Following on from our recent blog on the world rice shortage, the latest news from Vietnam confirms that the problem is getting worse.
Vietnam is the usually 5th largest producer of rice, and the 3rd largest exporter, of rice in the world.
But all this has changed with disease and pests attacking the rice crops both last year and this.
And there doesn’t seem to be an answer to the problem at present.
The rice-dependent part of the world is reeling from crop failures, and shortages, and is nervously waiting to see if the rice diseases and pests spread from Vietnam into neighbouring major rice producing countries (such China, Thailand and Cambodia).
You can read an article on Vietnam’s current problems on Yahoo.
As a result of their problems, Vietnam has placed heavy restrictions on rice exports to try and ensure that the local population has access to the most important of their staple foods.
So Vietnam joins a list of countries (India, China and Egypt) that has banned, or restricted, rice exports so that their own people can eat. But the price of rice is rising in those countries despite these actions.
So what this mean for you and me? Higher prices for rice are inevitable as countries that buy rice compete against each other for a diminishing supply. And there may be shortages in your local supermarket as well, although it is too early to see if this actually happens.
My local supermarket does not seem to have noticed any problems in the rice market because my favourite basmati rice was on sale this weekend with 30% off the regular price. But, as the world’s rice supplies do dry up, the prices WILL rise.
At the end of the day, I can afford to pay more for my rice. It’s the masses in South East Asia who have a far bigger problem in finding affordable food.