Ukraine war and weather cause chickpea shortages

Global chickpea shortage is being warned by growers. This could lead to a shortage of hummus in the world, which could have serious implications for countries that depend on these pulses for protein.

According to the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC), supplies of chickpeas could fall as high as 20% in the coming year due to difficult weather conditions and the conflict in Ukraine.

According to Navneet Chhabra (director of Shree Sheela International), a global chickpea trader firm and broker, the suspensions following the invasion of Ukraine have prevented shipments from Russia.

The war in Ukraine meant that Ukraine could not plant its entire chickpea crop, which would have resulted in removing 50,000 tonnes of chickpeas normally bound for Europe.

Russia exports between 200,000 and 250,000 tonnes a year.¬†The supply was completely destroyed when the war began in February,” Jeff Van Pevenage (chief executive of Columbia Grain International), grain and pulse merchant and supplier based in Portland, Oregon, told Reuters.

The demand boomed after the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out. There was strong demand from China. Then came calls from Pakistani and Bangladeshi customers.

As buyers from south Asia and the Mediterranean try to grab stocks that are in decline after Turkey’s export ban, demand is outstripping supply. Yields from Australia to Mexico fell due to weather problems, including flooding.

According to Assosia data, the price of a variety of hummus products has increased by as much as 100% in major British supermarkets since January. The picture is mixed with prices increasing by either 6% or 10% for some products and others unchanged. According to NielsenIQ data viewed by Reuters, chickpea prices in the US are now 12% higher than last year and almost 17% more than before the Covid-19 pandemic.

In India and the Middle East where families are struggling to pay rising food costs, chickpeas are a vital source of protein.

The US, the fourth-largest exporter of chickpeas in the world, saw its farmers plant 5% fewer acres this year due to poor weather. They also prioritized more profitable commodity crops like wheat and corn. According to the US government stock levels are more than 10% lower than last year. This is because stocks were already low due to severe droughts in North Dakota and Washington that affected production in 2021.

Ole Houe is the director of advisory services for Ikon Commodities, an agriculture brokerage in Sydney. He said that some Australian farmers might replant.

Houe stated that parts of the plant area are still under water. He also said that Australia exports chickpeas to top-consuming markets like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.