Rice-a-Grams

Here’s an unexpected twist in the ongoing global food crisis. From the Washington Post:

Filipinos in the Washington region say the unthinkable has become fairly common in recent months: Migrants are stuffing sacks of rice into care packages known as balikbayan boxes and shipping them to the Philippines, where shortages have led to soaring prices and rationing. Area immigrants from Haiti, where skyrocketing prices have sparked riots, are boosting orders of food from U.S.-based money transfer agents. The orders are plucked from the shelves of warehouses in Haiti and delivered to recipients within hours.

And as the Post notes, sending rice to the Philippines is a little like sending coal to Newcastle.

This trend might have been much wider, but it turns out the Philippines and Haiti are among the few countries immigrants can easily send food or goods to instead of cash. Of course, there’s an obvious complication, in that rice prices aren’t stable here, either: “A 25-pound bag of the Thai jasmine rice preferred by Filipinos hovers around $20, up from about $12.75 six weeks ago.”

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