Asian countries have been struggling to cope as the cost of rice has reached record levels.
The price of the staple crop has risen by as much as 70% during the last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), with increases accelerating in recent weeks
Rice prices hit the $1,000-a-tonne level for the first time on Thursday as panicking importers scrambled to secure supplies, exacerbating the tightness already provoked by export restrictions in Vietnam, India, Egypt, China and Cambodia.
The jump came as the Philippines, the largest rice importer, failed for the fourth time to secure as much rice as it wanted.
The unsuccessful tender followed Bangladesh’s inability to buy any rice at all this week.
The global agricultural crisis is threatening to become a political one, pitting the United States and other developed countries against the developing world over the need for affordable food versus the need for renewable energy.
Many poorer nations worry that subsidies from rich countries to support biofuels, which turn food, like corn, into fuel, are pushing up the price of staplesThe World Bank and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization both called on major agricultural countries to overhaul policies to avoid a social explosion from rising food prices.