With the news stories full of rice shortages and high prices, it seems strange to read in Salon that record harvests are predicted this year by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The increase could be even greater if recent appeals and incentives to grow rice result in additional cultivation. You’d think it would be good news, but apparently, “The increase in production won’t be enough to significantly dent high prices.”

Huh?

It all comes down to supply and demand—and it would seem that we’re demanding a greater supply of rice these days. According to the FAO, “Average world rice consumption per person is set to increase by 0.5 percent to 57.3 kilo per year, up from 57 kilo in 2007.” Though it’s unclear if that increase is due to larger portion size or greater frequency of consumption, one thing is certain: These days we like our rice, more than ever before.

Personally, I blame the sushi craze.

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