Food trading is a peculiar area, as food is the basis for surviving the population. In that way, the one who controls food production and trading routes, also controls all populations which feed on those sources. It is true not only for food but also for agriculture in general, such as cotton. Such aggressiveness of the agricultural market is one of its distinctive features, which has a long history and is actual today.
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What impressed me the most is that food trading is often a field where prominent players use weaker and smaller ones as their servants. Such a practice has started from the colonial times, when strong European countries, colonizing the world, used their colonies as their farms, exporting all foods to the metropoles. Their first priority was feeding and serving their own citizens, and the native population of colonies was usually treated as second-class people or even as enslaved ones (Clapp, ch. 1). They often claimed that they were defending the rights of native populations, but in fact, they only used them for their enrichment.
Still, new emerging countries, such as Brazil, India, and China, have started to conduct politics similar to other powerful nations. Brazil, for example, uses its position as one of the largest cotton exporters to dictate its conditions to other countries, as is courteously described in Hopewell’s (7) article. It claims to defend the rights of small developing countries, such as African C-4 countries: Mali, Chad, Benin, and Burkina Faso. Their population is directly dependent on the cotton trade; however, they seem to have no real help from Brazil’s politics (Hopewell 19). In that way, Brazil is continuing the path of European countries, claiming that it defends other countries’ rights while in reality protecting only its own economy.
To conclude, I would say that I was impressed by the extreme competitiveness and aggressiveness of the global agricultural market. All countries try to ensure their power over the market, controlling all food trading routes and using all their advantages to make those countries that export food and other agricultural goods dependent on them. A particular example is emerging powers, such as Brazil, one of the biggest cotton exporters. While claiming that it defends the rights of other developing countries, producing cotton, it actually aims only at its own enrichment. In my opinion, such peculiarities in agricultural trade are one of the reasons for world inequity.
Clapp, Jennifer. Food. 3rd ed., Polity Press, 2020.
Hopewell, Kristen. “Heroes of the Developing World? Emerging Powers in WTO Agriculture Negotiations and Dispute Settlement.” The Journal of Peasant Studies, 2021, pp. 1–24. Crossref.