Well, Who Would You Believe? Ethiopia’s Contaminated Wheat Shipment

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An interesting little exercise in who to believe here. Ethiopia is importing wheat, a not uncommon occurrence. It’s a government agency buying the wheat, again not uncommon there even if not quite the way we’d do it ourselves. There’s a claim that the wheat imported wasn’t fit for human consumption. The Ministry responsible denies this and insists that it was just fine. There was some infestation but this was dealt with and all is cool.

Hmm. At which point it’s simply who do you want to believe?

The Ethiopian Trade Corporation has vehemently denied the recent social media reports regarding an alleged importation of a contaminated wheat consignment, which was deemed unfit for consumption. The Corporation told The Reporter that the accusation is completely untrue. It is to be recalled that over the past week, information came out regarding 55,000 metric tons of wheat, which was imported to Ethiopia through Port of Djibouti,although it was said be not fit for consumption and a public safety hazard. It was in fact former Ambassador to Djibouti and now reassigned to United Arab Emirates, Suileman Dedefo, who first put the information out in the social media space. “Yes, it was me who posted the information,” Ambassador Suileman confirmed to The Reporter.

The explanation is that the wheat order was put out to tender in the normal manner. The lowest bidder gained the contract, the first part, 45,000 tonnes arrived without incident. The second, 55,000 tonne, part arrived but was found to have some insect infestation. The ship was put back out to sea, treated with the usual chemicals, left for 10 days then came back into port. The wheat unloaded, shipped off to flour millers and all is fine.

What really, actually, happened is really something to speculate about. The wheat’s gone, has been consumed, so no one has proof either way. If we think the Ministry’s grossly corrupt then we’d assume – as I would in certain parts of the world I know about – that that lowest bid was met with unfit grain. Which passed inspection as a result of doucers and that’s just the way it works in some places.

There’s also the possibility that the Ambassador was misinformed. Or even that the position at Djibouti means that – as I would also expect in some other parts of the world I know about – that doucers should be directed that way and if they’re not thus the complaint.

Of course, as we all know, nothing in Ethiopia runs in that manner at all. So it must just be a matter of a little confusion over the information. The explanation that someone is getting a little payoff to ship in low grade grain and the argument is over who would only apply in some other parts of the world.

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Dodgy Geezer

It is also possible that there was nothing wrong with the grain at all, and that this was a smear intended to have a commercial or criminal impact somewhere.

That’s often the way it works on the Web. Which means you really can’t believe (or disbelieve) any information which is out there. I’m less fussed about false information from the Ethiopian Trade Corporation than I am about false information from the UK Government and establishment bodies such as the Bank of England and the Royal Society……