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 Food riots not our fault - farmers


[b]Food riots not our fault - farmers[/b]

AUSTRALIAN farmers have been blamed for worldwide food shortages that have sparked riots in some places.

Local officials have been baffled by allegations in the New York Times this week that Australia’s rice industry – which produces only about 2 per cent of the global supply – is to blame for worldwide food shortages.

The article - A Drought in Australia, a Global Shortage of Rice - said the drought-led decline of the Australian industry was a factor in violent protests in more than a dozen countries because of food shortages.

“The collapse of Australia’s rice production is one of several factors contributing to a doubling of rice prices in the last three months — increases that have led the world’s largest exporters to restrict exports severely, spurred panicked hoarding in Hong Kong and the Philippines, and set off violent protests in countries including Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, the Philippines, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Yemen,” the article said.

A spokesman for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) said Australia's rice exports - which measured just 602,000 tonnes in 2000-01 financial year - “don’t have a lot of weight” when compared to the 30 million tonnes of rice traded globally each year.

read more: http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,23636,23559753-31037,00.html


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