The Story of 2022 Is Written in Hummus



The world is light on chickpeas, and the explanation for it checks a lot of boxes on the 2022 misery index: war, drought, flooding, and the supply-chain mess. For American consumers, the most widely seen result will probably be more expensive—and harder to find—hummus. But as Quartz notes, the consequences are more severe for the Middle East and south Asia, where protein-rich chickpeas are dietary staples. In terms of numbers, Reuters reports that global supplies of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, could drop by 20% this year. Prices are already up in the US—about 7% compared to last year—along with the rest of the world. The percentage is only expected to grow.

In terms of the specific reasons, the world’s top exporter—Australia—has smaller crops this year because of flooding, per the Guardian. Weather issues also impacted Mexico, another top exporter. Farmers in Canada and the US have smaller 2022 yields in part because of drought conditions. The 50,000 metric tons Ukraine typically exports to Europe have been virtually eliminated this year because of the war with Russia. The latter typically accounts for about a quarter of the world’s chickpeas, but war-related sanctions against Moscow have put a crimp in that. “Russia is exporting around 200,000 to 250,000 [metric tons], minimum, per year,” an exec with a global chickpea trader and brokerage firm tells Reuters. “When the war started in February, the supply was destroyed, totally.”

Compounding all of the above is that when exporters are finally able to ship their chickpeas abroad, they’re stymied by the worldwide shipping logjams that have been well documented since the early days of the pandemic. When will relief come? Modern Farmer observes that “it seems unlikely chickpea stocks will be replenished anytime soon.” It notes that Turkey, second only to Australia in exports of the legume, put a temporary ban on exports back in March to ensure its own citizens have adequate supplies. (Read more chickpeas stories.)

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