MOSCOW, March 12 — Global farm commodities traders Cargill Inc and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co said yesterday they were scaling back business activities in Russia, but would continue to operate “essential” food facilities there.

Agriculture firms have been slower than oil companies and retailers to announce they are curtailing Russian operations following Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which has been near universally condemned around the world.

“Food is a basic human right and should never be used as a weapon,” Cargill, a US-based privately held company, said in a statement.

Cargill this week removed details on its businesses in Russia and Ukraine from its website. The site previously said Cargill employs about 2,500 people in Russia, with investments of more than US$1.1 billion (RM4.6 billion) in agro-processing.

A Cargill spokesperson said the information was removed because the investment figure was not correct. The company declined to provide an updated figure on Russian investments.

Rival ADM said in a statement its footprint in Russia was very limited and it would “scale down operations in Russia not related to the production and transport of essential food commodities and ingredients.”

ADM has an arm of its WILD flavourings business in Russia and a 50 per cent stake in Aston Foods and Food Ingredients, a sweeteners and starches business.

Rival Bunge Ltd said on Thursday it had suspended any new export business from Russia, but its oilseed crush plant is still operating there and serving the domestic market. Bunge has US$121 million in total assets in the country, according to an SEC filing.

Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), the fourth in the quartet of the so-called ABCD companies that dominate global grain trading, said it suspended Russian operations on March 4. — Reuters