The Philippines announced a ban April 17 on converting farmland to other uses in the latest government move to cut imports of rice, which has more than doubled in price since the beginning of the year. With a global food crisis deepening, the Philippines – the world’s top importer of rice – said the ban was aimed at property developers who have been cashing in on a booming property market by snapping up choice farmland. Agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman said the indefinite ban had taken effect immediately and was intended to tackle “the unabated conversion of prime agricultural lands for real estate development.” (AFP)

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