The US wants companies to ramp up purchases of Russian fertilizer as global food costs rise and shortages loom, according to a Monday Bloomberg report.
Sources told Bloomberg that the government is quietly pushing companies to buy and carry more Russian fertilizer. Sanctions fears have created a supply shortage and have fueled a global food crisis, and the US is moving to alleviate pressure with the United Nations by boosting deliveries of fertilizer, grain, and other supplies from Russia.
This year, Russian fertilizer exports have dropped 24%, per Bloomberg data. Russia and Ukraine together account for a quarter of global grains trade.
The challenge the US faces is that it must balance putting more pressure on Moscow while also limiting repercussions for the global economy and the world’s food supply, which relies on a range of products from Russia.
The US and EU have included fertilizer exemptions in their sanctions on Russia, per the report, which allow trade to continue flowing for the key commodity.
According to Russia’s Grain Union, wheat exports doubled in May. At the same time, Bloomberg reports that over 25 million tons of grain, sunflower oil, and other goods are stuck in Ukraine due to security concerns.
While Western officials have called out the Kremlin for using food as a weapon in preventing Ukraine from exporting, Russia has said it hasn’t attacked any ports, instead pointing to shipping disruptions resulting from sanctions.