Friday, February 27, 2015

27th February (Wednesday),Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine


  UK Seeks New GM Crop Regulations from EU

Feb 26, 2015

The United Kingdom has moved a step forward showcasing its interest for Genetically Modified (GM) crops. The EU state has called for new regulations, which apparently allow it to conduct trials and grow GM crops.   The Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee has released a report on the European Union's (EU) existing GM regulations saying there is a need for a new trait-based system for regulating new crop breeding technologies as the existing regulations prevent GM crops to be grown in the UK despite being passed rigorous safety testing procedures, according to a press release on the UK Parliament website.
The report indentifies three major flaws in the EU regulatory system for GM crops. First, the current regulations are based on assumption that GM crops inherently pose greater risk that traditional crops and fail to recognize the characteristics displayed by the GM crops in the field. Second, they fail to assess the risks posed by the GM crops in relations with the benefits to the producer, consumer and the environment leading to a one-sided judgement on their effects to the economy, society and environment. Third, the current regulations prevent EU States from taking their own decision on GM crops.
Due to this member states who basically oppose GM crops have been trying to influence other members over the adoption of GM crops.The report concluded that the "Precautionary Principle", which controls the import and cultivation of GM crops, is no longer valid as there has been no significant evidence that there are potentially dangerous effects on the environment, human, animal and plant health from GM crops. Continued application of this principle is acting as a barrier to progress in this field, stated the report

Philippines to Conduct Auction for 500,000 Tons of Rice on February 27, 2015

Feb 26, 2015

The Philippines will conduct an auction for 500,000 tons of rice on February 27, 2015, Bloomberg quoted the Philippine Presidential Adviser for Food Security as saying.The three countries - Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia - which have import agreements with the Philippines will reportedly participate in the bidding.The imports are to boost buffer stocks ahead of the lean season (June - August). Earlier, a Reuters report noted that the National Food Authority (NFA) is planning to buy 250,000 tons of 25% broken rice and 250,000 tons of 15% broken rice and is seeking delivery of half the volume by March 31, 2015 and the remaining half by April 30, 2015.
The Philippines imported around 1.8 million tons of rice (including around 1.5 million tons of 2014 imports and around 300,000 tons of 2013 residual imports) in 2014 to replenish rice stocks and control price hikes. USDA estimates the Philippines to produce around 12.2 million tons of rice, basis milled, in MY 2014-15 (July - June) and import around 1.6 million tons of rice in 2015.

U.S. Rice Producers Make Preparations to Send Rice Samples to Cuba

Feb 26, 2015

Rice producers in the U.S. Missouri state have reportedly secured permission from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) to ship one container of sample rice to Cuba after the 50-year long trade embargo with the Caribbean nation had been lifted, according to local sources.They are waiting for the USDC to grant permission to send its second container as well. Missouri rice producers are keen on shipping one container with 40,000 pounds of rough rice (around 18 tons) and another container with 40,000 pounds of milled rice (around 18 tons).U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, who has been guiding the Missouri rice producers in overcoming the regulatory barriers to export rice to Cuba was quoted as saying in the St.Louis Public Radio a couple of days earlier that the rice producers could successfully obtain permission to ship a few containers of sample rice to Cuba. The Senator who recently visited Cuba also spoke to the Cuban authorities about Missouri rice.She noted that next month a delegation led by the Governor Jay Nixon will reach Cuba to attend the second round of talks over the U.S. - Cuba trade. The first round of talks were held in Havana last month. Representatives of all agricultural producers, including rice, will follow the Governor.Recently, the U.S. has eased the existing financing and banking restrictions with Cuba allowing for the revival of rice and other agricultural trade with the Caribbean nation.Cuba imports about 50% of its annual rice consumption needs. USDA estimates Cuba to produce around 455,000 tons of milled rice and import around 450,000 tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (July - June) to meet a consumption demand of around 905,000 tons. Cuba currently imports rice from Brazil, India and Thailand.

Myanmar Signs 100,000 Ton Rice Export Contract with China

Feb 26, 2015 - 
The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has signed a contract with the China's state run China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) to export 100,000 tons of rice to China in separate monthly shipments in accordance with market prices at the time of shipment, local sources quoted an official from the  (MRF) was quoted as saying.According to the Joint Secretary of the MRF, it has been agreed to export rice in separate monthly shipments at the prevailing prices at the time of shipment to ensure a fair trade for both parties. He also noted that the Myanmar rice exporters do not have enough capacity to export all 100,000 tons of rice at once.
Officials from the MRF have been working to sign this contract for last few months in order to legalize rice exports to China.Initially nine companies were shortlisted to export rice to China but the number is likely to go up as China seeks increase in the number of exporters in which it will do business with.According to the agreement, rice exporters should get their rice inspected and accredited with the China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and then seek approval from the China Certification and Inspection Group before exporting rice to China.The MRF Joint Secretary noted that they would begin exporting rice to China from April. He noted that the MRF is taking all measures to meet the quality and variety standards in accordance with China's specifications.Currently export quotes for Myanmar 5% broken rice are at around $415 per ton and 25% broken rice is quoted at around $325 per ton.
Around 1.1 million tons of rice have been exported from Myanmar in the first nine months of 2014-15, including 800,000 tons to China through border trade. The Myanmar government is targeting to export around 2.5 million tons of rice in FY 2015-16 (April - March), up about 67% from an estimated 1.5 million tons in FY 2014-15.USDA estimates Myanmar to produce 18.98 million tons of paddy rice (around 12.15 million tons, milled basis) and export around 1.4 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (January - December 2015).

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures are Seen Lower Overnight ahead of Weekly Export Sales Report and as Crude Turns Negative Once Again

Feb 26, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for May delivery are currently listed 12 cents per cwt (about $3 per ton) lower at $10.650 per cwt (about $235 per ton) ahead of floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen mixed this morning: soybeans are currently seen about 0.3% higher, wheat is listed about 0.4% lower and corn is currently noted about 0.6% higher.U.S. stock index futures signaled a softer open on Thursday as investors digested mixed U.S. data that was mostly worse than expectations. The core CPI, the key figure for the Fed that excludes more volatile food and energy prices, gained 0.2%. However, CPI data for January was down more than expected at 0.7%.
Expectations were for a further sharp drop of 0.6 percent month on month, the biggest fall since 2008, driven by energy prices to leave the year-on-year rate in negative territory. Durable goods orders figures for January increased a more-than-expected 2.8%, after a 3.4% decline in the prior month. Initial claims for unemployment for the week of Feb. 15, came in at 313,000. Analysts had expected the figure to increase moderately to 285,000 from 283,000 the week prior. Earlier, futures pointed to a higher open as investors welcomed comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech to Congress, which hinted that the central bank was not in a rush to hike interest rates.
 U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed on Wednesday, after struggling for direction amid firming oil prices and some debate over the tone of Yellen's congressional remarks. Gold is currently trading about 1% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 2.6% lower,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.7% higher at 8:00am Chicago time.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Prices Slip Slightly as Long Export Sales Disappoint

Feb 26, 2015
The U.S. cash market was slightly weaker again today as long grain export sales continue to disappoint and buyers show little to no interest in this market despite it being the cheapest rice in the western hemisphere.In the meantime, the USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week ending on February 19 totaled 95,400 tons, which was 3% lower than last week but 20% higher than the prior 4-week average.
Increases were reported for the following destinations: 48,200 tons to Japan, 16,200 tons to Mexico, 8,100 tons to Saudi Arabia, 7,400 tons to Haiti, and 5,200 tons to Jordan.U.S. rice exporters shipped 93,700 tons, which was considerably higher than last week and the prior 4-week average. The primary destinations included 38,200 tons to Mexico, 27,500 tons to Colombia, 20,900 tons to Haiti, 2,200 tons to Jordan, and 1,500 tons to Canada.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Fall Despite Strong Export Sales and Rallying Grains

Feb 26, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for May delivery settled 11.5 cents per cwt (about $3 per ton) lower at $10.655 per cwt (about $235 per ton). The other grains closed higher as corn and wheat were both lifted out of negative territory by surging beans; Soybeans closed about 1.6% higher at $10.2650 per bushel; wheat finished about 0.7% higher at $5.0050 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 1.2% higher at $3.8850 per bushel.
U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range on Thursday, with only the Nasdaq holding higher, as investors digested mixed economic data and declines in oil. Crude oil traded below $50 a barrel and Brent held near $61 a barrel on Thursday. he core Consumer Price Index, the key figure for the Fed that excludes more volatile food and energy prices, gained 0.2% in January. However, the broader index was down more than expected at 0.7%. Expectations were for a further sharp drop of 0.6% month on month, the biggest fall since 2008, driven by energy prices to leave the year-on-year rate in negative territory.
Durable goods orders figures for January increased a more-than-expected 2.8%, after a 3.4% decline in the prior month. Initial claims for unemployment for the week of Feb. 15, came in at 313,000. Analysts had expected the figure to increase moderately to 285,000 from 283,000 the week prior. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 7 points, or 0.04%, to 18,217. The S&P 500 traded down 3 points, or 0.15%, to 2,110, with energy the greatest decliner and information technology leading four sectors higher. The S&P 500 traded down 3 points, or 0.15%, to 2,110. Gold is trading about 0.7% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 4.6% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 1.1% higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.
Wednesday, there were 2,098 contracts traded, up from 1,505 contracts traded on Tuesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Wednesday decreased by 59 contracts to 9,121.

Oryza Global Weather Outlook

Feb 26, 2015
Rain is expected across the Yangtze Valley and eastern South China this week.
Light rain showers are expected across India and Pakistan this week.
Weather is expected to remain dry in Bangladesh.
In Indonesia, rain is expected western and southern Sumatra, Kalimantan, south western East Malaysia, Sulawesi, and Java this week.
Rain showers are expected in central and northern Vietnam, and south eastern Thailand this week.
A few showers are expected in south eastern Philippines this week.
Rain is expected across the centre-south and north-east Brazil this week.
Rain showers are expected to increase across the Argentina and Uruguay rice areas this week.

Thailand to Auction One Million Tons of Rice on March 6, 2015

Feb 26, 2015

The Thai government is planning to auction one million tons of rice on March 6, 2015, according to Reuters.The government is expecting a good number of bidders in the upcoming auction and it is planning to sell rice based on whole-warehouse basis. It is inviting bids for the March 6 auction on March 5, according to Bloomberg.Thailand sold about 500,000 tons of rice from the one million tons of rice auctioned on January 29, 2015.
The government reiterated its plans to sell about 10 million tons of rice this year and about 7 million tons next year.

Indonesia's Plan to Replace Raskin Rice with E-Money Invites Criticism

Feb 26, 2015

Indonesia's plan to replace subsidized rice for poor (Raskin) with E-Money has invited criticism from an official from the Bank of Indonesia, according to Reuters.The official noted that the plan would trigger inflation in the long run. He added that if the poor are given money, they would be tempted to buy rice from the open market instead of from the Bulog leading to price pressure in the market. Further, the government may lose its authority of controlling the price of rice, he said. The official also noted that the people may also use the money for other purposes as well.  He therefore noted that the plan would be fruitful if the government can control its use. He added that the e-money concept is better than giving cash as people tend to use e-money in a more conservatory manner.

India Average Wholesale Rice Prices Decline Sharply in February 2015

Feb 26, 2015

India average wholesale rice prices, which increased in January 2015 after declining for two consecutive months have again declined in February 2015 due to increased supplies and declining export demand, according to official sources.Average monthly wholesale rice prices in India declined to around Rs.2,709.78 per quintal in February 2015, down about 4% from around Rs.2,836 per quintal in January 2015, and down about 2% from their year-ago levels of around Rs.2,761.2 per quintal.
In terms of USD per ton, wholesale rice prices in India stand at around $438 per ton (using current exchange rates) in February 2015, down about 5% from around $461 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in January 2015, and down about 1.5% from around $445 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in February 2014.     
The government of India, in its second advance estimates for major crops, has estimated India's rice production for 2014-15 marketing year (October 2014 - September 2015) at around 103.04 million tons, down about 3% from an estimated 106.65 million tons in 2013-14, according to a statement from the agriculture Ministry this month. The government of India is estimating 2014-15 (April 2014 - March 2015) rice exports, including basmati and non-basmati, at around 10.1 million tons, down about 7% from around 10.9 million tons exported in 2013-14
USDA estimates India's 2014-15 (October - September) production at around 102  million tons, down about 4% from an estimated 106.54 million tons in 2013-14. It estimates India’s rice exports to decline about 16% y/y to around 8.7 million tons in 2015 from an estimated 10.3 million tons in 2014.

India Basmati Rice May Not Get Legal Protection Soon

Feb 26, 2015

The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has accepted the petition of Pakistan's Basmati Grower's Association (BGA) opposing the granting of Geographical Indications (GI) tag for India's basmati rice, a move that could delay India's basmati rice getting a legal protection.The IPAB also considered the petition by farmers' body in the Central Indian State Madhya Pradesh, which sought inclusion of Madhya Pradesh in India's basmati application.
In 2009, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) applied to the GI Registry in Chennai seeking GI protection for India's basmati rice. However, based on complaints from the Madhya Pradesh department of farmer welfare and agriculture development and some basmati exporters in the state, in December 2013, the GI Registry directed the APEDA to file an amended GI application to include Madhya Pradesh as a basmati growing area.Not convinced by the  GI Registry's directive, the APEDA approached the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in February 2014 to decide over the inclusion of Madhya Pradesh in its Geographical Indications (GI) application. The APEDA has been very keen on not including other basmati growing states, other than those recognized by National Agricultural Research System under the agriculture and co-operative department, in its application as it views the GI status is critical in determining the genuine basmati rice cultivators.
However, the farmers' body in Madhya Pradesh and the BGA also appealed against the APEDA with the IPAB.A GI label certifies the geographical origin of a product and confirms adherence to some production standards. It also prevents producers who aren't covered by the tag from using the same.

Government of India to End Levy Rice Procurement from 2015-16 Marketing Season

Feb 26, 2015

The government of India has decided to end the levy rice procurement system starting from the 2015-16 (October - September) marketing season to ensure better prices to farmers, local sources quoted a communication from the Food Ministry as saying. Under the levy rice procurement system, millers purchase paddy from farmers at minimum purchase price (MSP) and the state governments in turn procure milled rice from millers to meet their public distribution needs. Percentage of levy rice procured from millers differs from state to state and used to be in the range of 30-75% of total procurement in respective states. However,  in August 2014, the government of India capped the levy rice procurement from millers at 25% for the 2014-15 procurement season.
Usually about 5 million tons of milled rice are procured annually through levy system from millers. The rice thus procured was directly handed over to public distribution system (PDS) operators. The millers were also happy as they used their installed capacities optimally.However, the government of India felt the need to abolish the levy rice procurement as there was no proper supervision system and the millers were often not paying MSP to the farmers and were selling the better-quality grain in the open market. Therefore the Food Ministry opined that the actual purpose of levy rice system to bridge the capacity gap with government procurement agencies is not being fulfilled.
With the abolition of levy rice system, the government mandates the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state procurement agencies to step up their procurement operations as well as entirely adopt the custom milled rice (CMR) under which they would directly buy paddy from farmers and get it milled from registered millers. This would ensure payment of MSP to farmers and remove some irregularities in the levy rice procurement.Major rice producing states such as Punjab and Haryana had abolished the levy rice system two years back but it still exists in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal.
The decision is being hailed by some rice market veterans. “It is a step in right direction, finally moving away from controlled system to somewhat free markets. The rice millers will have freedom to sell in the market, which should ultimately help farmers getting a better price,” a former chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) was quoted as saying.The Indian government targets to procure 30.05 million tons of rice during the 2014-15 Kharif Marketing Season (October 2014 - September 2015), down about 12% from last year's target of around 34.3 million tons.Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton, about $45 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice  shown at around $360 - $370 per ton. India 5% rice is quoted at around $390 - $400 per ton, about $55 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $335 - $345 per ton.
25% Broken Rice 
Thailand 25% rice is quoted at around $365 - $375 per ton, about $30 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $335- $345 per ton. India 25% rice is quoted at around $355 - $365, about $50 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $305 - $315 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, on par with Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $385 - $395 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $320 - $330 per ton, about $15 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $305 - $315 per ton.

India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $280 - $290 per ton,  about $5 per ton premium on Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $275 - $285 per ton.

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26th February (Thursday),2015 Daily Global Rice Digital Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

President Jokowi out to curb rice prices in markets
Satria Sambijantoro and Linda Yulisman
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | February 26 2015 | 5:34 AM
Description: Rice concern: President Joko Widodo (center) speaks with (left to right) Social Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil and Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel while inspecting the Bulog rice warehouse in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta, on Wednesday. During the visit, the President channeled rice to the poor (raskin) and launched the 2015 rice market operation to stabilize prices and ensure sufficient stockpiles for 2015. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)Rice concern: President Joko Widodo (center) speaks with (left to right) Social Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil and Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel while inspecting the Bulog rice warehouse in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta, on Wednesday. During the visit, the President channeled rice to the poor (raskin) and launched the 2015 rice market operation to stabilize prices and ensure sufficient stockpiles for 2015. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
                                               The government officially launched Wednesday its first batch of 300,000 tons of cheap rice to provinces throughout the archipelago as part of its effort to curb the soaring price of rice.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo himself led the launch of the fresh rice stocks priced between Rp 1,600 (12 US cents) and Rp 7,400 per kilogram at the State Logistics Agency’s (Bulog) rice warehouse in Jakarta on Wednesday. Jokowi said that the recent surge in rice prices had gone haywire. This year, the price of rice already soared by around 30 percent, with current prices ranging between Rp 9,000 and Rp 12,000 per kilogram, subject to the rice’s type and area in which it is distributed.

“We will boost the rice supply so that there will be no more supply shortage. We will provide the supply no matter what,” the President asserted. Rice is one among main triggers of inflation and price fluctuations given its role as the staple food of the 250 million people in Indonesia. The government, through Bulog, which is tasked with distributing rice and other food commodities throughout Indonesia to manage prices, has always tried to maintain the balance in the supply in order to keep the prices stable. During the so-called raskin (cheap rice for the poor) operation, the President also held a teleconference with Bulog executives in South Sumatra, West Java, East Java and Bali, who were all confident that there would be no hurdles in the distribution of the rice supply and assured people that they would soon see a decline in the price of rice.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla had earlier blamed the rice price increase on bottlenecks in the distribution of the cheap rice at regional levels, which he claimed were facing some “technical problems”.The raskin program had only distributed 140,000 tons of its initial target of 500,000 tons, thus causing a shortage in some areas, driving up rice prices.Meanwhile, Bulog’s president director Lenny Sugihat said she would intensify coordination with local administrations to ensure that the new rice stock could be distributed successfully.Lenny also argued that her agency might not import rice from other countries if the domestic supply was already sufficient.Last year, the agency imported at least 425,000 tons of rice from Thailand and Vietnam to beef up its supply.“We are not talking about imports here; if the domestic rice supply is already adequate, then why should we import?” she said to reporters on Wednesday.

University of Lampung agricultural economist Bustanul Arifin noted that the irregular increase of the rice price was driven by the late harvest season, which would only fall between March and June this year.The change of the market operation system carried out by Bulog, which now distributes rice through the mediation of third-party traders, also drove up rice prices.“The change of the system triggered [the price increase] as it affected stocks. I said that rice from Bulog should be channeled to markets and traders with stricter requirements,” Bustanul explained.Bustanul also called on the government to seriously investigate the alleged role of the “rice mafia” in the rice trade that had undermined the competitiveness of domestic business players benefiting from the high prices of rice, while suggesting severe punishment against them.
“If the trade minister has already found the indications, then he should not be worried about enforcing the law against the ‘players’,” he said recently.

Vietnam to store 1 mln tons rice for price curbing
Vietnam to store 1 mln tons rice for price curbing
HANOI, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Vietnamese government is arranging temporary storage of one million ton of rice to curb the price, the Industry and Trade Information Center (VITIC) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said on its website on Thursday.Specifically, Vietnamese government has agreed with a proposal by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the MoIT, the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and Vietnam Food Association to purchase one million ton of rice of winter-spring 2014-2015 crop from March 1 to April 15.Companies that join the proposal will be offered zero interest rates for loans to buy rice during maximum four months, said VITIC.Copyright 2014 Xinhua News Agency.Xinhua is China's state-run news agency.All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Description: Delta authorities instructed to stockpile rice
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday told Mekong Delta authorities to purchase and stockpile one million tonnes of the winter-spring rice crop.Workers load rice for export at Sai Gon Port in HCM City. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked Mekong Delta authorities to buy and stockpile one million tonnes of rice (Photo: VNS)

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) was asked to direct commercial banks to offer loans for the purchase, with a six-month maturity to August 31.Interest rates will be wholly subsidised by the Government until June 30.The PM ordered the Ministry of Finance and the SBV to provide guidelines to carry out the Government's policies and allocate State financial sources to support the stockpiling.In collaboration with the People's Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces in the region, the Viet Nam Food Association will be responsible for allocating the rice to be purchased by each locality and also monitoring the process.The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will closely supervise the programme and report to the PM.

In 2015 Vietnam rice export decreased to 515 KMT

According to Government estimate, Vietnam's rice exports in the first two months of 2015 decreased by 34.4% from a year ago level to 515 KMT.Revenue from rice export in January-February is estimated at $237 million (down 35.6% from the corresponding period last year).

Government asks Food Corporation of India to withdraw procurement in Haryana and Punjab

By PTI | 26 Feb, 2015, 03.36PM IST
FCI procures less than 50 per cent from Punjab, 25 per cent from Haryana out of total procurement in both the state. 

NEW DELHI: The government has asked state- run FCI not to purchase foodgrains in states like Punjab and Haryana as the procurement system is fully developed there, Food Secretary Sudhir Kumar said today. Haryana has already agreed to the Centre's direction, while Punjab has asked Description: FCI procures less than 50 per cent from Punjab, 25 per cent from Haryana out of total procurement in both the state. withdrawal of procurement by Food Corporation of India (FCI) in a phased manner, he added. When asked about the progress made in implementing recommendations of the Shanta Kumar-led FCI Restructuring panel, Kumar said: "We are examining the recommendations. Some can be implemented immediately. For some, we have to prepare a time schedule and some recommendations we cannot implement.
" Listing out suggestions that have been already implemented, he said the government has taken a decision on the bonus and asked states not to announce it over and above the minimum support price. The government has also scrapped levy rice from the next season starting October. The levy rice is a mandatory system under which rice millers also undertake rice procurement for the public distribution system by buying paddy directly from the farmers. "We have also asked FCI to withdraw procurement in states where it is fully developed. Haryana has informed us to withdraw procurement, Punjab has said not to withdraw fully and do it in phased manner," Kumar told PTI in an interview. The procurement will be withdrawn in consultation with the state governments, he added. FCI procures less than 50 per cent from Punjab, 25 per cent from Haryana out of total procurement in both the state. Both states contribute 3/4th of the total procurement. On shifting procurement in eastern states like Bihar, the Secretary said: "The dialogue is on.
 I cannot say we can start immediately. We accept this recommendation and intend to work on it. It may take time for full implementation." While the panel has also suggested outsourcing procurement and storage of foodgrains, the FCI is holding consultations in this regard with stakeholders, he added. The eight-member panel -- which was set up in August 2014 under the chairmanship of BJP MP Shanta Kumar to recommend a complete overhaul of FCI -- had submitted its report last month. The Prime Minister had asked the Food Ministry to give its views on the report at the earliest.
Rice stockpiles to be cleared in 2 years
Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The Nation February 27, 2015 1:00 am
Despite delaying a plan to release rice under an auction, the Commerce Ministry is confident it will be able to clear huge stocks within two years, said Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya.He said that the ministry planned to release up to 18 million tonnes of rice via auctions and negotiate with rice-import countries to receive huge amounts under government-to-government (G-to-G) contracts.The general said that Thailand had between 17-18 million tonnes stockpiled, and it recently negotiated to sell 2 million tonnes to China.
Although the ministry wanted to clear the warehouses, Chatchai said, the government would carefully consider all proposed contracts through the G-to-G and bidding processes to ensure transparency and prevent contracts defaulting.If any bidder were found have a suspect background, the ministry would not sell rice to that dealer.Under the plan to clear rice stocks, the ministry previously announced it aimed to sell about 10 million tonnes under many methods this year, including selling about one million tonnes via general auction each month.However, the ministry could sell only about 500,000 tonnes through an auction in January, and will on March 6 open the second auction for one million tonnes after missing the February auction date.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said that the ministry had already sold more than two million tonnes of rice in the first two months of the year.Of those, she said about 1.5 million tonnes was sold under G-to-G contracts.She said that the government was confident of releasing rice amounts as planned because many traders were interested in joining the government's auctions due to the main harvest season ending.Moreover, she said that in August the ministry would release low-grade rice grain to the market to supply the manufacturing sector.
Rice pledging scheme costs 700 billion baht in damages
Thursday, 26 February 2015
BANGKOK, 26 February 2015, A preliminary report has disclosed that the subsidy program cost the Kingdom 700 billion baht since its inception nine years ago. The report by the sub-committee on closing the account of the rice pledging scheme also suggested that a majority of the losses, or 536 billion baht, were incurred under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.Permanent-Secretary of Finance and President of the Subcommittee Rangsan Sriworasat indicated that the remaining 163 billion baht was lost through 11 other rice pledging projects under the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.
Mr. Rangsan commented that losses at the end of fiscal 2014 in September were rather small- an increase of 18 billion baht- compared to the one calculated at the end of May 2014. He explained that the higher price of grains at the end of September helped cushion the expense.However, the Permanent-Secretary said there are significant differences between the reports of rice sales produced by the Department of Foreign Trade, the Department of Internal Trade, the Public Warehouse Organization, and Marketing Organization for Farmers.He said these reports will be reviewed within the week. Mr. Rangsan added that once the figures are confirmed, a comprehensive report on the matter will be produced and forwarded to the Ministry of Commerce and the Prime Minister.

Ten more rice firms for China trade after outcry

By Zaw Htike   |   Thursday, 26 February 2015
The Myanmar Rice Federation will accept invitations for ten more rice companies to receive permission to export rice to China after the first nine firms it selected were criticised for their lack of experience.
Myanmar Rice Federation joint secretary U Soe Tun said the decision to have a second round of firms came following a request from the Chinese government.China has quickly grown from being a marginal market for rice exports half a decade ago to today being Myanmar’s most important rice buyer.
However, the trade has been illegal from Beijing’s point of view, and negotiations are ongoing to legalise it.The decision to pre-select a handful of rice traders will allow Chinese authorities to more easily make sure the export rice meets their health standards. After legalising the trade, rice will be exported by the selected firms using ships to China’s eastern seaboard along with the current method of shipping overland through Muse in northern Shan State.The Myanmar Rice Federation has come under criticism for the nine firms it selected to take part in the trade, drawing complaints in social media and from rival traders that several of the companies were unknowns with little track record in the industry.One leading rice trader told the Myanmar Times on condition of autonomy that after seeing the initial list, the Chinese side demanded inclusion from more companies with the capability to export large volumes of high quality rice to Myanmar.
“Some of the chosen companies have not even received business registrations,” he said.Over 100 local companies applied for rice export licences in January, but China had initially requested less than 10 firms receive licences.The first nine companies were MAPCO, Myanmar Rice Mill, FPR from the Myanmar Rice Traders Association, Golden Land East Asia, MRDC from Mandalay, a company from Yangon’s Bayintnaung commodities market still to be formed, Ayer-Pathein company from Ayeyarwady Region, SPRDC formed by Muse traders and Rakhine Ethnic Rice Company.U Soe Tun said companies interested in the second round of bidding have until February 27 to submit their applications.“Criteria for the second round will be the same as the first,” he said.
Myanmar Rice Federation officials previously said they hope the official trade to China to start at the end of April or early May. The chosen companies must register, while having their rice tested and performance measured before the trade can officially begin.In 2013, Myanmar exported about 1.27 million tonnes of rice, of which about 0.747­­ million tonnes went to China. In 2010 the country exported about 0.489 million tonnes, of which 4000 tonnes went to China.State media reported last week that China’s largest state-run grain-trading company COFCO signed a memorandum of understanding in February on purchasing Myanmar’s rice exports, depending on approval from China’s general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine.There will also be a business matching event in March for Chinese and Myanmar firms, the report added.
India’s Rabi Crops Sowing Down by 4.14 Million Hectares
26 February 2015
INDIA - India’s rabi crop sowing area coverage has recorded a negative growth at 61.79 million hectares as on February 20, 2015, registering a drop of 4.14 million hectares according to data released by directorate of economics and statistics, Indian agriculture ministry. During the same period last year, rabi crops sowing area was recorded at 65.93 million tonnes, the data adds. Area under wheat sowing was down to 30.63 million hectares, as compared to 31.53 million tonnes sowed till the same period last year.
Description: India’s Rabi Crops Sowing Down by 4.14 Million Hectares
The area under sowing of total coarse cereals also registered a drop of 233,000 hectares at 5.77 million tonnes, against the last year’s 6 million tonnes.Pulses sowing area were at 14.59 million hectares, while the last year’s sowing area coverage was 16.22 million hectares, whereas, sowing area under total oilseeds was at 8.09 million hectares, as compared to 9.02 million hectares last year, as per the data.The area under sowing of rice was at 2.70 million hectares this year, hile the last year’s figure was 3.15 million hectares.

Rice boosts Ebro profits in 2014
By Dean Best | 26 February 2015

Ebro's North American pasta business came under pressure
Description: Ebros North American pasta business came under pressureSpanish food group Ebro Foods saw profits rise in 2014, as higher earnings from its rice business offset a decline in profits from its pasta arm.Ebro booked a 14.2% rise in net income to EUR151.6m (US$172.3m), with net profit from continuing operations hitting EUR157m, up 11% on 2013.EBITDA increased 2% to EUR287.2m, surpassing the forecast Ebro set in October of EUR283m.Ebro said EBITDA from its rice business grew 8% to EUR149m. The division saw sales climb 4.6% to EUR1.14bn. The company said its Riviana business in the US recorded its highest yield since it joined the group in 2004. Its Thai subsidiary Herba Bangkok enjoyed record sales.Ebro's net turnover grew 8.4% to EUR2.12bn.Sales from Ebro's pasta business increased 12.5% to EUR1.03bn. However, EBITDA fell 4.4% to EUR146.3m due to a spike in durum wheat prices. Ebro said the cost of the commodity jumped 83% in Europe.The company insisted its Panzani business "achieved an outstanding performance" and recorded its "best growth in volume" in a decade.However, profits in North America were hit by the combination of durum wheat prices and "very fierce" competition.
FTAs do not work well for Pakistan

Pakistan is said to have poorly negotiated three out of a total of four Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) as imports from China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are rising faster than exports. Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir, who on a number of occasions said that in the past FTAs were not properly negotiated by the Commerce Ministry, is now readying himself to start negotiations with Turkey on an FTA recently agreed by the senior leadership of the two countries.The Commerce Minister himself played a role in convincing the Turkish leadership to sign an FTA with Pakistan.
Turkey had imposed extraordinary duty on Pakistani textile products due to which Pakistan's exports nose-dived from $900 million to $400 million and efforts made by Islamabad to bring exports to the level of 2011 remained fruitless.Giving details, the sources said though Pakistan's exports to China increased from a few million dollars to $2.5 billion - with yarn the highest export earner - yet Chinese imports soared to $8 billion. However, bilateral trade figures quoted by China are far different from those cited by Islamabad.Officials in Commerce Ministry claim that Pakistan is facing a revenue loss of Rs 22 billion per annum due to a trade imbalance, adding that Islamabad could not reap the benefits of Margin of Preferences after China signed FTAs with other countries, especially ASEAN.
 Pakistan has requested China to open services sector for Pakistan for deeper linkages and greater market access to each other's markets. Commerce Ministry is also considering speeding up engagements in services sector and de-linking services from the goods negotiations.According to sources, Chinese investments in the Economic Corridor will be channeled through Pakistani banks. It is expected that current account deficit would curtail by 15-20 percent which would be an enormous achievement if an agreement is reached. A Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia has also failed to provide a level-playing field as trade balance remained in favour of Malaysia from day one. Pak- Malaysia trade volume which was in the range of$1.007 billion reached $2.66 billion a couple of years ago.During July-April 2012-13, Pakistan's exports stood at $0.20 billion against imports of $1.75 billion, totalling $1.95 billion which implies that trade balance was $1.55 billion in favour of Malaysia.
Main reasons for balance of trade in favour of Malaysia are imports of palm oil, rubber and timber. However, Malaysia is still unhappy with the volume of palm oil being imported by Pakistan, saying that its palm oil exports to Pakistan declined from 90 per cent to almost 50 per cent.Pakistan's exports to Sri Lanka dropped from $347.7 million in 2011 to $300.9 million in 2012. There was some improvement in the following year but it only went as high as $316.4 million whereas our imports from Sri Lanka remain well below $100 million. Sri Lanks has allocated Pakistan a duty-free quota of 6000 MT of Basmati rice and of potatoes of 1000 MT per annum. However, Sri Lanka has raised concerns on a number of occasions on the quality of Pakistani Basmati rice.
Pakistan is a key importer of Sri Lankan tea.According to the private sector, although Pakistan had signed FTAs with Malaysia and Sri Lanka the quantum of garment imports of these countries is not significant; these markets are not providing any sizeable replacement for the EU and the US markets. Pakistan's major exports to Sri Lanka include woven cotton fabrics, cement, sugar, wheat and muslin, medicament mixtures, tubes and pipes of iron and steel, potatoes, rice, cotton yarn, and onions etc.Sri Lanka's major exports to Pakistan are vegetable products, natural rubber, fiberboard of wood, cashew nuts, coconuts, peppers and capsicum, tea, sewing thread, cereal straws, tyres and scrap of paper or paperboard, etc. In April 2014, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) announced tariff concessions on the import of 993 items from Sri Lanka under a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Pakistan is an emerging economic power: PM Nawaz
Posted: February 26, 2015 - 110 PKT  
KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the four-day 9th Expo Pakistan exhibition in Karachi on Thursday.

Description: Pakistan is an emerging economic power: PM NawazPM Nawaz while addressing the delegates at the Expo, said that Pakistan is an emerging economic power and the Expo is a representation of the country’s industrial tradition.The PM said the fact that the Expo is being held in Karachi made it evident that the city holds great importance in the world of business.He went on to say that the Expo has successfully attracted the attention of several foreign investors and economic growth is the top priority of Pakistan.
He added that foreign countries and international companies will be provided facilitation for investments in the country.He also said that the Expo provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Pakistani products to the world.The PM further said that Pakistani Basmati rice is known worldwide for its unique quality.Regarding the textile industry, the PM said that Pakistan will boost exports to $26 billion by 2019.
He added that the grant of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union (EU) was a huge achievement.PM Nawaz went on to say that a contract is in place for trade with South Africa.He also said that preferential trade agreements with Iran and Indonesia have been finalised.Regarding the energy crisis in the country, the PM said that the government is making the utmost efforts to resolve the issues. He added that the problem of electricity would hopefully be solved within the next three years.
He further said that speedy efforts were being made for the running of LNG and coal based power plants.The Expo 2015 has over 1000 delegates attending from 75 countries.The four day mega event is showcasing the largest collection of export merchandise and services including textile, leather, agro food, readymade garments, jewellery, engineering, handicrafts, chemicals, surgical, sports goods, and pharmaceuticals.The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) expects to get export orders of over $1 billion from the Expo.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif is also attending.PM Nawaz reached Karachi today on a one-day visit to review the implementation of decisions by the Apex Committee and to inaugurate the Expo.According to sources, he is also likely to meet the family of late Justice Rana Bhagwandas to express his condolence.The PM is expected to chair a high level meeting at Governor House with provincial ministers.
Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported       
WASHINGTON, DC -- Net rice sales of 95,400 MT for 2014/2015 were down 3 percent from the previous week, but up 20 percent from the prior four-week average, according to today's Export Sales Highlights report.  Increases were reported for Japan (48,200 MT), Mexico (16,200 MT), Saudi Arabia (8,100 MT), Haiti (7,400 MT), and Jordan (5,200 MT).  Exports of 93,700 MT were up noticeably from the previous week and from the prior four-week average.  The primary destinations were Mexico (38,200 MT), Colombia (27,500 MT), Haiti (20,900 MT), Jordan (2,200 MT), and Canada (1,500 MT). This summary is based on reports from exporters from the period February 13-19.

IPAB allows MP farmers to implead in basmati GI case

India is a leading exporter of basmati. Rice export was worth Rs 29,300 crore in 2013-14
T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai  
February 25, 2015 Last Updated at 22:32 IST

Description: Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) on Wednesday allowed New Darpan Social Welfare Society, an organisation representing farmers from Madhya Pradesh, to implead itself in the ongoing litigation proceedings relating to a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for basmati rice in India.The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) asked for the Society’s plea to be rejected. Its counsel argued they were in a hurry to register the GI for basmati and allowing the Society to implead would open the “flood gates”, as more and more people would try to implead, delaying the registration.
She said Apeda was defending the matter in hundreds of cases globally.Sanjay Gandhi, who appeared for the Society, said farmers in MP had been growing basmati for several decades by both traditional and new techniques. He argued if MP was not included in the GI, its farmers could not produce basmati.After hearing both sides, the IPAB bench of K N Basha, chairman, and Sanjeev Chaswal, technical member, said the plea from New Darpan showed it be a “just and necessary party to the proceedings”.India is a leading exporter of basmati. Rice export was Rs 29,300 crore in 2013-14.

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for February 26
Net Change

March 2015
- $0.110
May 2015
- $0.115
July 2015
- $0.110
September 2015
- $0.110
November 2015
- $0.120
January 2016
- $0.120
March 2016
- $0.120

Rice is the new meat
Americans are increasingly looking to add more protein to their diets, and rice protein is seen as an attractive alternative. Jane Wells speaks to the CEO of Axiom, the largest producer of plant-based proteins in the U.S.Published February 25th 2015, 9:03 am
Listen to watch:

EQUITY ALERT: Rosen Law Firm Reminds Amira Nature Foods Ltd. Investors of Important Deadline in Class Action filed by Firm – ANFI

Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:56pm EST
* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.
EQUITY ALERT: Rosen Law Firm Reminds Amira Nature Foods Ltd. Investors of Important Deadline in Class Action filed by Firm – ANFI
The Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights firm, reminds purchasers of Amira Nature Foods, Ltd. (NYSE:ANFI) (“Amira”) securities between September 27, 2012 and February 9, 2015, of the important April 13, 2015 lead plaintiff deadline in the class action lawsuit filed by the firm. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for Amira investors under the federal securities laws.To join the Amira class action, go to the website at or call Phillip Kim, Esq. or Jonathan Horne, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or or for information on the class action.
NO CLASS HAS YET BEEN CERTIFIED IN THE ABOVE ACTION. UNTIL A CLASS IS CERTIFIED, YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL UNLESS YOU RETAIN ONE. YOU MAY ALSO REMAIN AN ABSENT CLASS MEMBER AND DO NOTHING AT THIS POINT. YOU MAY RETAIN COUNSEL OF YOUR CHOICE.The suit claims that throughout the Class Period: (a) according to Indian government export documents, Amira fraudulently overstated its Indian-produced basmati rice exports, thereby overstating revenues by at least 24% and 18.7% in FY 2013 and 2014, respectively; (b) Amira concealed that many of its counterparties are secretly related parties, including its largest customer, one of its largest suppliers, a potential counterparty to a $30 million transactions, and over a dozen others; and (c) Amira’s CEO used company money to pay his own personal household expenses, including salaries for a personal house manager and a chef for his farmhouse.The lawsuit alleges that the truth was disclosed on two occasions, on April 3, 2013, causing its stock price to fall to $1.10 by April 5, or almost 20%, from its close on April 2, and on February 9, 2015, causing Amira’s stock price to fall $3.45, or almost 26% from its previous close.A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to join the litigation and recover your losses go to or to discuss your rights or interests regarding this class action, please contact, Phillip Kim, Esq., or Jonathan Horne, Esq., of The Rosen Law Firm toll free at 866-767-3653 or via e-mail at
The Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe, concentrating its practice in securities class actions and shareholder derivative litigation.
*      Laurence Rosen, Esq.
*      Phillip Kim, Esq.
*      Jonathan Horne, Esq.
The Rosen Law Firm, P.A.
275 Madison Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 686-1060
Toll Free: (866) 767-3653
Fax: (212) 202-3827

Impressive Speakers, Positive Results at USA Rice Government Affairs Conference  
WASHINGTON, DC -- The USA Rice Federation's annual Government Affairs Conference concluded here yesterday after three days of meetings with legislators, regulators, and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department's U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Representatives from all six rice producing states conducted more than 53 meetings on Capitol Hill with Congressmen, Senators, and legislative staff specializing in agriculture and trade issues, met with the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, and shared rice priorities with staff at the Senate Agriculture Appropriations, Senate Finance, and House Ways & Means Committees.

Attendees also had question and answer sessions with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner Mike Taylor, and Dr. Susan Mayne, the newly installed Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at FDA.FAS Administrator Phil Karsting and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) addressed the group's General Session and both took questions as well.Other events included the annual USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Capitol Hill luncheon that drew both House and Senate officials, and PAC events for Senator Moran and Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR)."This was a very successful conference with participation from all corners of the industry," said USA Rice Federation Chairman Dow Brantley.  "And as we heard one of the speakers say, as farmers, we can't just sit back and think, 'well the farm bill is passed for five years, we can just go back to farming.'  That's not the world we live in anymore, we need to be engaged and stay active and informed."Below are photo highlights from the conference.
 Contact:  Michael Klein (703) 236-1458

USA Rice CEO Betsy Ward and
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack
LA rice producer John Owen and Senator Jerry Moran (r)
Chairman Dow Brantley (center)
at the General Session
FDA's Mike Taylor
and Susan Mayne (r)
Rep. Rick Crawford and
AR rice farmer Steve Orlicek
Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) meets with Louisiana members
House Ag Committee's
Collin Peterson (D-MN)
and Mike Conaway (R-TX)

 address producers
At the USA Rice - Ducks Unlimited luncheon:  CRC CEO Tim Johnson, Betsy Ward, and USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) (second from left) meets with Mississippi rice producers
Meeting with Senate
Finance Committee
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) receives USA Rice Industry Champion Award
Texas rice producers Linda and
L.G. Raun talk trade with
Rep. Randy Weber's (R-TX) staff

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) (center) entertains Missouri delegation

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