From Washington Post:
World rice production will hit a record high this year, but increasing demand and restrictions on exports will keep prices high, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday.
Global prices of staple foods have risen more than 40 percent in the past year, leading to shortages, hoarding and riots in some developing countries. Rice prices have soared 76 percent since December, and world stocks are at their lowest since the early 1980s.
Concepción Calpe, a senior economist at the Rome-based FAO, said that according to preliminary forecasts, world production this year could grow by about 2.3 percent, reaching a record of 666 million tons. "Prices are expected to remain extremely firm, at least until the third quarter of 2008, unless restrictions on exports are eased in the coming months," she said.