Food Fight

FOOD

Which has more firepower: an air-to-air missile or a Roma tomato? One can down an aircraft, but the other can cripple a food industry. (Nat Geo Voices blog)

Use our resources to better understand food security.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

More than 20% of Russia’s fruits and vegetables (like these being sold at a stand in the town of Vorkuta) come from Turkey. Russian food sanctions against Turkey could hurt both economies. Photograph by Gerd Ludwig, National Geographic

More than 20% of Russia’s fruits and vegetables (like these being sold at a stand in the town of Vorkuta) come from Turkey. Russian food sanctions against Turkey could hurt both economies.
Photograph by Gerd Ludwig, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders are considering food sanctions against Turkey. What are food sanctions?
    • Food sanctions are a type of economic sanction, which is a penalty or punishment imposed by one nation or group of nations against another. Food sanctions might be a total ban on all food imports from a nation, a strict limit on the amount of food imported, or a ban on certain types of food.

 

  • Why is Russia considering food sanctions against Turkey?
    • Russia and Turkey support different sides in the Syrian Civil War, and last week that antagonism got bloody. Turkey shot down a Russian warplane, killing its pilot. Turkey has refused to apologize, saying the jet was flying over Turkish airspace. Russia maintains the bomber was in Syrian airspace, assisting the Syrian government in crushing the rebellion.
      • According to one Putin adviser, “Every Turkish tomato bought in Auchan [a grocery store] or at the market is a contribution toward the next rocket to be fired at our guys.”

 

  • How might Russian food sanctions hurt Turkey?
    • Turkey exports more than a billion dollars worth of food to Russia every year. (Turkey says it has other buyers if Russia imposes food sanctions—including the Western-backed government in Ukraine.)

 

  • How might a ban on Turkish food imports hurt Russia?
    • Some critics fear possible food shortages, as more than one in every five fruits and vegetables in Russia has its origin in Turkey. In addition, Turkey buys a whopping 12% of Russia’s wheat exports. (In many cases, Turkey mills the flour to make things like pasta—which it then sells back to Russia as a finished product.) Russia says it has other food suppliers and other markets for its wheat.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: Food Fight! (or, Will Russia Let the Tomatoes Fly?)

Nat Geo: Mapping Food Insecurity

Nat Geo: Who is Fighting Whom in Syria? map

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