Food costs - rice

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Two articles caught my eye today. This one from the UK Guardian:
Food riots fear after rice price hits a high
A global rice shortage that has seen prices of one of the world's most important staple foods increase by 50 per cent in the past two weeks alone is triggering an international crisis, with countries banning export and threatening serious punishment for hoarders.

With rice stocks at their lowest for 30 years, prices of the grain rose more than 10 per cent on Friday to record highs and are expected to soar further in the coming months. Already China, India, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia have imposed tariffs or export bans, as it has become clear that world production of rice this year will decline in real terms by 3.5 per cent. The impact will be felt most keenly by the world's poorest populations, who have become increasingly dependent on the crop as the prices of other grains have become too costly.

Rice is the staple food for more than half the world's population. This is the second year running in which production - which increased in real terms last year - has failed to keep pace with population growth. The harvest has also been hit by drought, particularly in China and Australia, forcing producers to hoard their crops to satisfy local markets.

The increase in rice prices - which some believe could increase by a further 40 per cent in coming months - has matched sharp inflation in other key food products. But with rice relied on by some eight billion people, the impact of a prolonged rice crisis for the world's poor - a large part of whose available income is spent on food - threatens to be devastating.
And this one from the UK Telegraph:
Soaring price of food 'leads to riots'
Rising food prices threaten economic stability and could trigger riots, Gordon Brown has been warned.

The World Bank said this week that the price of staple foods has risen by 80 per cent in the past three years. For consumers in wealthy nations such as Britain soaring prices are squeezing household finances and keeping inflation up. But for developing nations they can lead to malnutrition and social disruption.

Food prices are being driven up by shortages of supply - often caused by bad weather - and by rising demand.
And this little gem:
But Mr Clinton said: "What's really hurting the food markets is America moving into ethanol. People there are moving into corn and you have pasta riots in Italy related to what some people are doing in farming in America."
Hey Mr. President -- a big thank you for being so supportive of the United States of America and a quick question -- who was it that pushed for the huge subsidies for ethanol in the first place. Money coming out of our wallets for something that takes more energy to produce than it yields in the tank. A hearty thanks Mr. Bill; and tell your lovely wife that she will not be getting my vote this year...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 7, 2008 1:02 PM.

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