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SINGAPORE — In India, a potentially huge economic and social crisis is in the making, involving extensive rewriting of recipe books to exclude a favorite ingredient. Onions are in short supply and their prices have risen by 80 percent, too expensive for many Indians to afford as part of their daily diet. India’s food inflation is 20 percent.

Comedians might make jokes about the lachrymose characteristics of onions — and indeed, it is more a crying than a laughing matter. It’s not just onions that are costing more and it’s not only India feeling sharp spikes in food prices. Many places — from Algeria (food riots), to China (imports of wheat and corn), Russia (grain imports to feed cattle and a ban on wheat exports), and Australia, Brazil and Canada (crops damaged by floods) — are facing food shortages or price rises.

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