Lebanon relies on Russian, Ukrainian wheat supplies
Lebanon's reliance on Russia and Ukraine for wheat has put the country in quite a pickle in light of the Ukrainian crisis and the Western sanctions on Russia.
The Ukraine crisis is jeopardizing the stability of wheat supplies to Lebanon, as Beirut has no alternative suppliers at an affordable price except for Russia and Ukraine, Lebanese economic and Social Council Director-General Mohammad Seifeddine told Sputnik.
"I do not think that the problem of importing wheat to Lebanon can be completely solved since Lebanon imports 65% of wheat from Russia and Ukraine," he said.
To meet the needs, Seifeddine added, Beirut would have to find full-fledged alternative sources depending on the funds available for allocation for such procurement.
Additionally, the economic expert revealed that any disruption of supplies from Russia and Ukraine would "undoubtedly" hike bread prices in the country.
He also underlined that other exporting countries, such as the United States and Australia, are far from Lebanon, which would lead to an increase in the cost of wheat imports.
Seifeddine assured that there was hope for the agricultural industry in Lebanon, though he highlighted that it needed to provide the necessary budget for its development. "It also requires special attention from the country's leadership to support and ensure, at least partially, food security of the population."
The issue of wheat imports had been brought up before, as Ali Ibrahim, the head of the Lebanese bakers' union, had told Sputnik on February 25, the issue of what imports had already been partially resolved at a cabinet meeting. He also claimed that there were no concerns regarding any price hikes.
Lebanon, whose economic crisis the World Bank said might rank among the top 10 worst economic crises in the world since the mid-nineteenth century, has been undergoing several hikes in food prices.
Most Lebanese citizens currently make about $40 per month, and according to UNICEF, more than 70% of Lebanese families were not able to afford a daily ration of food in 2021.
The fear of a deterioration of the situation in Lebanon stems from the Ukrainian crisis and the mounting sanctions on Russia, which the West has been implementing punitive measures against over its special military operation in Ukraine.
Yesterday, in a bid to paralyze the Russian economy, US President Joe Biden went on and banned imports of Russian oil to the United States.
"When the history of this war is written, Putin's war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger," he vowed, despite the Western economy practically crashing without Russian supplies.