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Jump in rice price fuels fears of unrest
Rice prices jumped 30 per cent to an all-time high on Thursday, raising fears of fresh outbreaks of social unrest across Asia where the grain is a staple food for more than 2.5bn people.
The increase came after Egypt, a leading exporter, imposed a formal ban on selling rice abroad to keep local prices down, and the Philippines announced plans for a major purchase of the grain in the international market to boost supplies. Global rice stocks are at their lowest since 1976.
While prices of wheat, corn and other agricultural commodities have surged since late 2006, the increase in rice prices only started in January.
The Egyptian export ban formalises a previously poorly enforced curb and follows similar restrictions imposed by Vietnam and India, the world’s second- and third-largest exporters. Cambodia, a small seller, also on Thursday announced an export ban.
These foreign sales restrictions have removed about a third of the rice traded in the international market.
Rice prices have doubled since January...
According to director general of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the world is already eating more rice than is harvested annually and stocks are at their lowest levels since the early to mid-1970s, when food shortages triggered famine in some Asian countries.
Nearly half the planet's 6.6 billion people depend on rice to survive and demand for the grain is expected to increase 50 % by 2030. Average rice prices have nearly doubled to around $325 PMT in the past six years.
...apart from climate changes, the recent supply shocks are being compounded by longer-term pressures as more and more land is being converted for houses and factories, while water is diverted for industrial use.
Grain prices soar globally: Rice shortages are appearing across Asia. In Egypt, the Army is now baking bread to curb food riots.
Bangkok, Thailand - - Rice farmers here are staying awake in shifts at night to guard their fields from thieves. In Peru, shortages of wheat flour are prompting the military to make bread with potato flour, a native crop. In Egypt, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso food riots have broken out in the past week.
THE soaring price of rice and dwindling stockpiles of Asia's basic food are causing anxiety across the region. In particular the Philippines, a big, hungry country which cannot grow enough to feed itself, could be in trouble. The front pages of Manila's newspapers scream about a “rice crisis”, as politicians float drastic solutions, such as forcing the country's 100 leading firms to take up rice farming.
Beijing to spend more on agriculture to curb inflation:
The central government decides to pay farmers more money to encourage them to improve basic food production. This in turn is raising fears about social unrest across the country.
Authorities have frozen retail prices of rice, cooking oil and other goods in an effort to rein in food costs that jumped 23.3 per cent year on year last month. But analysts warned that holding down prices paid to farmers would discourage them from raising production and easing shortages blamed for the increases.
Prices started to rise sharply in just two weeks last year as the mainland ran short of grain and pork, the country's staple meat.
The jump in food costs hit ordinary Chinese hard in a society where families spend up to half their incomes on food, creating panic and violent protests across the country.
Is the world headed for a food crisis? India, Mexico and Yemen have seen food riots this year. Argentines boycotted tomatoes during the country's recent presidential elections when the vegetable became more expensive than meat; and in Italy, shoppers organized a one-day boycott of pasta to protest rising prices. In late October, the Russian government, hoping to ease tensions ahead of parliamentary elections early next year, announced a price freeze for milk, bread and other foods through the end of January.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reported last week that, at nearly $100 a barrel, the price of oil has sent the cost of food imports skyrocketing this year. Add in escalating crop prices, the FAO warned, and a direct consequence could soon be an increase in global hunger — and, as a consequence, increased social unrest. Faced with internal rumblings, "politicians tend to act to protect their own nationals rather than for the good of all," says Ali Ghurkan, a Rome-based FAO analyst who co-authored the report. Because of the lack of international cooperation, he adds, "Worldwide markets get tighter and the pain only lasts longer."
What's more, worldwide food reserves are at their lowest in 35 years, so prices are likely to stay high for the foreseeable future. "Past shocks have quickly dissipated, but that's not likely to be the case this time," says Ghurkan. "Supply and demand have become unbalanced, and... can't be fixed quickly."
With one-quarter of the U.S. corn harvest in 2007 diverted towards biofuel production, the attendant rise in cereal prices has already had an impact on the cost and availability of food. Critics worry that the gold rush toward biofuels is taking away food from the hungry. Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on The Right to Food, recently described it as a "crime against humanity" to convert food crops to fuel, calling for a five-year moratorium on biofuel production.
Originally posted by infinite
The Western World will not see riots
Food Prices Soaring Worldwide
But food protests now crop up even in Italy.
Originally posted by Rockpuck
reply to post by 19DCW71
history tells us men will sooner keel over dead, along side their starving children before they make a peep.
the White Boys of Ireland where about as radical as they got during the worst famine in modern Western history..
Essentially nothing more then a scare tactic against local land owners.. nothing came of it, and most members died, along with their families.. plenty of groups got the weapons, got the funding, but did noting.
Mostly because the rich where complacent, and the poor died.
No.. a hungry man is a weak man. nothing more, nothing less.