Wheat as a Weapon

The story in the first: Wheat as a weapon
ESD 10.10.2022

"Over our head every day the missiles rush, the alarm does not stop. But we are more worried when it gets quiet, then it may be that a missile will hit here." Nadja manages a 4,000-hectare farm near Mykolayiv, now steering her tractor through the shell casings lying in her field. For her and for many other farmers in Ukraine, the war not only means daily danger to their lives as they work their fields - they also have to endure the thought of grain rotting in their silos while there is hunger in other parts of the world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing supply risks around the world. Food security is particularly at risk in Africa. For it is precisely here that people are existentially dependent on wheat imports. Closed and bombed ports in Ukraine, destroyed bridges and mined fields are causing the fragile global supply chain to break down. As a result, more and more people in the countries of the global South have no access to food.
"We are hungry," the young men in the market of Nouakchott in Mauritania tell us "If the situation does not change with the beginning of the year, we will all become Salafists."
While fears of famine on the African continent or even migration flows are growing in Europe, Putin is using the tense situation for his own narrative. According to him, Western sanctions are the cause of the impending famine. Does this narrative serve to win new allies against the West? On the stock exchanges, the price of wheat is reaching a historic high of over $500 per ton. This is a fatal development, because the high prices mean that poor countries can hardly finance even the grain they have on hand. A global downward spiral is looming.How did it come to this that wheat can be used as a political lever? What has put us in such a position of dependence? And how can we improve the supply situation, especially for the poorest countries?

The film is now available in the ARD – Mediathek .

Additional information
Author: Tatjana Mischke
Editors: Nicole Ripperda, Beate Schlanstein (WDR), Gabi Bauer (NDR), Johanna Walter (BR)