Reduce pasta prices, say Italians

Published: Monday 15 October 2007

Symbolic strike (Credit: REUTERS)Pasta-loving Italians observed a one-day 'no-pasta-buying' strike on September 13. The move was to protest against the recent 20 per cent rise in the price of Italy's national dish.

Consumers' groups said the protest was to seek the government intervention to reduce pasta prices. An increase in the price of durum wheat, the main ingredient for Italian pasta, in recent months, has forced manufacturers to pass on the cost. The price of durum flour has risen from 0.26 per kg (us $0.36) to 0.45 per kg (us $0.62) in the last two months.

Local media reports say the price rise is due to a shortage of wheat because farmers, particularly in North America, are switching to growing crops for biofuel. Canada, which dominates the global durum market, has said it won't have extra durum until November. Syria, Italy's other durum supplier, has also cut exports.

Surging wheat prices is also showing its impact in the central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, where bread prices have gone up by 50 per cent.

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