Thursday, 26 June 2008

In the rice basket and bazaars of Iran, they feel the pain

CHALUS, Iran: From the lush paddies of northern Iran to the dusty grain bazaars of Tehran, the pain and paradoxes of rising food and fuel prices are starkly on display.
Rice prices have more than doubled in Iran since March, but farmers working from sunrise to sunset in the rice-growing northern region around Chalus, a city on the Caspian Sea, say little of that money goes into their pockets.
"Traders bought our rice very cheap. They have put it in storage and now capital investors are selling it for a high price," Baqer Kefayati said at his farm in Dasht-e Nesha. "We did not make a profit, but traders did."
Capital investors are wealthy traders who buy rice wholesale from farmers. Dealers buy rice in small amounts from capital investors and sell it to shops. They act as brokers and tend not to make large sums of money.
Some brokers blame the government, saying its tardiness this year in importing rice, a staple in Iran, helped fuel the price increase by creating a vacuum that could be exploited.

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