This increase is in addition to the massive price increases for other staples such as corn and wheat. It’s difficult enough for middle class people in rich countries to keep up with these price increases so imagine how hard it is for people living day to day in poor countries. A large part of the world struggles to generate enough money to put two, possibly three meals a day on the table for their families so this is going to be a painful year around the world.
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.