Food power

In international politics, food power is the use of agriculture as a means of political control whereby one nation or group of nations offers or withholds commodities from another nation or group of nations in order to manipulate behavior. Its potential use as a weapon was recognised after OPEC’s earlier use of oil as a political weapon. Food has a major influence on political actions of a nation. In response to acts of food power, a nation usually acts in the interest of its citizens to provide food.

Harvesting corn in Iowa, United States.

Food power is an integral part of the politics of food. The idea of food power is used in embargoes, employment, and food politics. In order for a nation to utilize food power effectively, the nation must effectively apply and display scarcity, supply concentration, demand dispersion, and action independence. The four main nations that export enough agriculture to be able to exert food power are the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.[1] On the smaller scale, particularly in some African countries, food power has been used as a weapon by opposing sides in internal wars and conflicts against their own people.