Rice Rationing

While we're on the subject of rice, MSNBC reports:

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Sam’s Club, the membership warehouse division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is limiting how much rice customers can buy because of what it calls “recent supply and demand trends,” the company said Wednesday

The broader chain of Wal-Mart stores has no plans to limit food purchases, however.

Sam’s Club said it will limit customers to four bags at a time of Jasmine, Basmati and long grain white rice. Rice prices have been hitting record highs recently on worries about tight supplies as part of broader global inflation in food costs.

Howls of outrage from the local "Passage To India" and "Lucky Pot Chinese" establishments were not included in this article. Probably because:

The warehouse chain caters heavily to small businesses, including restaurants. Spokeswoman Kristy Reed said she could not comment on whether the problem was caused by short supplies or by customers stocking up in anticipation of higher prices.

So gentle readers, the next time your Indian curry night cookout is ruined by lack of basmati, you know who's hoarding the grain.

The whole affair is sadly reminiscent of the Great Dal Shortage of 2006 when:

The Indian government's decision to ban the export of dal (lentils) has hit Indian Americans hard.

The ban, imposed in June, has resulted in the commodity getting scarce in Indian grocery stores in the US, with prices almost doubling at some places.

"The minute (the ban) was announced, wholesalers put up the price," Jalil Hay, owner of an Indian grocery store in Stockton, California, told India New England , an ethnic newspaper. "(Prices) have almost doubled and tripled."

Ouch! Forget the recession, the lack of dal-bhaat (rice/lentils) is the one-two punch that's likely to hurt us Indian Americans the most.

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- April 23, 2008 4:02 PM // Diaspora , Food