Rice is responsible for feeding half the world, or more than 3.5 billion people. In other words, rice is important. A tweak to how the grain is grown, sold or eaten can send ripples through the world economy. Take Thailand, which supplies 30 percent of the world's rice. Government subsidies there threaten to raise the price of putting dinner on the table in Mexico. GlobalPost takes a closer look at a tiny grain with a giant footprint.
BANGKOK, Thailand — In rice-reverent Thailand, the “fragrant jasmine” species is considered the champagne of grains. Prepared correctly, it fluffs exquisitely, clings to the fork and smells faintly of flowers.
Like champagne, it is deigned that only a select region — about five sun-baked provinces in Thailand’s northeast — can grow the best jasmine rice crops. Much of it ends up on ships bound for the United States, which imports more rice from Thailand than any other country.
This week, the birth of a baby somewhere took the world population past the 7 billion mark. That’s something to celebrate. Few thought the world could sustain that many people, ever – yet here we are. If you’re over 45, world population has doubled in your lifetime, and it’s still growing. But the news is not all good.
Can't wrap your head around the Horn of Africa food crisis? Tens of thousands of people have already died in Somalia and an estimated 13 million people have been affected. Somali refugees are entering Ethiopia and Kenya by the thousands.