Archive for the ‘Cambodia’ Category

Cambodia doubles military budget after Thai clash

November 1, 2008

Impoverished Cambodia has doubled its 2009 military budget to $500 million following this month’s border clash with Thailand, officials said on Wednesday, an increase that is likely to anger its donors.

The National Assembly is expected to approve the new budget next week, with the military accounting for 25 percent of all spending, said Cheam Yeap, head of its finance commission.

Reuters

“This incident has awoken us to the need for our soldiers to be better equipped. We cannot sit and watch Thai troops encroach on our border,” he told Reuters. “Our army needs to be more organized, better trained, with newer bases and well-fed troops.”

 

A Cambodian commander (L) talks to a Thai commander (R) during ... 
A Cambodian commander (L) talks to a Thai commander (R) during a meeting at the top of a mountain near Preah Vihear temple in Preah Vihear province, some 543 kms north of Phnom Penh on October 19, 2008. Thai parliament has given the government the green light to launch talks with Cambodia aimed at settling a long-running border dispute which boiled over into violence, officials said.(AFP/File/Tang Chhin Sothy)

Three Cambodian soldiers and one Thai died in the October 15 firefight in the shadow of the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, a stunning set of Hindu ruins that have been claimed for decades by both countries.

At roughly 100,000 men, Cambodia’s armed forces are a third the size of Thailand’s, but remain very large for one of Asia’s poorest nations.

For years, international donors have been trying to get Phnom Penh to demobilize thousands of aging soldiers, many of them former Khmer Rouge guerrillas, to free up more cash for investment in health and education.

In the two weeks since the clash, local army units say they have recruited 3,000 men despite Prime Minister Hun Sen saying he wants a negotiated settlement with Bangkok to disputed stretches of border.

Read the rest:
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE49S241
20081029?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

Food Security: Global Emergency

April 21, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Since last autumn, “food security” has moved from an issue many in the world never or hardly ever thought about to become the number one issue in life.

Food security involves having and sustaining the supply of proper food sources for entire nations and populations.

If there is any doubt that food security is a big issue, here is something of a recap of recent related news:

–The government of the Philippines said on Sunday that food security would be the number one topic in the legislative session starting Monday. The Philippines is a huge rice consumer and almost all of that rice is imported. Unfortunately, almost all of the rice supplies to the Philippines have been restricted or stopped. The result has been unrest in the streets of Manila and throughout the Philippines. Can you imagine arresting people who refuse to stop their protests because they are hungry?

–Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, said it would cut exports by 22% this year, following similar moves by India and Egypt. Vietnam’s inflation hit an estimated 16.4 percent in the first quarter, the highest rate in 13 years, according to government figures. Food prices were a main component of the increase, rising 21.5 percent in the January-March period compared with the same months last year.

A customer weighs rice at a sale-agent at the Voi market, 20 ...
A customer weighs rice at a sale-agent at the Voi market, 20 km (12.5 miles) south of Hanoi April 16, 2008. Fresh rice from Vietnam’s summer crop could start hitting the market a month earlier than usual, a top exporter said on Wednesday, bringing some relief to importers edgy over inflation and food security.REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)

–Egypt last week said that an advisor to the Commerce Minister announced a cutback in rice exports. “We have taken this decision to provide for the needs of the local market,” Sayyed Abul Komsan, advisor to Commerce Minister Mohammed Rashid, said. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the army to start baking bread after deadly riots broke out in lines of people waiting for food.

–China this week is doubling taxes on fertilizer exports to ensure supplies for domestic farmers. China also announced that it will review land use issues nation wide. China’s government now says too much land has been turned over to industrialization and the nation of 1.3 billion people can no longer adequately feed itself without changes in policy and land use.

–Malaysia’s government said Saturday it would spend four billion ringgit (1.3 billion dollars) to increase food production and tackle price hikes as the country faces spiraling global oil and food costs.

–Last month the cost of food in Cambodia rose 24%. At this rate, the cost of food will almost double every four months. Yet pay is not rising at all: especially among the poor. Cambodia’s rural poor, who make up over 80 percent of the population, are particularly at risk from inflation.

–Cuba warned the World Trade Organization on Friday that the food security of developing countries is endangered for a variety of reasons, among them the rising cost of fuel.–Oil-rich Libya is discussing a deal to essentially rent a chunk of land-rich Ukraine on which it can grow its own wheat.

–Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was forced to step down last week because of violence linked to higher food costs, and U.N. and World Bank officials warn that more unrest is likely.

–France, sparked in part by unrest in Haiti, released $100 million (USD) in food aid to poorer nations.

A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double ...
A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double its food aid this year, spending 60 million euros (100 million dollars) as part of its response to the world crisis over soaring food prices, President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced.(AFP/File/Dominique Faget)

–France’s action followed a release of $200 million in food aid by President Bush exactly one week ago today.

“A lot of countries are in trouble right now,” said Lester Brown, veteran environmentalist and president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute. “We’re seeing various efforts made by countries to ensure they have the food inputs they need.”

On Sunday United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The problem of global food prices could mean seven lost years … for the Millennium Development Goals.  We risk being set back to square one.”

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton pick at each other without much addressing American issues, in the rest of the world the big issue is quickly becoming: How will we feed ourselves?

Food Inflation: Cambodia at 24% Per Month, Reflects World Trend

April 19, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Last month the cost of food in Cambodia rose 24%.  At this rate, the cost of food will almost double every four months.  Yet pay is not rising at all: especially among the poor.

Cambodia’s rural poor, who make up over 80 percent of the population, are particularly at risk from inflation.

The international crisis in food costs continues to spread, the Voice of America is reporting.

Last Monday, President Bush released $200 million to feed the poor internationally in an effort to prop up flagging economies.  But this amount is insignificant in the face of the troubles now upon so many nations.

China has restricted fertilizer exports to allow for adequate resources at home, even as it subsidizes farmers.

Rice exports from Egypt through Vietnam to China have almost ceased, leaving importers like the Philippines in crisis.

A soldier delivers a bag containing food supplies to a man as ....
A soldier delivers a bag containing food supplies to a man as part of a government aid program in a shanty town on the outskirts of Lima early April 16, 2008.(Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters)

David Sands of the Washington Times wrote for today’s editions, “Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the army to start baking bread after deadly riots broke out in lines people waiting for food. Oil-rich Libya is discussing a deal to essentially rent a chunk of land-rich Ukraine on which it can grow its own wheat.”

The World Food Program’s Thomas Keusters said, “A lot of people who are now on the verge of surviving are going to face even more difficulties to make ends meet and really survive. This is condemning possibly a whole lot of generations because people will not go to school, people will not go into productive activities, because they will really be constrained by their search for food.”
A Somali women carries a sack of food aid on her head to her ....
A Somali women carries a sack of food aid on her head to her makeshift home on the road along the Juba river in southern Somalia near the village of Jamame December 6, 2006. A cholera outbreak in Kenya has killed 67 people so far this year, while a fungus has wiped out up to 20 percent of the country’s annual rice production, United Nations agencies said on Friday.REUTERS/Stephen Morrison/Pool

Related:
Food Shortages, Global Hunger Pushing Nations.

Food Shortage: More Bad News From China

Food Crisis in North Korea a “Disaster”

Food Shortages Causing Panic?

Inflation Hits Cambodia

April 19, 2008


18 April 2008

As in other developing countries from Egypt to Haiti, soaring inflation has recently emerged as a threat to Cambodia’s hard won social stability. While wages have remained low, the price of rice and other staples have skyrocketed pushing millions deeper into poverty. While the Cambodian government says it is doing its best to curb the worst effects of inflation, opposition politicians say it is not doing enough. Rory Byrne reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

On the face of it, Cambodia’s economy is doing well.

Phnom Penh, the nation’s capital, is undergoing a building boom which is changing the face of the city.

Expensive new cars fill the city’s streets as a resurgent middle class has emerged to take advantage of new business opportunities.

But while some are prospering, many of the country’s poorest people are slipping deeper into poverty. The reason is inflation.

Location of Cambodia

Read the rest:
http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-04-18-voa22.cfm

Perils in The Price Of Each Grain of Rice

April 3, 2008

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
Thursday, April 3, 2008; Page A17

You may have missed the front-page article in the New York Times last Saturday, with the one-column headline written in clipped newspaperese: “High Rice Cost Creating Fears of Asia Unrest.” But this little story could be an early warning of another big economic problem that’s sneaking up on us.

The new danger is global inflation — most worryingly in food prices, but also in prices for commodities, raw materials and products that require petroleum energy, which includes almost everything. Prices for these goods have been skyrocketing in international markets — at the same time the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been hosing the world with new money in their efforts to avoid a financial crisis.

That’s an explosive mixture. It risks a kind of inflation that would trigger panic buying, hoarding and fears of mass political protest. Actually, this is already happening in Asia, according to the Times.

The price of rice in global markets has nearly doubled in the last three months, reports the Times’s Keith Bradsher.
.
Fearing shortages, some major rice producers — including Vietnam, India, Egypt and Cambodia — have sharply limited their rice exports so they can be sure they can feed their own people.

Bradsher summarizes the evidence that food shortages and inflation are fueling political unrest: “Since January, thousands of troops have been deployed in Pakistan to guard trucks carrying wheat and flour. Protests have erupted in Indonesia over soybean shortage, and China has put price controls on cooking oil, grain, meat, milk and eggs. Food riots have erupted in recent months in Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen.”

World Bank President Robert Zoellick rang the alarm bell in a speech yesterday. He noted that since 2005, the prices of staples have risen 80 percent. The real price of rice rose to a 19-year high last month, he said, while the real price of wheat hit a 28-year high.

Zoellick warned that this inflation is having political repercussions: “The World Bank Group estimates that 33 countries around the world face potential political and social unrest because of the acute hike in food and energy prices.” To cope with the topsy-turvy economy, Zoellick made an innovative proposal that countries running a surplus, such as Saudi Arabia and China, devote 1 percent of their “sovereign wealth” funds to investment in Africa‘s poor countries. That could yield up to $30 billion in development spending.

Now, cut to the Federal Reserve. At a time when global inflation is raging, you might expect that the central bank’s first priority would be to dampen inflationary expectations in the United States. But because of its worries about a financial meltdown, the Fed has been doing the opposite — drastically cutting interest rates in an effort to unclog the financial markets. The cheap money didn’t stop the Wall Street bank run — it was the Fed’s bold plan to absorb subprime debt that did that — but it may well add fuel to the inflation fire.

Related:
Lowly Rice Grain Impacts Global Economy

Vietnam and India move to limit rice exports

Inflation and Food Shortages?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/02/AR2008040202997.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Consequences of Speedy Withdrawal From Iraq?

March 31, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 31, 2008

Every time I hear someone like Barack Obama talk about an immediate removal of American troops from Iraq, I say to myself: “you will condemn unknown millions to death and torture.”Even former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski believes a speedy U.S. troop removal will be a good thing.  And he said he supports Mr. Obama.

Writing in the Washington Post yesterday (March 30, 2008), Mr. Brzinski said, “The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for ‘staying the course’ draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush’s and Sen. John McCain’s forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of ‘falling dominoes’ that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.”

Ironically, many of the same liberals who demand an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq are the same ones who believe they are great protectors of human rights and also suffer from the dream that America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was justified and made Southeast Asia a better place.

The truth is: America’s departure from Vietnam meant death, torture and imprisonment for millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians. Both contries became communist — which is hardly a good thing. 

In my view, America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was the biggest tragedy of American foreign policy during the last century. America’s withdrawal from Vietnam is a gigantic black mark on America’s history.

Yesterday, Dith Pran died. Dith Pran is the person who called the carnage in Cambodia after America left Vietnam “The Killing Fields.”

Mr. Max Boot, writing in today’s Washington Post said, “Why am I not reassured by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s breezy assurance in Sunday’s Outlook section that ‘forecasts of regional catastrophe’ after an American pullout from Iraq are as overblown as similar predictions made prior to our pullout from South Vietnam? Perhaps because the fall of Saigon in 1975 really was a catastrophe. Another domino fell at virtually the same time — Cambodia.”

Mr. Boot continued, “Estimates vary, but a safe bet is that some two million people died in the killing fields of Cambodia. In South Vietnam, the death toll was lower, but hundreds of thousands were consigned to harsh ‘reeducation’ camps where many perished, and hundreds of thousands more risked their lives to flee as ‘boat people.’”

How do I know personally about the carnage of refugees when America departs from a far away war zone? I am married to a former prisoner of communism and a refugee who was born in Vietnam.

Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. My bride made it to America in 1998. She considers herself one of the “lucky ones.”

Just yesterday, as my wife and I were teaching English to Vietnamese-Americans, a man named Chien told me that in 1975 his father was given three days notice by the communists to report for reeducation. He was gone for six years and ten months. When he returned, he had lost nearly half his body weight due to overwork, malnourishment and harsh conditions with no medial care.

Chien’s father considered himself one of the “lucky ones” — because he had seen so many tortured and seen so many deaths.

One of the most degrading and harmful crimes committed against refugees is rape. Pirates, criminals, police, guards, soldiers even sometimes representatives of the United Nations have been known to rape refugees.

The criminal act of rape is not so much a sexual act of gratification, according to psychologists. Instead, in the case of refugees, it is a barbaric act of power, control and forced compliance with any order or directive.

After hearing countless stories of rape and humiliation related to me by Vietnamese refugees and “boat people” who fled communist Vietnam between 1975 and the late 1990s, I thought it might be useful to share some small bits of these stories without using the real names of any of the victims.

May was about 25 years old when she left Saigon and began to run away from communism and toward freedom. She traveled with her family to the sea coast and as a group they paid a broker about $1,000 per person for the privilege of leaving Vietnam by boat.

They transited by sea toward Thailand and freedom but they had never heard about the pirates plying the seas in search of the vulnerable and weak.

May’s entire family and everyone else in her boat suffered the horrible fate of being descended upon by armed pirates. Four Vietnamese men were killed in the attack and two more were slaughtered because they did not react quickly enough to the orders of the pirates. One man was beheaded by the pirates in front of the horrified refugee women and children.

May and all the other women in the boat were raped repeatedly. But, because she was one of the youngest and most beautiful women in the boat, May was singled out for special humiliation, abuse and torture. Her arms were tied so each spread out parallel to the deck and away from her torso. The lines were knotted painfully tight so that she could not move. She looked like someone subjected to crucifixion. Then her ankles were bound and tied so that her legs were apart. More than 22 men had they way with May before she lost consciousness.

When she regained the ability to think, she felt unbearable pain and shame and embarrassment. He own mother cut her down after the pirates left and tended to her bleeding.

When this refugee boat made landfall in Thailand, every woman was “rinsed out” without her own consent or authorization. The Thais didn’t want any pregnant refugees on their hands.

“And the cost of entering Thailand and the cost of entering the refugee camp was rape,” a Vietnamese American woman told us.

“My sister was raped 13 times,” she said.

“Many of my relatives disappeared. We are sure they must have been killed.”May wound up in the infamous Thai refugee center called “Sikhiew Camp.” She estimated that in her two year stay there she was raped about 60 more times.

Another Vietnamese woman named Suan told me a heartening story about the value of human life.

Like May, Suan was raped on the boat trip from Vietnam to Thailand. When she debarked from the boat in Thailand and saw the women being rinsed out, she faked an illness and refused the procedure. For some reason the Thai police sent her on her way to the refugee camp.

A few months later Suan realized that she was pregnant. All of her relatives and friends told her to abort the baby – and an old woman said she knew how to carry out the procedure as painlessly as possible.

Suan, a Roman Catholic who believed abortion to be a sin, prayed for two weeks for guidance. Then she told her mother she would need help having “her baby.”

Suan gave birth to a baby boy while in the refugee center. Today he is an American citizen who is a policeman in New England.

Suan’s decision to have her baby — a baby forced upon her by a man she didn’t know and didn’t love — turned out to be a good one. A real lesson in the value of human life and our ability to overcome hardship.

So when I hear people talk about quickly pulling American troops out of Iraq without discussing the implications for so many in that region who will then be at risk, I think about the refugees and their hardship. I live among them every day.

I live among the “lucky ones,” because millions died and we’ll never know how many.

Related:
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Plan to End Iraq War

How Not to End the War
By Max Boot

‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

Disaster of Hasty Withdrawal
By Henry Kissinger

Vietnam After the Fall of Saigon: 1975 Until Present

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part II)

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part I)

Thailand’s Criminal Abuse of Refugees: a Shameful 30+ Year Saga

How Not to End the War

March 31, 2008

 By Max Boot
The Washington Post
Monday, March 31, 2008; 12:00 AM

Why am I not reassured by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s breezy assurance in Sunday’s Outlook section that “forecasts of regional catastrophe” after an American pullout from Iraq are as overblown as similar predictions made prior to our pullout from South Vietnam? Perhaps because the fall of Saigon in 1975 really was a catastrophe. Another domino fell at virtually the same time — Cambodia.

Estimates vary, but a safe bet is that some two million people died in the killing fields of Cambodia. In South Vietnam, the death toll was lower, but hundreds of thousands were consigned to harsh “reeducation” camps where many perished, and hundreds of thousands more risked their lives to flee as “boat people.”

The consequences of the U.S. defeat rippled outward, emboldening communist aggression from Angola to Afghanistan. Iran’s willingness to hold our embassy personnel hostage — something that Brzezinski should recall — was probably at least in part a reaction to America’s post-Vietnam malaise. Certainly the inability of the U.S. armed services to rescue those hostages was emblematic of the “hollow,” post-Vietnam military. It took us more than a decade to recover from the worst military defeat in our history.

In a sense, however, we have never been able to shed its baleful legacy. Thirty years later, Ayman al Zawahiri acknowledged that he was still inspired by “the aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/28/AR2008032801729.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 

Related:
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Plan to End Iraq War

Refugees Suffer the Agony of Mankind’s Most Heinous Predators

For a real human story from Cambodia, start by reading:
‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

March 30, 2008
By RICHARD PYLE, Associated Press Writer 

NEW YORK – Dith Pran, the Cambodian-born journalist whose harrowing tale of enslavement and eventual escape from that country’s murderous Khmer Rouge revolutionaries in 1979 became the subject of the award-winning film “The Killing Fields,” died Sunday. He was 65.

New York Times photographer Dith Pran, sits with his wife Ser ...
New York Times photographer Dith Pran, sits with his wife Ser Moeun on the lawn outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, in this Tuesday, March 26, 1985, file photo in Beverly Hills, Calif. Dith Pran’s death from pancreatic cancer was confirmed Sunday, March 30, 2008, by journalist Sydney Schanberg, his former colleague at The New York Times. Pran was 65.(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

Dith died at a New Jersey hospital Sunday morning of pancreatic cancer, according to Sydney Schanberg, his former colleague at The New York Times. Dith had been diagnosed almost three months ago.

Dith was working as an interpreter and assistant for Schanberg in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, when the Vietnam War reached its chaotic end in April 1975 and both countries were taken over by Communist forces.

Schanberg helped Dith’s family get out but was forced to leave his friend behind after the capital fell; they were not reunited until Dith escaped four and a half years later. Eventually, Dith resettled in the United States and went to work as a photographer for the Times.

It was Dith himself who coined the term “killing fields” for the horrifying clusters of corpses and skeletal remains of victims he encountered on his desperate journey to freedom.

The regime of Pol Pot, bent on turning Cambodia back into a strictly agrarian society, and his Communist zealots were blamed for the deaths of nearly 2 million of Cambodia’s 7 million people.

“That was the phrase he used from the very first day, during our wondrous reunion in the refugee camp,” Schanberg said later.

With thousands being executed simply for manifesting signs of intellect or Western influence — even wearing glasses or wristwatches — Dith survived by masquerading as an uneducated peasant, toiling in the fields and subsisting on as little as a mouthful of rice a day, and whatever small animals he could catch.

After Dith moved to the U.S., he became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and founded the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project, dedicated to educating people on the history of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080330/ap_on_re_
us/obit_dith_pran;_ylt=Arc
OWvwrqg74aSwiWEliXBas0NUE

Vietnam and India move to limit rice exports

March 29, 2008

By Keith Bradsher
The International Herald Tribune
March 29, 2008

Vietnam and India on Friday tightened limits on rice exports, joining Egypt and Cambodia in trying to conserve scarce supplies for domestic consumption at the risk of triggering further increases in global rice prices, which have roughly doubled since the start of this year.Soaring prices for rice, a staple for nearly half the world’s population, are already causing hardship across the developing world, particularly for urban workers. Together with rising prices for other foods, from wheat and soybeans to pork and cooking oil, higher rice prices are also contributing to inflation in many developing countries.

Rice-importing countries have become increasingly desperate, with fast-food restaurants in the Philippines even cutting rice portions in half.

Ben Savage, a rice broker at Jackson Son & Co. in London, said that even before the latest restrictions by Vietnam and India, international rice trading had practically stopped as exporters had become reluctant to sell as they waited to see how high prices would go. “The market has pretty much ground to a halt for the past few weeks,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/28/business/rice.php

Inflation and Food Shortages?

March 28, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 29, 2008

There could be darker clouds ahead as inflation in seval parts of the globe is causing governments to diminish food exports.

Today Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, said it would cut exports by 22% this year, following similar moves by India and Egypt.

Analysts said the government of Vietnam wanted to stabilise domestic food prices.

Farmers work in a rice field in Dong Anh District in Hanoi,Vietnam, ...
 Farmers work in a rice field in Dong Anh District in Hanoi,Vietnam, Wednesday, March 26, 2008. A sharp rise in the price of rice is hitting consumer pocketbooks and raising fears of public turmoil in the many parts of Asia where rice is a staple.(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)


Vietnam’s inflation hit an estimated 16.4 percent in the first quarter, the highest rate in 13 years, according to government figures. Food prices were a main component of the increase, rising 21.5 percent in the January-March period compared with the same months last year.

In December Vietnam’s inflation rate was 10%.

The BBC reported Global rice prices have soared by 50% in the past two months raising supply concerns across many sectors of the world.

AFP reported from Egypt today that an advisor to the Commerce Minister announced a cutback in rice exports.

“We have taken this decision to provide for the needs of the local market,” Sayyed Abul Komsan, advisor to Commerce Minister Mohammed Rashid, told AFP.

Workers clean rice for packing at a market. Egypt is to suspend ...
Workers clean rice for packing at a market. Egypt is to suspend rice exports for six months, from April until October, to try to meet the demands of its own people hit by soaring food prices.(AFP/File/Tang Chhin Sothy)

“Rice is a staple food in Egypt and the main substitute for dough whose price has gone up following wheat price rises on the international market,” he explained.

Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, could face a shortage of rice at home after skyrocketing prices world-wide have encouraged traders to substantially increase their export volumes, Prasert Kosalwit, the director-general of the Rice Department, said yesterday.

The Philippines and Cambodia already have rice shortages.  Both countries import most of their rice from Vietnam and Thailand.

China subsidies

While rice prices have risen primarily because of increasing demand from population growth, they have also been lifted by poor recent crops in Vietnam.

Vietnam has been battling with rice infection and a small invasion of insect pests for two crop seasons.  China has sid it fears its own rice harvest will be impacted.

Neighbouring Cambodia has also recently introduced limits on rice exports.

China is the world’s biggest rice producer, but almost all of its crop is kept for the domestic market.

With the world’s largest population to feed, Beijing keeps rice prices subsidised.

It said on Friday that it would now pay farmers more for both rice and wheat in an attempt to boost crop production and cool surging inflation.

Related:
 Vietnam rice troubles could affect region

Lowly Rice Grain Impacts Global Economy