ICRISAT finds reasons why rural shifted to sugars & carbs

A new study conducted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) discovered that rural families are dependent on sugar and carbohydrates for processed food items instead of proteins and other micronutrient-rich foods.

Many people in rural India have shifted away to traditional systems of food due to their declining accessibility as well as the difficulties of finding small amounts of protein and micronutrient-rich foods add to this, as was evident in the study that was published in the Journal Elsevier.

The document mentioned the 74-year-old Alwala Narayya from Telangana’s Aurepalle recalling his family’s transition from eating a diet based on sorghum.

“We typically ate the sorghum that has been substituted by rice since it’s less expensive and easy to come across. Also, we used to gather wild fruits and other food items from the forests. However, they’re more difficult to find due to much less of the forest,” stated Narayya.

The study, which examined the rise of rural obesity and malnutrition, concluded that people who move towards cities coming from rural areas are also changing their diets when they are exposed to numerous food and drink promotions that are packaged in large quantities.

“People are also eating more sugary packaged foods because they are easily available in stores and have a longer shelf life than healthy fruits and vegetables,” ICRISAT observed.

The research recommended policies to boost supply chains of food that are sensitive to nutrients. “There is a need to work closer with the food processing industry to blend heritage with health by making nutritious products such as millet more attractive to consumers,” Jacqueline Hughes, director general of ICRISAT and ICRISAT, said in a statement to the press.

ICRISAT offered suggestions for solutions, such as raising awareness about nutrition and spreading the word about nutritious food choices, in addition to the value of establishing local variety.

“Solutions indicate that traditional farming systems and markets have an important role in making sure people can access more nutritious food in rural areas and close to where they live and ICRISAT looks forward to presenting more solutions in this arena,” said Shalander Kumar, the chief writer in the study.

The results of this study are important because regional imbalance is a major problem within India where stunting is more prevalent in rural regions (37 percent) as compared to urban regions (30 percent) as per results taken from the national Family Health Survey 5.

Russo-Ukrainian Conflict: is the Kremlin making use of foods as weapons in war?

Joseph Stalin enforced collectivisation of agriculture in 1929, focusing on Ukraine. Its land and its produce were purchased with no local consumption. Photo: iStock

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 following the fact that Russia entered Ukraine and halted shipping across the Black Sea.

In the immediate aftermath, grain prices rocketed and caused food insecurity in a number of poor or developing economies. Ukraine, as well as Russia, are the biggest exporters of both sunflower and grain oil. A third of African nations purchase half of their requirements for wheat from Ukraine.

About 33.5 million tons of agricultural goods were traded in the Black Sea initiative. Russia’s withdrawal has impacted food supplies to countries who desperately require grains.

Russia is warning it is warning that “all ships in the Black Sea bound for Ukrainian ports will be considered potential military cargo” which means that they are likely to be attacked. This isn’t just import-dependent nations that have suffered. Ukraine has also been hit by severe food insecurity.

The thing that shocked everyone was the rash of targeted attacks carried out by Russia against Ukraine’s infrastructure for agriculture following its withdrawal. Russia attacked Odesa, Chornomorsk and Mykolaiv ports, cities from which grains are typically exported, and are part of the plan.

As per the Ukraine administration, the attack caused the destruction of 60,000 tonnes of grain and destroyed a significant portion of the food storage infrastructure. Ukraine has already produced around 40 percent less grain than it did prior to the invasion. Huge agricultural areas are now under the control of the government, and agriculture has stopped. Russia has laid mines in farms and is destroying stores for food and other storage facilities.

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 collectivisation of agriculture in 1929, with a particular focus at Ukraine. The country’s land and its produce were seized and left nothing for the local population. There are numerous studies that suggest that four million Ukrainians were starving to death.

Holodomor is a striking illustration of “food/starvation as a weapon” strategy used in war or conflicts. It’s as old as any conflict we have experienced. The US first rules for combat-related conduct – the Lieber Code of 1863, that was ratified by president Abraham Lincoln, which is the foundation for similar regulations — stated that they were “lawful to starve the hostile belligerent, armed or unarmed” to speed up surrender.

The former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger reportedly 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 taken away by force to feed 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 for it.

Are Russia making use of food products as weapons? There is increasing evidence that it’s the case, at the very least, in Ukraine. The fragile centralised global food supply system – where a handful of countries are the main producers of food, and many rely on them – appears to be a prime target for strategic expansion.

In a number of UNSC meetings following the Russian attack, members deliberated on the targeted attacks of Russia by referring to “food as a weapon of war” within the terms of the global security of food. In order to continue the grain agreement, 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.

The world’s leaders have called Russia’s decision to withdraw and bombing as an attack on all those who depend on the food grains from Ukraine. It may be an alternative to food weapons that don’t only starves the local population, but also disrupts the global supply chain.

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