There is increasing evidence that Russia is doing this due to its withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal and targeted attacks on food supply in Ukraine

On the 17th of July, Russia declared its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. In July of the previous year the UN had agreed to the initiative to allow the movement of grains from Ukraine after Russia entered the country and halted cargoes across the Black Sea.

Instantly, the prices of grains increased and caused food insecurity in several poor as well as developing nations. Ukraine, as well as Russia are the biggest exporters of both sunflower and grain oil. A third of African countries get half of their needs for wheat from Ukraine.

A total of 33.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce were traded in the Black Sea initiative. The withdrawal of Russia has affected the supply of food to countries that desperately require grain.

Russia is warning the world that “all ships in the Black Sea bound for Ukrainian ports will be considered potential military cargo,” which means they’ll be targeted. Not only import-dependent nations that have suffered. Ukraine is also facing severe food insecurity.

What shocked everyone was the wave of targeted attacks launched by Russia against Ukraine’s infrastructure for agriculture following its withdrawal. Russia attacked Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Mykolaiv port cities, from which grain is usually exported and was a part of the program.

As per the Ukraine authorities, the the attack destroyed 60,000 tonnes of grain and a significant portion of the food storage infrastructure. Ukraine is currently producing about 40 percent less grain than before the war; huge farms are in the hands of a few people, and agriculture has stopped. Russia has laid mines in farms and is destroying stores and food stores.

Read Down To Earth’s coverage of the Ukraine War.

The attacks bring back a painful memory for Ukrainians—”Holodomor.” This Ukrainian word for “hunger extermination” refers to the famine of 1932-33 in the country, then a part of Soviet Russia.

Joseph Stalin enforced the collectivization of agriculture in 1929, focusing on Ukraine. The country’s land and produce were purchased, leaving nothing for the local population. According to some studies, four million Ukrainians suffered from hunger.

Holodomor is a striking illustration of “food/starvation as a weapon” strategy used in war or conflicts. It’s been around for as long as any conflict we have experienced. The US first rules for military conduct –the Lieber Code of 1863, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln and is still the basis of similar regulations–insisted that the following: it is “lawful to starve the hostile belligerent, armed or unarmed” to speed up surrender.

The former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said later, “Who controls the food supply, controls the people.” In World War II, Adolf Hitler’s “Hunger Plan” killed over four million Soviet people. Food was confiscated by force to feed the German military and civilians.

In May of 2018, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2417, which, in the very first instance, condemned “starvation as a method of warfare” and outlined sanctions against it.

Is Russia employing food products as weapons? There is a growing consensus that it’s, at the very least, in Ukraine. The fragile centralized food supply system, where a few nations produce the majority of food, and many depend on them – is a potential target for strategic strength flexing.

In several UNSC sessions following the Russian attack, members deliberated about its targeted attacks in the context of using “food as a weapon of war” in the context of the global security of food in order to continue the grain deal, Russia requested the lifting of sanctions against the Russian Agricultural Bank and the reopening of supply lines for the export of agricultural machinery and components.

World leaders criticized the Russian withdrawal and bombings as an attack on all who depend on the foodgrains from Ukraine. It could be an adaptation of an arsenal of food that doesn’t only starve the local population but also destroys the supply chain of the world.

Silver cockscomb can be a brief-lived 50-60cm tall plant with simple, spirally-arranged leaves around the stem, adorned with silky white or pinkish flowers. Because it is widely grown across farms throughout the nation, Most farmers use the plant for fodder. But, just like the Soliga tribe, specific communities also eat it as an edible leafy vegetable.

Healthy add-on

Women from the Soliga tribe gather food-grade leaves as well as young silver shoots Cockscomb to make massage. This mash is consumed just before it gets into the monsoon (April until June) to lower body temperature and lessen stomach burn, which usually originates from indigestion.

Basamma is a 58-year-old Soliga tribal woman hailing from Annehola village in the Male Mahadeshwara Hills of Chamarajanagara. She prefers eating the greens during the rainy season, which runs from July until December, during which the plant is in abundant quantities.

She uses silver cockscombs for making the Allsopp Sambar which is a favorite of her family, served with rice or roti and Ragi balls. It is believed that the Soliga community also makes use of the young shoots and leaves of the plant to make palya, a dish that is served with a side of rice that is cooked with chickpeas, field beans, cowpeas, or pigeon peas (see the recipes).

Researchers have, in recent times, discovered evidence for the advantages of this herb. In 2018 Researchers at Vijayanagara Sri Krishna Devaraya University, Ballari, Karnataka, studied the antibacterial properties of silver cockscomb, which is found in the Koppal district in Karnataka, and concluded that its root and stem extracts are effective against pathogens causing microbial infection.

The study was published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. It is issued by the World Vegetable Center, a non-profit institute in Taiwan for research and development in the field of vegetable silver cockscomb leaf is rich in nutrients, including beta-carotene as well as folic acids as well as “medium” levels of vitamin E, calcium, iron and.