S. Presidential election, particularly with the potential candidacy of Donald Trump as the frontrunner.


In his insightful presentation at the Black Sea Grain Conference in Prague, Vito Martielli, Senior Grains and Oilseeds Analyst at Rabobank highlighted the key challenges and game-changing factors shaping the EU grain and oilseeds market. The following is a snapshot of the key takeaways:

  •  The European Green Deal stands as a monumental umbrella, guiding the future landscape of the EU grains and oilseeds market.
  •  Stagnating grain yields due to climate change and less inputs to impact production.
  •  Grain production will stagnate while oilseeds and pulses will increase.
  •  EU grains, meals and veg oils demand to slow down by 2035.
  •  Wheat takes the lead in EU grain exports, with France, Germany, and Eastern EU playing pivotal roles.
  •  EU oilseeds strong deficit with interesting sourcing potential in Eastern Europe.
  •  The evolving European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) is in transition and expected to reshape business models, particularly in the EU grains and oilseeds sector.
  • Acknowledging the complexities, a holistic approach is essential to tackle challenges in the EU grains and oilseeds supply chain.

Martielli also provided valuable insights into Ukraine’s grain industry. He highlighted the country’s proactive measures, including active diversification of transport routes through exploration of alternatives via the Danube, Baltics, and the Adriatic Sea. Recognizing concerns about the long-term viability of the Black Sea, Ukraine is making strategic investments in the Danube corridor and Eastern Europe. Moreover, Vito emphasized the forward-looking approach to post-war reconstruction in Ukraine’s agribusiness, outlining key initiatives such as demining land, enhancing port capacity, and fostering local processing for value-added exports.

Liza Malyshko, grain market expert at UkrAgroConsult, discussed the evolving dynamics of wheat exports from the Black Sea region. She pointed out that “Russia is gradually intensifying its wheat export competition in long destinations, namely Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Indonesia.”


Jean-Patrick Caumont, Senior Account Executive at Eyssautier-Verlingue, emphasized the pivotal role of cargo insurance in grain logistics exiting Ukraine, stating, “By bringing insurance solutions, cargo insurance provides protection against these risks, covering potential losses from unforeseen events such as transportation delays, damages, or losses at sea due to an act of war. It bolsters market confidence, encouraging investment in Ukraine’s grain logistics, thus promoting economic advantages in the region. Additionally, it helps mitigate potential financial losses for exporters and it ensures the international buyers of a certain confidence while buying in “risky areas”, both being crucial for maintaining competitiveness in the global market”.