A Commentary by Maximo Torero

Thailand’s rice exporters are warning that the country’s 2012 rice exports could drop by as much as 30-40 percent as the result of a proposed government policy that would guarantee fixed prices for both plain white rice and jasmine rice. The Pheu Thai Party, which was elected into power in July, has promised farmers fixed prices of 15,000 baht ($US 500) per ton for plain white rice and 20,000 baht (US$ 667) per ton for jasmine rice.

GIEWS has released its Global Food Price Monitor for September 2011, citing continued record high prices in East Africa.

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According to FEWS NET, the prevalence of malnutrition and the rate of crude mortality have surpassed famine thresholds in the Bay Region of southern Somalia. A combination of poor crop production and deteriorating purchasing power has pushed poor households in this region into massive food deficits. Due to this rapidly deteriorating situation, the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and FEWS NET have now classified this region as IPC Phase 5 Famine.

FEWS NET has released its Global Price Watch for August, citing slightly declining prices in some regions of East Africa and continued high staple food prices in Central America.

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Download the August Annex.

In June, the US Senate voted in favor of a deal to end a 45-cent-per-gallon subsidy for the ethanol industry, as well as a 54-cent-per-gallon ethanol tariff. Originally decried by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as a move that would cost American jobs, lead to less choice for consumers, and further dependence on foreign oil sources, the proposal is seen as progress by those who fear that using crops for fuel can destabilize the food and feed markets and lead to higher food prices.

The USDA Economic Research Service has released the latest global outlooks for wheat, rice, feed crops, and oil crops.

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Download rice outlook

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GIEWS has released its latest Global Food Price Monitor for August 2011. According to the report, international wheat prices have continued their three-month decline, while international rice prices continue to rise. Cereals prices in Eastern Africa remain generally high, with several countries seeing new peaks.

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After two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, the Horn of Africa is experiencing the region's worst drought in 60 years. Drought conditions have led to widespread crop failure and livestock deaths, as well as increasing food prices. Somalia now faces famine conditions in the southern part of the country.

GIEWS has just released an update on flooding in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Due to excessive rainfall in July, the southern provinces are experiencing severe flooding and localized crop damage.

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Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Keep up to date on the latest reports from FAO GIEWS on the ongoing food security crisis in the Horn of Africa. This page will be regularly updated with new information and resources released by GIEWS.

Drought-related Food Insecurity: A Focus on the Horn of Africa
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Famine Thresholds Surpassed in Somalia