Food power is an increasingly important geopolitical issue, as countries use their production of food commodities to gain influence and control. Wheat, one of the most widely consumed grains in the world, has become a highly contested resource in recent years.
The term ‘hard power’ is often used to refer to economic, military and demographic power, while the phrase ‘soft power’ references cultural and informational power. These two forms of influence are now being superseded in some circles by the concept of ‘food power’. This refers to when countries weaponise their production of food commodities such as wheat for political purposes.
The UK’s Foreign Office defines food security as “the availability and access of safe and nutritious food at all times”. As global populations continue to rise, many governments are concerned about how they can ensure that their people have consistent access to adequate amounts of food. For some countries this has led them to start focusing on producing more wheat, leading to increased competition for resources around the world.
A number of experts believe that states can gain an edge on other nations by using food production as a geopolitical tool. Countries with large agricultural industries are in a position where they can use their crops as leverage when it comes to trade deals or other negotiations. This could be done by either selling or withholding certain types of wheat from certain markets or countries. By doing so they could place pressure on other nations or even create shortages in some areas, resulting in significant geopolitical gains for those in control of these resources.
In order to understand this concept further it is worth watching ‘Wheat: A Global Conflict’, a BBC documentary available on YouTube that looks at how wheat is playing an ever-increasing role within geopolitics. The film examines different aspects of how states are trying to gain an advantage through wheat production and sheds light on why this is becoming such an important issue today.
It is clear that food power poses considerable risks for global stability and security if it is abused by powerful players in international relations games or used as a means to manipulate other nations economically or politically. It is therefore essential that we keep abreast with the latest developments surrounding this topic so we can be better equipped to respond accordingly should any issues arise from its misuse. So watch ‘Wheat: A Global Conflict’ and understand more about this crucial yet little discussed element within our complex modern world!