Agriculture specialist explains wheat crisis in Lebanon, worldwide

  • Date: 19-May-2022
  • Source: Naharnet
  • Sector: Oil & Gas
  • Country: Lebanon
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Agriculture specialist explains wheat crisis in Lebanon, worldwide

Consumed daily by billions of people around the world in bread and other flour-based products, wheat is a basic food staple, making current record prices for the cereal a global concern. 

Low rainfall or droughts in major producing countries were already causing worries before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February sent markets soaring.

Since then, wheat-exporting powerhouse Ukraine has struggled to sell and sow its crops, putting consumers in poor countries at risk of poverty and even famine.

Sebastien Abis, head of the Demeter agricultural think tank in Paris and an expert at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations, explains what's at stake: 

- Is it possible to replace wheat with something else? -

"It's very difficult. Wheat is the most important cereal for global food security: it is eaten by billions of humans in the form of bread, flour or semolina. 

"Corn is grown in larger quantities but is mostly used for animal feed or for industrial purposes.

"Beyond its nutritional qualities, wheat is a very social and democratic product, enabling people to make low-cost food -- and it is often subsidized."

- But prices are putting it beyond the reach of consumers in some countries such as Lebanon? -

"Yes, because of shortages and because you

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