Home Special Reports The Rising Price of Food Across Asia: What Has Gone Wrong

The Rising Price of Food Across Asia

May 19th, 2008 by Rebecca Henschke 

The price of rice, wheat and cooking has sky rocketed since the start of the year. Global food stocks are at their lowest level in 25 years.

Asia’s staple food is going beyond the reach of the poor. Some fear food riots and instability as millions could starve.

In a series of features from our correspondent across the region we investigate the impact of the shortage, the reason why and possible solutions to the crisis.

Cambodian School Children Drop out of School after the WFP Stops Providing Rice

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Global stocks of rice are at their lowest in two decades.

As a result rice prices have more than doubled since the start of the year.

The United Nations World Food Programme’s spokesperson, Paul Risley, says the “poorest of the poor” will go hungry because their agency can’t afford to buy rice.

“For us this is a very immediate crisis. We have had individual suppliers breaking contracts with us because they realize they cannot afford to provide rice at the price they’ve committed to. That means we end up with a shortfall. In Cambodia, we have been forced to cut back on school distributions. That means children in Cambodia will go without WFP-supported feedings because of the very high price of rice.”

As of this month the United Nations World Food Program has suspended free breakfasts to nearly half a million schoolchildren.

Sorn Sarath from VOD went to visit one of the schools affected to see the impact.

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 June 2009 17:52 )

Golf Courses, Developers Nibble at Asia’s Rice Paddies

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From Bali to Vietnam, rice paddies are being replaced by golf courses, hotels and industrial parks.

As Asian economies surge people are choosing less labor-intensive work than farming.

This is cutting into the rice production and is factor causing the rice shortage crisis.

Rebecca Henschke and Muliarta speaks with an endangered dieing species on the island of Bali-rice farmers.

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 June 2009 17:48 )

Bangladesh Stops Rice Subsidy Program Amidst Sky-high Prices

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In Bangladesh there a mounting fears of a famine after the government stopped providing subsidies rice this week.

Prices of all essential goods have almost doubled this year, putting staple food well out of reach of millions of people.

Adding to the suffering is the fact rice storehouses are not releasing their stock in attempt to maximize their profit.

Michael Leung reports on the impact this is having on the people of Dhaka.

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 June 2009 17:31 )

Pakistan faces wheat shortage crisis

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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has survived a constitution crisis and terrorist attacks, but it is the challenge of supplying flour to Pakistan that could be his undoing.

As the election approaches, the main grievance of voters is the severe shortfall and skyrocketing price for wheat flour used to make bread or roti, a staple of the Pakistani people’s diet.

The price of a 20-kilogram bag of flour has double in the past few months.

As Mudassar Shah reports from Rawalpindi this is causing suffering across the country.


China’s food prices double

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The Chinese economy has expanded by 11.4% over the past year, reaching its fastest growth rate in 13 years.

Increased exports and a boom in the construction industry helped the rapid expansion during 2007.

But officials warned that overheating remains a danger.

Inflation is also a serious concern.

Visit any Chinese market and customers will tell you that prices are on the rise.

Over the last two years, China’s food prices have sky-rocketed with some goods now more than double their original price.

Elise Potaka has more.

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