Monday, February 02, 2015

2nd February (Monday),2015 Daily Global Rice E_Newsletterby Riceplus Magazine

Nigeria2015: Jonathan has failed in agriculture – APC

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, has accused the President Goodluck Jonathan administration of massive corruption in the country’s agricultural sector.“President Jonathan has failed woefully in the agricultural sector, and all the self-praise of the administration on agriculture is simply a ruse,” the APCPCO said in a statement released on Sunday, February 1.
The statement, signed by Garba Shehu, pointed out that whereas President Jonathan had promised in 2010 to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice and wheat production by 2015, “the grim reality on the ground today is that Nigeria emerged as the world’s highest importer of rice in 2015, and a whopping $11 billion is spent annually by Nigeria to import rice, wheat, sugar and fish.”The statement added that according to the former Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sarah Alade, Nigeria as at 2014 spends $4 billion on rice importation – that is about N600 billion annually on the importation of 2.1 million metric tonnes of milled rice.
“This is after the Federal Government had approached the China Exim Bank for a loan of $1.2 billion for the financing of 100 large-scale rice processing plants with a total capacity of 2.1 million metric tonnes.“The troubling truth today, is that Nigeria is nothing close to self-sufficiency in rice production and what we have at hand is a close web of corruption where government cronies stumble over each other to get import licenses for rice.”
The statement also noted that a similar unacceptable situation pertained to the importation of wheat.
“According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Nigeria’s wheat consumption as at year 2000 was about two million metric tonnes. But, by 2010, wheat importation to the country had risen to four million metric tonnes and Nigeria spends N635 billion annually on wheat importation.“Five years into the Jonathan’s administration, Nigeria spends even more than we did in 2010 to import wheat; yet the government continues to brandish false achievements in the agricultural sector – a situation that is completely at variance with what President Jonathan promised Nigerians in 2010, saying that his government would make Nigeria save N635 billion annually on rice and wheat importation.”
On fertilizer accessibility to farmers, the APCPCO faulted the claim by government that local farmers now have unhindered access to fertilizer through the Growth Enhancement Scheme.On the contrary, Mr. Shehu says that what gets to each farmer under the e-wallet arrangement, which he described as, “excessively laborious and technically difficult for the farmers to work through” are two bags of fertilizer throughout the entire farming season, “and government has not come out in one instance to tell Nigerians how much it receives as grants on fertilizer distribution to farmers from donor agencies.”
“The government will want to give us the impression that fertilizer is being given to farmers free of charge. But we know that what subsists is a 50 per cent subsidy per bag of fertilizer. Our farmers are being shortchanged under this so-called e-wallet arrangement because of lack of transparency.“We may be looking at another subsidy scam over fertilizer unless the Jonathan administration comes out clean to tell us how much it has received as grants over fertilizer and how it comes about the 50 per cent subsidy per bag of fertilizer,” Shehu said.The statement dismissed President Jonathan’s claims of achievement in the agricultural sector, pointing out that “throughout the periods preceding the Jonathan’s administration, the contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 7 per cent, while under the so-called transformation agenda of President Jonathan, agriculture’s contribution to the GDP has been consistent at 5 per cent – an all-time low.
“In any case, food commodities are items Nigerians buy on a daily basis. If the Jonathan administration was sincere with the statistics it reels out on agriculture, why would the government buy pages of newspaper advertorials and TV commercials to force bitter falsehood of its achievements down the throats of Nigerians? The Jonathan administration has failed woefully in its agricultural policies and the facts are self-evident out there at those food stalls in our markets.“In 2015, Nigerians know they spend far more to buy food than they did in 2010. That reality, in itself, is President Jonathan’s scorecard in agriculture,” the APCPCO concluded.
Garba Shehu
Directorate of Media & Publicity
APC Presidential Campaign Organisation

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Research takes backseat as police, army, CRPF turn Kulgam rice station into garrison

Lack of political will allows them use major chunk of land: VC SKUAST
Description: Barbed_Wire_1Muhammad Suhail 
Kulgam, Jan 31: The Regional Rice Research Station (RRRS) located in Khodweni area of this south Kashmir district resembles a fortified garrison with a large chunk of the facility occupied by police, army and paramilitary forces.
Spread over hundreds of Kanals of Agricultural land as an extension centre of the SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST-K) the RRRS also has a two-storey facility to house the researchers and the offices.

However over the last half a decade a large chunk of the facility has been subsequently occupied by a police post, an Army unit, a SOG team and paramilitary CRPF personnel. The SKUAST administration in general and the RRRS administration in particular have been fighting tooth and nail to get the troops vacated off the facility; however the government and the civil administration have been turning a blind eye.VC SKUAST, Dr Tej Pratap, said he has been in constant touch personally as well as officially with the Chief Minister’s office since last many years now.“There has been a lack of political will to get the place vacated so that it can serve its purpose,” Pratap said.Sources at the station said initially there were only some CRPF personnel to guard the facility and things were working just fine till then.
“In 2010 however, during the unrest, the Khodweni-Qaimoh police post was damaged and they eventually shifted to our centre,” said G A Parray, Director of research at the centre, “They have been here ever since.”Moreover, during the recently concluded Assembly elections, an Army unit and a unit of police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) were also squeezed in at the facility.Parray is of the opinion that while the research at the station remains affected by such large number of troops housed in there; most problematic has been the police post.

“With police post there is always a large civilian footfall and the place almost always remains overcrowded.” said Parray, adding that he has been writing to all concerned officials including the Kulgam Deputy Commissioner (DC) and the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) South Kashmir range.Parray, while talking to Rising Kashmir, said he writes fresh letters to the concerned officials almost every week.Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kulgam, Nisar Ahmad Wani, acknowledged that the issue has been brought into his notice through proper channels time and again.
“I do understand that the place needs to be vacated. We are looking for alternate land somewhere in the vicinity so that the troops can be shifted there and the RRRS resumes doing whatever it was established for,” Wani said.Till then, however, the whole purpose of the centre remains hijacked and it continues to serve as a garrison.

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Korea-India ties celebrated on Republic Day

Diplomatic soiree is held after Park’s visit and before Modi’s

Feb 02,2015
Description: Embassy of India last week commemorated the country’s 66th Republic Day with an event at the Millennium Seoul Hilton in Jung District, central Seoul, which was attended by approximately 400 people. Republic Day commemorates the adoption of India’s constitution and is one of the three national holidays celebrated in the South Asian country, along with the Independence Day on Aug. 15, and Gandhi Jayanti on Oct. 2. In a welcoming address on Jan. 26, Indian Ambassador Vishnu Prakash underscored Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory last May in a landslide election. 
He also highlighted key diplomatic steps during the past year to strengthen ties between India and Korea, such as President Park Geun-hye’s state visit in January. Prakash also noted the plan by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) to establish Korea’s first industrial park in India, in the state of Rajasthan, adding that he was pushing ahead with organizing Modi’s state visit to Korea later this year. “The past three years working in Korea were three great years - and the best three years of my life,” he said. “I feel like [it has only been] three months” since landing here.Jeong Kab-yoon, the National Assembly vice speaker who participated as an honorary guest, said India is Korea’s “friend and strategic partner,” and the brotherhood “was strengthened while Ambassador Prakash was stationed here.”Jeong leads a friendship association formed with Korean and Indian lawmakers.
Hanging on the wall behind the podium was a photograph of President Park shaking hands with Modi during their trip to Myanmar last November for the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit. At the front of the banquet hall flanking the podium were several acrylic and oil paintings depicting Indian culture and society, all of which were provided by the Indian Art Museum in Seocho District, southern Seoul. A buffet of Indian dishes was arranged along the far left and right sides of the room, including chickpea salad, chicken curry, palak paneer (spinach and cheese curry), steamed basmati rice, dal makhani (lentil curry) and Cape Brandy bread pudding. Artists at the Indian Cultural Center, all dressed in traditional attire, provided entertainment for the international crowd with music and dance performances.Koreans wearing hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing, took to the stage later to dance and sing with their Indian counterparts.
Image: Indian Ambassador Vishnu Prakash, center; Jeong Kab-yoon, right, the National Assembly vice speaker; and Kim Ki-jai, the former minister of government administration and home affairs, light a traditional Indian lamp on Jan. 26 at the 66th Republic Day of India celebration held at the Millennium Seoul Hilton in Jung District, central Seoul. By Park Sang-moon




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Farmers welcoming lower gas prices across the country

By BRIAN FANNEY - Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Falling energy prices mean tractors are cheaper to run, water is less expensive to pump and crops are more economical to ship. Arkansas farmers are benefiting from the same forces that have driven down gasoline prices, though falling gasoline prices take the cost of ethanol - and the money farmers receive to grow corn - down with them.

“It’s certainly a benefit for one side,” said Matt King, director of market information and economics for Arkansas Farm Bureau. “But it hinders the other side.”These Celebrities changed our lives forever, but left too soon.These 12 super foods speed up your weight loss and melt fat as soon as you start eating them!In 2014, the average Arkansas farmer spent about $61,000 on diesel fuel and other energy sources to farm 1,000 acres of land. That’s about 16 percent of the average farmer’s total operating cost.Those numbers could fall substantially this year.Diesel - which powers irrigation wells, trucks and tractors - has been slower to decline in price than gasoline. But since December, retail prices have dropped from $3.61 a gallon to $2.93 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Farmers use mostly off-road diesel, which they don’t pay state and federal taxes on. King said prices are now around $2 a gallon for that form of fuel.Rabobank, a global financial services company with a focus on agriculture, said Wednesday that lower oil prices could have a large enough impact to make a noticeable difference in supermarket prices.The size of the drop in oil prices combined with the already significantly lower prices of agri-commodities will place substantial downward pressure on global food prices, possibly reaching multi-year lows,” said Clara van der Elst, a Rabobank analyst, in a news release.

And in Arkansas, cheaper fuel could have a large impact on rice growers. The average rice farmer spent $127,000 - $93,000 to run irrigation pumps and another $34,000 on diesel fuel to apply chemicals and fertilizer - for every 1,000 acres of land.In fact, rice farmers spend more than 21 percent of their operating costs on energy - far more than other farmers - because of the amount of water that needs to be pumped from the ground to grow the crop.K. Bradley Watkins, research assistant professor of agricultural economics for the University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center, said many rice farmers have adapted to high prices by moving from diesel to electric pumps.

“There’s been a sizeable movement,” he said. “When fuel costs really skyrocketed, especially for diesel, that’s when the transition really started.”Though lower fuel prices will help farmers control the cost of growing their crops, other factors could mean farmers won’t see an increase in profit margins.King said fertilizer costs have yet to fall, though it is made from natural gas, which has declined in price. And the dollar is gaining strength while the economies of Canada and Mexico — the United States’ largest trading partners — are hurting from low oil prices.“Our dollar has been fairly weak over the last few years, but we’re starting to see it strengthen,” King said. “As the dollar gets more expensive, other countries buy less of our product.”

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Rice millers in C'nawabganj incur huge loss

Many workers have become jobless as blockade disrupts supply chain, production
RABIUL HASAN, Chapainawabganj
A huge quantity of rice remains piled up at a husking mill at Atahar in Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila as transport is badly hampered due to the indefinite countrywide blockade enforced by BNP-led 20-party alliance. PHOTO: STAR
Description: A huge quantity of rice remains piled up at a husking mill at Atahar in Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila as transport is badly hampered due to the indefinite countrywide blockade enforced by BNP-led 20-party alliance. PHOTO: STARRice millers in the district are incurring huge losses due to non-stop countrywide blockade enforced by BNP-led 20-party alliance.Thousands of labourers of different rice mills have also become temporarily jobless as many rice millers have stopped or lessened production due to problem in sending the food grain to Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and other places.
"I have suspended operation of four of the seven boiling units of my rice mill due to transport problem amid countrywide blockade," said Akbar Hossain, owner of Nabab Auto Rice and Feed Mills Pvte Ltd at Atahar in Sadar upazila."I usually collect paddy from Chapainawabganj, Naogaon and Dinajpur. After husking it in my mill, I supply the rice to the capital and other places but both procurement and supply works are now badly disturbed," said the owner of the large rice mill.  Monsur Rahman, owner of Sagor Auto Rice Mill in the town, Mozammel Haque, owner of Haque Auto Rice Mill, and Mofizudddin, owner of Mafiz Auto Rice Mill in Atahar area of Sadar upazila, said they now produce much smaller amounts of rice that is supplied to markets within short distances only.
  They are incurring losses as they have to continue paying labourers' wages, electricity bills and interests on bank loans, said the rice mill owners.  Several rice mill workers including Torikul, Atikur, Anarul Islam and Habibur Rahman said they are passing hard days with their families as they have become jobless due to decreased production in rice mills. Some 15,000 labourers work in around 250 rice mills in the district and nearly 100 truckloads of rice is usually sent to the capital and different districts daily from Chapainawabganj, said  Erfan Ali, owner of Erfan Agro Food Ltd and Raju Rice Mill.
But now only 10 to 20 trucks carry rice outside the district as truckers feel insecure to rent out their vehicles fearing vandalism and arson attacks by blockaders and the fair has increased by 100 to 150 percent, said Erfan, also president of rice mill owners' association in the district.
Published: 12:00 am Sunday, February 01, 2015


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It's not the weather BUT corruption in your ministry causing trouble, Ismail Sabri!

Written by Gooi Hsiao Leung

On 15.1.2015, I issued a statement highlighting the serious problem of excess supply of rice stockpile faced by rice millers in Kedah and Perlis due to corruption, abuse and mismanagement of the ST15% national rice subsidy program.I had warned that the problem of excess supply of rice in rice mills would have dire consequences on the entire supply chain of the rice industry, and raising immediate fears that farmers would be unable to sell their harvest this season or face high rejection rates for their paddy sold to rice millers.

Description: It's not the weather BUT corruption in your ministry causing trouble, Ismail Sabri!My fears have now been confirmed with widespread news coverage in the past 3 days concerning farmers complaints of rice millers refusing to buy their paddy, causing 800 to 1000 m/t of paddy to be stockpiled daily in paddy purchasing centers’ of the Farmers Organization Authority (Lembaga Pertubuhan Peladang (LPP)) since the a week ago (22.1.2015). Perlis farmers are also complaining of steep rejection rates of up to 32% imposed by rice millers on paddy sold by the farmers.Shockingly, the Agricultural Minister blamed the “weather” as the cause for the paddy stockpile crisis, citing that “uncertain weather” had caused the farmers to plant late this season, and as such, he has instructed BERNAS to buy up all the excess stockpile paddy.

Description: Minister’s explanation in blaming the weather for the paddy stockpile problem is totally illogical and most ridiculous.The weather or late planting and harvesting of paddy does not cause paddy stockpile currently faced in Perlis. Even during the best harvesting seasons where Kedah and Perlis can together harvest up to 650k m/t of paddy per season, Kedah and Perlis rice millers have the capacity to process and mill 950k m/t of paddy each season.

The Minister is totally evading the real root cause of why rice millers are not buying paddy. As I have previously highlighted, it is because rice millers themselves are facing difficulty disposing stockpiled rice in their mills due to the blatant abuse and corruption in the government mismanagement of the national ST15% rice subsidy scheme.Each year, the government budgets around RM2.2 billion on subsidies and incentives on the rice sector from subsidizing farmers for the price of paddy (RM480 million), fertilizer subsidy (RM465million), incentive to produce paddy (RM563million), rice price subsidy (RM528million), paddy seed subsidy (RM85million), etc.

If the rice and paddy stockpile crisis persists and paddy harvested become damaged and spoilt because they are not sold, dried and processed, hundreds of millions spent on subsidies and incentives by the government will be totally squandered with farmers being the biggest victims.Without any further delay and lame excuses in blaming nature, I urge the Agricultural Minister to immediately make a visit to Perlis and Kedah to personally meet the farmers and rice millers to listen to their grievances and offer long term solutions to overcome the rice and paddy stockpile problem before it before it becomes a full blown national food security crisis.

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30th January (Friday),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Subsidy abuse blamed for padi crisis

 | January 31, 2015
Alor Star MP takes minister to task for evading cause of padi and rice crisis.
Description: padi Gooi Hsiao LeungALOR STAR: Blatant abuse, corruption and government mismagement of the rice subsidy scheme is the reason for over-supply and stockpiling of padi at government farmers’ centres, Alor Star MP Gooi Hsiao Leung said today.He lambasted the agriculture minister, Ismail Sabri, for blaming “uncertain weather” and late planting as being the cause of surplus padi being stockpiled.“The minister’s explanation is totally illogical and most ridiculous,” he said.

 “The minister is totally evading the real root cause of why rice millers are not buying paddy.”He said rice millers in Kedah and Perlis were stockpiling surplus rice because of corruption, abuse and mismanagement of the government’s ST15% national rice subsidy program.Farmers have complained recently that millers were refusing to buy padi, causing 800-1000 tonnes of padi being stockpiled daily. Perlis farmers are also complaining of millers rejecting padi at rates of up to 32%.Gooi said even with bumper harvests of up to 650,000 tonnes of padi per season, millers in Kedah and Perlis had the capacity to process and mill 950,000 tonnes per season.
If the rice and padi crisis persists and padi harvests are damaged and spoilt because they are not sold, dried and processed, hundreds of millions spent on subsidies and incentives by the government will be totally squandered, with farmers being the biggest victims, he said.Each year, the government budgets around RM2.2 billion on subsidies and incentives: RM480mil in padi price subsidy to farmers, RM465mil fertilizer subsidy, RM563mil planting incentive, RM528million rice price subsidy, RM85mil paid seed subsidy and others.Gooi, a member of PKR’s supreme council, urged the minister to meet farmers and millers in Perlis and Kedah for long-term solutions to the rice and padi problem before it becomes a full blown national food security crisis.

Source with thanks: Rice Farmer of the Year is Ray Stoesser

Posted: Thursday, January 29, 2015 8:32 am
 By Carol Skewes, Publisher
Ray Stoesser was recently named the 2015 Rice Farmer of the Year.The 18th annual convention for the National Conservation Systems Cotton & Rice Conference, Southern Corn & Soybean Conference and Southern Precision Ag Conference is held each January and Stoesser is always there. This year’s convention was held in Baton Rouge, La.
He said, “It was a shock to me. I didn’t know anything about it until I got there.”Stoesser has been rice farming in Dayton been since 1966, as his father and grandfather did before him.Stoesser explained, “My father farmed in the 1930’s. We have seen lots of changes.My dad was born in Dayton and I was too. My grandfather settled in Dayton in the early part of the century. He died in 1925 when my dad was 15.”Stoesser plants two crops of rice per year as long as he can harvest early enough. 
He commented, “Right now rice farming is kind of down.  Because of the oversupply of rice the prices have gone down 25%. Arkansas planted 500,000 additional acres to offset the drop in price.”Stoesser employs about a dozen people and has his own drying facility.He has served on the Texas Rice Research Foundation Board, the Texas Rice Producers Board and is the current President of the Texas Rice Council. Stoesser identified a sugarcane aphid, not previously seen in Texas, that attacks sorghum plants, and in doing so saved many rice farmers a lot of trouble.Stoesser said receiving the Rice Farmer of the Year is quite an honor. He said, “I don’t particularly like to brag on myself.
 The Lord does most of my work and makes the rice grow. I just manage His efforts.”“I couldn’t be recognized without mentioning my two sons, Neal, 39, and Grant, 29, as well as my good crew that works for me. They have been with me a long time.Stoesser earned his Bachelor Degree from Baylor University. He is a Deacon of First Baptist Church in Dayton.

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Air Pollution Hits Crops More Than Climate Change

Black carbon and ozone may have caused India more than US$5 billion in losses to wheat and rice crops.
Asian Scientist Newsroom | January 30, 2015

Description: Description: C:\Users\ALLAH MOHAMMAD\Downloads\Air Pollution Hits Crops More Than Climate Change   Asian Scientist Magazine   Science, Technology and Medicine News Updates From Asia_files\Air-Pollution-Hits-Crops-More-Than-Climate-Change-2yf6bc3orup4btz664n0u8.jpgAsianScientist (Jan. 30, 2015) - By Sandhya Sekar - Atmospheric pollutants may impact India’s major crops like wheat and rice more than temperature rise, says a new study based on a ‘regression model’ that predicts future events with information on past or present events. The study by Jennifer Burney and V. Ramanathan, scientists at the University of California, project that a one degree centigrade rise in temperature could lead to a crop decline of four percent for wheat and five percent for rice.

 But losses from pollution could be greater. “For context, the yield loss for wheat attributable to pollutants alone in 2010 corresponds to over 24 million tons of wheat: around four times India’s wheat imports before the 2007—2008 food price crisis and a value greater than $5 billion,” the authors write in a paper on the study published November in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Most pollutants impact temperature by absorbing incoming radiation from the sun and reflected heat from the earth. Black carbon aerosols and ozone are of special concern as they affect crops directly—black carbon changes the amount of radiation reaching the surface while ozone is toxic to plants.

In 2010, wheat yields were 36 percent lower and the models show that 90 percent of that change was due to the pollutants. The impact was most drastic in the state of Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh. Wheat yields in Uttar Pradesh were 50 percent lower than they would have been without the current climate and pollutant trends with two-thirds of the decrease attributable to pollutant levels. In the case of rice, 15 percent of yield decrease in the Gangetic plains could be attributed to pollutants. The Gangetic plains seem to accumulate surface level ozone and aerosols before the monsoons. “Previous studies have shown that wheat is more sensitive to ozone than rice,” Burney tells SciDev.Net. “Also, the dry season has more pollutants.

” “I am pretty sure, based on other evidence, that yield declines due to pollution and warming are real, but I think that they are unlikely to be as large as the headline results in this paper,” says E Somanathan, professor at the Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi. “Whether we believe the estimates of yield losses depends on whether we believe the regression model. Here, I am sceptical.”The authors acknowledge limitations in the study, but insist that ozone and black carbon have had “significant impact on crop yields in India in recent decades”.


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China's rice import rises on market factors: official

Jan 30,2015
EIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- China imported more rice last year due to lower prices of imported rice and a rise in high-end demand, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman said Thursday.Rice imports were very small compared with China's domestic rice output, spokesman Shen Danyang told a press conference while responding to a report claiming that China's rice import surged last year due to consumers' safety concerns.China imported 2.58 million tonnes of rice in 2014, up 13.6 percent from a year earlier.
The amount was only about 1.3 percent of China's domestic rice production, Shen said, citing customs data.Shen attributed the rising import mainly to price difference between imported and domestic rice and the increase in high-end demands."Some high-income customers in China and high-end restaurants had larger demands for Thai fragrant rice and Japanese rice than before," he said, adding that both reasons were market forces.The Ministry of Agriculture said more than 96 percent of major Chinese agricultural products passed quality tests in 2014, a proof of stable and improving quality.

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This season’s rice procurement may fall below 30-mt target

By: Sandip Das | January 30, 2015 11:26 pm
Rice procurement by government agencies for the current marketing season (2014-15) is expected to fall below the target of 30 million tonne, according to the current trend.As per data till Friday, the Food Corporation of India (FCI), in collaboration with state government owned agencies, has purchased more than 19.3 million tonne of rice from farmers since purchases for the current season began in October 2014. The purchase so far is more than 1.4 million tonne less than the volume of procurement during the same period in 2013 -14.
With kharif procurement, which constitutes close to 70% of the total rice purchases, over in most of the key grain contributing states, officials say that in the current year rice purchases by agencies would fall below the target. However the fall would not be significant considering the deficit monsoon in June which delayed kharif sowing activities in many of the growing states, the official said.
In Punjab, rice procurement this year has been 7.8 million tonne against 8.1 million tonne achieved during the 2013-14 marketing year.In Haryana, the agencies have purchased two million tonne of rice, which is marginally lower than 2.4 million tonne purchased in the same period last year.In Chhattisgarh, which contributed more than four million tonne of rice to the central pool last year, the state agencies have purchased 3.3 million tonne of rice.
The paddy purchases come to an end on Saturday.As per the latest data, 1.4 million tonne of rice has been purchased from farmers in Telangana while close to a million tonne of rice has been lifted in Andhra Pradesh so far.As part of the decentralised procurement system, state government agencies in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh have purchased rice to the tune of around 8 lakh tonne each.At present paddy arrivals are reported from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and other eastern states and kharif paddy purchases would be completed during the next month,” an official said.Rabi rice harvest from Tamil Nadu is expected by April. Officially, rice procurement for the season is carried out during October-September.

At the start of the month, the government agencies had rice stock of 23.5 million tonne against the strategic reserve norms of only 12 million tonne. However out of the total rice stock, 11.8 million tonne is still with millers and would be delivered to FCI in the next couple of months
FCI and state agencies undertake procurement of rice and wheat to ensure that farmers get a minimum support price (MSP) and sufficient foodgrain is available for the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and buffer stock.

Japan to cut beef, pork tariffs, expand rice access in TPP talks

30 Jan7:07 AM
[TOKYO] Japan is prepared to cut its high import tariffs on beef and pork and slightly ease tight restrictions on rice imports for US producers, in a rush to seal an ambitious Pacific trade deal, Japanese media said on Friday.Tokyo's reported concessions come as talks accelerate with Washington to strike a bilateral deal as the core of an overdue agreement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
A bilateral agreement between the two economies, which dominate the TPP, is considered key to a deal among the 12 nations, which account for 40 per cent of the world economy. Negotiators had hoped to clinch a deal by late last year.Japan and the United States are working toward an agreement to cut Japan's 38.5 per cent beef tariff to about 10 per cent over more than 10 years, the Nikkei newspaper said.The daily, which did not cite any sources for its information, said top pork duties of 482 yen a kilogramme could be slashed to tens of yen under a new formula, while Japan would demand "safeguards" that would protect domestic producers if imports spiked.
Beef and pork are among the farm markets that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to protect under the TPP; the others are dairy, wheat and sugarcane.Public broadcaster NHK said Japan was prepared to negotiate expanding "minimum access" quotas for rice, the nation's staple food, now protected by tariffs of 778 per cent for imports outside the minimum access framework.Japanese officials were not immediately available to comment. On Tuesday, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said bilateral differences were narrowing. Also on Tuesday, US trade representative Michael Froman said a TPP deal could be reached in a "small number of months."Senior trade officials Hiroshi Oe and Wendy Cutler are to meet from Monday in Washington.

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Rice traders to expand sources
Description: NOI (VNS) — Rice exporters must build new areas for sourcing raw material in direct proportion to their export volumes, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a decree issued last week.The decree talks about a roadmap for the development of areas from where raw material can be sourced, as well links rice production and consumption between farmers and traders for the 2015 to 2020 period, which is aimed at restructuring the farming sector, enhancing rice quality and raising rice exporters' competitiveness.
Accordingly, rice exporters can develop their raw material sources in three ways, including building large-scale paddy fields, signing contracts with farmers or developing their own raw material areas.Rice traders with an export volume of below 50,000 tonnes per year must develop a minimum raw material area of 500ha during the first year and widen this area by 300ha each in the following years.For those with an export volume of 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes per year and 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes per year, the minimum raw material areas needed during the first year will be 800ha, 1,200ha and 2,000ha, respectively.The Ministry of Industry and Trade is aiming to encourage traders to develop stable raw material sources for major crops harvested during the year.Support and incentives, such as agricultural insurance premiums, preferential loans will be provided to rice traders, who participate in developing new raw material sources.The regulation will come into effect from March 1, 2015. — VNS

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Latest Iraq Rice Tender All Goes to Thailand        

  Thai rice on the cheap

ARLINGTON, VA -- The USA Rice Federation has learned that despite mounting pressure from the United States, the latest Iraqi rice tender, 80,000 metric tons, has been completely awarded to Thailand.The announcement comes just days after a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to help ensure U.S. rice farmers would be given a fair shot at competing for Iraqi tenders, (see "USA Rice Promotes Cochran Bipartisan Letter on Iraqi Rice Purchases," USA Rice Daily, Friday, January 23, 2015)."We're disappointed to see the U.S. lose out on this tender, but at the end of the day, they bought the least expensive rice on the market," said Jamie Warshaw, CEO of Louisiana's Farmers Rice Milling Company and a USA Rice Federation Board Member.  "I hope the next time they are back out on the market they will give U.S.-origin rice good consideration."Iraq remains a major importer of rice, purchasing approximately 1.4 million metric tons annually.

 Contact:  Michael Klein (703) 236-1458

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USA Rice Promotes New Retail Brand in Japan          

  Coming to a store near you

TOKYO, JAPAN -- Last fall, the Nishimoto Trading Company introduced its own brand of U.S. medium grain rice to the Japanese market.  Called "Sunshine," the brand is available both online and at Nishimoto stores and also at the Kaldi Coffee Farm grocery store chain.In February and March, the USA Rice Federation has plans to conduct two promotions at more than 150 Kaldi Coffee Farm stores throughout the country.  During the first promotion, customers who purchase more than $10 of Sunshine rice will receive an additional free sample along with a gumbo rice recipe card.  The second promotion is a "Cal-Bowl" rice recipe book featuring U.S. medium grain rice that will be given to every customer who purchases a bag of Sunshine rice.

"Right now, there have not been many brands of U.S. rice available in the retail market in Japan," said Jim Guinn, USA Rice vice president of international promotion. "We have worked extensively with the Japanese foodservice industry since 2008 to offer U.S. rice on restaurant menus as a way for Japanese consumers to sample U.S. rice.  And now we're excited to support retail brands as they introduce the Japanese consumer to identified, unblended U.S. rice for home use." Chris Crutchfield, a rice miller from Williams, California and chairman of the USA Rice Millers' Association added, "Thanks to promotions with partner companies like Nishimoto and Kaldi, the Japanese consumers are much more accepting of U.S. rice than they were a decade ago.  USA Rice has laid the groundwork for the ready acceptance of U.S. rice by the Japanese people, and we're prepared to benefit from increased market access in Japan from a successful Trans Pacific Partnership agreement."

 Contact:  Bill Farmer (832) 302-6710


Source with thanks: USA Rice Federation




CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  



CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for January 30
Net Change

March 2015
- $0.290
May 2015
- $0.290
July 2015
- $0.285
September 2015
- $0.260
November 2015
- $0.190
January 2016
- $0.190
March 2016
- $0.190



Source with thanks:USA Rice Federation


New biotech hub aims to nurture more rice researchers


Image credit: Flickr / IRRI
The Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility can mimic environmental conditions
Studying agriculture under conditions induced by climate change is critical
The number of agriculture researchers in Asia is falling by 1.2 per cent a year

 [MANILA] A new research facility is being put up by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to attract more young researchers in Asia and other countries to study how rice can grow sustainably in the face of climate change. IRRI officials led groundbreaking rites last 27 January for the Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility, a biotech hub with eight environmentally controlled chambers to study climate change impacts on agriculture. 
Description: to open by yearend at the IRRI complex in the Philippines, the hub allows precise control of elements such as carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas levels, light intensity, water management, night-time temperature and relative humidity, while sensors will monitor plants to generate more accurate data. Through the facility, named after an Australian plant physiologist and IRRI board member, scientists can mimic environmental conditions as general trends of climate change point to increasing temperature and prolonged dry spells in drier regions. “Studying agriculture under conditions induced by climate change is critical,” Matthew Morell, IRRI deputy director general for research, tells SciDev.Net.
He cites the worsening risks from super typhoons like Haiyan which caused major agriculture losses in the Philippines in late 2013. Part of the solution to this challenge is enticing more young researchers to pursue long-term career prospects in agriculture and providing easier access to facilities and equipment, Morell says. “Globally, we have a challenge with how young people [negatively] see agricultural research and farming as careers. With climate change, the world needs more scientists like we have never done before,” Morell notes.About 3.5 billion people worldwide consume rice as their staple food. By 2050, to meet growing consumption demands, farmers should produce 830 million tonnes of rice to feed the world, up by 180 million tonnes from present production. 
However, the number of agriculture researchers in Asia has been declining by 1.2 per cent each year, excluding outlier data of 60,000 researchers from China, according to a 2008 report by the International Food Policy Research Institute. Senior IRRI plant breeder and geneticist Glenn Gregorio, who works on saline-resistant rice in Africa and Asia, hopes that the facility will nurture top quality researchers. “I hope through this facility, we can inspire our youth to see that agriculture is an innovative field and one that can directly benefit and feed our people,” says Gregorio. The facility’s US$15 million construction budget came from the Australian government through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. 

This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's South-East Asia & Pacific desk. 

Source with thanks:


USA Rice Inspires Young Minds to 'Think Rice' 
Get smart 
ARLINGTON, VA -- This week, teachers at more than 2,800 elementary schools in rice producing counties across the six states will receive the new
Think Rice educational lesson plan.  Developed with the award-winning curriculum experts at Young Minds Inspired (YMI), this education kit is all about U.S.-grown rice and meets national standards for 3rd - 6th grade students in social studies, science, and nutrition.

"From the focus groups, we learned that many people assume rice comes from Asia and they're unaware of the connection between rice growing and conservation," said Byron Holmes, an Arkansas rice farmer and USA Rice Federation Nutrition Subcommittee chairman.  "The lesson plans address these areas and also reinforce how U.S. rice can help families meet MyPlate healthy eating guidelines."The Think Rice kit contains three student activities, a classroom poster, and a teacher's guide.  Students will learn how rice growing has contributed to American history since colonial times, and how today's U.S. rice farmers not only help sustain wetland habitats, but also help reduce carbon emissions by providing a close-to-home source of good nutrition. 

There is also a recipe-building activity to demonstrate the versatility of U.S. rice and its role in a balanced diet."The education programs we do across the rice states are great events with encouraging results, and we will continue to invest in them," said Holmes.  "This program amplifies our reach to thousands of students who will in turn go home and teach their families about U.S.-grown rice."

Teachers are encouraged to use the Think Rice education kit during March National Nutrition Month and complete a survey to measure use, effectiveness, and appeal of the program.  The materials will be available indefinitely on YMI's website ( so teachers from all around the country can download and use the activities.

These new rice resources and the U.S. Rice in the Classroom
pamphlet are available for USA Rice members to use in their own student outreach as well. 

Contact:  Katie Maher (703) 236-1453

Source with thanks: USA Rice Federation



First 2015 rice auction draws strong interest from traders


THE NATION January 30, 2015 1:00 am

THE Commerce Ministry's first rice auction of the year drew great interest yesterday, with 100 traders bidding on nearly a million tonnes of rice from the government's stockpiles. This auction attracted many traders because the ministry relaxed the regulations to allow bidders to purchase the entire content of a warehouse, instead of only small lots.Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the ministry was highly confident of being able to release a large proportion of the 999,763 tonnes of rice that was up for bid since many traders were interested, reflecting high demand in the market. The ministry will soon finalise the amount to be released and the bids accepted, after which the Rice Policy and Management Committee will decide whether to sell this lot of rice at the offered prices, she said.If this auction sells out, the government could generate Bt11.68 billion or more, depending on the bargaining process.

Of the 100 traders participating in yesterday's auction, 95 met the qualifications after checking by the ministry. Four traders were disqualified after document checks, while one called Siam Indica was barred because the firm has been accused of involvement with an allegedly shady government-to-government rice deal under investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.Duangporn said the ministry would continue to release rice from the stockpiles as demand is high and supplies low in the world market. The next auction will be held around the middle of next month. In an effort to release about 10 million tonnes this year, Duangporn said the government would also sell rice under G2G contracts to many countries such as Iran and China, and to private enterprises.Throughout the year, the ministry plans to auction off good-quality rice gradually, and in August, bids will be accepted for about 3 million to 4 million tonnes of rice that degraded while sitting in the government's warehouses.


Source with thanks:


With AGRIFEST, Nigeria’s Agricultural Revolution Comes Alive

Friday, 30 January 2015 15:26

The gospel of economic salvation cannot be preached without due regard to agricultural development, as the sector is the major and most certain path to economic growth and sustainability. Blessed with abundant landmass and water resources, Nigeria’s agricultural sector is said to have a high potential for growth, but this was not being realised until recent time when the present Federal Government devoted its energy and resources to the sector.     As part of the strategy to realise its Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), the Federal Government recently held the Agriculture Festival, tagged AGRIFEST 2015, to pinpoint the gains of the Jonathan administration in the agriculture sector; the giant strides of the Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and a celebration of the resilience of Nigerian farmers.
Description: Dr.-Adesina-and-Finance-Minster-Dr
 GREGORY NWAKUNOR and DANIEL ANAZIA captured the exciting carnival-like atmosphere that held at Eagle Square, Federal Capital Territory Abuja and write. A PACKAGE of new highly productive varieties of rice and wheat and chemical fertilizers introduced to farmers in India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries in the mid to late 60s led to a doubling and tripling of yield of those crops and has been rightly termed the ‘green revolution’. In response to these high yielding varieties and chemical fertilizer, Asian cereal production grew by 3.6 percent a year between 1967 and 1982, doubling between 1970 and 1995 from 313 to 650 million MT per year.    The same package of improved seed of rice, maize, wheat, soybean, sorghum - 174,000MT, and of fertilizer, 1.3million MT, was distributed to 14.5 million farmers between 2012 and 2014, under the auspices of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) of President Jonathan’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).  

This has led to the doubling of rice production in the country, a tripling of wheat production, and 60 per cent increase in maize production.  In all, an additional 21 million MT of food with a net value of N778 billion was produced and Nigeria’s own ‘green revolution’ was born.    The recently concluded Agriculture Festival 2015 (AGRIFEST 2015) held at Eagle’s square, Abuja on Friday, January 23, celebrated the amazing advances made in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.  In testimonials, young and old farmers who produce rice, maize, sorghum etc, described the new dawn of agriculture in the country.  

   Armed with no more than their cell phones, one farmer after another farmer told the audience of how they each receive every season two bags (three bags in the dry season) of fertilizer, seeds, stems, and other inputs via an electronic voucher sent to their phones – the electronic wallet of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).      In the past, they could barely secure improved seeds and fertilizer for their farms – when they got it, fertilizer was doled out in ‘mudus’; the rest of the fertilizer ‘walked’ across the borders to Niger and Cameroun. They sang the praises of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), being ably executed by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture.     Statistics of the impact of ATA on each of the individual crop and livestock value chains has been astounding.   Over six million rice farmers received improved rice seed varieties and fertilizer, boosting domestic rice production by an additional seven million metric tons.

 The rice revolution is taking place across the country, from Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Kogi, Ogun, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Rivers, Anambra, Delta, Edo to Bayelsa State.    Rice millers have taken advantage of these new opportunities, and the number of integrated rice mills has expanded from one at the beginning of this administration, to 24 today. High quality Nigerian rice is now competing favourably with imported rice in the markets. Nigeria’s comparative advantage in crops such as cassava – we are the world’s largest producer of cassava, is also being used to aggressively substitute imported wheat flour, starch, and ethanol.      During the period 2012-2014, processing capacity for cassava grew astronomically, 520 per cent of installed processing capacity, from three medium-sized starch and High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) and three functional small HQCF mills to eight medium-sized starch, HQCF, and ethanol mills, and 40 small HQCF mills.

     Two of Nigeria’s largest wheat millers, that together account for 70 per cent of wheat milling capacity, launched 10 per cent cassava composite flour for bread. Forty industrial and Master now produce cassava bread, effectively raising the inclusion level to 20 per cent, and 2,200 Master bakers have been trained.  The bakers were present at AGRIFEST exhibiting their 20 per cent cassava bread products and extolling Mr. President’s cassava bread policy.     To ensure that the country produces enough cassava for the new industrial products as well as traditional foods, 130 million stems of improved cassava have been distributed to farmers.  The 2013 NAERLS west season survey revealed the huge impact of reaching farmers with improved stems; the study estimated that cassava production in the country is currently as 65million MT, much higher than FAO estimates of 55million MT. In addition, 29,500 Ha of small-sized (1-10Ha) mechanized cassava farms and 5,500Ha of medium-sized mechanized farms (100-500Ha) were established in 2014.   

   AGRIFEST 2015 also revealed over N45 billion in private sector investments in new oil palm plantations are on-going. The GES has also provided nine million sprouted nuts of high yielding oil palm seedlings for farmers, all across the South-East, South-West, South-South and North-Central parts of Nigeria to establish nearly 100,000Ha of improved oil palm estates.  A total of 45.5 million seedlings of improved cocoa hybrids have been given to cocoa farmers under GES to plant another 450,000Ha of cassava and push Nigeria to the ‘one million MT/year’ club of cocoa producing nations. A chocolate factory and chocolate academy is being established in Ondo State by SPAGVOLA Chocolatiers, a chocolate company from Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.      
      A truly revolutionary trend that is changing the face of Nigeria’s new agriculture is the story of agribusinesses that link small holders to urban markers. L and Z Commercial Farms in Kano buys milk from thousands of Fulani cattle herders on a daily basis, processes, and supplies fresh dairy products to major supermarkets across the country. This is a model that it is hoped would establish for all our small holders; having an agribusiness processing centre within reasonable reach of them offering them fair prices and linking them to distant markets.      Positive changes are also happening in the fisheries sector. For the first time, fish farmers - from artisanal fishermen to aquaculture producers - are being provided across the country with subsidized fish farming inputs, including fishing nets, subsidized fishing boats and outboard engines, fish feed and other inputs.  

Fish production from aquaculture rose 40 per cent - from 200,000MT in 2011 to 278,000MT in 2014. For artisanal fisheries, production grew 21 per cent from 616,000MT in 2011 to 744,000MT in 2014.     The future of the agriculture sector will depend on creating opportunities for our youth.  A Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP), to develop a new generation of 750,000 young commercial farmers and agribusiness leaders for Nigeria, has also been established.   A N50 billion fund has been provided to support the establishment of 1,200 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises across the country, to remove the drudgery out of agriculture.       President Jonathan in his speech at the occasion said that under the ATA, agriculture is now treated as a business and not as a development programme, adding that agriculture is no longer a sector for managing poverty but one for the creation of wealth.

 “We now focus on developing the agricultural value chains, from the farm to processing and value addition; and we now focus on the private sector driving the agricultural sector with investments,” he said.     But the impact on of ATA on the Nation is more revealing. A total of 3.5million jobs have been added to the agricultural sector in the last three years.  Agriculture is now the lifeline for Nigeria.


Source with thanks:




Economic rise of Pakistan matter of time: Morgan

ISLAMABAD (APP): With over 100 million people below the age of 30 aspiring to change their lives, the rise of Pakistan is just a matter of time, Morgan Stanley Chief Investment Strategist David M Darst said during a university lecture.He said Pakistan is located in a region that will bring major changes in the world economy in coming decades primarily due to its demographics.
“Demographics will play a major role in coming decades. Pakistan is among those nine countries in Asia that will add another China in the next 35 years and the impact of this change will be phenomenal on the world economy,” he said in a lecture on “The World Economic Environment: Where’s the Global Capital Going”.I

t was part of a special series of lectures that was organised by The Aga Khan University in Karachi.With a young population of an average age of 22 years, “I believe the opportunities that the young entrepreneurs from Pakistan have are going to make an exceptional contribution to the economy of the region,” he added.Darst, an author of 11 books who has a PhD in Economics from Yale, said it is wrong to believe that Pakistan is lagging behind due to its proximity with Afghanistan, Iran and India.

“In fact, I believe Pakistan is in the centre of Asian countries like Iran, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia that will significantly contribute in the world economy in coming decades.”Speaking about the strong fundamentals of Pakistan’s stocks, he said, with 31% returns in dollar terms Pakistan led the world markets in 2014.What is important is that the stocks in Pakistan are still very cheap compared to the markets in the industrialised world and they are performing better than many markets in terms of returns,” he added.“I am surprised to see low number of investors in the bourses of Pakistan. This must change considering the strong fundamentals of Pakistani stocks.”

Darst said women in the world are playing an important role in today’s world economy. The rise of the entrepreneurs from the developing world, especially women entrepreneurs, will also bring significant positive changes in this century.Listing down the challenges to the global economy, he said though Pakistan and India have benefitted from the current sharp decline in oil prices, sudden fall in oil prices has rejuvenated fears of deflation in many countries.He said Europe is redefining itself and the sharp changes in Europe can surprise the world at large.
Speaking about the challenges facing Europe in relation to Greece, he said the new elected prime minister of Greece could take decisions that may not go well with the euro and the overall economy of the continent.

Source with thanks:



United Continental : Upgrades In-flight Meal Service

01/30/2015 | 01:59am US/Eastern
Beginning February 1, United Airlines will upgrade dining for North American premium cabin customers and expand North Americapremium-cabin meal service to include flights of at least 800 miles or 2 hours and 20 minutes during mealtimes.The airline will also offer an enhanced menu with menu items such as cage-free scrambled eggs prepared skillet style with pepper-jack cheese, sauteed pepper mix, sliced New Mexico sausage, potato gratin and fire-roasted pepper sauce; lobster macaroni and cheese with a baked crumb topping and side of broccoli rabe; and chicken and sausage jambalaya with white rice and green onions.
In addition, short flights that offer lighter refreshments will be enhanced with new breakfast breads in the morning and a rotation of 25 new premium snacks in the afternoon and evening.On meal flights lasting less than four hours, a variety of enhanced breakfast choices such as French toast souffle or steel-cut oatmeal, both paired with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, will be offered, while new dinner selections will include tandoori chicken with basmati rice and paneer in place of the current premium sandwich options.An expanded mid-continental meal service on flights of four hours to five hours and 19 minutes will expand entree options from two to three, including such new additions as creole shrimp served with Carolina grits, and a dessert of sorbet with mint-leaf topping during lunch or gelato or ice cream for dinner.
New multi-course meal service on transcontinental and Hawaii flights will feature heartier entrees such as tamale-stuffed chicken wrapped in a corn husk and served with creamy corn sauce, roasted red and yellow tomatoes and yucca sticks, followed by sorbet during lunch or gelato or ice cream for dinner.Finally, signature bake-on-board cookies in customer-chosen flavors like triple-chocolate chunk will be served for dessert on short- and medium-haul flights that offer meals, or as an afternoon or evening pre-arrival treat on transcontinental flights and flights that link Hawaii with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Houston.United will also continue to offer premium-cabin customers Prosecco sparkling wine and, on lunch and dinner flights, the airline's signature warmed nuts.
"Our customers tell us they want greater options and fresh, savory dining choices when they fly with us," says Lynda Coffman, United's vice president of food services. "With these latest enhancements, we will offer restaurant-quality cuisine that enriches their in-flight experience."
Beginning in March, the company plans to...
• upgrade premium-cabin meal service on United Express flights, replacing snack boxes with freshly prepared food served on chinaware on flights of at least 800 miles or lasting at least two hours and 20 minutes, and a selection of premium packaged snacks on flights of less than 800 miles;
• significantly enhance United Economy meals and beverages on long-haul international flights, including adding multi-course meal service;
• refresh its Choice Menu Bistro on Board selection, which offers fresh food for sale in United Economy on most flights scheduled for more than three-and-a-half hours within North America, to Central and northernSouth America and between Honolulu and Guam; and
• launch new premium-cabin menu choices on its p.s. Premium Service between New York JFK and Los Angeles and New York JFK and San Francisco.
Source with thanks: Penton Media

Basmati exports likely to drop, buffalo meat gains 

While the share of Basmati rice in India’s agri-export basket is likely to fall this fiscal, beef exports will continue to post healthy returns, according to statistics provided by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
Description: authority, under the Ministry of Commerce with 22 scheduled products under its purview, undertook trade worth $22 billion in 2013-14 and expects a slight decline this fiscal. India exported about Rs. 87,553 crore worth of agri-goods between April-November 2014 and had seen exports hit Rs. 1.37 lakh crore overall last fiscal. Basmati rice, among the key drivers for export earnings, has been hit as Iran is not allowing imports due to sufficient stocks. India exported 3.7-3.8 million tonnes (mt) of Basmati rice worth Rs. 29,291 crore last fiscal, with Iran importing about 1.4 mt.
“Overall, we’re looking at lesser export volumes this fiscal, about 3.5 mt. The ban in Iran and downturn in the global economy, particularly in the European Union, has resulted in lower demand for Basmati rice,” said Santosh Sarangi, Director, APEDA.
Beef exports
Buffalo meat exports, which posted significant growth over the last few years touching 1.5 mt worth Rs.26,458 crore in 2013-14, have continued an upward trajectory. India exported 817,844 tonnes of buffalo meat worth Rs. 16,083 crore between April-October.Sarangi, however, did state that growth was flattening and competition from Brazilian beef exports, which were costlier by about $400-500/tonne prior to their currency, real, depreciating about 18 per cent against the US dollar over the last two months, would post challenges for Indian exporters in the Gulf countries and China, which imports 45 per cent of Indian buffalo meat that is routed through Vietnam.
“Growth this year in beef has been about 15 per cent, it was 30 per cent last year. This is expected after continuous high growth over the last few years. Our market penetration and new destinations, such as Russia were added this year,” he said.
Growth potential
Grapes, processed foods and biscuits and confectionaries hold considerable potential for growth and APEDA would be undertaking efforts to promote these categories in 2015-16. “Our grapes have the advantage of being harvested in a window when others do not, it’s an advantage and our penetration in key markets like China, Taiwan and the US has been low. Processed foods, particularly mango pulp, juices and juice concentrates, are another area holding promise,” said Sarangi.Biscuits and confectionaries’ exports, particularly to African countries, have grown from a base of $100 million in 2011-12 to about $170 million last fiscal. Sarangi believes this could hit $350-400 million soon.
(This article was published on January 29, 2015)

Source with thanks: Business Line



Import curbs in Iran adds to woes of Basmati rice traders

Sutanuka Ghosal, ET Bureau Jan 29, 2015, 06.20AM IST

(Basmati demand in the domestic…)
Description: Basmati demand in the domestic market has not picked up despite a price fall in the last six months following Iran's decision to put a ban on imports. Retailers and branded players say that consumers are anticipating a further fall in prices, which are around 30-40% lower now. Exporters are the worst sufferers in the current fiscal year as they will have to book losses since they are unable to clear the inventory."Iran's ban on basmati rice imports has affected our exports. And the domestic market is also down. We will have to book losses this fiscal year," said Bal Krishan Mittal, managing director of Punjab-based Gurdaspur Overseas, a basmati rice exporting firm. The branded players are offering 20% to 30% discounts to beef up sales in the domestic market and to liquidate stocks.

"We are running trade schemes in which we are offering discounts. Earlier, consumers used to stock basmati rice if they had got it at a lower price. But now they are purchasing basmati according to their requirement. There is a general sentiment in the market that prices may fall further," said Uday Nayak, business head (domestic market), Shri Lal Mahal, a 108-year-old basmati rice player.The company sells basmati rice under the brand name Empire, Heena, Royale, Mughlai, Supreme and Neelam. In the local mom-n-pop shops, basmati offtake has not surged and the movement is also slow in the organised retail space, said MP Jindal, president of All India Rice Exporters' Association.

"It is a bad year for exporters. However, a delegation is going to Iran by the end of this month to find out how long will this ban continue and when will the fresh orders be placed by Iran. Traders are currently shipping only rice consignments with permits of last year to Iran," Jindal said.A section of the industry fears that farmers may bring down acreage under basmati rice next kharif season if this price fall continues. India's basmati crop output has been around 81 lakh tonne last kharif, or summer, season, compared with 66 lakh tonne in 2013. Incidentally, Iran has barred rice from other countries as its local crop is reported to be good this year.


Source with thanks: The Business Line India


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