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Spain eases corn import controls as war threatens feed shortage

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Spain eases corn import controls as war threatens feed shortage
(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 5, 2019 a harvester works on a corn field at Brazilian cattlebreeder Luiz Medeiros dos Santos' farm in Ruropolis, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon rainforest. - Brazil, one of the largest crop producers in the world, expects to increase its maize exports after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but fears that the conflict could make it difficult for it to import fertilisers. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP)

The Spanish government said Tuesday it would temporarily ease import controls on corn from Argentina and Brazil to offset potential shortages in animal feed caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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“We have taken an important step in lifting these import restrictions,” Agriculture Minister Luis Planas said after the weekly cabinet meeting, adding it would “ensure supplies” for livestock breeders concerned by war-related shortages.

Spain is a major buyer of corn for cattle feed, a quarter of which it normally purchases from Ukraine, the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter.

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But supplies have been jeopardised by the war, with Madrid pressing Brussels to ease restrictions on imports from Latin America due to pesticide residues which are limited within the European Union.

On Friday, the European Commission agreed to allow a temporary easing of the rules for EU member states in order to ease feed shortages.

Last year, Ukraine supplied Spain with nearly 1.9 million tonnes of maize which is crucial for its livestock sector, one of the biggest in Europe.

Many international organisations have expressed alarm in recent days over the impact of the war in Ukraine — often referred to as Europe’s bread basket because of its vast grain exports — on global food supplies.

Most grains produced in Ukraine are exported in the summer and autumn.

Last week, the UN’s World Food Programme warned that the longer the conflict continued, the more exports would be affected, with a particular impact on Africa.

READ ALSO: The food products that are more expensive in Spain due to war in Ukraine

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