Thursday, December 04, 2014


There is a surge in buckwheat buying in Russia, because of an anticipated shortage.

The government – which reportedly considered tapping strategicbuckwheat reserves this week to stop the rampant increase in buckwheat prices – says there is no quantifiable reason for the trend. Yes, the weather in Russia’s top buckwheat-producing region may have been bad, but there is more than enough of a crop to feed the Russian appetite this year, officials say.
Analysts in Russian media have just one explanation for the buckwheat phenomenon: panic and public hysteria, caused by news of the bad weather in Altai.
Yet the buckwheat panic isn’t happening in a vacuum.
As one of the world's largest producers of buckwheat, it’s safe to assume that Russia’s grechka problems are home-grown. But at the market, shoppers are also suffering the effects of Russia’s changed food import policies due to measures put in place this summer to ban almost all American and European produce, dairy, fish and meat products from entering the country. The move was in response to sanctions the West introduced against Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

The shortage has happened before (a similar weather related problem occured in 2010) but this is only one problem for Russia, along with the freefall of the ruble and the fall of the price of petroleum and being hit by western sanctions.

Austin Bay on the background of all of this LINK
Is fracking and allowing the US export of LPG gas enabling Poland and eastern Europe to ignore pressure from Russia?
is the Saudi refusal to stop pumping oil despite the drop in prices a way to make the price so low that fracking will not be profitable?

Remember: WWII started partly because of oil sanctions against Japan, because of their invasion of Japan decided to invade SEAsia to get their oil and of course rubber. The Philippines, alas, was in their way.

as for buckwheat: more background on that grain here. in a BBC article about Buckwheat in Russia and how sanctions are affecting the average person there.

Legend has it that, 1,000 years ago, when Greek monks spread Christianity to Russia, they brought with them more than just the Bible. They brought a grain, a seed, so magical, nutritious and delicious that it struck an instant chord with the Slavic soul - and the Russian stomach.

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