Wednesday, May 13, 2015

13th May (Wednesday), 2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Why is China Barring Cross Border Rice Imports from Vietnam?

May 12, 2015
The Chinese authorities have reportedly tightened control over unofficial rice imports from Vietnam since mid-April this year and there has been no respite so far, according to local sources. During the last week of April, local sources reported that nearly 30,000 tons of rice is understood to be stuck at border gates and faces risk of decay as it is exposed to all kinds of weather conditions.Experts say, the inherent logic behind the Chinese adopting such a strategy is to put a downward pressure on Vietnamese rice prices. They say China, which has a huge demand for rice, cannot refuse rice from Vietnam. They noted that China has been importing rice from Cambodia though it has stopped importing rice from Vietnam. This proves that China still needs rice to meet local demand.
A leading Vietnamese rice expert told local sources that Vietnamese rice exporters often prefer cross-border exports because of lesser quality checks at the borders. He says they often sell the low-quality rice variety 50404 at low prices via borders to Chinese importers. They cannot sell this rice through official channels due to low quality. He expressed doubt if the Chinese authorities are taking advantage of the Vietnamese exporters' situation.Another rice market analyst suggested that Vietnamese rice exporters should not bend to the Chinese strategies. “Vietnam needs to take initiative in the trade with China. It must not entreat favors. Chinese want Vietnam’s rice because it cannot find better suppliers,” he was quoted as saying.
However, exporters told local sources that the Chinese authorities are keen on collecting tax on rice imports from Vietnam. The Chinese importers are understood to prefer importing rice through borders rather than through official channels to cut costs. For instance, if they import rice through official channels, they need to pay an extra amount of about $160 per ton, including a quota fee of $80 per ton, VAT and import tax. That means, for Viet 5% rice, which costs $355 per ton will cost importers about $515 per ton.The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) data shows that of the 6.3 million tons of rice exported by Vietnam last year, nearly 2 million tons had been exported through borders.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Continue to Tumble as USDA S&D Increases Carryover Stocks for Both Old and New Crop

May 12, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery settled 16.5 cents per cwt (about $4 per ton) lower at $9.445 per cwt (about $208 per ton). The other grains finished the day lower following the release of what was interpreted as a bearish USDA S&D update; Soybeans closed about 1.9% lower at $9.5550 per bushel; wheat finished about 0.1% lower at $4.8050 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.3% lower at $3.5700 per bushel.U.S. stocks traded mildly lower, paring sharp losses on Tuesday as investors found some relief from a slight recovery in the bond market. Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly turned positive and traded about 5 points lower after plunging 180 points in the open. In the first of three bond auctions for the week, the Treasury Department auctioned $24 billion of 3-year notes at a high yield of 1%. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was the highest since February. The Dow transports briefly fell more than 1 percent, with all constituents under pressure as oil extended gains on OPEC's forecast for increased demand.
The rise came despite Goldman Sachs' morning note that said the rally in oil prices was premature and itself preventing a decrease in oversupply. Analysts said the U.S. bond market movements was mostly triggered by the selloff in German government debt. The 10-year bund yield traded near 0.68%, a 22% increase for 2015 but still 13% below 6-month highs. European equities slid on Tuesday, with the benchmark German DAX index about 2% lower. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday called on lenders to break an impasse in cash-for-reform talks. Earlier, Greece emptied an emergency IMF holding account to repay 750 million euros ($839 million) due to the international lender, a Greek central bank official said in a Reuters report. The move avoided default but underscored the dire state of the country's finances. San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams said in prepared remarks for a Harvard Club address that raising rates "a bit earlier" allows the Fed to increase rates more gradually.
 Of the little economic data due Tuesday, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed job openings down slightly and new hires little changed in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 5 points, or 0.03%, at 18,099. The S&P 500 traded down 3 points, or 0.13%, at 2,102, with materials leading seven sectors lower and energy leading three sectors higher. The Nasdaq traded down 3 points, or 0.07%, at 4,990. Gold is trading about 0.7% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 1.8% higher, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.5% lower at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Monday, there were 645 contracts traded, up from 436 contracts traded on Friday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Monday increased by 24 contracts to 11,095.

FAO Estimates Malaysia 2014-15 Rice Imports to Increase to Over 1.1 Million Tons

May 12, 2015
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates Malaysia 2014-15 (July - June) rice imports to increase to over 1.1 million tons and increase to average level from last year's low level due to strong consumption demand and the government's efforts to replenish stocks. In 2014, Malaysia's rice imports increased about 24% y/y from their below-average level in 2013.It estimates Malaysia's total cereal imports, including rice, to increase about 6% to around 6.4 million from around 5.99 million tons last year.
The FAO estimates Malaysia's 2015 paddy rice production at a record 2.6 million tons (around 1.69 million tons, basis milled), slightly above last year's production of about 2.5 million tons (around 1.62 million tons, basis milled) due to favorable weather conditions and continued government support to the rice sector, including subsidies for agricultural inputs.USDA estimates Malaysia to produce about 2.769 million tons of paddy (around 1.8 million tons, basis milled) and import around one million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (January 2015 - December 2015).
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,

FAO Forecasts Laos 2015 Paddy Rice Production to Increase 3% y/y to 3.4 Million Tons

May 12, 2015
The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) forecasts Laos 2015 paddy rice production at around 3.4 million tons (around 2.1 million tons, basis milled), up about 3% from last year's average level of around 3.3 million tons (around 2 million tons, basis milled) last year.In April, the FAO reported that planting of the 2015 main (wet) season paddy crop (May - December) will begin in mid-May and will continue till July.
According to USDA, usually Laos imports around 10,000 tons or rice to meet the local annual consumption demand of around 1.58 million tons. However, this year, FAO forecasts Laos to be self-sufficient in rice production without the need to import rice.Laos is in fact aiming to increase rice production by around one million tons and become an exporter of rice by 2015.
Description: Description: estimates Laos' MY 2014-15 (January 2014 - December 2014) paddy rice production to increase about 5.8% to around 2.46 million tons (around 1.55 million tons, basis milled) from an estimated 2.325 million tons (around 1.465 million tons, basis milled) in MY 2013-14. It estimates Laos to import around 10,000 tons of rice in 2015, down about 50% from last year.

FAO Forecasts Sri Lanka Rice Imports to Return to Average Levels in 2015

May 12, 2015
The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is forecasting Sri Lanka's rice imports to return to normal level in 2015 due to an expected recovery in this year's rice production. It estimates Sri Lanka's 2015 rice imports at around 150,000 tons, down about 75% from last year's high level.The FAO has forecasted Sri Lanka's total paddy at around 4.1 million tons in 2015 (around 2.7 million tons, basis milled), up about 21% from an estimated 3.4 million tons (around 2.3 million tons, basis milled) in 2014.
Description: Description: of the 2015 main season Maha rice crop (September - March), which accounts for about 65% of annual production, was completed in April. The FAO estimates output from this crop at around 2.7 million tons (around 1.78 million tons, basis paddy), up about 19% from last year's 2.27 million tons (around 1.5 million tons, basis paddy) due to a recovery in planted area as well as adequate supply of irrigation water. Planting for the 2015 secondary season Yala crop (March - September) is underway.
Rice prices continued to decline in April 2015 due to increasing supplies from the 2014-15 main season harvest as well as increased imports in hte previous months. Average retail rice prices stood at around Rs.70,490 (around $530) per ton in April 2015, down about 4% from around Rs.73,410 (around $550) per ton in March 2015.USDA estimates Sri Lanka to produce around 2.85 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 4.19 million tons, basis paddy) and import around 120,000 tons in MY 2014-15 (October 2014 - September 2015).

FAO Estimates Myanmar to Export 760,000 Tons of Rice in 2014-15; Nearly Half of USDA Estimate of 1.6 Million Tons

May 12, 2015
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts Myanmar's 2014-15 (July - June) rice exports at around 760,000 tons, up about 9% from around 697,248 tons in 2013-14. It estimates Myanmar's 2014-15 total cereal exports at around 1.4 million tons.
The FAO estimates Myanmar's 2015 aggregate paddy production at around 29.2 million tons (18.69 million tons, basis milled), up about 1% from around 28.9 million tons (18.5 million tons, basis milled) in 2014. Planting for the 2015 main (wet) season rice crop, which accounts for about 80% of the annual production is currently underway and the FAO expects normal weather conditions.
Wholesale price of Emata rice, the most commonly used variety, increased for the fifth consecutive month in April due to strong border trade with China. They were also above their year-ago levels.USDA estimates Myanmar to produce around 12.15 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 18.98 million tons, basis paddy) and import around 1.6 million tons in MY 2014-15 (January 2015 - December 2015).

India Gurus Advise Rice Farmers to Prepare for Insufficient Rains, as Australian Weather Service Projects El Nino

May 12, 2015
This year’s monsoon rains in India may be below normal.  So far, India’s weather service has projected the season rains will start on schedule, June 1. However, Australia’s weather service today declared that this year will see a strong El Nino for the first time since 2010 and a strong El Nino is typically associated with below normal monsoon rains in India.In India, the Sikh religion's gurudwaras, are pitching advice to paddy farmers on which crops to plant and encouraging them to conserve water in the Kharif (summer/fall) crop season to equip themselves for a potentially weak monsoon this year.
In addition, India’s Punjab state officials are working with researchers, millers and exporters to provide technical and advisory services to farmers.Gurudwaras are seen as one of the viable means to communicate with the farmers and crop sermons have become regular to enlighten the farmers during gurudwara sessions. Exporters and millers are pushing farmers to cultivate short-duration basmati as it takes fewer days for production and consume less water than the regular rice paddy. In light of weak or unpredictable rains this year, it has become necessary to provide in advance short-duration and drought-resistant seed varieties to farmers. Efforts are being made to send timely messages to farmers on types of seeds to purchase locations to procure seed, and exact quantity to plant per hectare. Farmers are also being advised to defer paddy transplanting by a week to June 15.India’s weather office is expected to provide its next monsoon projections on May 15.

Korea-Canada FTA Excludes Rice from Duty Concessions, Says USDA Post

May 12, 2015

The Korea-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into effect from January 1, 2015 excludes rice from duty concessions, according to the USDA Post. Beef (frozen/carcass and half carcass), chicken (frozen),  duck (frozen), skim whole milk powder, cheese, pine mushroom, shiitake, chestnut, tangerine, ginseng, red pepper paste and leaf tobacco are other products that are excluded from duty concessions under the FTA.
Approximately 97.5% of all products traded between Canada and Korea are set to become duty-free in the next ten years. Specifically, 98.7% of Canada's imports from Korea and 98.4% of Korea's imports from Canada will become duty-free in the next ten years.
Korea is a major importer of wheat from Canada and the FTA is expected to increase the competitiveness of Canadian milling wheat in Korea as the import duty is understood to go down from 1.8% to zero. Similarly Canadian pork is expected to become competitive in Korea as the import duty may go down by about 2-5%, and Canadian rapeseed oil is expected to dominate the Korean market as the duty is reduced to zero from 10%.
The government of South Korea has opened its rice import market from the beginning of this year ending its 20-year import quota system. It decided to impose a 513% tariff on rice imports over and above its mandatory rice imports of 408,700 tons under the World Trade Organization (WTO) minimum market access (MMA) quota. The government is keen on protecting the local rice market from cheap imports.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Softer Market as Old Crop Long Grain Ending Stocks Inch Higher; 2015/16 Ending Stocks More Than Double y/y

May 12, 2015
The U.S. cash market was slightly weaker today after the USDA WASDE report showed a bearish outlook for U.S. long grain prices but a more favorable global outlook .Today the USDA increased their old crop long grain ending stocks by 0.5 million cwts (22,680 tons) on account of increased long grain imports which in turn pegged ending stocks at 28.1 million cwts (1.27 million tons).
As for new crop, the USDA pegged long grain production at 162.0 million cwts (7.35 million tons), down 0.4 million cwts (18,144 tons) from than last year, imports at 21.0 million cwts, up 0.5 million cwts (22,680 tons) from last year, and exports at 76.0 million cwts (3.45 million tons), up 3.0 million cwts (136,078 tons) from last year, and domestic and residual usage at 101.0 million cwts (4.58 million tons), also up 3.0 million cwts (136,078 tons) from last year.This is in turn put next year’s long grain ending stocks at 34.1 million cwts (1.55 million ton) or 6.0 million cwts (0.27 million tons)  more than last year and 17.9 million cwts (0.81 million tons) more than the 2013/2014 marketing year. 

Thailand Rice Sellers Lower Some of Their Quotes; Vietnam Rice Quotes Mixed Today

May 12, 2015
Thailand rice sellers lowered their quotes for parboiled rice by about $5 per ton to around $370 - $380 per ton today . Vietnam rice sellers increased their quotes for Jasmine rice by about $10 per ton to around $490-$500 per ton and lowered their quotes for 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton to around $305 - $315 per ton. 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.
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.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $370 - $380 per ton, down about a $5 per ton from yesterday. 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 $10 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $305 - $315 per ton, down about a $5 per ton from yesterday. 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.

Vietnam's Rice Exports to Africa May Recover in 2015, Says MOIT

May 12, 2015
Vietnam's rice exports to Africa, which declined about 58% y/y in 2014, are showing signs of recovery, according to the Department of Africa, West Asia and South Asia Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).Based on the export data for the first quarter of 2015, the Department noted that Vietnam's rice exports to African countries such as Ghana, Ivory Coast and South Africa have increased considerably in this year. It noted that total rice exports to African destinations so far this year have earned about $67 million in the first three months of this year.
According to USDA data, Vietnam's rice exports to African countries declined to around 772,537 tons in 2014 from around 1.83 million tons in 2013 due to a stiff competition with Thailand and India. However, Vietnam's rice exports to Africa in the first three months of 2015 stand at around 164,255 tons, a 95% increase from around 84,289 tons exported during the same time last year.Ministry sources told local reporters that the Department has submitted to MOIT a plan to further increase rice exports to Africa. The plan includes opening bonded warehouses in Africa's major markets such as Angola, Ivory Coast and Cameroon. The Department is reportedly keen on increasing direct exports to these markets while avoiding intervention of third party promotion. If the plan is approved, local sources say, Vietnam's rice exports to African destinations may surge further this year.
The Ministry has also reportedly advised exporters to focus on selling high-quality rice products as part of efforts to build a rice brand name for the country.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.Last month, the government lowered the floor price (minimum export price) of the lower quality 25% broken rice exports to around $340 per month, down about 3% from around $350 per ton due to subdued demand for Vietnamese rice.

Thailand Plans to Seal More G2G Contracts in 2015, Says Government Spokesperson

Description: Description: 12, 2015
The government of Thailand is planning to seal more government-to-government (G2G) contracts with foreign partners as part of efforts to promote Thai rice, according to local sources.Government Spokesperson told local sources that the Commerce Ministry is working towards stabilizing rice prices and increasing exports. The Commerce Minister is leading a delegation of rice exporters to various countries and organizing marketing campaigns and sales activities to persuade the respective governments to buy Thai rice.Responding to the private sector's concerns over relatively high prices of Thai rice, he noted that Thai rice is still in high demand despite relatively high prices.
He added that increasing supplies from Vietnam and India have led to a decline in their prices while Thai rice prices have remained firm due to drought and a stronger baht.He also encouraged rice producers to improve the rice quality amid growing demand for high quality rice both domestically and globally.Separately, the Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade told reporters that the Department would decide over resuming rice sales from stockpiles after the Rice Policy Committee meeting on May 18, according to Bloomberg. The government had stopped rice sales from stockpiles to avoid fall in prices.The Thai government is confident of eporting over 10 million tons of rice this year despite the lingering concerns over prices and subdued demand. Thailand exported 3.3 million tons of rice between January  and April 2015, down about 1.3% from around 3.8 million tons exported during the same period last year, according to the TREA.  

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures Continue to Slip as Market Faces Lack of Demand

May 12, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery are currently seen trading 6.5 cent per cwt (about $1 per ton) higher at $9.545 per cwt (about $210 per ton) during early floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading mostly higher; soybeans are currently seen about 0.4% higher, wheat is listed about 1% higher and corn is currently noted 0.3% lower.U.S. stocks traded sharply lower on Tuesday as the continued gains in bond yields kept investors on edge. Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly lost more than 150 points in the open. The major indices declined, with the Nasdaq off 1%.
The S&P 500 also fell more than half a percent as information technology led 9 sectors lower. Earlier, the Dow futures briefly fell about 140 points. European equities slid in trade on Tuesday, with the benchmark German DAX index around 2.2% lower. Greece emptied an emergency IMF holding account to repay 750 million euros ($839 million) due to the international lender, a Greek central bank official said in a Reuters report. The move avoided default but underscored the dire state of the country's finances.
The selloff in bonds, which paused last Thursday and Friday, accelerated Monday afternoon and continued into Tuesday's morning trade. Despite the decline in equities, most analysts note that the major indices remain near records and are confident in the stock market's longer-term ability to move higher. Gold is currently trading about 0.7% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 1% higher,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.7% lower at 9:15am Chicago time

Vietnam Rice Exports to Asian Destinations Increase Five Fold in March 2015

May 12, 2015

Description: Description: has exported around 613,164 tons of rice in March 2015, about 3.3 times more from around 182,400 tons exported in February 2015, and up about 4% from around 590,329 tons exported in March 2014, according to USDA. While share of Vietnam's rice exports to Asia, Africa and Americas increased m/m in March 2015, its share of exports to Europe and Australia declined m/m during the month.

Asia accounted for around 536,838 tons (about 87.5% of total rice exports by Vietnam in March 2015), about 5 times more than 112,818 tons exported in February 2015 and up about 16% from around 464,111 tons exported in March 2014.

Vietnam exported around 34,545 tons of rice to Africa (about 6% of total March 2015 exports), about two times more from around 14,798 tons exported in February 2015, and down about 27% from around 47,297 tons exported in March 2014.

Vietnam exported around 37,255 tons of rice to American destinations (about 6% of March 2015 exports), up about 11% from around 33,587 tons exported in February 2015, and down about 41% from around 62,726 tons exported in March 2014.

Vietnam's exports to Australia (about 0.2% of March 2015 exports) declined by about 56% to around 1,618 tons in March 2015 from around 3,659 tons exported in February 2015 and declined by about 7% from around 1,745 tons exported in March 2014.

Vietnam's exports to Europe and CIS countries (about 0.4% of total March 2015 exports) accounted for around 2,908 tons, about 83% lower than around 17,538 tons exported in February 2015 and about 80% below than around 14,450 tons exported in March 2014.

Description: Description: terms of grade, 5% broken rice exports accounted for around 100,567 tons (or, about 16% of total March 2015 exports); Jasmine rice exports accounted for around 71,220 tons (or, about 12% of total March 2015 exports); 15% broken rice exports accounted for around 179,782 tons (or, about 29% of total exports in March 2015); 25% broken rice exports accounted for around 114,635 tons (or, about 19% of total exports in March 2015); glutinous rice exports accounted for around 35,328 tons (or, about 6% of total March 2015 exports); and 10%, 100% and other varieties accounted for around 111,632 tons (or, about 18% of total exports in March 2015).

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12th May (Tuesday), 2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

New Zealand customs seizes $360,000 smuggled drugs

WELLINGTON: Customs has stopped a $360,000 supply of a “date rape” drug from hitting our streets. In one of the biggest busts of its kind in New Zealand, officials intercepted 51 litres of the Class B controlled drug gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) at Auckland International Airport.Known as “coma in a bottle”, the synthetic colourless, odourless liquid has been used as a date-rape drug, with ingestion causing drowsiness and disorientation. It has been linked to at least one death.Manager of Customs’ Investigation Unit, Maurice O’Brien, said the interception was a major success story in the fight against drugs.“Bearing in mind this stuff is used by 1ml to 2ml at a time, we’re talking up to 51,000ml,” he said.“Although the estimated street value is high at $360,000, our focus is more the harm it does to society.“We’re very happy that we’ve intercepted it and stopped it going through into the community.”

El Nino has emerged, Asia braces for crop damage

Tue May 12, 2015 12:36pm IST SYDNEY | 
Drought affected land is seen in the Las Canoas dam near San Francisco Libre July 18, 2014.

In 2009, the El Nino brought the worst drought in four decades to India. It razed wheat fields in Australia and damaged crops across Asia. Food prices surged. A closely watched forecast by Japan on Tuesday confirmed its return this year.A strong El Nino will roil economies that are heavily dependent on agriculture, particularly India which is already reeling from bad weather. It would also unhinge supply chains of commodities such as rice, corn and palm oil. In fact, the heat is already up in some places in the Asia Pacific."We've already been hit by a three-month dry spell. We could not plant anything since January. All of us here in Taculen are praying for more rains," said Benny Ramos, a rice farmer in North Cotabato in southern Philippines.Prayers for rains in Asia, however, may not be answered as weather forecasts show an intensifying El Nino has set in.
The El Nino, or a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, can lead to scorching weather across Asia and east Africa but heavy rains and floods in South America.This year, the El Nino arrived in spring and is likely to continue into autumn, said the Japan Meteorological Agency, which was the first bureau to project the emergence of an El Nino in 2015.Forecasts in May tend to be more accurate as weather models become more dependable here onwards, said Paul Deane, senior agricultural economist at ANZ Bank, Melbourne."Now we are getting to a point that you start having more confidence in those models," he said.Grain prices have, however, not yet factored in the threat to supplies from an El Nino, largely because similar calls for bad weather in 2014 did not come to pass. In fact, good crops replenished stocks last year.In the absence of a weather premium, prices of grains such as wheat and rice remain near multi-month lows. Wheat futures Wc1, down a fifth so far this year, are near five-year lows, while Asia rice RI-THBKN5-P1 is at its weakest since June.The last El Nino led to tens of billions of dollars in economic damages in the Asia Pacific. This year, a strong El Nino could take an even bigger toll in certain countries, analysts said.
For India, it would be a double whammy.
Dozens of farmers have already committed suicide in India after damage from unseasonal rains this year. Now if the summer rains are below normal, rural discontent will deepen.The monsoons are vital for India as half its croplands lack irrigation while the farm sector accounts for 14 percent of its economy. India's weather bureau has forecast weaker rainfall this year, citing a 70 percent El Nino probability."Crops like soybean and cotton are under El Nino watch for being sown mainly in rainfed conditions," said K.K. Singh, the head of agricultural meteorology division of the Indian weather office. "El Nino looms large over soybean areas of the central parts and cotton belts of the western and the northern regions."Fewer domestic soybeans, which are crushed to produce soyoil, will prompt the world's No.1 edible oil importer to buy more palm oil from top producers Indonesia and Malaysia.India's rice crop would also be hit.While the No.2 rice exporter could use its record-high stocks to meet a local shortfall, it would leave less available for sales at a time when demand could rise from countries like the Philippines.More than half of the provinces in the Philippines, one of the world's top rice importers, are already suffering from dryness which has curbed its rice output.


Early signs of El Nino also emerged on Australia's east coast, with a poor end to the wet season in Queensland and a dry autumn in Victoria, said ANZ's Deane.Australia's high protein wheat output could suffer as an El Nino brings below-average late winter and spring rainfall to the east coast. Spring rains in September are vital for wheat yields in the fourth-biggest exporter of the grain.Australia's weather bureau, which in April projected at least a 70 percent chance of an El Nino emerging from July, on Tuesday said the weather pattern had already formed and that models indicated a "substantial" event.

The other countries bracing for an El Nino are China, Indonesia and Malaysia. China typically escapes the fury of El Nino, but it is still on guard for its corn crop, which needs a lot of water, said Ma Wenfeng, analyst at Beijing Orient Agri-business Consultant Co.For the Southeast Asian countries, concerns are about palm.Although the impact of a dry spell on oil palm trees will be felt later, rising Indian demand and fears of tight supply should drive up prices of the tropical oil. Palm prices 1FCPOc3 soared 57 percent in 2009, partly due to El Nino.

Palm yields may be hit if it is really dry because that will hurt the fruits, but otherwise if an El Nino emerges in June, the effect will only be seen nine to 12 months later, said Roy Lim, group plantations director at planter Kuala Lumpur Kepong.(Additional reporting by Ho Binh Minh in HANOI, Colin Packham in SYDNEY, Ratnajyoti Dutta in NEW DELHI, Anuradha Raghu in KUALA LUMPUR, Dominique Patton in BEIJING, Kaweewit Kaewjinda in BANGKOK, Erik Dela Cruz in Manila and Yuka Obayashi in TOKYO; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Indonesia will likely import rice, to decide by June: Minister

PUBLISHED ON MAY 12, 2015 7:45 PM

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia will likely need to import rice but won't decide how much it will buy until around early June, a senior government official said on Tuesday. "Whether or not we will import, I think we will, but how much will be decided at the end of May or early June," said Chief Economics Minister Sofyan Djalil when asked by reporters if Indonesia will buy foreign rice.Indonesia has in the past imported 1 million to 2 million tonnes of rice in a year, usually from Thailand or Vietnam.


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

Vietnam's rice exports down in first 4 months: statistics

Xinhua News Agency
May 12, 2015 This article was produced by the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China. Xinhua describes itself as the "information organ of the central government." Given China’s size and importance, GlobalPost publishes Xinhua’s press feed as a resource for its readers and makes no claims as to journalistic accuracy.

Farmers of organic rice are paid at least 20 per cent more for their produce than farmers of ordinary rice. Photo supplied


Vietnam's rice exports down in first 4 months: statistics
HANOI, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's rice exports saw decrease of 0.5 percent in volume and 5 percent in value in the first four months of 2015, said Vietnam Industry and Trade Information Center (VITIC) on Tuesday.Specifically, during the period, Vietnam exported some 2.04 million tons of rice, earning 889 million U.S. dollars, reported VITIC, an agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).Average price of Vietnamese rice during four-month period also experienced a year-on-year decrease of 5.1 percent to 437 U.S. dollars per ton.The MoIT's Export and Import Department attributed the drop in Vietnamese rice exports to abundant supply and fierce competition in world rice market.

Huynh The Nang, head of Vietnam Southern Food Corporation ( Vinafood 2) said on VITIC on Tuesday that the Philippines, one of major Vietnam's rice importers, has bought some 300,000 tons of rice so far in 2015. Vietnam is expected to export some more 500, 000 tons of rice to the market this year.Nang assessed that Vietnam's rice export market can be vibrant again in June-July this year as the country is negotiating for more rice exports to Malaysia.In the short term, Vietnamese rice may rely on its price competitiveness in order to gain contracts of exporting rice to Southeast Asian nations, said Nang.Vietnam exported some 7.5 million tons of rice in 2014 via both official and cross-border export transactions, said VITIC.In 2015, the country targeted to export 7-7.5 million tons of rice. Currently, Vietnamese rice has been present in 135 countries and regions worldwide, according to Export and Import Department.


Should Cambodian rice go organic or focus on mass production?

Tue, 12 May 2015

While the government pushes for an increase in the exportation of rice, individual Cambodian farmers may benefit the most from growing high-quality aromatic organic rice, which has won the first prize in World Best Quality Rice Competition numerous times.For three consectuive years, Cambodia has been champoined as the country capable of producing the world’s highest quality rice. Kun Pidou – as the aromatic smell of the rice is called in Khmer – may be a chance to promote natural, agricultural products – especially rice – in the regional and international markets on a larger scale.

However, the government’s ambition to export one million tons of rice on the whole seems to be encountering obstacles. Business people in the rice sector lack the investment capital while farmers lack proper technical support.In the first four months of 2015, Cambodian rice exportation only reached 201,183 tons, according to a report from Cambodian Rice Exports Association.Even so, Dr Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development of Agriculture, (CEDAC) said he believed that Cambodia seems to have more ability to compete in the organic market.Over three million hectares of rice fields are spread out over Cambodia, of which 10 to 20 per cent were not chemically treated, according to Dr Yang.

“That land has potential to produce organic rice and other organic crops,”he said.CEDAC has taught thousands of farmers about organic products and how to increase yields over the past few years. However, high numbers of farmers attend seminars for organic planting, less then half follow through with the method.“To transform rice fields into a natural or organic land, we have to reduce chemical fertilizers or pesticides for three years and replace them with fertilizers and pesticides composed of plant extractions instead,” he explained.This three-year transition process was what was affecting farmers’ daily lives in some of the biggest provinces, as they needed more yields to sell in the market in order to make income.

“In order to get the proper amount of organic product, the land needs to meet specific rice type, harvesting and plantation methods, transportation and stock conditions,” Dr Yang said.“Generally, organic rice is worth at least 10 per cent more than ordinary rice, and organic fruits and vegetables cost even more,” he added.
Cambodian Farmer Rice (CFR) president Khim Bunlene said his new company focuses its business on supplying rice into local markets, such as Phnom Penh.“Natural rice products by CFR sell for a 20 per cent higher price than others,” Khim said.It is a good market and is not hard to sell, because most customers know the price and the benefits of natural rice quality.”Bunlene added that among their 1,500 clients, more than half prefered and ordered naturally grown rice. “We have a high demand for natural rice products from our customers. We almost sell out completely from our stores, which is why we haven’t thought about conquering the export market yet.”“The natural rice products that we buy from producers cost 20 per cent more than normal rice,” Bunlene added.Both Dr Yang, an expert of organic agriculture, and Khim, an organic seller, are proud of the organic rice seed produced by Khmer farmers. They seem to agree that many provinces, in both North and North-East Cambodia have a large amount of paddy rice fields able to produce natural rice products.

To make Dr Yang’s dream a reality, CEDAC has been conducting analyses on the organic agricultural community by having expert observers take notes on every process from planting to harvesting to transporting the product into stores.“Both the national and international monitoring team of CEDAC experts give certifications to famers who are producing rice according to the organic method,” Dr Yang said. “Members in the organic community increased to 500 families in 2014. This figure will double in 2015.”One of CEDAC’s initiatives is to set up a new guide line called “Sethey Srok Sre – Millionaire Farmers” in 2022, which means that farmers will become some of the richest families with high living standards through sustainable farming and good health that accompanies organic farming principles. To ensure the rather ambitious – if not utopian – project moves forward and reaches its target, CEDAC will launch a book which features the organic agricultural method – which shall eventually lead to “Millionaire Farmers”

CORRECTED-Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- May 12

Nagpur, May 12 Gram and tuar prices showed weak tendency in Nagpur Agriculture
Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) here on poor demand from local millers amid release of
stock from stockists. Fresh fall on NCDEX in gram, good overseas tuar arrival and easy condition
in Madhya Pradesh pulses also pulled down prices, according to sources.

               *            *              *              *

   * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.

   * Tuar gavarani declined further in open market on poor buying support from local
     traders amid ample stock in ready position.
   * Lakhodi dal and watana varieties firmed up again in open market on good marriage
     season demand from local traders amid weak supply from producing regions.

   * Wheat Sharbadi best and medium varieties reported strong in open market on increased
     seasonal demand from local traders amid thin supply from producing belts.
   * In Akola, Tuar - 7,200-7,500, Tuar dal - 10,000-10,500, Udid at 9,100-9,600,
     Udid Mogar (clean) - 10,900-11,300, Moong - 9,100-9,400, Moong Mogar
    (clean) 10,900-11,300, Gram - 4,300-4,600, Gram Super best bold - 6,200-6,400
     for 100 kg.

   * Other varieties of wheat, rice and other commodities remained steady in open market
     in poor trading activity, according to sources.
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg

     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  
     Gram Auction                   3,700-4,580         3,700-4,640
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                5,500-7,080         5,500-7,130
     Moong Auction                n.a.                6,000-6,300
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Gram Super Best Bold            6,500-6,700        6,500-6,700
     Gram Super Best            n.a.               
     Gram Medium Best            6,300-6,400        6,300-6,400
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Mill Quality            5,500-5,700        5,500-5,700
     Desi gram Raw                4,600-4,700         4,600-4,700
     Gram Filter new            6,100-6,200        6,100-6,200
     Gram Kabuli                5,000-6,800        5,000-6,800
     Gram Pink                6,300-6,500        6,300-6,500
     Tuar Fataka Best             10,500-10,800        10,500-10,800
     Tuar Fataka Medium             10,000-10,300        10,000-10,300
     Tuar Dal Best Phod            9,500-9,800        9,500-9,800
     Tuar Dal Medium phod            9,000-9,400        9,000-9,400
     Tuar Gavarani New             7,650-7,750        7,700-7,800
     Tuar Karnataka             7,900-8,000        7,900-8,000
     Tuar Black                 10,700-11,000           10,700-11,000
     Masoor dal best            7,400-7,600        7,400-7,600
     Masoor dal medium            6,900-7,300        6,900-7,300
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold               11,000-11,500       11,000-11,500
     Moong Mogar Medium best        10,200-10,600        10,200-10,600
     Moong dal Chilka            9,200-9,800        9,200-9,800
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            9,500-9,900        9,500-9,900
     Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG)    11,100-11,500       11,100-11,500
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    9,800-10,500        9,800-10,500
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        8,400-8,800        8,400-8,800
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        4,400-4,600        4,400-4,600
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)           3,200-3,350         3,000-3,250
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)        3,200-3,450        3,050-3,300
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)        2,450-2,625         2,400-2,500
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,700-4,800        3,600-4,800
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,500-1,800        1,500-1,800
     Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG)    1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)        1,500-1,700           1,500-1,700
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,250-2,550        2,250-2,550
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)    2,100-2,350        2,100-2,350
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,200-3,750        3,100-3,500
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,700-3,000        2,600-2,900
     Wheat 147 (100 INR/KG)        1,400-1,500        1,400-1,500
     Wheat Best (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,200        2,000-2,200    
     Rice BPT New(100 INR/KG)        2,500-2,800        2,500-2,800
     Rice BPT (100 INR/KG)               3,000-3,300        3,000-3,300
     Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG)        1,600-1,800        1,600-1,800
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)      2,100-2,400        2,100-2,400
     Rice Swarna old (100 INR/KG)      2,500-2,700        2,500-2,700
     Rice HMT new(100 INR/KG)        3,300-3,700        3,300-3,700
     Rice HMT (100 INR/KG)               4,000-4,400        4,000-4,400
     Rice HMT Shriram New(100 INR/KG)    4,200-4,500        4,200-4,500
     Rice HMT Shriram old (100 INR/KG)    4,600-5,200        4,600-5,200    
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    8,000-10,000        8,000-10,000
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    6,000-7,500        6,000-7,500
     Rice Chinnor new (100 INR/KG)    4,600-5,200        4,600-5,200
     Rice Chinnor (100 INR/KG)        5,600-6,000        5,600-6,000
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,100-2,200        2,100-2,200
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)        2,300-2,450        2,300-2,450

Maximum temp. 42.0 degree Celsius (107.6 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp.
23.3 degree Celsius (73.9 degree Fahrenheit)
Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a.
Rainfall : 0.2 mm
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Rains or thunder-showers likely towards evening or night. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 43 and 23 degree Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available

(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, butincluded in market prices.)


Thai rice producers urged to improve rice quality

Rice producers urged to improve rice quality

BANGKOK, 12 May 2015 (NNT) – The Thai government is expected to take actions to promote rice exports, after global demand declined during the first quarter of this year.

The Department of International Trade Promotion said that the oversupply of rice from India and Vietnam in the global market has reduced the price and market share of Thai rice.Thailand has also been unable to grow more rice due to water shortages in many arable areas. The stronger baht has also affected the export of Thai rice, compared to neighboring nations.Spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office Yongyut Maiyalap has encouraged rice producers to improve rice quality, given the demand for high quality grains both domestically and globally.Many countries have continued to buy rice from Thailand, despite the sluggish global economy.

Govt to consider release of more stockpiled rice

 Petchanet Pratruangkrai

The Nation May 13, 2015 1:00 am
As rice farmers enter the end of the second-crop harvest, the government will soon consider reopening bidding for rice from its stockpiles - before the year's main harvest season begins in late August.
The plan to release more rice from the stockpiles is part of the government's goal to shift a total of 10 million tonnes from its warehouses over the course of this year.The warehouses currently hold about 16 million tonnes.Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said yesterday that after suspending the release of rice for the past few months, it was now time to reconsider further sales due to lower supply in the market."The Rice Policy Management Committee will next Monday consider whether to open the third round of rice bidding for this year. The government will carefully consider the impact on rice prices in the market, and will also consider other factors such as demand, and rice supplies by other countries," she explained.

Duangporn added that despite slowly releasing rice from the stockpiles, the government was maintaining its target for releasing 10 million tonnes of the crop this year.The department is also sticking to its forecast of pushing exports to 10 million tonnes this year, although exporters foresee lower shipments of between 8 million and 8.5 million tonnes.In the first four months of the year, Thailand exported about 3.3 million tonnes of rice, against 3.8 million tonnes in the same period last year.The department chief said that despite lower export volume so far this year, the emphasis was on shipping high-quality rice, including parboiled rice and jasmine rice, overseas sales of which had risen 6 per cent year on year in the period.To promote Thailand as supplier of the world's best-quality rice to the world market, the Commerce Ministry has organised the "Thailand Rice Convention 2015" next week under the theme "Think rice think Thailand…serving the best quality rice to the world".
Duangporn said the government would focus on increasing the value of Thai rice, which would enable the world market to recognise the Kingdom as not only a major supplier, but also as a supplier of good-quality rice.Thailand's efforts will also help increase food security in the world market, as it offers a full variety of rice grains to consumers anytime, anywhere and in any amount, she added.The convention, which takes place from May 19-21 at Impact Muang Thong Thani's Hall 4, will be chaired by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, while many experts in the rice industry will participate in the seminar.The convention is expected to attract more than 500 participants from 40 countries for an exchange of knowledge and views on rice and rice trading.International rice traders, millers and farmers will be among those attending.

Fed Govt unveils 2015 rice import allocations

NIGERIA’s rice import target  for this year has been reduced to 1.3 million metric tonnes.In a letter signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi A. Adesina, and addressed to the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, he said a domestic supply gap of 1.3 million MT was determined for 2015, down from 1.5 million in 2014.He said one million MT of this quota had 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 per cent and duty of 10 per cent.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 per cent and duty of 10 per cent.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 rice production and processing.

Under this year’s import quota, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, identified 22 companies that will receive quota allocations for 2015 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 is stated that certain criteria informed the trimming down of the number of companies from last year’s figure.It 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 (4) 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 3-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.


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World Rice Production 2015/2016

May 2015

This month the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the World Rice Production 2015/2016 will be 482.1 million metric tons, around 7.51 million tons more than the previous month's projection.
Rice Production last year (*) was 475.69 million tons. This year's 482.1 estimated million tons could represent an increase of 6.42 million tons or a 1.35% in rice production around the globe.

Rice Production by Country

(Values in Metric Tons)
China: 146,000,000
India: 104,000,000
Others: 40,500,000
Indonesia: 36,650,000
Bangladesh: 35,000,000
Vietnam: 28,200,000
Thailand: 19,800,000
Burma: 12,800,000
Philippines: 12,400,000
Brazil: 8,300,000
Japan: 7,900,000
United States: 6,954,000
Pakistan: 6,900,000
Cambodia: 4,900,000
Egypt: 4,600,000
Korea, South: 4,100,000
Nepal: 3,100,000
Next Update will be June 10, 2015.

President harvests V-2016 dry season rice FIELDS in crr

May 11, 2015

As part of the implementation of the country’s anti-hunger agenda, the Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh has led dry season harvest exercise at one of the vast rice fields cultivated in the Central River Region (CRR) south.The harvesting exercise, marked the beginning of the dry season harvesting of the Vision 2016 rice fields in the provincial communities paving way for engaging farmers on dry season farming in the rural country.The field is one of the biggest among the many Vision 2016 rice fields, which are specifically cultivated in that part of the country as part of the broad implementation of the Vision 2016 food self-sufficiency agenda. They are the only rice fields being harvested in the dry season in the country as at now in the context of The Gambia’s food self-sufficiency drive. The first harvest of the Vision 2016 rice farms was in November 2014.Friday afternoon harvesting exercise was his (the president) first engagement in that southern part of CRR since arrival on Thursday evening in Janjangbureh, the administrative headquarters of region, as part of his assessment on the progress of dry season agricultural activities and the state of preparedness for the rainy season cultivation in the context of the country’s anti hunger crusade sanctioned in 2013.Meanwhile, thousands of people had lined up the road to give President Jammeh and his entourage befitting welcome as well as to show solidarity and love for the president.

They are very appreciative of their leader’s agricultural initiatives, which have resulted to success stories today. Many of the farmers, who often render labour work on the fields, heaped praises on The Gambian leader for providing the necessary conditions, which has improved their livelihoods.
Since its launching in 2013, the V-2016 has been drawing wider support within and outside The Gambia with the overall idea of ending decades-long importation of food, especially rice into the country.
Pacharr rice field
Pacharr rice fields, which is being harvested for the second time since the start of Vision 2016 campaign, has long been experimented to serve as Gambia’s main food basket and has this year been turned into massive production sites by the president of the Republic to serve the very purpose of their existence.The Pacharr field covers about 1,105 hectares and between 1966 and 1969, a Chinese (Taiwan) agricultural team introduced rice cultivation via the method of irrigation on Janjanbureh Island. This initial enthusiasm soon faded and the project ran out of steam. Another Chinese team followed this in 1974-1975 that set up base at the Sapu Rice Research Station.In 1973, The Gambia government started its development project. In 1982, a rice irrigation project was started at the Jahali and Pacharr Smallholder Rice Development Fields involving 1,474 hectares.About 30 years later on May 8th this month, 2015, the field (Pacharr) yielded its second harvest, part of which the field has been left uncultivated after many years. It proved a resounding success with yields expecting to surpass all expectations.

Visit to Jakoto rice fields
From his second harvesting exercise on Friday, the president and his delegation on Saturday proceeded to potential fields and farmlands further into the Niamina where he inspected an ongoing laterite road construction which linked Jakoto and Kaur.The land area targeted for next season cultivation at Jakoto is measured at four thousand six hundred hectares (4600).Apart from the road construction, there are other series of ongoing land transformation works ongoing there.While inspecting the site, the president had made some observations on the nature of works being done on this road project and expressed his dissatisfaction for which the work is being carried out. The road as it is, very narrow, thus making it impossible for two motor vehicles to passed simultaneously. He thus urged the supervisor to expand the access road and build culverts and some subsidiary water passage to the rest of the field.

Visit to Sambang-Mandinka
From Jakoto, the president and delegation proceeded to Sambang-Mandinka also in the Niamina where he visited a vast land area suitable for large-scale rice cultivation. This land, according to the community, only a small portion is put under cultivation for many years due to access road and dwindling interest in rice cultivation by the community.

Visit and meeting
On Sunday, the president and delegation visited Janjangbureh and Pacharr fields in the Lower Fulladu and Janjangbureh constituencies before presiding over to another well-attended meeting organised by the APRC party supporters, militants and well-wishers in Brikamaba in the Lower Fulladu District.

More about Vision 2016
Since it has been launched, the Vision has been praised as one of the greatest interventions of the Jammeh administration in addressing food security and household poverty. It has received a tap on the back by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), following a visit to the country in 2014 by its president, Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze.“The Vision 2016 is an ambitious one, but of course it can be achieved. We have the leadership behind it, who has a strong conviction and support for agriculture particularly the smallholder and rural women. But it also calls for strengthening of institutions, consistency in policies, an enabling environment for the private sector, and massive investment on rural infrastructure,” Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze. was quoted as saying during his visit to the country in 2014 at the invitation of President Jammeh.
by Musa Ndow & Amadou Jallow in CRR

USDA Seeks Input From Growers About 2015 Crops   

And the survey says...
BATON ROUGE, LA -- During the first several weeks of June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct two major mid-year surveys, the June Agricultural Survey and the June Area Survey. The agency will survey farmers across the country to determine crop acreage and grain stocks on farms in 2015."Due to the widespread impact of its results, these two surveys provide the first clear indication of the potential production and supply of major commodities in the United States for the 2015 crop year," explained Becky Cross, Director of the NASS Delta Regional Office. NASS gathers the data for the agriculture survey online, by mail and/or by phone. For the June Area Survey, agency representatives will visit randomly selected tracts of land and interview the operators of any farm or ranch on that land.

Growers will provide information on crop acreage - including biotech crops-as well as grain stocks and other items."We recognize this is a hectic time for farmers and ranchers, but the information they provide is essential to everyone involved in U.S. agriculture," said Nathan Crisp, State Statistician from the NASS Louisiana field office. "I urge them to respond to these surveys and thank them for their cooperation."Crisp added, "NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state- and national-level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified."NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in a series of USDA reports, including the annual Acreage reportand quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released June 30, 2015. The survey data collected are also used in other NASS and USDA reports.All reports are available on the NASS website: For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Delta Regional Office at (800) 327-2970.

Contact:  Randy Jemison (337) 738-7009

WASDE Report Released     
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. 2015/16 all rice supplies are forecast up 3 percent from 2014/15 and total use is up 2 percent. This will lead to an 11 percent increase in 2015/16 ending stocks projected at 47.4 million cwt. Beginning stocks for 2015/16 are forecast at 42.9 million cwt. Projected 2015/16 imports at a record 24.5 million cwt. U.S. rice production for 2015/16 is projected at 219.0 million cwt. Long-grain production is projected at 162 million cwt, and combined medium- and short-grain production at 57million. All rice harvested area is estimated at 2.90 million acres. Long-grain harvested area is 2.19 million acres. Combined medium- and short-grain harvested area is 710,000 acres.

The drought-induced drop in California medium- and short-grain area has attracted more acres of medium-grain rice in the Delta where plantings in 2015 are projected up 3 percent. U.S. all rice average yield is projected at 7,562 pounds per acre, nearly the same as last year.U.S. 2015/16 all rice total use is projected at 239 million cwt with domestic and residual use at 131million and exports at 108 million. Long-grain rice exports are projected at 76 million cwt, and medium- and short-grain rice exports at 32 million. U.S. all rice ending stocks for 2015/16 are projected at 47.4 million cwt with long-grain ending stocks at 34.1 million cwt, and medium- and short-grain rice stocks at 11 million.

The U.S. 2015/16 long-grain rice season-average farm price is projected at $10.00 to $11.00 per cwt,compared to a revised $11.80 to $12.20 for the previous year. The medium- and short-grain price is projected at $17.80 to $18.80 per cwt, compared to a revised $17.80 to $18.20 for the year earlier. The2015/16 all rice price is projected at $12.30 to $13.30 per cwt, compared to a revised $13.20 to $13.60per cwt for 2014/15. The California medium- and short-grain price is expected to strengthen slightly, and the Other States price is unchanged from 2014/15.Global 2015/16 total rice ending stocks are expected to drop 6.9 million tons to 91.5 million tons with a stocks-to-use ratio of 18.7 percent, the lowest since 2006/07.

 World rice production is projected at a record 482.1 million tons. Global consumption is projected at a record 489.0 million tons. Global exports in 2015/16 are projected at 42.4 million tons. Exports in 2015/16 will be down from the previous year for India and Pakistan, but up for Burma, Cambodia, and the United States. Thailand's exports are unchanged at 11 million tons. Larger 2015/16 imports are projected for China and the Middle East. Global 2015/16 ending stocks are projected at 91.5 million tons, the lowest stocks since 2007/08. The global stocks-to-use ratio at 18.7 percent is the lowest since 2006/07. The largest year-to-year stocks reductions occur in India, Thailand, Indonesia, and China.

Read the complete report here.

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for May 12
Net Change

May 2015
- $0.160
July 2015
- $0.165
September 2015
- $0.160
November 2015
- $0.160
January 2016
- $0.160
March 2016
- $0.160
May 2016
- $0.160

New Missouri greenhouse to boost rice breeding

May 11, 2015Southeast Missouri Sate University | Delta Farm Press

Southeast Missouri State University and the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council are developing a rice breeding greenhouse to promote the creation of new high yielding rice varieties. (Photo: Southeast Missouri State University)

Architectural plans are being drawn for a new Rice Research Greenhouse at Southeast Missouri State University-Malden that is expected to broaden area rice breeding efforts spearheaded by the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council with support from Southeast’s Department of Agriculture.The 1,440-square-foot facility will help further new high-yielding rice varieties. Numerous classes will use the facility, including Plant Science, Soil Fertility and Weed Science.The $115,000 greenhouse is being funded in part with a $100,000 USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) targeted at supporting rice breeding research and developing new rice breeding techniques. USDA Rural Development officials say they are pleased about the significant benefits the project can provide to the residents and communities of southeast Missouri.“Through new rice breeding techniques, producers may experience improved quality and larger yields during harvest,” said Janie Dunning, rural development state director. “These rice production advancements could lead to an improved quality of life through increased agricultural revenue.”Mike Aide, chair of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture, said the award to construct a greenhouse research and laboratory space for producing public domain rice varies in southeast Missouri is a tremendous investment that will enhance regional and global cooperation among rice breeders in Missouri and other states.

 “Southeast Missouri State University and the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council are honored to develop the rice breeding greenhouse to promote the creation of new high yielding rice varieties to improve farm profitability across our nation,” Aide said.Once architectural designs are completed, the greenhouse project will be open for bids and a contractor will be hired to build the facility. Existing space will be renovated within the Harry L. Crisp Bootheel Education Center and added on to the rear of the building.

Donn Beighley, rice research fellow and rice breeder at Southeast, said it is important to build the greenhouse at the Malden regional campus because of its proximity to the Missouri Rice Research Farm, Southeast’s rice laboratory, and to Southeast’s regional campus in Kennett. Student enrollment is growing, he said, and Southeast believes the greenhouse will enhance those students’ knowledge and skills about plant breeding.“The students from the surrounding extended learning centers in Malden and Kennett will benefit by having hands-on experience with the plants they see grown in the surrounding fields and horticultural plants that they may not be exposed to otherwise as well as see how a plant breeding program develops,” Beighley said.The greenhouse has two purposes.

 It will be used to enhance rice breeding efforts by allowing the rice breeder to grow and house rice varieties used in the breeding program each year and then to grow out during the winter months the offspring of the varieties bred.Breeding brings together a type of rice with certain genetics, such as durability or a quick rate of growth, with another variety of rice with desirable characteristics for propagation to create a new and, hopefully improved, variety of rice.Beighley says the greenhouse will be used to grow and house specific rice varieties used to advance the breeding program. He added it may even be used for the actual breeding procedures. Some of these varieties will be from plants grown in the field and others will be started from seed in the greenhouse.The greenhouse also will be used to grow other species of plants that can be used to enhance students’ knowledge in teaching labs for some agriculture courses.

“Having space for growing plants for student projects associated with undergraduate research or class projects is a necessary instructional piece,” Aide said.Nick Thiele, director of Southeast Missouri State University-Malden, said, “We are very excited about this project and the versatility it will bring to Dr. Beighley’s research as well as the expanded learning opportunities for our students.

Rice imports fall on govts duty move

The Financial Express (Bangladesh)
Bangladesh, May 12 -- 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), importsdeclined 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 onimport 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 privateimporters 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 riceimport 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.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from The Financial Express. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor

Nigeria reduces rice import target for 2015 by 200,000MT
By Adesanya Alao
May 12, 2015 09:11:56am GMT

WorldStage Newsonline—The Federal Government of Nigeria has reviewed its rice import allocations for 2015 by 200,000 metric tonnes (MT) to 1.3 million MT from 1.5 million in 2014.According to a letter from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi A. Adesina to the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 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 per cent and duty of 10 per cent.“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 per cent and duty of 10 per cent,” the letter confirmed.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 rice production and processing.

Under this year's import quota, theFederal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development identified 22 companies that will receive quota allocations for 2015 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 stated that certain criteria informed the trimming down of the number of companies from last year’s figure to what obtained 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 (4) 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 3-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 per cent duty or 20 per cent levy as the case might be. The Comptroller General of Customs was mandated to facilitate enforcement of the approved allocations.

Jute mills seek better policy

A Staff Reporter
Calcutta, May 12: The Indian Jute Mills Association has written to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeking a comprehensive policy to help generate demand for jute bags and facilitate the reopening of closed mills.Demand for bags from the various state government agencies for this year's rabi crop has significantly come down and is unlikely to improve in the coming months, Indian Jute Mills Association chairman Raghavendra Gupta said."Had Bengal announced a state jute policy under which the packaging of potatoes and rice could have been included, all jute mills in Bengal would have probably continued production well beyond April 2015," Gupta said in the letter.In the last two months, 15 mills have closed down. There are 59 mills in the state, which offer livelihood to about 3 lakh workers.Gupta said about 1200 rice millers in Bengal were flouting the provisions of mandatory jute packaging.

Nigeria: Adesina and the Rice Import Saga

By Dele Omojuyigbe
Lagos — It is quite antithetical that Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, is right now facing troubling public scrutiny at the twilight of his tenure as a celebrated public servant. Adesina who has hitherto enjoyed generous public applause since he was made a minister in 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan, now has to contend with the other side of publicity. He is being accused of contravening a presidential order for granting licence to unqualified rice importers. Report has it that President Jonathan had directed the minister to give import licences to rice millers in the country so as to curtail scarcity of the commodity.

But rather than raise an inter-ministerial committee to oversee the allocation process, he unilaterally administered the allocation which is said to be at variance with the supply gap of the quantity required.But the minister says that his traducers are at work just because he disallowed them from corrupting the system. He asks if anybody has ever been allowed to lobby, beg or plead for anything in his ministry since he became the boss there. His offence, he says, is that he has insisted on due process and that those owing government must pay. The dilemma beckons here. For what selfish reasons would Adesina have done what he is accused of doing especially when he is almost leaving office with high praise. Even his employer, President Jonathan as well as the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, appreciates him. They are both supporting him to become the next president of African Development Bank (AfDB).

Australian scientists warn El Nino will bring extreme weather patterns this year

The last El Nino five years ago had a major impact with monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the United States, heatwaves in Brazil and killer floods in Mexico.
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 May, 2015, 6:12pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 May, 2015, 6:13pm

El Nino can cause havoc for farmers and global agricultural markets, hitting economies heavily dependent on the land. Photo: Reuters
Australian scientists on Tuesday forecast a “substantial” El Nino weather phenomenon for 2015, potentially spelling deadly and costly climate extremes, after officially declaring its onset in the tropical Pacific.El Nino had been expected last year when record-breaking temperatures made 2014 the hottest in more than a century.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said while the thresholds were not met until now it was expected to be a significant event.The Japan Meteorological Agency also confirmed the phenomenon had begun and forecast it would continue into late 2015.“There’s always a little bit of doubt when it comes to intensity forecasts, but across the models as a whole we’d suggest that this will be quite a substantial El Nino event,” David Jones, from the bureau’s climate information services branch said.“Certainly the models aren’t predicting a weak event. They are predicting a moderate-to-strong El Nino event.

So this is a proper El Nino event, this is not a weak one or a near miss as we saw last year.”The El Nino phenomenon – which is associated with drought conditions in Australia – can cause havoc for farmers and global agricultural markets, hitting economies heavily dependent on the land.The last El Nino five years ago had a major impact with monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the United States, heatwaves in Brazil and killer floods in Mexico.It occurs when the trade winds that circulate over waters in the tropical Pacific start to weaken and sea surface temperatures rise.US officials announced earlier this year that the long-awaited El Nino had arrived, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration described it as of “weak strength”.Australian scientists said models were now showing it was likely to see an increased intensity from about September and have potential global impacts.

“Last year we saw some indices, such as the sea surface temperatures at times exceed El Nino thresholds,” Jones explained. “But we didn’t see them all coming together at the same time or we didn’t see it sustained.”He said this year’s pattern could create drier conditions in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and parts of Southeast Asia.In the past it has caused heavier-than-normal rainfall in the eastern Pacific and South America – raising the spectre of floods and landslides, while the southwest United States and southern Africa tend to be drier.An El Nino is potentially a bad sign for large swathes of Australia, including the states of Queensland and New South Wales, which are already in the grip of severe drought.

Neil Plummer, the bureau’s assistant director for climate information services, said it was often associated with below average rainfall across eastern Australia and warmer temperatures in the southern half over the hottest months.“The onset of El Nino in Australia in 2015 is a little earlier than usual,” he said, adding that this was the first such phenomenon in the tropical Pacific since March 2010.“Prolonged El Nino-like conditions have meant that some areas are more vulnerable to the impact of warmer temperatures and drier conditions.

”El Nino is forecast to strengthen during the southern hemisphere winter but while the event increases the risk of drought, it does not guarantee it – with only 17 of the 26 El Nino events since 1900 resulting in widespread drought in Australia.On the upside, the bureau said it would expect the tropical cyclone season to be below average for Australia.“Every El Nino is different and we know that some years like 1972, 1982 and 1994 really fit the stereotype strongly, severe drought, very hot daytime temperatures, bushfire activity and so on,” said Jones. “But not every El Nino event follows that pattern.”

Industries at risk

The return of the El Nino weather pattern promises a major impact on agriculture. In 2009, El Nino caused the worst drought in four decades in India and ravaged croplands across Asia, driving food prices to multi-year highs. Crops most at risk include:
Australia’s high-protein wheat crop is likely to take a hit with El Nino expected to bring dry weather across its eastern grain belt. Wheat is planted in April-May and the period that makes or breaks the crop is in September. Some rains in recent weeks in parts of the east coast have encouraged farmers to plant.
Although there are abundant stocks of rice in key producers India and Thailand, El Nino is likely to curb the output of Asia’s staple food. This would provide a floor under rice prices that are trading around 12 per cent below last year’s peak. A rally in rice has the potential of stoking inflationary fears and unrest in the region. Rice is planted in May-July and requires rains between July and August.
Soybean production would take a hit in India, Asia’s second largest producer of the oilseed, if El Nino brings dry weather to the western and central regions of the country. This could prompt India to import more palm oil and spur further potential gains in prices. Soybeans are planted in June-July and the crop needs rains in August-September.
El Nino does not hit palm oil supplies immediately as it takes about nine months to a year for oil palm trees to show stress due to drought. But rising demand from top importers India and China as well as concerns over an eventual tightening in supplies due to any crop stress will boost prices. About 90 per cent of palm oil, which accounts for 35 per cent of global edible oil supply, is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Corn production in China and India is also at risk. Typically, China escapes the brunt of El Nino but corn yields may be curbed as the crop needs relatively higher volumes of water. India could see its crop exports drop, helping US and South American suppliers sell more.
Additional reporting by Reuters

China mulls buying farm goods

12 May 2015

An official walks past a pile of paddy stored in a warehouse in Nakhon Ratchasima province during a quality inspection early this year. Thailand is gearing up to sell more rice and other farm products to China. cHANAT KATANYU

Thailand looks forward to signing deals with China cover other farm products besides rice after a deal for 1 million tonnes of the grain is signed in July.Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said China agreed to the cooperation at a meeting of the joint committee on farm production in Kunming last Friday.At the meeting, China agreed in principle to sign the 1-million-tonne deal for new grain at the next meeting to be held in Nakhon Ratchasima from July 2-3.Thailand last December signed a memorandum of understanding with China for 2 million tonnes of rice — 1 million tonnes each of old and new grain — along with 200,000 tonnes of rubber.

Deliveries are set for this year and next.The contract will be made through the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation, the giant state enterprise that oversees rice imports, to ensure transparency.The Thai government insists the selling prices under the deal will be free-on-board prices.The transaction with China is unrelated to an earlier deal for 1 million tonnes struck by the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

Thailand has already delivered 400,000 tonnes as part of that deal.Gen Chatchai said in addition to rice and rubber, Thai authorities would try to convince the Chinese to extend their purchases to other farm products.The government has vowed to dispose of 17-18 million tonnes of rice in state stockpiles accumulated from the previous administration within two years, with 10 million tonnes to be sold this year.In his round-up last month of the ministry's six-month performance, Gen Chatchai said the ministry had sold 3 million tonnes of state rice for more than 36 billion baht during the period.Of the 3 million tonnes, 2 million were sold through general auctions and 1 million through government-to-government contracts.

Of the 10 million tonnes it hopes to sell this year, 6 million will be high-quality grain, with degraded rice accounting for the rest.However, many rice exporters warn Thailand is unlikely to regain its crown as the world's largest rice exporter this year due to the slower-than-expected global economic recovery and a dearth of positive factors.Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, last week said Thailand was expected to ship only 8.5 million tonnes this year.This would be well below the 10-11 million tonnes projected by the Commerce Ministry.Rice shipments are expected to be inactive overall but particularly in the second and third quarters, Mr Chookiat added.

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