Tuesday, January 06, 2015

6th January,2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Eat Rice, Save Birds!

Jan 05, 2015
Bird enthusiasts in the region of Devaswom Padam in Varapuzha, India, are asking supporters to eat more rice – but not just any rice, specifically pokkali rice purchased from farmers in the Varapuzha area.The campaign, led by the Cochin Natural History Society (CNHS), an NGO dedicated to bird conservation, is in response to the drastic reductions in farmland in the area as farming no longer brings the economic revenue it once did.  As rice paddies decreased, so did the presence of about 50 bird species that normally frequent the area.
Some of those bird species include Little Cormorant, Oriental Darter, several types of Herons, Little Egret, and the Asian Openbill, among others.  Devaswom Padam in Varapuzha is one of the favorite wetland birding locations in the region for these species.
Birders and like-minded supporters are asked to buy pokkali rice that is farmed by local farmers and, after processing through a threshing unit, is sold for Rs. 60 per kilogram (about 95 cents USD).  The profit is returned to the farmers to encourage them to continue engaging in pokkali farming.Last year, there was good demand for the rice and the biggest obstacle was its transportation to buyers.  One quintal of this rice was sold last year.
Source with thanks:ORYZA.com

Vietnam, Pakistan Rice Quotes Down; Other Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged Today

Jan 05, 2015
Vietnam rice sellers lowered their quotes for 100% broken rice and Jasmine rice by about $5 per ton and $20 per ton to around $325 - $335 per ton and around $490 - $500 per ton, respectively, today. Pakistan rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice , 100% broken rice and 25% broken rice by about $5 per ton each. 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 $10 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $375 - $385 per ton, down about $5 per ton from Friday.
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 $20 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $330 - $340 per ton, down about $5 per ton from Friday.
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 $325 - $335 per ton, down about $5 per ton from Friday and  about $5 per ton discount to 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 $5 per ton discount to Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $300 - $310 per ton, down about $5 per ton from Friday.

Cambodia Exports 387,100 Tons of Rice in 2014; Up 2% from Previous Year

Jan 05, 2015

Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150105cambodiaricefield.jpgCambodia has exported about 387,100 tons of rice in 2014, up about 2% from around 378,856 tons exported in 2013, according to local sources. About 62% of rice exports were destined to Europe, according to sources at the Ministry of Agriculture.The Deputy Director of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) was quoted as saying that year-on-year increase of rice exports in 2014 were very meagre compared to about 84% y/y increase in 2013 due to Thailand offloading its stockpiles accumulated from the controversial rice pledging scheme introduced by the previous government in October 2011. They also noted that increasing competition from Myanmar also contributed to a decline in Cambodia's rice exports. Both Cambodia and Myanmar are included under the European Union's (EU) Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement under which EU imports rice from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at zero duty.
He also noted that their profit margin in 2014 has reduced significantly compared to that in 2013. They added that Cambodian exporters need to lower their offer prices to attract more buyers and consequently increase revenues and profits.The CRF Deputy Director expressed confidence that 2015 would be a good year in terms of exports. He said an agreement was struck with China in August 2014 to export around 100,000 tons of rice in 2015. “While the EU is still our main market, we see large potential in China,” he was quoted as saying.USDA estimates Cambodia to export 1.2 million tons of rice (including official and unofficial exports to Vietnam and Thailand through borders) in 2015, up about 20% from around 1 million tons in 2013.

China Renews Safety Certificates for Two GM Rice Varieties

Jan 05, 2015
Description: Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150105chinaGMrice.jpgChina's Ministry of Agriculture has renewed bio-safety certificates to two varieties of pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) rice for another five years, according to Reuters. The Ministry renewed the certificates contrary to its earlier decision not to renew them.The bio-safety certificates, which were first granted in 2009, for the two GM rice varieties expired in August last year but the government decided not to renew the certificates raising doubts about the commercialization of GM rice in the near future as well as continuation of such research in the country. The decision was taken in view of public concerns over the health hazards associated with the growing of GM crops.
However, there are still concerns over the large-scale production of GM rice and its commercialization in the China as the Asian nation has almost reached self-sufficiency in producing conventional varieties of rice.Advocates of GM rice say it consists of betacarotene, which is useful in treating Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) in children. 

Fukushima Rice Cleared of Radiation Effects First Time Since Nuclear Disaster

Jan 05, 2015
Description: Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150105fukushimaeffect.jpgRice grown in the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan has been cleared of radiation effects by the government for the first time since the nuclear disaster in 2011, according to Reuters. Sources at Fukushima Prefecture told media sources that about 360,000 tons of rice from the 2014 harvest have passed government's radiation checks for the first time since last three years. They noted that none of the rice samples contained higher than 100 becquerels of radioactive material per kilogram, the limit set by the government.
They said very little amounts of rice produced in 2012 and 2013 failed to pass the government checks but the amount of rice not passing government checks had been reducing significantly year by year since 2012. The fact that all the 2014 rice passing the government checks indicates that they had been taking right steps to reduce the radiation effects, the official who heads the department that oversees Fukushima rice farming, was quoted as saying.
Rice farmers and fishermen were hit hardest by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to meltdowns from Tokyo Electric Power Co's nuclear plant. Japan had suspended rice exports since then.Japan exports around 200,000 tons of rice annually. USDA estimates Japan to produce around 7.7 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (November - October). It estimates Japan to import around 700,000 tons and export 200,000 tons of rice during the year.

Guyana Exports 501,208 Tons of Rice in 2014; Up 27% from Previous Year

Jan 05, 2015

Description: Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150105guyanariceexports.jpgGuyana has exported around 501,208 tons of rice in 2014, up about 27% from around 394,000 tons exported in 2013, local sources quoted Agriculture Minister as saying.The South American country exported around 187,995 tons of rice to Venezuela, around 59,279 tons to Panama, around 99,000 tons to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and around 102,000 tons to Europe, according to the Minister.
He noted that Guyana is exploring export agreements with several West African countries.Guyana produced around 633,000 tons, up about 18% from around 535,212 tons from last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry. The Agriculture Minister noted that the government immensely supported the rice sector especially in providing fertilizers at subsidized prices and ensuring timely payments ti farmers. He added that the same support would be extended in 2015 as well. 
Guyana's both rice production and export figures surpassed estimations by USDA and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). USDA estimated the country to produce 620,000 tons of milled rice in the MY 2014-15 (January 2014 - December 2014) and export about 450,000 tons. The country's consumption needs during the year are estimated at 145,000 tons. The FAO estimated Guyana to produce 570,000 tons of milled rice and export around 460,000 tons in 2014.

India Government Procures 14.918 Million Tons of Rice as of January 1, 2015 in KMS 2014-15

Jan 05, 2015

Description: Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150105indiariceprocurement1.jpgThe Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for food grain procurement and distribution has procured around 14.918 million tons of rice as of January 1, 2015 in KMS 2014-15 (October 2014 - September 2015), according to data by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
Punjab (7.78 million tons) and Haryana (1.995 million tons) are the top contributors to the central pool so far in KMS 2014-15.The Indian government is targeting to procure 30.05 million tons of rice during the KMS 2014-15. Last year, the Indian government procured 31.86 million tons of rice against the targeted 34.29 million tons due to sluggish arrivals from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, where paddy production was badly affected by cyclones and excess rainfall.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Market Participants Return from Vacation to Weaker Prices; Export Sales Hit Marketing Year Low

Jan 05, 2015
The U.S. cash market was dead today as market participants returned from vacation to find a market with little to no sell or buy interest at the current levels.Many sellers who were hoping for prices to improve after the first of the year were disappointed by the bids they were seeing today as buyers continue to drop their bids in tandem with the future markets.In the meantime, the USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week ending on December 25 totaled 9,200 tons, a marketing year low, which was 86% lower than last week and 90% lower than the prior 4-week average.
Increases were reported for the following destinations: 3,500 tons to Guatemala which was switched from unknown destinations, 2,800 tons to Mexico, 2,000 tons to El Salvador including 1,000 tons switched from unknown destinations, 1,400 tons to South Korea, and 1,400 tons to Jordan . Decreases of 4,500 tons were reported for unknown destinations.U.S. rice exporters shipped 91,500 tons, which was 43% higher than last week and 32% higher than the prior 4-week average. The primary destinations included 60,600 tons to Iraq, 12,100 tons to  Japan, 10,000 tons to Mexico, 3,500 tons to Guatemala, and 2,000 tons to El Salvador.

Indonesia Hopes for Zero Rice Imports in 2015

Jan 05, 2015
Indonesia is hoping to import no rice in 2015 given good prospects for paddy production during the year, according to local sources. Acting President of the State Logistics Agency Bulog has noted that the government aims to increase 2015 paddy rice production by about 4% to around 73.4 million tons (around 48.44 million tons, basis milled) from an estimated 70.61 million tons (around 46.65 million tons, basis milled) in 2014. If the target is reached successfully, there would be no need to import rice because of sufficient stockpiles and price stability in the country, he added.
Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150105indonesiarice_0.jpgSpeaking at a seminar in South Jakarta today, he noted that increased production would help Bulog to procure about 3.2 million tons of rice for stockpiling and ensure about 2 million tons of rice in reserves even after meeting local demand and government's 'rice for the poor' (Raskin) program. He said currently Bulog has 1.7 to 1.8 million tons of rice in stockpiles. In 2014, Bulog could procure only 2.77 million tons of rice against the targeted 3.2 million tons and had to import around 425,000 tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand to compensate for the shortfall.
Deputy Trade Minister noted that local farmers are well equipped to deal with extreme weather conditions to ensure minimum losses in production.The new President, who took charge on October 20, 2014, is keen on achieving self-sufficiency in rice production and ending rice imports within the next two years. In line with the set targets, the government is planning to rehabilitate around one million hectares of tertiary irrigation channels for paddy production and distribute 25,000 tons of subsidized seeds and subsidized fertilizer for around one million hectares of paddy fields. The government has allocated around Rp 2 trillion ($163.8 million) for the purpose.
USDA estimates Indonesia to produce around 36.5 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 57.48 million tons, basis paddy) and import around 1.3 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (January 2015 - December 2015).
Global Rice Quotes
January 6th, 2015
Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade         420-430           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken 375-385           ↓
India 5% broken        385-395           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken 375-385           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken            455-465           ↔
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            345-355           ↓
Pakistan 25% broken            330-340           ↔
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           ↔

Brokens
Thailand A1 Super     330-340           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken          325-335           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd 300-310           ↔
Cambodia A1 Super 365-375           ↔
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, oryza.com


Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Trade Higher Supported by Rallying Grains

Jan 05, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Mar delivery settled 4 cents per cwt (about $1 per ton) higher at $11.585 per cwt (about $255 per ton). Rough rice futures traded slightly higher today, finding support from broad based buying across the grain complex.  The other grains also closed higher today; Soybeans closed about 3.7% higher at $10.4525 per bushel; wheat finished about 1.3% higher at $5.8900 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 2.6% higher at $4.0600 per bushel.U.S. stocks fell sharply on Monday, with the S&P 500 extending losses into a fourth session, as energy companies took it on the chin as the price of oil fell to its lowest since April 2009. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. light crude, also known as West Texas Intermediate, fell 4.7%, with futures for February delivery briefly falling as low as $49.95, and lately down $2.25 at $50.44 a barrel.
 In Greece, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said the current election campaign could result in a departure from the European Union should the Syriza party win, with the comments helping push the euro to a near nine-year low. After a 335-point fall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 294.64 points, or 1.7%, to 17,538.35. The S&P 500 declined 36.77 points, or 1.8%, to 2,021.43, with energy hardest hit and all 10 of its major sectors losing ground. The Nasdaq dropped 70.57 points, or 1.5%, to 4,656.24. Gold is trading about 1.4% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 4.3% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.4% higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Friday, there were 543 contracts traded, down from 845 contracts traded on Wednesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Friday decreased by 3 contracts to 8,927.

Ghana Small Scale Traders Urge Government to Reconsider Ban on Inland Rice Importation

Jan 05, 2015
*        
The Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana (SSRIDA-GH) has sought the Ministry of Trade and Industry to reconsider the ban on inland rice importation or consider a total and immediate ban on rice imports to protect the interests of small scale rice traders from large foreign traders, according to local sources.Ghana imposed ban on inland rice importation in November 2013 and said it would allow rice imports only through the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), and Tema and Takoradi ports to restrict rice smuggling and ensure that imported rice is levied with the proper import duties and taxes.
The National Coordinator of SSRIDA-GH noted that the current ban on inland rice importation alone is severely impacting small scale rice traders and is favoring major players in the industry. It is particularly encouraging foreign traders to dominate the local rice industry as small traders do not have sufficient capital base to carry out their businesses through air or sea. He reiterated that all the small traders never evaded taxes at borders.The members of Greater Accra Market Association (GAMA) have also been urging the government to reconsider the ban on inland rice importation as it was leading to increase in rice prices and was favoring foreign businessmen at the expense of local entrepreneurs.
Ghana produces only 35% of the required demand of around 975,000 tons and imports the rest. Ghana's annual rice import bill stood at $306 million in 2013 and the government is planning to increase rice production by about 20% per annum over the next four years to make Ghana self-sufficient in rice.According to the USDA, Ghana’s rice production is estimated at about 352,000 tons (milled basis) in MY 2013-14 (October - September). The U.S. agency expects Ghana to import 600,000 tons of rice during the year to meet consumption needs of around 975,000 tons of rice. It estimates Ghana to produce about 330,000 tons and import about 620,000 tons of rice in MY 2014-15.

Vietnam Targets to Export About 7.5 Million Tons of Rice in 2015

Jan 05, 2015
Description: Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150105vietnamricefields.jpgThe Vietnam Food Association (VFA) is targeting to export between 7 million tons and 7.5 million tons of rice (including about 6.7 million tons of official and about 300,000 - 800,000 tons of non-official exports to China) in 2015, according to Reuters. According to the information on the Vietnam Customs Department website, Vietnam is expected to export around 2.4 million tons of rice to China (both official and unofficial), about 1 million tons to Indonesia, about 500,000 tons - 1.1 million tons to Malaysia and about 1.5 million tons of rice to the Philippines this year.
Vietnam exported around 7.5 million tons of rice, including about 6.4 million tons of official rice exports and around 1.1 million tons of unofficial rice exports to China through borders) in 2014, according to the VFA.Vietnam stood as the world's second largest rice exporter in 2012 and 2013 after India. However, with Thailand rebounding with increased rice sales in 2014, India and Vietnam slipped to the second and third positions respectively. The three countries account for over two-thirds of global rice trade, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).USDA estimates Vietnam to produce around 28.25 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 45.2 million tons, basis paddy) and (officially) export around 6.7 million tons in MY 2014-15 (January 2015 - December 2015).

Contents are published with permission of ORYZA.com



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5th January,2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Nigeria imports rice worth N90bn yearly



05.Jan.2015  DISQUS_COMMENTS   Tokunbo Oloke – Lagos
Indications have shown that Nigerian importers spend a whooping sum of about USD500 million (about N90 billion) annually to import rice from Vietnam.According to the Nigerian-Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Vietnam reportedly spent about $100 million to import agricultural products such as raw cashew nuts, cassava and oil palm from Nigeria.President of the chamber, Prince Oye Akinsemoyin, who disclosed this recently, said Nigeria’s imports cover a wide range of commodities, including those of Vietnam’s strengths such as rice.
He listed Vietnam’s major exports to Nigeria to include rubber, electric and electronic products, footwear, plastics, handicraft and fine art articles and construction materials, while the country imports from Nigeria raw cashew nuts, fruits, cotton and minerals.Akinsemoyin said, “Basically, Nigeria exports agricultural products. At the moment, Vietnam is the largest importer of Nigeria’s raw cashew nuts. Vietnam’s cashew import from Nigeria is about a $100 million yearly. Nigeria exports agricultural items like cassava with which Vietnam produces starch and the raw materials.”
SSRIDA-GH calls for total ban on rice importation
Posted Jan 03, 2015 at 6:09pm
Description: https://myghanaonline.com/kitnes/cache/images/300x/0/1.1944432.jpgThe Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana (SSRIDA-GH), at the weekend asked the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure an outright ban of rice importation.It said the ban on inland rice importation is not only having negative impact on the traders but also discriminatory and in favour of the major players in the industry.A statement issued by Yaw Korang, National Coordinator of SSRIDA-GH said given monopoly of large scale importation of the commodity to foreigners is unfair, and so if government finds it untenable for small scale rice dealers to be in business then an outright ban would be necessary .
 “The ban as it stands now is pushing poor Ghanaians out of business and helping foreign traders to thrive,” the statement.The statement said the ministry on October 14, 2013 served a notice of ban on inland importation of rice stating that with effect from November 1, 2013, all imports of rice shall be done through only the Kotoka International Airport, Tema and Takoradi Ports.“This directive gave SSRIDA-GH only two weeks ultimatum to fold up our trading business through the border. As petty traders our capital base would not allow us to do our business through the air or by the sea. The directive also came at a time when we had made orders with loans for goods for the Christmas festivity.“
We humbly wish to state that our business is only a threat to the monopoly being practiced by foreign rice importers, whose activities are a threat to the nation`s economy because they do the importation under the cover of warehousing and sell their products for high prices in dollar equivalence before paying their revenue and sometimes run-off without paying.“We do our business in the CFA-FRANC and pay our duty into the consolidated fund at the borders before we are allowed to bring our goods into the country to sell.The statement asked Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the sector Minister to review the ban on inland importation of rice or prohibit the trade in Ghana.
SOURCE: GNA

No fixes for growing rice in California drought

 

By By Richard Keller, editor January 05, 2015 | 8:00 am EST

The continuing drought in California is really having an impact on rice production in the state. There are numerous changes in production coming, but not much new today that rice growers can implement. Changes have taken place over the years, but a fourth year of an extreme drought is something the state’s rice growers haven’t previously faced.  There is trust in agricultural university research helping farmers. As noted by some rice growers, following University of California-Davis recommendations has allowed rice yields continue to increase year to year.An example of previous research being helpful to rice growers was recently noted by George Tibbitts, Colusa County farmer, who served as a graduate student in agronomy working with Jim Hill, who was a Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Davis at the time. As would be expected, water management, including the impacts of water depth on a crop and reduction of herbicide runoff, was the focus of research.  
Description: http://www.agprofessional.com/sites/protein/files/field/image/rice.field_thumb_l_color_field_2.jpgThe mixed clay soil at Tibbitts’ ranch allows for ponding water for rice. Over the years, the crop rotation has included safflower and sunflowers, which Tibbitts noted can mine the clay for deeper moisture and nutrients. The land has also been used for tomato production, and all the crop rotation helps in control of weeds and diseases.Tibbitts has harvested twice the yield his grandfather once harvested from the same ground. And even though most people not familiar with rice production think rice is a heavy water user, it really doesn’t use much more than most other crops and even less than some, as noted by UC Davis Department of Plant Science rice specialists.  
Water in California’s rice area is used over and over as it might be described as cascading through the rice-growing area. UC Davis Extension specialists point out that one farmer’s tailwater is the next person’s irrigation water. The clay soil of rice fields is key because water needs to only soak into the top few inches and not deep.Water has been used to flood rice fields during the winter to break down the post-harvest straw because burning of straw is not permissible. Now, with water being so short in supply, water for winter flooding is a luxury that can be turned off.
Description: 181114F1-Akinwumi-Adesina.jpg - 181114F1-Akinwumi-Adesina.jpgUC Davis scientists have been known for developing rice varieties for growing high yield from flooded fields, but the scientists are now emphasizing rice varieties that need less water and produce yield under drought conditions.“But in this particular area you could probably do more with water management than you can with breeding,” David Mackill, a rice geneticist and adjunct professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, was quoted as saying. “In the longer term, we should be thinking about breeding crops for better sustainability traits.”
Examples of water management is the potential of alternating wetting and drying fields different than currently used, but procedures haven’t been fully developed.Another drought year in 2015 is highly likely to mean even less rice grown in California than 2014, according to those familiar with the state’s drought and water allocations. Some farmers might be able to grow lower-water-use crops, but in many cases it will mean more fallow fields.

Mismanagement of Rice Importation Quotas

06 Jan 2015

Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina
Crusoe Osagie in this report looks at the recent abuse of the rice import allocation quotas vis-a-vis the objectives of the federal government's much heralded agricultural transformation agenda
The agricultural sector is undoubtedly the segment of the economy where the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan can hardly be faulted.Available records showed that the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina has successfully made farming the focal point of the current federal government with agricultural policies and issues getting the attention of the president even more than issues in the oil and gas sector.

Not even in the era of the farmer-president, Olusegun Obasanjo, did farmers in the country enjoy as much synergy with the administrators of the sector, resulting in an unprecedented increase in the agricultural productivity of the country.A food commodity such as rice tells an eloquent story of how well the present administration has transformed the fortunes of farmers and the nation's agricultural sector in the last four years.Nigeria has currently attained 80 per cent self-sufficiency in paddy rice production, adding seven million metric tonnes of paddy rice to the domestic food supply.
These are not empty statistics because the companies and investors latching on the massive growth of the sector are known and the claims can be independently verified.For example, the newly commissioned integrated rice mill of Olam Nigeria Limited has brought the company’s total investment in the integrated farm and milling facility to over N18 billion.Managing Director of Olam, Africa and Middle East, Mr. Venkataramani Srivathsan, who oversees a 6,000-hectare greenfield farm in Nasarawa State, said the rice mill would produce additional 36,000 metric tonnes for the nation’s domestic market.

Srivathsan stated that the establishment of the rice mill was part of the company’s contribution to the federal government’s quest for the actual inaction of self-sufficiency in rice production.Dangote certainly is not an investor who channels resources to segments of the economy where policies are disorderly. The Africa’s richest man's commencement of the single largest investment in rice production with an investment of $1 billion (N175 billion) for commercial rice farming and modern integrated rice mills speaks volumes of the performance of the agricultural sector under the present administration. 

Spanners in the Works
However, having placed the rice sector on the path to enduring growth, information filtering out indicate danger ahead for the sector initially poised to save the country nearly $2 billion annually from the foundation so far laid by the current leadership.It was recently reported that Nigeria may be losing not less than N40 billion annually in the rice segment of the agricultural sector due to the activity of smugglers and individuals pretending to be investing in the local production and processing of rice.
THISDAY gathered that as a result of the lapses in the implementation of the backward  integration policy for rice in the course of the year, smugglers have benefitted to the tune of N20 billion.Also, phoney investors in rice processing have been said to have pocketed N20 billion, posing as genuine investors and obtaining rice importation quotas which attract reduced taxes and levies.According to market sources, the federal government has been hoodwinked into granting waivers indiscriminately under the backward integration plan, thereby promoting the activities of smugglers, while putting the rice backward integration policy under threat.
Under the backward integration policy, importation quotas which attract lower importation levies and taxes are issued out to genuine local rice processors or investors already putting verifiable investment into the local processing of the commodity.The policy empowers only these genuine investors in local production and processing of rice, to imports the difference between what the country can produces locally and the shortfall that must be covered through importation.Stakeholders in the rice industry however believe that the alleged indiscriminate approach of the federal government in granting waivers and import allocation quotas to investors who have no investments in the industry, either in form of paddy or milled rice may be stifling the backward integration programme in the sector.
THISDAY also gathered that many of the investors who got the import allocation quotas are already trading it to interested stakeholders at between 60 to 80 per cent levy, having got the same at 20 per cent levy.Specifically, documents obtained by THISDAY showed that investors who have only submitted expression of interests in the sector without tangible investments in the sector, may be enjoying waivers amounting to at least N20 billion under the exercise.
For instance, allocation of rice import quotas under the new rice policy by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that a move to bridge the supply gap of import-grade rice of 1.5 million metric tonnes as determined by the federal government was designed to ensure that existing rice millers and new investors receive a preferential levy of 20 per cent and duty of 10 per cent while other importers pay higher levy of 60 per cent and duty of 10 per cent.In a letter from Adesina to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the allocation of rice import quotas, Adesina noted that the criteria for the allocation under a methodology, which assigns weight to key criteria of self-sufficiency in rice production and milling in Nigeria include the submission and approval of a Domestic Rice Production Plan (DRPP) among others.According to Adesina, a supply gap of import-grade rice was determined to be 1.5 million metric tonnes for 2014 while an inter-ministerial committee discussed the methodology for allocation of the import quotas.
Subsequently, a letter was sent to existing rice millers and new investors, to submit a DRPP, and based on their submissions; a total of 1.3 million metric tonnes of rice import quotas was issued to 25 qualifying millers at the preferential levy of 20 percent and duty of 10 per cent. The remainder 0.2 million metric tonnes of rice imports will be at the higher levy of 60 per cent and duty of 10 per cent for other rice importers”, the letter read in part.However, documents obtained revealed that the supply gap estimate is unrealistic when compared to a total of 2.74 million metric tonnes of imported rice that made its way into the country in 2014 (representing a combination of rice imported into the country and the smuggled commodity from neighbouring West African countries).
Similarly, the documents further showed that new investors without milling capacity or investments in the country received the highest quota of the allocations to approved rice millers, while millers did not receive allocations and in some instances, received very low allocation.The list of beneficiaries of the preferential import quotas, quantities of rice imports approved and corresponding performance bond to be  submitted shows that of the 28 beneficiaries, only 16 have mills, while the remaining 12 have no mills and account for higher imports than millers.

With at least $183.6 million enjoyed in bonds, stakeholders have begun to question the sincerity of government under the backward integration plan, considering the fact that investors who have only expressed interests allegedly enjoy higher imports than those who have remained committed to the plan.
More than Just N40 billion
If all the loss to the Nigerian economy on account of this administrative loophole is the N40 billion that would go into fraudulent pockets annually, it would be a serious problem but not as serious as the threat to the goal of rice self-sufficiency, which even pessimists and the biggest critics of the federal government believe may be achieved latest by 2017.If these saboteurs can be kept at bay, the Nigerian rice industry, which currently has local annual revenue flow of over $2 billion can be fully domesticated with all the attendant economic benefits to the country. After the full domestication, Nigeria may now be able to generate a marketable surplus which would be channeled towards export. At that level the revenue potential are almost boundless.
With crude oil prices tumbling and the Naira struggling against other global currencies, non-oil revenue flow into the country appears to be the only way out for the threatened Nigerian economy. What the country needs to do to get out of the present predicament is simple; import less. Even if exports potentials of the country cannot be significantly increased, if Nigeria can arrive at the point where it no longer needs to depend on other countries for essential commodities like rice, petroleum products, sugar, vegetable oil, fertiliser, among others, it would have made enough effort not only end the current threats but also to put the nation in a position to make good progress.

Some millers complaining about favouritism in the rice industry

JANUARY 5, 2015 · BY STAFF WRITER ·
Dear Editor,
On New Year’s Day I decided to travel to the northern side of the Essequibo Coast to wish one of my best friends a happy New Year. I ran into some discontented millers and rice farmers, and was told by the millers that there is favouritism in the allocation of quotas for rice and paddy for the Venezuelan market. One miller told me that he did not receive any quotas because one time he had been outspoken against the government, although he was a big buyer of farmers’ paddy and was paying promptly for their produce.
He had observed that two major players who had influence had a vested interest in a particular rice miller’s operations in the northern part of the coast. This miller, they alleged, had received more quotas than all the millers in the country for supplying rice and paddy to the Venezuelan market, and they were wondering if these two persons had shares in this private mill. According to these discontented millers and farmers, this particular rice miller had received bail-outs from government while others did not.
Farmers from Wakenaam were encouraged by these two influential men to sell their paddy to this miller rather than other millers, and this marginalization they claimed was putting them out of business and soon they would have to close their operations including their expansion which was done lately to improve their mills on the assumption of fair quotas and market share on the international and local market. One miller told me that he has the most modern operation which can produce extra long grain rice with 80% or more kernels after milling, with a length of 7.0 mm.
Long grain rice with 80% or more of kernels after milling with a length of 6.99 mm, medium grain and short grain can compete on the international and local market, while the favoured miller has an outdated operation which is producing a lower quality of rice. The farmers said they have lost confidence in these two people in the rice industry since they have not been representing their cause for decades and they cannot remember the last time they were seen picketing the rice millers for outstanding payments due to farmers.
Rice farmers also claimed that very soon the rice industry will come crashing down like GuySuCo; what is saving the industry is the fact farmers are using their own money with prudent management to cultivate their crops. The Minister continues to boast of a bonanza year for rice and paddy, but the truth is the economy is slowing down; we are faced with price drops for key exports like rice, sugar, gold, etc, as well as projected production and revenue shortfalls due to mismanagement. Our performance in the economic sphere up to the end of 2014 has not been positive.
Ag Trends on Social Media            
 Ag news at your fingertips
ARLINGTON, VA -- Even though the USA Rice Daily went on hiatus during the holidays, agricultural news certainly did not, and we used social media as a gauge for what was hot, and what was not.  Ag stories that gained the most social media traction during December ranged from favorite rice side dishes to serve during the holidays like Maple Ginger Rice Pudding to important agricultural industry news updates.
  Agricultural research development also trended high during the month.   Breaking news on December 29 about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to invest $15 million in new research initiatives, as well as information about scholarships for students majoring in agriculture were noteworthy social media stories.
 The holiday season also saw many posts encouraging the public to take time to express their gratitude to hard-working farmers.
 Prevalent news stories for the rice industry included several nutritious rice recipes such as green bean almond rice that would complement a holiday meal.  Other popular posts featured nutritional facts about rice and the health benefits to incorporating rice into one's diet.
 "The beginning of the new year is traditionally a time when we all vow to do everything better like eating healthier, getting more exercise, and saving money.  Consequently, our recent social media stories touted rice's health benefits and economical qualities," said Michael Klein, USA Rice Federation's vice president of Marketing and Communications. "For example, a couple of our social media posts talked about the fact that rice consumption triggers serotonin, the neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate and improve mood, and another reminded folks that rice only costs around 10 cents for a half cup serving."
 Contact:  Colleen Klemczewski (703) 236-1446
U.S. Wild Rice Retail Demonstrations Drive Sales in
          Taming wild rice

ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- The USA Rice Federation teamed up here with the recently launched U.S. wild rice brand "Dimyat" for a week-long promotion and celebration of U.S. grown-rice.  Two of Turkey's major retail chains, Carrefour and Macrocenter, participated in the events with discounted prices for U.S. wild rice, live cooking demonstrations, and the distribution of information leaflets and recipes as well as branded consumer bags, which were co-sponsored by the brand and the retailers.
 
Elif  Korkmazel, a famous Turkish gourmet and TV personality, conducted the live cooking demonstrations where she invited eight volunteers to join her in preparing healthy salads with U.S. rice and wild rice mixed together.  The accompanying displays reached thousands of consumers throughout the stores.

"U.S. wild rice is a relatively new product in the market, so we wanted to attract a lot of consumer attention, increase awareness, and help drive sales up," said Jim Guinn, USA Rice vice president of international promotion.   "We focused on the healthy attributes and different methods of preparation of U.S. wild rice, as well as its suitability to Turkish cuisine."

Contact: Eszter Somogyi, 011-49-40-4503-8667
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  
CME Group (Preliminary):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for January 5

Month
Price
Net Change
January 2015
$11.330
+ $0.040
March 2015
$11.585
+ $0.040
May 2015
$11.820
+ $0.020
July 2015
$12.065
+ $0.020
September 2015
$11.575
+ $0.030
November 2015
$11.535
+ $0.030
January 2016
$11.685
+ $0.030

Japan Officials Advise Chewing Slowly After Rice Cake Deaths

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSJAN. 5, 2015, 3:24 A.M. E.S.T.
TOKYO — At least nine people have reportedly choked to death on New Year's rice cakes in Japan, and officials are urging people to chew slowly on the treats.Sticky rice cakes, or "mochi," are an essential part of the Japanese New Year's holiday menu. But the glutinous mochi, grilled or cooked in broth or with sweet beans, can get stuck in people's throats, blocking breathing.The Yomiuri newspaper reported Friday that at least 128 people were rushed to hospitals after choking on mochi, with nine dying.
Description: Madhya Pradesh battles to get its share in basmati pieThe Tokyo Fire Department said Monday that 18 people were taken to city hospitals during the first three days of the year, and that three males died.The department advised people to cut mochi in small pieces, chew slowly and learn first aid.In addition to the Tokyo deaths, three people died in Chiba prefecture, while one each died in Osaka, Aomori and Nagasaki prefectures, the Yomiuri reported. In the Nagasaki case, an 80-year-old-man choked on a mochi that was in sweet bean soup served for free at a Shinto shrine.Japanese customarily visit shrines and temples to welcome the new year, and mochi, sake and other treats are sold or given out.


Madhya Pradesh battles to get its share in basmati pie

A Subramani,TNN | Jan 5, 2015, 08.54 PM IST

The legal battle to recognize Madhya Pradesh as a basmati rice cultivating area and enable the state to be a stakeholder in the geographical indication tag continues.RELATED            CHENNAI: The legal battle to recognize Madhya Pradesh as a basmati rice cultivating area and enable the state to be a stakeholder in the geographical indication tag continues, as a Bhopal-based NGO approached the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) here to be included as a party in the ongoing tussle.

Geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used for products unique to a special geographical location including a town or a region. A GI tag helps the product, which is special and inimitable to a particular territory, exploit its uniqueness for commercial purposes with responsibility to maintain its exclusive characteristics. The GI tag was conferred on basmati rice on an application filed in 2009 by the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, reserving it for certain grain varieties grown in the Gangetic plains of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Finding the name of the state missing, the Madhya Pradesh government then filed an objection petition before the GI Registry. On December 31, 2013, the registry asked the applying agency to submit a fresh application clearly indicating the geographical area of production. "The area has to be defined with clarity and without ambiguity," it said, adding that the Authority's application remained imperfect. "Not a micron point space, actual cultivation area should be left uncovered," the registry ruled, according to IPR attorney P Sanjay Gandhi. Assailing the registry's order, the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority moved the IPAB for restoration of GI tag for the area submitted by it. Now, the Bhopal-based New Darpan Social Welfare Society has filed an implead application, seeking to be included as a party to the proceedings.

Its counsel Sanjay Gandhi told TOI that as of 2009, Madhya Pradesh cultivated more than 45.12 lakh quintals of basmati rice, of which approximately 45 lakh quintal was being exported. The implead application of New Darpan Social Welfare Society said the state had been growing basmati for several decades both by traditional and new techniques such as Madagascar technique which helped increase the area and quantum of basmati cultivation in Madhya Pradesh. Noting that non-inclusion of Madhya Pradesh under the basmati rice cultivating area would have caused a great harm to the livelihood of many farmers in that state, the application said the order of the GI Registry withdrawing the earlier GI tag given to other states, excluding Madhya Pradesh, had come has a huge relief to the entire farmer community in that state. On Monday, an IPAB bench comprising its chairperson Justice K N Basha and technical member Sanjeev Kumar Chaswaal issued notices to various authorities and asked them to file their responses by February 25.

The Time of India

 

Center pivot rice could expand market options for Delta growers

Dec 30, 2014Forrest Laws | Delta Farm Press
The idea of growing rice under a center pivot has been around for a while. Most farmers continue to use flood irrigation because it works on their soils. But what if they have soils that won’t hold a flood, and they feel the market is telling them to grow rice? USDA-ARS’s Earl Vories talked about the option in an interview at the Delta States Irrigation Conference in Miner, Mo.
Source with http://deltafarmpress.com/rice/center-pivot-rice-could-expand-market-options-delta-growers

China renews safety certificates for local GMO rice

Mon Jan 5, 2015 10:52am GMT
 BEIJING Jan 5 (Reuters) - China, the world's top rice producer and consumer, has renewed biosafety certificates for its own genetically-modified (GMO) rice, but large-scale production may be years away.The agriculture ministry has extended approval of two varieties of pest-resistant rice for another 5 years after the certificates, which were first granted in 2009, expired last year, according to an official website (www.agrogene.cn).
Beijing has been reluctant to allow commercialisation of GMO rice because of public concerns over health risks, although the government still encourages research in the sector.Agriculture minister Han Changfu said in March last year that commercialisation of staple foods would proceed with caution and in the first stage only GMO cotton and then feed grain would be planted.
China, the world's top buyer of GMO soybean, is amending its food-safety law to enforce labelling of GMO food amid rising public concern over food safety.Beijing last month granted approval for imports of a type of genetically-modified corn developed by Syngenta AG developed GMO corn as well as two strains of GMO soybean. (Reporting by Niu Shuping and David Stanway; Editing by Tom Hogue)

2015 Rice Outlook: Lower Prices and Acres Likely

January 5, 2015 12:00 PM
Although surpluses of key rice varieties in Asia will put a cap on near-term prices to U.S. producers, dwindling global stocks might create upside potential in 2015, experts say.“Much of the world market is controlled, or at least strongly influenced, by Thailand and Vietnam,” explains Johnny Saichuk, rice specialist, LSU AgCenter. “As long as there is a surplus of rice from those countries, prices will remain depressed.  While medium-grain markets may hold firm, it is likely that long-grain markets will remain soft, causing a decline in acreage in the (U.S.) South.
”Yet once Thai stocks drop to more reasonable levels, long-grain prices could escalate as global reserves of rice, corn and wheat approach the 70-day consumable level, adds Ted Wilson, director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center.“We have not seen global grain stocks reach this low level since the early 1980s,” Wilson says.Long-grain prices for 2014/15 are forecast at $12.57 for 2014/15, climbing to $13.13 by 2018/19, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. Meanwhile, medium- and short-grain rice are forecast at $15.49 for 2014/15, falling to $14.21 in 2015/16 before climbing to $14.65 in 2018/19. 
Description: rice closeupWeather proved to be a key sticking point in 2014, both in the U.S. and abroad. In Texas, second-crop (ratoon) acreage is expected to be down because of early season rains that delayed planting and later rains that delayed harvest, Wilson points out. Meanwhile in Thailand, officials began encouraging producers to explore crops that require less water amid unseasonably dry conditions, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reports.Acreage Expectations. In the major rice state of Louisiana, experts predict an acreage decline in 2015. Producers in the state grew a little more than 455,000 acres in 2014, up 405,000, in the previous year, Saichuk says.
“There was a significant increase in medium-grain production in anticipation of the shortage of California medium-grain resulting from the water shortage there,” Saichuk explains. “In the Deep South, yields were at record levels in 2013 of 7,514 lb. per acre; in 2014, yields declined slightly to an estimated 7,300 lb. per acre. Looking ahead, Saichuk thinks shrinking water supplies could further limit rice acreage, which already has been trimmed back in California and Texas.
Bulog expects no rice imports this year
Tama Salim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Mon, January 05 2015, 9:16 AM
Business News

The State Logistics Agency (Bulog) is optimistic that the government will not have to import rice to meet domestic demand in 2015 because of expected abundant production this year.Bulog acting president director Budi Purwanto said that the decision to import or not was largely dependent upon three factors: good production levels, reasonable prices and sufficient stockpiles.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, which aims for self-sufficiency in key crops over the next three years, has predicted that domestic farms will be able to produce 73.4 million tons of unhusked rice this year, 2.8 percent more than last year.
“With that much rice, our stockpiles will be secure and prices will remain stable, removing the need to import,” Budi said during a seminar in South Jakarta on Monday.If the farmers were able to achieve this target, Budi continued, Bulog would be able to purchase 3.2 million tons of rice for stockpiling. He ensured listeners that 2 million tons of rice reserves would be sufficient to maintain price competitiveness in the market.The government has always attempted to keep the price of rice stable. Rice is a key contributor to inflation. Historically, instability in the price of rice has led to political instability. 
Bulog currently stocks around 1.7 to 1.8 million tons of rice, “just enough” to last seven months. With the future purchase target, Budi said that his agency would be stocking a surplus of 400,000 tons.“By acquiring 3.2 million tons, we’d have enough rice stocks even if the government continued the rice for the poor [Raskin] program for another 12 months,” said Budi, adding that the Raskin program would consume 2.8 million tons on its own.Budi said that the firm secured around 2.77 million tons of rice this year, or 85 percent of its target. To compensate for this shortfall, Bulog has imported 425,000 tons of rice from Thailand and Vietnam over the course of the year.
Bulog is supposed to carry out special market operations to control fluctuating prices, distributing the government’s rice reserves to the market as need be.Former deputy trade minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said that rice was unlikely to become scarce next year, with local farmers skilled enough to anticipate bad weather. “Indonesian farmers have become more experienced in anticipating climate change. They’ll know when it is the most appropriate time to start planting, whether in January or February,” Bayu told reporters.Bayu pointed out, however, that the government should work hard and in a timely manner to increase the production of rice next year, given that the planting season had shifted. “Otherwise there won’t be much change in the production levels, ultimately leading to price fluctuations — even if rice isn’t scarce,” he added.
Bayu, who also chairs the Association of Agriculture Experts (Perhepi), urged the government to double the annual production growth of rice to 4 percent if it wanted to achieve self-sufficiency within three years. He said that output growth had remained stagnant at around 2 percent for the last 20 years.According to Perhepi, production in 2014 was 70 million tons of unhusked rice, which is equivalent to 39 million tons of rice, whereas national demand currently stands above 40 million tons.

Vietnam to ship 7-7.5m tonnes rice to China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines in 2015
Vietnam to ship 7-7.5m tonnes rice to China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines in 2015

NEW YORK: Vietnam is aiming to export 7 million to 7.5 million tonnes of rice this year. The major regions where the rice will be exported are China and Southeast Asian countries.
The sales may include 2.4 million tonnes to China, the top buyer of Vietnam’s rice, while 1.5 million to 2.0 million tonnes could go to the Philippines.
Officials at the industry association, which oversees the country’s rice exports, could not be reached for comment.

Vietnam was the world’s third-largest rice exporter after Thailand and India in 2014.
Indonesia could buy between 1.1 million and 1.5 million tonnes from Vietnam in 2015, while sales to Malaysia could total between 500,000 and 1.1 million tonnes, the report said.
It said Vietnam, which faced rising competition from Thailand in 2014, exported 6.5 million tonnes via official channels plus 1 million tonnes to China across the land border, which was not included in the government statistics.Traders have estimated the rice sold to China through land borders last year at nearly 2 million tonnes.The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecast that Thailand would regain the rank of largest rice exporter in 2014 with sales of 10.2 million tonnes, followed by India on 10 million tonnes.

Government's rice procurement lags at 15.14 mt in ongoing marketing year

By PTI | 5 Jan, 2015, 03.14PM IST
Rice procurement in Punjab and Haryana has almost completed while the buying in other states is going on, said a senior FCI official.
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NEW DELHI: Rice procurement by government agencies continues to lag at 15.14 million tonnes (mt) in the marketing year 2014-15 so far compared with 16 mt in the year-ago period.The Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies undertake procurement of rice and wheat to ensure that farmers get a minimum support price ( MSP).Rice marketing year runs from October to September and the annual procurement target for this year is 30 mt."Rice procurement in Punjab an Haryana has almost completed. The buying in other states like Telangana is going on," a senior FCI official told PTI.
In Punjab, rice procurement so far this year has been 7.78 mt, as against 8.10 mt in the year-ago period, while in Haryana, it reached 1.99 mt as against 2.4 mt in the review period.Rice purchase touched 1.24 mt in Telangana and 4,83,000 tonnes in Andhra Pradesh so far this year, as compared with 1.49 mt of rice procurement in undivided Andhra Pradesh in the same period last year.Last year, kharif rice procurement was 26.6 mt as against the target of 32.06 mt.
Source with thanks:The Economic times India

Palay prices dropping but still high for NFA

Ronnel W. Domingo


Philippine Daily Inquirer


12:08 AM | Monday, January 5th, 2015

 of palay continued a months-long slide to settle at P19.16 per kilo as of the second week of December, but the amount is still out of reach of government buyers.According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the average price of paddy rice has fallen by almost P3 per kilo since peaking at P21.87 in June for the nonfancy varieties.The National Food Authority (NFA), which is mandated to ensure stable supplies and prices of the staple, buys at a basic rate of only P17 per kilo.Fees such as those for delivery and drying are factored in, the NFA’s effective buying rate is P17.70 a kilo—still far below the prevailing farmgate price.This has prompted farmers to sell their produce mostly to private traders, resulting in a dramatic drop of the NFA’s procurement volumes this year.

According to the latest Rice Market Monitor report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the NFA managed to buy only 8,000 tons of palay in the first nine months of 2014.Based on FAO data, the said volume was only 3 percent of the 286,000 tons of palay that the NFA bought from farmers in January-September 2013. In that year, the average price of palay was P16.93 a kilo.According to the FAO, the Philippines is expected to again import 1.8 million tons of milled rice this year amid projections that growth in domestic production will be insignificant if not nil.This would mean the Philippines— particularly the NFA—will have to depend again on large volumes of imports in order to meet consumer demand and maintain stockpiles, the FAO added.

Official: No rice imports by Iran any longer

4 JANUARY 2015, 00:10 (GMT+04:00)
Description: Photo: Official: No rice imports by Iran any longer / BusinessA senior Agricultural Jihad Ministry official said that Iran is no longer in need of any rice imports, IRNA reported.Speaking in a gathering to pay tribute to eight exemplary farmers in this Caspian Sea city on Saturday, Deputy Agriculture Jihad Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Khalil Khodaie said that import of rice has been totally stopped since the beginning of the current Iranian year (started March 21, 2014).He noted that several agricultural items used to be imported in the past two years even by such provinces as Mazandaran which is a rice producer but the import has stopped.
This certainly harmed farmers and rice cultivators across the country, he stressed, adding that not even one single kilogram of rice has found its way into the country this year.The policy to increase rice import tariffs by even 40 percent is practically the first step towards supporting production trends inside the country, the official noted.Khodaie reiterated that the general policy of the Iranian government is to provide a high standard of living, good income and better social prosperity for farmers.
Rice importation should be banned – Dealers
BusinessJan 3, 2015 0
Description: rice importationSEO Company USA, Website Designing USA, New York | SEOFIED
The Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana (SSRIDA-GH), at the weekend asked the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure an outright ban of rice importation.It said the ban on inland rice importation is not only having negative impact on the traders but also discriminatory and in favour of the major players in the industry.A statement issued by Yaw Korang, National Coordinator of SSRIDA-GH said given monopoly of large scale importation of the commodity to foreigners is unfair, and so if government finds it untenable for small scale rice dealers to be in business then an outright ban would be necessary .“The ban as it stands now is pushing poor Ghanaians out of business and helping foreign traders to thrive,” the statement.
The statement said the ministry on October 14, 2013 served a notice of ban on inland importation of rice stating that with effect from November 1, 2013, all imports of rice shall be done through only the Kotoka International Airport, Tema and Takoradi Ports.“This directive gave SSRIDA-GH only two weeks ultimatum to fold up our trading business through the border. As petty traders our capital base would not allow us to do our business through the air or by the sea. The directive also came at a time when we had made orders with loans for goods for the Christmas festivity.
“We humbly wish to state that our business is only a threat to the monopoly being practiced by foreign rice importers, whose activities are a threat to the nation`s economy because they do the importation under the cover of warehousing and sell their products for high prices in dollar equivalence before paying their revenue and sometimes run-off without paying.“We do our business in the CFA-FRANC and pay our duty into the consolidated fund at the borders before we are allowed to bring our goods into the country to sell.The statement asked Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the sector Minister to review the ban on inland importation of rice or prohibit the trade in Ghana.
GNA

Nigeria’s yearly rice imports from Vietnam hit N84 billion


Description: rice_export-c.jpgTHE Federal Government’s yearly rice import bill from Vietnam has hit about $500 million (N84 billion) according to the Nigerian-Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry.Besides, Vietnam also spends about $100 million to import agricultural products such as raw cashew nuts, cassava and oil palm from Nigeria.Indeed, Nigeria spends about N365 million yearly on the importation of 2.1 million metric tonnes of milled rice from different countries, such as India, Thailand and Vietnam.President of the chamber, Prince Oye Akinsemoyin, who made this disclosure in an interview with The Guardian recently, said Nigeria’s imports cover a wide range of commodities, including those of Vietnam’s strengths such as rice.

He listed Vietnam’s major exports to Nigeria to include rubber, electric and electronic products, footwear, plastics, handicraft and fine art articles and construction materials, while the country imports from Nigeria raw cashew nuts, fruits, cotton and minerals.Akinsemoyin stated: “Basically, Nigeria exports Agricultural products. At the moment, Vietnam is the largest importer of Nigeria’s raw cashew nuts. Vietnam’s cashew import from Nigeria is about a $100 million yearly. Nigeria exports agricultural items like Cassava with which Vietnam produces starch and the raw materialsVietnam imports sea foods from Nigeria, like shrimps, fish; also oil palm, which is processed to palm oil, which goes into local production of creams and cosmetics Vietnam imports food items like coconut and also beans and fruits from Nigeria.

Description: sugikafun_mVietnam exports rice to Nigeria; Vietnam is one of Nigeria’s trading partners in rice exportation. Vietnam’s rice export to Nigeria will be about $500 million per annum. Vietnam exports garments, fabrics to Nigeria as well as shoes and fashion accessories. Many of the cosmetics companies in Vietnam are looking for distributors in Nigeria.Vietnam exports furniture, artifacts and art work for interior d├ęcor”.He disclosed that many companies from Vietnam are willing to invest in Nigeria.According to him, “the chamber is now looking at setting up institutions that will further foster the relationship between Nigeria and Vietnam; we are encouraging investors from Vietnam to make in road to Nigeria economy, companies like Viettel is willing to invest $7 billion into the Nigerian Telecommunication sector.

Arrangement is already going on to avail them the opportunity to bid for the relevant spectrum to be able to operate as one of the telecom operators in the country.“PetroVina is also interested in investing in the Exploration and Production (E&P) sub-sector of the country’s Oil and Gas sector, PetroVina is interested in the upstream and the midstream sectors. We are trying to attract investments that will be able to provide employment for Nigerians. The kind of investors that will be able to have multiplier effects on the Nigerian economy”.
Source: Nigerian Guardian

USA Rice Federation
Genetically altered rice could solve Japan’s pollen allergy problem
Description: Audrey AkcasuAudrey Akcasuyesterday
Good news for all those who live in Japan and suffer from pollen allergies! Scientists have genetically modified rice in an attempt to desensitize the body to that nasty Japanese cedar pollen that causes all of the sneezing, mask-wearing and eye-watering every spring.Just think, eating some of this special rice everyday could relieve you from all of your hay fever woes! While surgical masks are used year-round in Japan, there is a significant increase in masked-citizens every year from February to April when the Japanese cedar trees are scattering their pollen throughout the country. It’s believed that about one-third of Japanese citizens experience allergic reactions to the pollen, giving the government cause to deem it a national problem.
▼ There are all kinds of tools to help alleviate symptoms, but researchers are trying to stop the allergy all together.
Description: pollen4Scientists at Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo have singled-out the agent in the pollen that causes our immune systems to attack the normally harmless substance. The idea is that if you start intaking the agent a little bit at a time, your body will stop seeing it as the enemy and thus, not react, even when exposed to the substance in higher quantities. It’s a technique called allergy immunotherapy. Usually this desensitization process is done through shots or pills (or by eating lots of strawberries), but because so much of the Japanese population is effected by hay fever and everyone eats rice, scientists thought of a more user-friendly method of medicating: modifying rice to include small amounts of the allergen.

Description: pollen▼ Scientists take a gene from the pollen and implant it in rice.
After eating a lot of rice, your body won’t react to pollen anymore!
NIAS
The gene recombination center of the Satake Corporation, which handles agriculture products such as rice and grains, is calling the modified rice “Allergy Relief Rice.” The rice was tested in early 2014 in a small study of 30 people. Those who ate the rice every day showed only a slight increase in immune response or symptoms in the spring, even when the pollen was in full bloom. The control group, however, saw as much as four times more immune cells in their blood during allergy season and also experienced the usual symptoms associated with hay fever.
Researchers at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS) are doing further research to make the “Allergy Relief Rice” even more effective. They are also concerned with keeping the regular rice and modified rice separate, as there are strict rules and regulations about rice, but that’s a story for another day.

▼ Allergy prevention never looked so delicious.
Pixabay (MikuraTV)
Description: usd-67411_1280Of course, there is still a lot of research to be done, but we could be looking at a hay-fever-free society in the coming years. And to think that it could all be done just by eating rice every day, something most Japanese people are happy to do anyway!
Source: Asahi Shimbun
Top Image: Shikoku Research Center

Source with thanks:http://en.rocketnews24.com/2015/01/05/gy-altered-rice-could-solve-japans-pollen-problem/


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