25 Mar 2008

Rice price hike adds to Fiji poverty

1:29 pm on 25 March 2008

The Fiji Consumer Council says an expected increase in the price of rice will push more people below the poverty line.

The price of rice is expected to go up worldwide as there's a global shortage.

Rice has become a staple food in Fiji, but the country produces only 1/8th of its needs.

The consumer council's chief executive officer, Premila Kumar, says a higher price for rice will mean hardship for many consumers.

"When it comes to price determination, everything is kept under tab. But how it's going to affect the consumer? It will affect them very badly, because that's one item which is found in the shopping basket every week. People buy rice. It's simply pushing more people below the poverty line."

Premila Kumar says people could look at alternatives, such as buying root crops, but she says these foods are also quite expensive.