Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand urged the nation to eat less rice, pay the extra cost of it, and maintain a happy face in order to allow rice farmers to get a better price and export more rice. He said the people of Thailand should be happy that higher rice prices mean farmers are able to sell their rice stocks at more than double the usual price paid to exporters. “If you sacrifice and pay more for rice–a bit more, not much more– it will benefit farmers.” Latest figures indicate the people of Thailand have just started to to that–eat less rice. The price of rice has risen nearly 50% in a month causing the average person to watch carefully how much is purchased and to eat every morsel of rice served.
In actuality, few rice farmers keep the paddy for more than a few days or weeks. The typical farmer sells his rice almost immediately and most probably has not economically benefited from rising prices. In all probability, middle men are making the extra money, not farmers.
The world is entering a new era of extreme food shortages and this may well have a profound political impact on life. Telling people to eat less is certainly not a long-term solution.