Hummus has long ceased to be a staple in the Middle East and has become a familiar delicacy around the world. Now, a Russian invasion of Ukraine could lead to a shortage of the chickpea-based creamy dish.
Russia and Ukraine are the world’s two largest exporters of chickpeas – Russia alone accounts for about a quarter of the world’s chickpea trade – and pulses are estimated to be down 20 percent this year. Global Legume Confederation.
According to an industry group that represents producers and traders of legumes, dried seeds of legumes, including peas, beans and lentils, the fighting in Ukraine, as well as economic sanctions imposed on Russia, are the biggest obstacles to the flow of chickpeas. Another concern is rising freight prices, driven in part by rising oil prices.
“Global chickpea prices could rise by 15 to 20 percent — as much as supply has fallen,” said Navneet Singh Chhabra, a trade association analyst and director of Shree Sheela International, a global chickpea trader.
Russia is one of the world’s largest suppliers of chickpeas, producing around 250,000 tons of chickpeas per year. But economic sanctions limit the ways in which chickpea growers can get chickpeas out of the country, Mr K said, Chabra said.
In Ukraine, the problem is different: most of the crop is usually planted in the Kharkiv region, where fighting prevents planting. Ukraine usually produces between 30,000 and 50,000 tons of chickpeas per year, but this year will produce a maximum of 5,000 tons, Mr Alexander said. Figured Chabra.
Russia is an important supplier of a smaller variety of chickpea called Kabul, which is especially preferred for hummus. Chabra said.
Russia’s biggest export markets are Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan and India, and demand from those markets will set off a wave around the world, he said.
“The South Asian market will buy whichever is cheaper, but in the Middle East and the US, smaller, smoother Kabuli chickpeas are favored because they make the best wrinkle-free hummus.” Chabra said. “And Russia exports the best and largest volume of Kabul chickpeas to the world.”