Thursday, January 01, 2015

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

JCR-VIS reaffirms entity ratings of Matco Rice Processing at A-/A-2

December 31, 2014
JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS) has reaffirmed the entity ratings of Pakistan's largest basmati rice exporter, Matco Rice Processing (Pvt) Limited, at "A-/A-2" (Single A-Minus/ A-Two) with stable outlook. Despite being a highly competitive market with numerous international rice brands, rice exports from Pakistan increased by 3.3 percent in FY14 to US 1.9 billion dollars. Matco was able to capture a larger share of the same as the company's exports increased by 25 percent in FY14.
Growth in exports has been achieved due to increased sale of basmati rice which fetched a better price in the international market compared to IRRI. Sharing his thought on the rating, Chairman Matco Rice, Jawed Ali Ghori said, "This rating is yet another testament of our market leading product quality and reflects upon the trust of our valued customers. Our management has projected increased margins and overall profitability in the long-run and relishes the current entity rating of A-/A-2 by JCR-VIS with an aim to further enhance it in the years to come." He further added that "Matco Rice is constantly striving to increase the quality of products by applying international standards and strengthening rice procurement procedures.-PR 


KBP seeks immediate compensation for basmati growers

December 31, 2014
Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) has urged the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to ensure immediate implementation on a relief package announced by him to compensate the rice growers at the rate of Rs 5,000 per acres. KBP Central President Sadiq Khan Khakwani made this demand during a meeting of a delegation of Basmati growers here on Tuesday. The growers expressed their reservations over government attitude and non-implementation of the premier's announcement. KBP Chief demanded that the farmers who suffered losses because of recent floods should be compensated at the earliest.
He said that unrest is being found amongst basmati growers due to non-implementation of the package. He said in response to a countrywide protest staged by the rice growers, the Prime Minister had directed the Federal Finance Minister and Minister for Food Security to compensate growers and approved necessary funds. However, KBP Chief regretted, no method has been evolved in this regard which is a question mark on functioning of these departments. He reiterated that the government should take immediate steps to resolve the issues and compensate the loss suffered by Basmati growers. 


Amira Group ties up with; Global food giant further expands its online presence in India

Section: Other Briefs Category: Corporate
Company Brief
New Delhi, December30, 2014

Amira Pure Foods Private Limited, Indian subsidiary of Amira Nature Foods Ltd., an NYSE listed global specialty food company, has further expanded its market in the online space in India by announcing its tie-up with, a leading online grocery retailer, focused towards the Delhi-NCR region. Under the partnership, Amira’s premium Basmati range will be available on Speaking about the partnership, Mr. Karana A Chanana, Chairman and CEO, Amira Group said, “We are pleased to announce our partnership with Online retailing has become one of the important sales channels for consumer brands these days and this partnership marks Amira’s further expansion into the online segment.
 We are confident that this tie-up will be beneficial for both the companies.”Over the last three years, has emerged as one of the leading online grocery shopping destinations for consumers in Delhi-NCR. “’s widespread network of thousands of local stores in Delhi-NCR will further help us to provide our products to more consumers in the most convenient and time-saving manner” added Mr. Chanana.Commenting on this development, Megha Singh, Director-Sales, said, “This association with Amira, a globally recognized leader in the Premium Basmati segment, is an important addition to our fast expanding business. This tie-up will help us cater to those of our customers who look for Premium and Quality food products.”

Amira will be offering its wide range of Basmati rice products on which includes:
Amira Extra Long Grain Basmati Rice
Amira Traditional Basmati Rice
Amira Guru Extra Long Grain Basmati Rice
Amira Goodlength Everyday Basmati Rice
Amira Goodlength Day To Day Basmati Rice

Amira Group, one of the largest exporters of Basmati rice from India, has been strengthening its brand portfolio in India. Under its expansion strategy in online retailing, the company had recently announced its tie-up with, becoming the 1st rice brand to be available online at a pan-India level.

For further information, please contact: 

Pooja Chauhan 
Mobile:+91 9971627588
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Punjab, Iran identify two projects for mutual collaboration

The Punjab government in collaboration with Iran has identified two projects including “Creation of Grain Storage Silos” and “Corporate Farming of Fodder for Export” in which mutual cooperation will be beneficial, on Tuesday.In this connection, a meeting was held at Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) head office under the chairmanship of PBIT Chief Executive Officer Ilyas Ghauri. Planning and Development secretary Waseem Ajmal, Additional Secretary Industries Shafiq Ahmad, PBIT Investor Relations Director General Jalal Hassan and Deputy Secretary Livestock Khalid Mahmood were also present.
Agriculture sector cooperation in areas of transfer of breeding material for floriculture, transfer of technology for production of medicinal plant, assistance for development of Potohar region as it has same characteristics as of most areas of Iran also came under discussion.The meeting participants highlighted key aspects of Iran’s economy including exports and imports.

KBP seeks immediate compensation for basmati growers

DECEMBER 31, 2014 6:35


December 31, 2014 – BR Report

Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) has urged the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to ensure immediate implementation on a relief package announced by him to compensate the rice growers at the rate of Rs 5,000 per acres. KBP Central President Sadiq Khan Khakwani made this demand during a meeting of a delegation of Basmati growers here on Tuesday. The growers expressed their reservations over government attitude and non-implementation of the premier’s announcement.


KBP Chief demanded that the farmers who suffered losses because of recent floods should be compensated at the earliest. He said that unrest is being found amongst basmati growers due to non-implementation of thepackage. He said in response to a countrywide protest staged by the rice growers, the Prime Minister had directed the Federal Finance Minister and Minister for Food Security to compensate growers and approved necessary funds. However, KBP Chief regretted, no method has been evolved in this regard which is a question mark on functioning of these departments. He reiterated that the government should take immediate steps to resolve the issues and compensate the loss suffered by Basmati growers.


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Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Dec 31

Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:03pm IST


 Nagpur, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Gram prices reported higher in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and

Marketing Committee (APMC) on increased marriage season demand from local millers amid thin arrival from producing belts. Freshs rise in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and enquiries from

South-based millers also pushed up prices, according to sources.


               *            *              *              *




   * Desi gram raw zoomed up again in open market on good marriage season demand

     from local traders amid tight supply from producing regions.



   * Tuar gavarani recovered nominally in open market on renewed demand from local

     traders amid weak supply from producing regions.


   * Moong and udid varieties touched to a record high in open market on increased

     seasonal demand from local traders amid tight supply from producing regions. Weak

     production reports also activated stockists. 


   * In Akola, Tuar - 4,700-4,900, Tuar dal - 7,100-7,400, Udid at 6,700-6,900,

     Udid Mogar (clean) - 7,500-7,700, Moong - 7,800-8,000, Moong Mogar

    (clean) 9,700-10,100, Gram - 2,500-2,700, Gram Super best bold - 3,600-3,900

     for 100 kg.


   * Wheat, rice and other commodities remained steady in open market

     in thin trading activity, according to sources.


 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg


     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  

     Gram Auction                2,900-3,400         2,870-3,350

     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600

     Tuar Auction                n.a.                4,000-4,200

     Moong Auction                n.a.                6,200-6,400

     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500

     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800

     Gram Super Best Bold            4,150-4,300        4,150-4,300

     Gram Super Best            n.a.               

     Gram Medium Best            3,900-4,000        3,900-4,000

     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a.

     Gram Mill Quality            3,000-3,100        3,000-3,100

     Desi gram Raw                3,100-3,400         3,100-3,400

     Gram Filter new            3,300-3,700        3,300-3,700

     Gram Kabuli                8,600-9,900        8,600-9,900

     Gram Pink                7,300-7,500        7,300-7,500

     Tuar Fataka Best             7,700-7,800        7,700-7,800

     Tuar Fataka Medium             7,450-7,600        7,450-7,600

     Tuar Dal Best Phod            7,000-7,200        7,000-7,200

     Tuar Dal Medium phod            6,600-6,800        6,600-6,800

     Tuar Gavarani              5,550-5,650        5,500-5,600

     Tuar Karnataka             5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000

     Tuar Black                 8,300-8,700           8,300-8,700

     Masoor dal best            7,300-7,500        7,300-7,500

     Masoor dal medium            7,000-7,200        7,000-7,200

     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.

     Moong Mogar bold               10,500-10,800       10,300-10,600

     Moong Mogar Medium best        9,800-10,200        9,700-10,200

     Moong dal Chilka            9,500-10,000        9,200-9,800

     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.

     Moong Chamki best            8,300-9,800        8,000 -9,600

     Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG)    8,200-8,500       8,000-8,200

     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    7,700-7,900        7,600-7,800

     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        6,000-6,200        5,800-6,000

     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        4,300-4,500        4,300-4,500

     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)           2,800-3,000         2,800-3,000

     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)        2,900-3,200        2,900-3,200

     Watana White (100 INR/KG)        2,900-3,100         2,900-3,100

     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,850-4,450        3,850-4,450

     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,300-1,600        1,300-1,600

     Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG)    1,800-1,900        1,800-1,900

     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)        1,200-1,400           1,200-1,400

     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,500        2,100-2,500

     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)    1,950-2,200        1,950-2,200

     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.

     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    2,800-3,200        2,800-3,200

     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,300-2,500        2,300-2,500

     Wheat 147 (100 INR/KG)        1,300-1,400        1,300-1,400

     Wheat Best (100 INR/KG)        1,550-1,850        1,550-1,850     

     Rice BPT (100 INR/KG)               3,000-3,300        3,000-3,300

     Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG)        1,700-1,800        1,700-1,800

     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,600        2,400-2,600

     Rice HMT (100 INR/KG)               3,800-4,200        3,800-4,200

     Rice HMT Shriram (100 INR/KG)    4,500-5,300        4,400-5,300

     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    10,000-13,000        10,000-13,000

     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    7,000-9,600        7,000-9,600

     Rice Chinnor (100 INR/KG)        5,200-5,500        5,100-5,500

     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100

     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)        2,100-2,300        2,100-2,300



Maximum temp. 28.8 degree Celsius (73.8 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp.

15.2 degree Celsius (59.4 degree Fahrenheit)

Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a.

Rainfall : nil

FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Rains or thunder-showers likely towards evening or night. Maximum

and minimum temperature would be around and 29 and 18 degree Celsius respectively.


Note: n.a.--not available


(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but

included in market prices.)


As of yesterday… Rice exports total 499,872 tonnes

GUYANA has exported more than 499,872 tons of rice, as of yesterday, according to Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy. And he disclosed that several other shipments are still to be exported, placing the 500,000 tonnes export target in closer reach.The actual export target for 2014 was 460,000 tons.“Other shipments are in the port for export. This means that we will attain another milestone, the first ever time that Guyana has exported 500,000 tons of rice in a single year ,” he said.Dr. Ramsammy stated that the rice industry’s accomplishments have jettisoned the criticisms of several prominent members within the combined Opposition’s ranks.“I recall several Opposition members criticizing me and urging me to curtain the expansion of production, because ‘we can’t sell so much rice’. But our position was that we stood ready to support our farmers and millers,” he said.The Minister added that through Government’s support, the rice market is “ten times” what it was in 1990.

He blasted the combined Opposition, in particular A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), for their continued criticisms of the industry, despite the exceptional performance which improved annually.
“APNU did not acknowledge and congratulate the industry, particularly the farmers, for attaining a milestone that many Opposition members once proclaimed to be impossible – achieving a production of more than 633,000 tonnes of rice for 2014. This production is more than 20 per cent above last year’s and more than 20 per cent above the 2014 target,” Dr. Ramsammy said.He highlighted too that, as compared with the combined Opposition, the ruling People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) has repeatedly congratulated and expressed its profound gratitude to the famers who invest massively in the rice industry and surpassed expectations and targets.

“Our farmers and millers have achieved way beyond what the Opposition and many of their friends thought was possible. In 2014, we (the PPP/C) again express our deepest gratitude to the rice farmers for the work they have done to continue the upward trajectory in production,” he concluded.. The export mark of 400,000 tonnes was surpassed in mid-October, excluding a number of contracts for rice exports that still had to be met. The 500,000 tonnes of rice was the 2020 target for production; however, in 2011, for the first time, the 400,000-tonne mark was passed and this was repeated in 2012 and 2013. With the new export markets secured in 2014, Guyana’s rice exports are expected to reach about 550,000 tonnes in 2015
The country currently has export agreements with several countries in the Caribbean, as well as with Venezuela and Panama, among others. Also, arrangements for rice shipments to countries in West Africa are still being finalised.

The export in 2013 was 394,000 tonnes, from a production of 535,212 tonnes, which was far above the original target of 413,000 tonnes.It is expected that someday Guyana will overcome the barrier to bring it in line with the world’s largest producers of rice. As such, focus is being placed on exploring new and emerging global markets, tackling the crucial and critical issues to facilitate increasing production.

Image:Dr Leslie Ramsammy

Rice industry stakeholders lament over import allocations, Say scheme will derail self-sufficiency efforts

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 21:17
Written by EDITOR

RICE industry stakeholders have cried out to the Federal Government asking that the recent wave of rice import licenses be cancelled outright before investments made by them in the last four years go down the drain. In a protest letter written to the government through the ministers of Finance and Trade and Investments, the stakeholders drew attention to what they called “the recent indiscriminate and wrongful award of import licenses as well as concessions to dubious businessmen with absolutely no investments in the rice sector who are now making millions and billions of naira selling those licenses to importers in the market” They warned that the current development in which new comers without experience were favored over and above operators who are at present investing billions in line with the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) threatens their investments. 

The allocations, the petitioners said, “provide a free ride for smugglers, thereby derailing the objectives on rice self-sufficiency. The country according to reports also stands to lose in excess of N 40 billion through smuggling and loss of customs revenues.” The Federal Ministry of Finance stipulated revised lower tariffs for rice imports vide Ministry of Finance Circular BD/FP/TT/50/I/99 dated July 8th 2014 (entitled 2014-2017 Fiscal Policy Measures On Rice).  According to this circular, bonafide “investors with rice milling capacities and verifiable backward integration programme” are entitled to import rice at the revised tariffs of 10% duty rate and 20% levy. 

As per the same circular, the pure rice traders (with no existing capacities/programme) were to pay a duty of 10% and a levy of 60%.  However, the allocations released by the Ministry of Agriculture include several beneficiaries who do not meet the stipulated criteria issued by the Ministry of Finance in July 2014.  A study of the list of beneficiaries of the preferential import quotas, reveals that of the 28 companies, only 16 have mills, while the remaining 12 have no milling capacities but regrettably account for higher imports than the qualified millers.  Investigations also reveal that many of the companies without any proven capacities have already started selling off the quotas to pure importers for a handsome margin, leading to huge loss of customs revenue and defeating the basic purpose of the allocations.  

Genuine bonafide investors and industry players in the rice value chain are seeking immediate corrective action from the Ministry of Agriculture through cancellation of allocations and revisions to be effected based on FG’s circular in July 2014. Industry observers feel the Honorable Minister of Agriculture may have been misadvised on the track record and qualification of the beneficiaries, leading to flawed assessment of eligibilities.


Why is the Rice Factories Amendment Act not being enforced?

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the Ministry of Agriculture must tell the rice farmers why the Rice Factories Amendment Act which was passed in the National Assembly to protect them from being exploited by some unscrupulous millers making late payment without interest. The Ministry of Agriculture cannot fool the farmers all the time. We are a healthy, intelligent and literate people who are possessed of a wide range of skills and capable of learning new ones.
I think the Minister should tell us how he would be able to recover the money loaned to the millers and how he has arrived at the outstanding payments for rice farmers since GRBD and the Ministry of Agriculture does not keep records of farmers who have sold paddy to millers, together with the various grades and prices.At one time I knew that when relief was given to farmers who lost their crops because of the El Nino effect and the lack of irrigation water, the acreage was inflated with some ghost farmers on the payroll who received millions of dollars.
I also think that the GRDB should explain to the taxpayers and the farmers why the Rice Factories Act of 1992 was never used to penalize defaulting millers for the non-payment of farmers’ paddy, moisture, short weight and dockage. I observed that only one miller was targeted under the Rice Factories Act .The act clearly states that the miller’s licence can be seized or can be fined or given a jail term for breach of the Act. I am sure that the millers, GRBD and the Ministry of Agriculture are aware of the clauses and who signed the agreement. There are many instances where farmers and producers are exploited to the point of extinction.
The late Dr Cheddi Jagan saw that landlords, money lenders and unscrupulous millers were the dominant components of the rice industry, when he assumed office in 1992. Today, although the bill is in force, farmers are owed enormous sums of money by millers and are being treated like beggars. During the period 2006-14, there has been no change to protect the rice industry, particular the rice farmers who are toiling under harsh and back-breaking conditions of production.
The millers continued to take advantage of the farmers and the future therefore seems dim for them. The government has not introduced subsidies on agricultural items although production has skyrocketed. In 2001, the Governments of Guyana and Brazil conducted bilateral trade negotiations with a view to enhancing trade in rice between the two countries. This was a golden opportunity for Guyana’s rice; it was granted a waiver of 15% CXT to export a maximum of 10,000 metric tons of rice per year for the duration of the agreement.
It was also granted a waiver of the merchant marine tax, which was 25% of the value of the freight. It is important to note that these concessions were granted in good faith. Guyana, instead chose to sell its rice and paddy to Venezuela under the PetroCaribe deal without these concessions which would have brought more benefit to the farmers and country as a whole. Over the years, there has been a general decline in rice and paddy prices on the Venezuela market.
Presently, Guyana is competing with Asian countries on the international market for parboiled and white rice market which will add further pressure on the low prices it received. It is time for Guyana to begin to examine the avenue to becoming more competitive. The production of fragrant rice is definitely one of the available avenues.
Yours faithfully,
Mohamed Khan


JCR-VIS reaffirms entity ratings of Matco Rice Processing at A-/A-2

December 31, 2014
JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS) has reaffirmed the entity ratings of Pakistan's largest basmati rice exporter, Matco Rice Processing (Pvt) Limited, at "A-/A-2" (Single A-Minus/ A-Two) with stable outlook. Despite being a highly competitive market with numerous international rice brands, rice exports from Pakistan increased by 3.3 percent in FY14 to US 1.9 billion dollars. Matco was able to capture a larger share of the same as the company's exports increased by 25 percent in FY14.
Growth in exports has been achieved due to increased sale of basmati rice which fetched a better price in the international market compared to IRRI. Sharing his thought on the rating, Chairman Matco Rice, Jawed Ali Ghori said, "This rating is yet another testament of our market leading product quality and reflects upon the trust of our valued customers. Our management has projected increased margins and overall profitability in the long-run and relishes the current entity rating of A-/A-2 by JCR-VIS with an aim to further enhance it in the years to come." He further added that "Matco Rice is constantly striving to increase the quality of products by applying international standards and strengthening rice procurement procedures.-PR
China offers rice cultivation technology to Bangladesh
IANS | 30 Dec, 2014
China will transfer technology for its indigenous high-yield rice variety to Bangladesh as part of agricultural cooperation between the two countries, media reported Monday.Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said Monday that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during his just concluded visit, also talked about taking “necessary steps” for setting up a rice research centre in Bangladesh, reported.Ali said Wang's visit was “very successful” as new areas of cooperation emerged, and he believed it strengthened the existing Dhaka-Beijing relations further.
He said Bangladesh would need to increase food production on its small arable land and the transfer of rice cultivating technology by China would help in this.The Chinese foreign minister's visit was aimed at reviewing the progress of the commitments both sides made during Bangladesh 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 between the two countries next year when Dhaka expects the Chinese president to visit the country.The Bangladesh foreign minister said that China would have 100 young Bangladeshis visiting the country as part of the celebrations next year.China will finance the $1.2-billion project of building a tunnel beneath the Karnafuli river.Ali said China has endorsed Bangladesh's vision of acting as a bridge between south Asia and southeast Asia, given its strategic geographical location.
China assured Bangladesh 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 a post-2015 development agenda and during climate change talks.They stressed on the need for quick implementation of the proposed Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.
China has proposed to initiate free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations to narrow down the trade imbalance, the Bangladesh foreign minister said.Ali said Wang termed Bangladesh an “important neighbour” and stressed on bilateral cooperation to strengthen the relations.Five priority areas of cooperation -- trade, agriculture, industry, energy and infrastructure -- were identified.China welcomed Bangladesh's proposal of forming a joint working group on trade and industry and a bilateral investment forum.
The issue of the specialised economic trade zone that Bangladesh offered to China during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit was also discussed.Wang reportedly said that Chinese companies were eager to relocate factories to Bangladesh.He promised Chinese cooperation in setting up power plants and exploring oil and gas in Bangladesh.Hasina, during her meeting with Wang Sunday, said her government was inclined to strengthen strategic ties with China and would follow the Asian giant as its development model.“Bangladesh will follow China as the development model. China's development means development of Asia. The two countries can attain the goal of poverty eradication through mutual assistance,” Hasina's press secretary A.K.M. Shamim Chowdhury quoted the prime minister as saying.
Calendars, our native birds (common, resident, migratory, rare and threatened), and our environment’
CROSSROADS (Toward Philippine Economic and Social Progress) By Gerardo P. Sicat (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 31, 2014 - 12:00am
As we are still enjoying the holidays, I deviate from very serious topics and discuss a pleasurable subject. Given the proper frame of mind, it is also integral to our social and cultural development as a nation.“A calendar of birds in the rice fields of IRRI’s experiment station.” In the course of my efforts to learn more about rice culture and policies, I met Dr. Bruce Tolentino, former agriculture department official, and now, one of the senior managers at the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute).After a long discussion on agriculture and new developments concerning rice, he gave me a packet of information on rice issues. Along with this was a wall calendar of Philippine birds. From the moment I saw this calendar, I knew I would write about it for a holiday respite. Now is the time.

It was a calendar for 2014, the year just ending. I certainly hope that they have another version of this calendar for the coming year. The calendar – Feathers in the Fields: The Birds of IRRI – features the birds found roaming the rice research experimental fields of the institution in Los Banos, Laguna.The calendar is very beautifully composed. Great text, astounding close-up photos of Philippine birds in their usual surroundings, erudite brief essays and scientific information that birdwatchers catalogue for all.

“Learning more about birds through the calendar.” The calendar has a very careful organization. Learners and simply curious persons will find very valuable information about birds from it. These are the birds that visit our rice fields.
Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The IRRI stations have rice plantings throughout the year and some plots have different phases of the season for planting. So the bird population that visit these stations (native and migratory) could be more numerous than the common rice fields that are part of our agricultural activities in the country.The birds that are featured are the product of exceptional photography taken for each of the twelve months of the year. For each month, there is a full-size picture of a bird in a natural habitat, a second much smaller but different picture of the same bird is placed alongside the brief essay concerning the month.

The calendar has a centerfold that contains a whole spread of more than 60 cut-up of photographs of the birds found in the IRRI fields. These birds are further referenced in a separate page through a table that explains their common names alongside their scientific. Twelve additional columns depicting the months of the year are attached to this table indicating when the bird was likely to be found in the IRRI fields.

Bird watcher Paul Bourdin, who is associated with the Brent International School, charted all the birds for the twelve months of the year. Richard Smedley, a doctoral student of bird ecology, tracked down many of the characteristics of the birds found and wrote a thoughtful essay on the birds of IRRI.The photography is amazing and was undertaken by two dedicated enthusiasts. Tirso Paris, of UP Los Baños with a sound academic record in Economics, contributed most of the bird photos and Fred Serrano, an undersecretary of agriculture.

Telephoto lenses and high speed photography can do wonders, but this has to combine with the craftsman’s astute preparation, patience, and attitude. I nominate the photographers to do more bird work for the National Geographic magazine!

The calendar devotes two full pages to a month and gives more information on the days of the week in which four species of birds – with alternative smaller photos included – could be expected to visit during the month. Such use of information invites greater interest for the reader to savour, and not only for the bird enthusiast and naturalist.“Scanty literature on birds and nature on the Philippines.” The photo collection and the textual information presented in the calendar reminds me about the scanty literature on Philippine birds and indeed on a lot of other important natural phenomena in our country.
We ought to have more publications, including illustrations, of our country’s flora and fauna. In the case of birds, we do have information but not enough. They should also be attractively presented. It is as if we are oblivious of the beauty in our midst and of the generous bounty of nature.I have travelled to many countries and places in my long career. A mild curiosity about nature always brought me to bookstores. On the matter of birds, there are popular books galore in other countries but not here.

We should build that wealth of knowledge. If it cannot be built fast, a sure and certain outcome is an arduous and sustained effort through the years.Way back during the 1970s I purchased a book from a major Chicago Museum on Philippine birds. It was a storehouse of information on the subject with many illustrations. I did not have the good luck to locate it while preparing this essay.From notices, I have learned that a modern and up-to-date book on Philippine birds was recently published. This is A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines, by Robert S. Kennedy, Pedro C. Gonzales, Edward Dickinson, Hector C. Miranda Jr. and Timothy H. Fisher (Oxford University Press, 2000).
The book provides a detailed description of 572 species of birds that have been found in the Philippines. This book contributes to the identification of 172 endemic species found uniquely in the country and testifies to the country’s wide range of biological diversity in the case of birds.
“Birdwatchers and the Internet expand the documentation of Philippine birds.” Though there are few truly good books on Philippine birds for popular use, luckily there is today an active and growing society of bird watchers who have filled the internet with pictures and illustrations of Philippine birds.
I have tracked down some addresses, or links. For those interested, try to google “Philippine birds” or “field guide of Philippine birds.”For me, the most interesting sights include the website of the Philippine Society of Bird Watchers and the website featuring the country’s endangered bird species. I recommend these as they contain a wide variety of illustrations from photographs of birds caught by camera in the wild.

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Nigeria: Maritime Sector Records Mixed Fortunes in 2014
By Moses Ebosele
AS 2014 grind to a halt today, stakeholders in the maritime sector are re-strategising on how to improve on their performances in 2015.For key players in the sector, the outgoing year was characterized with mixed blessings.Indeed, right from the beginning of the year, agitations for necessary policies and need for infrastructural development took the centre stage of activities.It was also an opportunity for the Government to explain through agencies such as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC), National Inland Water Authority (NIWA), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) efforts being made to sustain growth in the sector.

Within the outgoing year, the expectations of indigenous ship owners for the disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) were dashed.But, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi said the agency is awaiting Federal Government's approval to commence disbursement of the fund.Akpobolokemi said: "We have made recommendation to government. Government is studying the proposals. Government at the appropriate time will give the blessing and once they do that, we will distribute this money. We can only make recommendations".
During the year, NIMASA sustained its capacity building initiatives with the establishment of a Maritime University, Kurutie and Dockyard in Okerenkoko in Delta State among others. About 2,500 seafarers according to NIMASA have so far benefited from its training programme in maritime institutions in Egypt, United Kingdom, among other locations.Worried by reported accidents along Nigeria's waterways, NIWA within the year intensified its safety campaigns at strategic locations.
NIWA within the year extended ongoing nationwide safety awareness campaign to Rivers and Bayelsa States.Already, the agency has visited nupeka and malale in Niger State, Igbokoda in Ondo State and Lagos State.The awareness campaign is aimed at ensuring safety for Nigerians who use waterways to commute from one part of the country to another.NIWA's General Manager, Public Affairs, Tayo Fadile explained that the nationwide programme is designed to sensitise Nigerians living around coastal areas.

He explained that the programme involves safety talk, distribution of life jackets, campaign shirts and other safety items free of charge.Also speaking at the 2014 stakeholders' Conference on the economic use of the Onitsha River Port, Managing Director of NIWA, Hajia Maryam Ciroma explained that a safety Code is long overdue.Ciroma explained that the Code would also serve as a guide, law on the use of the waterways for operators.She explained that the need to regulate the use of the nation's waterways can-not be overemphasised considering the security challenges that have been facing the nation in recent times.Stakeholders who spoke at the event urged the Federal Government to come up with legal and administrative framework that will help bring to light the enabling environment that will encourage businesses to thrive at the Onitsha River Port.
The conference also adopted the following resolutions:
· Commended the federal government for the huge investment expended on the dredging of the Lower River Niger and the successful completion of the Onitsha River port to facilitate inter-modal transport system for evacuation of both cargoes and passengers in view of the economic advantages;
· Urged the federal government to guarantee safety through an effective round-the-clock patrol by joint Military Personnel and application of other safety measures to safeguard lives and property;
·Recommended that the federal government come up with legal and administrative frame work that will help bring to light the enabling environment that will encourage businesses to thrive at the Onitsha River Port;
·Urged the Federal Government to hasten the setting-up of the administrative delivery team with members drawn from various related organisations for the quick takeoff of operations at the River Port;
· Noted the importance of synergy between the federal government and the Private Sector under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and encourage re-doubling of efforts at concessioning of the River Port.
· Emphasised the need for constant upgrading of Maritime and Port infrastructure to enable the investors take optimal advantage of Anambra State's expansive coastline in areas of shipbuilding, Dockyard Operations, Metal fabrication, dock labour, warehousing and recycling plants, among others.
The present management of NPA pledged to focus and "consistent in its effort to achieve its vision to be the Leading Port in Africa by rehabilitating port infrastructure, engaging in constant dredging of the channels and implementation of sound financial policies like the E-payment solution among others".Another highlight within the year was Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) successful take over from service providers. The management of NCS subsequently introduced the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).

The agency also within the year acquired Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and fine-tuned its security strategy as part of measures to successfully tackle rice smuggling and nefarious activities.Under the new approach, the NCS is to place more emphasis on intelligence gathering, security of its personnel and "take the battle to the door steps of smugglers".In a chat with The Guardian during a raid on some smuggling route in Igbesa, Ogun State recently, the Controller, Federal Operations Units (FOU), zone 'A', Ikeja, Usman Turaki reiterated the resolve of NCS to curtail smuggling inline with the policy thrust of the Federal Government.
Turaki, who led the operations comprising of the Army, Nigerian Navy (NN), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDS) and use of about 48 pick-up, two newly acquired Armoured Personal Carrier (APC) described smuggling as "economic crime" that must be tackled in the interest of the nation's economy.During the operation carried out in the early hours of Tuesday September 23, 2014, the unit uncovered smugglers hideout in a Creek at Igbesan, Ogun State which according to NCS is notorious for rice smuggling.

At the end of the clampdown, which lasted for more than seven hours, 11,264 bags of imported 50kg foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country through unapproved routes were seized.The contraband, according to the unit is valued at N56.3million with a Payable Duty of N39.4million and a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N95.7million.Inspecting the seized commodities in the creek of Igbesan in Ogun State, Turaki explained that the seizure were effected by Lagos Roving Team operations headed by AC Adamu Abubakar Mohammed and other officers/men of the unit.
According to Turaki, several efforts to raid the location in the past faced stiff resistance from the smugglers, adding that the area is inaccessible especially for Customs and "several attempts to raid the place in the past was met with shift opposition from the hostile smugglers".He added: "We must place on record that they (smugglers) had in the past attacked Customs patrol teams that attempted in the past to stop their nefarious activities. It is therefore not surprising to see the renewed vigour and dexterity of the FOU 'A' operations particularly the Lagos roving team led by AC Adamu Abubakar Mohammed.
"On arrival at the scene of crime, we started evacuation, even though we faced challenge of unmotorable terrain. On completion of evacuation, we destroyed the instrumentality of crime that is the wooden boats, their storage facilities, and out board engines among others. This is aimed at frustrating their future attempts".He said the FOU had to roll out its Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) for the operations in view of the volatile nature of the terrain.
Accompanied by senior officers from the unit, Turaki said: "These tanks were rolled out with the express permission of the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Abdullahi Dikko Inde who clearly understands the nature of such assignment."The Lagos Roving Team met stiff opposition from the smugglers, hence the need for reinforcement from the neighbouring Commands of Ogun and Seme, as well as the Military, NSCDC, Navy and others who provided Security for the evacuation of the consignment.
"The rampaging smugglers were contained by our operatives who brought the experiences from their various trainings to bare. Even though the smugglers engaged our operatives in a shootout, the combined team of our operatives over powered them with their superior fire power".Turaki also accused some rice millers of allegedly aiding the activities and operations of smugglers, adding that he is in possession of document linking some local rice millers to the illegal business.
He said: "As soon as the seizures are made, rice millers come forward immediately claiming ownership of the smuggled products. What they do is import small quantity of a particular product through the port. After getting the small quantity to their warehouse, they use smuggler as carrier to bring in large quantities through unapproved routes thereby depriving the Federal Government of revenue".
He added: "Our investigation reveal that the smuggled rice are taken to their warehouse and immediately mixed with the small quantity imported through the ports. As I speak, we are in possession of appeal letters from rice millers claiming ownership of smuggled rice. They will do everything possible to get smugglers out of the hook. They smugglers are working for them. The rice are smuggled from cotonu, Benin Republic, through a mother ship".
Conducting Journalists round a "mini terminal", creek and eight seized boats with engines, Turaki said the smugglers shot some Customs personnel, "Loot at the impact of the bullets on our vehicles. No life was lost. The officers subsequently called for reinforcement. We are grateful to the Army and Nigerian Navy for the support".Explaining in details the operations of the rice smugglers, Turaki alleged that the products are pushed into the Nigerian market through some local millers, "From Igbesa in Ogun State, the product are moved by boat to Alaba and later by trucks to Daleko and other parts of the country.
Turaki also used the opportunity to commend the CGC and his management teams for the support, pointing out that the officers/men of the unit are determined to take the war against smuggling to the "deadliest and most volatile parts of the South West".He attributed what he identified as the 'new zeal' and passion of the officers to the welfare programmes "which provides for motivation/remuneration, training and re-training, provision of functional patrol vehicles, arms/ammunition and the general well being of the officers/men of the Service".
Turaki pledged the commitment of the unit to sustain its present anti-smuggling tempo during and after the end of year festivities.He expressed optimism with the capacity and competence of the officers/men of FOU 'A' to tackle the hydra headed monster of smuggling."As daunting as the challenge of suppressing smuggling may be, we will continue to face it with unrelenting determination and will remain resolute in our attempt to suppress it to the barest minimum. The relentless commitment and tireless effort of officers and men of this unit is quite commendable," he saidThe Controller noted that some smuggling flashpoints have been identified along the creeks and other illegal routes and promised that very intensive and aggressive patrol activities would be mounted in those areas in order to nip the activities of smugglers in the bud.
He called on Nigerians to always avail the unit with relevant information that could lead to the tracking of smugglers while also promising that the identity of such patriotic informants would be treated with utmost secrecy. He advised those who engage in acts of smuggling to have a rethink as the Service has zero tolerance for such unpatriotic act and promised that genuine importers or their agents will continue to enjoy the support of the NCS in line with its mandate of facilitating legitimate trade.Meanwhile, stakeholders have repeatedly urged the Federal Government to review the 100 per cent duty on rice and 10 per cent levy as part of measures to make smuggling of the commodities unattractive.
For example, terminal operators argued recently that between January and March this year,the current tariff regime on rice may have cost the nation over N380 billion in revenue.Indeed, no fewer than 150 Nigerian bound ships laden with an estimated 600,000 tonnes of rice were allegedly diverted to the ports of Cameroon, Benin Republic,Ghana and Togo.Under the aegis of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN),who gave the loss estimate, blamed the development on the 100 per cent duty and 10 per cent levy imposed on rice by the Federal Government in 2013
Chairman of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup, described the situation as unfortunate and worrisome.Haastrup said: "This is becoming rather unfortunate. Our economy is bleeding seriously because of this policy. The loss to other countries, as a result of the high tariff on rice was over N300 billion last year while in the first quarter of this year alone, both government and private sector operators have lost at least N80 billion.
"Even the Federal Government, through the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, admitted the shortcoming of this policy. The truth is that the policy has done more harm than good to our economy and government should waste no further time before reversing it."According to her, revenues affected by the 110 per cent rice policy include those that should have accrued to the Nigeria Customs Service, terminal operators, dockworkers and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Haastrup also disagreed with those who blame Customs for the high rate of smuggling of rice into Nigeria.A press statement quoted Haastrup as saying that "it is totally wrong to blame Customs. Customs is doing its very best under the circumstance to check smuggling of rice into the country and that can be seen from the numerous seizures they make every day."The fact of the matter is that the policy cannot work. Even if you place heavily armed Customs officers in every corner of our borders, it won't stop smuggling. It is a fact that local production cannot match local demand, which creates a recipe for smuggling. There is a lot of pressure on Customs because the quantity of rice manufactured locally can only satisfy 30 per cent of local demand. It is easy to point accusing fingers but I believe Customs officers are giving their best."And don't forget that our neighbouring countries are profiting from the policy by dropping their own tariffs on rice and because they are benefitting, they give tacit support to these smugglers," the STOAN Chairman said.
Also within the outgoing year, terminal operators gragged the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) to court over charges and lost. The operators have since indicated their resolve to appeal the court judgment.Indeed, NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello recently announced plan by the council to lead clamour for the review of port concession agreement in 2015.Unveiling the council's agenda for 2015 in a chat with The Guardian, Bello said there is need to review the concession agreement signed in 2006.According to Bello, strategic stakeholders such as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Terminal Operators, shippers and other stakeholders are expected to hold series of meetings next year aimed at repositioning the sector.
While commending the Federal Government for the success recorded in the outgoing year in the sector, Bello said legal framework for regulation which are modern are underway, adding that it would be pursued vigorously by the NSC in 2015.Already, Bello said NSC has engaged the services of three international consultants to look bat Shippers Council internally, "look at the process of cargo clearance and look at tariff and efficiency and competition".Bello, who spoke on sundry issues said: "NSC is also in term with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), NACCIMA and other association".
He said the appointment of NSC as economic regulator is attracting more volume of cargoes into the country, pointing out that "We are attracting cargoes from competitors. Physical barriers are being removed. We are talking with land-locked countries on shipment of cargoes. The process will start in 2015 with the shipment of cheminals on behalf of one of the landlocked countries through our port".
NSC according to the Executive Secretary is working with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) through facilitation committee.On the NSC performance in 2014 especially in the area of dispute resolution, Bello said: "We have pile of letters commending NSC.We have a rapid response unit".Bello also used the opportunity to commend staff of NSC and all stakeholders who in one way or the other contributed to the success it recorded in the outgoing year, adding that more activities expected to reshape the sector in 2015 are underway.
Bello, also explained in details benefits of the Council's role to stakeholders and the larger economy.The Council according to him is adequately prepared to assume its new role, adding that "This is what we have been doing even with weak laws".Explaining further ,Bello said:"We have the pedigree. We have the capacity. Over the years, Nigerian Shippers' Council has developed capacity.
I don't think there is any agency in the transport industry that will have the qualification of staff of the Shippers Council as far as commercial shipping is concerned. We have had people trained in transport economy. We have port operators. We have logistics and don't forget, Shippers Council is an economic institution. The first Managing Director of Shippers Council came from the Central Bank. All the past Chief Executive of Shippers Councils have developed the institution. It is a versatile institution. It is an economic institution. The orientation, the culture of staff of Nigeria Shippers Council has made it most qualified and the most equipped to handle this very important assignment".
According to Bello, there is the urgent need to satisfy clamour by Nigerians for efficiency is the delivery of Cargoes especially when compared with other jurisdiction.
Bello said: "The private sector is the engine room that will propel reforms in this sector. We need some economic regulations. Economic regulations simply means the government will have its eyes and ears in tariff and issues like competition. The idea is to prevent monopoly. We cannot replace public monopoly with private monopoly. There must be competition. Government must also be very serious about the entry and exit in the sector.
"The issue of regulation is not new to Nigerian Shippers' Council. The section 3 of Nigerian Shippers Council Act provides that the council should be the government eye especially in the area of freight rate, availability and adequacy of shipping space, terms of shipment, class and quality of vessels, port changes and facilities and other related matters. That in itself is economic regulation."But, this law was made when Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) was the one handling Cargo.

Global Rice Quotes
December 31st, 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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