As two of the world’s key wheat producers face off in an all-out war, Lebanese Economy minister Amin Salam on Tuesday held talks with the ambassadors of Turkey and India to discuss ways to support Lebanon during the wheat supply crisis, Anadolu Agency reported.
The meeting aimed to complement the efforts made to confront the repercussions of the crisis in Ukraine, and in the interest of food security.
It is reported that, Salam met Indian Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr Sohail Ajaz Khan, who assured him that India has sufficient reserve stocks to secure the required quantities for the local market.
Lebanese minister also received Turkey’s ambassador to Beirut, Ali Berish Ulusoy, and discussed with him ways of Turkey’s support for his country during the crisis.
Lebanon imports about 50,000 tons of wheat per month to cover the market’s need for bread and its derivatives, amounting to about 600,000 tons annually; 60 per cent of them are from Ukraine and about 20 per cent from Russia and Romania.
Lebanon used to store wheat for local consumption for about four months, but the Beirut port explosion in August 2020 destroyed the grain silos in the port, so Lebanon now stores its monthly need of wheat in the warehouses of 12 mills.
Lebanon’s food inflation is now among the highest in the world, with food prices rising by 1000 per cent.
Russia is the world’s number one exporter of wheat – and the largest producer of wheat after China and India – and Ukraine is among the top five wheat exporters worldwide.
Russia and Ukraine entered their 14th day of fighting on Wednesday, after Russian leader Vladimir Putin initiated a full-scale invasion of the country on February 24.