"Floods Drown Asia's Rice Bowl"

"Massive floods have ravaged vast swathes of Asia's rice bowl, threatening to further drive up food prices and adding to the burden of farmers who are among the region's poorest, experts say."

"About 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of paddy fields in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have been damaged or are at risk from the worst floods to hit the region in years, officials say.

In Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, where 237 people have died in the floods, about one million hectares of paddy -- roughly 10 percent of the total -- have been damaged, they say.

Heavy rains in Laos and Cambodia have also led to big losses in recent weeks, and experts say flood waters have now drained into Vietnam's Mekong Delta, a key global rice producer, making it the latest to be inundated.

Further west, flooding of rice and other farmland in Pakistan's arable belt has cost that country nearly $2 billion in losses."

Ian Timberlake reports for AFP October 5, 2011.

Source: AFP, 10/06/2011