The price of rice has increased dramatically in the first two months of 2008 according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the president of the Philippines, recently reached an agreement with Vietnam to guarantee a steady rice supply. Other Asian leaders are also trying to secure their imports. For much of Asia, industrialization has taken precedent over investment in agriculture causing shortfalls in rice production. Factories have taken precedent over rice patties and investment in machinery over research in agriculture.
Snapshot asks, will the rush to industrialize continue to push rice prices higher?
A top Democratic consultant in California suggests keeping a close eye on this initiative that appears on its way to the November ballot. The measure, backed by animal rights' groups including the Humane Society, would put limits on how farm animals may be confined. The agriculture lobby is rallying to defeat it. But even in an era where more than 70 percent of California initiatives fail, this measure is considered likely to pass.