Food Security_CIDOB Monograph_86

Food security from a geopolitical perspective: past, present and the challenges of “grain wars”

Publication date:
María del Pilar Ostos, Mexican Navy Institute for Strategic Research (ININVESTAM)

This analysis examines food security challenges from a geopolitical perspective, taking as its starting point the historical context of the principal “grain wars”, the existence of which can be traced to Imperial Rome with its control of Egyptian wheat; the emergence of the Silk Road; the rise of China’s agricultural trade, and the trade flows between the Old and New Worlds in the wake of Columbus’s voyages. These events speak to the strategic value that “productive land” acquires in the exchange of food, as we are seeing in the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which can be considered a grain war. Its impacts pose challenges to food security and presage a new geopolitical order based on the control of agricultural pan-regions, as is the case in Latin America in the 21st century.