Rice prices in Cambodia have soared in the last year. The pile of rice on the left shows what your money buys today, and on the right, what you would have got for the same money just a year ago.

No one in Cambodia really knows why the price of their rice has risen 50 per cent in six months, and tripled over the last two years. What bewilders these rice farmers is how, after two years of good harvest, this catastrophe – and it is a catastrophe, for a people who get 60 per cent of their nutrition from rice – could have come about. They know there’s no shortage of rice