Ukraine crisis: Supply contract guidance

12 April 2022

Farm business War in Ukraine
A picture of a farmer leaning on a tractor, looking at a laptop while making a telephone call.

The war on Ukraine has impacted the trade of certain goods around the world and may have left some businesses unable to fulfil their contractual obligations. This page provides guidance for members on force majeure and key principles that may be relevant to you.

As the crisis in Ukraine develops, our thoughts are with those coming to terms with the devastating effects of the conflict and the unimaginable situation for those living in a war zone.

We are also aware of the impacts that the crisis is having on farming businesses in the UK.

Impact on British agriculture

The war has disrupted trade of certain goods around the world, as well as the movement of people. It has resulted in heavy sanctions being imposed on Russia. These factors have resulted in particular issues with the:

  • availability of fertiliser
  • availability of labour
  • price of fuel

We do not yet know the extent of any business disruption or how long it may last, and it is certainly hoped that farming businesses in the UK will be able to continue to produce high quality food throughout the crisis. However, the unavailability of fertiliser, or shortages in labour or the high price of fuel may mean that some businesses are unable to fulfil their contractual obligations.

Mitigating the impact 

This page provides general guidance for NFU members on some key contractual principles which may be relevant.

If you are concerned that you may not be able to meet your contracted tonnage due to the impact of the crisis on your business, it is advisable to contact your customer to discuss your situation, as well as contacting NFU CallFirst to seek initial legal advice.

Equally, if suppliers to your business are unable to provide you with goods you have ordered, it is advisable to discuss the situation with them to try to find a practical way through the problem.

Each situation will turn on its own facts and circumstances, but it is worth taking some time to understand your relevant contractual position so that you are in a good position to deal with issues as and when they arise.


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