Food trade with Libya rebels hit by payment fears

Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:54pm GMT

* Libyan rebels yet to establish proper credit lines

* Growing worries over food stocks in Libya

By Michael Hogan and Jonathan Saul

HAMBURG/LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Food imports into Libya's rebel-held east are being hit as the interim national council struggles to establish lines of credit and foreign traders fear they will not be paid.

Libya was a net importer of food before heavy fighting between rebels and leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces interrupted supply chains.

This week the World Food Programme (WFP) said, "A recent inter-agency mission found that food stocks in the eastern parts of the country are not being replenished at normal rates and the current stocks are enough for up to two months only."

"If the import capacity is not restored quickly, this could lead to a massive food availability problem for the entire population of eastern Libya," the U.N. agency warned.

European dealers said transactions with east Libya were not feasible for most private grain trade houses.   Continued...

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