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The Forum > Article Comments > The rice crisis: what needs to be done? > Comments

The rice crisis: what needs to be done? : Comments

By Robert Zeigler, published 19/6/2008

In the first few months of 2008, the export price of rice tripled. Several countries experienced rice protests and riots.

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What needs to be done?
Those 9 points listed need to be accommodated by one more.

At the top of the list should be the fundamental necessity of assistance for cessation of ever-increasing demand.

For instance women in the country which is the home of the International Rice Research Institute, The Philippines, have access to neither the ability nor the right to control their own fertility. Currently the Philippines population expands at the rate of 2.1 per cent a year set to double in about 33 years.

It is not a situation that those women want. It also puts an impossible burden upon the skills of those working for agricultural improvement, so why are their advocates censoring any mention of it from their articles?
Posted by colinsett, Thursday, 19 June 2008 10:01:27 AM
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The first in-depth article what is behind the Food Crisis, with hard verifiable data. Thanks.

There are a lot of words, but in essence I think he is saying that population growth has outstripped rice production growth for some time, but there has been enough slack in the system to keep this hidden until the recent conflagration of events like bio-fuels and drought. The current price hike will pass, but we are witnessing the first warning shot crossing the bow.

He also says the only real option we have to staving off starvation in the future is to throw more money at rice research so yearly rice yields match population growth. There is an implicit underlying assumption that it will work. Is there any basis for this assumption? I thought we have picked all the low hanging R&D fruit long ago.

colinsett: "The Philippines, have access to neither the ability nor the right to control their own fertility. Currently the Philippines population expands at the rate of 2.1 per cent a year set to double in about 33 years."

Ye gods. That means we will see a Malthusian on our door step in my lifetime. My goal was to leave that problem to my kids. I do hope Marilyn Shepherd has calmed down by then, otherwise with 180 million starving people looking longingly at our food she is going to have an apoplexy. Maybe we could get some peace and quite by sending her over there to look after them all.
Posted by rstuart, Thursday, 19 June 2008 11:55:59 AM
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The issue of market regulation arises in the consideration of the rice crisis. While market regulation usually is ineffectual and inefficent, there is sometimes a need for regulation when the market is seriously distorted by factors such as speculation . I would think this need is increased by the statistics given about the effect of the crisis on the poor - morality does come into the balance with economics.
Posted by ORAMZI, Thursday, 19 June 2008 5:05:16 PM
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An informative and useful article - thanks.
Posted by Mercurius, Friday, 20 June 2008 2:58:10 AM
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