Farmers globally revolt 🚜 + Grain exports surge 🌾

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In today’s email:

  • All Systems Go: Ukraine grain exports surge off new shipping corridor.

  • Reeds To The Rescue: 🌱 The natural plastic alternative.

  • Enough Is Enough: 🚜 Farmers globally revolt.


Ukraine's Grain Export Surge Due To New Shipping Corridor

In recent months, Ukraine has witnessed a significant surge in grain exports, reaching pre-invasion levels, largely due to the success of its newly established maritime export corridor. This development follows the cessation of the UN-mediated Black Sea Grain Initiative by Russia. Ukraine initiated a humanitarian corridor in August to connect its Black Sea ports with the international market, despite Russia's threats to target vessels in the area.

To avoid direct routes through international waters, ships now navigate closer to the coastlines of Ukraine and NATO countries like Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece, under the protection of the Ukrainian Navy. This route, sailing through NATO waters, offers additional security without the need for the extensive inspections previously mandated by Russia.

Ukraine's strategic use of drones and the recapture of strategic locations have enabled the launch of this new route. Insurance policies underwritten in London, offering substantial coverage for each voyage, have made this corridor more attractive to shipowners, reducing sea freight costs significantly.

As of early February, Ukraine's grain exports for the 2023-24 marketing year totaled 25.2 million tonnes, slightly down from the previous year but including a notable 1.3 million tonnes this month alone. This includes shipments from Black Sea ports, Danube River ports, and land routes, with January exports surpassing those of the previous two years.

Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi ports led in January's exports, contributing significantly to the total agricultural exports. However, exports via smaller Danube ports and by train have seen a decline.

Despite the challenges, Ukraine's grain and oilseed production has remained robust, with corn and wheat as the leading crops. The USDA has adjusted its export estimates reflecting the corridor's success, though challenges like the Red Sea shipping crisis pose potential obstacles, particularly affecting exports to Asia. This situation might influence export demand from Asia in the first half of 2024 and impact European markets.


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Can "Golden Fiber" From Swamp Reeds Replace Plastic

20 years ago Bangladesh became the first nation on Earth to ban single-use plastic bags. Since then, plastic pollution has actually gotten worse. In an effort to find a biodegradable replacement, the government turned to jute, a cash crop that has been grown there for centuries. Can one scientist bring more of this "golden fiber" to a country drowning in plastic?


Russia, China & India Ditch US Dollar in 95% of Trade. The shift was defined by a massive increase in local currency usage in the trade between Russia and the two BRICS nations. Moreover, the ICC reported that Russia’s export settlements in either the US dollar or the Euro also fell drastically. Specifically, it has fallen from more than 85% in 2021 to just 34% last year.

Fiber exports drop 17%, plastic shipments hit record low. U.S. recovered paper exports in 2023 reached a 19-year low, driven by major multi-year declines in shipments into key overseas markets. Recovered plastic exports dropped slightly year over year, bringing a record low for another consecutive year.

Hydrogen container ship could slash carbon emissions by 3000 tons. Dutch shipowner Future Proof Shipping (FPS), the EU-funded Flagships project, and the Interreg-funded ZEM Ports NS project launched the H2 Barge 2, a container vessel powered by green hydrogen on a major cargo route between the Netherlands and Germany.


Global Uprising: Farmers Worldwide Revolt

Across the globe, farmers are rising up in a wave of protests, demanding better pay, fairer prices, and improved working conditions. From India to Europe, and within the UK, the agricultural community is voicing its discontent through organized demonstrations, highlighting systemic issues within the sector.

In India, tens of thousands of farmers marched towards the capital, demanding guaranteed crop prices and renewing their movement for economic safeguards. Their protest is a continuation of a struggle that previously led to the repeal of controversial agricultural laws by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, yet key demands remain unaddressed.

Meanwhile, in France, the head of the country's biggest farming union, the FNSEA, warned of possible resumptions of protests if the government fails to meet their demands for better compensation and the easing of regulatory burdens. This sentiment echoes across Europe, with farmers in Poland, Spain, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands also taking to the streets.

In the UK, farmers conducted a slow tractor protest in Dover against low supermarket prices and the impact of post-Brexit trade deals on local agriculture. Drawing inspiration from French farmers who successfully pressured their government for concessions, UK farmers are signaling their readiness for further action, including blockades and demonstrations, to protest against cheap imports and unfair competition that undermine their livelihoods.

These global protests underscore a common plea for recognition and support in the face of economic pressures, environmental challenges, and market dynamics. Farmers demand a level playing field and fair policies that acknowledge their critical role in food production and rural economies, signaling a growing unrest that transcends borders and calls for substantive change.



Originally launched in the late 19th century, the Peshtigo and St. Andrews were cargo ships navigating the Great Lakes. After several changes in ownership, they embarked on their final journey loaded with grain and iron ore. Caught in a severe storm, both vessels sank, marking a tragic end to their voyages and serving as a reminder of the dangers of maritime commerce on the Great Lakes... Click to see shipwreck 👀


Material World: The Six Raw Materials That Shape Modern Civilization. Ed Conway delves into how materials like sand, iron, and lithium shape civilization and our modern existence. He explores the critical role of these resources, from ancient empires to today's technological marvels, emphasizing the profound impact of material extraction on our world and future, through a journey across time and global landscapes.

Million Dollar Weekend: The Surprisingly Simple Way to Launch a 7-Figure Business in 48 Hours. Noah Kagan, CEO of, demonstrates launching seven-figure businesses rapidly, emphasizing the unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurship today due to lower costs and high demand for new ventures. He critiques the dissatisfaction with traditional employment and challenges the disparity between aspiring and actual entrepreneurs, questioning why starting a business remains difficult for many despite lower barriers.

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