Do not play with the food

The harvesters are already entering the fields of Aragon. The forecast is that the unusual heat will reduce the harvest by 25%. This is a very sensitive drop in production at the moment because the Community and the rest of the country import a lot of cereal to cover human and animal needs. In a context of market contraction due to the war between two relevant producers (Ukraine and Russia), any decrease represents a big problem. If the pandemic has already fractured supply chains, the war has exacerbated negative dynamics that have been taking place in food markets due to climate change.

Historically, international relations have been governed by two great currents: the realist and the idealist. Realists (from Richelieu to Kissinger) establish that what prevails is power politics and the national interest. In contrast, the idealists (with President Wilson at the head) insist on the politics of values ​​and the need for democratic control, basing themselves on the existence of a universal morality. The end of the Cold War opened a period of balance between these two visions, between strategic interests and international law. Now, Putin’s megalomania recovers the typical bullying of the first half of the 20th century and hits the globalization process, which had made countries more economically interdependent.

The world economy seems to be slowly splitting into a western zone and a zone dominated by China and Russia. But, in addition, a ‘food nationalism’ has broken out, which is spreading around the world at full speed. Dozens of countries have taken measures to restrict food exports since the beginning of the invasion launched by Putin. We can thus return to the dark days in which the search for natural resources was the cause of internal or external conflicts. Eighty years ago, Nazi Germany’s strategists focused their efforts not only on bringing all German-speaking peoples under a single political roof, but also on controlling the ‘granaries’ of the Ukraine and other Slavic territories. At the same time, Japan invaded China, Korea, and various Pacific territories to secure access to raw materials to feed its population and industry.

In this context in which geopolitics is advancing in the opposite direction to globalization, alarms are going off all over the world. The UN denounces that we are experiencing a full-fledged food crisis due to the rapid increase in the cost of basic foods, fertilizers and energy. In addition, more and more countries are embarking on food protectionism to safeguard their stocks and control internal inflation.

Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate in Economics and Princess of Asturias Award, established in 1998 that “there has never been a major famine in a country with a democratic form of government and relative freedom of the press.” Since then it has become an unquestioned principle that all famines are caused by humans. However, saying that a catastrophe is not ‘natural’ but ‘human-made’ does not mean that it can be easily avoided, among other reasons, because less than half of the planet’s population lives in a democracy.

Grandmothers used to say that you don’t play with things to eat. They already said so many years ago. But, contrary to popular belief, the passage of time has not made us wiser but rather blinder. In just eight decades we had forgotten that agriculture and livestock are one of the keys to security and peace in the world.

“We can go back

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Do not play with the food