Fears grow that El Nino will create global rice shortage

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rice shortage

All of Asia is expected to suffer a major rice shortage after production has been hit by El Niño and other extreme weather patterns.

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Experts believe the shortage will spark an international pricing issue that will cause many to go without.

A report in The Independent,  quotes the International Rice Research Institute  as saying: “There is no doubt that the supply situation is very tight, and this will inevitably cause a spiral in demand.

“The extent of this crisis all depends on what happens during the upcoming monsoon season. If it goes badly in India and Indonesia and the crops don’t get the rain, there could be real trouble ahead.”

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The Indian monsoon season lasts from July to September and helps supply 4/5th of the country’s annual rain on average.

El Niño is a major fluctuation in the Earth’s climate system, including changes in the sea-surface temperature.

During the 2008 crisis in Asia, which devastated rice crops, India imposed a blanket ban on exports. This created the highest ever recorded prices for rice, topping out at $1,000 per ton.

Thailand has issued a warning that this year’s rice production will fall to under 15.8 million tons, or about half of its normal peak at 30 million.

Vietnam has said that nearly 600,000 acres of rice paddy fields have been destroyed by heavy drought and salination in theMekong Delta region.

Vietnam built one million wells during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, but has not stopped the salination problem that contaminate its harvested products.

The climatic event is crippling countries that rely heavily on rice imports. Now the Philippines is in the midst of debates whether to import an extra 500,000 tons of rice this year in an effort to boost state reserve stocks in case of a rice shortage.

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