At first glance, agriculture (and, of course, agrochemicals) and politics may not seem to have a tremendous amount to do with one another. When people think about global affairs and political issues, they tend to focus on subjects like war, the economy, and the justice system, to name a few. However, agriculture has a direct connection to all of these concerns, and this has been true for the entirety of human civilization.
It’s important to understand and appreciate this relationship. Whenever someone discusses the agrochemical industry, whether this person is an entrepreneur, investor, educator, or everyday citizen, he or she shouldn’t do so through a limited perspective. Farming is a major political issue, and by treating it as such, societies and countries can make better decisions about how to use agriculture to further their goals and provide for their citizens.
Keeping the People Happy
At the most basic level, the function of a society is to provide for the survival and, ideally, overall health and contentment of its citizens. In humankind’s early days, communities often formed tribes to achieve these ends. Today, we’re more accustomed to national governments being the organizing force behind a society. While these two incarnations of the same idea may not greatly resemble one another, they still share the common purpose of keeping their members as satisfied as possible with their lifestyles.
It’s fairly obvious that ensuring people remain fed is essential to running a successful society. Without enough food, a population can’t survive. Because of this, farms have played a major role in human civilization for thousands of years. For most of human history, agriculture has been the means by which a group produces its food. While countries have come a long way from the primitive tribes of the distant past, they still need to ensure that their agricultural foundation is robust and healthy.
Farms enable a country to fulfill its main purpose of caring for its citizens. When the people of a country are unhappy with their government’s inability to provide for their basic needs, crime, civil unrest, and economic struggle are all potential consequences. With this in mind, voters should consider a politician’s stance on issues like agricultural and agrochemical use before lending their support to a candidate. While this topic may not be popular on political talk shows or in newspaper editorials, it is, in fact, highly significant.
Improving International Relations
Whether it involves two rival tribes fighting over territory or several nations engaged in lengthy combat, conflict between societies has plagued civilization for all of recorded history. Though wars are fought for a variety of reasons, from conflicting ideological beliefs to territorial disputes, one of the most common reasons two societies engage in combat is simple: the need for key resources.
Many of the earliest wars stemmed from a limited amount of food available in a given region. Seeing no way to share the food evenly between them, tribes fought over this essential resource. Thousands of years later, a lack of resources is still a primary factor in whether countries declare war on one another.
The more effectively farms can grow food, the more food there will be to share. If all societies can provide for their citizens’ basic needs, then they will be free to improve their relations with one another. True, there will always be other factors that result in disagreement—claiming that efficient farms will eliminate war entirely is naïve—but with decreased competition for resources, there will be one fewer reason for nations to resort to armed combat.
The farms of today are immensely more productive than those of the early human tribes. Thanks to innovations like fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, we can protect our crops from illness and substantially boost the amount of food an individual farm can yield.
Moreover, the agricultural industry hasn’t stopped innovating. Developments ranging from precision agriculture (an approach to farming that involves using data, tools, and special techniques to maximize a farm’s efficiency) to unmanned drones that can monitor crops and distribute agrochemicals are all worth paying attention to. Political leaders, especially, should take note. Whether they serve on the board of a small town or negotiate treaties with other nations, elected officials should keep in mind that the more productive farms are, the easier it is to reduce conflict.
Again, not many people immediately link agriculture and politics, and this is something that needs to change. Educators should focus more on this topic in schools, and journalists should approach political coverage from this perspective more often. Society will no doubt benefit as a result.