"The Russian invasion of Ukraine has pushed food insecurity onto the table. Could an overlooked cereal help steady the situation and feed the global population in an era of climate crisis?"
"In an illustration of just how connected our world is, people living in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Syria that depend heavily on food imports are feeling the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In peacetime, the two countries collectively meet almost a third of the global wheat supply and a quarter of barley demands, as well as two-thirds of the world's sunflower oil needs.
Ukraine has not released a grain harvest forecast for 2022, but warned that Russia's blockade of its Black Sea ports could lead to the loss of tens of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain, "triggering a food crisis that will affect Asia, Africa and Europe."
For Robert Onyeneke, an agricultural economist at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Nigeria, the world is already experiencing such a crisis, which he said "is increasing everywhere" and "could be here for a while."
As far as Onyeneke is concerned, it's time to look for alternatives to the popular staples such as rice and wheat. He believes millets, a family of variable small-seeded grasses, could be one possible alternative — for four specific reasons."