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Rising food prices feed security concerns

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Rising rice and global food prices have stoked food security concerns. In some places, that's led to protests and concerns that the escalating costs of staple foods may increasingly influence social and political stability.

Some Asian nations have taken action in the face of rising rice prices and debate over food security. India has restricted some rice exports, Indonesia has raised taxes on palm oil shipments, and Malaysia is building up rice stocks.

Rising global food prices have already caused political fallout; one analyst, in an United Press International editorial, says that Pakistan's food ration cards contributed to the unpopularity of President Pervez Musharraf.

In Asia this week, rice prices surged to a 20-year high in the latest sign of global food inflation. Governments are concerned that rice shortages will strain social cohesion, possibly leading to social unrest. Economists such as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen have described rice as a critical component of food and overall human security in developing countries in Asia. The rising prices may create policy challenges in Asia, reports the Financial Times.

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