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Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine www.ricepluss.com R&D Section: Riceplus Magazine Page 1 Contact for Newsletter Advertisement mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell : +92 321 3692774 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter February 03, 2015 V o l u m e 5, Issue I
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  • Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

    www.ricepluss.com R&D Section: Riceplus Magazine

    Page 1

    Contact for Newsletter Advertisement mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell : +92 321 3692774

    Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter

    February 03, 2015 V o l u m e 5, Issue I

  • Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

    www.ricepluss.com R&D Section: Riceplus Magazine

    Page 2

    Contact for Newsletter Advertisement mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell : +92 321 3692774

    PH to boost rice production

    Posted by Mario Casayuran on Feb 3rd, 2015

    The Senate agriculture and food committee expressed confidence yesterday that the state-of-the

    art Lloyd Evans Plant Growth Facility of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los

    Baos, Laguna, would help sustain and boost the countrys rice production despite climate

    change.I know that this facility, with its controlled environment rooms and plant growth

    chambers, will serve a very important purpose as a key international resource and venue for

    biotechnological research and conservation of genetic diversity, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar,

    committee chairperson, said.

    Villar said that once the facility becomes fully operational it would enable to nurture and study

    plants, particularly rice, in a wide range of environment, controlling for temperature, relative

    humidity, light intensity, photo period systems, water management systems, and the precise

    control of atmospheric gases.She described the entry of Llyod Evans Plant Growth Facility as a

    welcome development at the latest IRRI facility.She braces for what the facility can develop

    that will help sustain rice production even during difficult climate conditions

    Source with thanks: http://www.tempo.com.ph/2015/02/03/ph-to-boost-rice-production/

    The ban on forex for rice importation

    BY OUR REPORTER ON FEBRUARY 3, 2015

    With the collapse of world oil prices, it was only a matter of time before Nigeria tightened up its

    finances. It was, therefore, no surprise that the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr.

    Godwin Emefiele, announced last week that the Federal Government would no longer make

    foreign exchange available to rice importers in the country. He also rightly deplored the

    expenditure of so much foreign exchange on importation of rice and other goods that could be

    produced locally. The importation of these products, he said, puts severe pressure on the Naira

    and depletes the nations scarce forex reserves.

    In addition to rice, Emefiele lamented Nigerias dependence on imported toothpicks, tomato paste, furniture, fish, sugar, and petroleum products, which he described as misplaced and a

    waste of national resources. The apex bank has already banned the use of dollars purchased at its

    bi-weekly auctions for the importation of electronics, telecommunications equipment and

    generators. It maintains it would, however, not ban the importation of rice but would not provide

    the foreign exchange for it in order to stem the rising tide of speculative dollar demands.The

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    CBNs decision restricting access to forex for certain categories of imports is timely and well thought out. It rhymes with the Federal Governments policy on encouragement of investment in domestic rice production.

    The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has a goal to achieve

    self-sufficiency in rice production by the year 2017.The Federal Government has also been

    encouraging investors with sweet deals like the preferential duty rates by which investors with

    verified domestic rice production plans would enjoy import duty of 10 per cent and import levy

    of 20 per cent. Rice traders, on the other hand, would be liable to 60 per cent levy in addition to

    the 10 per cent import duty.

    Nigeria spends a whopping N1 billion daily on rice importation. The imports regime is

    embroiled in controversy as the Federal Government is now trying to recover some N36.5 billion

    from rice importation companies being duty for excess rice imported in violation of their

    approved quota. The government had approved importation of 223,902 metric tons of rice by the

    companies in order to bridge the gap between domestic production and national consumer

    demand but the companies went ahead to import 732,555 metric tons, which is 508,653.55

    metric tons in excess of government allocation.The government is, indeed, right in its bid to

    recover the duties that ought to have been paid on the rice imported in excess of approved

    allocations.

    It is important to recover this money to send a strong message that there will be inescapable

    consequences when governments policies are flouted with impunity.We urge the Federal Government to be steadfast on this new rice policy because it is right. Commodities that can be

    produced locally ought not to be allowed to constitute a drain on our foreign exchange. With

    more than 82 million hectares of arable land and millions of capable hands, there is no doubt that

    the country can grow enough rice to meet local demand and have some to spare for export.

    In addition to encouraging our local and small-scale farmers to do more, the FMARD must

    continue to liaise with the Dangote Group to be sure that there would be no delay or

    administrative bottlenecks in the companys $1 billion rice project for which it has acquired 150,000 hectares of land across five states for the commercial production of rice paddy.The

    Dangote project is clearly the arrowhead of the countrys drive for self-sufficiency in rice production and must be encouraged and helped to succeed. Not only is it going to be the single

    largest investment made in Africa for rice production, its mill has a massive 960,000 metric tons

    capacity or about 46 per cent of rice imported into the country.It is gratifying to note that

    investment in rice production has grown significantly in the last few years. The new rice policy

    should engender even greater increase in local production.

    Although it will, in the short term, likely make imported rice more expensive in the country, the

    increased local cultivation and processing of the product will ultimately bring down the price and

    serve Nigerians better in the long run.We enjoin the government to remain committed to this

    policy and ensure that it achieves the desired objective. The stoppage of access to forex for rice

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    imports, however, calls for close monitoring of the pricing of the product in the market by the

    Federal Ministry of Agriculture. This is to ensure that the cost of rice, which is a local staple,

    does not go beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerians. It will also help the government to predict

    and, if need be, pre-empt scarcity of the product.

    Source with thanks: http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=102973

    Nigeria: 2015 - Jonathan Has Failed in Agriculture - APC

    Tagged:AgribusinessBusinessGovernanceNigeriaWest Africa

    The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, has accused the

    President Goodluck Jonathan administration of massive corruption in the country's agricultural

    sector."President Jonathan has failed woefully in the agricultural sector, and all the self-praise of

    the administration on agriculture is simply a ruse," the APCPCO said in a statement released on

    Sunday, February 1.The statement, signed by Garba Shehu, pointed out that whereas President

    Jonathan had promised in 2010 to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice and wheat production by

    2015, "the grim reality on the ground today is that Nigeria emerged as the world's highest

    importer of rice in 2015, and a whopping $11 billion is spent annually by Nigeria to import rice,

    wheat, sugar and fish."

    The statement added that according to the former Acting Governor of the Central Bank of

    Nigeria, Sarah Alade, Nigeria as at 2014 spends $4 billion on rice importation - that is about

    N600 billion annually on the importation of 2.1 million metric tonnes of milled rice."This is after

    the Federal Government had approached the China Exim Bank for a loan of $1.2 billion for the

    financing of 100 large-scale rice processing plants with a total capacity of 2.1 million metric

    tonnes."The troubling truth today, is that Nigeria is nothing close to self-sufficiency in rice

    production and what we have at hand is a close web of corruption where government cronies

    stumble over each other to get import licenses for rice."The statement also noted that a similar

    unacceptable situation pertained to the importation of wheat.

    "According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina,

    Nigeria's wheat consumption as at year 2000 was about two million metric tonnes. But, by 2010,

    wheat importation to the country had risen to four million metric tonnes and Nigeria spends

    N635 billion annually on wheat importation."Five years into the Jonathan's administration,

    Nigeria spends even more than we did in 2010 to import wheat; yet the government continues to

    brandish false achievements in the agricultural sector - a situation that is completely at variance

    with what President Jonathan promised Nigerians in 2010, saying that his government would

    make Nigeria save N635 billion annually on rice and wheat importation.

    "On fertilizer accessibility to farmers, the APCPCO faulted the claim by government that local

    farmers now have unhindered access to fertilizer through the Growth Enhancement Scheme.On

    the contrary, Mr. Shehu says that what gets to each farmer under the e-wallet arrangement, which

    he described as, "excessively laborious and technically difficult for the farmers to work through"

    are two bags of fertilizer throughout the entire farming season, "and government has not come

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    out in one instance to tell Nigerians how much it receives as grants on fertilizer distribution to

    farmers from donor agencies.""The government will want to give us the impression that fertilizer

    is being given to farmers free of charge. But we know that what subsists is a 50 per cent subsidy

    per bag of fertilizer.

    Our farmers are being shortchanged under this so-called e-wallet arrangement because of lack of

    transparency."We may be looking at another subsidy scam over fertilizer unless the Jonathan

    administration comes out clean to tell us how much it has received as grants over fertilizer and

    how it comes about the 50 per cent subsidy per bag of fertilizer," Shehu said.

    The statement dismissed President Jonathan's claims of achievement in the agricultural sector,

    pointing out that "throughout the periods preceding the Jonathan's administration, the

    contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 7 per cent, while under

    the so-called transformation agenda of President Jonathan, agriculture's contribution to the GDP

    has been consistent at 5 per cent - an all-time low.

    "In any case, food commodities are items Nigerians buy on a daily basis. If the Jonathan

    administration was sincere with the statistics it reels out on agriculture, why would the

    government buy pages of newspaper advertorials and TV commercials to force bitter falsehood

    of its achievements down the throats of Nigerians? The Jonathan administration has failed

    woefully in its agricultural policies and the facts are self-evident out there at those food stalls in

    our markets."In 2015, Nigerians know they spend far more to buy food than they did in 2010.

    That reality, in itself, is President Jonathan's scorecard in agriculture," the APCPCO concluded.

    Garba Shehu

    Directorate of Media & Publicity

    APC Presidential Campaign Organisation

    Source with thanks: http://allafrica.com/stories/201502020714.html

    About 5000 workers left jobless as over 300 rice mills stop operation in Rangpur

    Our Correspondent

    RANGPUR, Feb 2: Around 5000 workers turned jobless as more than 300 rice mills and boilers

    have been closed at Mahiganj area under Rangpur city as supply of paddy to the mills remained

    suspended due to transport problem amid prolonged blockade and shutdown enforced by BNP

    led 20 party alliance.Besides, a good number of rice mills at different upazilas in the district were

    also compelled to stop or lessen production owing to difficulty in sending rice to the capital city

    and other parts of the country, leaving thousands of workers unemployed.According to sources

    usually during this time the rice mills in the district remain busy husking paddy and the workers

    are engaged in boiling and drying of paddy.

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    During this time a huge number of trucks loaded with rice are sent to Dhaka and other parts of

    the country from this region everyday. But the ongoing political turmoil like blockade and

    shutdown made the mills idle and as a result the workers are passing tough time amid uncertainty

    of income and the mills owners are incurring huge losses.Owner of Rafiq Rice Mill at Mahiganj

    area Rifiq said, his rice mill has been closed for more than a couple of weeks due to scarcity of

    paddy which forced the labourers working in his mills jobless.

    He has already suffered huge losses and if the situation continues for long he will have to incur

    more losses, he apprehended.Sakina Begum (38), a worker of the mill told the Financial Express

    that she has been passing hard days with her family in near starvation as presently she has no

    work. She blamed the political parties for the situation saying they do not care to think about the

    misery of the poor people. "If the situation continues we will have to die", she lamented

    Talking to The Financial Express a number of rice mills owners expressed their disappointment

    over the prevailing situation saying the rice millers of the region generally procure paddy from

    Bogra, Pabna,Sirajganj Joypurthat, and Dinajpur. After husking the rice in their mills they

    supply those to Dhaka and some other districts. But presently both procurement and supply

    works are seriously being hampered on account of political turmoil.They also expressed their

    apprehension about paying labourers' wages, electricity bills and interest of bank loans. They

    urged the political parties to give up tough political programmes such as shutdown and blockade.

    sayedmofidulbabu@gmail.com

    Source with thanks: http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2015/02/03/79034

    Rice Millers Fail to Meet Centre Target By Express News Service

    Published: 03rd February 2015 06:00 AM

    Last Updated: 03rd February 2015 04:28 AM

    BHUBANESWAR: Even as the Centre has set a deadline for delivery of custom milled rice to

    the Central pool, rice millers of the State have failed to meet the target due to their low milling

    capacity.The State Government has asked district managers of Food Supplies and Consumer

    Welfare Department to take necessary steps for expeditious delivery of custom milled rice

    (CMR) to Food Corporation of India (FCI).The State had set a target for the millers for delivery

    of 10.58 lakh tonnes of rice to FCI by January 21.

    But the millers have delivered only 1.45 lakh tonnes to the Central pool and another 25,000

    tonnes to Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation for distribution under PDS.Though the rice

    delivered to the Government is only 16 per cent of the target, the performance of the millers is

    better compared to the corresponding period of last kharif marketing season (KMS). Only 38,701

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    tonnes of CMR were delivered by January 20, 2014.The Government agencies procuring paddy

    directly from the farmers had procured 15.60 lakh tonnes of paddy equivalent to 10.58 lakh

    tonnes of rice till January 21.

    As the KMS starts from October 1, delivery of CMR to FCI should be completed before

    September 30. The Ministry of Food had directed FCI not to accept CMR delivered beyond

    December 31.With limited storage and milling capacity, the State Government has sought more

    time from the Centre to complete the delivery of CMR.

    The State Government had set a target to procure 30 lakh tonnes of rice during 2012-13 KMS.

    The Government procured over 54 lakh tonnes of paddy which is equivalent to 36 lakh tonnes of

    rice. It delivered 33.60 lakh tonnes of rice to the Central pool including 4.11 lakh tonnes after

    December 31, 2013.Setting a target to procure 30 lakh tonnes during the current KMS, the State

    Government has set an initial target of 17.69 lakh tonnes for the districts. Bargarh district,

    considered to be rice bowl of the State, had procured over 5.6 lakh tonnes of paddy equivalent to

    3.80 lakh tonnes of rice. The district has so far delivered about one lakh tonnes of CMR.

    Source with thanks: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/Rice-Millers-Fail-to-Meet-

    Centre-Target/2015/02/03/article2650387.ece

    2014 Farm Bill Decision Aid Demos in Arkansas This Week

    LITTLE ROCK -- Farmers are racing to beat the clock and learn as much as they can about the

    2014 Farm Bill in order to make critical decisions to meet upcoming deadlines.James

    Richardson, a co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M and co-

    developer of a web-based tool to help farmers make these critical decisions, will be in Arkansas

    demonstrating the program on Thursday, February 5 in Stuttgart and Friday, February 6 in

    Jonesboro.

    "The 2014 Farm Bill provides farmers three major farm program options: payment Yield

    Update, Base Reallocation, and the choice between three safety net programs," said Robert

    Coats, extension economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

    "Time is running out for making these one-time, irrevocable decisions."

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    Deadline for base acreage and yield decision is February 27.

    Deadline for program election for agricultural risk coverage and price loss coverage is March

    31.

    The demonstration schedule this week also includes two webinars on February 5, starting at 9

    a.m. Webinars will last about 30 minutes and participants can register using this link:

    https://uaex.zoom.us/webinar/register/c6ed14053234bd3e4ac87b605f06faf5.

    There is no cost to attend either the in-person workshops or the webinars.

    For more information about the Farm Bill series, contact your county extension office or visit

    www.uaex.edu/farmbill.

    Contact: Mary Hightower (501) 671-2126

    Source with thanks: USA Rice Federation

    CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures

    CME Group (Preliminary): Closing Rough Rice Futures for February 2

    Month Price Net Change

    March 2015 $10.305 - $0.265

    May 2015 $10.555 - $0.285

    July 2015 $10.790 - $0.280

    September 2015 $10.590 - $0.205

    November 2015 $10.760 - $0.205

    January 2016 $10.850 - $0.205

    March 2016 $10.850 - $0.205

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    Source with thanks: USA Rice Federation

    USDA's February 10, 2015, World Agricultural Supply and

    Demand Estimates Report to Incorporate Changes to Rice Table

    USDA Office of Communications sent this bulletin at 02/02/2015 04:00 PM EST

    You are subscribed to USDA Office of Communications.

    Release No. 0025.15

    Contact:Brenda Chapin (202) 720-5447

    bchapin@oce.usda.gov

    USDA's February 10, 2015, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report to

    Incorporate Changes to Rice Table

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2015 - The Feb. 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates

    (WASDE) report, which will be released at 12 noon ET, will include two new rice prices in the

    "Medium & Short-grain" rice section of the table on page 14. USDA is forecasting these two

    new additional rice prices that are part of the program parameters introduced in the 2014 Farm

    Bill for the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.

    The two new prices will be located directly under the "Average Farm Price" line and will

    include:

    California

    Other States

    Two lines have been added at the bottom of the rice table under the sub-heading "Medium &

    Short-Grain Rice." The two new prices are a sub-category of the combined medium- and short-

    grain average farm price. No other lines were added or deleted from the table.The first publicly

    available information for the 2013/14 "California" and "Other States" prices became available in

    the January issue of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service's Agricultural Prices report

    that was released on January 30, 2015.An example of the change is found on this sample

    WASDE page (PDF, 46KB).

    Background on USDA's WASDE report and past issues are available at:

    www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/.

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    #

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination,

    write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400

    Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free

    Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

    Source with thanks: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAOC/bulletins/ee2a6e

    Educational seminars highlight 2015 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show

    Jan 30, 2015Farm Press Staff | Delta Farm Press

    Attendees at the 63rd annual Mid-

    South Farm & Gin Show, scheduled

    for Feb. 27- 28 at the Cook

    Convention Center in downtown

    Memphis, will have an opportunity

    to attend several educational

    seminars during the two days.Over

    400 exhibitors from more than 40

    states will be on hand, showcasing

    the latest technology and innovation

    a in agriculture.

    The show is sponsored by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation and Delta Farm

    Press.Ag Update Seminars are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28, beginning at 8:30

    a.m. in the convention centers lobby meeting room. Speakers will include Sledge Taylor, incoming

    chairman of the National Cotton Council; Carl Brothers, Riceland Foods; and Joe Nicosia, of Louis

    Dreyfus. Richard Brock, of Brock Associates, will headline the Saturday, Ag Update seminar,

    providing his unique perspective on grain marketing, as well as a market outlook.Plans are also being

    finalized for the Mid-South Ag Forum, a seminar focusing on successful technology adoption from

    research to the farm. Scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

    Friday in the convention center mezzanine level meeting room, this seminar will feature researchers

    and farmers who will explore irrigation innovations and technology adoption on the farm.A special

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    rice seminar, What the U.S. Rice Farmer Needs to Know to Prosper, is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

    in the mezzanine level meeting room. Milo Hamilton, Co-founder and senior ag economist of First

    Grain, Inc., is the featured speaker.

    All this information, and more, is available on the updated Farm and Gin Show mobile app, which

    can be downloaded from iTunes or from the Android app store. The app features show schedules and

    updates, speaker biographies, and maps and exhibitor information, all designed to enhance the

    showgoing experience. The app has proven to be very popular. Regular updates to information will

    be made to the app during the two days of the show.Those planning to attend the show are

    encouraged to pre-register online, which speeds up the process of on-site printing of name badges.

    Go to the show website (www.farmandginshow.com), click on the Attendee Registration button,

    complete the form and print out the confirmation. Bring that form with you to the show and staff on-

    site will help you complete the process and get your name badge so you can quickly get onto the

    show floor.Anyone who pre-registers for the show by Feb. 16 will be entered into a drawing for

    $1,000. The winner will be notified Feb. 17, and must collect the prize at the Registration Booth at

    the show.Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. More information

    is available at www.farmandginshow.com.

    Source with thanks: http://deltafarmpress.com/markets/educational-seminars-highlight-2015-

    mid-south-farm-gin-show

    Thai Junta to Cut Rice Crop to Combat Glut as Reserves Sold (Bloomberg) -- Thailand, the worlds biggest rice exporter, plans to cut production to reduce a local surplus and boost prices, complementing a drive by the government to sell record

    stockpiles that are clogging warehouses nationwide.Rough-rice output may be cut to 33.73

    million metric tons by 2016-2017, down from an average of 35.11 million over the past six

    years, according to Apichart Pongsrihadulchai, vice farm minister. Growers will be encouraged

    with incentives including soft loans to shift from rice to sugar cane or to mixed farming with

    livestock, Apichart said in an interview.

    Thai authorities, led by military-leader-turned-prime minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, are grappling

    with the legacy of the previous governments rice-buying policy. Yingluck Shinawatras administration paid rice growers guaranteed, above-market prices for their crop, spurring

    increased production and the buildup of the countrys biggest ever stockpiles. Prayuths government last week offered almost 1 million tons for sale from the state reserves, which it

    wants to clear over the next two years.We need to restructure our rice production to solve a surplus problem, Apichart said in Bangkok on Jan. 30. We aim to slash production to be

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    balanced with local consumption and exports. Hopefully, that will boost prices.Thai 5 percent broken rice declined 7.1 percent last year, extending a 23 percent drop in 2013. The Asian

    benchmark price was at $422 a ton on Jan. 28, the day before Prayuths government offered the 1 million tons for auction. Rough rice futures fell as much as 0.6 percent to $10.505 per 100

    pounds in Chicago on Monday, the lowest since August 2010.

    Manage Risk

    The plan will have more chance of succeeding if there are active extension efforts to educate farmers about the best techniques for planting alternative crops, David Dawe, a Bangkok-based senior economist at the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization, said in an e-mail. Itll also be important to provide ways for growers to manage risk, as most crops are riskier to plant

    and market than rice, he said.Over the next two years, about 700,000 rai (112,000 hectares) are

    targeted to be switched from rice to sugar cane, and a further 1.1 million rai will be switched to

    mixed farming, said Apichart.

    The government also plans to eliminate rice planting during the dry season across 400,000 rai,

    he said.Targeted output of 33.73 million tons would return Thai rice production to the same level

    as it was in 2009-2010, according to the plan. The projected surplus -- the excess of output over

    local demand and export needs -- will drop from about 1.1 million tons in 2016-2017 to just

    200,000 tons in 2019-2020. The policy to shift land away from rice is subject to approval by a

    rice-policy committee, Apichart said.

    Record Crop

    Under Yinglucks rice-buying spree, production climbed to a record in 2011-2012, while reserves expanded to 17.8 million tons last year. Thats equivalent to more than 40 percent of global trade.Earlier this month, Thailands junta-appointed legislature impeached Yingluck and banned her from politics for five years for her role in overseeing the rice-buying program. The

    Attorney Generals office said criminal charges will follow.Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Petipong Puengbun Na Ayudhya said in an interview in October that there would

    be incentives for growers to switch crops to curb oversupply, notably from rice to sugar.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok

    atssuwannakij@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.netJake

    Lloyd-Smith, Claudia Carpenter

    Source with thanks: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-02/thai-junta-to-slash-

    rice-crop-cut-glut-as-stockpiles-sold-off

    Declining exports of basmati rice Ahmad Fraz Khan

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    The domestic market is overwhelmed with a basmati rice glut; the government is stuck

    with bigger issues of national economy and security and is unable to help stabilise the rice

    trade; and the prices are sliding. The farmers panic, therefore, is understandable.

    The basmati variety is currently being traded at around

    Rs3,000 per maund, against Rs4,500 last year. More

    importantly, the quantum of trade is low. With production at

    the same level and exports receding over the last four years,

    the country now is estimated to have around 1m tonnes of

    stock though the actual figures is not known as the stocks are

    spread over the entire supply and trade chains.

    Firstly, till 2011, exports were over 1m tonnes and domestic stocks were emptied each year.

    From then onwards, exports started dropping for a number of reasons that have been pointed out

    in the media. In 2012, foreign sales dropped to 968,941 tonnes. Next year, they went down to

    630,035 tonnes, leaving a domestic glut of around 350,000 tonnes. Last year, they sustained the

    trend and touched 733,860 tonnes, adding over 250,000 tonnes to the glut.

    Till last season, the country was holding a carry-over of 600,000 tonnes. This season might add

    at least another 400,000 tonnes, taking the total tally beyond 1m tonnes.Similarly, the price has

    gone down by 33pc from last year.

    The main question now facing the market is how to clear the trade surplus. If it remains in the

    country, it is big enough to rig the domestic and export markets for some years to come, till it is

    either sent out or domestic crop fails to eat it away. One certainly cannot wait for the domestic

    crop to fail; thus, the only option left with the farmers and, more importantly, with the

    government, is to somehow clear it, even if it costs some money in shape of subsidies.

    Picture shows a rice field. The main question now facing the market is how to clear the

    trade surplus of basmati following a fall in the export of the commodity. Dawn/File

    The region has big buyers like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, all of which import just under 1m

    tonnes of rice each year, mostly from India. The market is there, if Pakistan can somehow

    capture it

    The exporters dont have the capacity (read: market), or will or incentive to clear such a huge stock.They used to export over 1m tonnes but then lost a major portion of it to Indian

    competitors. Currently, their exporting capacity is down to 600,000 tonnes, which itself now

    seems to be an impossible task given the international scenario.Luckily, the region has some big

    buyers like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq all of whom import just under 1m tonnes of rice each year, mostly from India. This shows that the market is there, if Pakistan can somehow capture

    it.The ministries of food security and research, finance and commerce need to put their heads

    together and see how the local glut can be cleared through bilateral or even barter

    agreements.The federal government also needs to step in because it announced compensation

    package of Rs5bn for basmati growers after last years floods, but seems to have forgotten it.

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    None of the basmati growers have received the promised Rs5,000 per acre, and they have been

    left to suffer the brunt, both of a reduction in yields and a massive reduction in price. The same

    money can be used to ensure exports.Besides, the provincial governments, who now fully own

    the sector and proudly announce achieving their production targets, also need to improve their

    marketing activities. This dichotomy needs to be taken care of, where provinces ensure

    production but are unwilling to play a role in marketing them.

    Punjab, which is the only producer of basmati, is not willing to help clear the glut, and has left

    the trade to players it has no control over. These issues must be solved through mutual

    cooperation, understanding and policy development, involving all stakeholders.The basmati

    variety that fetches almost three times higher price as compared to other coarse varieties is too

    important to be left to lesser players. Even in the current recession, basmati is being traded in the

    international market at $900-1,000 per tonne, against $300-350 per tonne for coarse

    varieties.This basmati variety also has a huge role to play in poverty alleviation in rural Pakistan.

    Being mainly an export variety (with 60pc of its production going overseas at one time), it also

    fetches precious foreign exchange. All these factors make it too important for social and

    economic reasons to be left too inefficient market forces.

    Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, February 2nd, 2015

    Source with thanks: Dawn News Pakistan

    Japan on cusp of major compromise on rice with U.S. in TPP

    talks January 31, 2015

    THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

    Japan appears set to offer key concessions to the United States over its demands on rice import

    quotas in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, a move that is bound to anger farmers at

    home.According to sources, Japanese negotiators are ready to offer a counterproposal agreeing to

    an annual import ceiling of up to 50,000 tons of U.S. rice with no or low tariffs in tandem with

    an offer to lower the levy on imported beef to 9 percent from the current 38.5 percent over a 10-

    year-plus period.Negotiations will collapse if we do not give an inch to the other party, said Akira Amari, the state minister in charge of the TPP talks, on Jan. 30.The new plan emerged

    after Tokyo declined to meet Washingtons initial demands that it remove or reduce its tariff on imported rice.

    U.S. negotiators later proposed a quota for 200,000 tons of rice and processed rice products from

    the United States.At present, a tariff of 341 yen ($2.90) is imposed on every 1 kilogram of

    imported rice.Japan imports about 770,000 tons of tariff-free foreign rice annually to fulfill its

    "minimum-access" rice-import obligations.Of that total, U.S. rice amounted to 360,000 tons in

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    fiscal 2013.The new quota for U.S. rice imports, if it materializes, will be in addition to the

    minimum access obligation, according to the sources.Japanese officials initially tried to meet the

    U.S. request within the framework for the minimum-access rice-import obligation.But

    Washington, seeking even greater access, called on Tokyo to lock in specific quantities that it

    will import.

    Imported rice is a contentious issue in Japan. Many domestic rice growers fear that prices of the

    grain they produce will fall if more foreign rice enters the market.The government plans to buy

    the same tonnage of rice from Japanese growers for its national reserves that it imports in order

    to prevent downward pressure on domestic prices, the sources said.Still, government officials are

    concerned that Vietnam and other rice-producing countries participating in the TPP negotiations

    will make similar demands if Tokyo and Washington agree on a quota.

    (This article was written by Kenji Oyamada, senior staff writer, and Takuya Sumikawa.)

    Source with thanks: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/business/AJ201501310052

    S. Korea faces possible oversupply of rice on record output, imports

    Published : 2015-02-02 10:38

    Updated : 2015-02-02 10:38South Korea may face an oversupply of rice this year as its output

    reached a five-year high while rice consumption continues to shrink, government officials said

    Monday.According to the officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the

    country's self-sufficiency rate for rice is expected to reach 97 percent in 2015.The country's overall

    output of rice inched up 0.3 percent on-year to some 4.24 million tons in 2014.South Korea is also

    required to import at least 408,700 tons of rice every year under a special agreement with the World

    Trade Organization, which had allowed the country to postpone opening its rice market over the past

    20 years.South Korea liberalized its rice market through tarrification at the start of this year.

    The oversupply problem will likely be further accelerated by a drop in the country's rice

    consumption, the ministry officials noted.n 2014, the country's annual intake of rice per person

    dipped 3.1 percent on-year to a record low of 65.1 kilograms.The per capita consumption is again

    expected to shrink this year, continuing its steady decline over the past 40 odd years since 1970 when

    it hit a record high of 136.4 kg, officials said. (Yonhap)

    Source with thanks: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150202000462

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    Korea faces oversupply of rice Published: 2015-02-02 20:52

    Updated: 2015-02-02 20:52

    Korea is expected to see an oversupply of rice this year due to a five-year high in output and a

    continued fall in demand, officials said Monday.The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural

    Affairs said the self-sufficiency rate for rice would likely reach 97 percent in 2015.

    The ministry data showed that the countrys overall output of rice jumped 0.3 percent from a year ago, to

    some 4.24 million tons in 2014. The nation also has

    to import at least 408,700 tons of rice every year

    under a special agreement with the World Trade

    Organization.In contrast to the high output of rice, the

    nations rice demand has rapidly dwindled, amid increased consumption of foreign food.Last years annual consumption of rice per capita fell 3.1 percent

    on-year to a record low of 65.1 kilograms. Ministry

    officials expected that the problem would worsen as

    consumption of rice continues to drop.

    Image:South Korean workers stack bags of rice. (Yonhap)

    Source with thanks: http://m.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150202001068&ntn=0

    NFA partners with group to help curb rice anomalies

    BY JEAN SAPALLO

    POSTED ON 02/02/2015 3:32 PM | UPDATED 02/02/2015 9:10 PM

    VULNERABLE. Rice and corn farmers are among the country's poorest, despite being at the

    forefront of feeding the nation. File photo by Jay Directo/Agence France-Presse

    MANILA, Philippines The National Food Authority (NFA) is collaborating

    with Kaya Natin! (KN), a civil society

    organization, to help monitor

    anomalies in the rice industry and thus

    help government in ensuring food

    security.The NFA has been confronted

    by the problems of rice shortage,

    alleged corruption in rice

    imports,smuggling, price manipulation

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    by private sectors, hoarding and repacking, all resulting to false shortage," among many others. (READ: PH agriculture, why is it important?)

    Around 74% of NFA rice are smuggled, while only 26% of its supplies reach the poor, NFA

    reported. (READ: PH road to rice self-sufficiency)

    Called "Bantay Bigas," the campaign will involve KN volunteers to monitor rice movements in

    their localities.NFA admits it cannot do the job alone to totally eradicate anomalies in the rice

    industry. This led newly appointed NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay and his council to seek

    help from a non-governmental organization like KN to complement the agency's work on the

    ground. Rappler.com

    Jean Carla Sapallo is a Rappler intern. She is a 4th year journalism student at the Polytechnic

    University of the Philippines.

    Source with thanks: http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/hunger/82689-nfa-kaya-natin-curb-

    rice-anomalies

    Vietnam to sell 240,000 T rice to Malaysia -sources

    By Reuters / Reuters | February 2, 2015 : 12:26 PM MYT

    HANOI (Feb 2): Vietnam has reached an agreement to sell 240,000 tonnes of rice to Malaysia,

    although the small volume and an eight-month loading schedule mean grain export prices will

    stay near multi-month lows, a state-run newspaper and traders said on Monday.The country will

    ship the 5-percent broken rice to Malaysia over April to November, the Vietnam Economic

    Times newspaper said, coinciding with the peak for Vietnam's main winter-spring crop harvest

    that is expected to provide more than 5 million tonnes of unhusked rice mostly for export.

    An official at the Vietnam Food Association, which oversees the country's rice exports, declined

    to comment on the deal with Malaysia, the third-biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice after China

    and the Philippines.While the report did not give any detail on the deal price, a Vietnamese

    private trader estimated that both sides may have agreed to a price of $385 a tonne, free-on-board

    (FOB)."Vietnam has yet to publish the price of the deal as it is still eyeing a demand from the

    Philippines," another rice exporter said.The Philippines plans to import up to 500,000 tonnes for

    delivery between March and May to boost stockpiles and might go for a government-to-

    government deal, government and trade sources said last week.

    The price for Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice fell to $358-$360 a tonne on Monday, FOB, from

    $360-$370 last week. The lower end of the range is the weakest price for the grain since mid-

    September, 2013, Reuters data shows.Traders in Ho Chi Minh City said they do not see any

    upside to Vietnamese rice export prices from the deal with Malaysia given its long loading

    duration. Malaysia took 470,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice in 2014, up 1.5 percent on

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    year."With some 30,000 tonnes to be shipped per month (April-Nov 2015), this small volume

    will not affect the market supply and prices," said a trader at a foreign firm in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Source with thanks: http://www.theedgemarkets.com/my/article/vietnam-sell-240000-t-rice-

    malaysia-sources

    Government to slash rice crop, sell stockpiles to cut glut Published: 2 Feb 2015 at 15.55

    Online news: News

    Writer: Bangkok Post and Bloomberg News

    Thailand, the worlds biggest rice exporter, plans to cut production to reduce its surplus and boost prices, complementing a drive by the government to sell record stockpiles that are clogging

    warehouses nationwide. Rough-rice output may be cut to 33.73 million tonnes by 2016-17, down

    from an average of 35.11 million over the past six years, according to Apichart

    Pongsrihadulchai, vice agriculture minister. Growers will be encouraged with incentives

    including soft loans to shift from rice to sugar cane or to mixed farming with livestock, Mr

    Apichart said in an interview.A Suphan Buri rice farmer tends to his crop in this October 2014

    photo. The government plans to cut production to reduce a local surplus and boost prices as it

    tries to sell record stockpiles that are clogging warehouses nationwide. (Bangkok Post photo)

    Thai authorities, led by

    military-leader-turned-prime

    minister Prayut Chan-o-cha,

    are grappling with the legacy

    of the previous government's

    rice-buying policy. Yingluck

    Shinawatra's administration

    paid rice growers guaranteed,

    above-market prices for their

    crop, spurring increased

    production and the build-up

    of the country's biggest ever

    stockpiles.

    The government last week offered almost one million tonnes for sale from the state reserves,

    which it wants to clear over the next two years."We need to restructure our rice production to

    solve a surplus problem," Mr Apichart said in Bangkok on Jan 30. "We aim to slash production

    to be balanced with local consumption and exports. Hopefully, that will boost prices."Thai 5%

    broken rice declined 7.1% last year, extending a 23% drop in 2013. The Asian benchmark price

    was at $422 a tonne on Jan 28, the day before the government offered the one million tonnes for

    auction.Over the next two years, about 700,000 rai are targeted to be switched from rice to sugar

    cane, and a further 1.1 million rai will be switched to mixed farming, said Mr Apichart.

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    The government also plans to eliminate rice planting during the dry season across 400,000 rai,

    he said.Speaking after Monday's meeting of the National Rice Police Committee in Nakhon

    Ratchasima, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government and farmers need to work

    together to grow crops suitable for their land."Farmers should focus on growing quality rice that

    matches the amount of (available) water in order to fetch high prices. If some locations cannot

    produce quality rice, farmers should be supported to grow other crops," he said.A buyer looks at

    a sample of rice as he walks past stacks of the grain during a pre-auction rice inspection at the

    warehouse of the Boonnapa rice mill in Chok Chai, Nakhon Ratchasima province on Jan 26.

    (Bloomberg photo)

    Smaller harvests

    Targeted output of 33.73 million tonnes would return Thai rice production to the same level as it

    was in 2009-10, according to the plan. The projected surplus the excess of output over local demand and export needs will drop from about 1.1 million tonnes in 2016-2017 to just 200,000 tonnes in 2019-2020. The policy to shift land away from rice is subject to approval by a

    rice-policy committee, Mr Apichart said.Under Ms Yingluck's rice-buying spree, production

    climbed to a record in 2011-2012, while reserves expanded to 17.8 million tonnes last year.

    That's equivalent to more than 40% of global trade.

    Last month, the National Legislative Assembly

    impeached Ms Yingluck and banned her from politics

    for five years for her role in overseeing the rice-buying

    programme. The Attorney General's office said criminal

    charges will follow.Minister of Agriculture and

    Cooperatives Pitipong Phuengboon Na Ayudhaya said

    in an interview in October that there would be

    incentives for growers to switch crops to curb

    oversupply, notably from rice to sugar.At the Phimai

    Agricultural Cooperative Monday, Gen Prayut said he

    had instructed the Interior Ministry to take the lead in developing a database containing Thai

    farmers' incomes, careers and other identifying information ib their agricultural products in order

    to facilitate the government's assistance programmes.

    Source with thanks: Bangkok Post