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Workers from the Philippines' National Food Authority bag kilos of cheap imported rice from Vietnam on April 01, 2008 in Manila. President Gloria Arroyo has promised to import more rice from neighboring countries to replenish stocks of the staple grain amid a supply crunch that could cause sharp price hikes. - 


Scott Jagow: The price of rice hasn't so nice lately, if you have to import it, that is. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports has more.

Jeff Tyler: Nigeria is the world's third largest buyer of rice. But lately, Nigerian rice traders have been on the sidelines, betting prices would fall. Just the opposite has happened. Colin Carter is a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis.

Colin Carter: Any importer that has put off buying rice is faced with significantly higher prices -- 60 to 70 percent higher than what they were a few months ago.

International demand is greater than the supply of available rice. That's led several key rice-growing countries to impose export restrictions -- resulting in even tighter supplies. Prices are also being driven by some of the same forces boosting all commodities -- a weak dollar and high fuel prices. Ironically, oil profits could help petroleum-rich Nigeria offset the cost of its more expensive rice.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace

Follow Jeff Tyler at @JeffMarketplace