Why is rice so expensive in Taiwan

Rice in supermarkets in Taiwan appears to be much more expensive than in many neighbouring and Western countries. Typical prices in many countries there are around 1 USD per kg of rice, but in Taiwan the price typically is at least twice as high. Why is this? Are there huge import duties on rice in Taiwan keeping the rice price artificially high to support local farmers or am I just looking at wrong prices?

Taiwan has a multilayered produce distribution system that I’m sure chips in. To spitball a bit, I suspect that land values and demand are an inherent factor as well; the US for example must have incredibly much more land available to produce the amount of rice demanded by the population. It must be many times higher per capita here. Americans would probably also settle for any variety of rice including the cheapest ones to grow, while there are much more particular demands for quality here.


The price is carefully controlled by the government so that the farmers make a living. The price is also guaranteed by the local farmer’s associations which often have huge surplus of rice. Taiwan actually produces more rice than it consumes.

Edit: Also there is a limit on the quantity of rice that can be imported, for example Thai Jasmine rice. After the limit is exceeded the tax is something like 150%.


Which is probably a good part of the reason that it’s almost completely flavorless.


Seconded: farmer association protection. It exports for a couple hundred more per tonne as well usually.

Strong gov presence in this one.


I wonder if Farmers are doing better, rice prices seem higher, ex[prts might be good has some nations have stopped exporting.


Madness. Why not encourage the farmers to grow more useful crops? Then unions could help farmers from over or under producing certain crops and everyone could be more prosperous.

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Supermarket in Taiwan is more about convenience than anything.

At the traditional market they are around 26 per jin…

But what ever will we do without mountains of cabbage???

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Right now it’s panic stations. Anything edible must be grown.

That would be the point. The union would control his much of each crop would be grown as to maximize the returns to the farmers in relation to demand. Ideally there would be just enough of each crop so there would be just a bit more demand than supply.

Not really doing better. Almost always its the farmer that gets the short end of the stick. If anything the rice farmers in the regions we work in at least are worse off unless they have their own company. Example being, subsidies are being halted for 3 crop cycles/year. Only maintained for 1 and 2 harvests/year. I dont disagree with the gov doing that, to be honest i think the gov shouldnt waste so much money on farm projects the way they do now. Its pretty gross in my opinion. Just saying rice farmers in some counties are making less due to that. They only make more per ton based on weather and shortages, and even then its miniscule. Te advantage rice farmers have are: Garaunteed sales, massive infrastructure paid for with public funds, all R&D already done with public funds, disaster relief, the crop itself stores well which is by good thing. Cheaper rents with many quasi government companies as well as actual government bodies. nearly garaunteed water “rights” which local governments and even police will protect during times of scarcity . Other farmers get a really shit deal. Rice farmin pays poorly, but it is more or less like a regular job. All the price points are worked out, someone has setup everything for you. Its essentially like a factory job but one assumes all the risks if things go wrong. Well, many risks. Rice is an important food security crop according to politicians and they still get lots of disaster relief, so there is avery minimal safety net. Which is exploited illegally often hence the gov clamping down now. Sort of.

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Just grocery in general, not only rice.

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Indeed. Taiwans angle is the over abundance of middlemen and consultants ,hence the price. Taiwan raw food wholesale prices are publicly displayed. They tend to be about 20% over the reality of prices farmers get. Plus farmers pay for packaging to ship to wholesalers and such. Very few products are on a high enough scale that the government has free money programs for machinery and logistics (eg rice). So the price is actually way less than the government portal on price. Assume much produce in taiwan the farmer rarely sees over 5nt per kg end of the day. Thus, chemical inputs become standard and organic is laughed at. Its why so many farmers stay small and diversify or even sell privately because they get paid less than a 711 job often.


Ridiculous food pricing here, small walnut , fruit bread £4
/$4.91 U.K. be 80 pennies

Thats middlemen too i bet. There are costs, and there are gouges. A 4 pound slice of bread is either a fuckyou or you shop in rich people outlets (also a fuckyou, but with prettier presentations and massive wastage)

Some farmers in Europe are making more money rhan ever before due to food price inflation . Just for reference .

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Why is it cut like that, is it sold as a half loaf or something?

True. But for all the wrong reasons. Prices could stay low if consumers bought more direct and werent addicted to aesthetics more than quality.

Lab food will change a lot of this. I am slightly worried this is whats in store for our grandchildren. But maybe its better? AG is pretty atrocious as far as health and environment go.

Because its sold as a kind of luxury good, and many single people out there.