Amin Salam, the Minister of Economy and Trade in Lebanon, told CNBC that Lebanon realized there was a threat way before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and that Lebanon needed to construct another set of silos around the country to increase their reserve. Unfortunately the construction and filling of these new silos with wheat hasn’t happened.
Heavily reliant on wheat coming from Ukraine, since the start of the Russian invasion, prices have gradually risen over the course of the conflict to be more than 3,000 percentage points higher than they were in 2020. The price of wheat flour is 209% higher than it was at the start of the Ukraine War as well. As things stand, the government of Lebanon is pursuing every avenue they can to secure more sources of wheat, even going so far as talking to Russia who has consistently said the entire situation is the fault of the West.
Though there has been hope that an agreement between Russia and Ukraine would allow the export of grain from Ukrainian ports to resume during the war, the attack on the port city of Odesa less than 24 hours after the agreement was signed throws the entire deal into doubt. Prices for wheat have risen still higher as a result. While Lebanon continues to look into other options, it will use a World Bank loan to secure its food security for between six and nine months, dependent on the price of wheat.