Friday, April 25, 2008

110# Of Rice

The wife and I bought 110 pounds of rice in the past two days. I bought ten pounds of basmati rice and today we bought 100 pounds of jasmine rice.

The Tilda brand basmati rice cost about $13.00 for the ten pounds, this is not way out of line with my expectations. However, the store I bought it from was out today and who knows what the price is going to be when they get more in stock.

The jasmine rice cost us about $40.00/50# and the store proprietor informed us she was about to raise the prices by about $2.00/50#. The rice price is rising faster than gasoline. Last I recall paying for a 50# bag of rice was about half of that, $20-$23.

A lot of noise is being made how this is all ethanol's fault. While I think it wrong-headed to provide subsidies to divert food products into energy products (energy for non-humans) I am very skeptical about ethanol's culpability in the rice crisis. There are reports the rice harvest this year was way down and producers are limiting exports to cover their own nutritional needs. I think that the most likely cause. Domestic US rice prices were still reasonable. I do not believe many of the lands where there is a rice crisis subsist on cheap corn and are forced to eat rice due to corn diversion. Central and South American nations may be in that situation, but my guess is Southeast Asian nations are not.

The rush to blame ethanol production is more blame the US for the world's woes.

What else may be underlying this? Oil costs. Don't think by oil costs I mean gasoline. Oil means a lot more than gasoline. Oil means fertilizer, oil means plastics, oil means other vital synthesized chemicals vital to our modern life. I mean gasoline and more.

Still I am not convinced it is all petroleum.

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