WORLD - Cereal is the new petroleum, farmland the new reservoirs of oil, and ships loaded with grain are the new pipelines. As the value of crops increases, every country in possession of this resource is in a position of power, and its transport to market is a politically-charged operation.

In the 20th century nations extracting their oil reserves cashed in on the boom in demand for burning hydrocarbons, opening a gulf between rich and poor states in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The present risks a new imbalance, between countries and corporations with control over fertile land, the harvesting of crops and their sale, and those that lack agency in this supply chain.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has exacerbated this ‘grain gap’, forcing higher spikes in wheat prices, shutting down supply routes and threatening millions of people in cereal-poor countries with starvation. This crisis has foregrounded the winners and losers in the fight over access to cereals between Europe and the Middle East, which we analyze in The Grainkeepers.

Team members

Michael Bird

Michael Bird is an award-winning journalist and writer based in Bucharest, Romania.

Michael Bird

Vlad Odobescu

Vlad Odobescu is a Romanian freelance feature writer.

Vlad Odobescu

Paolo Riva

Paolo Riva is a freelance journalist based between Brussels and Milan, specialized in social issues and European affairs.

Paolo Riva

Ana Maria Luca

Ana Maria Luca is a PhD researcher in anthropology and journalist based in Florence, Italy

Ana Maria Luca
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