Friday, March 28, 2008

Danger ahead: world rice shortage looms

Talk about potential political dynamite. World governments are about to face up to a severe shortage of rice. This comes as prices for corn, wheat and other grains are selling at a premium and in short supply.

Ominous developments:
  • India has banned rice exports
  • China and Vietnam have reduced export volumes
  • "A rice shortage in the local market is very likely" says one Thai authority.*
  • Uncertainties also remain: Iran and Indonesia -- two major consumers -- have yet to place orders for rice.
  • Already the Phillipeans and Cambodia are facing rice shortages. Aid agencies working on the Burma border report they cannot meet the rice requirements due to the increasing prices. What does this development mean for people living inside Burma? Or for the North Koreans?
By the way, if you thought biofuels had a future, in the emerging geopolitical context of food scarcity, think again.**
* Already, it's apparent when you go out to eat something at a local Bangkok restaurant that has gone amiss with Thai rice. The rice Thai establishments serve these days is of extremely poor quality (after living in Asia for a while one acquires a taste for quality rice). Thailand as been exporting its best rice, and what's left behind is not very tasty.
** These crops are partly responsible for the increasing food prices.
Source: Bangkok Post


  1. You're right about there being "danger ahead." I wrote about the rice issue and the problems of biofuels here.

  2. Bob, I can't get your link to work.


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