Among the ironies of the world’s response to rising oil prices is diverting food production in order to expand ethanol resources which has resulted in large shortages of basic foods such as rice. The result is rising food prices which threaten the survival of millions of people. Under leadership of Thailand’s prime minister, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar have agreed to join with Thailand in creating a rice cartel which would control the price of rice much as OPEC controls oil prices. The new organization, OREC, would agree to collaborate on setting production and price goals for the partiicpating nations. Premier Samak Sundaravej of Thailand said: “I have talked with Mynmar and invited them to join the rice exporting xountries cartel which will.. fix the price(of rice)”
This organization could prove beneficial if it raised rice production and maintained low prices, but, if history is any precedent, it will most probably set prices that benefit members of the cartel, not consumers in other nations.