What's the big fear? Thai officials and retailers fear people will start hoarding rice; and if that happens, the price will go even higher. Ordinary folks hoard rice to protect themselves against price increases; farmers hoard rice in hopes getting a better price at a later time.
Gwyn Dyer writes:
In six of the past seven years, the human race has consumed more grain than it grew. World grain reserves last year were only 57 days, down from 180 days a decade agoDyer goes on to say that agricultural production must not be diverted to biofuel. But we need not worry -- shortly nobody will need convincing of this.
To make matters worse, demand for food is growing faster than population. As incomes rise in China, India and other countries with fast-growing economies, consumers include more and more meat in their diet - the average Chinese citizen now eats 50kg of meat a year, up from 20kg in the mid-1980s. Producing meat consumes enormous quantities of grain.
But the worst damage is being done by the rage for "biofuels" . . . Some 30 per cent of this year's US grain harvest will go straight to an ethanol distillery. . .
FAO, Bangkok Post, Forbes