Global Rice Shortage Driving up Prices in Africa’s Largest Slum
Rice prices are up dramatically in places like Africa’s largest slum, Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. A 55-pound bag of rice has risen in cost from June to August 2023 by about 20 percent.
By Saurav Sarkar
The Associated Press reported that rice prices are up dramatically in places like Africa’s largest slum, Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. A 55-pound bag of rice has risen in cost from June to August 2023 by about 20 percent, said the AP.
Global rice exports are at about 80 percent of needed supply. That, says the AP, amounts to 10.4 million tons that the world’s markets are short.
The proximate cause of the shortage is India’s government’s decision in July 2023 to restrict exports. India is the world’s leading exporter of rice. With its government’s choice ahead of next year’s elections, competitors like Vietnam are looking to take advantage of the shortfall even as they too attempt to curb domestic inflation.
However, even before India’s move, other countries had begun stockpiling rice in anticipation of weather brought on by the El Nino effect, expected to be more extreme than in the past. Moreover, global food security is threatened by other factors as well. These include wheat prices rising with the Russia-Ukraine war and other impacts of climate change besides El Nino.
Saurav Sarkar is a freelance writer and editor who covers political activism and labor movements. They live in Long Island, New York, and have also lived in New York City, New Delhi, London, and Washington, D.C. Follow them on Twitter @sauravthewriter and at sauravsarkar.com.
from the Globetrotter News Service