Saturday, December 20, 2014

19th December(Friday),2014 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Chef Erkan Bektas Wins USA Rice Cooking Competition in Istanbul    
Behind the scenes

ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- Chef Erkan Bektas of the Marriott Hotel in Istanbul was named the winner of the USA Rice Federation's wild rice recipe competition.  Five competitors from around the country entered more than 80 recipes in the wild rice mix category.USA Rice collaborated with the Istanbul Chefs Association, and FoodinLife Magazine to promote the contest in print and via the internet to foodservice professionals, encouraging them to enter economical, practical, and creative recipes featuring U.S. wild rice and wild rice mixes.

A panel of judges, including Fikret Özdemir, a national celebrity chef, whittled the submitted menu entries to five finalists.  During the hands-on competition, each contestant had 90 minutes to prepare a menu using U.S.-grown rice.  Winners were selected based on originality and reproducibility of the menu, plate presentation, and how well the menu featured U.S. wild rice and U.S. medium-grain rice.
 Mr. Bektas' award winning recipe was "Risotto with Wild Rice and Seafood."  Second place was awarded to Mr. Fatih Taskiran of the Sheraton Atakoy Hotel, and third place went to Mr. Erdal Gül of the Radisson Blu Hotel.USA Rice works closely with Turkey's food industry to develop healthy meals that include U.S.-grown rice and encourages chefs to add rice to their menus year-round.
 Contact:  Eszter Somogyi, 011-49-40-4503-8667

Crawford to Lead House Commodities and Risk Management Ag Subcommittee   
Japan Announces 5th SBS Tender in FY 2014
 Announcement:            19 December 2014
Tender:                         14 January 2015
Offer details:             
            Total                                                    30,000 MT
            Whole-kernel (brown or milled)        27,000 MT
            Broken (milled)                                 3,000 MT
Shipping period:          15 July 2015
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for December 19
Net Change

January 2015
+ $0.200
March 2015
+ $0.200
May 2015
+ $0.200
July 2015
+ $0.190
September 2015
+ $0.205
November 2015
+ $0.200
January 2016
+ $0.200

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food
DECEMBER 18, 2014 5:06 PM ET
5:06 PM ET
Sugar, coffee, fruit juice for babies, oil and salt inside a market subsidized by the government in Havana on July 11, 2013.
Enrique De La Osa/Reuters/Landov

It took a few hours for some Cubans to realize the magnitude of President Obama'sannouncement on Wednesday about changes in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, according to Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez.Why? Because they were at the market, buying fish. "It is important to also say that the news had fierce competition, like the arrival of fish to the rationed market, after years of disappearance," wrote Sanchez, who is perhaps the most celebrated dissident on the island.
As you've probably heard — or seen, if you've traveled to Cuba — food (and, at times, the lack thereof) remains one of the most striking emblems of Cuba's dysfunctional economic system.

Let's just say that the agreement between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will probably eventually mean big changes for the food supply in Cuba.But if you're picturing Cubans sipping Frappuccinos at Starbucks in Havana, or a Carnival cruise ship full of American tourists unloading in the port and filing into a gleaming new McDonald's, hold your horses.

Such massive changes are, in theory, more possible than they were on Tuesday, but not before our two governments work out a huge number of issues embedded in our super complex trade relationship, analysts say.Obama and Castro's speeches were significant and expansive, says John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, but "the details are what matter. What people tend to forget is it's not what the U.S. wants to do to or for Cuba. It's about what Cuba feels is in its interest."Most Cubans depend on monthly rations (limited amounts of deeply subsidized food) of rice, beans, coffee and a few other staple foods for their sustenance.

There's also athriving black market for food, supplying the wealthy and the foreigners with gourmet items like blue cheese and smoked salmon smuggled in by suitcase. (I traveled to Cuba in 2003 and 2007, first on a person-to-person license and then on a freelance journalist visa. Like so many other American visitors, I was utterly bewitched by the people, the music, the rum. But I lost weight there — probably because candy bars and other snacks were so hard to come by.)
Of course, Cuba is far more food secure than many of its similarly impoverished neighbors in Latin America like Honduras and Haiti. But animal (and fish) protein is in extremely limited supply, and to buy food, Cubans have to wrestle with a "jigsaw puzzle" — different markets and currencies for different food products.
Cuba imports about 80 percent of its food, according to the World Food Program. That costs the government $2 billion a year, and since 2000, a solid chunk of the imports have come from the U.S. In 2013, American firms sold $348 million worth of agricultural goods to Cuba, according to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. The top three products? Frozen chicken, soybean meal (for animal feed) and corn.
Wednesday's announcement was not the end of the embargo, of course. But Obama'snew approach to Cuba includes "expanded sales and exports of certain goods and services from the U.S. to Cuba." That includes agricultural products, from commodities like rice and beans to butter.
Banana growers at a market on the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, on Sept. 30, 2013. Cuba currently imports few fruits and vegetables from the U.S., but the American Farm Bureau says the change in relations may allow for new trade opportunities.
Ramon Espinosa/AP
And for U.S. agricultural producers, the most important part of Wednesday's announcement was Obama's call to lift restrictions on financial transactions for food products, says David Salmonsen, a trade specialist with the American Farm Bureau.Currently, any agricultural producer who wants to sell to Cuba has to get cash upfront from the Cuban government before shipping, and the money exchange must be handled through a third-party bank, which means all kinds of extra transaction costs.
If the Treasury Department and Commerce Department go along with Obama's order, then those producers will now be able to do business more directly with the Cuban government and its banks, says Salmonsen.
Without those extra transaction costs, certain U.S. producers that don't currently sell to Cuba — like fruit and vegetables producers — may finally be able to offer the Cuban government a competitive price. Or rice from the Southeast U.S.: Cuba used to buy it, until we were out-competed by Brazil and Vietnam.Cargill, for one, says it's optimistic about the opportunities. So is the American Soybean Association."Depending on how it develops, it could put our producers back into a more normal trading relationship with Cuba, so that the whole supply chain evolves, and demand rises as barriers are reduced and eliminated," says Salmonsen.But as Kavulich points out, food isn't necessarily Cuba's biggest priority:

 Investments in infrastructure may be more desperately needed.Still, "there are opportunities" for food companies, he says, but what happens when the "Cubans say, 'That's all well and good, but we need help with financing?' The risk of doing business with the Cuban government is huge."Cuba's government has considerable trade deficits with other nations, but little with the U.S. If American businesses want to sell more to Cuba, they might find themselves waiting a while to get paid, he says.
The big trade picture aside, the outlook for Cuban cuisine is also a bit murky. As Ireported in 2012, Cuban chefs haven't been able to incorporate many modern cooking techniques, or exotic ingredients. (I don't think sous vides machines can get past the embargo.) So chefs may have to wait a while before they can import some of the American ingredients they covet.As Sanchez wrote, Wednesday's announcement "is just the beginning." It's tempting to get excited about the future of Cuban food, but "keep the corks in the bottles," she says.

China, Thailand boost ties with deals for rail and rice

BANGKOK Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:03am EST
(Reuters) - China will build a rail network in Thailand and buy two million tonnes of its rice in deals agreed on Friday that signal a strengthening of relations as ties with the West remain on ice after a May coup in the Southeast Asia country.Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the most high-profile foreign leader to come to Thailand since the military seized power, also announced China would next year double its imports of Thai agricultural produce, mainly rubber and rice, which the kingdom has been struggling to shift.
The two countries signed two memorandums of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of a regional summit in Bangkok that will see China construct two dual-track rail lines covering a combined 867 km (542 miles) and buy two million tonnes of rice.The rice deal could ease pressure on a junta struggling to shift a 17 million ton stockpile amassed under a controversial buying scheme by the government it overthrew, a policy that won electoral support but caused the country losses estimated at $15 billion."This cooperation shows the tight friendship of the two nations and will help farmers," Li told a news conference during the two-day Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) summit.
Li's presence in a country now shunned by Western leaders offers reassurance to a junta seeking international and domestic legitimacy.Some Western nations imposed sanctions and downgraded ties with Thailand in response to the coup, and Beijing's charm offensive provides a counterbalance to a tougher U.S. stand toward its oldest regional ally. Under the junta, Thailand has stepped up engagement with China at a time when Beijing boosts its influence in Southeast Asia with loans and infrastructure plans expected to further entrench its economic clout in the region.
China has ambitious plans to construct rail links from Kunming through Laos to Thailandand the deal agreed in principle on Friday would include a standard-gauge dual track railway from Thailand's northeastern Nong Khai to its industrialized eastern seaboard."China will be responsible for the construction and development of the rail network andThailand will take part in preparing the groundwork for construction," Thai Transport Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Junthong told reporters.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the May putsch, said Thailand would reclaim its former position as the world's number one rice exporter in 2015 and the stockpile, only a tenth of which is of standard quality, would be sold within the next three years.(Additional reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Prime minister admits 1 million tonne goal is unlikely for rice sector

Fri, 19 December 2014
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday admitted that the government target of reaching 1 million tonnes of rice exports by 2015 is likely to fail due to a lack of milling capacity and funding.Speaking at the graduation ceremony for students at the National Institute of Education yesterday, Hun Sen said this year’s rice export figure clearly proves that achieving the 1 million tonne target next year is unlikely.“From January to November, Cambodia exported only around 330,000 tonnes of rice, very far behind the 1 million tonnes we planned to achieve,” he said.
The Cambodian government set the target in 2010.The PM blamed the failure on a lack of investment in rice milling and paddy storage facilities.“Our rice production has overtaken rice milling capacity. Most of the rice millers do not have capital to buy paddy and then stock it for export, which results in Cambodia losing value-added gains for the rice industry,” he said.
“We cannot ban farmers from selling their paddy to traders as we do not have the capital to buy paddy for stock,” he added.Citing a report from the Council Development for Cambodia (CDC), which allegedly shows a number of approved investments in rice milling facilities, the premier said he was optimistic that Cambodia’s export capacity would improve in the coming years.
Sok Puthyvuth, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), and also the son-in-law of Hun Sen, agreed that Cambodia was unlikely to reach the 1 million tonne target. He said the uncontrollable offloading of rice stock to buyers had made it a tough year.“There have been problems in funding, which have left rice millers and exporters unable to stock paddy in large amounts. We could have achieved a higher export target for this year, but our members are not confident in entering big deals because of the lack of stock,” he said.
Puthyvuth said the CRF is working to improve infrastructure in the Kingdom’s rice sector, and is also considering taking out additional loans to buy paddy to stock in large amounts for export.“With the plan and the loan, we will hopefully be able to bring the export figure closer to the target next year,” he added.Last month, the Post reported that the Chinese government had approved in-principal a $300 million to build a series of warehouses aimed at assisting the Kingdom’s rice industry with its storage woes.
The loan is to be used to build more than 10 warehouses equipped with dryers capable of storing at least 1 million tonnes of Cambodia’s paddy. The facilities will be located along key rural production areas, urban markets and ports along the country’s value chains.People behind rice scheme will be sued to cover losses, Prayut says
 The Nation December 20, 2014 1:00 am
Puts damage at Bt680 billion, with figure rising by Bt2 billion a month
The government will take legal action against people deemed responsible for the Bt680 billion in estimated losses from the rice price-pledging scheme, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.The PM said that even after the remaining 17 million tonnes of rice in the government stockpile were sold, losses would amount to some Bt680 billion."Legal action will be taken, particularly involving the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission. Both criminal and civil action will be taken, and compensation for damages will be sought," Prayut said.He said the Commerce Ministry would calculate the final amount of damages. "We don't know the exact figure now because the Commerce Ministry is [still] selling the rice in the government stock.
"The prime minister said that of the 17 million tonnes of rice remaining when the post-coup administration started, only 2.35 million were up to standard. About 700,000 tonnes was in a bad condition while the remainder was of poor quality.Prayut spoke to the media after chairing a National Rice Policy Committee meeting.He said the government would attempt to sell all rice in the stockpile within three years but he was concerned that many prospective buyers might not be interested. He said the government was aware that expediting rice sales could lead to a price decrease.
The government is spending more than Bt2 billion a month renting warehouses to store rice bought under the scrapped pledging scheme, he said.But the government would attempt to maintain Thailand's status as the world's No.1 rice exporter, following Vietnam's announcement earlier this week of its plan to become the top exporter. "We will not focus on quantity only - there must be quality too," he said. "We aim to sell at high prices. All the parties involved must work together."Yesterday, Thailand and China signed a memorandum of understanding at Government House for the sale of two million tonnes of Thai rice to China.Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Commission is expected to decide early next year whether to pursue a case against former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom over alleged irregularities involving the sale of rice, NACC President Panthep Klanarongran said.
Panthep said he had urged the investigation committee, chaired by Vicha Mahakun, to expedite its work on the case so that a probe report can be completed before the year-end. "But the NACC is unlikely to decide within this year. This case is likely to be forwarded to the NACC for a decision early next year," he said.In a related development, Democrat Party politician Warong Dechgitvigrom urged the government to review plans to sell rice from its stock in large lots. He said that by selling rice of different quality together, prospective buyers would attempt to push down prices and corrupt officials would benefit from helping buyers prepared to pay bribes get rice at low prices.

Only 2.35 million of 17 million tonnes of government rice pass standard checking

December 19, 2014 2:57 pm
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said only 2.35 million out of 17 million tonnes of rice in the government stockpile bought under the rice-pledging scheme passed the standard quality checking.But the rest of rice was not rotten, Prayut said. He said about 13 million tonnes were still usable but their quality need to be improved first.Prayut was speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting of the rice-policy administration committee.
The Nation

Thailand says China to buy 2 million tonnes of its rice

ReutersFriday, Dec 19, 2014


BANGKOK - China will buy two million tonnes of rice from Thailand, the Thai prime minister said on Friday, easing pressure on a military government struggling to shift a giant stockpile amassed under its predecessors'controversial buying scheme.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed during the two-day Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) summit that started in Bangkok on Friday. Further details would be discussed during the meeting, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.Thailand, for decades the world's top rice exporter, has around 17 million tonnes in stockpiles. Only a tenth of this is of standard quality, according to a state audit. The stocks were accrued under the state-buying programme of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government.
The scheme caused as much as US$15 billion (S$19.7 billion) in losses. Farmers were paid well in excess of the market value, pricing Thai rice out of export markets.There had been several claims by the previous government of sales to China, none of which were confirmed by the Chinese side. But China's premier on Friday confirmed a deal had been signed."Both sides witnessed the signing of the MoU in regards to agricultural produce," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a news conference in Bangkok.Mr Prayuth said Thailand would reclaim its former position as the world's number one rice exporter in 2015. The 17 million tonnes currently in stock would be sold within the next three years, he added.
The government plans to increase domestic rice sales through new markets for farmers nationwide, he added, without elaborating.Thailand's 5-per cent benchmark broken rice was at $413 to$415 a tonne on Friday. Vietnam's asking price was at US$390 to US$395 a tonne.

Democrats cleared of 2009 rice allegations
Published: 19 Dec 2014 at 18.23
Online news: General
Writer: Online Reporters
Former prime minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva walks in a paddy field in Sukhothai during the 2011 election campaign. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
The anti-graft body had been investigating allegations of irregularities against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, former deputy premier Trairong Suwannakhiri and former commerce minister Porntiva Nakasai.Mrs Porntiva had been accused of selling government rice cheaper than market prices in 2009 and refusing to sell rice to two bidders, Wutthikawee Co and Singtothong Rice Corporation, that had offered higher quotations.
In a statement on Friday, the NACC said it found that the selling prices were naturally lower than market prices because buyers could deduct the costs of transporting rice from government warehouses and depreciation from the government's sale prices.As well, it said, Mrs Porntiva had already approved a previous rice sale to Singtothong Rice and Wutthikawee Co had abandoned its bid, so they were disqualified from the 2009 sale.
 Former commerce minister Porntiva Nakasai
Other allegations were made against Mr Abhisit in his capacity as chairman of the National Rice Policy Committee, Mr Trairong as the deputy chair, Mrs Porntiva as head of a rice release committee, and Manas Soiphet, former director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, who headed a rice release working group.They were accused of inviting exporters with substantial rice orders to buy government rice instead of calling bids. As well, they allegedly approved rice sales cheaper than market prices.Mr Trairong and Mr Manas were also accused of releasing government rice secretly.
As well, Mrs Porntiva allegedly had connections with MT Centertrade as Veerasak Jinarat, an assistant to the former commerce minister, placed a 25-million-baht cashier's cheque as a guarantee for the company to seal a rice purchase contract with the Marketing Organisation for Farmers.The cashier's cheque came from Mr Veerasak's Northeastern Polytechnic College in Ubon Ratchathani.
The NACC found that bids were not called because doing so would have had a negative impact on local and international rice prices and could thus affect the government's sales.Direct invitations to exporters with substantial orders had been applied in 2003 and had been approved by the National Rice Policy Committee and the cabinet, the NACC said. The qualifications of those exporters and the rice orders were required to be verified.The NACC also found that selling prices were lower than market prices because buyers were allowed to deduct their rice transport costs and a depreciation allowance from their quotations. In any case, the prices agreed were still higher than the median price the government had set.
After the rice sales were approved, it said, information on rice releases as well as the amounts and prices were kept secret only to protect prices. The NACC also said it had not found any evidence to link Mrs Porntiva with the case of Mr Veerasak. However, it said it would continue to look into the issue and reach a conclusion soon.The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has cleared senior Democrat Party figures of wrongdoing in connection with rice sales made in 2009 when the party led the government.

UN: Rice exports 'near record high'

Published: 19 Dec 2014 at 06.12
Newspaper section: Business
Thai rice exports are expected to reach 10.2 million tonnes by year-end, just 500,000 tonnes shy of 2011's all-time high. Sales from state stocks and the end of the rice pledging scheme have helped the country to regain its position as the biggest exporter, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)."A development dominating the international rice trade this year has been the resurgence of Thailand as a leading rice exporter, an advance made possible by key policy changes regarding government market intervention, namely the suspension of the paddy pledging programme and public stock sales," the FAO said Thursday in its last quarterly Rice Market Monitor report of 2014.
"The ensuing restoration of its competitive edge has permitted Thailand to recapture much of the market share lost to India and Vietnam over the past two years."The report said Thailand's rice shipments were expected to surge 54.2% this year from 6.6 million tonnes last month, moving the country past India as the biggest exporter.The report predicted rice deliveries from India would fall by 5% to 10 million tonnes this year, depressed by a combination of heightened competition and a reduction in demand for Basmati output.The export outlook is also bleak for Vietnam, where official deliveries are now projected to remain similar to 2013's depressed level of 6.6 million tonnes.Vietnam is out-priced in Africa and rivalled by Thailand in important Far East markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Global paddy production is expected to drop by 0.2% to 745 million tonnes in the 2014-15 season after a weak monsoon delayed planting in India, the FAO said.Thailand's paddy production, meanwhile, is estimated at 37 million tonnes, down by 2.9% from 2013.The global rice trade is likely to surpass 40 million tonnes this year, primarily on higher imports by Bangladesh and Guinea.The FAO expects world rice trade of 40.5 million tonnes in calendar 2015 on the continued rise in imports by countries in Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
By contrast, deliveries are seen falling in North America and Europe and stabilising at high levels in Asia.In terms of suppliers, Thailand is expected to dominate the market with deliveries climbing to new heights.Cambodia, China, Guyana, Myanmar, Pakistan, Paraguay and the US are also expected to ship more, while deliveries by Argentina, Australia, Brazil and especially India could be undermined by less attractive prices.
Bangkok Post
What's new in business news: December 19, 2014
Published: 19 Dec 2014 at 13.33
Online news: At Work
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Resurgence of Thailand as leading rice exporter (free report), Bangkok 10th most popular for New Years worldwide & Emporium shopping complex reopens after 3 billion baht makeover. Farmers in Phrom Phiram district in Phitsanulok province bring in their harvest in September. The Food and Agriculture Organisation forecasts rice exports from the kingdom to surge next year. (Post Today photo).
UN: Resurgence of Thailand as a leading rice exporter
Thai rice exports are expected to reach 10.2 million tonnes by year-end, just 500,000 tonnes shy of 2011's all-time high. Sales from state rice stocks and the end of the rice pledging scheme have helped the country to regain its position as the biggest exporter. "A development dominating the international rice trade this year has been the resurgence of Thailand as a leading rice exporter," the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Thursday in its latest quarterly Rice Market Monitor report of 2014 (download free report here). Thailand has recaptured much of the market share lost to India and Vietnam over the past two years.
Thailand's rice shipments are expected to surge 54.2% this year, moving the country past India as the biggest exporter. Rice deliveries from India are expected to fall by 5% to 10 million tonnes, depressed by  increased competition and falling demand for India's Basmati variety of rice. The export outlook is also bleak for Vietnam, with deliveries projected to remain similar to 2013's low level of 6.6 million tonnes. Vietnam is out-priced in Africa and rivalled by Thailand in important Far Eastern markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Cambodia, China, Guyana, Myanmar, Pakistan, Paraguay and the US are also expected to ship more, while deliveries by Argentina, Australia, Brazil and especially India could be undermined by less attractive prices.
Global paddy production is expected to drop by 0.2% to 745 million tonnes in the 2014-15 season after a weak monsoon delayed planting in India. This year will see higher imports by Bangladesh and Guinea as well as countries in Africa, South America and the Caribbean whereas deliveries are expected to fall in North America and Europe and stabilise at high levels in Asia.

Rangpur farmers preparing for Boro seedling transplantation

RANGPUR, Dec 18 (BSS): The farmers have been taking preparations with huge enthusiasm to start transplantation of Boro seedlings from January next in the northern region, officials in the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said.Meanwhile, they have already started transplantation Boro seedling in the low-lying lands, beels, haors flood-prone and riverine areas to complete harvest before commencement of the next rainy season.Horticulture Specialist of the DAE Khondker Md. Mesbahul Islam said the farmers have been continuing preparation of Boro seedbeds to begin transplantation in full swing in the main land from middle of January next.

According to the DAE sources, the government has fixed a record target of producing over 18.9 million tonnes of clean Boro rice from 0.47 million hectares of land in the country during the current season.The government through the DAE and concerned agriculture-related departments and organisations has been providing all necessary assistance to the farmers in making the fixed Boro cultivation programme successful.Under the programme, 3.16 million tonnes of hybrid variety Boro rice will be produced from 0.67 million hectares land, 15.71 million tonnes high yielding variety rice from 4.06 million hectares and 10,300 tonnes of local variety Boro rice from 5,000 hectares land this season.

The government, however, has fixed a target of producing over 6.36 million tonne of Boro rice, 33.56 per cent of the fixed national production target, for the northern region, commonly known as the country's food granary, this season,The farmers will bring over 1.59 million hectares land under Boro cultivation in the northern region to attain the fixed farming target and they have already started preparing seedbeds of Boro rice in full swing everywhere.

Of them, over 1.06 million tonnes hybrid Boro rice will be produced from more than 0.22 million hectares land, 5.28 million tonnes high yielding variety rice from over 13.65 hectares and 21,813 tonnes local variety rice from 10,589 hectares land in the northern region.The DAE, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, Barind Multipurpose Development Authorities, Teesta Barrage Project and other organisations have taken steps to make Boro cultivation programme successful.

Rangpur Regional Acting Additional Director of the DAE Zulfiquer Haider said comprehensive and well- coordinated steps have been taken for delivering of the latest technologies to the farmers for enhancing Boro rice production at lower costs.


KPR 1, 2 variety of paddy is suitable to Kodagu'

Gonikoppa, Dec 19, 2014, DHNS
Ponnampet Agricultural Research Station has been conducting research on varieties of paddy developed by Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad, This year, it has conducted test on 184 varieties of paddy. 
The station has been conducting research on paddy that are suitable for cultivating using water from canals, Malnad, Plateau region. The Directorate of Rice Research conducts study on paddy which are suitable for various climate and recommends for its cultivation. The Ponnampet Research Station through its research have found that KPR 1 and KPR 2 variety of paddy are suitable to hilly region and rain-fed farming in Kodagu. 
Speaking to Deccan Herald, senior subject expert B Manjunath said that scientists were recommending Thunga variety for Kodagu. As as alternative to Tunga, KPR 1 and KPR 2 varieties have been developed.  These two varieties have resistance to 'paddy blast' or 'benki roga.' The varieties will be released during next June. KPR 1 variety grows 110 to 115 centimetre long. Farmers can harvest within 145 days of harvest.  The yield per hectare is 55 to 60 quintal. 

On the other hand, KPR2 is a small paddy variety. The rice is known for its aroma. The paddy grows 90 cm long. There is good demand for this fragrance paddy. Progressive farmers like Suju Karumbaiah, S C Thimmaiah, K M Poovaiah, K M Dali Changalla have cultivated this variety in Kodagu.  “The centre has been guiding the farmers on new paddy varieties and its cultivation. The centre also guides farmers in dairy farming, pisciculture, piggery, and pepper cultivation by taking up extension activities,” said

Arkansas Rice, Poultry Industries May Benefit From Obama’s Cuba Policy
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS / In this handout photo provided by Jill Zuckman, Alan Gross, facing camera, is hugged by Tim Rieser, an aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., upon his arrival from Cuba. Gross's wife Judy is at left, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. is at right. (AP Photo/Jill Zuckman)

By Peter Urban

Stephens Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba could prove to be an economic boon to Arkansas’ rice and poultry industries.Although a longstanding U.S. economic embargo on Cuba can only be lifted by Congress, Obama plans to expand economic ties with the island nation that sits 90 miles off the Florida coast, including easing financial regulations that proved a roadblock to agricultural exports that otherwise have been permitted for more than a decade.

“Certainly, there is a great deal of interest in the details of this proposal,” said Ben Noble, director of the Arkansas Rice Federation.Cuba was a top importer of U.S.-grown rice before the 1962 embargo. American rice growers resumed trade in 2000 after Congress passed legislation permitting food and drug exports to Cuba, and by 2004 the U.S. was exporting more than 176,000 metric tons of rice there annually. That trade came to an end after the Bush administration tightened trade financing rules that were cost prohibitive.

The White House on Wednesday said it would do away with the Bush-era financing restrictions and go back to the system that had allowed U.S. agricultural goods to be sold to Cuba.“I believe that American businesses should not be put at a disadvantage, and that increased commerce is good for Americans and for Cubans,” Obama said in a televised address Wednesday. “So we will facilitate authorized transactions between the United States and Cuba. U.S. financial institutions will be allowed to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions. And it will be easier for U.S. exporters to sell goods in Cuba.”Noble said rice growers have been seeking a legislative fix for nearly a decade in the hopes of restoring a potentially important export market.

“With Cuba being a very large consumer of rice and being so close to Arkansas, it could be a significant trading partner,” he said.Arkansas could add nearly $80 million annually to its economy through trade with Cuba, according to Eric Wailes, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.“It is a significant development,” he said.

Cuba imported more than 400 metric tons of rice last year, mostly from Vietnam as well as Brazil. The United States should reasonably be expected to secure a quarter of the Cuban import market, or 100 metric tons, Wailes said. That would provide about $80 million in direct, indirect and induced benefits to the Arkansas rice economy.Rick Bransford, president of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, said he hoped the president’s announcement will lead to more open trade with Cuba.

“Cuba could and should be a major export market for Arkansas produced agricultural goods. While we are still learning about the full impact of the recently announced agreement between the U.S. and Cuba, we believe we are one step closer to more normalized trade with this important market for Arkansas rice and other Arkansas commodities,” Bransford said.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., welcomed Obama’s effort to normalize relations with Cuba.“What we have done for decades simply hasn’t worked,” Boozman said. “When we have trade and commerce, we also trade ideas. And, to be consistent, we trade now with a lot worse when it comes to human rights.”Boozman said the easing of trade restrictions would be a particular benefit to Arkansas, noting that Cuba would be a significant market for rice as well as poultry raised in Arkansas.

Source with thanks:


Rice millers’ problems to be solved on Dec 29’

PATNA: Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday said the longstanding problems of the rice millers would be solved at the entrepreneurs (udyami) panchayat scheduled for December 29.Speaking at a conference of Bihar state rice millers association at the S K Memorial Hall, Manjhi promised to solve their problems instantly, but finance minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said the announcements with financial implications can't be implemented instantly. 

The CM said he solved the problems of homeguards and the policemen on a single day and gave instant instructions to the officers regarding their longstanding demands. He said Bihar has 3,000 rice mills, yet the state imports rice from Punjab and Haryana. "The government proposes to procure 24 MT of rice from next year against 18 lakh MT this year. The state food corporation's godowns have the storage capacity for only 11 MT. This has to be increased," the CM said. He asked the industrialists to create job opportunities in Bihar itself so that local youths do not need to go outside Bihar in search of employment. He assured government assistance to the entrepreneurs. 

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Fin Min asks states to clear CCL dues before seeking loans for foodgrains

Decision taken after a meeting with representatives of PSBs, states, primarily Punjab, FCI and RBI
Anindita Dey  |  Mumbai  
December 18, 2014 Last Updated at 13:58 IST
The Finance Ministry has advised states to clear cash credit limits dues given through Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to Food Corporation of India (FCI) with the consent of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for procurement of foodgrains.This decision was taken recently at a meeting with representatives of PSBs, states, primarily Punjab which had sought fresh line of credit for procurement of paddy, FCI and RBI. This is as per recommendation of the new expenditure committee.The meeting was called to finalise a cash credit limit of Rs 8,000 crore to Punjab for procurement of paddy during thekharif marketing season.

This cash credit limit has been sanctioned in favour of State of Punjab with a direction to clear the pending dues of previous cash credit limits first. Further the ministry has also sought data from all states during non closure previous cash credit limit account for credit given for off take of foodgrains.Normally, the paddy procurement is done by two routes that is Customed Milled Rice (CMR) and through Levy route. For procurement through Levy route, levy rice limit has been restricted up to maximum 25% of the rice purchased or processed or held by the millers/dealers all over the country with effect from 1st October 2014 onwards.

Levy rice means the paddy purchased by a rice miller with his own resources and as per the current policy, 25% of the total rice processed will be procured by the procurement agencies.