Ministry of Trade & Industry reviews impact of Russian invasion on food security

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The Ministry of Trade and Industry has commenced a detailed review of Trinidad and Tobago’s trade with both Ukraine and Russia to determine what impact the ongoing conflict will have on this country’s international trade especially as it relates to food security.

In a statement on Saturday, the ministry explained that the main items currently imported from Ukraine are condensed milk and split peas. In the case of the former, this item is now being produced in Jamaica and therefore can be easily sourced regionally. Split peas are also imported from several other markets by local importers. The non-energy items exported to Russia in 2021 were machinery and metal parts while the main imports were sulphur (used in water treatment) and newsprint. Both imported items are also sourced in other markets by importers.

“While the items directly imported from both countries are small in number, it should be noted that the ongoing conflict can have a wider impact on global trade and all countries integrated into the international trading system will be affected.”

According to the ministry, today, Russia and Ukraine are among the top five global exporters for many important cereals and oilseeds, including barley, sunflower and maize. Russia is also the world’s top wheat exporter and together with Ukraine, both account for roughly 30% of the global wheat export market. It is also forecasted that the global fertilizer market will be negatively impacted if natural gas shortages occur in Europe. Further price shocks in the fertilizer market, as well as supply chain disruptions due to port closures, will negatively impact global commodity markets resulting in increased food inflation in all countries globally.

“The Ministry of Trade and Industry will continue to monitor actively developments in the international trading system and work with all relevant stakeholders as appropriate to ensure food security by mitigating as far as is possible any negative impacts associated with commodity shortages and price increases,” the ministry said.