Tuesday, May 19, 2015

19th May (Tuesday) ,2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Three Controls Technology" Can Enhance Rice Yields with Less Fertilizers, Says GDRRI Researcher

May 18, 2015
Dr.Xuhua Zhong, crop physiologist at the Rice Research Institute of the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GDRRI) says the "three controls technology (3CT)" can enhance rice yields by about 10%, according to a news release in the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) website.He says 3Cs means controlling the amount of fertilizer, unproductive tillers, and diseases and insects. He noted that by using 3CT, farmers can decrease their nitrogen fertilizer and pesticide use by about 20%. He recommends the "4-2-3-1" principle, under which 40% of nitrogen should be applied at the basal stage, 20% at mid-tillering stage, 30% at panicle initiation and 10% at heading stage He says by applying fertilizer at different stages, rice plants are less prone to diseases such as sheath blight and use of fertilizer can be reduced in every subsequent stage. It helps farmers to save on the costs of fertilizer, pesticide and labor.
The 3CT is also important in China in the light of low and unstable yields, excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, environment pollution, and low profits, says the President of the GDRRI.The 3CT method was initially recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture of China (MOA) in 2012 and since then the GDRRI has been working closely with the MOA to reduce the use of fertilizers significantly. The President of the GDRRI noted that the institute has been working closely with the IRRI to develop a low-carbon and high-yielding technology, which will also reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

El Nino May Reduce Global Crop Harvest by 0.8 - 4%, Finds Study

May 18, 2015

A new study published in the Nature Communications Journal last week finds that there is a link between the El Nino Southern Oscillation and global food harvests of cereals such as rice, wheat, corn and soybeans, according to Breitbart News.The study finds that El Nino years have had a tendency for negative impacts on crop yields in 22 to 24% of crop growing regions in Asia. It also finds that El Ninos have had a positive impact on crop yields in 30 to 36% of harvested regions in North America. The study estimates the global average negative impact on total crop harvests is between 0.8% to 4% for rice, wheat, corn and soybeans.Last week, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Australia and Japan Weather Bureaus declared the onset of an El Nino this year. El Nino pattern increases temperatures of Pacific Ocean leading to extreme weather conditions such as droughts in Asia and Australia, and floods in Latin America affecting agricultural output.Meanwhile, analysts are predicting that global food shortages may lead to substantial increase in global food prices. 
Global Rice Quotes
May 19th, 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    395-405           ↔
Myanmar 5% broken   415-425           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken             430-440           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           470-480           ↔
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 355-365           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken           410-420           ↔
India 25% broken       345-355           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         460-470           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd            370-380           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd    405-415           ↔
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%          865-875           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         480-490           ↔
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    300-310           ↔
Cambodia A1 Super   350-360           ↔
India 100% broken stxd         270-280           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens NQ      ↔
U.S. pet food 365-375           ↔
Brazil half grain          NQ      ↔

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

EU Imports from Asian LDCs Increase in First Eight Months of 2014-15

May 18, 2015
The European Union's (EU) rice imports, including milled and semi-milled, from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of Asia such as Cambodia and Myanmar under the Everything But Arms (EBA) Agreement have reached around 204,512 tons in the first eight months of the crop year 2014-15 (September 2014 - August 2015), up about 12% from around 182,600 tons imported during the same period last year, according to data from the European Commission (EC).The EC data shows that imports from Cambodia (which account for about 76% of total imports from Asian LDCs in September 2014 – April 2015) declined about 2% to around 155,501 tons from around 158,674 tons during the same period last year. On the other hand, rice imports from Myanmar (which account for about 22% of total imports from Asian LDCs in September 2014 – April 2015) have more than doubled to around 45,240 tons from around 20,848 tons during the same period last year.
Under the EBA Agreement, the EU imports rice from the LDCs at zero-percent duty. It was basically aimed to raise incomes and living standards of farmers in the LDCs. Rice imports (milled equivalent) from the Asian LDCs mostly Cambodia and Myanmar) increased about forty times to around 402,000 tons in MY 2013-14 from just 10,000 tons in MY 2008-09, according to the new Chairman of Copa-Cogeca (The united voice of farmers and their co-operatives in the European Union) Rice Working Party.Italy, the EU’s main rice producer, has been expressing concern that the competitiveness of Italian rice has been declining significantly due to an increase in imports from EBA countries. The Italian government and the Ente Nazionale Risi (National Agency for Rice) have been urging the EU to adopt a safeguard clause to curtail imports from EBA countries.Recently, analysts are expressing concern that the basic purpose of the EBA clause is not being served as the farmers in the LDCs such as Cambodia are not benefitting from it.

Government of Thailand Decides to Sell 2 Million Tons of Rice in Two Months

May 18, 2015

The government of Thailand has decided to sell 2 million tons of rice from the government stockpiles over the next two months after the National Rice Policy Committee chaired by the Prime Minister had approved for the release of the stocks into the market, according to local sources.The government had delayed this year's third auction to avert downward pressure on rice prices. It was reportedly evaluating markets to decide over the timing for reopening bidding for its government stocks.The Commerce Ministry Secretary noted that the downward pressure on prices would ease in the coming weeks as the second crop would reach the market shortly. She added that the paddy prices are expected to stabilize at 8,200-8,500 baht (around $246 - $255) per ton.
She expressed confidence that Thailand would export the targeted 10 million tons of rice in 2015. 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.The Thai military government currently holds about 16 million tons of rice and had sold about 1.88 million tons of rice from six auctions raising around 25.58 billion baht (around $785.2 million) since it seized power in May 2014. It also reportedly sold one million tons of rice under government-to-government contracts.Export prices of Thai 5% rice currently stands at around $370 per ton, down about 10% from around $410 per ton in the beginning of this year.Separately, the former Prime Minister is likely to enter a non-guilty plea at the Supreme Court on May 19, 2015. The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions will hear the case against the former PM for alleged dereliction of duty and with abuse of authority under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the 1999 Counter Corruption Act.

Mekong Delta Rice Farmers Urged to Speed Up Summer-Autumn Crop Harvest to Avoid Losses from Drought and Salinity Intrusion

May 18, 2015
Nearly 400,000 hectares of agricultural land is understood to be affected by the ongoing drought and salinity intrusion in Vietnam's Mekong River Delta, according to local sources.The salinity in the early dry season in most of the Mekong Delta's provinces was about 1 - 10 g (0.1-1%) higher than the same period last year. On the other hand acute drought is also severely impacting the yields of the summer-autumn crop.Authorities are taking measures to protect rivers from salt water intrusion by building culverts along the rivers and canals. They are also urging rice growes to speed up harvesting process before the drought casts impact on the yields. Authorities are also encouraging concerned departments to identify potential areas to be affected by drought and salinity and prepare action plans to respond to crisis.According to USDA Post, 2015 summer autumn crop is estimated to be planted in about 7.7 million tons and is expected to produce around 15.95 million tons, basis paddy (around 9.98 million tons, basis milled).USDA estimates Vietnam to produce around 28 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 44.88 million tons, basis paddy) and export around 6.7 million tons in 2014-15 (January 2015 - December 2015).

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Shoot Higher Led by Strength in Wheat and Corn

May 18, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery settled 22 cents per cwt (about $5 per ton) higher at $9.795 per cwt (about $216 per ton). The other grains finished the day higher, led by continued strength in the wheat market as traders continue to weigh weather issues in the US and abroad; Soybeans closed about 0.1% higher at $9.5750 per bushel; wheat finished about 2.1% higher at $5.2175 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.7% higher at $3.6800 per bushel.U.S. stocks traded higher on Monday after closing near highs last week, as investors awaited the bulk of the week's housing data and mostly shook off earlier concerns about Greece's ability to pay back its creditors. The major indices held higher in afternoon trade after earlier fluctuating around the flat-line. The Dow Jones industrial average mostly traded above its previous closing and intraday high of 18,288.63, while the S&P 500 topped its intraday high of 2,125.92. Speaking early Monday at the Swedish capital, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the U.S. Federal Reserve could look at a rate hike in June if the economy is strong enough, Reuters said. His speech argued for rates to start rising in early 2016. Evans told reporters if the Federal Open Market Committee had confidence that inflation was going to move up and that first quarter economic softness was temporary, "you could imagine a case being made for a rate increase in June." Most of the second-quarter data reports have showed a slower-than-expected rebound from a weak first quarter. The only data out Monday was the National Association of Home Builders' survey, which showed builder confidence slipped two points in May, missing expectations of a slight gain. Housing starts and existing home sales come out later in the week, along with the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting minutes. In Europe, stocks closed higher amid abating fears that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy. Earlier, U.S. stocks opened mildly lower as European equities dipped on news a Greece government spokesman said on Monday that authorities will pay public-sector wages and pensions in May, but needs a deal with creditors by the end of the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 14 points, or 0.07%, at 18,286. The S&P 500 traded up 5 points, or 0.22%, at 2,127, with telecommunications leading seven sectors higher and materials the greatest laggard. The Nasdaq traded up 23 points, or 0.46%, at 5,071. Gold is trading about 0.1% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 0.5% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.9% higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Friday, there were 491 contracts traded, up from 458 contracts traded on Thursday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Friday decreased by 3 contracts to 11,206.

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures Slightly Lower Overnight as Market Weighs Meaning of Yesterday’s Rally

May 18, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery are currently seen trading 15.5 cents per cwt (about $3 per ton) higher at $9.730 per cwt (about $211 per ton) during early floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading higher; soybeans are currently seen about 0.6% higher, wheat is listed about 1.3% higher and corn is currently noted about 0.6% higher.U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range on Monday after closing near highs last week, as investors digested housing data and weighed renewed concerns about Greece's ability to pay back its creditors. The major indices fluctuated around the flat-line, attempting to hold slight gains. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly traded above its previous closing and intraday high of 18,288.63. The S&P traded above its closing high hit on Friday but held below its intraday high of 2,125.92. In Europe, stocks turned to trade mostly lower on growing fears that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy. A government spokesman said on Monday that authorities will pay public-sector wageNational officials in Athens also sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund that showed Greece came close to defaulting on a 750 million euro ($860 million) repayment last week, local newspaper Kathimerini and the Financial Times reported. However, analysts noted that U.S. losses remained muted despite the renewed concerns about Greece’s and pensions in May, but needs a deal with creditors by the end of the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 7 points, or 0.04%, at 18,265. The S&P 500 traded down 2 points, or 0.10%, at 2,120, with energy the greatest of six laggards and financials leading gainers. The Nasdaq traded down 9 points, or 0.19%, at 5,038. Gold is currently trading about 0.2% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 0.1% higher,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.9% higher at 8:15am Chicago time.

Vietnam Exports About 1.686 Million Tons of Rice During January 1 – May 14, 2015

May 18, 2015
Vietnam exported about 1.686 million tons of rice in January 1 - May 14, 2015, down about 28% from about 2.34 million tons of rice exported in first five months of 2014, according to data from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). Average rice export price so far in this year stands at around $419 per ton (FOB), down about 3% per ton from around $433 per ton recorded during same last year.During May 1-14, 2015, Vietnam exported around 130,782 tons of rice, down about 78% from around 585,536 tons of rice exported in full month of May 2014, and down about 80% from around  650,507 tons rice exported in full month of April 2015. Average export prices so far in May stands at around $422 per ton, up about 1% per ton from a year ago, and up about 2% per ton from a month ago.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Prices Seen Steady as Buyers Stay on Sideline; 66% of Crop in Good-to-Excellent Condition

May 18, 2015
The U.S. cash market was unchanged today despite a firmer futures market as buy interest remains limited and stocks remain ample.With persistent wet weather in the U.S. Mid-South over the last week some analysts expect farmers to plant less acreage than the USDA had estimated in last week’s WASDE report.In the meantime, the USDA estimates that as of May 17th, 89% of the US rice crop had been planted which is 4% ahead of this time last year and 7% ahead of the previous 5-year average. As of now, the USDA estimates that farmers have planted at 89% of their rice crop in Arkansas, 90% in California, 98% in Louisiana, 93% in Mississippi, 75% in Missouri, and 79% in Texas.
The USDA estimates that 70% of the crop has emerged which was 3% ahead of this time last year and 4% ahead of the previous 5-year average. As of now, the USDA estimates that 73% of the rice crop in Arkansas has emerged compared to , 50% in California, 92% in Louisiana, 72% in Mississippi, 53% in Missouri, and 75% in Texas.The USDA estimates that 66% percent of the crop in good to excellent condition compared to 63% in Arkansas, 80% in California, 65% in Louisiana, 79% in Mississippi, 45% in Missouri, and 52% in Texas.

Italian Rice Growers Urged to Shift to Dry Seeding Technique Amid Fears of Water Scarcity

May 18, 2015
Italian rice growers are urged to shift to dry seeding technique of rice transplantation in this crop season due to fears of lower irrigation water this year due to dry weather conditions.Dry seeding involves the sowing of rice seeds (without pre-germination) directly into a dry or moist field and has several advantages associated with it. It is relatively cheaper though it needs more seeds more tractor ploughing compared to traditional transplantation method. It mainly requires lesser fertilizer as well as lesser water.Authorities are planning to convince rice growers in major rice growing provinces to adopt dry seeding technique as they fear that at the end of May there may not be enough water for all the irrigation purposes. They are especially worried that planting of other crops such as corn may also require increased quantities of water and consequently volume of water for rice may be impacted significantly. They are of the view that an expanding dry seeded area may bring a different balance in the use of water in the country in this rice growing season.Rice growers in Pavia province and Novara province have already started adopting this technique extensively. 

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

May 18, 2015
Vietnam rice sellers lowered their quotes for Jasmine rice by about $10 per ton to around $480 - $490 per ton today. Pakistan rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice and parboiled rice by about $20 per ton and $5 per ton respectively and increased their quotes for 25% broken rice and 100% broken rice by about  $5 each today. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.
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 $25 per ton discount to Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $395 - $405 per ton, down about a $20 per ton from Friday.
25% Broken Rice
Thailand 25% rice is shown at around $350 - $360 per ton, about a $20 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $330- $340 per ton.
India 25% rice is indicated at around $345 - $355, about a $10 per ton discount to Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $355 - $365 per ton, up about a $5 per ton from Friday.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $370 - $380 per ton. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $360 - $370 per ton, about a $45 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice shown at around $405 - $415 per ton, down about a $5 per ton from Friday.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand 100% 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. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $270 - $280 per ton,  about a $30 per ton discount to  Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $300 - $310 per ton, up about a $5 per ton from Friday.

Want to Have a Glimpse of Eighteenth Century Rice Milling Equipment Still in Working Condition?

May 18, 2015

Antica Riseria San Giovanni (Ancient Saint John rice mill) in Italy's Fontanetto Po showcases the eighteenth century rice milling equipment including an ancient rice and husk separator, a wooden mortar, an ancient grindstone, an ancient rice sifter, and ancient rice sewing machine, ancient rice weighingstones and a turbine that was used to generate electricity to run the mill.This mill was built in 1878 by rebuilding a mill that dated back to 1465. A visit to the mill shows how water-force was used to run all the machines before the electricity was used for the purpose. Even today the turbine "Francis", which derived power to run the rice machinery from the waters of the Dora Baltea river, is in the working condition. Other machinery such as the 18th century grindstone, which was used until 1970 to crumble and recycle rice husk, is also still working.The mill is currently under the possession of an association called "Macchine da riso" (Rice machinery), which collects, restores and exhibits the ancient agricultural machinery. It also has a restoration workshop with a blacksmith and a carpenter.The mill is in heart of Italy's rice growing region.  

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18th May (Monday) ,2015 Daily Exclusive Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Thailand to sell stockpiled rice

BANGKOK, May 18, 2015: 
Thailand’s military government plans to sell two million tonnes of rice over the next two months from stockpiles built up under the previous administration’s failed buying programme, the Commerce Ministry said today. Thailand was the world’s top rice exporter for decades until its grain became uncompetitive under the buying scheme brought in from 2011 by ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, which paid farmers above market rates for their crops.“The National Rice Committee will take two million tonnes of rice from the five million tonnes for auction in the next one to two months,” said Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary at the ministry.The government has 16 million tonnes of rice in its stockpiles but 11 million tonnes of that is either spoiled or of a poor grade, she said.The Commerce ministry will determine which rice from the stockpiles can be consumed by humans or livestock. Rice that is not fit for consumption will be sold for industrial use, she said.Chutima said 3.3 million tonnes of rice had been sold in the first four months of this year. That includes 1.2 million tonnes worth 16.22 billion baht (RM1.72 billion) sold in two auctions in the first quarter.The government said on March 20 it would delay further auctions to avoid adding to the downward pressure on prices.


Update on U.S. and world rice market scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday

Nathan Childs to provide latest analysis of rice market outlook
May 18, 2015Farm Press Staff | Delta Farm Press

Dr. Nathan Childs needs no introduction to rice farmers. He’s been a featured speaker at the USA Rice Outlook Conference almost since its inception in 1994 and has been providing detailed analysis of the rice markets to the rice industry for more than 23 years.

 It’s been a struggle, but most of the U.S. rice crop that was going to be planted in 2015 has gone in the ground. Now farmers can turn their attention toward what they may be able to get for their crop when harvest rolls around.To that end, Nathan Childs, senior economist with USDA’s Economic Research Service, will provide an update on the U.S. and world rice markets during a University of Arkansas’ Food and Agribusiness Webinar Series event at 1:30 p.m. Friday (May 22).Dr. Childs needs no introduction to rice farmers. He’s been a featured speaker at the USA Rice Outlook Conference almost since its inception in 1994 and has been providing detailed analysis of the rice markets to the rice industry for more than 23 years.The Webinar, “2015-16 U.S. and Global Rice Outlook with Nathan Childs, Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service,” will be hosted by Dr. Bobby Coats, professor, University of Arkansas

A hand to the plough

By AV Balasubramanian May 18 2015

We need an alternative approach to farming that builds on indigenous knowledge and resources

“Everything else can wait, but not agriculture”
–Jawaharlal Nehru, 1947

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru made this famous remark in the context of the Bengal famine of 1942–43 and the acute food scarcity prevailing in the country in 1947. For Indians who grew up in the 1960s, a vivid image is one of perennial food shortages and a precarious political situation due to dependence on imports. The mood of the era was epitomised by a RK Laxman cartoon which showed a minister looking out of his window and remarking to his aide ‘...Good, good, the monsoons are on time. Once again this year, we can ask the Americans to mind their own business.’
Thanks to the green revolution, that era is only a dim memory. While the green revolution led to an immediate increase in production and productivity of agriculture, it was achieved at a heavy cost to the environment and is not a sustainable long-term strategy. As noted agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan said, “The green revolution of the 1960s provided a breathing spell for achieving an adjustment between population growth and food production.” However, it is a matter of concern that even today a large section of the scientific community tends to see the progress in the agriculture sector as a matter of more and more technological fixes, of the green revolution variety.For several years now, agriculture in India is said to be in a state of crisis. This is tantamount to saying that India is in a crisis since about 70 per cent of our population is still in rural areas with agriculture as their main livelihood. This crisis manifests itself as increasing impoverishment of the farmers and lack of options for rural non-farming employment. There is an alarming degradation of the resource base of agriculture, especially of soil, incr­eased pressure and demand on land from non-agricultural activities, erosion of biodiversity in terms of both spe­cies and vari­eties of cultivated cro­ps and decline in cattle population. This has led to distress migration to the cities and caused sca­rcity of labour in rural areas for agricultural act­ivities.India has one of the largest networks of organisations and infrastructure for agriculture anywhere in the world. Never-theless, traditional Indian agriculture has hardly any space in the research or extension and dissemination services of the central or state governments. The achievements of the modern chemical model of agriculture have been so dazzling that little attention has been paid to the relevance of indigenous agricultural knowledge and practices.India is richly endowed with plentiful natural resources and tremendous density and diversity of bio-resources. Its cultivable area of 160 million hectares is about 60 per cent of the total land area against the world average of 10 per cent. The average rainfall throughout India is 105 cm per year, higher than what other large areas of the world receive. Almost all parts of the country have had a rich traditional knowledge of agriculture and sustainable utilisation of natural resources with a history of continuous land cultivation over long periods with little decline in soil fertility. This knowledge tradition is both oral as well as supported by rich textual resources. The unique feature of Indian knowledge in many areas is its social organisation into classical and folk traditions. Classical tradition connotes formally organised knowledge supported by a corpus of texts and manuscripts and a clear theoretical framework. Normally, there are formal procedures for training experts. In contrast, folk traditions do not necessarily have a textual basis. The training of practitioners is informal and propagated through a guru-shishya param­para. In the case of agriculture, also, we see two such streams. The classical stream of knowledge is vrikshayurveda, literally meaning knowledge of the science of life of plants. There are a large number of scholarly texts of vrikshayurveda in various Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. In recent years, the Asian Agri-History Foundation has brought out excellent editions of many of these texts which include translations and commentaries. There is also a robust folk tradition of agriculture. 

Aerial view of CIKS farm

Today’s scepticism of traditional knowledge is based on the view that such knowledge cannot be trusted since it has not been subject to testing and validation as per modern scientific norms. In this connection, it is very interesting to see that a vast body of traditional knowledge of agriculture was indeed very recently put to scientific examination.The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) launched a nationwide mission mode project on collection, documentation and validation of indi­genous technical knowledge under the national agriculture technology project (NATP) in 2000. Info­rmation on indi-genous technical knowledge was collected from primary sources through voluntary disclosure and collection and compilation of the Indigenous Technical Kno­wledge (ITK) volume was made from available literature, books, journals and theses.The compilation has five documents in seven volumes (published betw­een 2002 and 2004). The first two documents consisting of four volumes listed 4,879 indigenous practices. The third and fourth documents describe eff­orts at validating and cro­ss-validating these practices. Of the 4,879 practices documented, a set of 111 pr­actices were selected and subjected to experimental testing in efforts that were conducted by ICAR institutes and state agricultural departments and universities. These pertain to various topics such as pest control, crop protection, farm implements and weather forecasting. The results of these validation experiments were published as separate volumes. These volumes do not contain an overall analysis of the results — hence our centre has compiled the res­ults in a tabular format (Check chart).The chart shows that slightly more than 80 per cent of these practices were valid and about 6 per cent of the practices were partly valid. About 9 per cent were concluded as being not valid. There were a few cases where scientists felt that experiments need repetition. In some cases, the results were not dec­lared. In summary, there was overwhelming evide­nce in favour of the validity of these practices. How­ever, it is strange that this entire exercise seems to have left no impression whatsoever on our body of scientists nor have the validated practices been disseminated through our extension services.In fact, the existence of this voluminous body of information is hardly kno­wn, much less publicised widely. Information about the series could be procured only after filing a petition under the RTI Act!
A whole range of solutions and technologies dra­wn from indigenous knowledge, however, are now available from various sou­rces, including various volumes of vrikshayurveda and the journal published by the Asian Agri-History Foundation (http://asianagrihistory.org); various issu­es of the journal Honey Bee published from the Centre for Management of Agricu­lture in the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmeda­bad (http://www. sristi.org).A large number of effo­rts undertaken by non-government organisations acr­oss the country to document and field test these practices have also produced a significant body of credible experience and evidence.This is a glimpse of the great richness and robustness of traditional agricultural knowledge systems. That they have survived down to this day despite total neglect by the official establishment or any kind of support from trained scholars or the scientific community is a testimony to their inherent strength and vitality.The three essential elements of the material reso­urce base required for agriculture are — soil (fertility), water and sunshine, as well as seeds. The Indian subcontinent is a region of extremely high biodiversity of plants and in fact, two of the 12 global “biodiversity hotspots” are situated in India. It has been estimated by the government’s National Bur­eau of Plant Genetic Reso­urces (NBPGR) that currently there are 75,000 to 100,000 landraces of paddy available in India. Similarly, there are about 2,700 varieties of commonly used vegetables that are being preserved in the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) at Varanasi. In addition, there are a significant nu­mber of varieties of paddy and vegetables still available with farmers which are not noted or captured by the formal systems. Along with this, there is also extensive literature and knowledge regarding the agronomic properties as well as the therapeutic and nutritional properties of paddy and vegetables. Such knowledge is rich, varied and nuanced. Let us, for now, illustrate this rich knowledge through indigenous paddy varieties.According to the late RH Richharia, who was one of our outstanding rice scientists, about 400,000 rice varieties existed in India during the Vedic period. He estimated that even today about 200,000 rice varieties exist in India — a truly phenomenal number. This means that if a person were to eat a new rice variety every day of the year he could live for over 500 years without reusing a variety!

In every nook and corner of India, farmers have nurtured and cultivated varieties suitable to those areas.
These conservation pra­ctices are often interwoven and linked with cultural, social and religious practices in an organic way. For example, it was observed by Richharia that at the Puri temple in Orissa, Lord Jagannath is worshipped with food prepared from freshly harvested rice every day of the year. This means that there was an intimate knowledge of the varieties of the rice that could be grown and harvested thro­ugh all the seasons and a ritual linkage with a temple which ensure that these varieties continue to be cultivated and propagated. Throughout India, many varieties of paddy (and for that matter other crops such as millets, fruits and vegetables), are utili­sed and linked with specific festivals and celebrations, which, but for these linkages would have been extinct.There are two broad categories of reasons why such diversity is important — agronomical as well as nutritional/therapeutic. In different parts of India, paddy shows variation with respect to crop age (short, medium and long duration), resistance to pests and diseases, requ­irement of water, suitability to various seasons, capa­city to grow in different attitudes (ranging from the Himalayan heights to lands below sea level) and in different kinds of soil (sandy, clayey and so on). This has ensured that a rice crop be harvested in almost every party of India through various times of the year.
A few indigenous rice varieties with interesting agronomic properties from Tamil Nadu illustrate this:

Sigappukuruvikar (pe­st-and disease-resistant), Koo­mvazhai (flood-resistant), JilJilVaigunda (dro­ught-res­istant), Kullakar (provides excellent straw for thatched roofs), Panan­gattu Kudai­vazhai (good fodder).

Kudaivazhai; Kullakar

The value of indigenous varieties to act as insurance during times of distress and calamities was dramatically illustrated during the 2004 tsunami in Tamil Nadu, when tho­usands of hectares of land under paddy were under sea water for a brief period along the coast of Naga­pattinam district. This rendered the soil saline and no high-yielding or modern paddy varieties could be cultivated. How­ever, an excellent solution was provided by the use of an indigenous paddy variety called Kalarpalai (literally meaning a variety that grows in kalar – salty soil). This variety cannot only withstand soil salinity, it is also resistant to pests and diseases and provided an excellent solution to tsunami-affected farmers. Dur­ing this period, it was found that even Kala­namak, an indigenous var­iety from northern India known to perform well in saline soil, could also be cultivated in these areas.There are also references to the nutritional and therapeutic properties of indigenous varieties of paddy (and for that matter various other grains, vegetables, fruits and spices in the literature of ayurveda, siddha as well as the texts of pakashastra (traditional science of cooking). Knowledge and und­erstanding of food and its properties has always formed an essential part of the traditional medical understanding, as the ancient Sanskrit saying illustrates:Amantramaksharamnasthi, nasthimoolamanou­sha­dham/Ayogyapurusho-nasthi, yojakastathradu-rlabha (There is no letter that is without the power of mantra and there is no plant (root) without medicinal value).
India has over 4,000 ethnic communities with a deep knowledge and unde­rstanding of the properties of natural products, particularly plants with which they live in close communion. The all-India coordinated research project on ethnobiology (AICRPE) produced a midterm rep­ort in 1994 which stated that the ethnic communities in India alone (who constitute only about 7 per cent of our population) had knowledge of around 9,500 species of plants used for varied purposes, the major ones being for medicine (7,500 species) and food (3,900 species). 
Here are some examples of indigenous paddy varieties that have traditionally been accepted as containing varied nutritional and therapeutic properties. Modern laboratory studies carried out recently indicate that the traditional understanding may be consistent with these findings.There are varieties that are suited for making particular preparations such asSempalai (for puffed rice), Pitchavari (for puttu) and Samba Mosa­nam (for aval – pounded rice). The scented variety, Seeraga samba, as well as another variety, Kitchili samba, are preferred for biryani.

Mapillai samba; grains of Kalarpalai

In terms of nutrients, Mappillai samba is considered an excellent sou­rce of strength and is found to be high in carbohydrates and crude fibre. Two traditional paddy varieties of Tamil Nadu, Nee­lam samba and Kuzhia­dichan, are said to be gala­ctogogues, that is, good for lactating mothers. Labora­tory studies show that Neelam samba is rich in calcium. Karunkuruvai is used in the treatment of filariasis. It is actively in use by siddha physicians of Tamil Nadu and mentioned in ancient Tamil siddha medical texts. Lab­oratory studies show that Karunkuruvai is rich in iron and has a low gly­cemic index. The glyce­mic index of Karunku­ruvai, Kullakar, Kovuni, Mapillai Samba,Neelam samba and Kudaivazhai are low compared to market varieties such as white Ponni — which is consistent with the traditional view that these are good for diabetes.Mind you, this is just the tip of the iceberg, numerous other examples can be cited from all parts of India.In today’s agriculture, there is very little presence or use of indigenous varieties of paddy. Several of them have not even been characterised rigorously through modern scientific efforts. They suffer a fate similar to the indigenous breeds of cattle which still continue to be described in official records as “nondescript (ND).”Today, in Europe or North America, traditional agriculture is referred to as chemical agriculture since it has been in vogue already for a few centuries. Much of what goes by the name of organic farming or ecological agriculture is an afterthought or a corrective because of centuries of chemical agriculture and consequent environmental damage.However, in India, sustainability and eco-friendliness are inherent to our knowledge systems.The current policy on agriculture continues the green revolution strategy heavily dependent on ext­ernal inputs ranging from seeds and including fertilisers, pesticides, and most importantly, knowledge of cultivation practices. This has led to declining yields and soil fertility and an increasing realisation of the limitation of chemical farming.We need an alternative approach that builds on indigenous knowledge, wisdom and resources. We have outlined and shown that there is a tremendous potential for this.Equally importantly, we are endowed with a tre­mendous resource base consisting of land, water, sunshine and biodiversity. This can provide a strong and unique starting point for alternative strategy for the development of Indian agriculture.

(AV Balasubramanian is with the Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems (www.ciks.org), Chennai, an institution working on sustainable agriculture building on traditional knowledge and practices ciksbalu@gmail.com)

For Printed Version : 19know1, 19know2

Dr. Narendra Kulkarni, R & D Head of R J Bio-Tech Limited Received An Award From IIRC (Indian Institute Of Rice Research)

May 18, 2015:  
R J Bio-Tech Ltd has informed BSE regarding a Press Release dated May 18, 2015 titled "Dr. Narendra Kulkarni, R & D Head of R J Bio-Tech Limited Received An Award From IIRC (Indian Institute Of Rice Research)".

Revolutionary innovations by agricultural scientists can put a full stop on farmers' suicide cases in India 

Why farmers are committing suicide in India? Is it due to the failure of our agricultural scientists or due to the failure of our administrators. Is it agricultural scientists and not politicians who are leading to farmers' suicides?Of late - mainly in the last few years - rainfall patterns are changing all over India and have resulted in crop damages in many states and in essential areas like production of staple food items like pulses etc in the country.

In Focus
While political parties are quick to take up the political challenge of the day and try and woo farmers to their side by launching attacks on the party in power, the real challenge for India is for its agriculture scientists who will now have to think in terms of seeking solutions to these problems.Only in the last fifty years India has emerged from a food shortage nation to a food surplus one. This present generation has access to more food and more luxury than any other generation before them where lack of milk and even foodgrains like wheat was the norm rather than the exception.The present generation of Indians is also suffering from a food induced obesity epidemic. However this is no reason for complacency among the agricultural scientists of the nation.Agriculture research has now to focus on plants and species that are more resistant to weather changes and provide food accordingly. So far agriculture scientists have only given temporary results and major side effects. The poisoning of the fields of Punjab is due to excessive Green Revolution induced chemical farming.The bringing of the Indira Gandhi canal to Rajasthan may have brought rice cultivation to the region but it has also brought malaria and rodents to the region as well. Japanese Encephalitis is a result of paddy cultivation with piggery in Gorakhpur and Deoria. Local fish species have been destroyed by Chinese imports.It is time that agriculture scientists apply the latest techniques to produce more food, without damage to the local environment and without stressing water resources. The Red Indians used to drink from a cactus called prickly pear in the desert. Maybe ICAR and others need to look there for smart plants to produce food without mega dams and untimely rainfall obstructing the process.Smart plants exist in concept. They are like the tomato that does not mould because it has a chicken gene in it. Or the rice that has a carrot gene in it. However India needs to rethink its agriculture and water use methods, otherwise if the country turns into a vast desert and faces a major ecological disaster it could be because of its agriculture scientist community, which has failed to come up with a novel solution like the prickly pear.Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.


4-H program deepens students' understanding of science

Brian and Anna Prchal and Tyler Fromm are teenagers making and using biodiesel. They're also part of a possible solution for a growing need for employees in agriculture.

By Nancy Madsen, The Free Press

Posted May 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM 

New Prague, Minn.
Brian and Anna Prchal and Tyler Fromm are teenagers making and using biodiesel. They're also part of a possible solution for a growing need for employees in agriculture.There are 25,700 new jobs for management and business in agriculture and 14,600 new jobs in agriculture and science engineering each year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis of job figures. The gap between expected job openings and agriculture and related fields graduates is roughly 1,000 each year.For junior high and high school students, "4-H involvement could lead to college, university or even trade school and an ag-related job," said Josh Rice, who runs the science of agriculture programming at University of Minnesota Extension. "Agricultural awareness is a very important piece of this. There are ag jobs out there and it's not just production agriculture. It can be marketing, processing, distribution and even social science."Minnesota is the first state to start a 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge, which is a team competition showing science and engineering understanding, The Free Press (http://bit.ly/1FZEx0j ) reported. The teams have three or four members between grades six and 12 who share a common interest. A coach guides them through the scientific or engineering process. The teams also meet with a mentor from the industry, who gives guidance and an inside view of an agricultural career.Brian and Anna Prchal of Montgomery and their cousin Tyler Fromm of New Hope teamed up to work on biodiesel. Jodi Prchal, Brian and Anna's mother and a fifth-grade teacher, is their coach.Brian created biodiesel from used fryer oil at a local restaurant. He describes the process in detail on how to transform that oil into fuel."You can burn straight filtered vegetable oil in a diesel engine, but it gums up the engine," Brian said.After filtering it, the major step in the process was carefully combining the oil with methanol and potassium hydroxide, which separates the fatty acids from the glycerin, which settles to the bottom. The fatty acids bond with methanol to transform the molecules into biodiesel. That is followed by "washing" the biodiesel with water to cause even more separation, leaving a transparent light orange liquid.Jodi Prchal says the critical moment came when they tried it in an engine. Brian had bought a single-cylinder, nine horsepower diesel engine and it ran smoothly on the biodiesel.Brian's goal, he said, is to be able to have a diesel truck and run it on his own biodiesel."I've always been really interested in renewable energy," he said.He made 1 liter of biodiesel for this project but wants a setup that will allow him to make 30 gallons at a time with less intervention."It would cost 70 cents a gallon if you do it right versus $4 per gallon of diesel, when diesel was high," Brian said.

Bühler rice contracts in Asia exceed $100 million

5/18/2015 - by World Grain Staff
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BANGKOK, THAILAND — The Bühler Group, a leader in rice processing and optical sorting solutions, said on May 18 that it has secured contracts in Southeast Asia totaling more than $100 million in the last two years.The contracts have an emphasis on food safety, hygienic production, energy efficiency and sustainability.The company has been awarded major contracts by the largest rice processors and reprocessors across Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar including Merry Rice, Crystal Rice, Siam Parboiled, TPS Group, Capital Rice, La Suerte, Phung Hoang, Kilang Beras Pek Choo Keok Sdn. Bhd, Yoma Sun and Nine Seas. The total investment in rice processing plants and related equipment for these projects alone is set to exceed $80 million.Working with rice processors and reprocessors in the region, Bühler said it offers and develops new market optimized rice processing solutions that add value for its customers through improved yield, performance and efficiency. It also looks to increase awareness of food-safe rice mills to ensure hygienic and safe food for consumers.Over the past two years, Bühler has experienced significant growth in the region, with particular success gained in Thailand. This marked a record period, partly thanks to a smaller number of larger contracts, including the company’s largest ever contract for rice processing for Merry Rice, globally valued at over $40 million. The contract, for 62 of Bühler’s SORTEX S UltraVision machines, and 52 high-capacity UltraPoly polishers will result in the world’s largest rice mill, capable of sorting over 10,000 tonnes of rice per day, Bühler said.Among contracts already confirmed are the first complete rice mill in Vietnam for Phung Hoang, capable of processing 400 tonnes a day; a complete paddy processing plant in Malaysia for Kilang Beras Pek Choo Keok Sdn. Bhd; and two complete paddy processing plants in Myanmar for Nine Seas and Yoma Sun. Crystal Rice in Cambodia has also started production and Siam Parboiled in Thailand is in the advanced stages of installation.“Over the past two years we’ve consciously changed the way we do business across Souteast Asia,” said Mark Ledson, managing director of Bühler Thailand. “We’ve dedicated time to listen to our customers’ needs and demonstrate our ability to offer a truly complete engineered solution that is supported by our commitment to Service Excellence.”Significant product launches in 2014 have also helped grow Bühler’s reach across Southeast Asia including the new SORTEX S UltraVision optical sorting machine – widely regarded as the most technologically advanced, intelligent optical sorter available for rice today.“The response to the SORTEX S UltraVision has been incredibly positive, many of our customers have confirmed the SORTEX S UltraVision as taking optical sorting to the next level and sets us apart from the competition as a global leader in this market,” Ledson said. “We understand the enormous pressure rice millers are under to process rice in the most sustainable way, maximizing yield and improving quality and food safety standards. We believe high capacity processing is the future, if the industry is to match growing demand.”In addition to the launch of the SORTEX S UltraVision optical sorting machine, Bühler teams across South East Asia have also been actively promoting food safety as a key concept. With both consumer and customer interest in food safety on the rise, particularly with budding exporters, Bühler said it is in a prime position to offer end-to-end solutions that guarantee hygienic performance and food safety, including process engineering solutions for rice, solutions for pre-cleaning, silos, drying, rice milling and automated bagging.Moving forward, Bühler will continue to extend its reach and presence in the region by completing existing projects and securing new ones. It has developed a full-fledged factory in Vietnam and has built an accessory workshop in Indonesia. All this demonstrates Bühler’s commitment to its customers across the region, the company said.  It is also actively building its channels for single machine sales and is establishing country focused technology teams in most of the countries in Southeast Asia. Developing markets such as Cambodia and Myanmar will also present new opportunities to deliver smaller capacity rice mills, demonstrating Bühler’s ability to cater to the complete spectrum of rice mills across the region.“In the past 24 months we have won large rice milling projects in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Looking ahead to the next two years, we will be looking to drive our market share across regions in Southeast Asia and enhance our Sales & Service structure (including distribution channels) along with developing new mid-market rice processing solutions to give our customers value for money and continue to build the Bühler rice brand image,” said Rustom Mistry, director, head of Rice Processing in Asia. “By developing and strengthening our technology expertise and service excellence in each country we are better prepared to serve our customers locally and further demonstrate our commitment to the local community and wider industry.”

Patiala: Rice millers resents Food Corporation of India decisions

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Patiala
Updated: May 18, 2015 20:36 IST

The Federation of All India Rice Millers Association has taken strong exceptions to the disparities in implementing their (FCI's) own decisions, particularly with regard to the acceptance of rice from the millers at the FCI's depots on the basis of 100% weighment on weigh-bridges.Association president, Tarsem Saini, said that FCI through their instructions of year 2005, decided that rice consignments are to be accepted from rice millers on 100% weighment on weigh-bridges.However for the purpose of checking, whether the consignment was standard or not, bags not more than 10% of the consignments were to be checked.Association's President further disclosed that Field Staff of the Food Corporation of India did not implement the above decision in totality & rather in the most of the states weight check memos were being issued on 10% weighment basis to exploit the millers, although higher weight emerged at the weigh-bridges at the time of 100% weighment.He said that on Feb 2015, a deputation of the Association met the Chairman-Cum-Managing Director of FCI at New Delhi with our long pending demands, so as to eliminate malpractices in the Field & the main threshold was given to implement the decision of FCI Headquarters, New Delhi of year 2005."Instead of resolving issue, the FCI's Headquarter, through a communication of May 14, 2015 reversed their own decision of year 2005 and decided that weight check memos of rice acceptance are to be issued to the millers on 10% weighment basis instead of100% weighment conducted at the weigh-bridge. This will promote corruption," said Saini."Not to speak of above, the FCI has also not finalised the milling charges bills for the past 15 years as a result of which crores of rupees of the millers are lying with the FCI," he added. He said that due to large scale resentement against FCI, a meeting of rice millers of the entire state has been called in Bathinda to take stock of the situation so as to lodge the protest with Government.Association president has also appealed to the Punjab government to take up the above issues with the Centre on priority, apart from setting up of computerised labs, otherwise the millers shall have to re-think for the milling of paddy crop this Kharif season.



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WTO Rules Against COOL   

WTO:  No flag waving
WASHINGTON, DC -- This morning, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body made public its ruling on the United States' Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulation on certain muscle cuts of meat, citing that the regulation violates international trade rules and has caused harm to Canada and Mexico, which complained to the WTO.The ruling could result in retaliation against the United States through import tariffs if the labeling doesn't end.  House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) is currently working on legislation in conjunction with Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) which would repeal the COOL regulation for beef and pork exports and bring the U.S. back into WTO compliance. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts (R-KS) has indicated that the Committee will be considering all options but has not yet committed to using legislation repealing COOL as a solution.  "The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider any option, including repeal regarding meat, that will allow the United States to be WTO-compliant and avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico," Roberts said in a statement. "We'll do whatever it takes to protect the livelihood of American farmers, ranchers, and industries that will be targeted by retaliation.""Today's decision is the third by a WTO body that has gone against the United States," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings. "It's time for the United States to bring COOL regulations into compliance with our WTO obligations, and we support efforts in Congress to achieve this common sense goal." Cummings continued, "Canada and Mexico are among the top five export markets for U.S. rice and we are very concerned about possible retaliation, perhaps by the end of this year, by these governments against exports of U.S. rice."

Contact:  Peter Bachmann (703) 236-1475

USA Rice Welcomes Summer Intern 

On the job
ARLINGTON, VA -- School may be out but the work has just begun for USA Rice's summer intern Whit Kendall who will be joining our government affairs staff through early August.Whit grew up on a farm in Bolton, Mississippi, and still helps out there, including assisting at his family's duck hunting camp each year. He is a student at Mississippi State University majoring in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business. His primary interest is in row crops, specifically the retail side, but he also has experience managing livestock.  
Whit is the only son of Libby and Ted Kendall.

Contact:  Deborah Willenborg (703) 236-1444

Crop Progress:   2015 Crop 89 Percent Planted 
WASHINGTON, DC -- Eighty-nine percent of the nation's 2015 rice acreage is planted, according to today's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report. 

Rice Planted, Selected States 
Week Ending
May 17,  2014   
May 10, 2015  
May 17, 2015 
2010-2014 average
Six States

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Preliminary):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for May 18
Net Change

July 2015
+ $0.220
September 2015
+ $0.215
November 2015
+ $0.215
January 2016
+ $0.205
March 2016
+ $0.205
May 2016
+ $0.205
July 2016
+ $0.205

Trade path still uphill battle


DC Dialogue


Senate garners the needed votes to proceed to debate for TPA fast track authority ahead of Memorial Day recess.

Published on: May 15, 2015

By failing to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority, American producers are missing out on being able to sell to 96% of consumers who live outside of the United States. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of agriculture. Of the total 260 preferential trade agreements, the United States is only part to 20 of them.  The hope is that agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be a huge market access win for U.S. agriculture.This was the message from Sen. John Thune, R.-S.D., as he stood with fellow Republican trade supporters, just hours before the Senate was able to overcome an earlier failed vote by garnering 65 votes (over the needed 60 threshold) to move forward on debating legislation that grants the president fast-track authority.But the road ahead is no easy task.Thune and others had shared the hope was for the Senate to accomplish passage on the Senate floor ahead of Memorial Day recess. Senators are scheduled to be back in their districts from May 25 to May 29. And Thune said many had hoped “to put this one up on the scoreboard before Memorial Day.”Thune conceded it may be more difficult now to wrap up debate on the bill in just a week. He said it will depend entirely on the amendment process and how lengthy and exhaustive it becomes.Dave Salmonsen, American Farm Bureau Federation senior director of congressional relations, said usually numerous amendments are offered but eventually are withdrawn and not even put on the floor. He expressed optimism that if handled properly, the Senate could still advance the bill ahead of recessing.The Senate was expected to be the easier of the two chambers to advance trade legislation. With every member representing varying constituencies, it tends to be the more balanced chamber. Thune said the House will be the “heavier lift” in finding the votes to pass TPA.Ben Mosely, USA Rice's vice president of government affairs, noted the fate of TPA legislation is far from over as he expects there will be vigorous debate and an open amendment process which began Thursday night. "Even if the Senate passes the TPA bill, the measure will need to pass the House where they may be as many as 20 votes short of passage."California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said U.S. ag exports are on pace to drop by $9 billion this year. “If we do not meet the demand, someone else will. We need to step up and empower the president,” Wenger said.

Boustany: Rice study proves need for strong trade agreements

by Ripon Advance News Service | Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 10:26am

Following the release of a study last week by the International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding the nation's rice production, U.S. Rep Charles Boustany (R-LA) discussed the need for strong trade agreements to support the industry. The study, “Rice: Global Competitiveness of the U.S. Industry,” was requested by Boustany more than a year ago, along with then-House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). The lawmakers asked the ITC to review and investigate the effects of fluctuations in the market resulting from government support programs in other rice-producing countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, India, China and Brazil. “The United States rice industry depends on exports, which account for about half of the U.S. rice crop each year,” the report revealed. “U.S. exports of medium grain refined rice are shipped mainly to Japan, but also to Taiwan and South Korea, where trade agreements give U.S. rice guaranteed minimum access. Tariff elimination would have led to a significant increase in global rice trade, but only a small increase in production and consumption. However, of the policy changes considered, eliminating tariffs would have had the greatest impact on U.S. production and exports.” The export of U.S.-produced rice is a major issue in the ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement with a dozen Asian nations. Boustany, co-chairman of the Friends of the TPP Caucus, has remained a strong advocate for Louisiana rice farmers, pushing for their ability to compete in the Asian marketplace on a level playing field.“This ITC study clearly demonstrates that the U.S. rice industry is well-positioned to compete and grow with new export opportunities in Asia, particularly in Japan,” Boustany said. “As negotiations on free trade agreements with Asia continue, this study should empower our negotiators to reach a deal that will support this important industry. I’ll continue to push for low tariff barriers and a level playing field for Louisiana agriculture that will support growth and job creation at home.” Boustany’s position is supported by several leaders within the rice export industry. “The study shows precisely what we suspected all along,” Betsy Ward, president & CEO of the USA Rice Federation, said. “The U.S. rice industry is playing by the rules, but is at a decided disadvantage from some of our trading partners who do not play by the rules.”


Indonesia signals it will import rice ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri


merdeka.com reports: With demand due to increase drastically ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Indonesia is taking steps to ensure there is enough rice stocks for the festive period

POSTED: 18 May 2015 19:48

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (C) helps farmers to plant rice in a paddy field at Ngara village, West Kalimantan. (Photo: AFP/Agus Suparto)

JAKARTA: Indonesia's Trade Ministry on Monday (May 18) signalled that it will approve rice imports ahead of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations this year. This is because it expects the demand for rice to increase drastically before the fasting month as compared to normal months. Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel said the rice imports will be issued during discussions about the rice stock at the end of May. "We wait to discuss again in May," he said. "What is clear is that the government realises the need for a good harvest. We continue to monitor, and later will discuss during the meeting with the Vice-President and President."Mr Rachmat stressed the permission to import rice will be decided after taking into account the amount of harvest from the local farmers. He said the demand for rice until the fasting month is still able to be met with the current rice reserve. “The State Logistics Agency (Bulog) will continue to get rice from the current harvest yields. I’ve been told by the Agriculture Minister that Central Java and East Java will harvest again. So, we've asked Bulog to take them,” said Mr Rachmat. However, he believes Bulog is still not able to ensure the stability of prices for essential goods, especially for rice in the market. Bulog is only able to allocate and supply 1.2 million tonnes of rice to the market, or about 60 per cent of the ideal allocation to the market.“Bulog’s rice allocation (to be supplied to the market) is about 2 million tonnes. Bulog’s allocation at this moment is about 1.2 million tonnes,” said Mr Rachmat. 
Read the original report at merdeka.com here
BANGKOK, May 18, 2015: 
Thailand’s military government plans to sell two million tonnes of rice over the next two months from stockpiles built up under the previous administration’s failed buying programme, the Commerce Ministry said today.
Thailand was the world’s top rice exporter for decades until its grain became uncompetitive under the buying scheme brought in from 2011 by ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, which paid farmers above market rates for their crops.“The National Rice Committee will take two million tonnes of rice from the five million tonnes for auction in the next one to two months,” said Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary at the ministry.The government has 16 million tonnes of rice in its stockpiles but 11 million tonnes of that is either spoiled or of a poor grade, she said.The Commerce ministry will determine which rice from the stockpiles can be consumed by humans or livestock. Rice that is not fit for consumption will be sold for industrial use, she said.Chutima said 3.3 million tonnes of rice had been sold in the first four months of this year. That includes 1.2 million tonnes worth 16.22 billion baht (RM1.72 billion) sold in two auctions in the first quarter.The government said on March 20 it would delay further auctions to avoid adding to the downward pressure on prices.


Govt to issue basic commodity regulation

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Sat, May 16 2015, 2:55 PM

Business News
Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel says the government will issue a presidential regulation on basic commodity prices to anticipate price hikes.“I am waiting for the issuance of the presidential regulation based on the Trade Law, so the government can set basic commodity prices in certain situations,” Rachmat said in Jakarta on Saturday.He referred to Law No. 7/2014 on trade. However, he has not specified when the regulation will be issued.With the regulation, the ministry will be able to regulate the prices of key commodities such as rice, soya, corn and others.In February, the price of rice, Indonesia’s staple food, rose by up to 30 percent in some areas.Factors such as a late harvest, uneven rice distribution and the existence of a so-called “rice mafia” are speculated to be among the triggers of the price hike.The director of the Institute for the Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), Enny Sri Hartati, warned that many other factors should be considered relating to the issuance of the presidential regulation, which she thought referred to New Order era regulations.Since the 1960s, the government has used a range of policies to stabilize the prices of crucial commodities.“The government should ensure that there is sufficient supply. The market is also waiting for the government to intervene in the market mechanism, such as by eradicating the cartels,” she said. (fsu) (+++

Govt to release 2m tonnes of rice

The Nation May 18, 2015 4:48 pm
The Commerce Ministry plans to auction 2 million tonnes of rice from the 16-million tonne stockpiles within the next two months.Commerce Permanent Secretary Chutima Bunyapraphasara said that the release was approved today by the National Rice Policy Committee, which is chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha. She is convinced that the auction would not further pressure rice prices, as the second crop will be in the market this month. Paddy rice price is expected to remain at Bt8,200-Bt8,500 a tonne.She is confident that Thailand’s rice exports this year would reach the 10 million-tonne target, following the 3.4 million-tonne shipments in the first five months. She said that over 10 million tonnes in the stockpiles have degraded. Surveyors will be invited to a discussion soon, to find ways that will minimise the government’s losses.

Trade flourishes at Muse checkpoint

Chan Myae Thu
Myanmar Eleven May 17, 2015 1:00 am
Export inspection gate at the Muse border checkpoint./EMG

Trade flow at the Muse border hub is thriving, with large exports of rice and corn to China, according to checkpoint officials.Between 140 and 180 rice trucks and between 120 and 170 corn trucks pass through the border gate at Muse every day.However, fruit exports are in decline as the season has ended."As the situation at Chinshwehal is uncertain, the trucks are using the Muse route for the time being. This year's exports are likely to exceed last year's sum," said a border official.Chinshwehal is a town on the China-Myanmar border that experienced 5.2 Richter scale earthquake on Sunday.Export earnings totalled approximately US$178 million between April 1 and May 12, and import spending totalled over $186 million. During the same period last year, these figures were $113 million and $160 million, respectively.While Myanmar traders have obtained official licenses for exporting, Chinese traders are often arrested for not having licenses.

Odisha to procure 36 lakh tonnes of rice in 2015

Bhubaneswar, | 16 May, 2015

With paddy procurement up by 21 percent during kharif 2014-15, Odisha has set a target of procuring 36 lakh tonnes of rice this year from the 30 lakh tonnes, an official said on Saturday.Paddy procurement during kharif 2014-15 grew by 21 percent over last year, with a total procurement of around 40 lakh tonnes."So far, the state government has procured 40 lakh tonnes of paddy that is equivalent to 27.16 lakh tonnes of rice. Since the procurement has grown up by 21 percent against last year, we have decided to procure paddy equivalent to 36 lakh tonnes of rice in this year," said food supply and consumer welfare secretary Madhusudan Padhi.The paddy procurement includes for both kharif and rabi seasons.This was decided at the state-level paddy procurement committee meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary G.C. Pati on Saturday.The procurement for rabi season was started on May 15 and will continue till June 30, said Padhi.He said district collectors have been asked to expedite the procurement process to achieve the target by June 30.The minimum support price for paddy (Rs.1,360 per quintal) will remain unchanged for this rabi season also.Padhi said the new farmers can also register their names to sell their paddy during the procurement process.Sources said 7,82,917 farmers for kharif and 1,55,493 farmers for rabi have been registered through online registration system.


Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- May 18

Nagpur, May 18 Gram and tuar prices reported higher in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
and Marketing Committee (APMC) here on good seasonal buying support from local millers amid weak supply from producing regions. Healthy hike on NCDEX in gram prices, fresh rise in Madhya Pradesh pulses and repeated enquiries from South-based millers also boosted prices, according to sources.

               *            *              *              *

   * Gram varieties showed weak tendency in open market here on lack of demand from local
     traders amid good supply from producing regions.

   * Tuar varieties declined in open market here in absence of buyers amid ample stock in
     ready position. Reports about good overseas arrival also affected prices.  
   * Masoor and moong varieties reported strong in open market on increased marriage
     season demand from local traders amid thin supply from producing belts.
   * In Akola, Tuar - 7,200-7,500, Tuar dal - 9,900-10,300, Udid at 9,100-9,600,
     Udid Mogar (clean) - 10,700-11,100, Moong - 9,000-9,200, Moong Mogar
    (clean) 10,700-11,100, Gram - 4,100-4,400, Gram Super best bold - 6,000-6,200
     for 100 kg.

   * 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                   3,500-4,490         3,500-4,410
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                5,700-7,400         5,630-7,320
     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            6,300-6,500        6,500-6,700
     Gram Super Best            n.a.               
     Gram Medium Best            6,000-6,200        6,300-6,400
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Mill Quality            5,300-5,500        5,500-5,700
     Desi gram Raw                4,500-4,650         4,600-4,750
     Gram Filter new            6,000-6,100        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        10,600-10,900
     Tuar Fataka Medium             10,000-10,300        10,100-10,400
     Tuar Dal Best Phod            9,500-9,800        9,500-9,900
     Tuar Dal Medium phod            9,000-9,350        9,000-9,400
     Tuar Gavarani New             7,700-7,800        7,800-7,900
     Tuar Karnataka             7,900-8,000        8,000-8,100
     Tuar Black                 10,700-11,000           10,700-11,000
     Masoor dal best            8,100-8,300        7,900-8,100
     Masoor dal medium            7,500-7,800        7,200-7,500
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold               11,000-11,500       11,000-11,400
     Moong Mogar Medium best        10,200-10,600        10,200-10,500
     Moong dal Chilka            9,200-9,750        9,200-9,700
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            9,600-9,900        9,500-9,800
     Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG)    11,200-11,600       11,200-11,600
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    9,900-10,600        9,900-10,600
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        8,500-8,900        8,500-8,900
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        4,400-4,600        4,400-4,600
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)           3,200-3,350         3,200-3,350
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)        3,200-3,450        3,200-3,450
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)        2,450-2,625         2,450-2,625
     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)    1,950-2,050        1,950-2,050
     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        3,200-3,750
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,700-3,000        2,700-3,000
     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)        2,200-2,300        2,100-2,200
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)        2,400-2,550        2,300-2,450

Maximum temp. 42.1 degree Celsius (107.8 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp.
26.2 degree Celsius (79.2 degree Fahrenheit)
Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a.
Rainfall : nil
FORECAST: Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 43 and 27 degree Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available

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


Saudi rice imports from India rise 58% to SR4.5bn in 2014

Published — Sunday 17 May 2015
Last update 16 May 2015 9:34 pm
The value of Saudi rice imports to the Kingdom from India grew by 58 percent, reaching $1.19 billion (SR4.46 billion) by the end of 2014, compared to $752.67 million (SR2.82 billion) in 2013, according to Indian Consul General Bawa Syed Mubarak.Speaking to local media, the Indian diplomat said that Saudi rice imports from India dropped by 1 percent in 2013, due to the emergence of certain obstacles but jumped to record levels in the following year (2014)."At the global level, Indian rice exports fetched $7.78 billion (SR29.17 billion) in 2014, comprising a growth rate of more than 25 percent in one year, of which the Saudi share exceeded 15.35 percent," Mubarak said.The diplomat stressed that the Saudi market is considered a key importer of Indian rice worldwide. He noted that rice represented nearly 10 percent of the overall Indian exports to the Kingdom.The volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached more than $48.62 billion, where Indian exports to the Kingdom amounted to $12.21 billion by the end of 2014 in total, an increase of 12 percent, whereas Saudi exports to India reached $36.40 billion, an increase of 8 percent relative to previous years.

Yingluck to enter plea in rice case Tuesday
18 May 2015 at 17:53 1,636 viewed8 comments

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is expected to turn up at the Supreme Court on Tuesday when the trial over her rice scheme is set to start. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is expected enter a not-guilty plea tomorrow at the Supreme Court, which is hearing the dereliction-of-duty case regarding her government’s rice-pledging scheme.
Surasak Trirattrakul, inquiry director of the Office of the Attorney General, said Monday that the high court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ordered Ms Yingluck to appear at 9.30am to hear the charges and enter her plea.As she is expected to appear and plead not guilty, the court will then consider any temporary-release request and set another hearing to examine evidence and witnesses, he said.If Ms Yingluck fails to appear without a legitimate reason, she would face a possible arrest warrant, Mr Surasak said. Public prosecutors are readying more than 10 witnesses, he added.Thanarerk Nitisenee, president of the Supreme Court's political division, said Monday that the nine judges handling the case would be on their bench tomorrow to start the trial.The defendant had not filed a request for temporary release, but she might do that tomorrow, he said.
Ms Yingluck could also seek the court's permission to postpone the trial, which the court would consider if backed by sound reasons, Mr Thanarerk said.
The former prime minister is charged with dereliction of duty and abuse of authority in failing to stop graft and losses in the rice scheme according to Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the 1999 Counter Corruption Act.
The losses estimated at more than 500 billion baht were incurred when her government bought rice from farmers at above-market prices but failed to resell much of it.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission accused Ms Yingluck of using the rice-pledging scheme to gain votes from farmers and win the national general election in 2011.
Assistant police chief Prawut Thavornsiri said on Monday that a limited number of Ms Yingluck's supporters was expected to show up tomorrow and local police would be deployed to ensure order.
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