WASHINGTON (AP) -- A development think tank says the era of "cheap rice" when technological advances drove down prices of Asia's staple food may be over, but that could be good news for farm laborers.
While the rising cost of rice will hurt poor urban consumers, particularly in parts of Africa that import rice from Asia, higher wages could help yank many Asian agricultural workers out of poverty.
The conclusions come in a report Thursday by the London-based Overseas Development Institute.
It says rice prices fell from the early 1970s to the early 2000s due to improved use of seeds, fertilizer and irrigation. But prices began to rise in 2002, and never returned to previous levels after they spiked during the global food crisis of 2007-08, when rice prices on world markets tripled.