By Bread Alone
The smell of freshly baked bread, how the butter melts when spread on the warm slice, the crunchy sound it makes when you take a bite, the delicious taste of the airy loaf: Many Eurasians cannot imagine life without bread. Particularly wheat bread has been at the heart of their cuisine for centuries. Wheat however is not only used for baking bread, it is used for a huge variety of different dishes in many cultures.

It became the most popular grain for baking because its high gluten percentage makes for extra fluffy and airy dough.

67 kg of WHEAT
one persone consumes in one year
122 loafs of BREAD
can be made from 67 kg of wheat
47 kg of PASTA
can be made from the same amount of wheat
With Europe's colonization wheat consumption spread. Christian missionaries took their bread and dishes to the territories it colonized all over the world.

Wheat has been the primary food source for countless people for thousands of years. Up till today, wheat remains one of humanity's most produced and consumed cereal crops.
Hunger has been one of the main catalysts for countless conflicts throughout history. Famines and governments' lacking ability to feed its population have caused many uprisings and revolutions.

One famous example is the French Revolution. The absence of bread has not been the only cause for the revolution, but surely a significant one. People's call for bread soon became a rallying cry for anti-royalist groups.

Many conflicts ended when people had enough to eat again.
Wheat grows particularly well in the so-called "wheat-belts"; two fertile crescents in the northern and the southern hemisphere with perfect climate conditions for this grain. In the North it spreads along the areas of the United States, Canada, Central Europe, Ukraine, Russia and China. In the South it extends from Chile and Argentina to the Southern tip of Africa to Australia.

Between those two belts there is almost no wheat production. Further north it is too cold to grow wheat, further south to warm. Up until now. Climate change could shift the regions with good conditions for its cultivation.

The five biggest wheat producers are the European Union, China, India, Russia and the United States.

The five biggest wheat producing countries all lie within the Northern wheatbelt: the European Union, China, India, Russia, and the United States.

Ukraine is one of the main wheat producers in the world. Bohdan Kostiv is an organic farmer in the small village of Poliany in Western Ukraine. He grows many different types of grain, mostly wheat. He talks about how climate change has influenced his work.
Climate expert Bob Scholes, the professor at the University of Switzerland explains that wheat is a so called C3 crop. This is a cereal which is quite responsive to rising carbon dioxide concentration. As a result of climate change and rising carbon dioxide, wheat production goes up about 10%, but at the same time we face changes in the amount of rainfall and temperature which also affect the cultivation.

Temperature will increase quite significantly in the future and rainfall will rise as well. So, there is kind of a trade-off between those two factors. If there is more rain, the productivity usually rises. If the temperature goes up however, it can have different effects.

In areas with an already hot climate, the weather can become too hot for wheat cultivation. In other, colder regions, the agriculture can benefit from the increasing temperatures and produce more wheat. As for the cold, northern parts of Europe, production will go up by a few percent. In the southern parts, where temperature is already quite high for grain cultivation, there will be a decrease in crop production.

Overall, the number of places in the world that see the increase and the decrease are almost balanced at the present time. In the (close) future, this will change however. Many countries' agriculture will benefit from the climate change while others suffer drastically.

Wheat is one of the most popular grains in the world. It is consumed not only in the regions of the wheat producing wheatbelt, but all around the world.

The biggest wheat exporters are the European Union, Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ukraine and Argentina. They export mainly to areas where climate does not allow for enough cultivation of the crop.

Some of the exporting countries also still import from other countries, as their demand is not satisfied by their own production.

Agricultural experts from the Ukrainian Institute of Agriculture in the Carpathian region explain that climate change has positive effects on agriculture in Ukraine. Both productiviy and quality of grains are rising.

Ukrainian farmers even started to cultivate southern crops as flaxseeds, sunflowers, soy and corn - crops that had not grown in the fields properly earlier.

Along with the increasing productivity and better environment for different crop production, climate change can also result in new challenges and obstacles for farmers.

Climate change also raises the question of replacing wheat with some other cultures that grow better in the current environment of the region. For example, sunflower that used to grow on 11,000 hectares in 2015, now in 2017 is harvested on 26,000 hectares in Ukraine.

Agricultural experts point to a huge growth which may not be beneficial for wheat production. Cultivating sunflower which is a culture depleting the soil, drawing a lot of power out of it and capable to dry the earth up to 3 meters, may lead to an environment not very comfortable for wheat to grow.

Another thing changing under the future climate is that we get greater extremes, greater floods and greater storm of its. While production may go up, it may simultaneously occur that farmers get great incidents of years when they are way above current production, by the years when they produce less. The stability and volatility is an issue. And it depends not only on the climate and agricultural system, but also what mechanisms farmers have for storing and transporting the grain. If they have good mechanisms for forecasting the yield several months ahead, and the ability to store grain, export it or import it efficiently, they can deal with this instability. But if those systems are weak or inadequate, then it becomes amplified in the system. Farmers can move the location of plantings, in other words, they can focus on those parts which are seen moving to optimal growing conditions, northern parts which may currently not have as much wheat as it's too cold for it;
There are also some things they can do ergonomically. For instance, if farmers are able to apply irrigation, that helps to counterbalance the decreases they can get from drying out or increased seasonal unpredictability of rainfall.

Small private farmers don't have to wait for someone else to make a decision. They can adapt quite fast to changing circumstances. So they have some advantages of adaptability. On the other hand, the adaptation really depends on how much resources you have. Do you have financial resource to swap all of your machinery to a different sort of machinery or to carry through a year when your production was low, or market your crop in distant part of the world.

That's much easier for a large cooperation to do than a small cooperation. So that's not entirely clear who is more adaptable in this situation – small farmers or big cooperation.
Agricultural sector first of all need to ensure that it is well-invested and research an adaptation capability. That means a capability to forecast yields at least several months ahead, to monitor the markets, storage capacity and transport systems. Countries need strong technical capabilities that is a part of adaptation capacity. And then they really need to be diversified because it is really risky if the entire agricultural economy or the economy as a whole is completely based on just one crop or one cultivar, all done exactly the same way. If it successes, it's wonderful and if it fails, it's a disaster. It's far better to have an agricultural economy which has a mix of things going on, different crops, different cropping systems in different places, diversified in the landscape. And also to have reasonably diverse economy as a whole.
Authors: Lise Panchenko, Nick Bohdanov, Thea Ghvinadze, Mona Kriesch
Mentor: Andriy Pryymachenko
This project was made during the International School of Multimedia Journalism, a cooperation between UCU School of Mediacommunication, FH Wien University of Applied Sciences Vienna, Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, and Danish School of Media and Journalism.
Lviv, Ukraine, July 2017
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