B1 Intermediate US 2422 Folder Collection
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There’s a quote that’s been attributed to political scientist Henry Kissinger. It
goes, “Who controls the food supply controls the people”. Now, whether or not Kissinger
actually said that doesn’t take away from the fact that food, like water, can be a powerful
bargaining tool for people and governments alike, despite being considered a human right
by the UN. So, just how powerful is food?
The biggest agricultural exporters in the world are the EU and the US, which together
account for roughly 300 billion dollars a year. Each nearly doubles Brazil's exports,
and triples China’s. The EU’s high ranking, however, is almost entirely due to the Netherlands,
who are the second largest food exporter in the world, after the US. Additionally, many
staple foods are overwhelmingly produced by a single country. For example, as much as
40% of the world’s corn is grown in the United States, and just over a quarter of
the world’s rice is grown in China. With only a few players controlling the world’s
food, they end up wielding a great deal of international power .
In 1976, the US Secretary of Agriculture said, “Food is a weapon”, alluding to the use
of food as in promoting US goals, and as a tool against difficult countries,  For example,
in 2012 the US offered North Korea some much needed food aid in exchange for suspending
their nuclear program. Then, after North Korea attempted to launch a long range rocket later
that year, the US rescinded their aid offer. However, attempts at food embargoes since
the 1960s have mostly fallen flat, as the global economy has made it possible to maintain
supply, and international pressure has criticized the ethics of restricting food. On the flip
side, Russia’s recent ban on food imports in response to EU sanctions has had a strong
effect on food producers. In Germany, pig farmers, who alone supply a quarter of Russia’s
pork, are expected to lose out on 40,000 euros per farm this year.
The status and control of food on an international level cannot be understated. But using food
as a political tool has been met with mixed results, and restricting access to food has
regularly been frowned on and legislated against.  So how powerful is food? Powerful, but not
always for the right reasons.   
Changing climates are threatening a number of important crops across the world, and chocolate
is an interesting example. To learn more about how the industry is being threatened, check
out this video from AJ+. Thanks for watching TestTube, please remember to subscribe!
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How Food Can Be Used As A Political Weapon

2422 Folder Collection
劉宜佳 published on February 21, 2016    劉宜佳 translated    Kristi Yang reviewed
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