Wednesday, December 31, 2014

31st December (Wednesday),2014 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

India Average Wholesale Rice Prices Decline in December 2014 Amid Increasing Supplies

Description: Description: 30, 2014
India average wholesale rice prices have declined in December 2014 for the second consecutive month amid increasing supplies from the ongoing harvests of the kharif main rice crop (June - December), according to local sources.Average monthly wholesale rice prices in India declined to around Rs.2,730 per quintal in December 2014, down about 1.8% from around Rs.2,779 per quintal in November 2014, and down about 7% from around Rs.2,941 per quintal in December 2013.In terms of USD per ton, wholesale rice prices in India stand at around $427 per ton (using current exchange rates) in December 2014, down about 5% from around $448 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in November 2014, and down about 10% from around $476 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in December 2013.     
The average wholesale rice price in January - December 2014 stands at around Rs.2,869 per quintal, up about 6% from around Rs.2,710 per quintal during the same period in 2013. In USD per ton terms, the average wholesale price in January - December 2014 stood at around $470 per ton (using historical exchange rates), up about 1.7% from around $462 per ton during the same period in 2013.
Average wholesale rice prices increased sharply between July and August 2014 due to delayed monsoons and fears of lower production in 2014-15 crop year (October 2014 - September 2015)
The Indian government has estimated 2014-15  kharif rice production at around 88.02 million tons, down about 4% from around 91.69 million tons produced during the same time in 2013-14, according to a statement from the Agriculture Ministry.USDA estimates India's 2014-15 (October - September) production at around 102  million tons, down about 4% from an estimated 106.29 million tons in 2013-14. It estimates India’s rice exports to decline about 16% y/y to around 8.7 million tons in MY 2014-15.

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures Continue Lower as Market Fails to Find Buying Interest

Dec 30, 2014
Chicago rough rice futures for Jan delivery are currently trading 8 cents per cwt (about $2 per ton) lower at $11.740 per cwt (about $259 per ton) during early morning floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading mostly lower: soybeans are currently seen about 0.1% higher, wheat is listed about 1.3% lower and corn is noted about 1.1% lower. U.S. stocks traded lower on Tuesday, weighed in the absence of other news by continued concern over Greece's failure to elect a president on Monday. Stocks held to a narrow trading range in light volume trade on Monday, closing the day with the S&P and Russell 2000 at records and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending its 8-day win streak.
The December reading of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index came in slightly lower-than-expected at 92.6. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 38 points, or 0.21%, to 18,000. The S&P 500 traded down 5.7 points, or 0.27%, at 2,084, with utilities leading declines in all 10 sectors. On Monday, the utilities sector had led the S&P 500 to its 53rd record close for the year. The Nasdaq traded down 18 points, or 0.39%, at 4,788. The Russell 2000 also traded lower, after closing at a record on Monday. Gold is currently trading about 2% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 0.9% higher,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.4% lower at 10:00am Chicago time.

Long-Term Development Plan Imperative for Thailand Rice Sector

Dec 30, 2014
Description: Description: recent government intervention schemes in Thailand have proved to be short-term measures to appease farmers and lacked focus on sustainable long-term measures to increase competitiveness of the sector, said experts from the International Trade Studies Center of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (ITSC-UTCC) and the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).According to local sources, the Director of the ITSC-UTCC said sustainable long-term measures are needed to encourage Thai rice farmers to focus on quality rice production while reducing their cost of production and logistics. He noted that the government should facilitate the development of the whole rice supply chain to ensure overall benefit for the sector.
According to a report by the ITSC-UTCC, Thailand's rice productivity as well as profit earned by rice farmers are lowest among the other ASEAN rice producers such as Vietnam and Myanmar.The President of TDRI noted that the rice-pledging scheme introduced by the previous government cost the exchequer heftily to the extent of about 500 billion baht (around $15.6 billion) but failed to help farmers in the long-run.
The experts noted that the government has to help farmers grow in a sustainable way rather than providing subsidies or money. They lauded the military government's "rice strategy", which is aimed at improving production, marketing and quality of Thai rice with very less market intervention, but expressed doubts over its proper implementation.The former President of the Thai Rice Millers Association (TRMA) suggested that the government, academia, farmers and traders should work closely to develop the rice industry. He noted that the government needs to invest nearly 20 billion baht (around $606 million) annually in rice research to increase yields and competitiveness of Thai rice in the world market. He added that the government should expand irrigated land that is devoted to rice growing.The President of the Thai Rice Farmers Association (TRFA) also stressed the need for long-term development plans rather that short-term handouts. 

Brazil Paddy Rice Index Slightly Up from Last Week

Dec 30, 2014

Description: Brazilian paddy rice indexThe Brazilian paddy rice index maintained by CEPEA reached around 38.11 real per 50 kilograms as of December 29, 2014, up about 0.24% from around 38.02 real per 50 kilograms recorded on December 22, 2014.
In terms of USD per ton, the index reached around $285.7 per ton on December 29, 2014, down about 0.2% from around $286.5 per ton recorded on December 22, 2014

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap – Prices Fall With Futures Market Amid Limited Holiday Trade

Dec 30, 2014
The U.S. cash market was weaker yet again today falling in sympathy with the futures market however there is still little to no trading to report.The market is still in holiday mode and things will not likely pick up until people get back to work on Monday however analysts do not expect a spike in farmers to be falling over themselves to sell at these levels

Pakistan Rice Quotes Up Today; Other Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged

Dec 30, 2014
Pakistan rice sellers increased their quotes for 5% broken rice and 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton each to around $380 - $390 per ton and around $305 - $315 per ton, respectively.  Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes unchanged today.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton, about $25 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $380 - $390 per ton. India 5% rice is quoted at around $385 - $395 per ton, about $5 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $380 - $390 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday.
25% Broken Rice 
Thailand 25% rice was last quoted at around $350 - $360 per ton, on par with Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $350 - $360 per ton. India 25% rice is quoted at around $350 - $360, about $15 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $335 - $345 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton. India parboiled rice is quoted at around $375 - $385 per ton, about $30 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $330 - $340 per ton, on par with Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $330 - $340 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $295 - $305 per ton,  about $10 per ton discount to Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $305 - $315 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday.

Global Rice Quotes
December 30th, 2014
Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade           420-430           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken     380-390           ↔
India 5% broken          385-395           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken     380-390           ↑
Cambodia 5% broken 460-470           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           510-520           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    595-605           ↔
Argentina 5% broken   595-605           ↔
Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken NQ       ↔
Vietnam 25% broken   350-360           ↔
Pakistan 25% broken   335-345           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken            435-445           ↔
India 25% broken        350-360           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         495-505           ↔
Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd             405-415           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd      405-415           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd           375-385           ↔
U.S. parboiled 4% broken       580-590           ↔
Brazil parboiled 5% broken     570-580           ↔
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken             NQ       ↔
Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%           895-905           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         510-520           ↔
India basmati 2% broken         NQ       ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken    NQ       ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails 805-815           ↔
Thailand A1 Super       330-340           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken             330-340           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd     305-315           ↑
Cambodia A1 Super    385-395           ↔
India 100% broken stxd          295-305           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens   NQ       ↔
U.S. pet food   390-400           ↔
Brazil half grain           NQ       ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

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31st December (Wednesday),2014 Daily Exclusive ORYZA RiceE-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

30th December (Tuesday),2014 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Agri body lauds Vizcaya leaders

By Jessica M. Bacud | Dec. 30, 2014 at 12:01am
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Governor Ruth Padilla and her husband, Rep. Carlos Padilla along with Director General Dr. William Dar, of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), have launched a Building Resiliency and Rural Livelihood Development Project to improve productivity and income in the agriculture sector.They are truly innovators in looking for opportunities to empower our farmers,” said Dar following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement in Ammungan Hall of the provincial capitol. “ICRISAT will be your partner.”According to Mrs. Padilla, the project aims to boost farm yield and returns on investment on the part of planters.
“The implementation of a joint resiliency program and rural livelihood development project here is expected to boost agricultural productivity and income among farmers in the province,” she said.Congressman Padilla has advocated countryside development through infrastructure particularly bridges and farm-to-market roads, agriculture geared to smallholders, mechanization and postharvest management among other key concerns to cope with climate change.He said the  project will be piloted in Bagabag, Quezon, Diadi, Kasibu, and Dupaxdel Norte in coordination with the Nueva Vizcaya State University, municipal governments and farmer’s organizations.
Using Dar’s expertise, the project’s components are soil analysis and mapping and agro-forestry and watershed management among other activities in the scope of ICRISAT research and development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world.Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi-arid or dryland tropics has over 2 billion people, and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor.Tropical dryland areas are usually seen as resource-poor and perennially beset by shocks such as drought, trapping dryland communities in poverty and hunger and dependent on external aid.A native of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, Dar took up horticulture, receiving his doctoral degree from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos.
He served as the first director of the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Research after teaching at the Benguet State University about the period of initiatives led by institutes, such as the Philippine Rice Research Institute, PhilRice.Dar led the Philippine Council for Agricultural Research and Rural Development and served on the  boards of institutions such as International Rice Research Institute before a short government stint as Acting Secretary of Agriculture and as Presidential Adviser on Rural Development of then President Joseph Estrada.
He was selected to head ICRISAT in 2000 and authored the book, “Feeding the forgotten poor”.“I will share my experience with Filipino farmers to transform dryland areas into productive, sustainable and climate-smart farms through Inang Lupa social movement,” Dar said in a statement.Under his leadership, the ICRISAT became a leading agricultural research institute in terms of  financial stability, with income and investments since 2000, from $21 million to $85 million in 2014.

China agrees to transfer high-yield rice technology to Bangladesh

Senior Correspondent,
Published: 2014-12-29 19:31:48.0 BdST Updated: 2014-12-29 23:19:28.0 BdST
The technology will help Bangladesh to boost production, the foreign minister says.China will transfer technology of its indigenous high-yield rice variety to Bangladesh as part of agricultural cooperation. Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, briefing journalists about the just-ended visit of Wang Yi, said on Monday his Chinese counterpart also informed him about taking “necessary steps” for setting up a rice research centre in Bangladesh.He said the visit had been “very successful” as new areas of cooperation emerged and believed that it had strengthened the existing Dhaka-Beijing relations further.

“It’s a big development (transferring technology of high-yield rice),” he said.He said Bangladesh would need to increase food production by the day on this small arable land.He said the technology transfer of a variety of rice would help in this regard.Ali mentioned Bangladesh’s rice export to Sri Lanka, its first to any country, and said they would also export to India’s north-eastern Tripura state to meet its need.

The Chinese foreign minister’s visit was aimed at reviewing the progress of the commitments both sides had made during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Beijing visit in June.It was also aimed at mapping out the details of joint celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year when Dhaka expects the Chinese president down here.The foreign minister said China would take 100 young Bangladeshi to visit the country as part of the celebrations next year.He said they were expecting a “top level visit” during the inauguration of the work of building a tunnel beneath the Karnafuli River.China would finance the nearly $1.2 billion project.

He said China also endorsed Bangladesh’s vision of acting as a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia due to its strategic geographical location.It also assured Dhaka of helping it to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).Both sides also agreed to work closely during next year’s multi-lateral discussions for adopting post-2015 development agenda and climate change talks.They also stressed the need for quick implementation of the proposed Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar, or BCIM, economic corridor.

During the bilateral meeting, China proposed to initiate free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations to what the foreign minister said narrow down the trade imbalance.Ali said they would discuss with stakeholders before starting negotiations on the matter as some analysts say FTA could widen the trade gap even further.He said the Chinese side during the bilateral talks told them that they would address any concerns when the talks begin.He said the Chinese foreign minister termed Bangladesh an “important neighbour” and stressed on bilateral cooperation to strengthen the friendly relations.Five priority areas of cooperation – trade, agriculture, industry, energy, and infrastructure – have been identified.

China also welcomed Bangladesh’s proposal of forming a joint working group on trade and industry and bilateral investment forum.The issue of the Specialised Economic Trade Zone that Bangladesh offered to China during Hasina's visit was also discussed.The Chinese foreign minister said their companies were also eager to relocate factories to Bangladesh.He promised Chinese cooperation in setting up power plants and exploring oil and gas.
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Russians See Costlier Food as No Crisis

 DEC. 29, 2014

KHOTKOVO, Russia — In the early days of 1992, prices here exploded by an average of 350 percent as post-Communist Russia crash-landed into a free market economy. Six years later, in August 1998, prices again gyrated wildly after the Russian government devalued the ruble and defaulted on its debts.In comparison, this year’s plunge in the value of the ruble seems positively tame, which may explain the relative stoicism among shoppers here as they shuffled along snow-covered paths, making the rounds of the shops and getting ready for the long holiday season.That isn’t to say that inflation — now above 10 percent — is not on everyone’s mind.
Several store managers said the same thing: Prices have been going up with each delivery. In a store in the nearby village of Akhtyrka, the sales clerk advised a couple of elderly shoppers to come back later, after she had updated the price list.For consumers and retailers alike, Russia’s latest economic crisis has come in stages. The first impact was felt last summer, when Russia retaliated against the West for Ukraine-related sanctions by imposing a ban on food imports from the United States, the European Union and several other trading partners. The second blow came after the value of the ruble took a deep plunge in mid-December, before bouncing back somewhat.
A third is expected as rising interest rates choke off credit.Here in Khotkovo, a town of 23,000 people 60 kilometers, or about 35 miles, northeast of Moscow, tracking the impact of the self-imposed sanctions is like proving a negative. A variety of goods — from basmati rice to imported hard cheeses — have simply vanished, leaving consumers with fewer and less desirable choices.A store on the main square that specializes in food from Belarus, Russia’s western neighbor and an ally of sorts, dodged the first bullet. Belarus never imposed sanctions, but now the drop in the value of the ruble is having an effect, said the store’s manager, who declined to give his name.He estimated that prices had over all increased 10 percent to 15 percent in the last month, and like others, he didn’t dare venture a prediction for 2015.
After a decade of sustained economic growth, Russian consumers are more resilient than they were in 1992 or 1998, and as they shop for their traditional New Year’s Eve feasts, many are shrugging off the higher prices.Housewives standing in line at a meat counter said they were prepared to make do with less. Marina, who declined to give her last name, said that beef prices — now at 600 rubles a kilo (roughly $5.40 a pound) — had probably gone up at least 25 percent but that this wouldn’t stop her from serving it for the traditional New Year’s Eve feast. “We’ll manage,” she said.Several shopkeepers said they were running through old stocks, which would explain why such anomalies as Finnish dumplings or Italian coffee can still be found on the shelves.
Others explain that importers have figured out ways around the ban, bringing European goods through Belarus, where they are relabeled and brought across the border to Russia. Countries like Brazil have also stepped up exports to Russia, although typically at higher prices.Ever since the food ban was introduced last summer, the Russian government has used the opportunity to encourage local producers to fill the gap. That has already had some effect: By October, domestic meat production was up 12 percent, according to government statistics.Until this crisis hit, Russian consumers said, they were not aware of their dependence on imported food.
Now, as their currency loses value, putting Western goods out of reach, they welcome government-backed efforts to step up domestic production.“We were living in some kind of dream world,” said a man who identified himself only as Alexei, who owns a food emporium on the edge of town. “They should have made this effort long ago, instead of living off oil and gas.”
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Amira Nature Foods receives USD90m contract with repeat customer in EMEA region

Dec 30, 2014 (M2 EQUITYBITES via COMTEX) -- 
Amira Nature Foods Ltd (NYSE:ANFI), a provider of packaged Indian specialty rice, announced on Monday that it has entered into a USD90m contract to supply third party branded basmati rice to a key repeat customer in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.
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Using Weedy Rice Traits to Boost Cultivated Rice Yields
30 December 2014
US - Genetic traits in weedy rice may someday be used to develop sturdy, high-yield varieties of cultivated rice that will flourish in the face of climate change, thanks to findings by scientists at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).This work, conducted by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant physiologist Lewis Ziska and his colleagues.Ziska, who is with ARS's Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, studied several rice cultivars to determine if changes in temperature and CO2 levels affected seed yields. He also looked for visible traits that could signal whether a plant cultivar has the genetic potential for adapting successfully to elevated CO2 levels.
The investigation included weedy red rice, which infests cultivated rice cropland. Despite the plant's downsides, previous assessments indicated that weedy rice growing under elevated CO2 levels had higher seed yields than cultivated rice growing under the same conditions.Ziska monitored the different rice cultivars at current and future projections of atmospheric CO2 and a range of day/night air temperatures. He observed that on average, all the rice cultivars put out more aboveground biomass at elevated CO2 levels, although this response diminished as air temperatures rose.

For seed yield, only weedy rice and the rice cultivar 'Rondo' responded to elevated CO2 levels when grown at optimal day/night air temperatures of 84 °F and 70 °F. In addition, only the weedy rice gained significant increases of aboveground biomass and seed yield under elevated CO2 levels at the higher temperatures expected for rice-growing regions by 2050.Seed yield is a trait linked to seed head and tiller production. Tillers are stalks put out by a growing rice plant. As the plant matures, the seed heads-where rice grain is produced-develop at the end of the tillers. This suggests that crop breeders might someday be able to use this weedy rice trait to develop commercial rice cultivars that can convert rising CO2 levels into higher seed yields.
TheCropSite News Desk

Rice import on the rise

Statistics from Ningbo Inspection and Quarantine Bureau shows that up to Dec. 18 the bureau has inspected 167 batches of imported rice, of 105,300 tons and worth $45.92 million, up 0.92, 1.81 and 2.04 times respectively over last year. The import of rice from Ningbo Port has been on the rise since two years ago. The total volume this year exceeds 100000 tons, surpassing the total of 2007 and 2013, the historical high. According to statistics, the imported rice from Ningbo Port in 2014 is mainly from Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan and Cambodia. 70% of the total is from Vietnam, which are mainly for sale or used as production material.  The huge price gap is the major cause for the rapid increase of imported rice.
Since 2012, the rice price in China is obviously higher than countries like Vietnam. The imported rice has price advantage. As a result, the domestic food processing factories are more likely to replace domestic rice with imported one, which leads to the rapid increase of the rice import. Thanks to the geographical advantage of Ningbo Port and the preferential polices by the Municipal Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, the customs clearance of Ningbo Port has been optimized and thus attracted numerous rice importers. Ningbo Port has become a major port for rice import in East China
Pakistani kebabs, Bangladeshi Hilsa big hits at Kolkata fair

Kolkata, Dec 30 (IANS): Grilled marinated chicken tikkas and smoking seekh kebabs from Pakistan and rice dishes from Bangladesh with Ilish (hilsa fish) are not only tasty but healthy too, according to chefs from the two countries who are here for a fair.Two stalls from the neighbouring countries are not only rustling up delicacies at the ongoing 27th Industrial India Trade Fair here, but also dispelling myths about traditional foods.Be it the warm platters of aromatic Sindhi Dum Biriyani, or the slow cooked chicken or mutton Nahari stew, the 15 dishes served at the kiosk of Pakistan's Warsi chain of restaurants are much in demand.

Despite the rich creamy texture, the items are surprisingly high on nutrition, said chef Md. Arif of the Warsi restaurant that has outlets in Karachi, Lahore and Faizabad."The cooking techniques that we use across the border, such as grilling and slow cooking, ensure that the nutritive properties of poultry and vegetables are retained," Arif, a resident of Karachi, told the media here.Arif also swears by the combination of spices used.

"The garam masala that we use is very different from the Indian version. When mixed in proper proportions with powdered dry fruit, it doesn't heat up the body too much.""In fact, in the chilly winter, spices and dry fruits are necessary. Our families have been surviving on this for generations without any side-effects," the 49-year-old Arif said about his family's secret spice mix.

At the other end, the smell of oil squeezed out from the prized Hilsa fish has been a big draw.From Ilish biriyani to Ilish pulao and Ilish khichdi, the fish reigns supreme at the Bangladeshi food outlet."We use all parts of the fish in our cooking. While the khichdi and pulao have boneless fish pieces, the biriyani has pieces with bones but no eggs. The oil that is used is also derived from the fish," said Atanu Pandit of the Bangladeshi food stall.This ensures no extra oil is needed during the cooking, and the fish in itself is nutritious due to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids."Ilish is very good for the brain and nervous system. The fusion of rice and fish is healthy. For the set-up here, we have used the Ilish caught in Bangladesh rivers," said Pandit.
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Sacramento Valley’s powerhouse rice crop one step closer to cap and trade

12/29/2014 7:23 PM 
 12/30/2014 12:10 AM

California environmental regulators are exploring how rice farmers can reduce carbon emissions, paving the way for crops to become part of the state’s greenhouse gas reduction program and affecting one of the Sacramento Valley’s powerhouse agricultural industries. The California Air Resources Board this month directed staff to begin the process for including rice in the state’s cap-and-trade program, marking the first time crop farmers could receive credits for reducing emissions through a change in growing practices.

To sell carbon emission allowances, rice farmers would be required to flood their fields for shorter periods. This would reduce the rice straw decomposition process that leads to the emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Most of the rice in the Sacramento Valley is grown by farmers who flood their rice fields, typically to a depth of 4 to 5 inches, prior to seeding.The board action is no small matter for rice growers in the Sacramento Valley who grow most of the 550,000 acres of rice cultivated in the state. Including a crop into the program would also resonate across the state since the board would likely follow suit with other crops, said Robert Parkhurst, director of greenhouse gas markets for the Environmental Defense Fund.

“What has been done with the rice protocol can be leveraged to other crops.” Parkhurst said. “Rice is definitely a gateway crop.”The CARB comment period on including rice in the cap and trade program begins in late February and lasts 15 days. It will then be followed by a 45-day information-gathering period before a board vote is taken on whether to approve adoption. That vote is not expected until the summer, said Dave Clegern, spokesman for the Air Resources Board.Before the board can decide, it will have to determine what greenhouse gas emissions are produced during different stages of rice cultivation, such as when rice straw is baled and taken off a farm, Clegern said.

“We need more data,” Clegern said.Farmers would join the program on a voluntary basis and would participate for a 10-year period, said Clegern. Farmers would get paid a market price for each carbon credit sold at auction. Each credit is equal to a ton of carbon dioxide.Other factors come into play and complicate the issue, including the fate of migratory birds and the will of duck hunters, both of which use flooded rice fields as surrogate wetland. Shortening the time rice fields are flooded will remove crucial wetland habitat for birds and force them to congregate in smaller areas, increasing the risk of avian disease.

Questions also abound for rice farmers, who stand to receive a new revenue stream but must consider impacts on crop production.“It’s unclear at this time how many rice growers will change production practices to qualify for the offsets,” said Paul Buttner, environmental affairs manager of the California Rice Commission.

“At the current price of carbon, we would expect the revenue potential would be quite modest – likely less than five dollars an acre,” said Buttner.California’s cap-and-trade program was launched in 2013 as an outgrowth of the state’s emissions-reducing law, Assembly Bill 32. The 2006 law seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.The price of carbon in California’s cap-and-trade program has dipped markedly. In September 2012, the price of a California carbon allowance future peaked at $23.75, according to the market tracking firm Intercontinental Exchange.

As of Dec. 24, the carbon allowance future had fallen to $12.58.It is the first such program in the United States that caps all greenhouse gas emissions from major industries and includes penalties when those industries are in noncompliance.The program allows industries and other entities that produce greenhouse gases to offset what they produce by purchasing credits or allowances from activity elsewhere that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If rice were approved for the program, it would join five sectors that include U.S. forests, livestock, urban forests, ozone depleting substances and mines.

Most of California’s major greenhouse gas emitters – those that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year – are required to comply with cap-and-trade regulations. Under AB 32, a company or utility may only emit as much carbon as it has purchased allowances for, over a set period of time.Purchases, sales or trades of offsets or allowances take place during quarterly auctions run by the Air Resources Board. There have been eight such auctions since the program began.California’s cap-and-trade program has already operated in the agricultural realm through the livestock industry.

In that effort, methods have been put into place to quantify and report greenhouse gas emission reductions on dairy, cattle and swine farms where biogas control systems have been installed to reduce manure methane emissions.The livestock effort started in January 2012 and has generated 712,000 offsets, according to CARB data.

Call The Bee’s Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071. Follow him on Twitter @edwardortiz.
Image:The California Air Resources Board this month directed staff to begin the process for including rice in the state’s cap-and-trade program, marking the first time crop farmers could receive credits for reducing emissions through a change in growing practices. RICH PEDRONCELLI AP

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China’s Low-Tech Smuggling Fad: Vietnamese Rice

Dec 30, 2014


Smuggling in the world’s second largest economy might conjure images of small-package, high-value commodities coveted by Chinese urbanites, such as iPhones, cocaine or even lobsters. But another contraband of a more common variety has been flowing in vast quantities across China’s 800-mile border with Vietnam: rice.
How much? It’s likely that more rice is being smuggled from Vietnam into China than the volume sent in legal shipments, the chief of China’s cabinet-level State Council’s rural policy unit Chen Xiwen said at a university conference over the weekend. That means there may be at least 1.2 million metric tons of rice smuggled into the mainland in the first 11 months this year – a quarter of the total amount of rice the U.S. consumes in a year.
By official volumes, Vietnam is already China’s largest rice supplier, accounting for slightly more than half of China’s total rice imports.The contraband trade has already been partly responsible for triggering “Green Wind,” aChinese government crackdown on illegal trade earlier this year that netted $1.16 billion in tax evasion on all contraband recovered.High prices in China are drawing the illegal rice cargoes. Rice in China is currently selling for about 4,000 yuan ($643) a ton, well above the 3,100 yuan ($498) that Vietnamese rice can fetch, said Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. analyst Zhang Yan. It’s not the first time this sort of arbitrage has encouraged Southeast Asian smugglers –sugar has in the past also seen similar trends.
Much of this price discrepancy is thanks to Beijing’s support policy for farmers, who get to sell to the government at pre-fixed rates if market prices fall below its floor. Analysts say the government isn’t likely to change this policy anytime soon, given its political sensitivity among rural communities. Mr. Chen couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.The volume of rice smuggled, if made through legal channels, would tip China closer toward breaching an import quota agreed with the World Trade Organization in 2000. Currently, China officially imports around 2.2 million tons of rice, well below the 5.32 million tons it set up as its import quota for the grain.
If smuggled rice is taken into account, China may have to slap punitive tariffs of 65% on any amount imported outside the quota – compared to 1% within the quota – to meet its consumption needs.Even without policy changes, it doesn’t mean the smuggling will continue forever. Vietnam’s rice is in surplus now, so exporters can afford to keep illicit pipelines to China full. “But if there’s a shortage and international prices go up, that won’t last,” Ms. Zhang said.
– Chuin-Wei Yap. Follow him on Twitter @YapCW.

Image: Rice is sold in a street of Hanoi, Vietnam, 07 October 2014
European Pressphoto Agency
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NFA assures ample supply of rice

December 30, 2014
Butuan City — The National Food Authority (NFA) yesterday assured Caraganons of enough rice supply despite the effects of Typhoon “Seniang” which left thousands of flood victims in the region.The NFA also assured Caraganons that the bulk of rice supply now being kept at various NFA warehouses and the NFA rice already in the market will remain to be sold at P27 per kilo for regular-milled and P32 for well-milled.Officials from the regional office of NFA also assured of ample rice supply during the New Year’s Day celebration.
The NFA also assured local government unit (LGU) officials and their respective disaster risk reduction and management councils (DRRMCs) of immediate assistance to flood victims brought about Typhoon “Seniang.”In Surigao del Sur alone, the NFA reported that a total of 102,449 bags in stock inventory were available in all their warehouses located in Cantilan, Bislig City and Tandag City.NFA Provincial Manager May Sara Atomar said this bulk of rice supply were broken down into local rice at 5,171 bags and imported rice at 97,278 bags.
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Vietnam should stop cross-border trade with China: WTO Center
UPDATED : 12/30/2014 15:01 GMT + 7

Vietnam should reduce and eventually cease cross-border import and export activities with China in order to narrow its trade gap with the country, a unit under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has proposed.
Import-export transactions between the two countries should only be done via the official mechanism rather than across the border, the WTO Center said in a report, which also outlines many other strong suggestions to narrow Vietnam’s trade deficit with China.
Cross-border trading is a legal international economic activity between people of two neighboring states. The products usually are traded in small volumes and values, and require less paperwork than official trading activities.The cross-border trading mechanism has been designed to facilitate traders in border areas to manufacture and exchange goods in small volumes, but the policy has in fact failed to attain its objective, according to the WTO Center.

Many traders have made use of the cross-border trade to dodge taxes, it elaborated.Vietnam’s trade deficit with China widened to US$28.9 billion this year, up 21.8 percent from the $23.7 billion recorded last year, according to the General Statistics Office.The WTO Center functions as a channel of online consultation, discussion and support for Vietnamese business associations and enterprises about the World Trade Organization and other legal international trade issues.The center provides legal documents, updated information, publications and training materials on WTO and other legal issues of international economic integration, according to its website.

Many Vietnamese agricultural products are mostly exported to China across the border.In 2013, for instance, China imported 2.1 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam, most of which was done via cross-border transactions, according to the Vietnam Food Association.In the first five months of this year, China’s imports of Vietnamese rice rose 50 percent from a year earlier to 600,000 tonnes.However, 64 percent of the rice export contracts with China have been canceled, and Chinese traders usually force Vietnamese exporters to sell at low prices, the association noted.

Economic experts have attributed the huge shipments of Vietnamese agricultural products to China to the low requirements of the Chinese importers for product quality.The simple paperwork and short distance of transport via cross-border trade are also a plus for local traders to focus on selling goods to China.Muoi Son, a rice trader in the southern province of Tien Giang, said he prefers selling to China across the border as “it is an easy market with high demand.”Son admitted to a local newspaper that he does acknowledge there are payment risks in cross-border trade.“But we got used to this method so it’s hard to get rid of it,” he said.

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Rough Rice January 2015 (ZRF15)


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