The price of rice, a staple in the diets of nearly half the world’s population, has almost doubled on international markets in the last three months.
That has pinched the budgets of millions of poor Asians and raised fears of civil unrest.
Shortages and high prices for all kinds of food have caused tensions and even violence around the world in recent months.
Since January, thousands of troops have been deployed in Pakistan to guard trucks carrying wheat and flour. Protests have erupted in Indonesia over soybean shortages, and China has put price controls on cooking oil, grain, meat, milk and eggs. Food riots have erupted in recent months in Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen.