There have been a couple of recent articles citing a World Food Programme (WFP) report on food shortages here. The June 2007 WFP report was based on the situation as it stood in early April 2007. At that time, the wet season had been late and brief. Many rice paddies that should have been wet and soggy were bone dry.
I invite anyone to correct me here, but I understood that unseasonal rains in June kicked off an unseasonal additional planting. And hence, the local supply situation changed.
I recall an acquaintance arriving fresh off the boat and being gobsmacked at the plentiful supply of food available in the local markets. He had come expecting that food supplies were critical. When relatives ask me if I am having trouble obtaining food, you realise it is all about perceptions. I am OK – the farmer way up in the hills is the one with the problem.
The January rice shortage was related to stuffing up the supply of imported rice which TL requires every year. For the past few months, I have noted regular large shipments of imported rice coming in. These rice arrivals are noticeable as they are accompanied by a fleet of over-laden trucks escorted by UN police.
Anyway, I am not sure one can keep quoting the WFP report and its expected 30% shortfall in staple grains. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with beefing things up in an attempt to reduce the reliance on imported staples.