Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The politics of markets

Socialist Banner is not innocent or naive enough to not suspect that the following story is one purposefully planted in the media by American propaganda psy-ops to discredit Sudan .

However, we know that many nations find that the world market for food-stuffs is more profitable than the the home domestic market and that the export of food while people starve is a well-documented phenomena and therefore feel that the essential elements of the story is more than probably true .

Even as it receives a billion pounds of free food from international donors, Sudan is growing and selling vast quantities of its own crops to other countries, capitalizing on high global food prices at a time when millions of people in its war-riddled region of Darfur barely have enough to eat.

Sudan is growing wheat for Saudi Arabia, sorghum for camels in the United Arab Emirates and vine-ripened tomatoes for the Jordanian Army.
Last year, the United States government, as part of its response to the emergency in Darfur, shipped in 283,000 tons of sorghum, and that is about the same amount that Sudan exported. This year, Sudanese companies are on track to ship out twice that amount, even as the United Nations is being forced to cut rations to Darfur. Many European countries which can buy relief food locally bought 117,000 tons of Sudanese sorghum last year but United Nations officials said they would like to buy more , however Sudanese suppliers could make more money with exports.

Professor Eric Reeves, an outspoken activist who has written frequently on the Darfur crisis, called this anomaly described Sudanese government’s strategy as one to manipulate “national wealth and power to further enrich itself and its cronies, while the marginalized regions of the country suffer from terrible poverty.”

Sudan has 208 million acres of arable land, with less than a quarter being cultivated.

“Sudan could be self-sufficient,” said Kenro Oshidari, the director of the United Nations World Food Program in Sudan. “It does have the potential to be the breadbasket of Africa.”

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