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Rice: Prices

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the rising cost of rice on the poorest developing countries. (202574)

The UK Government are very concerned about the effect of rising food prices, including rice, on developing countries, where the poorest can spend as much as 90 per cent. of their income on food. Rice prices are now over $1,000 a tonne, in part due to additional demand as some governments seek to replenish strategic food reserves.

There are already 850 million people who don't get enough to eat, and as prices rise these numbers will increase. That is why the UK Government have announced a £455 million aid package to provide assistance to those hardest hit and taken the lead by calling for the international community to urgently develop a co-ordinated strategy to tackle this critical problem.