Wheat importers seek alternatives as Russia pulls out of UN-brokered grain deal

Bangladesh’s wheat importers are scrambling to find alternative sources of wheat to ensure uninterrupted domestic supplies after Russia withdrew from a UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal that facilitated the safe transport of Ukrainian wheat.

The deal’s termination has raised concerns for Bangladesh, which heavily relies on imports to meet around 85% of its annual demand for wheat.

Managing directors of importing companies, including Nabil Group and BSM Group, have begun discussions with suppliers from Bulgaria, Romania, Argentina, and Brazil to secure alternative wheat sources.

However, they also closely monitor the situation and plan to decide on placing orders after a week.
Russia’s halt of the Black Sea grain deal was in response to unfulfilled promises regarding the freedom of its own food and fertilizer shipments.

This development significantly affects Bangladesh as Russia and Ukraine supply 40% of the country’s wheat demand.

Although Bangladesh currently holds sufficient wheat stocks to last a month, the prolonged stalemate could impact global food prices.

Bangladesh’s wheat imports have been declining due to high prices and complications with opening letters of credit amid a US dollar crisis.

In the fiscal year 2022-23, wheat arrivals dropped 3.4% year-on-year, marking the lowest import volume in eight years. As the importers work diligently to find viable alternatives, the situation remains uncertain, with potential consequences for the global food market.

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