Friday, January 16, 2015

16th January(Friday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E_Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Global Rice Quotes
January 15th, 2015

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade           415-425           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken     375-385           ↔
India 5% broken          395-405           ↑
Pakistan 5% broken     370-380           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken 450-460           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           510-520           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    NQ       ↔
Argentina 5% broken   NQ       ↔

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken NQ       ↔
Vietnam 25% broken   340-350           ↓
Pakistan 25% broken   325-335           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken            430-440           ↔
India 25% broken        360-370           ↑
U.S. 15% broken         495-505           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd             405-415           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd      400-410           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd           385-395           ↑
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%           925-935           ↑
Vietnam Jasmine         505-515           ↓
India basmati 2% broken         NQ       ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken    NQ       ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails 805-815           ↔

Thailand A1 Super       320-330           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken             325-335           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd     290-300           ↔
Cambodia A1 Super    355-365           ↔
India 100% broken stxd          300-310           ↑
Egypt medium grain brokens   NQ       ↔
U.S. pet food   405-415           ↔
Brazil half grain           NQ       ↔

All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

August Floods Reduce Pakistan Rice Production to 8.44 Million Tons, Down Nearly 20% from Last Year, Says SUPARCO

Jan 15, 2015
The Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) has estimated in its latest report that Pakistan FY 2014-15 (July - June) paddy rice production will reach at about 8.437 million tons (about 5.65 million tons, basis milled), down about 19% from about 10.04 million tons (about 6.72 million tons, basis milled) produced last year.The report said that the rice production mainly declined due to floods that hit the main rice producing state, Punjab, in the month of August. About 217,000 tons of paddy is said to be lost in the Punjab state, according to the report.
Description: Description: Description: pakistan rice statsAccording to the report, Pakistan's rice acreage has estimated at about 3.29 million hectares and yield is estimated at about 2.57 tons paddy per hectare in FY2014-15.In December 2014, the average basmati paddy rice prices stand at about Rs.3,000 per 40 kilogram (about $757 per ton, using current exchange rate) and average price for IRRI paddy stand at about Rs.700-750 per 40 kilogram (about $178 - $189 per ton, using current exchange rate), according to the report.

CAP Policy to Cut EU Funds for Italian Rice Farmers

Jan 15, 2015
Description: Description: Description: risottoRice for risotto may get a bit more expensive. EU funds for Italian rice farmers will be declining under the region’s current CAP policy. The exact amount has been illustrated by Enrico Losi of Ente Nazionale Risi, the National agency for rice, in the annual meeting with farmers held in Novara this week. The general trend is that all the contributions will be reduced within 2020: as for rice farming, the situation could be worse than the current result, according to the agency. The Italian Government decided to support the sector, introducing again direct help for about 100 euros (about $ 117) per hectare; so, he added, the situation seems less dire than it could be.The summing up of direct payment and general contributes from CAP varies if the company has always grown just rice, or grown rice along with other crops, or has never grown rice, and decides to start growing it in 2015.

Oryza Global Weather Outlook

Jan 15, 2015
Light rain is expected across the South-western Yangtze Valley and western South China this week.A few rain showers are expected in northern India this week, which could slow the harvesting of kharif rice.
Weather is expected to remain dry in Bangladesh.
A few rain showers are expected in western Pakistan this week.
In Indonesia, rain is expected in southern Sumatra, Kalimantan, East Malaysia, Sulawesi, and Java this week, which should maintain sufficient moisture for main season rice growth.
Light rain is expected in central Vietnam this week, likely slowing the main season harvest there.
Abundant rains in north-western Thailand in last week slowed main season harvesting, but should improve moisture conditions for second season rice.
Rain is expected in many parts of the Philippines this week, which will likely slow second season rice harvesting, especially in southeaster areas.
Rain is expected in Centre-south Brazil and few showers are also expected in Northwest Brazil this week, maintaining sufficient moisture for rice growth there.
Light rain is expected northern Uruguay and north-eastern Argentina this week.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Rebound Following Yesterday's Steep Losses and despite Negative Macros and Falling Grains

Jan 15, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Mar delivery settled 18 cents per cwt (about $4 per ton) higher at $11.330 per cwt (about $250 per ton). Rough rice futures bounced higher today, erasing a good portion of yesterday’s losses but not before charting a fresh low of $11.065 per cwt (about $244 per ton) overnight. Although the market managed a higher close, prices were unable to break through yesterday’s high and the current bearish tilt remains in place. Traders would like to see a continuation of today’s move in the coming session as a signal that the market may have indeed bottomed and that a bullish reversal is underway.
Market participants will keep an eye on resistance just below the $11.500 per cwt (about $254 per ton) as a key level of resistance in tomorrow session on a move to the upside, while a failure lower would likely signal a move towards $11.000 per cwt (about $243 per ton). The other grains finished lower, led by steep losses in soy products; Soybeans closed about 1.8% lower at $9.9100 per bushel; wheat finished about 0.93% lower at $5.3275 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.3% lower at $3.8000 per bushel.
U.S. stocks fell for a fifth session on Thursday, as investors considered the price of crude, disappointing quarterly results from large U.S. banks, and an unexpected move by Switzerland's central bank, which gave up its minimum exchange rate. A measure of manufacturing in the New York region climbed to 9.95, above estimates. Other reports had wholesale prices falling 0.3 percent in December, and a larger-than-expected number filing for jobless benefits last week, up by 19,000 to 316,000. Relinquishing a 90-point gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 129 points, and was lately down 73.13 points, or 0.4%, at 17,353.96.
The S&P 500 dropped 13.35 points, or 0.6%, to 1,997.92, with technology hardest hit and utilities the best performer among its 10 major industry groups. The Nasdaq shed 53.01 points, or 1.1%, to 4,586.31. Gold is trading about 2% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 3.8% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.3% higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Wednesday, there were 658 contracts traded, up from 576 contracts traded on Tuesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Wednesday increased by 165 contracts to 8,608.

Libya Tenders to Buy 25,000 Tons of Rice

Jan 15, 2015

Description: Description: Description: libya flag on handA Libyan state grain buying agency has tendered to buy as much as 25,000 tons of 5% broken rice prackaged in 25 kilogram bags, Reuters reports. The agency is also reported to tender to buy 50,000 tons of milling wheat.  No formal tender deadlines were provided. 


Oryza Overnight Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Seen Mixed on Light Overnight Trading

Jan 15, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Mar delivery are currently listed 3 cents per cwt (about $1 per ton) higher at $11.180 per cwt (about $246 per ton) ahead of floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen higher this morning: soybeans are currently seen 0.6% higher, wheat is listed about 1.3% higher and corn is currently noted about 1.4% higher.U.S. stock-index futures rose on Thursday, as crude's climb above $50 a barrel overrode U.S. economic reports and an unexpected move by the Swiss National Bank, which abandoned its peg against the euro. U.S. oil futures rose as high as $51.27 a barrel, and were lately up 3.8% at $50.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The government said wholesale prices fell 0.3% in December, while another Labor Department report had a larger-than-expected number of Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, with claims rising by 19,000 to 316,000. Swiss stocks tumbled 10% and the Swiss franc soared as much as 30% against the euro and traded 12% higher against the dollar, after the bank ditched its three-year-old cap against the euro. The move initially pressured both European stocks and U.S. stock futures lower. German bond yields hit record lows and gold prices 1.7% to $1,250 as investors flocked to safety. Gold is currently trading about 1.5% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 1.5% higher,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading unchanged at 8:30am Chicago time.

Thailand, India Rice Sellers Increase Their Quotes; Vietnam Rice Sellers Lower Some of Their Quotes

Jan 15, 2015
Thailand rice sellers increased their quotes for Thai Hommali rice by about $30 per ton to about $925 - $935 per ton today. Vietnam rice sellers lowered their quotes for 25% broken rice and Jasmine rice by about $5 per ton each to about $340 - $350 per ton and $505 - $515 per ton, respectively. India rice sellers increased most of their quotes by about $5 per ton. Pakistan rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton, about $30 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $375 - $385 per ton.
India 5% rice is quoted at around $395 - $405 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday and about $25 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $370 - $380 per ton.
25% Broken Rice 
Thailand 25% rice was last quoted at around $350 - $360 per ton, about $10 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $340 - $350 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday.
India 25% rice is quoted at around $360 - $370, up about $5 per ton from yesterday and about $35 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $325 - $335 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton.
India parboiled rice is quoted at around $385 - $395 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday  and about $15 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $400 - $410 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $320 - $330 per ton, about $5 per ton discount to Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $325 - $335 per ton.
India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $300 - $310 per ton,  up about $5 per ton from yesterday and about $10 per ton premium on Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $290 - $300 per ton.

Where Do You Get Your Information About Rice Science, Research, and Policy?

Jan 15, 2015

Description: Description: Description: feedbackThe International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) seeks to understand where people working in rice get their information about rice science, research, and policy.To provide your own feedback, we encourage you to participate in this survey:

A Japanese Take on Chinese Fried Rice

Jan 15, 2015

Fried rice is a delicious staple enjoyed around the world. The Japanese have their own take on Chinese fried rice that is a lighter version cooked in an electric rice cooker rather than an oiled wok.  The magic ingredient is Weipa, a fried rice condiment that is popular in the Japanese interpretation of Chinese food. Weipa is a Chinese soup stock/mix, or bouillon, made of vegetable and animal proteins. You can find Weipa at many Chinese supermarkets.
What You Need:
Description: Description: Description: cooking rice at home2 cups of rice
1 tablespoon of Weipa
1/2 a leek
Other veggies, like carrots or mushrooms – consider leftovers hanging out in your fridge or whatever is in season
Ginger (optional)
What You Do:
Slice the ginger and dice the leek into bite-size pieces.
Put the rice and the appropriate amount of water (consult your rice cooker’s instructions) in the rice cooker.
Add all other ingredients (ginger, leek, veggies, and Weipa).
Turn on the rice cooker.
You’ll have a rich dish of fried rice in no time!

Note:  If you’re feeling adventurous or just want to change things up, consider adding some sesame oil or egg to the rice when it’s finished for a more complex flavor.

Get all above news in pdf format just clicking by the next link:

16th January(Friday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E_Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

15th January(Thursday),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Vietnam’s reliance on imports in agriculture leaves less profit for farmers
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam had a bumper 2014 with bountiful crops and high farm produce export prices, but farmers believe there is nothing to be happy about.

Analysts noted that though the production value and export turnover were high, the money farmers could pocket was modest. The problem lies in the fact that Vietnam had to import many kinds of raw materials.A report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) showed that the total farm, forestry and seafood produce import turnover in the first 11 months of 2014 reached $19.78 billion, of which the majority were agricultural materials.Vietnam had to spend $690 million on pesticides and input material imports during that period and $774 million in 2014, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2013.Vietnam vows to develop the animal husbandry, but in order to do that, it has to import most of the animal feed products needed. The import turnover reached $3.24 billion in 2014, higher by 5.2 percent over 2013 and higher than the money Vietnam earned from rice exports.Vietnam cannot produce plant seeds. MARD reported that Vietnam had to spend $500 million to import 8,000 tons of seeds for the country’s 700,000 hectares of vegetable area in 2013.
Dr. Le Hung Quoc, former head of the MARD’s Plantation Agency, said these facts are not surprising.He said that all the input materials used in agricultural production in Vietnam are imports (except farmers and land).“The best varieties used in Vietnam are imports,” he said. “Vietnam even cannot make cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, carrot, cucumber, tomato seeds, the popular kinds of vegetables.”

How much does Vietnam earn from farm exports?
Though Vietnam is the world’s biggest rice exporter, the money it can pocket form rice exports is small.The Vietnam’s rice export price hovers around $400-450 per ton, which is lower by $50-75 per ton if compared with the products of the same kinds from India, Pakistan and Thailand.While government agencies report great achievements in the agriculture sector at workshops and conferences, Vietnamese farmers have quietly given up their rice fields.According to MARD, 42,785 households gave up farming in 2012-2013, leaving 6,882 hectares idle. As many as 3,407 households gave back agricultural land to the state.
The Chair of the Vietnam Farmers’ Association, Nguyen Quoc Cuong, said farmers can make a profit of only VND100,000-200,000 per 360 square meters from every crop within a three month period.
Dat Viet

Vietnamese agro-scientists sell seeds to earn a living
VietNamNet Bridge – Most research institutes and agronomists have unwillingly become “marketing experts” or “seed sellers” to earn money to live and conduct scientific research.

Dr. Do Nang Vinh, chair of the Scientific Council of the Agricultural Genetic Institute, while affirming that agro-scientists have to take on different kinds of jobs, from producers to sellers, noted that this paradox only exists in Vietnam.“Such a thing cannot be seen elsewhere in the world. In Vietnam, scientists can do everything, from creating new varieties, introducing the varieties to farmers, organizing trial production, to building up the large-scale production models and selling seeds,” Vinh noted.“They have to do all kinds of jobs to make money,” he added.

Description: Vietnam, genetic sourcesIn developed countries, this is undertaken by seed firms, while research institutes are only in charge of inventions and providing materials and genetic sources.The scientists in these countries own the copyright on their inventions. Seed firms have to pay royalties to them to have the right to exploit the inventions for commercial development.However, Vietnamese scientists cannot follow such a procedure.“If you give the new varieties to others, your inventions will be in vain,” he said.“If so, you will not have any other source of income, except the modest salary paid by the State,” he explained, adding that creating seeds and selling seeds is the major source of income of many generations of scientists.
A lecturer at the Hanoi Agriculture University noted that the research institutes’ achievements are “measured” by the number of new varieties created.In most research projects, scientists are required to create new varieties, and they only have three to five years to do that. Meanwhile, Vietnam now seriously lacks scientific research works.“Scientists are requested to create new varieties with their specific characteristics,” the lecturer said. “Meanwhile, genes and hereditary characteristics have been ignored. This explains why Vietnam can create many varieties, but cannot make any breakthrough.”

Vinh, in an interview given to Dat Viet newspaper recently, noted that when scientists have to spend time to advertise their inventions and sell products, they would not have time and energy to create.He warned that the unreasonable pay for scientists had led to lower quality of scientists. The low pay does not allow research institutes to attract talent.Professor Nguyen Van Hieu has said in the past that he fears that Vietnamese scientists may be “issueless”.A report shows that rice yield in Vietnam has increased by 95 kilos per hectare, and rice varieties make up 30 percent of the increase. Thus, Vietnamese scientists created $66 million from new rice varieties alone.
Dat Viet

Major grant awarded to rice industry

By USA Rice Federation January 15, 2015 | 4:30 pm EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced approved grants from the first round of proposals to the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The USA Rice Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU), and more than 40 collaborating partners are pleased that the Rice Stewardship Partnership – Sustaining the Future of Rice”project was selected for support.This project will help rice producers conserve natural resources such as water, soil and waterfowl habitat, while having long-term positive impacts on their bottom line.  The RCPP application process was very competitive; less than half of all applications were awarded funding, and no proposal was fully funded.

 However, the USA Rice and DU national request was deemed to have significant merit, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – the agency responsible for administering RCPP – awarded the partnership a grant of $10 million, one of the largest awards given under the program.“The Mississippi Alluvial Valley, Texas’ and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, and California’s Central Valley are critical landscapes for waterfowl and therefore ranked as some of DU’s top priorities for habitat conservation,” said DU President and Arkansas rice producer George Dunklin. A 2014 study conducted by DU scientists for The Rice Foundation demonstrated thatrice agriculture provides 35 percent of the food resources available to migrating and wintering dabbling ducks in the regions where rice is grown in the United States. 

“U.S. rice farms are valuable, not just for the nutritious commodity they produce and their positive impact on the economy, but also as important contributors to the entire ecosystem, and today’s announcement from NRCS and USDA recognizes that fact,” said USA Rice Federation Chairman Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice farmer. “Wildlife and waterfowl depend on our farms as much as any of us do.”Established in the 2014 Farm Bill, the RCPP competitively awards funds to conservation projects designed by collaborating partners.

“RCPP provides an opportunity for locally driven partnerships to work side by side with local Conservation Districts and NRCS to accelerate conservation efforts and achieve measurable progress,” said NRCS State Conservationist for Arkansas Mike Sullivan. The USA Rice Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and all of our partners commend the USDA for their vision in creating partnership-driven conservation initiatives, and we especially appreciate each of the six state NRCS offices who were instrumental in crafting a competitive proposal,” said Betsy Ward, President & CEO of USA Rice. “This is a giant step forward for conservation in ricelands with many more steps to come.
”“We applaud the many rice producers who integrate extra conservation measures into their rice production to maintain water quality and provide much-needed waterfowl habitat,” said USDA NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “The partnership between DU, USA Rice, and USDA offers increased technical and financial assistance to help producers accomplish these goals on their land, and the tangible benefits to farmers, the environment, and all Americans will be felt for a long time.”

Rice policy criticism: Are stakeholders treading the right path?

 Filed under: Features |  OSA VICTOR OBAYAGBONA
Few weeks after the Federal Government introduced its new rice policy of backward integration, some stakeholders in the sector have come out with information allegedly aimed at possibly reversing the initiative that seeks to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production within, possibly, two years. OSA VICTOR OBAYAGBONA examines the stakeholders’ criticism and the implication on rice production.Recently in Abuja, the Nigerian Federal Capital, Tunji Owoeye, president, Nigerian Rice Investors Group and managing director of Elephant Group, led the association’s members to addressed the press and evaluate the Federal Government new backward integration initiative on rice production.
At the meeting, Owoeye revealed that some stakeholders in the sector were against the initiative, saying that the views being brought forward by these stakeholders were false and unfair to government officials who had worked hard to midwife the policy.According to Owoeye, “most Nigerians are unaware that time was when we depended entirely on imported rice. Government examined past efforts to restore self-sufficiency in rice production that failed before coming out with the new revolutionary policy.
“The critical thing is protecting local investors to the point they can reasonably stand on their feet. The government developed the new rice policy based on what is produced presently against the shortfalls, which were factored to further encourage local investors against those whose core interest is importing and selling locally without the mind of contributing to the national dream of self-sufficiency.”Although the critics claim to be genuinely concerned about the initiative derailing, over one defect or another of the implementation instrument, the truth is that they are driven by insatiable greed and total disregard for constituted authorities, he said.The rice policy, unarguably, is the initiative of government and not at the order of stakeholders.
The Federal Government decided to use fiscal policy to help businesses already engaged in and others interested in growing, milling and packaging rice locally to end the perennial importation of the product. Government set the parameters – the best possible completion time frame, the incentives and who best could be brought in with the assurance that they would perform.The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as the project coordinator, invited stakeholders principally to share with them the dream and seriousness government attached to the policy, but not to determine the basics such as the volume of rice that would enjoy import waivers and quota allocation qualifications, according to Owoeye.
These critics argue that the indiscriminate granting of waivers in the guise of backward integration may promote smuggling and therefore make the policy counterproductive.However, the quota allocations based on the supply gap of import grade rice of 1.5 million metric tons, Owoeye said, were made to both existing rice millers and new investors in equity.“Existing millers and others with expressed interests submitted Domestic Rice Production Plan (DRPP), and based on the submissions, a total of 1.3 million metric tons 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 tons of rice imports will be at the higher levy of 60 per cent and duty of 10 percent,” Owoeye said.Stakeholders did not know why government asked rice investors to give their DRPP, he said. Thereafter, a committee went round to verify the claims in terms of farm holdings, and so on, and did not inform the stakeholders that they were coming to investigate. In some cases, the committee got to the sites and called the concerned party that the inspectors were at their premises.“We believe the market is big enough for all genuine investors in the rice market so that there is no point dissipating energy on frivolities and wild allegations,” Owoeye said, but added that he wondered why anyone could sincerely allege that some quota beneficiaries were “already trading it to interested buyers at between 60 percent to 80 percent levy, having got the same at 20 percent levy.
”The allegation implies that the 60 percent levy is lower than what is charged as penalty for otherwise, why would anyone pay above that to buy from those who got the waiver, the Group asked.“Rice smuggling into Nigeria is not contentious because it is common knowledge, but to allude any complexity of the policy is subversive and clear indication that some interests are trying to persecute others and would stop at nothing to achieve the unholy objective,’’ he said.Furthermore, the outcry over giving businesses that expressed interests in investing in rice production waivers as those who have made substantial investments are not well founded, he said.“Considered on the surface, the government could be faulted but on close review, it is certain government wants to recruit and expand the investors’ base and was not whimsical.
“President Goodluck Jonathan approved the backward integration policy on rice in May and the implementation is starting just this December 2014. I can say authoritatively that government did not only ask interested parties to submit their DRPP but demanded also their production plans, including establishing staple crop processing zones (SCPZs) that are intended to encourage the clustering of food processing industries in proximity to raw materials and end markets,” he said.Currently, 16 major investors have farms and or established milling plants with cumulative capacity of about 1 million metric tons by 2016, while the rice policy estimates additional 2.7 million metric tons produced locally by 2016. It was obvious to the government that more reliable investors must be recruited with secure commitments to attain set targets.
“To ensure government is not giving cheap money to opportunistic businesses, the waiver requires that 30 percent of the quota fee be paid into a participating bank. In the event the beneficiary fails to meet the terms, the ministry of agriculture will call on the bond fee, which means that government would take it over and use it to develop and advance the policy to the logical conclusion.“What government has been doing in the last two to three years is to get across the value chain to get an investment plan in the rice industry, and inspections were concluded based on the claims. Government has given six months to those who expressed interests to start tangible and serious work.
The process is tamper proof and measurable. It is the first time government is doing something right in the rice sector,” the Group noted.Imploring persons who feel displeased not to derail the policy with internal squabbles, the Group gave assurance that all issues will be addressed since the policy was in the early stage.“To a large extent, government gave allocations to encourage big investors who are putting down substantial amounts of money. There is nowhere on earth that major investors are not wooed and that is what the government has done, but I can tell anyone who cares to listen that government also took adequate precautions in case of anyone defaulting,” Owoeye said.
He therefore told the stakeholders to worry over the 1.2 million metric tons lost between the government’s estimated 1.5 million metric tons imports and what can safely be assumed allotted the illegally operators.The investors who feel bitter that others who have not much on ground received high allocations know for sure that the in-coming players plan to exceed the current investors, Owoeye said.“They need not hide their fear of being overtaken by the new-comers but should join hands with other stakeholders to ensure rice smugglers are put out of business because until illegal traders are caught and caged, honest investors are in danger.“The reason is simple and applies to all industries: until Nigerian growers and millers reach maturity and efficiency levels, the international traditional growers still hold the ace and can sink us unless we are fairly protected,” he said.
Nigeria’s 170 million people constitute the largest market in Africa, and in the consumer and commodity markets, the stakes are high. To dominate the largest market South of the Equator is serious and sometimes brutal business, he said.Government wants the Nigerian rice industry to explode similar to what happened in the telephone industry in recent years, he said, noting that the potential has been there for decades but the reality has just dawned on the government.“Anyone capable of investing huge has immense business opportunity and government is saying everyone is welcome on board. Investors who have made some input should not cry blue murder when there is none.
The Nigerian rice market (local productions) can accommodate all serious investors and that is enough guarantees,” according to the Group.Michael Aondoakaa, former minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, and secretary, Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), emphasised that prior to the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, nobody had ever wondered who got what quota.
“The truth is that many have had witnessed the old system where some highly connected people influenced the rice quota allocation. This administration made sure it went to rice farmers with visible investments,” said Aondoakaa.

The rice policy of the present administration is visible for all to see, Owoeye said, adding: “if you travel through Zamfara, Niger, Benue, Sokoto, and many other states in the country, you will see vast plantations of rice in the last two year.‘’We have also seen some of our members who were traders make huge investments in local rice production. We have seen increase in employment and value creation in the rice sector.

’’The Federal Government has provided rice investors with improved seedling and that is the reason rice production is getting better. On his part, Abubakar Mohammed, president, Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors’ Association of Nigeria, said five years ago, there was only one processing mill in Nigeria but the number grew to 24 by 2014, just as he stated that before President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, rice paddy produced from Nigeria was one of the worst in the world. But this had changed, according to him.“We process 800,000 tons of paddy rice annually, and the government is putting measures in place to produce additional 360,000 tons. All these happened with the help of President Goodluck Jonathan and the minister of agriculture and rural development, Akinwunmi Adesina,” he said.

Changes to Cuba Policy Effective Immediately 
 WASHINGTON, DC -- The promise of more open trade, travel, and business between Cuba and the United States got that much closer today when the Obama Administration announced new regulations on export policy that take effect tomorrow. The regulatory amendments are part of a process of normalization of relations between the two countries. "We are analyzing how these changes will apply to the U.S. rice industry," said USA Rice Federation President and CEO Betsy Ward.  "The current rapid pace is an encouraging sign although we realize we're still at the front end of the process."

Just last week, the USA Rice joined with more than 25 prominent U.S. food and agriculture associations and companies to announce the launch of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), a coalition that seeks to advance trade relations between the United States and Cuba.  The purpose of the USACC is to re-establish Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports and address liberalizing trade between the United States and Cuba."Open trade with Cuba would be an enormous boon for U.S. rice farmers," said Ward. "There was a time when Cuba was the top destination for U.S.-grown rice -- we are ready to facilitate a return to those days."

Contact:  Deborah Willenborg (703) 236-1444

USA Rice and Big Y:  Live Well, Eat Smart 
  Let U.S. rice help you
ARLINGTON, VA -- The USA Rice Federation is participating in the Living Well Eating Smart (LWES) program at Big Y, a supermarket chain of more than 60 stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  Beginning today through March 25, shoppers will be introduced to the many uses and nutritional benefits of U.S.-grown rice through a print and online newsletter, social media, and in-store signage and displays.USA Rice's Cranberry Pecan Rice Pilaf is the featured recipe on the cover of the LWES magazine, a publication (print and online) that generates more than 150,000 impressions a month.  The full recipe, rice nutrition information, and the "Grown in the USA" logo are highlighted in a two-page spread.  Rice is also featured in other sections of the publication including the "Dietitian's Corner" letter and the "Here's to Your Heart" article both discussing the health benefits of whole grains, like brown and wild rice. "The National Rice Month toolkit we developed for retail dietitians was a huge success and this next step to customize partnerships will help us promote U.S. rice throughout the year," said Paul Galvani, chairman of the USA Rice Retail Subcommittee.  "Working one-on-one with retail dietitians is a great way to increase visibility of U.S.-grown rice in the supermarket communication channels and boost consumer awareness and usage of U.S. rice."
 Contact:  Katie Maher (703) 236-1453
Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported       
WASHINGTON, DC -- Net rice sales of 76,900 MT for 2014/2015 were up noticeably from the previous week and 68 percent from the prior four-week average, according to today's Export Sales Highlights report.  Increases were reported for Mexico (53,600 MT), Taiwan (9,000 MT), Haiti (7,400 MT), Iraq (3,000 MT), and Jordan (2,100 MT).  Decreases were reported for Japan (3,500 MT) and Colombia (1,300 MT). 
Exports of 44,900 MT were down 11 percent from the previous week and 27 percent from the prior four-week average. The primary destinations were Iraq (31,500 MT), Mexico (3,900 MT), Canada (2,600 MT), Honduras (1,600 MT), and South Korea (1,200 MT).This summary is based on reports from exporters from the period January 2-8.

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for January 15
Net Change
March 2015
+ $0.180
May 2015
+ $0.175
July 2015
+ $0.180
September 2015
+ $0.210
November 2015
+ $0.270
January 2016
+ $0.270
March 2016
+ $0.270

Louisiana receives conservation funding for rare snake, Fort Polk and other projects

Jan. 15, 2015
The rare Louisiana pine snake and the Fort Polk military installation share a common bond as beneficiaries of a new round of conservation projects announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.Louisiana received approval for four of the 115 conservation projects in the country that will share $370 million in federal funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program approved in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The program was designed to bring together government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private landowners to better leverage conservation money and to take on large projects, said Kevin Norton, state conservationist for Louisiana with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Partners for each project will bring in another $400 million for conservation, bringing the total to almost $800 million, according to USDA.Two of the four projects are only for Louisiana and will bring in $1.5 million in additional money to conservation efforts in the state. In addition, Louisiana was part of two other approved multistate projects involving long-leaf pine restoration and rice farm conservation.One of those multistate projects focuses on restoring or protecting about 20,000 acres long-leaf pine in and around military bases in Louisiana as well as South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
In Louisiana, that project will involve the purchase of 6,300 acres of land near Fort Polk in an effort to provide habitat for the Louisiana pinesnake. Although not yet listed under the Endangered Species Act, it’s expected that the species will be listed in the future, said Richard Martin, director of forest programs with The Nature Conservancy. Martin said the Louisiana pine snake is possibly one of the rarest vertebrates in the country.If that listing happens, training exercises on the military base could be seriously hampered and, with base closures across the country, it could be enough to put Fort Polk on the chopping block, he said.
“Fort Polk has said let’s try to get ahead of this,” Martin said.The best habitat for the snake is located on nearby private property. The owner of that property is willing to sell an easement and the property for restoration to long-leaf pine, which is the preferred habitat of the rare snake. By providing an easement for the restoration, the large property owner and Fort Polk get a little more protection against accidental killing of Louisiana pine snakes should they be put on the Endangered Species List in the future, Martin explained.
This is not the first collaboration between Fort Polk and The Nature Conservancy. For several years, the two worked together in protecting the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, which also depend on long-leaf pine for habitat and call Fort Polk home.However, unlike the woodpecker, which can be seen in the trees and largely avoided through precautionary measures, the snakes spend a large amount of time underground and are not easily seen when above ground, Martin said.In addition to the long-leaf pine project, Louisiana also got approval for two state projects including $25,000 to determine the best conservation projects for five watersheds around the state.
The state Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office of Soil and Water Conservation and other partners will use the money to analyze the most effective conservation tools to solve soil and water problems.
“They’re going to look where we can make the biggest impact,” Norton said.Once those critical areas are identified, other government conservation programs can be accessed to pay for construction or implementation of the developed plans, Norton said.The rest of the state’s $1.5 million will go toward a rice stewardship program in the southwestern part of the state. In this program, Ducks Unlimited will be working with rice producers and other partners to develop ways to conserve water, improve water quality and provide improved habitat for wintering birds.
“Rice is good for ducks,” said Alicia Wiseman, Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership coordinator for Louisiana. About 42 percent of the food eaten by wintering ducks in Louisiana comes from these rice fields.Louisiana is also part of the national Rice Stewardship Partnership project, which expands this rice field conservation work to multiple states and will include ways to monitor the program’s success over time.

Wintering geese flock back to Texas after downward trend

By Shannon Tompkins | January 14, 2015 | Updated: January 14, 2015 9:34pm

Photo By Picasa 
The number of geese wintering on Texas' coastal prairie and marshes more than doubled this year from last year's record low, with the largest increase seen along the upper coast, where rice production also boomed.
More than twice as many geese are wintering on Texas' coastal prairies and marshes this year than the record-low number counted there a year ago, according to preliminary data from just-completed aerial surveys conducted each December and early January since 1948.The survey, for which trained observers aboard fixed-wing aircraft combed the band of coastal marsh and prairies between the Sabine River and Rio Grande, locating and counting all species of geese, estimated 428,000 light geese (snow, blue, Ross's) wintering in the four coastal survey zones.
That's a considerable bump from the record low of 181,000 geese counted during the 2014 survey but still about 33 percent below the 1982-2014 average of 636,000 birds and not half the number counted as recently as the late 1990s.While results of the annual mid-winter goose survey show a significant increase in the total number of the big waterfowl on their traditional Texas coastal wintering grounds this year, they also illuminate issues surrounding winter distribution of North America's mid-continent geese."One of the big things I think (the 2015 mid-winter survey) shows is the strong correlation between habitat and where (geese) winter," said Kevin Kraai, waterfowl program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Description: The number of geese wintering on Texas' coastal prairie and marshes more than doubled this year from last year's record low, with the largest increase seen along the upper coast, where rice production also boomed. Photo: Picasa"The birds are shifting their wintering areas to where they find the best habitat."Increasingly over the past decades, that has not been Texas' coastal prairies and marshes.For thousands of years, 90 percent or more of the snow, blue, Ross's, Canada and white-fronted geese using North America's Central Flyway wintered on the narrow band of wetland-rich coastal prairie and marshes stretching from the Sabine River to northeast Mexico.
Downward trend
Hunters and birders noticed that changing in the 1960s as the tens of thousands of large Canada geese - birds weighing 9-12 pounds - that had wintered along the Texas coast began stopping far up the flyway, where increased corn production and permanent open water in new reservoirs gave the big geese no reason to migrate farther south. By the 1970s, only a handful of the large subspecies of Canada geese wintered on the Texas coast.But snow geese, white-fronted geese and smaller subspecies of Canada geese continued pouring into Texas each autumn.
Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, Texas' booming rice industry provided outstanding wetland/moist soil habitat, and coastal prairies and marshes wintered as many as 1 million snow geese, more than 100,000 Canadas, and 100,000 whitefronts. Coastal Texas was the center of the goose and goose hunting universe.That quickly changed beginning in the late 1990s with the decline in the amount of rice grown in Texas.Texas rice production peaked in the 1980s, with more than a half-million acres of the water-loving grain planted. Rice acreage began a steep decline as changes in federal farming policy made rice a less attractive crop for farmers and Houston's sprawl consumed tens of thousands of acres of prairie and rice fields west and southwest of the city.
Texas' rice acreage fell from 590,000 acres in 1981 to 215,000 acres by 2001.Changes in water policy triggered by persistent drought over the past decade that included the record-setting single-year drought of 2011 and increasing demand for water in urban areas have further reduced rice acreage. The harshest blow has been the Lower Colorado River Authority's decision to greatly reduce or decline to provide irrigation water for rice production or creation of managed wetlands along the river's lower section, a move resulting in about 60,000 acres taken out of rice production.Texas rice production has been below 200,000 acres since 2006 and as low as 130,000 acres - a fifth of what it was three decades ago.
Population booms
Those rice fields were crucial as feeding and roosting areas for wintering geese. As rice acreage fell, so did the number of geese wintering on the Texas coast. In 1999, the mid-winter goose survey counted about 1.01 million light geese on the Texas coast. Over the past decade, that number has fallen as low as 181,000 and averaged around 390,000.That decline in light geese came as the birds' mid-continent population exploded.
The decline in the number of Canada and white-fronted geese counted in the mid-winter survey of the Texas coast has been even more severe. The past four mid-winter surveys have counted fewer than 20,000 whitefronts in the coastal zones, down from more than 100,000 most years prior to 2000. The numbers are much worse for Canada geese. Only handfuls of Canada geese - as few as 100 total - have been spotted during recent mid-winter surveys of Texas coastal zones.As with snow geese, the decline in the number of Canada and whitefronts on the Texas coast comes as continental populations of those birds booms.So where are all of those geese that once wintered on the Texas coast?
"There's been a massive shift of wintering Canada geese to the north, and whitefronts have moved north and east," Kraai said.Snow geese, too, have moved their wintering areas to the north and east in places like Arkansas, where rice production has boomed over the past decades and more than 1 million acres of rice are now planted annually.
Staying to the north
Huge numbers of Canada geese winter in the Midwest, where the landscape has turned to corn fields. The birds are so numerous they have become nuisances, and daily bag limits have been raised to as many as eight Canadas per day."There's no reason for them to go any father south. They have everything they need," Kraai said of the short-stopping Canadas.Whitefronts are following a similar pattern of behavior, he said."Not that long ago, Texas was where all the Central Flyway's whitefronts wintered," he said.
"Now there are big numbers wintering in places like Kansas."Even more of the mid-continent's whitefronts - "specklebellies" to most waterfowlers - have shifted to the east and winter in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Arkansas, he said."Thirty years ago, seeing a specklebelly was a rare thing in Arkansas," Kraai said. "Not anymore."Despite the steady shrinking of the wintering population of all species of geese on the Texas coastal plain, the region still attracts large numbers of snow geese and good numbers of whitefronts, Kraai said. And some of the results of this year's mid-winter survey are encouraging for those who would like to see the number of geese coming to the Texas coast grow instead of decline, he said.
This year's survey counted almost 243,000 snow geese in the coastal zone east of Houston. That's a record for the zone that includes Chambers. Liberty, Jefferson and Orange counties and more than twice as many snow geese as the region has averaged since the zone counts began in 1982.
Rice on rebound
That surge in the zone's snow geese numbers comes in the wake of a boom in the amount of rice acreage in the area. This past year, an estimated 30,000 additional acres in the region were put into rice production as operations that once grew rice along the water-starved middle coast shifted their businesses to the upper coast, where irrigation water remains obtainable.That increase in the number of rice fields - along with efforts of landowners, waterfowl hunting clubs, wetland conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited, and state and federal wildlife agencies to pump water and create managed wetlands - resulted in a significant flush of excellent waterfowl habitat."
When you see almost a quarter-million snow geese show up - a record number for that zone - and look at the increase in the amount of rice acreage and other habitat, it points strongly toward habitat, particularly rice, as one of the biggest factors in how many geese we see on the coast," Kraai said."It gives me hope," he said. "If rice acreage can rebound - if that 50,000-60,000 acres of rice that has disappeared along the mid-coast comes back - it's not out of the question that we could see wintering populations of 500,000 or 600,000 snow geese on the Texas coast again."

Shivraj invites Modi for Simhastha Mahakumbh

January 15, 2015 12:33 pm
Description: 14chouhan
Staff Reporter, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grace the Simhastha Mahakumbh Mela, to be organised in the state’s temple town of Ujjain in April next year. Mr Chouhan met the Prime Minister at his residence in New Delhi and extended the invitation, an official release said. Significant from religious and spiritual viewpoints, Simhastha Mahakumbh attracts saints, seers, philosophers, devotees and foreign nationals in large numbers to avail the benefit of this confluence of knowledge and faith. International seminars over Swachh Bharat, spirituality and conservation of environment and Earth will also be organised on the occasion.
Mr Chouhan also requested the Prime Minister to inaugurate the Singaji Thermal Power Plant in Khandwa. Referring to the deep sense of agony of basmati producing farmers before Mr Modi, Mr Chouhan said that APEDA has gone in appeal against the Registrar General of Patents and GI’s (geographical indication) order dated December 31, 2013 recognising Madhya Pradesh as a Basmati paddy growing-state.APEDA’s moving the Intellectual Property Rights Board has affected interests of the state’s farmers whereas situations are arising in international market to purchase Pakistani basmati rice.
Mr Chouhan urged the Prime Minister to take steps in this regard so that the interests of basmati rice producing farmers in the state were safeguarded and the export of basmati rice from the state continues as before.He also requested him to expand the ambit of private-public partnership (PPP) by bringing the projects of waste management, rural drinking water supply, micro irrigation, logistic parks, medical colleges and metro project of Indore and Bhopal. The Prime Minister assured of all possible help on the issues raised by the Chief Minister and gave his consent to visit Madhya Pradesh.
Posted in: Bhopal
Source with

Gov’t requests Chinese funding for rice warehouses

Thu, 15 January 2015

In a bid to stock 1.2 million tonnes of rice paddy, Cambodia has sent a draft memorandum of understanding to China asking the country for a $300 million loan to build more than 10 warehouses nationwide.The draft MoU was prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and sent to the Chinese government late last month, according to Mey Kalyan, senior adviser for the Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC) and leader of the project.Kalyan said Cambodia is now waiting for the Chinese government’s response and expects to begin the project mid-year.
“We will build warehouses that ensure the good quality [of the paddy],” said Kalyan.“Our goal is to build confidence to creditors so that those who store their paddy can use it as collateral for bank loans.”Kalyan added that while the warehouse would be built by the government, it would be run by the private sector, with revenue coming from millers paying maintenance fees to have their paddy stored during the harvest season.“The success of this project depends strongly on participants from the private sector,” Kalyan said.A major portion of Cambodian paddy is exported to neighbouring countries through unofficial channels during the harvest season.
Because of this, millers face severe paddy shortages once the season is over.Hun Lak, vice president of Cambodia Rice Federation, said that developing the warehouse system would help millers find more stable sources of paddy storage.Lak added that there were other potential benefits as well.“Once the government builds warehouse for paddy storage, we will be able to better realise which kinds of paddy have high market demand and how high the quality of our rice is,” he explained.“If we don’t address such issues clearly, we will have a problem for this project.”But independent economist Srey Chanthy warned that building more warehouses was far from a silver bullet.
Chanthy said that the country’s rice sector faced many other issues asides from a lack of paddy storage, explaining that rice processing techniques and the sector’s overall governance was still poor compared to other countries.“If the government charges a low fee for millers to rent a place to stock their rice, it will increase the competitiveness of the Cambodian rice sector in some ways,” he said.“But if the service change is not affordable for millers, they may turn away from using this service.”
Utilizing a Self-steering Robotic Tractor in the Developmental
Phases of Rice
-- Feasibility Study on Using Quasi-Zenith Satellite System
for Precision Farming in Australia --
January 14, 2015

Hitachi Zosen Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd., and Yanmar Co., Ltd., have been commissioned to conduct a study on the effective use overseas of advanced positioning signals from Japan's Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) *1, organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan.The study seeks to verify that advanced positioning signals transmitted from the QZSS can be used in precision farming in Australia. Specifically, demonstration tests will be conducted using the advanced positioning signals to control a self-steering robotic tractor and perform actual farm work in a paddy field.

At present, technical validation is in progress for three high-precision positioning methods: 1) RTNet, 2) RMIT, and 3) MADOCA *2. The demonstration tests aim to determine the optimal positioning method for precision farming in Australia.The mainstream positioning method, precise point positioning (PPP), receives positioning data directly from GPS satellites. The challenge is that this provides limited accuracy with an error of approximately 10-20 centimeters, and cannot be replaced with data of centimeter-level accuracy. The study aims to enhance positioning accuracy by employing a new method, precise point positioning with ambiguity resolution (PPP-AR), using Australia's electronic datum points *3, and make it possible to perform accurate farm work with an error of 5 centimeters.
The first demonstration test, conducted in late November 2014 during the growth stage of rice, succeeded in controlling the self-steering robotic tractor so that its tires run between rows of planted rice. In January 2015, the tractor will be used to monitor growth conditions. The study will continue thereafter, performing several aspects of farm work at different timings.
Following the study, farm workers and government officials will be interviewed based on the demonstration test results to identify challenges in commercializing precision farming employing advanced positioning signals. In the future, a consortium is scheduled to be organized centering on the three commissioned companies to actively promote precision farming. Plans include further enhancing the accuracy of positioning data, applying the technology to other programs, and expanding services to regions other than Australia, such as Japan and Asia.

Study Abstract
1. Consignor :  Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan
2. Title :           “Study on the Effective Use Overseas of Advanced Positioning Signals from Japan's Quasi-Zenith Satellite System”
3. Details :       Generate highly accurate positioning correction data from QZSS's LEX signal *4 and collect data on field and rice growth conditions using a self-steering tractor.
4. Commissioned companies : Hitachi-Zosen, Hitachi and Yanmar, as core members.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), who operates QZSS, and various research institutes in Japan and Australia for technical cooperation and research support.
5. Roles of organizations involved :   

Hitachi-Zosen (main contractor) - Supervises whole project. Investigates feasibility of study, evaluates positioning data accuracy and overall project development. Uses PPP-AR positioning function of Hitachi-Zosen's multi-GNSS analytic software “RTNet” as a new positioning method to generate highly accurate positioning correction data which is able to superimpose on QZSS's LEX signal, and verifies position accuracy and operability in the field of a self-steering robotic tractor.
Hitachi - Tracks and integrates data of a self-steering robotic tractor and crop growth sensors installed on it into “GIS Cloud Service” *5 and displays machine operation and crop growth conditions on computer maps. This will verify tractor path and movement precision, and enhance farm planning and operations precision.
Yanmar - Develops, manages and operates a self-steering robotic tractor.
Hitachi Australia Pty Ltd - Conducts project management and workshops, and coordinates with the related research institutes in Australia.
Hokkaido University - Supports precision farming research (Agricultural Information Engineering Research).

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) - Operates QZSS (Generation, distribution and conversion of correction data, technical support).
Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC-SI) - Supports geospatial information research and investigation.
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University - Supports positioning system research (satellite positioning research and investigation).
University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australia - Supports positioning system research (satellite positioning research and investigation).
University of New England (UNE) - Supports precision farming research (precision farming research).
Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd (RRA) - Supports precision farming research (agricultural research on rice).
SmartNet AUS - Provides data from Australia-based electronic datum points.
6. Area :           New South Wales, Australia
7. Period :        October, 2014 - March, 2015

Commerce Min led exporters to sell rice to Hong Kong

BANGKOK, 15 January 2015 (NNT) -- The Ministry of Commerce has led a delegation of Thai rice exporters on a trip to Hong Kong, during which a cooperation contract will be signed between Thailand's and Hong Kong's rice trader associations

Gen. Chatchai Sarigalaya and the delegation of the Thai Rice Exporter Association will meet with Hong Kong's Minister of Commerce, Gregory So, and its rice importers. According to the Minister, a contract will be signed calling for Hong Kong to purchase 100,000 tons of rice from Thailand. This is the first time Hong Kong has signed a major deal with Thailand since Thailand lost her rice market to other countries a few years back.

However, the situation has changed now that the prices of rice from Thailand have dropped, enabling the country to compete with others in the market. With the support of the Commerce Ministry, Thai rice exporters hope to tighten relations with Hong Kong's importers, attracting them to buy more rice from Thailand in the near future.
Strategy to tap core export markets via goods with strong potential
THE NATION January 15, 2015 1:00 am
THE COMMERCE MINISTRY is seeking cooperation from large, established companies to serve as mentors for small and medium-sized enterprises to help achieve its 4-per-cent growth target for exports this year.Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said yesterday that his ministry would adopt an aggressive export strategy with clear targets that show potential for growth in line with current global trends.
A "cluster" marketing approach will be used to enter new industries and expand marketing channels creatively with the focus on four core markets:
Highly economically developed: Markets such as the United States, the European Union and Japan, which account for 30 per cent of total Thai exports. The emphasis will be on the elderly, institutions, hotels, casinos, cruise ships, environmentalists, animal lovers and Hispanics, who make up a third of the US population. The export value growth target is 1.9 per cent. Mid-range economically developed: Markets such as China, India, South Korea, the Middle East, Latin America and Russia, which account for 36 per cent of total Thai exports. The focus will be on the "super rich". The aim is to penetrate secondary sectors with potential, including encouraging exporters to utilise the e-commerce/online marketing channel, as well as the modern trade (retailers). The target is to expand this market by 6 per cent.
 Developing: Markets such as Africa and South Asia excluding India. The focus will be on tapping the agricultural goods industry, construction, sanitation and raw materials sources.
Asean: The focus will be on consumer goods, service-related businesses, construction and investment. The growth target is 5.9 per cent.
Large, established companies will be asked to coach and assist local SMEs by providing useful training and advice and accompanying SMEs abroad to help them explore overseas markets.
Loxley has agreed to serve as a mentor for local SMEs to help them tap business opportunities in Hong Kong, while Charoen Pokphand Group and Central Group will do the same for SMEs interested in mining mainland China's business opportunities. The ministry hopes to achieve the export target through an aggressive but cautious approach to prevent potential international trade problems or conflicts, as well as to restructure the export framework to support long-term economic goals.
The ministry will expedite the sale and distribution of the government's remaining rice stocks from this month to March. On March 15, Chatchai will visit Hong Kong to witness the signing of a purchase contract for about 100,000 tonnes of Thai jasmine rice. Next in his sights are mainland China, India and Russia, where Thai jasmine rice is popular with upper-income consumers.

Paddy farmers in Erode expect bumper harvest

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Seed requirement, human labour very less; revenue likely to be double the investment

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methodology of rice cultivation has been adopted overwhelmingly by farmers in the district this year, in view of the twin advantages: higher productivity, and lesser requirement of capital and human labour.In Modakurichi block, for instance, farmers who have switched over to SRI methodology are looking forward to reaping a bumper harvest.
Scientific demonstrations of the benefits carried out by officials through biometric testing have convinced the farmers.In the first place, seed requirement under SRI methodology is just one-tenth when compared to normal planting.Fifteen-day seedlings of ADT 38 variety planted under the SRI pattern have shown robust growth at the mature stage, in a five-acre farm owned by Sengottayan in Modakurichi village, who is in the reckoning for State-level prize for best paddy productivity.
The farmer required only 2kg of seeds an acre.Another farmer Vadivel, who has adopted SRI cultivation for his seed farm at Odanilai is also looking for handsome returns. He is poised to make a margin of two-times over the invested amount from the seven acre field where he is raising seeds of ADT 38 and IR20 paddy varieties.Tilling is much higher per hill in farms under SRI cultivation wherein saplings are planted with spacing of 25cm.At the fields of the two farmers, the number of panicles exceeded 45 in certain hills chosen randomly. On an average, there would be not less than 25 panicles a hill in the farms under SRI, explained Kulandaivelu, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Modakurichi.
There are only 16 hills a square metre under SRI when compared to 50 under normal planting.But, in terms of productivity, the number of panicles are more than thrice under SRI when compared to normal planting. Also, the number of grains is close to 300 per panicle when compared to 180 to 200 per panicle under normal planting method.As the saplings are planted in lines, cultivators could rely on mechanised equipment and shed dependence on shrinking number of farm labourers. Machine transplanting was a viable option and power-operated rotary weeders could be utilised, Mr. Kulandaivelu said.There was cost saving in mechanisation since the rotary weeders perform the deweeding task, which would otherwise require a day of employment for 20 labourers, in just a matter of few hours.Paddy cultivation has been carried out in about 31,000 hectares and 70 per cent of farmers have adopted SRI methodology, Joint Director of Agriculture Selvaraj said. The new methodology had gained popularity fast, he said.

Why commodities are taking a beating again

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 | 2:13 PM ET
Commodities took a beating Wednesday, as prices for everything from industrial metals to grains slid on global growth concerns.Copper, which is often seen as an important indicator of global growth because of its use in industry, fell as much as 5 percent on Wednesday. A host of other commodities, including palladium, rice and oats, also saw multiple-percentage point drops on the day. Although separate factors weighed on each asset, some factors affected the international commodities market.That said, some expressed that the pain could soon be drawing to an end for traders.
"Commodities are going to be a big deal this year," said Michael Gurka, founder and president of BruinHill Partners. "We're going to have to ratchet our belts a bit tighter, but I think we're about to hit a bottom."
Muriel de Seze | Photodisc | Getty Images
Copper wire. The commodity was trading at five-year lows Wednesday.
Description: Copper wire. The commodity was trading at five-year lows Wednesday.The World Bank said on Tuesday that it was lowering its global growth forecasts for 2015 and 2016 on account of economic prospects inEurope, Japan and emerging markets. That outlook is weighing on commodities traders, especially those looking at copper, AvaTrade's chief market analyst, Naeem Aslam, wrote in a Wednesday morning note.Copper, which on Wednesday traded at its lowest levels since July 2009, has faced expectations of a major surplus from mines. Many analysts are revising those estimates, however, saying that supply should be more balanced with demand this year than previously expected.
Still, copper traders are also concerned about demand for the metal, which finds uses in both construction and consumer products. Markets are particularly focused on growth in China, traders said, with all eyes on the property market in Asia's biggest economy."The key might be in the second half, when we see whether the Chinese property cycle recovers modestly or if it continues to slump. That will be a key determinant in terms of how big the copper surplus will be," Xiao Fu, head of commodity markets strategy at Bank of China International, told Reuters.Oil, of course, is among the commodities that have suffered most in recent months—with many traders saying that it is impossible to knowwhere the bottom for crude lies.For his part, Gurka said he sees West Texas Intermediate crude finding support between $38 and $42 per barrel, but that it will be a slow climb back upward.Investors are torn over whether low oil prices will prove beneficial for global growth, but some have theorized that pessimism about the energy slide is at least partly responsible for the fall in other commodities.But as with the precipitous fall in crude, oversupply is also to blame for dragging down prices across the board.Despite a vicious drought consuming California, the biggest U.S. agricultural state, bumper crops elsewhere have put downward pressure on farmed commodities.
The U.S. corn crop is at a record-setting 14.2 billion bushels, but is still slightly lower than numbers forecast in November, according to the USDA's January Crop Production estimate on Monday. Farmers produced more corn per acre than they did in 2013, and devoted more acreage to grain production over 2013 as well.Soybeans, cotton and rice production all exceeded 2013 numbers, with cotton farmers producing 25 percent more cotton in 2014.As of noon EST on Wednesday, corn, oats and rice futures had fallen by 1.6 percent, 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.Not all commodities dropped on Wednesday. In fact, gold saw slight gains, stretching out a recent run of good fortune.For its part, copper may be nearing a level where its cheap price actually begins to spur new building in places like China, Gurka said."The pain is going to be a little bit more, but truly there's value here in copper," he said. "I'm buying when the whole world's selling."
—CNBC's Robert Ferris and Reuters contributed to this


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