Food is a powerful political control tool. This we knew. I was hoping to find something about it in wikileaks and Shadi beat me to it. He sent me the link to this cable with the following comment (quoted with his permission)
In other words: Qatar and the Arabs are not to pursue food security through attempting to invest in other countries, even if these countries are Arab like Sudan, and even if it is with the goal of creating win-win situation based on pro-poor scenarios. No. This should be left to the multinational corporations who exploit land and people in connivance with local elites. Food "security" is to be based on markets and on purchasing food from the US and the use of "financial instruments and virtual stocking. The latest food and financial crises has of course shown that both are unreliable and can be manipulated and blocked. Russia stopped exporting wheat during its last crisis, and the US started to produce biofuels instead of selling corn in 2007. And purchases from the US will help subsidize the US farm bill and recapture the oil surplus. And of course, limit Brazil's rise to become the world's major food exporter. The cable makes it clear: only purchases from developed nations such as the US are safe. Laissez moi rire.