Fund to buy grain buys grain from grain wholesaler

That\’s about the heart of the story here.

More than £50m of World Food Programme aid to feed the starving has ended up in the hands of a London-listed commodities trader run by billionaires, despite a pledge by the United Nations agency to buy food from \”very poor farmers\”.

Glencore International, which buys up supplies from farmers and sells them on at a profit, was the biggest single supplier of wheat to the WFP over the last eight months, the Guardian can reveal.

It\’s a terrible and shocking indictment of contemporary capitalism, isn\’t it? That people who want to buy wheat buy it from people who sell wheat.

Just can\’t think what came over anyone myself.

9 comments on “Fund to buy grain buys grain from grain wholesaler

  1. Honest, I didn’t plan it that way!

    It just happened.

    There I was with money set aside to buy wheat and bang, there was somebody with food to sell me.

    I literally couldn’t have planned it better.

  2. Glencore International, which buys up supplies from farmers and sells them on at a profit

    It’s like they are writing from Pyongyang. Surely they have some idea how food arrives at their table, some idea of how trade works?

  3. just by reading the article: the WFP bought the wheat from the lowest priced supplier… Glencore.
    I do not quite follow how buying £50m of wheat from a wheat wholesaler, puts “£50m into the hand ….of billionaires”.
    Maybe the Guardian would be happy if these sorts of companies didn’t exist. We could all visit our own local farmer for our weekly pot of flour.

  4. The guadianistas would want the UN to go to each individual farmer and negotiate, sorry dictate, the price at which they will buy grain off them. The UN will decide the price at which the farmers can make a profit, sorry cross that, make a living. The UN’s huge adminstration staff do need do something to keep themselves occupied. The UN doesn’t make a profit either since they are funded by the taxpayers of the UN members.

    Notice how I made the word profit sound dirty and soiled and why markets shouldn’t exist.

  5. All this buying and selling is an example of the evil, perverted doctrines of “freedom” as advocated by neo-liberalism.

    Or something.

  6. SBML

    Of course the UN doesn’t make a profit. It’s got to pay the salaries of all those administrators.

  7. If they bought £50m of wheat, then £50m didn’t “end up in the hands” of Glencore – most of it passed though their hands on the way to the farmers who produced the stuff.

    They’d have had to buy a huge amount of wheat for Glencore’s margin to be £50m.

  8. £50m buys you 250K tonnes of wheat at £200/tonne, which is about 8 bulk carriers full. I have this wonderful mental image of someone from the Guardian attempting to fill 8 bulk carriers by buying sacks of grain from peasant farmers, a tonne here, a tonne there. By the time you’d got a few thousand tonnes, let alone a ship load, the hungry would have starved. But hey, no money would have gone to the evil grain traders, so that wouldn’t be a problem.

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