Posted by Sarah Amandolare to findingDulcinea
Sudan is drawing criticism for exporting food while Darfur starves, but the situation is nothing new and Burmese people have faced a similar plight.
The New York Times reports that the Sudanese government has been “capitalizing on high global food prices” by exporting crops en masse, while at the same time receiving more food donations than any other country in the world.
Sudan is often thought of as a vast desert, but has a great deal of arable land, aided by the Nile River and its tributaries flowing throughout the country. The northeast African nation is currently “growing wheat for Saudi Arabia, sorghum for camels in the United Arab Emirates and vine-ripened tomatoes for the Jordanian Army.” Furthermore, the government is investing five billion dollars into programs that will increase production and enable even more food to be exported.
Meanwhile, the UN and Western aid groups are struggling to feed millions of starving Darfurians, particularly malnourished children, but efforts are constantly hampered by lack of security and truck hijackings. The Sudanese government is of little help. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s regime is accused of orchestrating the genocide in Darfur, and many people feel that without outside help, Darfurians would not receive any food at all.
Sudanese officials have defended their actions by saying “they are simply trying to build up their economy,” and do not seem bothered by international scorn. “They say they know what it is like to be vilified, having been squeezed by American sanctions for more than a decade,” The New York Times reports.
The U.S. has responded to Darfur’s crisis by shipping hundreds of tons of food aid “from as far away as Houston,” but the New York Times indicates that Sudan might have exported the entire American donation, and will probably export even more this year.