The control of raw materials generates multiple battles with millions of victims, more than any other conflict has caused. And it doesn't just kill hunger.
They say that if we don't give things names they don't exist. So the sooner we baptize the current military escalation that has already turned into a third world war, the better. Before we will recognize it and before we can, perhaps, stop it. I propose to call it the Food War.
To decide that we are talking about a war, according to Wikipedia, we must focus "on a conflict that violently confronts two massive human groups, and which results in death, individual or collective, through the use of weapons of all kinds." Well, the two massive human groups in conflict are well defined. Generalizing, on one side, the rich countries of the north or industrialized countries, on the other the countries of the south where the primary sector continues to predominate (although there are certainly Southeast in the North, and North in the South). That death is the result of this conflict is obvious. We are talking about millions of victims, figures like never before another war has caused. And although the conflict that generates multiple battles is for the control of food, it is not only from hunger that the victims die. The deaths from this food war come in many forms. As many as weapons of all kinds are being used.
Among the best-known weapons we have looting, which if in times of colonization they were invasions by armed hand, in times of neocolonizations they are somewhat more subtle and advance disguised as agricultural investments to favor the development of the country. Very similarly, the hoarding of common goods is another form of dispossession consisting of the control of land, water or seeds. The paramilitaries in Colombia usurping lands in favor of the large landowners of the African palm is one of the many examples that we could cite. These two weapons, together with free trade that never favors small farms in the countries of the South, make up a widely identified and denounced triad that ends the food sovereignty of thousands of territories and is responsible for hunger, death or destruction. Exodus.
It is now convenient to add three weapons to the arsenals of this our first restless and innovative world. The first of these, bombs and missiles directly fired on agricultural targets. As explained in the report Coalition Strategies in the Yemen War, written by Martha Mundy, and presented last October, 22 million people, 75% of the Yemeni population, suffer from hunger, and of them, more than 8 million need urgent and constant help. Clearly, since mid-2015, the report explains, the military objectives of this Food War focus on rural areas and on food production and distribution systems. In the best agricultural areas, the bombings have halved the hectares of land suitable for cultivation and have caused that between 20 and 61% of the production of fruit and vegetables and livestock has disappeared. Fishing catches have fallen by around 50% because air strikes have killed nearly 150 fishermen. And among so much food destruction, the port of Hodeida, where 80% of the country's imported food entered, is also blocked. Examples such as that of Yemen can be found identical in the case of Palestine.
The second of them is very visible. Faced with the exodus caused in this world conflict consisting of dominating access to food, Europe and the US are offering the same response. Fences, walls and a wide military deployment to stop any possibility of arrival of migrants to our territories. Only in the Mediterranean there are thousands of people who died in front of this protection shield. They die with their hands looking for hands.
The third of these weapons is under development. Under the argument of "guaranteeing food to the country in situations of drought, plagues, floods or bioterrorism," the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States Department of Defense is developing the so-called Project Insect Allies.
As they explain on their website, the technology they intend to develop consists of the introduction of a virus, from an insect, into the desired agricultural crops, quickly modifying the DNA of these plants. In other words, if we imagine that a wheat field is being affected by a tremendous drought, we will have an army of genetically modified insects that, flying over these fields, can inject or administer a virus, also genetically modified, that will change the DNA of the crop. wheat to give it, in this case, greater capacity to resist drought at the same time it needs it. As Science magazine has recently collected, this same technology that is presented as a crop protector can perfectly be used as a biological weapon to destroy your enemy's crops, causing an army of these mutant insects equipped with a virus to fall on them. infectious or sterilizing capacity. With the new CRISPR gene editing techniques, we are not talking about science fiction.
And will we go to this extreme? Surely yes, the love relationship between the large agricultural multinationals and the military apparatuses have already had many years of reaping results, as Bayer or Monsanto demonstrated in World War II and in the Vietnam War, respectively. These technologies do not seem right and in my opinion, what is urgent is to recognize that the northern world was wrong in its mad and capitalist industrialization race and that it must put back into practice what it is fighting for militarily: producing its own food.
More local farming is a withdrawal in time, for the good of the planet.
By Gustavo Duch