Food Riots and the Price of Rice

So yesterday I was complaining about the moving blues. I finished up the blog reminding myself how lucky I actually am compared to my neighbors. Over the past week, I have come across several articles about the food riots that are occurring around the world.

There was a story in the Wall Street Journal last week about food riots breaking out in various spots around the world since food prices have risen by 83% over the past three years. One of the more startling images was the one that came from reading about the head of the World Bank holding up a 2 kilogram bag of rice which he said would cost a poor family in Bangladesh half of their daily income. Startling to me because I live in a family that believes that if you haven’t had rice, you haven’t eaten. Figure that a poor family will eat rice, a few vegetables, and maybe a small bit of meat (maybe dried fish or some chicken) and that’s their diet. In our family of five we go through a 25 kg sack of rice per week or about 3.5 kilos per day. So for us, if we were poor, we’d spend almost all of our money just for rice. So what happens when someone needs medical care, or money for school books, or clothes? Where’s the margin for survival?

The World Bank President Robert Zoellick was quoted as saying that 33 countries were at risk of having social disturbances because of rising food prices, including Indonesia in the countries that he mentioned.


~ by drbrucepk on May 2, 2008.

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