Tuesday, May 12, 2015

12th May (Monday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Global Rice Quotes
May 12th, 2015

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade   380-390                ↔
Vietnam 5% broken        350-360                ↔
India 5% broken               370-380                ↔
Pakistan 5% broken        390-400                ↔
Myanmar 5% broken      415-425                ↔
Cambodia 5% broken     430-440                ↔
U.S. 4% broken                 480-490                ↔
Uruguay 5% broken        565-575                ↔
Argentina 5% broken     555-565                ↔

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken      350-360                ↔
Vietnam 25% broken      330-340                ↔
Pakistan 25% broken      345-355                ↔
Cambodia 25% broken   410-420                ↔
India 25% broken             345-355                ↔
U.S. 15% broken               470-480                ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd     370-380                ↓
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd          390-400                ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd                 360-370                ↔
U.S. parboiled 4% broken             555-565                ↔
Brazil parboiled 5% broken          570-580                ↔
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken    NQ         ↔

Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%   875-885                ↔
Vietnam Jasmine             490-500                ↑
India basmati 2% broken              NQ         ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken       NQ         ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails     815-825                ↔

Thailand A1 Super            315-325                ↔
Vietnam 100% broken   305-315                ↓
Pakistan 100% broken stxd          290-300                ↔
Cambodia A1 Super        350-360                ↔
India 100% broken stxd                 270-280                ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens      NQ         ↔
U.S. pet food     370-380                ↔
Brazil half grain NQ         ↔

All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel, oryza.com

Brazil Rice Stocks Continue to Decline in April 2015

May 11, 2015
Brazil rice stocks continued to decline for the second consecutive month in April 2015, according to the country's national grain supplying agency Conab. Brazil rice stocks stood at around 134,126 tons in April 2015, slightly down from around 134,255 tons in March 2015 and down about 76% from around 559,033 tons in April 2014.
According to Conab, rice stocks with the Selling Option Contract of Agricultural Products (OPCAO) have remained at last month's level of around 81,570 tons and down about 76% from around 346,128 tons in April 2014. Rice stocks with Federal Government Acquisition (AGF) also remained at last month's level of 52,213 tons and down about 75% from around 211,520 tons in April 2014. Rice stocks with farmers (Agricultural Familiar) stood at around 343 tons in April 2015, down 27% from around 472 tons in March 2015 and down about 75% from around 1,385 tons in April 2014.
In April, Brazil’s National Grains Supply Company (Conab) has forecasted the country's 2014-15 paddy rice production at around 12.397 million tons (around 8.43 million tons, basis milled), up about 2% from around 12.121 million tons (around 8.24 million tons, basis milled) in 2013-14, and up 2% from its March forecast of around 12.151 million tons.

Government of Bangladesh Imposes 10% Duty on Rice Imports

May 11, 2015
The government of Bangladesh has imposed a duty of 10% on rice imports, with effect from May 10, 2015, local quoted the Finance Minister.The Minister was quoted as saying that the decision was aimed at ensuring fair price to rice farmers during the ongoing Boro crop season (January - May). Earlier, the Agriculture Minister said the decision was taken to restrict surging rice imports. Bangladesh's private rice traders have imported around 1.36 million tons of rice from July 1, 2014 - May 7, 2015, compared to only 374,560 tons imported in the whole of 2013-14, according to the Food Ministry.
The Ministry data shows that the government has so far not imported any rice in this fiscal despite setting a target to import about 200,000 tons of rice in the fiscal year 2014-15 to replenish falling stocks in the country.Last month, local sources reported that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) of Bangladesh would impose duty on rice imports for a short period as the existing customs laws allow for imposition of regulatory duty on rice imports only during the harvesting and procurement period. However, it is not known the time frame for the imposition of current duty.
The government's procurement of Boro rice from May 1, 2015 is likely to provide a cushion to farmers against falling prices. The government is planning to procure one million tons of 2015 Boro paddy and 100,000 tons of Boro rice between May 1, 2015 and August 31, 2015. It has fixed the procurement price for paddy at Tk 22 per kilogram (around $283 per ton) and that for rice at Tk 32 per kilogram (around $412 per ton).USDA estimates Bangladesh’s MY 2014-15 (July 2014 – June 2015) milled rice production to slightly increase to about 34.6 million tons from an estimated 34.39 million tons in MY 2013-14. It estimates Bangladesh to import 600,000 tons of rice in 2015.   

India Rice Stocks in Central Pool Stand at 22.23 Million Tons as of May 1, 2015; Down 22% from Last Year

May 11, 2015
India’s rice stocks in the central pool as of May 1, 2015 stood at around 22.23 million tons (including a milled equivalent of about 7.968 million tons of paddy), down about 22% from around 28.41 million tons recorded during the same period last year, according to data from the Food Corporation of India (FCI).Month-over-month, India's rice stocks in the central pool are slightly down from around 23.61 million tons recorded on April 1, 2015. However, current rice stocks are about 82% more than the required buffer and strategic reserve norms of around 12.2 million tons for this time of the year, according to the FCI.
Total food grain stocks (including rice and wheat) in the central pool stand at around 56.586 million tons as of May 1, 2015, down about 12% from last year's stock of around 64 million tons and up about 38% from last month's stock of around 41.143 million tons. Wheat stocks stand at around 34.127 million tons, slightly down from last year's stock of around 34.403 million tons and up about 98% from last month's stock of around 17.221 million tons.
The government of India had revised the buffer norms for food grains, including rice, in the Central Pool in January this year. According to the new norms, buffer stocks for food grains to be maintained with the FCI at this part of the year is 21.04 million tons. Current norms are 21.2 million tons

Iraq Passes on Tenders to Purchase At least 30,000 Tons of Rice

May 11, 2015
purchased any rice in international tender that closed on April 26, 2015 with offers remaining valid till April 30, 2015, Reuters quoted European traders as saying. The Middle East nation invited international tenders to purchase at least 30,000 tons of rice from the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Cambodia or Thailand.While Vietnam offered to sell rice for $418.8 per ton, Thailand offered a price of $428 per ton, India offered a price of $475 per ton, the U.S. offered a price of $588 per ton, Uruguay offered a price of $653 per ton, and Argentina and Brazil both offered rice at around $609 per ton.Iraq purchased 80,000 tons of rice from Thailand in January.    

Mycorrhiza Fungi May Mitigate Future ‘Phosphate Crisis’

May 11, 2015
For over 500 million years mycorrhiza fungi have been involved in a symbiotic relationship with plants, providing a secondary root system more extensive and efficient than plants own root system for sustainable nutrition supply.For rice, new studies have found that the interplay of roots with a common soil fungus can alter the genetic makeup of rice crops, setting off additional root growth for the rice crop to take in more nutrients, including phosphate, in soil instances when the plants’ own roots alone are incapable of doing so. Some scientists are projecting mycorrhiza fungi could help mitigate the impending 'phosphate crisis' looming on the horizon, as the big phosphate mines are only predicted to last for another 30 to 50 years, according to some estimates.Mycorrhiza fungi are widely used in domestic gardens as 'bio' plant foods but have yet to make a mark on industrial agriculture

FAO Forecasts Thailand 2015 Rice Exports at Record 11.2 Million Tons

May 11, 2015
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has forecasted Thailand's 2015 rice exports at a record 11.2 million tons, slightly up from last year due to high levels of public stocks and government's intentions to clear more of the existing rice stockpiles.The FAO estimates Thailand's 2015 aggregate paddy rice production at around 35 million tons (around 23.1 million tons, basis milled), slightly above the reduced 2014 harvest of around 34.3 million tons (around 22.64 million tons, basis milled).Planting for the 2015 main season is currently underway and the FAO forecasts the current main season rice production, whose harvest will begin in October, at around 27.2 million tons (around 18 million tons), almost unchanged from last year.
The FAO estimates the 2014-15 secondary season rice crop, which is currently being harvested, at around 7.2 million tons, about 26% below last year's output. The decline is attributed to prolonged dry weather conditions in the northern and central regions of the country.Average domestic prices declined slightly in April due to increased supplies from the 2014-15 secondary season harvest and higher volumes of sales from government stocks in the previous months. Lower export demand also contributed to price falls, says the FAO.USDA estimates Thailand to produce 29.015 million tons of paddy rice (around 19.15 million tons, milled basis) and export around 11 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (January - December 2015).

Pakistan Basmati Rice Export Prices Decline Slightly in April 2015

May 11, 2015
Pakistan basmati rice prices have declined slightly in April 2015 after increasing continuously for two months, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The decline can be attributed to better rice growing prospects due to adequate availability of irrigation water in major rice growing areas, increased distribution of certified seeds and increased allocation of institutional credit over last year.According to a recent report by the country's Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA), the government has fixed a target of 7 million tons, basis milled, (around 10.35 million tons, basis paddy) from an area of around 2.8 million hectares. In April 2015, Pakistan's basmati rice export prices have declined slightly to around $980 per ton from around $985 per ton in March 2015, and down about 27% from their year-ago levels of around $1,350 per ton.
In terms of local currency, average Pakistan basmati rice prices in April 2015 increased slightly to around PKR 99,617 per ton (using historical exchange rates) from around PKR 99,485 per ton in March 2015, and down about 25% from around PKR 132,908 per ton in April 2014.
Average Pakistan basmati rice prices stood at around $955 per ton in the first four months of 2015 (January - March), down about 30% from around $1,364 per ton recorded during the same period last year.Average basmati rice prices increased between August and September 2014 and peaked to around $1,450 per ton in September 2014 due to fears of a fall in production as floods affected large area of basmati rice acreage in Punjab.  However, the overall production of basmati rice has not been significantly affected by floods. Pakistan basmati growers associations have been urging the government to provide adequate support to increase competitiveness of Pakistan's basmati rice in the global market.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Unchanged Market ahead of WASDE; Rice Plantings Now 9% ahead of 5-Year Average

May 11, 2015
The U.S. cash market was mostly unchanged today with little to no trading to report ahead of tomorrow’s USDA World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate.Sellers continue to hold out for better prices as they finish up planting despite weakness in the futures market and declining bids.Some analysts expect that the USDA will cut their long grain export projection given the slow pace of exports this marketing year however others have their doubts.In the meantime, the USDA estimates that as of May 10th, 83% of the US rice crop had been planted which is 9% ahead of this time last year and 9% behind the previous 5-year average.
As of now, the USDA estimates that farmers have planted at 86% of their rice crop in Arkansas, 75% in California, 93% in Louisiana, 82% in Mississippi, 73% in Missouri, and 78% in Texas.The USDA also estimates that 53% of the crop has emerged which was 2% ahead of this time last year but 3% behind of the previous 5-year average. As of now, the USDA estimates that 53% of the rice crop in Arkansas has emerged compared to , 30% in California, 85% in Louisiana, 61% in Mississippi, 25% in Missouri, and 72% in Texas. 

USDA Post Estimates Jordan 2015 Rice Imports at 196,000 Tons; Up 30% from Last Year

May 11, 2015
USDA Post estimates Jordan's 2015 rice imports at around 196,000 tons, up about 30% from an estimated 151,000 tons last year and down about 2% from USDA's official estimates of around 200,000 tons.Rice is a staple food in Jordan but the country does not produce any rice due to water scarcity. According to the Post, average annual rice consumption in Jordan is about 27 kilograms per person and medium grain (Camolino) rice variety is the most preferred one in Jordan. It constitutes of about 90% of total rice imports by Jordan. The Post estimates Jordan 2015 rice consumption at around 190,000 tons, up about 27% from around 150,000 tons last year and down about 5% from USDA's official estimates of around 200,000 tons. It estimates rice consumption to remain at 190,000 tons in 2016 also.
The U.S. accounts for over half of Jordan's annual rice imports and the remaining is filled by Thailand, India and Turkey. It estimates Jordan’s rice imports to decline to around 190,000 tons in 2016.Jordan does not maintain any buffer stocks for rice and the government does not impose any restrictions on rice imports. Rice is imported and distributed by private traders in a market-based system according to free market rules of supply and demand, says the Post.

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures Seen Flat to Begin New Trading Week

May 11, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery are currently seen trading 1 cent per cwt (about $0.22 per ton) higher at $9.750 per cwt (about $215 per ton) during early floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading lower: soybeans are currently seen about 0.2% lower, wheat is listed about 0.9% lower and corn is currently noted 0.1% higher.U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range on Monday, following a strong rally on Friday's jobs report, as investors awaited the week's data releases. The major averages surged more than 1% on Friday after April's employment figures showed continued economic growth, but not strong enough for most analysts to expect an immediate rate hike.
Friday's rally pushed the S&P 500 close to its closing high of 2,117.69, while the Dow and Nasdaq also approached their record closes. No major economic news or earnings reports are expected Monday. Retail sales and industrial production figures come out later in the week. Yields edged higher, stabilizing after a rapid rally last week. The dollar edged slightly higher, with the euro at $1.114. Oil held near recent highs. Europe is in focus as the euro zone finance ministers meet on Monday and Greece faces a payment deadline to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday. European equities were lower Monday, pausing after a rally on Friday, and overlooking the news that China has cut interest rates for the third time in six months.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced the cut in its benchmark lending rate and one-year deposit rates by 25 basis points on Sunday, as growth in the Asian economic giant slowed to levels not seen since the global financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 3.5 points, or 0.02%, at 18,195. The S&P 500 traded up 0.66 points, or 0.03% at 2,116, with consumer discretionary leading six sectors higher and energy the greatest decliner. The Nasdaq traded up 11 points, or 0.22%, at 5,014. Gold is currently trading about 0.1% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 0.3% higher,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.2% higher at 9:15am Chicago time.

Thailand May Lose World's Top Rice Exporter Status in 2015 Due to Relatively High Prices, Says TREA Official

May 11, 2015
The Honorary President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) has expressed concern that increasing competition between world's top rice exporters coupled with increasing rice supplies and declining demand from most of the importers may lead to further price declines and price wars, according to local sources.He however noted that Thai rice export prices may not fall like those of Vietnam and India as their currencies were weaker against the dollar compared to Thai Baht and also they have huge quantities of cheap rice.
Export prices of Thai 5% broken rice, Vietnam 5% broken rice and India 5% broken rice currently stand at around $ 375 per ton, $355 per ton and $375 per ton respectively compared to $410 per ton, $380 per ton and $390 per ton respectively at the beginning of the year. Also Vietnam's efforts to devalue its currency may further lower prices of Viet rice.
Due to this price differential, he said Thai rice exports may fall to around 8-8.5 million tons in 2015, compared to around 10.96 million tons exported in 2014. He noted that a weakening Baht may also not push down Thai rice export prices significantly. But he said Thai Hommali rice exports may benefit due to a weakening Baht.The TREA official also noted that the price war would continue in the third quarter as well. However, he said India's production may also determine global rice prices adding that a fall in India's production in 2014-15 (October - September) may push up prices to some extent.Thailand exported 2.95 million tons of rice between January 1, 2015 and April 28, 2015, according to the TREA. During the same period, India exported 2.87 million tons, 1.73 million tons and Vietnam exported 1.71 million said the TREA official.

Pakistan Rice Sellers Increase Some of Their Quotes; Other Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged

May 11, 2015
Pakistan rice sellers increased their quotes for 5% broken rice and 25% broken rice by about $10 per ton each to around $390 - $400 per ton and $345 - $355 per ton respectively . Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is indicated at around $370 - $380 per ton, about a $20 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice  shown at around $350 - $360 per ton. India 5% rice is indicated at around $370 - $380 per ton, about a $20 per ton discount to Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $390 - $400 per ton, up about $10 per ton from Friday.
25% Broken Rice
Thailand 25% rice is shown at around $350 - $360 per ton, about a $20 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $330- $340 per ton. India 25% rice is indicated at around $345 - $355, on par with Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $345 - $355 per ton, up about a $10 per ton from Friday.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $375 - $385 per ton. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $360 - $370 per ton, about a $30 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice shown at around $390 - $400 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is indicated at around $315 - $325 per ton, about a $5 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $310 - $320 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $270 - $280 per ton,  about a $20 per ton discount to  Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $290 - $300 per ton.

Argentina Exports 42,161 Tons of Rice in February 2015; Up 88% from Previous Year

May 11, 2015
Argentina has exported around 42,161 tons of rice in February 2015, up about 88% from around 22,467 tons exported during the same period in 2014, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture in Argentina.  Month-on-month, Argentina's rice exports increased over three fold from around 12,762 tons exported in January 2015.In February 2015, Argentina exported around 30,000 tons of rice to Iraq (about 71% of total February 2015 exports), around 4,120 tons of rice to Brazil (about 10% of February 2015 exports), around 3,133 tons of rice to Chile (about 7% of February 2015 exports), and around 2,746 tons of rice to Bolivia (about 7% of February 2015 exports). It exported the remaining 5% or around 2,162 tons of rice to Algeria (1,200 tons), Costa Rica (450 tons), U.S. (307 tons), Belgium (97 tons), Canada (82 tons) and Paraguay (27 tons) during February 2015.
Argentina exported around 54,923 tons in the first two months of 2015, down about 25% from around 73,340 tons exported during the same period in 2014.USDA estimates Argentina's milled rice production at about 975,000 tons in MY 2014-15 (April – March), against consumption of around 500,000 tons. It estimates Argentina to export around 580,000 tons of rice in MY 2014-15.

USDA Post Estimates Bangladesh to Import 600,000 Tons of Rice in 2015-16; Down 45% from Last Year

May 11, 2015
USDA Post has estimated Bangladesh to import around 600,000 tons of rice in MY 2015-16 (May - April), down about 45% from an estimated 1.1 million tons imported in MY 2014-15. Imports in 2014-15 (mostly by private sector) are said to have increased due to competitive Indian as well as global rice prices. Imports have also increased due to absence of duties on imported rice, says the Post based on local media reports.The Post has estimated Bangladesh's 2015-16 milled rice production at around 34.8 million tons, slightly up from an estimated 34.5 million tons last year. The Post reports that the government of Bangladesh is planning to procure  100,000 of Boro paddy and milled rice from May 1, 2015 to August 31, 2015. 
It reports that wholesale rice prices have fallen significantly since January 2015 as hartals and blockades disrupted transportation to major city markets.Based on the data from the Ministry of Food, the Post reports that the government stocks as of April 23, 2015 stood at around 842,000 tons, up about 13% from around 747,000 tons during the same time last year.

USDA Post Estimates Vietnam MY 2014-15 Rice Exports at 6.7 Million Tons, Up 5.5% from Last Year

May 11, 2015
USDA Post has estimated Vietnam's MY 2014-15 (January 2015 - December 2015) rice exports at around 6.7 million tons, up about 5.5% from an estimated 6.35 million tons exported in MY 2013-14 and unchanged from USDA's official estimates of around 6.7 million tons. However, the Post expects a strong competition from Thailand, India, Pakistan and other emerging exporters such as Cambodia and Myanmar. It estimates Vietnam's MY 2014-15 rice exports to remain at 6.7 million tons due to expected low carry-stocks from MY 2014-15.
The Post estimates Vietnam MY 2014-15 paddy rice production at around 44.88 million tons (around 28.05 million tons, basis milled), down about 2% from an estimated 45.058 million tons (around 28.16 million tons, basis milled) produced in MY 2013-14 and slightly down about from USDA official estimates of around 45.191 million tons (around 28.24 million tons, basis milled) due to the adjustment of seasonal planted/harvested area. The Post estimates Vietnam's MY 2014-15 rice harvested area at around 7.7 million hectares, down about 1% from around 7.788 million hectares last year and down about 70,000 hectares from USDA's official estimates of 7.77 million hectares.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has planned to shift around 100,000 - 110,000 hectares of paddy land to other crops by 2015 and around 510,000 hectares by 2020 to keep a check on imports of other agricultural products such as corn, soybeans, sesame and vegetables. The MARD is also developing large scale rice farms in the 13 provinces of the Mekong River Delta (MRD) and is expected to have around 300,000 - 500,000 hectares of large scale rice planting farms by the end of 2015.
USDA Post estimates Vietnam MY 2015-16 paddy rice production to increase to around 45.19 million tons (around 28.24 million tons, basis milled.The Post estimates Vietnam’s ending stocks to decline to around 824,000 tons in MY 2014-15, down about 15% from an estimated 974,000 tons last year and down about 6% from USDA's official estimates of around 874,000 tons due to strong rice consumption and residual and expected higher export volumes. It estimates Vietnam's rice ending stocks to further decline to around 784,000 tons in MY 2015-16. 

Vietnam Exports About 1.555 Million Tons of Rice in First Four Months of 2015

May 11, 2015
Vietnam exported about 1.555 million tons of rice in first four months of calendar year 2015, down about 11% from about 1.758 million tons of rice exported during same time last year, according to data from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). Average rice export price so far in this year stands at about $419 per ton (FOB), down about 3.7% per ton from same time last year.In April 2015, Vietnam exported about 650,507 tons of rice, up about 35.4% from about 480,490 tons rice exported in March 2015, and up about 21% from about 537,094 tons rice exported in April 2014. Average export prices  in April 2015 stands at about $414 per ton, down about 6% from a year ago, and up about 4.4% per ton from a month ago.

                Download/View On-Line the above News in pdf format,just click the following link
12th May (Monday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

11th May (Monday ),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

10% duty imposed on rice import to ensure fair price for Bangladeshi farmers

Staff Correspondent,   bdnews24.com
The government has imposed 10 percent duty on import of rice to ensure that farmers in Bangladesh get fair price for the rice they cultivate.


The duty is effective from Sunday, according to Finance Minister AMA Muhith.He told a pre-budget discussion of the chiefs of the parliamentary standingcommittees on Sunday that the decision aimed at ensuring fair price of rice during the current Boro season.On Saturday evening, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said in a BBC programme that the government had taken the decision to restrict rice import.She said Bangladesh was self-sufficient in rice cultivation, obviating the need to import.The government had not imported rice in the past three years but importers seized the opportunity in the absence of any duty on food imports.Farmers had been protesting against the imports, saying they were unable to recover cultivation costs because of imports from India at cheaper rates.
It has been alleged that Bangladeshi farmers are not getting remunerative prices because of imports from India and boost in indigenous cultivation.The agriculture minister said India dumped rice preserved in warehouses for over two years.“Many dishonest businessmen in Bangladesh took the chance to import rice,” she alleged.According to Bangladesh Bank’s analysis of import data, Letters of Credit (LC) worth $ 476.4 million were opened in the first nine months (July-March) of the 2014-15 fiscal year.The amount was 66 percent higher than that of the same period last year.Importers had opened LC worth $ 430 million in that period.

India may be Thailand’s next rival in rice exports

India may be Thailand’s next rival in rice exports
BANGKOK, 11 May 2015, (NNT) -The Thai Chamber of Commerce Council Chairman, Chukiat Opaswong, has projected that the Kingdom will be able to export only 8.5 million tons of rice this year, a sharp drop from last year’s 11 million tons. He said India may become Thailand’s next rival in rice exports, as the nation starts taking an increased share of the African market.
He said several nations have already implemented price slashing schemes to boost rice exports, especially India, leading to fierce competition. Indian rice, in particular, is 40 dollars per ton cheaper than that of Thailand’s.
Thailand exported 2.6 million tons of rice during the first four months of this year, he said, adding India’s figure was 2.5 million tons in the same period.He said the stronger baht may be contributing to the high rice price. Thailand’s rice is being priced at 385 dollars per ton, he indicated, pointing out Vietnam’s product is being sold at 355-360 dollars a ton, and India is at 360 dollars per ton. http://news.thaivisa.com/thailand/india-may-be-thailands-next-rival-in-rice-exports/60756/

Technology Developed by U of M Researcher Aims to Improve Rice Crops Worldwide

Updated: 05/11/2015 5:57 PM
Created: 05/11/2015 5:44 PM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Lissarrague
Technology developed by a University of Minnesota researcher is at the heart of a project to improve rice crops around the world. According to the university, scientists are hoping to double the production of cereal crops before 2050, which is when the global population could reach 9.5 billion. They say rice is a staple crop that feeds half of the world’s population.To improve the crop, a new project is focusing on genome editing, which is a process where scientists target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell.U of M researcher Dan Voytas co-created a technology called the TALENs, which is a molecular tool used in genome editing. The tool lets scientists break and edit chromosomes at specific locations.

“We have the ability to open the genome like a book, go to a certain chapter and a specific word and change the word or correct its spelling,” co-creator Adam Bogdanove from Cornell University said in a statement.In that example, words are the DNA sequences that make up genes. This is different from genetic engineering; university researchers say genome editing makes precise changes whereas genetic engineering is more random.  Researchers want to prove that they can use genome editing to affect traits like height, yield, disease resistance and tolerance to acidic soils. To do this, they would use the tool to identify specific genetic variations that affect these traits.Bogdanove said the tool means they can make the needed changes in just a few steps rather than doing years of breeding.The project is funded by a four-year, $5.5 million National Science Foundation grant. The team is also planning to create educational curriculum for students and offer genome editing training workshops for plant biologists.
Rice shipments to Africa to bounce back this year
Workers load rice for export at the HCM City Food Company. Viet Nam's rice export turnover to markets in Africa, West Asia and South Asia grew significantly in the first three months to top US$71.3 million. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI  (VNS) — Viet Nam's rice export to Africa is likely to rebound significantly this year, based on the rapid growth seen in the first quarter, according to the Department of Africa, West Asia and South Asia Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.Statistics compiled by the General Department of Customs show that the country's rice export turnover to markets in Africa, West Asia and South Asia experienced considerable growth in the first three months to top US$71.3 million, 531 per cent higher than that of the same period last year.Africa accounted for 94.1 per cent of this figure, with shipments to key markets in the continent – Ghana, Ivory Coast and South Africa – witnessing significant growth after a steep plunge in 2014.Before last year's plunge, Vietnamese rice had seen strong growth in Africa since 2011, the Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper reported yesterday.

In 2013, the country exported two million tonnes of rice to the continent, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of total volume of rice shipped abroad. Africa became Viet Nam's second largest rice importer that year, after China.However, shipments to Africa in 2014 declined in value to $425.7 million on the back of decreased demand in the market and harsh competition from Thailand, India and Pakistan.The department has submitted to the MoIT a plan to facilitate Vietnamese rice exports to African markets. Trade analysts say that if the plan is approved, another upsurge in shipments to the region is possible.The plan will support local rice exporters in carrying out promotions and opening bonded warehouses in Africa's larger markets like Angola, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.This is expected to increase direct exports to these market and avoid the risks of doing it through a third party.Africa is now the largest rice consumer in the world with an annual demand of over 9 million tonnes of rice, almost 6.5 million tonnes of which is imported.In order to fully tap this potential, the ministry has advised that Vietnamese exporters try and meet increasing demand in the market for high-quality rice products, besides traditional rice. — VNS

Rice imports fall on govts duty move
Farmers yet to reap benefit
Yasir Wardad
Rice imports fall on govts duty move
Rice imports in the private sector fell in the last one month amid the government's move to withdraw the zero duty facility on it.The government move alongside the price fall in the local market led the local importers to adopt a cautious stance.But the decline was yet to leave any positive impact on local prices as paddy was still trading at prices 20-25 per cent below the production cost in the peak harvest season, according to market insiders.Private importers brought in 1.276 million (12.76 lakh) tonnes of rice through the legal channel until April 07 last in the fiscal year (FY) 2014-15. It accounted for 4,600 tonnes per day on an average, an official at the Directorate General of Food (DGoF) said.
"But in the last one month (April 08 to May 07), imports declined to just 1,100 tonnes per day as importers brought in 34,000 tonnes during the period," he added.He said the downward trend of paddy and rice prices in the domestic market and the government's move to slap duty on rice were behind the decline in imports.Finance Minister AMA Muhith at a function on Sunday said the government decided to impose 10 per cent duty on import of rice, in place of the zero tariff earlier offered.Earlier, the zero tariff on rice import, coupled with the lower prices in Indian markets, encouraged the private importers to go for import on a wide scale in the current fiscal.Md Sarwar Alam Kajol, an importer, told the FE that businesses almost stopped opening new letters of credit (L/Cs) following the fall in local rice prices.
He said many traders had been maintaining a cautious stance since the first week of April on speculations that the government might impose duty on rice imports.He also said the prices of rice starting increasing in India over a projection that overall rice output might decline there.Rice trader at Nilphamari Sadar Md Hazrat Ali (Sajib) told the FE that mill gate prices of the local Swarna variety were Tk 21.5-22.0 per kg while the newly milled Brridhan-28 was being sold at Tk 24.0-24.5 per kg.He also said the prices of Swarna were Tk 25.0-26.0 a month back.Md Anisuzzaman Fakir, a farmer-trader at Pakerhat in Dinajpur said the Brridhan-28 variety of paddy was being sold at Tk 550-580 per maund and Miniket variety Tk 650-680 per maund on Saturday.
He said the prices increased by Tk 20-40 per maund in the last seven days but still were below the production cost.He said Brridhan-28 was selling at prices lower by Tk 150-200 than their production cost of Tk740-750 per maund.And the Miniket variety was sold at prices lower by Tk 100-150 than the production cost of Tk 800 per maund, he said.Economist Prof Gazi M Jalil told the FE that the government took much time to take the decision on restricting rice import.
"But the farmers who are yet to harvest crops might get benefit from the move," he said.He said the government should enact a time-befitting rice import and export policy to protect the interests of the country's people.He said:  "Government should consider rice always a strategic crop which could help it in framing a farmers-friendly import policy."According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Boro has been cultivated on 4.84 million hectares of land this year and 48 per cent of the crop was harvested until Sunday evening.Secretary of Bangladesh Auto Major Husking Mills Owners Association KM Layek Ali said 60 per cent of the millers had been idle for the unnecessary import and political turbulence over the last few months.
He said:  "But many millers have started buying paddy after getting assurance from the government about restricting the rice import."He urged the government to impose 25 to 50 per cent duty on Indian rice based on varieties.  According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and the Directorate General of Food (DGoF), the country produced 34.465 million tonnes of rice in the last financial year against the demand for 31.0 million tonnes. The BBS latest data also shows the Aman and Aus production was 13.2 million and 2.328 million tonnes respectively in the current financial year.
International Benchmark Price
Price on: 07-05-2015
Benchmark Indicators Name
Turkish No. 2 whole pitted, CIF UK (USD/t)
Turkish No. 4 whole pitted, CIF UK (USD/t)
Turkish size 8, CIF UK (USD/t)
Chinese first grade granules, CFR NW Europe (USD/t)
Chinese Grade A dehydrated flakes, CFR NW Europe (USD/t)
Chinese powdered, CFR NW Europe (USD/t)
Chinese sliced, CIF NW Europe (USD/t)
Chinese whole, CIF NW Europe (USD/t)
Indian Cochin, CIF NW Europe (USD/t)
For more info
Market Watch
Commodity-wise, Market-wise Daily Price on 07-05-2015
Domestic Prices
Unit Price : Rs per Qty
Market Center
Min Price
Max Price
Visnagar (Gujarat)
Theni (Tamil Nadu)
Solapur (Maharashtra)
Amirgadh (Gujarat)
Theni (Tamil Nadu )
Aroor (Kerala)
Aroor (Kerala)
Bonai (Orissa)
For more info
Rs per 100 No
Price on 07-05-2015
Market Center
Source: e2necc.com
Other International Prices
Unit Price : US$ per package
Price on 07-05-2015
Market Center
Package: 50 lb cartons
Package: 50 lb cartons
Round Green Type
Round Green Type
Round Green Type
Package: cartons tray pack
Red Delicious
Red Delicious
Red Delicious

Threat to indigenous basmati from hybrid variety

The approval of 11 new and imported rice seed varieties — seven hybrids and four open-pollinated — by the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council last week heralds new realities for the crop. The high-yielding imported hybrids are in, and basmati — a premium local variety — seems to be on its way out.Once hybrids take hold of the local crop, even those open-pollinated (OP) varieties would have no chance. Thus it would be hybrid ruling the roost. The undermining of basmati, as we know it, has long been underway, both regionally and globally.
Pakistan tried to resist it, both commercially and legally. However, now it seems to be losing on both ends, and resigning to market forces. The approval of seven hybrid varieties, which came on the heels of the 35pc acreage already under imported hybrids, only show how fast window is closing on basmati and other local rice varieties.In the last decade or so, the Indians have rewritten the definition of basmati, and got it successfully accepted by a larger chunk of basmati consumers. Drawing on non-basmati parentage, it developed (Pusa-1121) a basmati variety that it has successfully been selling around the world.
Since the variety is high yielding, Indian farmers adopted it quickly and gave exporters a huge base for increasing exports. With the cost of production down, the exporters quickly embraced it and made huge profits, and, finally, being closer — in grain and taste — to traditional Pakistani basmati, it was also accepted by the consumers, especially ethnic, around the globe.

The government may be reminded that the absence of institutions to ensure quality of imported hybrids would continue haunting it if it does not create the required paraphernalia

On the other hand, Pakistan’s current decades-old basmati seed started losing hugely on production but also became susceptible to different kinds of diseases. These developments added hugely to the cost of production, and took the rice out of fiscal reach of consumers and exporters.As exporters experienced high domestic prices, they lost edge to the Indian competitors. The slide in export, which began a few years ago, is still on: from 1.2 million tonnes, they have come down to 700,000 tonnes.Pakistan not only lacks research but is also importing germ-plasm for everything called rice.
Even the currently approved varieties have Filipino parentage.With its research institution without funds and policy direction coming neither from the federation nor from the provinces, high-yielding hybrid varieties sounds to be only reasonable natural choice, and Pakistan is now officially entering the arena.It does not, in any way, mean that basmati would flew out of vogue; it would continue having presence in substantial domestic and relatively small international market niche. However, its pre-eminence as only premium variety would increasingly be lost.The government may also be reminded that the absence of institutions to ensure quality of hybrids would continue haunting it if it does not create the required paraphernalia.
Once the import process of hybrid starts, it would be a herculean task to ensure the quality of the seed, or whether the import belongs to the same variety, which was approved in the first place.The world has moved to super hybrids and new seeds are coming thick and fast. How Pakistan plans to cope with that kind of situation, the approving institutions need to come up with required response.Hybrids are also notorious for behaving differently in varying temperatures. With climate change bringing in huge fluctuations in temperatures, how does Pakistan plan to deal with the phenomenon?
Even important would be the mechanism to compensate for individual farmers’ loss because of crop failure in patches. Though approval is granted only to those varieties that suit in majority of ecological zones within the country, it still leaves huge grey areas that could cause failures at individual farmers’ levels.Apart from approving new varieties, the policy makers also need to sit together and decide what they plan to do with the overall crop.How much space should basmati have? How much hybrids could be allowed? Which hybrid has international appeal and which does not? What would be the monitoring mechanism to ensure Pakistan does not continue losing export market; after all, it is $2 billion export earnings.
Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, May 11th , 2015
Dawn News
Indian agriculture at cross roads: M.S. Swaminathan
 Raman Iyer  
Chennai, May 11 - Indian agriculture is at the cross roads, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, father of India's first Green Revolution, has warned.Lamenting on the state of Indian farmers, especially farmers with small land-holdings, Dr. Swaminathan said, "The market economy certainly is not friendly to small farmers. WTO regulations are also hindrance. Even in the United States which is the heartland of the free market economy, farmers are insulated from market shocks through heavy subsidies under the Green Box Provisions of WTO.
"The recent unseasonal rains and hailstorm left extensive crop damages across the country in an estimated area of 189.81 lakh hecatres, according to Union Agriculture Ministry.Dr. Swaminathan said the National Commission on Farmers headed by him had recommended way back in 2006 detailed and precise recommendations to save farmers from such calamities, but no action has been taken on it."Nearly 60 percent of our cultivated area is rain-fed and therefore highly monsoon dependent. We have to develop and popularize what is currently known as climate smart agriculture. This will involve maximizing the benefits of good monsoon and minimizing the adverse impact of an unfavourable monsoon. I coined the concept of a drought code, flood code and good weather code to indicate what needs to be done under different monsoon conditions," Dr. Swaminathan was quoted by the Indian Science Journal, as saying in a recent interaction.
"The farmer is at the mercy of the monsoon and the market. Climate change is introducing extreme weather events like what we have witnessed during recent months," he added.Dr. Swaminathan, whose pioneering efforts in the field of agriculture is recognized across countries; said farming has becoming non-remunerative with input costs going up and output return becoming unfavourable."The cost, risk and return structure of farming is becoming unfavourable to farm families. As a result, the younger generation do not want to take farming as a profession. Even elders will like to quit if there is an opportunity to do so," he said."The fact that youth do not wish to take to agriculture is indicative of the economic unattractiveness of this profession," he added.
In a veiled criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's slogan of "Make in India", Dr. Swaminathan said it was nothing but a repeat of the Swadeshi movement of Mahatma Gandhi."Agriculture is the largest private sector enterprise in our country. Farm products are all made in India. We should, therefore, give content and meaning to Lal Bahadur Sastri's slogan "Jai Kisan". The input - output pricing and export-import policies should all be made farmer centric," said the octogenarian.He termed India as a nation characterized by Grain Mountains and hungry millions."The major problem is inadequate purchasing power. As a result, under-nourishment and malnutrition are wide spread. Though the National Food Security Act conferred the Right to Food to nearly 70 percent of the population, this Act is yet to be implemented in most parts of India," he said.
"Therefore, the problem is not one of availability of food in the market, but is one of economic access to food. This problem can be overcome only by improving the net income of farmers through high productivity, better post- harvest technology and value addition to the primary products," said Dr. Swaminathan.He further stated, "At the same time, areas relating to the biological absorption of food like drinking water, sanitation and primary healthcare need attention."The NCF had recommended that emphasis should be placed on the cultivation of high value and low water requiring crops, such as pulses and oilseeds in water scarce areas.In paddy and sugarcane, water-saving methods of cultivation like those inherent in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methodology should be popularised. Seawater farming should be promoted in coastal areas through the crops that thrive in salt water. Investment in research to promote water-efficient crops is essential.
"More crops per drop of water" should not remain just a slogan.Today China is the largest producer of rice and India the second largest, though it is number one in terms of acreage.He said, we can produce more rice, but the problem will be pricing and market.India has become the largest exporter of rice, particularly dwarf basmati rice. Rice is the custodian of our food security system in an era of climate change, since it grows under a variety of latitudes and altitudes."We can grow rice from below sea level in Kuttanad in Kerala to the high altitude of the Himalayas. No other country has this advantage. Thus, rice is our most important food security crop," he said.Kuttanad in Kerala is recognized as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Site.
The NCF report suggested that to achieve secure and adequate livelihood for all farmers, they must be assured of access to and some control over the basic resource base for livelihood. These are both natural and societal.Agriculture and allied sectors account for 17.2 percent of the country's GDP and 14 percent of overall exports. Almost half of the population of the country is dependent on agriculture as the prime source of income and it is also a principal source of raw material for a large number of industries." India, therefore, has to keep the momentum of growth of agriculture to achieve targeted growth of its economy and meeting the increasing and diverse demand of food," claimed Federal Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, in a recent address at G20. (ANI)
Source with thanks: Top News

Small farmers struggle for survival in Punjab

How increased mechanization, volatile prices and stressed farm incomes are leading to a consolidation of agricultural land in Punjab
Maghar Singh sold his tractor, harvester and other equipment after deciding not to farm any more. Photo: Sayantan Bera/Mint
Patiala/Sangrur/New Delhi: A farmer selling his farm equipment is a telltale sign of distress. But Maghar Singh doesn’t regret doing it. Six years ago, he sold his tractor, harvester and other equipment, and rented out his 8 acres (3.2 hectares) of land in Patiala in south-eastern Punjab where he used to grow a variety of crops. The income from rent is modest—Rs.4 lakh a year—but he believes he is better off than his neighbour who is still toiling on his 6 acres of farm.This is a trend that is fast catching up among farmers in Punjab, a state that is considered the granary of India. The situation is a far cry from the heyday of the Green Revolution in the late 1960s. After years of intensive farming, agriculture now is looking at zero to negative growth rates. It is state where the potential of irrigation and multi-cropping has been fully realized.Now, prices of key crops such as rice, wheat and cotton and volatile prices of cash crops like potato, barley and basmati rice are lower than before—for a variety of domestic and international reasons—affecting farm incomes.

Yet, Punjab is witnessing a trend unlike anywhere else in the country. Across the country, small holders say farming is no longer a viable occupation, but land holdings are becoming increasingly fragmented due to growing family sizes, showing that farms continue to be occupied in spite of their shrinking sizes.However, Punjab has been witnessing a trend in the opposite direction—more and more land is becoming consolidated.Increasingly, marginal, small and medium land holders, owning less than 4 hectares of land, are either selling out or (mostly) renting their farms to large farmers who can afford the cost of capital-intensive agriculture, including costly machines, and are better placed to handle price and weather shocks.Across India, in the two decades between 1990-91 and 2010-11, the number of marginal and small land holdings (less than 2 hectares of land) grew from 83.5 million to 117.6 million. In Punjab, however, the number of marginal and small holdings fell, from half a million to 0.36 million during the same period.
At the same time, the number of semi-medium (2-4 hectares), medium (4-10 hectares) and large (over 10 hectares) land holdings increased from 0.62 million to 0.69 million during the same period.Even these numbers underestimate the extent of land consolidation underway in Punjab, because even though most small and medium farmers are leasing out their land to big farmers, such tenancies are informal and go unrecorded.This is what academics call “reverse tenancy”—closely linked to the trend of increased mechanization, which enables large farmers to reap the benefits of economies of scale.Leasing their small farms out is a strategy of survival.“Farming is a sure way to death for a small farmer in Punjab. He cannot handle the increasing costs, fluctuating prices and weather or the debts due to buying machinery. I am glad my son works in a rice mill with an assured salary,” says Maghar Singh, 58.But in Punjab, where owning farmland is also a status symbol, farmers are reluctant to sell it all off.

“Land is a matter of pride. Without it, I could not have got my son married. A person without land is nobody in the village,” says Singh.As a result, an informal rent market is fast building up in the state where the land ceiling per person is 6.8 hectares. The decline in small land holdings in Punjab shows that they are non-viable under modern capital-intensive farming, says a 2014 paper Depeasantization in Punjab: Status of Farmers Who Left Farming published in Current Science journal bySukhpal Singh and Shruti Bhogal.
“Farmers with even up to 4 hectares in Punjab find it increasingly difficult to maintain their living from farming activity alone and given an opportunity will also leave farming,” the study notes.“Small farmers in Punjab are in crisis as farming is unviable for them due to rising input costs, stagnant productivity, falling profitability and increasing cost of living,” says Sukhpal Singh, who teaches at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and studies farm distress.One such sign of distress is the growing incidence of suicide by small and marginal farmers in Punjab.Singh’s field research (published in Economic and Political Weekly in June 2014) shows that of the 3,507 farmers in Punjab who committed suicide between 2000 and 2011, nearly 80% were marginal and small farmers.The average level of debt among those marginal and small farmers (with less than 2 hectares of land) who committed suicide was nearly eight times their annual income, the study found, compared to 2.7 times for medium and large farmers.

Leasing out their farms is a matter of survival for small farmers. “It’s a survival strategy forced upon them by market forces. Till 2000, they were still able to earn some profits but now it’s wiser to rent out and do something else,” says S.S. Gill, South Asia professor at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh.Small farmers find it difficult even to hire sowing and harvesting equipment, while big farmers can buy the machinery due to their ability to access credit, says Gill.

“The entire system is biased towards large farmers who sometimes also happen to be commission agents and dealers in farm inputs. Large tracts of land, of between 500 and 1,000 acres, are now leased out to potato seed cultivators in northern Punjab while small farmers and their familiesare being pushed into petty occupations,” says Gill.Baljeet Kaur from Balad Kalan village in Sangrur district is one such person. After her husband killed himself in 2013 by consuming pesticide, Kaur learned weaving to support the family and pay her children’s school fees.

The 2 acres of farmland the family owns has been rented out.She says that while her brothers-in-law exited farming long ago—one of them is a truck driver and the other a daily-wage earner in Uttar Pradesh—her husband stuck to farming, ending up with a debt of Rs.6 lakh.“The Punjab experience shows that we cannot address the issue of low farm incomes with small parcels of land. In India, average land holdings are a little over 1 hectare and they are not viable,” says Ramesh Chand, director of the National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, Delhi, and a member of the newly constituted national task force on agriculture under NITI Aayog. “We need to liberalize the land lease market and allow for large holdings.”

Too many tractors
An acute labour shortage caused by a variety of reasons such as rising rural wages in other states and the need for a shorter turnaround time initially fuelled investment in mechanization. Multi-cropping means farmers have to harvest the crop, pack the foodgrains off to the wholesale market, and clear the fields for the next crop. In addition, owning a tractor in the farming state has become something of a symbol of prosperity, even though it is put to use no more than 50 days a year.“Tractorization has led to indebtedness, and it’s time the government stops incentivizing such purchases,” says Ajay Vir Jakhar, a farmer and chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, a farmers’ body. “Instead of owning farm machinery, we need to promote leasing services.
”Punjab is home to nearly 550,000 tractors, double the number it needs. There is one tractor for every 8.7 hectare of cultivated land, compared with the national average of one per 62 hectares. Average use of tractors is just 450 hours in a year, less than half of the 1,000 hours required for it to be economically viable. Underutilization of farm machinery is leading to higher costs of production and lower net income to farmers, making it economically unviable, says a 2015 note prepared by the state ENVIS (Environmental Information System) centre in Chandigarh.Between 2002 and 2012, the number of harvester combines in Punjab nearly quadrupled to 10,363, according to the state planning department. A harvester costs upwards of Rs.17 lakh, and Punjab has so many of them today that the gigantic machines travel all the way to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar in search of work.

Deepening debt
Sinking money into buying machines, from which returns are only possible in large farm holdings, has increased the debt of farmers. The vagaries of Maghar Singh’s neighbour Singara Singh from Fatehpur in Patiala district is a case in point.Singara Singh and his two brothers farm on 30 acres of land and took an additional 6 acres on rent. They grow rice during the monsoon season followed by potato, barley and wheat as the winter (rabi) crop. This year’s unseasonal rains damaged one-quarter of his wheat crop. A bigger blow was falling potato prices, which tumbled to less than Rs.2 a kg at the farm gate compared with Rs.8 a kg last year. Barley prices, too, are down fromRs.1,450 a quintal (100kg) two years ago to Rs.1,150 this year.

Still, Singara Singh has been able to withstand these price and weather shocks by putting his potato crop in cold storage and stocking barley (which is supplied to breweries) inside a newly built warehouse in his courtyard, hoping for better prices.But over the years, Singh has made heavy capital investments—two tractors, a harvester combine, reapers, threshers, seeders, rotavators and a handful of bore wells to water his crop, in addition to the warehouse. On the face of it, Singh embodies the very image of a prosperous Punjabi farmer: there’s a palatial house, with plenty of livestock, breeder dogs and cars. But he is battling a nerve disease and the accumulated debt of the family is Rs.75 lakh.Farm households in Punjab are among the most heavily indebted in India, reveals a situation assessment survey released by the National Sample Survey Organisation in December last year.

The average debt of Punjab isRs.1,19,500—that’s more than 2.5 times the national average of Rs.47,000. The average debt of large farmers owning more than 10 hectares of land isRs.9.3 lakh, over three times the national average of Rs.2.9 lakh.Jagmohan Singh, state secretary of Bharti Kisan Union Ekta, a farmers’ organization, says the one thing that has hurt the Punjab farmer the most is the low hike in minimum support prices. “They are spending more on inputs like pesticides and fertilizers. The water table is falling. Those who were wise to put their (revenue) surpluses from the Green Revolution years into other businesses can still hold on. But it is the end of the day for small and marginal farmers.”So despite doing well, Gurmeet Singh, who farms on his 15-acre land in Sangrur district and has taken another 10 acres on rent, did not go for an expensive harvester. This time, he planted a mix of crops—paddy, potato, corn and wheat—in a bid to deal with any price shocks.
He sold his potato harvest ahead of others in January, much before the glut set up, to a nearby PepsiCo India unit, after meeting stringent specifications. They fetched Rs.17 a kg, eight times the current market price.But this little success has not changed his view on farming. His younger son works on the field, but 10 years ago Gurmeet Singh set up an electrical shop for his elder son. “Both of them cannot depend on the same land. Here, one farmer is enough to manage 50 acres,” he says.
USA Rice Meets with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq   
WASHINGTON, DC -- USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley led a delegation of members
Stuart Jones, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and staff on Friday in a meeting with Stuart Jones, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, to discuss strategy for returning Iraq as a steady customer for U.S. rice. "We have a large crop to move and Iraq is a traditional source of large demand for long grain rice," said Brantley, a rice farmer from England, Arkansas. "Ambassador Jones has been tireless in support of U.S. rice, but staff turnover at the Grain Board of Iraq and the Ministry of Trade, as well as the unstable political situation in the country have made it nearly impossible for us to be successful there.
"USA Rice and the U.S. government continue with a full court press since Iraq began purchasing rice from non-U.S. origins in the Western Hemisphere at prices sometimes $45 per metric ton more than offered from the United States. Ambassador Jones stressed that everyone at the embassy in Baghdad have become rice experts and expressed his appreciation for all the assistance USA Rice has provided to his team on the ground there."It is clear that Ambassador Jones has made educating the Iraqi government about the competitiveness of U.S. rice and the importance of operating a transparent and open tender process a top priority issue," said Betsy Ward, USA Rice President and CEO, who also attended the meeting.
 Contact: Bob Cummings (703) 236-1473
USA Rice Welcomes New Government Affairs Manager
ARLINGTON, VA - USA Rice's Vice President Government Affairs Ben Mosely today
Welcome to USA Rice, Peter! announced the hiring of Peter Bachmann as Manager, Government Affairs. Peter comes to USA Rice from the National Association of Conservation Districts in Washington, DC.  He has had a variety of internships at ag-related businesses and grew up in Fallston, Maryland and showed livestock as a member of 4-H. He attended Iowa State University where he studied Animal Science for two semesters before transferring to Virginia Tech where he obtained his B.S. in Dairy Science with a Concentration of Dairy Enterprise Management.Peter will be working with the Government Affairs team on a wide range of issues including conservation and legislation impacting rice."We look forward to having someone with Peter's experience and love of agriculture working for the rice industry on Capitol Hill," said USA Rice CEO Betsy Ward.
 Contact: Deborah Willenborg (703) 236-1444
Crop Progress:   2015 Crop 83 Percent Planted 
WASHINGTON, DC -- Eighty-three percent of the nation's 2015 rice acreage is planted, according to today's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report. 

Rice Planted, Selected States 
Week Ending
May 10,  2014   
May 3, 2015  
May 10, 2015 
2010-2014 average
Six States
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Preliminary):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for May 11
Net Change

May 2015
- $0.125
July 2015
- $0.130
September 2015
- $0.125
November 2015
- $0.125
January 2016
- $0.125
March 2016
- $0.125
May 2016
- $0.125

USA signs agricultural agreement with Jordan

Agreement will support agricultural trade and humanitarian efforts

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com
Following his mission in Istanbul, Turkey at the G20 Agricultural Ministers Meeting, United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack travelled to Amman, Jordan to meet with their Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury.During the meeting, Vilsack and Fakhoury signed an agreement that is geared towards supporting agricultural trade and development between the United States and Jordan.
"Jordan is one of our most effective, capable and steadfast partners not only in the Middle East, but around the world," Vilsack said. "USDA's food assistance will be used to relieve some of the economic burden that Jordan is facing as a result of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who've been displaced because of the Syrian civil war."The USDA will provide Jordan with nearly 100,000 metric tons of wheat, valued at nearly $25 million. The proceeds from the wheat’s sales will be used to improve agricultural production and economic growth. The commodities are being made available through the Food and Progress Program.
"The Obama administration remains committed to investing in the creation of economic stability and opportunity in the Middle East," Vilsack said. "As we have done in the past with Jordan and around the world, U.S. produced commodities will not only feed people but enhance agricultural productivity and trade.
The United States and Jordan have enjoyed successful trade relations since the Jordan Free Trade Agreement was fully implemented in January 2010. The agreement allows products made in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza to enter the United States without taxes.In 2013, the United States exported $256 million in agricultural goods to Jordan. Rice, poultry and tree nuts were the largest exported commodities. The USA imported about $10 million of agricultural products from Jordan in 2013.Join the conversation and tell us your thoughts on the new agreement between Jordan and the United States. 

Arkansas Rice Board gives $2 million for new seed facility

May 7, 2015Mark Scott, University of Arkansas Extension | Delta Farm Press
Arkansas Rice Board gives $2 million for new seed facility
Money for the program will come from tariff rate quota funds generated from the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotions agreement. The new facility will be operated by the University of Arkanas System Division of Agriculture.
THE ARKANSAS RICE Research and Promotion Board presented the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture with a $2 million check to help construct a new Foundation Seed Facility in Stuttgart, Ark. From left: Carl Brothers, chairman of the Col-Rice Board; Brandy Carroll, administrator of the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board; Marvin Hare, chairman of the Rice Research and Promotion Board; Mark Cochran, vice president for agriculture for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture; former Sen. and Arkansas Gov. David Pryor; and Rick Roeder, Assoc. Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station in Fayetteville. (Photo by Ryan Mcgeeney, University of Arkansas System Division Of Agriculture)

The Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board has directed $2 million to help construct an innovative Seed Foundation Facility at the state’s Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart.The facility will assist scientists and researchers to bring new higher-yielding, high-quality rice varieties to market so Arkansas farmers can profitably grow rice that meets worldwide demand.The center, along with the new Foundation Seed Facility, is operated by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
The new facility is expected to cost $8.6 million, and construction will begin this summer and be completed in 12 months.“The Rice Research and Promotion Board has always been forward-thinking in how it applies research to advance Arkansas agriculture, and we sincerely appreciate their commitment to ensuring Arkansas will remain the epicenter of rice production and rice research,” said Mark Cochran, vice president for the UA System’s Division of Agriculture.“The board has been a valuable partner with us for more than 30 years now, and our united partnership means better results for our state’s economy and all Arkansans.

”The Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board consists of nine rice producers nominated by industry organizations and appointed by the governor.the Rice Research and Promotion Board and the rice farmers of Arkansas is alive and well, as evidenced by the construction of this new Foundation Seed Facility,” said Marvin Hare, chairman of the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board.“This commitment is an excellent example of the great things we can accomplish when the entire rice industry works together toward the common goal of sustainable rice production in Arkansas.”The $2 million for the new facility will come through tariff rate quota funds generated for domestic rice research from the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which established an annual tariff rate quota for U.S. rice exported to Colombia.The funds are reserved only for research efforts and are allocated by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board have both previously made contributions to the new facility as well.

Twice as much rice for only pennies more

 Patti Singer, Staff writer4:22 p.m. EDT May 10, 2015
(Photo: Patti Singer/@PattiSingerRoc)

Savvy grocery shoppers know to check the unit price to compare prices not by amount of product but by amount of money.Case in point: Rice at one of Rochester's favorite supermarket chains.I like to get my money's worth, but I don't like to overbuy. I have limited space and I don't want to fill it with stuff that will take me a long time to use.So imagine the calculations I went through when I saw the pricing on a 5- and a 10-pound bag of rice.
A 5-pound bag of rice costs $5.49. Twice as much rice costs only 40 cents more. How can this be? (Photo: Patti Singer/@PattiSingerRoc)
The 5-pound bag cost $5.49. Which I thought was kind of a lot. But like I said, rice last me a long time and I couldn't remember what I paid for the bag that I'm finally finishing.Then I saw the price for the 10-pound bag. I could get five more pounds for an additional 40 cents.Good thing white rice doesn't go bad. According to the bag, it has 101 servings.
This 10-pound bag of rice has 101 quarter-cup servings. That'll last a while. (Photo: Patti Singer/@PattiSingerRoc)
I used to think that bananas were the biggest bargain in the grocery store. Something that needs to be flown, shipped and/or trucked from half a world away costs 49 cents a pound. Now I think that 10 pounds of rice is the best deal. In the 5-pound bag, the rice was nearly $1.20 a pound. At 10 pounds, the unit price was less than 60 cents.All told, how can twice as much rice cost 40 cents more?
But the better question may: How come the 5-pound bag is only 40 cents less?

Patti Singer

Clean living reporter: This is about all aspects of health -- physical, mental, social, spiritual and environmental -- that can make this community healthier. It's about providing information, education and inspiration so you can be healthier. Clean Living helps you understand what affects your health and what you can do improve your health and that of your family. When you can't do it alone, Clean Living explains how to use the health care system to deliver quality care at an affordable price.  I’ve been a reporter for most of my 30 years at the Democrat and Chronicle. I’ve written news and features, and covered sports, fitness and travel. Since 2009, I’ve covered health and health care from the patient’s perspective. I’m a certified personal trainer and I hold a master’s degree in health education.
Rice exports to Africa well grow
The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported a great growth in rice export turnover to Africa this year and said that if this momentum was maintained, rice export to that market might considerably recover for the whole year.The ministry’s Africa and Southwest Asia Market Department is building a rice export project to Africa to help businesses boost exports to this potential market.Besides medium quality and price rice, the ministry advised exporters to pay attention to fragrant and high quality varieties because the demand for them is also very high in Africa.Africa is now the world largest rice consumption market with a demand of nine million tons a year. Of these, 6.4-6.5 million tons are imported.
By Bao Minh - Translated by Hai Mien

Can Indonesia be Self-Sufficient in Rice, Again?

Posted On 11 May 2015
By : Leo Jegho
Rice, the main stapple food for people in the Indonesian archipelago. More rice fields require more irrigation dams. (Photo: GIV/MB)

Jakarta, GIVnews.com – In Indonesia, rice is not just the most indispensable foodstuff, it is also a commodity that undeniably determines the fate of any political and state leaders in the country. Leading a country with a population close to 250 million people, it is no doubt that President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is fully aware of this fact.During his presidential election campaigns last year, Jokowi repetitively aired his ambition of making Indonesia self-sufficient in rice. Doing it was not that difficult, he stated publicly, arousing a kind of optimism among voters. Jokowi supported his argument with the widely recognized fact: Indonesia had achieved rice self-sufficiency in 1969, which last until 1984, under then President Soeharto.

For President Jokowi and many Indonesian citizens, rice is not merely a key contributor to inflation. Unstable rice prices can also lead to political chaos as the nation’s history has shown it.
Last November, about a month after his inauguration as president, Jokowi made it loud and clear: No more rice imports in two or three years. He expected rice production to increase by up to 30 percent each year, and thus rice self-sufficiency can be achieved by 2017.Determined to air his vision more loudly and widely, the President had on different occasions shared his story when encountering with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang during an ASEAN Summit last year.“I felt quite embarrassed … When I met up with him, you know what? He asked me, ‘President Jokowi, when will you buy rice from me again?’ Isn’t it embarrassing?” Like Vietnam, Jokowi also said, Indonesia is actually an agricultural country with vast areas for farming.With this, the 2017 target set by Jokowi for rice self-sufficiency is less than three years away. However, no one is certain whether the ambition is achievable and whether people will express some sort of anger and mockery towards President Jokowi, if Indonesia does not achieve self-sufficient in rice by 2017. Perhaps few people, particularly those with ‘special interest’, will bother.
The clear fact is that Jokowi is gearing up to boost irrigation infrastructure, and some projects have been started over the past months. People may eventually excuse the president if they can witness concrete results derived from Jokowi’s get-things-done approach, including the commencement of new irrigation projects.There are more irrigation-related projects that have be realized since Jokowi has taken office as President last October. The President has launched a number of irrigation projects while repetitively stressed the rice-sufficiency ambition.
When dedicating an irrigation project in South Sulawesi, Jokowi revealed his administration’s plan of building 25 to 30 irrigation dams within the next five years. According to the President, construction of 11 dams would begin early 2015, including dam constructions in Aceh, Banten, North Sulawesi, Central Java, and East Nusa Tenggara. The good news is that Jokowi has walked the talk as some of the 11 projects have actually commenced.In Aceh, for example, the planned large dam was officially launched by Jokowi in March.
 When construction is done, the dam will be able to irrigate approximately 9,400 hectares of paddy fields, to supply clean water for households in the area and to be a site for new power plant. Furthermore last week, Jokowi dedicated another irrigation dam construction in Buru Island, Maluku.Obviously, the commencement of the irrigation projects has further appeased the growing pessimisms towards the President’s ambition of regaining Indonesia’s status as a rice self-sufficient nation. Indonesia was once rice self-sufficient, for which then president Soeharto had won international recognition.

Rice imports

Meanwhile, increasing rice prices in almost all provinces in the past months have caused widespread worries. The government’s market operations conducted through Bulog (State Logistics Agency) have not been effective enough.Government officials said that Bulog’s rice stocks for buffer must be kept at no less than two million tons for satisfying demand until the end of 2015. The agency had in fact failed to buy enough rice partly due to its inability to compete with private traders who paid farmers at higher price.
Other causes included a drop in domestic production due to prolonged drought and occurrence of natural disasters such as flood.The government and Bulog did not disclose the latest condition of the agency’s rice stocks. According to Bustanul Arifin, a senior lecturer at the Agriculture School of Universitas Lampung (Unila), Bulog’s rice stock target for this year was set at 2.7 million tons. However, there are doubts that Bulog is capable in achieving the target and it is predicted that this year’s buffer stock will only reach some 20 percent of the 2.7 million tons.While admitting that rice stocks at Bulog are depleting, government officials said last week that this situation had prompted them to consider importing more rice.
And the government has to do it soon. One of the reasons is that the government is obliged to prevent rice prices from going wild during the upcoming Ramadhan fasting month, which will begin on 18 June, and the Idul Fitri holidays which follows.Over the past days cabinet ministers have held discussions about the issue of rice. “Discussions about it are continuing. But, the Ministry of Trade is ready to issue Bulog import permits.
 It is being finalized, but everything is ready,” said Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel after his meeting with presidential chief of staff Luhut Binsar Panjaitan and Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjanato at the Bina Graha presidential office last Thursday (7/5), Kompas.com reported.According to Rachmat Gobel, the President had instructed theTrade Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry and the Bulog to calculate the current rice stocks at the stock buffer agency. Based on the calculation, the minister said, Bulog will import rice before the Ramadhan fasting month.Indonesia has so far imported rice from a number of countries, including Thailand, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Myanmar.However, it is not yet clear how much rice Indonesia will import this year.
Early reports stated that the level may reach 1.5 million tons. In 2014, Indonesia imported 1.2 million tons, compared with 472.6 million tons in 2013, 1.8 million tons in 2012, 2.7 million tons in 2010, and 687.5 million tons in 2010.For President Jokowi and many Indonesian citizens, rice is not merely a key contributor to inflation. Unstable rice prices can also lead to political chaos as the nation’s history has shown it. The skyrocketing prices of rice and other essential commodities led to the fall of two powerful, long-serving presidents, Soeharto and Soekarno.

Govt to reduce rice import in 2015
By Femi Adekoya on May 11, 2015
IN line with the report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) that Nigeria’s rice import will drop by 3.3 per cent to 2.9 million tonnes this year, the Federal Government has disclosed that its import target for the commodity will be 1.3 million metric tonnes(MT).

According to a letter signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi A. Adesina, addressed to the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a domestic supply gap of 1.3 million MT was determined for the 2015, down from 1.5 million in 2014.Indeed, one million MT of this quota has been set aside as allocations to existing rice millers, importers and new investors with approved Domestic Rice Production Plans (DRPP), at a preferential levy of 20% and duty of 10%.
This year’s supply gap is 200,000 MT lower than 2014, as rice importers with no DRPP will account for the remaining 0.3 million MT at the higher levy of 60% and duty of 10%.In 2014, rice importers and new investors were required to post a Domestic Rice Production Performance Bond from a qualifying bank to clearly demonstrate their commitment to domestic investment plans in production and processing.Under this year’s import quota, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has identified 22 companies that will receive quota allocations out of the number that was approved last year.

In the letter titled “Approved List of Companies Allocated Rice Import quota for April 2015- March 2016 period”, it was explicitly made clear that certain criteria informed the trimming down of the number of companies from last year’s figure to what obtains this year.The letter to the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy reads in part: “In line with the Federal Government’s policy (“the Policy”) to ensure self-sufficiency in rice by 2014, domestic rice production and milling operations continue to rise, which has resulted in a reduction in rice requirements of the country”.As was the practice in 2014 and in line with the Policy, the allocation of import quotas continues to be made along the explicit criteria set for encouraging domestic production and domestic milling of rice, to lead to self-sufficiency.

These criteria are based on the extent of existing domestic milling capacity as well as along four specific items that assess each company’s ongoing investment outlay into domestic rice production and milling.“These include the following: Domestic Rice Production Plan (DRPP): demonstrate evidence of current or planned investment in domestic rice production over a three -year period, size of investment, proof of land acquisition and establishment of rice fields and paddy production, Paddy purchase outlook from Paddy Aggregation Centres (PAC): Demonstrate a clear plan of purchase of paddy from PACs, should include location of PACs, volumes of paddy to be purchased among others.Paddy purchase outlook from out grower farmers and farmer cooperatives: should include location of farms, volumes of paddy to be purchased, among others.
Ownership of Integrated Rice Milling Facility (with par boilers and dehuskers): size of planned installed capacity (score relative to the largest sized facility, evidence of acquisition of integrated rice milling equipment, e.t.c “In addition to existing millers and new investors, only the re-applying companies who submitted bonds in 2014 were allocated quotas in the current 2015-2016 round.Companies that failed to present the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with a Bond have not been given quotas for the full year April 2015 to March 2016.Consequently, import quota allocations to 22 approved companies with a total allocation of 961,000 MT were issued.Already, the Ministry has sent letters to all the 22 approved companies and copied Dr. Okonjo-Iweala as well as the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service.The letter extensively informed the companies of their approved quotas which qualified for 10% duty or 20% levy as the case might be the Comptroller General of Customs was mandated to facilitate enforcement of the approved allocations.
Rice exports squeezed by price war
THE NATION May 11, 2015 1:00 am
THE GLOBAL rice market is experiencing a price war, Thai exporters say, putting pressure on the Kingdom because of its large government stockpiles. Traders expect Thai rice exports this year to total 8 million to 8.5 million tonnes, down from 10.96 million tonnes in 2014.Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said competition in the world market was tough because of a high supply of rice while many importing nations are struggling with weak economies."Rice trading is entering a price war, with every country lowering its prices.
 The price of Thai rice will also be lowered, but not as low as such competitors as India and Vietnam, which have weakening currencies and cheaper rice," Chookiat said.He said that for every Bt1 the Thai currency weakens against the US dollar, the price of Thai rice drops by about $10 per tonne. However, the price will not go below $400 a tonne for 5 per cent white rice, while domestic prices should not drop much as long as exporters can get more orders from overseas.Currently, Thai rice is trading at around $430 a tonne, while Vietnam's is traded at $360 a tonne.Chookiat said the weaker baht should benefit exports of Hom Mali or jasmine rice, making its price more competitive at less than $900 a tonne, down from $1,100. Vietnamese fragrant rice trades at only $490 a tonne, and Cambodia's at $800 a tonne.
Vietnam's decision to devalue its currency also cuts the price of its rice by about $3 a tonne.Chookiat believes the price war will continue into the third quarter. After that, the market will be affected by rice production in India. If India's output is low, the rice price in the world market could increase.Because of the relatively high price of Thai rice, the Kingdom this year will not be the world's largest rice exporter.As of April 28, Thailand had shipped 2.95 million tonnes of rice since the beginning of the year, up by just 2.46 per cent year on year. Meanwhile India's exports soared by 32.11 per cent to 2.87 million tonnes, and Pakistan's increased by 32.09 per cent to 1.73 million tonnes. Vietnam's rice exports were up by 2.71 per cent to 1.71 million tonnes.

Enough rice supply in areas affected by Dodong, Bulusan eruption

By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | 
MANILA, Philippines - The National Food Authority (NFA) yesterday said it has prepositioned rice stocks in areas that may be affected by the eruption of Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon and the arrival of Typhoon Dodong.NFA assured the public that there is sufficient rice supply in areas threatened by the typhoon as well as in areas that traditionally have low rice supply such as Northern and Eastern Samar, both of which are also seen to be affected by the storm.
Northern Samar has stocks of 38,409 50-kilogram bags of rice, sufficient for eight days consumption based on daily rice consumption of 4,880 bags.Eastern Samar, on the other hand, has 45,907 bags of rice, good for 19 days based on daily consumption of 2,460 bags.The Bicol region, meanwhile, has 15,138,680 bags of rice stockpiled, sufficient for 19 days.The NFA said most of the rice farmers in Albay and Sorsogon were able to sell their palay to the NFA before the arrival of the storm.Provinces under storm signal Nos. 2 and 3 mostly in Region 2 also have sufficient rice buffer stock. The whole of region has a total rice buffer stock of 765,469 bags.Aurora, a province in Central Luzon expected to be affected by the typhoon, has an emergency rice stockpile of 53,545 bags.
The NFA said it has also activated its operation centers in regions that would be affected by Typhoon Dodong.The NFA is mandated to secure the availability of staple grains in the event of natural or man-made calamities. The agency should be able to position staple requirements within 48 hours of the occurrence of an emergency.The agency is also mandated to restore or maintain within two weeks of occurrence of a disaster the prices of staple grains at levels prior to the occurrence of a calamity.
News Shared by Phil Rice
DepEd teachers train on climate-smart agriculture
Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz – The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), through its Informediary Campaign, trained secondary school agriculture teachers on “Climate-smart agriculture and rice production.” The training, in partnership with the Department of Education’s Technical-Vocational Unit, used the Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) module developed by the Infomediary Campaign to incorporate climate change as a component of major agriculture subjects in technical-vocational schools.The training focused on climate change-ready rice production practices with emphasis on crop diversification and establishment of rice gardens showcasing top varieties in their area.
Teachers were also taught to produce high-quality seeds to address the issue of inadequate access to high-quality seeds in remote rice-farming communities.The module was developed in 2014 through a partnership between PhilRice through its Infomediary Campaign and CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.The training started on April 6 and ended on May 8. Teachers from 100 TecVoc schools nationwide as well as some non-TecVoc schools were invited to participate.
“We hope that massive informative awareness on CSA can be made possible through this initiative. We already have thousands of infomediaries nationwide. We are eager to increase their number,” said Jaime A. Manalo IV, Infomediary Campaign lead.Since the national implementation of Infomediary in 2013, the Infomediary team has been providing training and technical assistance to secondary school agriculture teachers in teaching rice production.
His team’s study on high school students’ knowledge and understanding on climate change in relation to agriculture confirms that young people are aware of the threats that it can bring to food production, particularly on rice. Surveyed students considered extreme dryness of the land as the most observable change happening in the rice field.“The training, through the help of secondary school agriculture teachers, will help enrich the knowledge of students’ knowledge and understanding of the effects of climate change on rice production,” Manalo said.“We also aim to bring back the love for science of rice farming among young people and convince them to consider agriculture when they enter the university,” he added.

Right attitude leads to progress, Korean partner confirms
To inspire the Filipinos on their campaign for rural transformation, the Korea Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) Center based at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) emphasized the values that have helped Korea become one of the world’s richest countries. Dr. Jeong Taek Lee, KOPIA director, said in a recent seminar that self-help, diligence, and cooperation, led to the success of Saemaul Undong, a rural transformation movement spearheaded by President Park Jeong Hee, which reduced the poverty from 34 to 6 percent of the population.
Under the movement, participating villages were given free raw materials to build community structures such as houses and infrastructures such as roads, bridges, buildings, and irrigation systems. Following Saemaul Undong, which was said to be the basis of the Korean economy’s resurgence in the 1970s, KOPIA promotes the strategy to help the Philippines achieve rice self-sufficiency.
In the Philippines, KOPIA helps Filipino farmers increase their income by giving more than 600 bags of good seeds to farmer cooperatives in Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, and Bohol. Among the sites, Nueva Ecija has the highest yield of 10t/ha.
Lee said that by practicing the values, “there is no doubt that the Philippines can also transform its rural communities as long as the Filipinos embrace the same spirit of self-help, diligence, and cooperation.”Meanwhile, Ronan Zagado, campaign leader of PhilRice’s Rural Transformation Movement said that rural transformation can also be achieved through proper social mobilization.
“Currently, PhilRice has conducted an intensive campaign to enable positive and relevant change not only in farmers’ but also in researchers’ and extension workers’ perceptions, attitudes, practices, and life chances. Rice-based agriculture is the driver of inclusive and sustainable growth in rural and farming areas,” Zagado said.

 Download/View On-Line the above News in pdf format,just click the following link