The winner of the 2023 World Food Prize has unfolded plans to launch a programme that would re-establish vineyards and farmland in parts of Ukraine damaged during the war with Russia.
The founder of Roots of Peace, Heidi Kühn, who received the award at a ceremony in the Iowa State Capitol, United States of America, said the non-profit operates in war-torn nations to clear landmines and unexploded bombs, and to restore the land to raise high value crops. Kühn stated that the risk of injury from unexploded ordinances can harm local economies and restrict food production for decades and that in restored areas, as farmers had planted more than 1 million black pepper trees. The harvested peppercorns are exported to the US and other foreign markets and bear a Roots of Peace label.
Roots of Peace is turning attention toward Ukraine where an area critical to the global wheat supply had been contaminated by landmines and cluster munitions. “Those mines and the unexploded ordinance will have to be cleared before that land can be put back into productive use and become flourishing farmland once again”, said the Executive Director of Mines Advisory Group, Jamie Franklin, which conducts mine removal in areas where Roots of Peace operates. He revealed that mine removal in Ukraine would begin soon in a grape-growing region in the southern part of the country. “This is a current conflict, but we’re working in Lebanon 33 years after the end of the civil war, where landmines continue to impact the lives of civilians, but also continue to limit agricultural development, farming and food security”, Franklin stated.