Dossier: Food out of reach
27 January 2009
Countries struggling to secure credit have resorted to barter and secretive government-to-government deals to buy food, with some contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In a striking example of how the global financial crisis and high food prices have strained the finances of poor and middle-income nations, countries including Russia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Morocco say they have signed or are discussing inter-government and barter deals to import commodities from rice to vegetable oil. [...] Josette Sheeran, head of the UN's World Food Programme, said senior government officials, including heads of state, had told the WFP they were facing "difficulties" obtaining credit to purchase food. "This could be a big problem," she told the Financial Times.