The Sprout: Russia’s war on Ukraine could increase food prices

Good morning and welcome to the Sprout, where there seems to be a food holiday for everyone! Today is National Chilli Day, National Clam Chowder Day, and National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day. It’s also Rubber Ducky Day, which Ernie from Sesame Street would surely love.

Here’s today’s agriculture news.

The Lead 

We start with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a country referred to as the breadbasket of Europe, and the resulting crisis in global agriculture markets. As Bloomberg reports, wheat prices jumped to a 13-year high, increasing the price of bread, as did those of commodities like soybeans and palm oil. The price of nitrogen fertilizer also spiked on Thursday.

In Washington, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he hoped fertilizer and agriculture-supply companies won’t take unfair advantage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as crops and fertilizer are expensive enough already, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, David Beasley, executive director of the UN’s World Food Programme, is warning that Russia’s attack on Ukraine will hurt the world’s poorest and hungriest people. The Globe and Mail reports.

Closer to home, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that Canada was imposing further sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which he called the “greatest threat to European stability since (the Second World War).”

As iPolitics’ Janet Silver reports, new sanctions will be placed on 58 individuals and entities, including members of the Russian Security Council, Russian banks, and Russia’s Defence, Finance, and Justice ministers. Ottawa is also cancelling all export permits, including for machinery and minerals.

In related-headlines:

Around Town 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says it’s finished its farm-income forecast for 2021 and 2022, and Canadian farms earned record amounts in 2021.

The governments of Canada and Ontario are spending up to $4 million to “help build a strong and competitive agri-food workforce” in the province. Read about the Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative here.

Statistics Canada has released dairy statistics for December 2021.

In Canada

Loblaws Companies Ltd. said Thursday it expects bigger profits in the first half of 2022 because of higher sales during the pandemic and rising food inflation. The Financial Post reports.

CBC News explains how technology is helping to shrink grocery bills by cutting food waste.

The Western Producer reports on the decisions Alberta farmers must make if conditions are still dry during planting season in the spring.


Jersey cows will be introduced to Zambia to boost herds on the African continent. As BBC News reports, Zambia is the fourth African country to benefit from the Jersey dairy-aid program.


The Kicker

A woman in Kelowna, B.C., is trying to clone “Bear,” her dead cat. According to Castanet, this isn’t the first time Kris Stewart has tried to bring a beloved pet back to life through cloning.

That’s it for us this week. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you Monday.

This post was copy-edited after publication.

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