Major Western agricultural companies are resisting pressure to pull out of Russia entirely, saying their products and services are needed to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Russia and globally.
Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Bayer and others say they will continue running food and animal feed operations in Russia, although some of them say they have cut off further investments there. “Food is a basic human right and should never be used as a weapon,” a Cargill spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
It’s a tricky situation because Russia and Ukraine are both huge grain exporters, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to interrupt the food supply of millions across the world. Wheat prices have already risen more than 30% in February. The situation is exacerbated by drought in other wheat-growing regions, like South America and the western United States.
Nonetheless, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and others have called upon agricultural companies to join other Western businesses in boycotting Russia. “Doing business with and paying taxes to President Putin’s government is fueling Russia’s war machine,” read a letter from Ukrainian and American agricultural and environmental organizations quoted in the Journal.