Governments are racing to strike secretive barter and bilateral agreements with food-exporting countries to secure scarce supplies as the price of agricultural commodities jump to record highs, diplomats and cereal traders say.
The discussions follow a barter contract signed between Egypt and Syria in which Cairo agreed to supply Damascus with rice in exchange for secure wheat cargoes. The Philippines also sought unsuccessfully last month to reach a deal with Vietnam to secure a large supply of rice.
Abdolreza Abbassian, an expert at the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, said: “The use of bilateral agreements is on the rise.” Diplomats also say bilateral and barter contracts signal a broader trend.
“Some countries could view this [type of agreement] with interest as, in the event of future restrictions, they would be able to get the supply,” Mr Abbassian added.Sadly, I am not making this up!!