Albania receives last Russian wheat shipment amid sanctions

The vessel that arrived in Durres was carrying 3,030 tonnes of grain, equivalent to 1% of what was imported in 2021. [SHUTTERSTOCK]

Amid wide-ranging sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and also Albania, the last shipment of Russian wheat has arrived in the country on Tuesday.

Exit reported earlier this week that Albania could be facing bread products being removed from menus over the shortage, or significant price increases of flour.

Albania gets almost half of its flour from Russia and the remaining majority from other countries that get it from Russia. Current sanctions mean this supply chain will be interrupted and with zero government reserves, wholesalers are likely to run out in about two months.

The vessel that arrived in Durres was carrying 3,030 tonnes of grain, equivalent to 1% of what was imported in 2021.

Local harvests are not due until July and are nowhere near enough to satisfy local demand.

Wholesalers have said the country will likely not be left without, but the cost of flour and grain will rise significantly as importing from other sources will cost a lot more. They also noted that Serbia has blocked the export of wheat to other countries, making it harder for Albania and others to find affordable alternatives.

Prices of wheat on international stock exchanges already rose by 6.4% on Monday. Furthermore, question marks over the ability of Ukrainian and Russian farmers to plant for the next season and then to harvest it, have also been raised.

The increases come at a time when Albanians already struggling with increased fuel and electricity prices as well as sharp rises when it comes to groceries. With many living on less than €5,000 a year and with a third of the population living below the poverty line, this raises concerns that some families will not be able to put food on the table.

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