Sunflower shortages are looming in Lebanon as war rages in Ukraine and importers scramble to find cheaper alternatives in the cash-strapped country.
Supermarkets have begun to ration sales of oil, sugar and flour, businessmen told The National.
There have been no new import requests in Lebanon for crude and pre-packed sunflower oil since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 26.
Ukrainian ships are unable to sail and stringent financial sanctions on Russia have cut off most of its economy from the world market.
“Several of my shipments that were supposed to leave Ukraine one week after the war started never left, which leaves me out of 50 per cent of supplies I had ordered for Ramadan,” said Hani Bohsali, the head of the union of Lebanese food importers.
War in Eastern Europe has affected food security across the planet. Russia and Ukraine account for more than three quarters and one-third of sunflower oil and barley exports, respectively, according to the World Food Programme.
But import-dependent Lebanon, which is two years into a severe financial collapse, is particularly vulnerable to market shocks.
Sunflower oil is hugely popular for cooking food, unlike, for example, in the US, where local taste dictates a preference for soybean oil.
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