Price of rice continues record surge
US government ready to export rice to Philippines
Poor Thai farmers guard their fields as rice prices soar
Amber Waves: February 2008: Rising Food Prices Intensify Food Insecurity in Developing Countries [iTunes]
Development Gateway: Food Security [pdf]
While the rising cost of consumer goods such as various foodstuffs can be troublesome in the United States, in other parts of the world it has the possibility to lead towards much broader social and political unrest. This was the message delivered this week by Sir John Holmes, who serves as the United Nation's top humanitarian official. At a meeting in Dubai this week, Holmes commented that escalating prices would most likely trigger protests in vulnerable nations. Holmes also remarked that "Current food price trends are likely to increase sharply both the incidence and depth of food insecurity." His comments seem to be corroborated by recent events around the world, including demonstrations about the rising price of food in Egypt, related riots in Haiti that left four people dead, and some very violent protests in Ivory Coast. Rice is one crop that officials and others are particularly concerned about, and a number of Asian countries have slowed or stopped their rice exports in order to maintain their stores for their own residents. Some countries have already agreed to send rice to places like the Philippines, and the hope is that other nations will follow suit.
The first link will lead visitors to an excellent piece from the Guardian's David Adam which talks a bit about the recent and sustained increase in food prices. The second link will take visitors to an article from this Wednesday's Ottawa Citizen about the recent problem with rice hoarding in the Philippines. The third link will whisk visitors away to a piece from the Manila Times which talks about the United States government's decision to export rice to the Philippines to ease some of the rice shortage there. Moving on, the fourth link leads to an article which discusses the increasing problems with rice theft that farmers in Thailand are encountering. The fifth link will take users to a compelling interview with Stacey Rosen and Shahla Shapouri about the situation regarding rising food prices. The sixth and final link leads to the Development Gateway's specialized information page on food security and related issues.
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