Despite greater government control of supply and distribution, speculation and hoarding of rice has been rampant in Saigon, capital of South Vietnam.
Despite greater government control of supply and distribution, speculation and hoarding of rice has been rampant in Saigon, capital of South Vietnam. President Thieu has said that any shortages are due to rice falling into communist hands.
Peasants have been bringing in the rice harvest which is expected to be about 3 1/2 million tons. This falls around half a million tons short of the country's needs. The United States has undertaken to make up most of this short-fall.
Princes have shot up, although the government has taken a much more direct role in rice distribution and, in Saigon, exercises total control of rice sales. But has not prevented black market speculators selling to housewives who want to hoard rice against possible shortages.
The rice supply has become a major political issue. The government has blamed the recant fighting in the Mekong Delta, the country's rice bowl, on communist attempts to seize the rice supply. There have even been reports that communist agents are buying rice at high prices and then reselling it for much less, in the hope that they will gain political support.