London, April 24, IRNA -- British stores are starting to restrict the sale of bags of rice to protect dwindling supplies, it was reported Thursday.
The rationing is being introduced by the world's biggest retailer Wal-Mart, which owns the British supermarket chain ASDA in the UK, by limiting each customer in the US to a maximum of four bags of long- grain rice at its cash-and-carry stores.
In Britain, rice is being rationed by shopkeepers in Asian neighbourhoods to prevent hoarding in the wake of growing global food shortage and soaring prices, according to the Times newspaper.
Tilda, the biggest importer of basmati rice, said that its buyers, which includes restaurants, are restricting customers to two bags per person.
"It is happening in the cash-and-carries," said Tilda company executive Jonathan Calland. "I heard from our sales force that one lady went into a cash-and-carry and tried to buy eight 20kg bags," he was quoted saying.
Global rice prices have more than doubled in the past year partly because countries such as China and India - whose economies are booming - are buying more food from abroad.
At the same time, key rice producers have banned exports of rice to ensure that their own people could continue to afford to buy the staple food.
The retail price of white Basmati rice in Britain has increased by 61 per cent in the past year, according to research carried out by comparison website MySupermarket.
This compares with a 15 per cent rise in the average weekly food shopping by a family of four.
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