Friday, February 15, 2008

Asia faces growing rice crisis

By Raja M

MUMBAI - An Indian government ban of rice exports has plunged neighboring Bangladesh into crisis, in a grim preview of growing global grain shortages. Leading rice-exporting nations such as India and Vietnam are reducing sales overseas to check domestic price rises. Previously healthy buffer stocks in the world's largest rice exporter, Thailand, are shrinking.

The February 7 ban by India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry intensifies a worldwide rice shortage that according to the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization drove up prices by nearly 40% last year. Large rice importers such as Myanmar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia are worst affected. .......

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