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Since 2006, the average price for rice has risen 217%, wheat has risen by 136%, maize by 125% and soybeans by 107%. The cost increases have caused economic instability and civil unrest in several poor and undeveloped nations.
Some countries affected by the global food crisis are:
• Brazil: The Brazilian government announced a temporary ban on the export of rice in April to protect domestic consumers from increasing food prices.
• Egypt: On April 8, violence broke out in the city of Mahalla when demonstrators took to the streets as prices of certain foods, especially bread, doubled.
• Myanmar: Once considered the world’s top rice producer, Myanmar’s exports of rice have decreased over the last four decades, from nearly 4 million tons to only 40,000 tons last year. Also, Cyclone Nargis devastated many of nation’s rice-growing districts on May 3, where nearly 65% of Myanmar’s rice is produced.
• Yemen: Thousands of demonstrators protested in response to rising food prices, burning police stations and creating roadblocks. Army tanks and other military vehicles were deployed to quell the violence. The government claimed there were over a hundred arrests, with no deaths and several others injured. However, residents assert that one person was killed.