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Farmers issue urgent call to central gov't to lessen rice price hikes

TAIPEI -- In the face of rising prices for rice, the Changhua County Farmers' Association urged the central government Sunday to investigate and prevent high prices from hurting both farmers and consumers.

The prices for indica rice and japonica rice in the central agriculture-based county have surged to record highs of NT$41.43 (US$1.38) per kilogram and NT$40.62 per kilogram, respectively, said Liao Chen-hsien, an executive at the association, citing statistics from the Council of Agriculture.

Prices have been driven up by a falling harvest caused by typhoons and plant diseases last year, said Liao, who has toured the county's major rice production hub of Tianjhong Township to get to the bottom of the issue.

“Although prices have gone up, farmers are not making money but rather losing it because the rice output has been too low,” he said.

While urging authorities in Taipei to look into whether distributors are hoarding the grain, he also called for a release of rice stocks to deflate prices.

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