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How Rice Tariffs May Force Colombian Central Bank to Raise Rates

In a country where many people have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Colombia’s protection of its rice farmers is miring many in poverty, according to former central bank co-director Leonardo Villar. It is also creating a headache for his successors at the bank.

Import barriers have enabled prices to soar to more than double world levels, helping push inflation to a six-year high and adding to pressure for steeper interest rates, said Villar, head of Fedesarrollo, a Bogota-based economics research group, who served on the central bank board from 1997 to 2009.