Global rice shortage

Global rice shortage

The price of rice around the world has risen by as much as 70% in the past year, as global demand has outstripped supply.

This has hit some of the poorest countries hardest.

A queue for rice in Dhaka, Bangladesh

The rice shortage has caused long queues in Dhaka

In Bangladesh for example, the price of a kilo of coarse rice has doubled over the past year, which has had a huge impact as it is the staple food of the poorest people.

Many families, especially in the cities, rely on government-subsidised rice to survive.

Despite this, food takes up a large part of their income.

Frequently it means people are having to cut the number of meals they eat.

Mark Dummett is in Dhaka.

Listen Listen to Mark Dummett's report (3 mins 48 secs)

The price rise has been caused by several factors: rising demand in the Middle East and Africa; the fact that productivity rates have not caught up in those areas; and the fact that industrialisation in parts of Asia has meant that land has been given over to industry rather than agriculture.

The human cost of all this is high too, as Jonathan Head reports from the Philippines.

Listen Listen to Jonathan Head's report (4 mins 50 secs)

The price hike of such a staple food has also led to riots in Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Rice being harvested in California

American farmers have benefited from the high price

However, there are those for whom the soaring prices are good news.

The United States, for example, which is the fourth largest exporter of rice in the world.

John Alter is a rice farmer in the US state of Arkansas.

Listen Listen to John Alter (2 mins 55 secs)

But what does that mean for the people of India?

The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder is in Delhi.

Listen Listen to Sanjoy Majumder (1 min 28 secs)

First broadcast 11th April

To read more about the global food crisis click here