Hummus supplies dip as weather and war in Ukraine cause chickpea shortage | Food industry

Growers are warning of a global shortage of chickpeas, putting hummus supplies at risk just as barbecue season kicks off, in a development that could have serious consequences for countries that rely on pulses as a key source of food. proteins.

According to the Global Pulse Confederation, chickpea supplies could fall by up to 20% this year as harsh weather and war in Ukraine affected production.

Sanctions after Ukraine’s invasion have halted shipments from Russia, which is typically a top chickpea exporter and accounts for around a quarter of global trade, according to Navneet Singh Chhabra, director of Shree Sheela International. , a global chickpea trader and broker.

Ukraine, meanwhile, was unable to plant its entire chickpea crop due to the war, withdrawing 50,000 tons that are usually destined for Europe.

“Russia exports around 200,000 to 250,000 tonnes, minimum, per year. When the war started in February, the supply was totally destroyed,” Jeff Van Pevenage, managing director of Columbia Grain International, a grain and pulse merchant and supplier headquartered in Portland, New York, told Reuters. ‘Oregon.

“When the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out, demand exploded. We’ve seen strong demand from China, and then there are calls from customers in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Demand outstrips supply as buyers in South Asia and the Mediterranean try to recoup dwindling stocks after Turkey issued an export ban, while yields from Mexico to Australia have dropped due to bad weather, including flooding.

The price of a range of hummus products in major UK supermarkets has risen by up to 100% since January, according to data provided to the Guardian by research group Assosia. However, the picture is mixed, with some prices unchanged and others up more modestly by 6% or 10%. In the United States, chickpeas are now 12% more expensive than they were last year and almost 17% more expensive than before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to NielsenIQ data seen by Reuters .

Chickpeas are a key source of protein in India and the Middle East, where households are already struggling to cover the rising costs of food imports such as wheat.

Farmers in the United States – the world’s fourth-largest chickpea exporter – planted 5% fewer acres this year as bad weather bogged down spring planting and they prioritized more lucrative staple crops like wheat and corn. The country’s stocks are down more than 10% from a year ago, according to the US government, as stocks were already low after devastating droughts from North Dakota to Washington state affected production in 2021.

Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agricultural brokerage firm Ikon Commodities in Sydney, said some Australian farmers may be replanting.

“Parts of the planted area are still under water,” said Houe, who added that Australia exports chickpeas mainly to major consumer markets India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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