Wednesday, June 10, 2015

9th June (Tuesday),2015 Daily Global RiceE-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Think we can end California’s drought by eating differently? Think again

 Nathanael Johnson 
There’s so much confusion about California’s drought, and a lot of my colleagues in the media, I’m sorry to say, have been amplifying that confusion. The proliferation of stories showing how much water various food products use implies that people should be eating water-thrifty foods — but that would do precisely nothing to fix the problem. The real solutions are within reach (I’ll get to those), but they will require the hard work of politics to achieve, rather than simplistic, consumer-focused fixes.
A recent survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that, for the first time in the history of its polling, Californians say drought is the most important state issue, and 69 percent of Californians say water supply is a big problem in their part of the state.
Description: Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.46.07 AMPublic Policy Institute of California poll
When there’s this kind of concern about an issue, we in the media hustle to provide information. And there’s an obvious set of data for us to transform into engaging infographics: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Wired, and, er, Grist, along with many others, have been explaining how much water it takes to produce various food items. There’s nothing wrong with these until outlets try to spin that raw, context-less data into buzzy proscriptions about what to order at a restaurant. (In our defense, we tried to present the data without focusing on the California drought, and when Grist’s science editor Amelia Urry went on TV to talk about it she did a great job of pointing out that context mattered and “skipping that sirloin or chocolate cake isn’t going to put water back into depleted aquifers.”)
Here are the problems with trying to diet our way out of drought:

There are lots of reasons a farmer chooses a crop

Many “water guzzling” crops make sense if you consider a farmer’s ecological context.
The Los Angeles Times pointed out that lentils are “a thirsty food.” True, they take more water than other crops to grow. But they are also ideally suited to drought-prone regions. As Liz Carlisle, author of Lentil Underground, writes: Lentils “are content without irrigation, even in areas that frequently see droughts. Lentils grow when it rains, and pause their growth cycle when it’s dry. Instead of overshooting and wilting, they stage their growth to fit their water resource, and they stay low to the ground rather than bolting up in flamboyant amber waves.”
Then there’s alfalfa, which also sips a lot of water. But alfalfa is a great choice for farmers worried that they might not get their water, because if you stop irrigating, it simply goes dormant — then it springs back to life when the rains return. It’s also cheap: One planting can produce hay for six years, so it’s not a not a mortal wound if a farmer has to give up a few cuttings. Both alfalfa and lentils fix their own nitrogen, which makes them great rotation crops for farmers who want to reduce pests and diversify their farms.
Consider rice, another supposed water guzzler. Rice takes tons of water, because the fields are flooded. But that water doesn’t simply disappear — it seeps into the ground, and some of it goes back into the rivers. The water table in northern California is in good shape, in part because of all the rice paddies recharging the aquifers. Rice farmers flood their fields as a means of weed control, which allows them to dramatically reduce their pesticide use. And those fields provide important habitat for birds and fish — so important that the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service is offering farmers money to continue flooding their fields to give migrating waterfowl a chance to survive the drought.

The value of water depends on location

If you’ve been paying attention to these factoids, you’ve learned that it takes a lot of water to grow beef. But knowing that does nothing to differentiate the cattle raised in the middle of a drought from the cattle raised by a rancher in a place with plentiful water, like Montana or North Dakota. It also hides the fact that California cattle subsist primarily on grain freighted in from the soggy Midwest. If you want to count the virtual water flowing out of the state, you also should count all the millions of gallons coming in every day on the rails.
The water footprint of beef also depends on what the beeves eat. In the hilly grasslands, where it’s often hard to grow crops, cattle can be an important part of a ranch’s ecosystem: They clear the grass before it has a chance to go to seed and oxidize, and they fertilize as they go. Remove the animals, and there may not much to do with the land except build houses.
There are other reasons to eat less meat, and I’ve suggested in the past that it would be environmentally beneficial to reduce global meat consumption. But it’s not a solution for California’s drought. We shouldn’t be asking individual eaters to outsmart a complex global market with every purchase.

What actually happens if people boycott California crops?

Farmers chose to grow the crops that will make them a living. If people stop eating California avocados and almonds and rice, it would make it harder to farm in the state. It would speed the conversion of farmland to suburbs and golf courses. And it would probably shift a lot of production overseas: More tomatoes might come from Chile than California.
An export ban would be similarly ineffective. Exports are the most offensive aspect of California agriculture to many: It feels crazy to be turning water into alfalfa and then shipping that to China in the middle of the drought. But the fact is, setting up some kind of trade barrier — even if it were politically possible — wouldn’t put more water into rivers. Farmers still have legal control over a lot of water, and they would put it to use. If we banned almonds, or stopped selling rice to Asia, the farmers would just use that water for something else.

What’s a better solution?

Instead of asking eaters to wade through this complexity every time they pick up a fork, we need policies that make water expensive for farmers in places where it’s scarce. A market price for water would simply eliminate inefficient crops.
And, in fact, California already has a functioning water market … with one massive market failure: It’s still legal for landowners to pump as much water out of their ground as they can in many places. And it’s that market failure that is causing the true shortages in poor farming towns.
However, the state is on its way to correcting that market failure. The legislature regulated groundwater last year, and water districts around the state are currently figuring out how to make sure they put as much water into the ground during wet years as they take out in dry years.
I am not arguing that an untrammeled market will fix everything. I’m arguing that a heavily, heavily trammeled market (there’s a lot of protections for those who might be injured by the sale of water in California) could fix almost everything.
It won’t fix the inefficient and environmentally damaging way the state moves water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (the delta is the swamp that mires politicians for life). And it won’t save beleaguered fish, which are really suffering in the drought. Several policy wonks have suggested adding a tax to water use to discourage overuse and help pay for fixes to these environmental problems — they are also market failures, and a tax could bring them into the system.

But, that’s not a satisfying solution!

Politics and policy are not as exciting as a technical fix, but in this case they are the only thing that will actually work. You could try for a complete overhaul of the water rights system, but the experts tell me that just isn’t going to happen.
I just want a future that doesn’t suck for my daughters as they grow up in California. I’d like them to have healthy, rushing rivers to swim in; a diversity of fish species to marvel at, and eat; clean drinking water, available to everyone, equitably; and then, way down on the list, I’d like them to grow up in a state that still has farms, and produces great food.
All of that is within reach — if California can just implement its groundwater law. Instead of haphazardly picking foods to boycott or stockading the almond-eaters, let’s let farmers read the market signals and grow what’s appropriate for their circumstances. Then, when water is scarce and prices rise, farmers may find it’s most profitable to sell their water to serve rivers, cities, and fish.
A well-regulated market will push out the water uses that just don’t make sense. Drop-per-crop infographics won’t.

Rice’s Price Could Head Sharply Higher

Tighter export restrictions, big short positions, and surging demand could set off a food crisis and soaring prices.

Description: of the rice market worry that there could be a repeat of the food crisis of 2008. If there is, prices could soar from current depressed levels.In 2007-08, a combination of export restrictions from major rice-producing countries and speculative investment purchases caused shortages of the grain. Consumers across Asia panicked, buying and hoarding whatever rice was available, while Haiti saw riots.In the U.S., certain grocery stores limited rice purchases.As the supply situation worsened, prices catapulted to more than $24 per hundred pounds by April 2008, from about $13 near Thanksgiving 2007.
This time, prices have been on an almost continuous slide for the past 17 months, discouraging growers even as demand increases. Rice is trading around $10 per hundred pounds, down nearly 40% from the end of 2013.“Current levels of supply against demand are very similar” to the food crises of 1972-74 and 2006-08, says Shawn Hackett in a recent edition of the Hackett Money Flow Report.The stocks-to-trade ratio, a measure of how much rice is in storage relative to how much is shipped around the globe, is 225%, a tad lower than the 233% seen in 2007-08 when prices started to surge, according to the Firstgrain Rice Market Strategist newsletter. The lower ratio means smaller stockpiles.“Rice production is projected at a new record,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in May. But “consumption is forecast to surpass production for the third year in a row, drawing down stocks to the lowest since 2007-08.”
TIGHT INVENTORY ISN’T the only issue. Short positions in the futures markets by speculative traders hoping to profit from further drops in the price have grown dramatically. In late-May, the number of bearish hedge funds and other money managers was more than 300% larger than those betting on higher prices, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s up from 49% more speculative shorts than longs a year earlier.

Big short positions can be bullish for the price because sooner or later those short positions will need to be closed out. When that happens, the speculators must buy an equivalent number of contracts, and as they do, it’s likely that rice prices will rally.There’s more: Hackett sees unusual weather harming crops. Specifically, he pinpoints a “super” El Niño weather system in the Pacific Ocean as a potential problem. It “has the potential to cause production setbacks at a time when buffer stocks do not exist to offset them,” he writes, pointing to the major rice-producing countries of India, Indonesia, and the Philippines as particularly vulnerable to crop difficulties.
El Niño tends to cause droughts in the summer and floods in the fall from typhoons in all three countries, which produce about a third of the world’s rice.Low prices for rice and bad weather are also causing some U.S. growers to reduce their planting. Firstgrain estimates that the acreage for long-grain rice in the U.S. will drop 5% this year.Rough rice for July, the most actively traded contract, recently traded at $9.945 a hundred pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade. 
SIMON CONSTABLE is a New York City–based freelance writer

Philippines mulls open bidding after government rice procurement falls short of goal means BUSINESS
MANILA – After failing to secure ample rice stocks from foreign governments, the National Food Authority (NFA) is turning to the private sector to secure the Philippines’ supply of the staple for the lean months.
Description:“The private sector importation will come as the next importation activity. The government is ahead in importing because we need to have the stocks before July 1 for the lean month period,” Joseph dela Cruz, NFA deputy administrator, said. The importation will be coursed through the Philippines’ minimum access volume (MAV) scheme. Under its MAV, the Philippines can bring in 805,200 metric tons of rice at 35 percent tariff, which is lower than the 50 percent the country imposes on imports outside the quota.The Philippines’ MAV requires 755,000 metric tons to be allocated to suppliers who mostly come from Thailand and Vietnam, with the remaining 50,000 to be sourced from other countries.The NFA’s planned resort to private importation comes after it secured only 150,000 metric tons of rice under a government-to-government (G2G) bidding last Friday, with Vietnam cornering the contract. The Philippines requires 250,000 metric tons for delivery by September.“It is the NFA Council that decides on the mode of procurement. It depends since international tender may take longer duration before the delivery, while G2G is less than a month,” dela Cruz said.

Indonesia replaces Bulog food agency chief after rice target missed

Mon Jun 8, 2015 6:18am EDT
The head of Indonesia's state food procurement body has been removed after just five months in the role, the deputy state-owned enterprises minister said on Monday, citing missed targets for domestic rice-buying.Former banker Lenny Sugihat replaced retiring Bulog chief Sutarto Alimoeso in January, with a remit to buy rice and other food staples from domestic farmers to stabilise retail prices.Former Bank Rakyat Indonesia director Djarot Kusumayakti was inaugurated as Sugihat's replacement on Monday, a state-owned enterprises ministry statement said.The government had given Bulog a rice-buying target of 4 million tonnes from domestic producers for 2015, but the agency had only managed to procure 1.2 million tonnes by the end of May, deputy minister Muhamad Zamkhani told reporters.Bulog is the dominant rice buyer, tasked with maintaining annual stocks of 1.5-2 million tonnes by buying from both domestic and regional suppliers.
In the past, Indonesia has imported 1 million to 2 million tonnes a year, usually from Thailand or Vietnam, and replacing Sugihat may be a sign that imports are now likely.Sugihat is one of the first prominent government officials to be appointed and then replaced by President Joko Widodo, who took office last October.Widodo's administration has been criticised for underperforming and failing to revive an economy that is at its weakest since 2009.Analysts have said Indonesia could ship in as much as 1.6 million tonnes of rice this year due to soaring prices at home and the threat of damage or delays to harvests from an El Nino weather pattern.Retail rice prices in Indonesia have gained about 13 percent in the past year and industry sources expect further climbs of 5-7 percent around the Muslim festival of Ramadan, which starts in mid-June. (Additional reporting by Cindy Silviana; Writing by Michael Taylor; Editing by Alan Raybould)

Rice industry welcomes price increase

June 8, 2015, 11:55 a.m.
Laurie Arthur
Description: Laurie ArthurRIVERINA rice growers will be paid $380 a tonne which equates to an additional $49.7 million boost for the industry.The price increase is $20 a tonne more than what growers were paid last year.“The increase contributes to an overall $60 per tonne on our initial estimate of $320 per tonne for medium grain,” said SunRice chairman Laurie Arthur.The announcement comes after growers completed what was described as a much better than average harvest.Mr Arthur said strong business performance in the second half of the financial year was the reason behind the better returns.“This increase contributes to an overall $60 a tonne increase on our initial estimate of $320 per tonne for medium grain announced in July 2014,” he said.“That’s an additional $49.7 million that has flowed to our growers,” he said.“It was made possible by the ongoing strength of SunRice’s Rice Milling and Marketing business, which directly funds the Australian paddy pool price.”The price rise caps off what has been a successful and positive season for Riverina growers. Producers harvested an estimated 700,000-tonne crop and conditions were described as being mostly good.Earlier in the season Riverina Rice Growers executive director Dean Logan of Leeton said yields were good.The Riverina has produced as much as 920,000 tonnes in a record year. During the drought the harvest was just 19,000 tonnes.He said Riverina rice fed 20 million people around the world each day. “It is a positive industry to be involved in. Australian growers are considered the most efficient in the world,” Mr Logan said. Some of the highest yielding crops have returned 11t/ha.
Vietnam wins bid of 150,000 ton rice export to Philippines
Vietnam has won a bid to export 150,000 tons of 25 percent broken white rice to the Philippines at the price of US$410.12 a ton.
Export rice bags are loaded aboard (Photo: VNA)
Description: is out of 250,000 tons that the Philippines National Food Authority had invited Vietnamese and Thailand tenders to supply in July and August to supplement their national storage and prevent a rice price increase.Early this year, the Philippines imported 300,000 ton rice from Vietnam and 200,000 tons from Thailand.The country’s import demand is expected to back rice export prices that have continuously reduced in Asia.Five percent broken white rice is priced US$365, US$355 and US$380 per ton in Thailand, Vietnam and India; down from US$410, US$380 and US$390 compared to the beginning of this year.
By T. Trinh – Translated by Hai Mien


Unsold Paddy in Market Yards Faces Rain Threat

By Express News Service
Published: 08th June 2015 07:55 AM
Last Updated: 08th June 2015 07:55 AM
Description: Farmers of the district are spending sleepless nights with their unsold paddy bags lying in the open at procurement centres even as the monsoon is fast approaching.Even as paddy procurement was started on May 8, it has been moving at a snail’s pace. Thousands of bags of paddy have been lying unsold in different market yards.The district had set a target to procure 2,35,626 tonnes of rice from custom milling of paddy. Against 100 kg of paddy, the rice millers have to supply 68 kg of rice under the custom milling norms. While the State Civil Supplies Corporation was supposed to procure 2,01,209 tonnes of rice, Markfed was to procure 19,417 tonnes, Nafed 10,000 tonnes and NACOPE 5000 tonnes.
However, official report reveals that 1,54,582 bags of paddy are yet to be sold through 77 market yards and procurement centres. While 1,22,000 bags have not been procured under Attabira Regulated Market Committee (RMC), the figure stood at 18,582 bags under Bargarh RMC and 14,000 bags under Padampur RMC in the district. Sources said till June 4, a total of 30,90,848 quintals of paddy had been procured.With the weatherman predicting arrival of monsoon in the State by second week of this month, farmers are worried that rains may damage their produce lying in market yards.
They have asked the District Supplies Officer to lift paddy from market yards before onset of monsoon.On Friday, farmers of village Salepali in Bheden block sat on fast unto death outside the office of Collector Anjan Kumar Manik demanding procurement of their paddy. The agitation was withdrawn after Additional District Magistrate Pradeep Gardia and Food and Civil Supplies Officer Ramakanta Ransingh held discussion with the farmers and assured them of starting paddy procurement from Monday.While 45,000 bags of paddy in the village are yet to be procured, Radha Mohan Pradhan of the village said he is waiting for his 300 bags of paddy to be procured.Ransingh said the paddy stock will be sold within a week.

International Customs / Vietnam / Vietnam cuts export price floor of 25% broken rice by 2.9% to $340 tonne

Vietnam cuts export price floor of 25% broken rice by 2.9% to $340 tonne

Description: Vietnam cuts export price floor of 25% broken rice by 2.9% to $340 tonneHANOI: Vietnam has cut the export price floor for the 25 percent broken rice by 2.9 percent to $340 a tonne, an industry body said, after the country submitted the lowest price in a rice tender in the Philippines.The new floor came into effect on Monday, the Vietnam Food Association said in a statement seen by Reuters.The Philippines agreed to buy 150,000 tonnes from Vietnam in a tender on Friday and could import additional volumes to avert a potential spike in prices of the staple if adverse weather threatens the local crop.Vietnam, the world’s third-largest rice exporter after India and Thailand, had raised the price floor to $350 a tonne on June 1 before the tender

Ministry mulls direct sales of small rice packs to consumers

THE NATION June 9, 2015 1:00 am
THE COMMERCE Ministry is considering selling small packs of rice directly to consumers as part of its policy to clear out the government's stocks.Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, chairman of the Rice Policy Committee, has called for the ministry to urgently sell rice via various channels to reduce carrying costs and cut losses for the country. The rice stored during the pledging project of the past government has continued to deteriorate in quality.
Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said yesterday that the ministry will soon set up a working team to consider the possibility of producing rice packs for retail. It will have to consider the quality of the grains and allow some agencies to be responsible for improving the quality of rice and for distributing it to traders.The ministry has been only releasing rice through auctions and government-to-government deals. The ministry will discuss the scheme with agencies including the Public Warehouse Organisation, Marketing Organisation for Farmers, Foreign Trade Department and Internal Trade Department.The ministry will study market supply and demand to estimate the appropriate quantity of rice to produce and distribute so that farmers and traders are not disadvantaged.Among the 16 million to 17 million tonnes of rice remaining in the government's inventory, most could be produced for retail and export. About two million tonnes of rice are of good enough quality to sell as packed rice, while the rest could be given to companies to upgrade before selling to consumers.
The ministry will also consider selling small lots to avoid upsetting the trading mechanism.A source from a rice pack trader said that there is a plentiful supply of packed rice in the market, so the government should carefully consider becoming a trader, otherwise it could distort the market mechanism and hurt existing traders. If the government decides to sell small rice packs, it should do so gradually in small quantities at a price that was in line with the market price, the source said.The ministry is set to open bidding next Monday for 1.06 million tonnes of 12 varieties of rice such as Hom Mali rice, white rice, husked white rice, husked Hom Mali rice, Pathum Thani rice and sticky rice. Chatchai said many bidders are expected to join the third auction as rice is in low supply in between harvests.

Rice in govt’s warehouses to be sold to public at low prices

Tuesday, 09 June 2015By  NNT
Description:, 8 June 2015  Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikalya has expressed his confidence that the government’s one-million-ton rice auction will attract a lot of bidders since in-season rice has been sold out in the market.Rice in the government’s warehouses will be sold at low prices to the public in order to help distribute the rice. A committee may be set up to check the rice stock and demands of the market before the produce is distributed in bags.The minister added that there were 16 million tons of rice in the government’s warehouses, including two million tons of good quality rice and lower-grade rice. The ministry would consider which rice to be sold to the public, said Gen. Chatchai.

Potential rice bidders to inspect quality of Thai govt stock this week


BANGKOK, 8 June 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Commerce is allowing potential rice buyers to inspect the government’s stock this week, before the bidding process begins. Government stock rice has been stored in warehouses across 35 provinces.Those wishing to buy rice from the government stock in the third round of the rice auctions are able to inspect the grains at 153 barns this week.Potential bidders will be able to submit an application form on June 15 and check whether they have met all the requirements on the following day. Their names will be submitted to the National Rice Policy Committee for further consideration.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has praised the ministry for attempting to dispense a large lump sum of government rice, which would affect global prices and Thai farmers. Stock rice will only be released when the ministry is certain that it will not affect the prices of new grains, which are expected to be produced during the rainy season.The ministry disclosed that there are currently 17 million tons of rice in the government stock. Only around two million tons possess standard quality, while 14 million tons are said to be below standard and 690,000 tons are spoilt.


Monday, June 08, 2015 - Islamabad—President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Sunday said the government needs to bail out sinking rice sector otherwise country may lose export market to neighbouring country. Pakistan exports over two billion dollars of rice, the second largest exports after textiles, but it is losing export markets since last two years landing over one thousand rice mills into serious problems, he said. This he said while talking to President Pakistan Rice Mills Association Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch. 
He said that Pakistan is fourth largest exporter of rice and millions of jobs are linked to that critical sector which merits full attention of the policy makers. At the occasion, Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch said that situation is turning against Pakistan and in favour of India which has introduced its own brand lacking aroma but increased in length. Indian rice is cheaper due to hidden subsidies which has resulting in lost Iranian and Middle Eastern markets, he informed.
He said that some 3000 rice mills are 
facing problems while those 1000 are on the brink that have failed to sell rice in last two years. He said that mills facing closure are located in Jhang, Chiniot and layya while 3.5 lakh bags are lying in only one district since two years. These mills are unable to pay loans resulting in increased interest. Baloch said that price of super colonel banaspati was Rs 3600 per bag in 2013-14 while dropped to Rs 1300 in 2014-15 and it is projected to touch Rs 700 per bag soon. Many farmers have refused to sow rice in the next season due to the crisis which has put future of industry and agriculture at stake, he added. At the occasion, Mian Zahid Hussain lauded the steps taken for rice sector in the budget but termed them insufficient. He said that government agencies should buy rice from millers to export them, their mark-up should be waived and it should be declared sick industry otherwise this important sector would crumble.—NNI

Govt asked to bail out crumbling rice sector

Monday, June-08-2015 

Description: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Sunday said the government needs to bail out sinking rice sector otherwise country may lose export market to neighbouring country.  Pakistan exports over two billion dollars of rice, the second largest exports after textiles, but it is losing export markets since last two years landing over one thousand rice mills into serious problems, he said.  This he said while talking to President Pakistan Rice Mills Association Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch. 
He said that Pakistan is fourth largest exporter of rice and millions of jobs are linked to that critical sector which merits full attention of the policy makers.  At the occasion, Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch said that situation is turning against Pakistan and in favour of India which has introduced its own brand lacking aroma but increased in length.  Indian rice is cheaper due to hidden subsidies which has resulting in lost Iranian and Middle Eastern markets, he informed. He said that some 3000 rice mills are facing problems while those 1000 are on the brink that have failed to sell rice in last two years. He said that mills facing closure are located in Jhang, Chiniot and layya while 3.5 lakh bags are lying in only one district since two years. These mills are unable to pay loans resulting in increased interest.
 Baloch said that price of super colonel banaspati was Rs 3600 per bag in 2013-14 while dropped to Rs 1300 in 2014-15 and it is projected to touch Rs 700 per bag soon. Many farmers have refused to sow rice in the next season due to the crisis which has put future of industry and agriculture at stake, he added. At the occasion, Mian Zahid Hussain lauded the steps taken for rice sector in the budget but termed them insufficient. He said that government agencies should buy rice from millers to export them, their mark-up should be waived and it should be declared sick industry otherwise this important sector would crumble.

 News Source         News Collated by

Kharif sowing down 5%


Description: to the data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday, the total area under Kharif crops stands at 61.27 lakh hectares (lh) – about 5.4 per cent lower than during the corresponding period the previous year when it touched 64.75 lh.Reports from States indicated that rice sowing and transplanting had taken place in 3.46 lh for 2015-16 kharif season, 13.4 per cent higher than the 3.05 lh registered at the same time last year.Oilseeds have been sown over 0.53 lh (0.58 lh). Sugarcane acreage is down a little more than 5 per cent with 41.01 lh while cotton acreage is 14.5 per cent lower with 9.32 lh sown so far. Sowing of jute and mesta have taken place over 6.95 lh (10.90 lh).
(This article was published on June 7, 2015)

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Jun 08

Jun 8, 2015 2:24pm IST
Nagpur, June 8 Gram and tuar prices firmed up again in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
and Marketing Committee (APMC) here on increased buying support from local millers amid thin
supply from producing regions. Fresh rise on NCDEX, weak overseas supply and good recovery in
Madhya Pradesh pulses also helped to push up prices, according to sources. 
               *            *              *              *
   * Gram varieties reported down in open market on poor buying support from local 
     traders amid profit-taking selling by stockists at higher level. 
   * Tuar varieties showed weak tendency in open market here on poor demand from local 
     traders amid good supply from millers.      
   * Udid varieties zoomed up again in open market here on increased seasonal demand from 
     local traders amid weak supply from producing regions.
   * In Akola, Tuar - 7,300-7,700, Tuar dal - 10,100-10,500, 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 - 4,200-4,500, Gram Super best bold - 6,100-6,300 
     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                   3,500-4,500         3,400-4,430
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                6,000-7,460         6,000-7,400
     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            6,200-6,500        6,200-6,600
     Gram Super Best            n.a.                
     Gram Medium Best            5,800-6,000        5,900-6,200
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Mill Quality            5,500-5,650        5,600-5,750
     Desi gram Raw                4,500-4,600         4,600-4,700
     Gram Filter new            6,000-6,100        6,100-6,200
     Gram Kabuli                5,400-6,900        5,400-6,900
     Gram Pink                6,400-6,600        6,400-6,600
     Tuar Fataka Best             10,500-10,800        10,600-10,900
     Tuar Fataka Medium             9,900-10,300        10,000-10,400
     Tuar Dal Best Phod            9,500-9,700        9,600-9,800
     Tuar Dal Medium phod            8,800-9,300        8,900-9,400
     Tuar Gavarani New             7,350-7,450        7,450-7,550
     Tuar Karnataka             8,000-8,100        8,100-8,200
     Tuar Black                 10,900-11,200           10,800-11,100 
     Masoor dal best            8,000-8,200        8,000-8,200
     Masoor dal medium            7,500-7,900        7,500-7,900
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold               10,800-11,000       10,800-11,000
     Moong Mogar Medium best        10,000-10,500        10,000-10,500
     Moong dal Chilka            9,500-9,800        9,500-9,800
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            9,600-9,900        9,600-9,900
     Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG)    11,400-11,700       11,100-11,500
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    10,500-10,800        10,300-10,500
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        8,800-9,100        8,400-8,800
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        4,100-4,300        4,100-4,300
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)           3,300-3,350         3,300-3,350
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)        3,400-3,500        3,400-3,500
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)        3,100-3,150         3,100-3,150
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,600-4,500        3,600-4,500
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,400-1,600        1,400-1,600
     Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG)    1,550-1,750        1,550-1,750
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)        1,400-1,600           1,400-1,600
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,450        2,200-2,450
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)    1,800-1,950        1,800-1,950
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,100-3,700        3,100-3,700
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,800-3,000        2,800-3,000
     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)        2,700-2,850        2,700-2,850
     Rice BPT (100 INR/KG)               3,000-3,200        3,000-3,200
     Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG)        1,600-1,850        1,600-1,850
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)      2,200-2,450        2,100-2,450
     Rice Swarna old (100 INR/KG)      2,500-2,800        2,500-2,800
     Rice HMT new(100 INR/KG)        3,100-3,600        3,100-3,600
     Rice HMT (100 INR/KG)               3,800-4,200        3,800-4,200
     Rice HMT Shriram New(100 INR/KG)    4,100-4,500        4,100-4,500
     Rice HMT Shriram old (100 INR/KG)    4,500-5,000        4,500-5,000     
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    8,200-10,200        8,200-10,200
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    6,000-7,200        6,000-7,200
     Rice Chinnor new (100 INR/KG)    4,700-4,900        4,700-4,900
     Rice Chinnor (100 INR/KG)        5,500-6,000        5,500-6,000
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,200-2,450        2,200-2,450
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)        2,500-2,600        2,500-2,600
Maximum temp. 39.8 degree Celsius (103.6 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp.
22.7 degree Celsius (72.9 degree Fahrenheit)
Humidity: Highest - 78 per cent, lowest - 36 per cent.
Rainfall : nil
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Rains or thunder-showers likely towards evening or night. Maximum
and minimum temperature would be around and 39 and 23 degree Celsius respectively.
Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but
included in market prices.)

Food processing in Odisha lagging behind

Inadequate post-harvest handling, processing and storage infrastructure and non-availability of processable varieties of raw materials over a long longer period are factors which are preventing Odisha from achieving double-digit growth in the food processing sector.An analysis, conducted by the State government following the discontinuance of National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP) from April 1 this year, says that given the potential of the State, augmenting the growth of food processing from 0.7 per cent to 10 per cent by 2017 and 25 per cent by 2025 is possible.The total agricultural crop production in Odisha has nearly doubled from 46.32 lakh metric tonne in 2002-03 to 87.47 lakh MT in 2009-10.
Food production has witnessed an upward trend in production since 2002-03 at 35.55 lakh MT to reach 75.51 lakh MT in 2009-10.Although Odisha is the country’s leading producer of rice, pulses, vegetables, oilseeds, cotton, groundnut, coconut, jute, spices, potato and fruits, the agro and food processing industry in Odisha is at a nascent stage under the unorganised private sector, it states.Besides, the food processing sector still remains largely untapped because of high packing costs, cultural preference for fresh food, seasonality of raw materials, lack of adequate infrastructural facilities and quality control mechanism.“As a result, there is a need to diversify the sector by fully harnessing its potentialities, providing greater incentives as well as creating conducive environment for more investments and exports,” according to the analysis.
According to a government estimate, as of 2013-14, Odisha had approximately 27,284 enterprises engaged in the food and allied sectors generating over 1.47 lakh employment opportunities with an investment of more than Rs. 1,557.86 crore.Under NMFP from 2012-13 to 2014-15, the food processing industries were assisted with Rs. 11.97 crore and one infrastructure project for conducting a diploma course in food processing technology and seven food processing training centres were supported.The Capital City has attracted highest investment in the sector by receiving investment to the tune of Rs. 163 crore followed by Bargarh with Rs. 128.02 districts. Cuttack, Ganjam and Kalahandi districts received an investment of Rs. 100 crore each in the sector by end of 2013-14.The study recommends setting up of an autonomous organisation on promotion of food processing industries and dedicated food processing cell in Directorate of Industries and District Industrial Centres.Besides, research and development facilities at Orissa University of Agriculture Technology, Bhubaneswar and Centre Rice Research Institute, Cuttack should also be strengthened.
The agro and food processing industry
is at a nascent stage under the unorganised private sector

Program aims to boost rice resilience to climate change

Tue, 9 June 2015
Description: Farmers work in a field to plant rice crops in Kampong Cham in 2013
Farmers work in a field to plant rice crops in Kampong Cham in 2013. Yesterday a USAID-financed project was launched with the aim to encourage small farmers to adopt more resilient rice varieties. Heng Chivoan
As climate change increases the severity of droughts and floods across the Kingdom, a push is being made for farmers to adopt more resistant rice varieties.The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute launched a USAID-financed project in Phnom Penh yesterday in a bid to “accelerate the adoption of stress-tolerant rice varieties by smallholder farmers”.The project will last three years and be implemented in both Cambodia and Nepal, with each country allocated $3 million.“Drought and flood are the two biggest constraints to rice production,” IRRI representative Dule Zhao told the Post yesterday.“Now that we have a lot of flooding problems, if the [seed] variety we are using is not stress tolerant then the damage will be much bigger.”The project will aim to train farmers, seed companies, and farmers’ associations to use better quality seeds for their crop.
One thousand farmers will be selected across the country and given a small amount of seed free of charge, with one of the main goals being in-house production of quality Cambodian seeds.“Most of the farmers, they use their own stored seed – they just use their seed from the previous crop,” Zhao said.Thy Sokhun, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, said at the project’s unveiling in Phnom Penh yesterday that over one million hectares of farmland were damaged by drought and floods from 2011 to 2013.“Considering the potential impacts of global warming and climate change, damage attributable to floods and droughts is expected to become more severe,” he said.Despite the increasing impact of such factors, Cambodian farms remain vulnerable due to a lack of quality seed production and dissemination, according to Sokhun.
“The primary reasons for the rather slow pace of advancement of the production and marketing of rice seed are that these are, and Cambodia has to develop its own brand.”Although Cambodia is the world’s fifth-largest rice exporter, the country’s average rice yield per hectare stands at a relatively low 3.2 tonnes, while neighbouring Vietnam’s is at around 5 tonnes, according to the Agriculture Ministry. The Cambodian government plans to export one million tonnes of rice this year, a massive increase from the less than 400,000 tonnes that were exported in 2014.
Contact authors: Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Charles Rollet

Rice Genomes Project Taps DNANexus for Data Analysis

Jun 08, 2015

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The 3000 Rice Genomes Project (3K RGP) is using DNANexus' cloud-based informatics platform to handle its data processing needs as part of efforts to develop improved varieties of the food crop.The 3K RGP project is a partnership between the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the International Rice Research Institute, and BGI. The partners are working with other global collaborators to identify genetic differences between rice strains, which could potentially improve the nutritional content of the food staple, its tolerance to climatic changes, and strengthen resistance to disease and pests, leading to more resilient rice varieties with higher yields that can better support global food demands.
So far, researchers involved in the 3K RGP effort have analyzed 3,000 rice genomes and generated more than 100 terabytes of data. According to the company, the consortium is using DNANexus' platform to complete genome mapping and variant calling more than 200 times faster than was previously possible and without incurring the additional costs that would be associated with purchasing and maintaining compute infrastructure.
Financial and other terms of the use agreement were not disclosed.

Nitish's rice revolution in Bihar is stalling: agro-scientists look for a new formula

Jun 8, 2015 16:02 IST
By Vivian Fernandes
Description: Paddy field. AFPWith the monsoon once again threatening to turn erratic and scanty, one of Bihar’s two chief scientists for rice advises farmers ‘to grow paddy as if it were wheat.’ fl. AFP
Nitendra Kumar Singh teaches at the Rajendra Agricultural University, Pusa, in Samastipur district, where Lord Curzon, the British viceroy, established the Imperial Agricultural Research Institute in 1905. It was shifted to Delhi in 1935, following an earthquake, and came to be known as the Pusa institute, after its origins.Agriculture in Bihar has benefited from an improvement in governance and connectivity. When Nitish Kumar first became chief minister in 2005 he established special courts which tried and jailed hundreds of criminals. Roads were rebuilt and this correspondent came back impressed after an 800 km trip earlier this month to villages in the northern districts around Patna.
They compare with the vaunted ones of Gujarat.Along with rural connectivity, Kumar also focused on raising agricultural GDP. In India’s current stage of development, growth in agriculture is much more poverty reducing than growth in manufacturing or services. In 2008, a four-year agricultural road map was crafted. It has been extended by five years to 2017 with a target investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.A holistic, ‘rainbow’ approach for agricultural development was adopted, encompassing the white (dairy), blue (fisheries) and green (crop) revolutions.
This dovetailed with the central government’s programme of shifting rice cultivation from ground water-challenged Punjab and Haryana to water-rich north Bihar and the other eastern states.Former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee called this as scheme for Bringing the Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) and gave Rs 400 crore in the 2010-11 budget. He raised it to Rs 1,000 crore in 2012-13. Mukherjee said he was encouraged by the eastern states increasing paddy production by seven million tonnes in the previous kharifseason.

The funding was more symbolic than substantial but it focused national attention on the need to improve agricultural productivity in eastern India, particularly of rice, for which it is naturally endowed."BGREI is a very small scheme in the total gamut that we are trying to attempt," says Vijay Prakash, Bihar’s agricultural production commissioner.Bihar set a goal of matching the national average in rice productivity. It augmented the supply of non-hybrid certified seeds through state enterprises, got private companies to win over farmers to hybrids and encouraged the use of both with subsidies. Particular emphasis was laid on a technique called System of Rice Intensification (SRI).Vijay Prakash, pronounces the mission a success.
"We have caught up with the national average and we have gone a bit ahead," he says.Not quite. Bihar’s average rice yield, according to its economic survey, has risen from 1.28 tonnes per hectare in the three years ending 2008 to 2.36 tonnes in the 2011-14 period. India’s average for the latter period was 2.46 tonnes.Rice production touched a peak of 83 lakh tonnes in 2012-13 but decreased the following year because of bad weather. It was 54 lakh tonnes in 2000-01.Uncertain monsoons have resulted in acreages under rice fluctuating as farmers take evasive action to minimise losses. Between the three-year periods ending 2008-09 and 2013-14, area under rice decreased by 10 percent. Kumar believes farmers will return to rice, if the shortage in key inputs, labour and water, are addressed.
He is questioning the efficacy of SRI and propagating Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) as an alternative.SRI is a labour-intensive method adapted from Madagascar. The seedlings are first raised in nurseries and re-planted manually when eight to 12 days old, with 25 cm of spacing between plants and rows. The space between the rows is puddled with a machine for water to stay. De-weeding is done with a hand-operated machine. The fields have to be alternately irrigated and dried.
Though SRI increases productivity, it leaves farmers worse-off, says a study. "Our finding says that under SRI, the yield advantage is higher by 10-15 percent over conventional paddy growing, and five to seven percent over DSR, but labour requirement and input requirement is high, (and) so net return in SRI is less compared to DSR and conventionally transplanted rice," says Raj Kumar Jat, an agronomist at the Borlaug Institute of South Asia in Samastipur. The institute has done a two-year comparative study of the three techniques of rice cultivation.Though the shortage of agricultural labour is not as acute in Bihar as in some of the developed states, few people volunteer for the tedious work of transplanting.
 MGNREGA, the make-work scheme to relieve rural distress, is also an attractive option."Initially there was a very good response to SRI," says Prakash. But "labour becoming quite costly it is not picking up the way it should have". He says SRI is an important component of the mission to raise rice productivity, "but we are also looking into other types of inputs, like direct seeded rice".SRI is a touchy issue because Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been backing it. Direct seeding is not unknown in this part of the country.
Till around the middle of the last century, Bihar farmers used to sow a mix of green gram (moong), sesame (til) and rice seeds. That was a strategy for ‘baad ke prakop se bachhne ke liye’ (coping with the fury of floods), Kumar says. Now it is meant to cope with the fury of droughts.Farmers gave up direct seeding and resorted to transplanting and rice paddies to cope with weeds. But the invention of low-cost selective and effective herbicide molecules has made DSR attractive once again."Even my dreams are those of DSR," says Kumar. His aim is to get a third of Bihar’s rice acreage under direct seeded rice over the next five years. That is quite a stiff target. Currently, Bihar has about 33 lakh hectares under rice. About 40 percent of it is lowland and 10 percent deep water rice growing acreage, where DSR cannot be employed.
Will he be able to achieve it?
Maa Bhagwati ke kripa se,” (by the grace of Maa Bhagwati) replies the rice breeder, who has 10 varieties to his credit, including Rajendra Bhagwati, a long-grained scented variety.
(Vivian Fernandes is consulting editor to

TDAP, REAP agree to disband QRC

June 08, 2015
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Rice Exporters' Association of Pakistan (REAP) have, in principle, decided to disband Quality Review Committee of Rice (QRC) and to offer golden handshake scheme to its employees forthwith, sources told Business Recorder. The QRC, a rice certification authority was established in 1999 when European countries were demanding that there should be an internal certification body to ensure the import of quality brown rice from Pakistan. The TDAP and REAP have representation on the QRC's board and Director General TDAP, Lahore, is head of QRC. Quality Clearance Certificate (QCC) of QRC was mandatory for the exports of rice to any destination in the world. Presently, Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) is authorised for the certification of brown rice being exported to Europe.
 In addition, several importing countries have imposed condition of a third party inspection through international agency to ensure the quality of rice and as such the TDAP and REAP have decided, in principle, to disband the QRC. The process to disband the QRC was discussed last week at a meeting held in Lahore under the chairmanship of TDAP director-general Sher Afgan Khan. It was attended by REAP chairman Rafique Suleman, senior vice chairman Mian Mohsin Aziz and treasurer Muzammil Cheppal and members of managing committee. Briefing the meeting, the DG TDAP, Lahore, who is also the chairman of QRC, told the meeting that a golden handshake scheme will be offered to the employees of QRC in a couple of days. The golden handshake as per agreed formula include one salary per annum to be multiplied by total years of service, besides three additional salaries and some financial relief will be provided to the employees, he added. 
The meeting also decided that the QRC's controller, deputy controller and chief accountant will continue to work till finalisation of the organisation's audit by Messrs Mushtaq & Company and once this exercise was accomplished, they too will be offered the same golden handshake. When the REAP chairman Rafique Suleman raised the issue of certification of rice for Sri Lanka which under the FTA is linked with QRC certification, the REAP members suggested that TDAP should propose to the Ministry of Commerce to authorise the TCP to issue certificate for export of 6,000 metric tons of rice to Sri Lanka and the DG TDAP agreed to take up the matter with the ministry on priority. Giving details of the QRC's employees, the sources said there are some 24 employees and of them 14 employees are working at Karachi, seven at Lahore and three at Quetta. All the QRC employees, expect three, will be offered golden handshake scheme on Monday to facilitate disbandment of the QRC. After the disbandment of QRC, exporters will not be required to get rice quality certification from any domestic authority (except for Europe's brown rice quality). However, they will continue to submit a third party certification/quality report.

Economic development: Good news for Pakistan and Iran

 LAHORE – A special container train between Pakistan and Iran has been announced, on Monday, to be routed from June 09.
Description: Economic development: Good news for Pakistan and Iran |TheNewsTribe.comExperts are of the view that the project would accelerate the economic activities between the two countries.Sources said that Pakistan would import chemicals, charcoals and other raw materials from Iran, whereas Pakistan would export rice and textile related products to Iran. An official associated with railway ministry told that the rail communication would generate a huge sum of money for railway as well, said sources.Furthermore, the train will leave for Iran on June 9 and on June 11 it will reach the Zahidan city of Iran, adding that all arrangements were put in place along with the hiring of expert staff, said a railway official.


June 08, 2015
Swedish investors invited to invest in energy sector: Minister 
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has invited Swedish investors and businessmen to invest in Pakistan’s energy and infrastructure projects. He was addressing a ceremony at the residence of Swedish Ambassador in Islamabad on National Day celebrations of Sweden. Pervaiz Rashid said both the countries have cooperated and extended support to each other at various international fora on issues of mutual interest. He said we look forward to continue this cooperation in future as well. Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting has rejected the rumours of abolishing subsidy on wheat for Gilgit-Baltistan. In a statement on Sunday, he said these rumours are totally baseless.The Minister said these rumours are being spread to get votes in GB elections.He said Rs6.5 billion have been fixed as subsidy on wheat for Gilgit Baltistan in the budget.

Int’l companies keen to set up oil refinery in KP

ISLAMABAD (Online): A number of international companies have expressed their willingness to set up oil refinery in Southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the official sources, the government is also planning to utilise the available deposits of gas for power generation. The electricity generated through gas will be given to the industries on low rates to boost industrialisation. Meanwhile, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has already decided to establish an autonomous body to executive oil and gas projects. The autonomous body will achieve oil and gas exploration targets under 2034 plan.
Govt asked to bail out crumbling rice sector
ISLAMABAD (INP): President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Sunday said government needs to bail out sinking rice sector otherwise country may lose export market to neighbouring country. Pakistan exports over $2 billion of rice, the second largest exports after textiles, but it is losing export markets since last two years landing over one thousand rice mills into serious problems, he said. This he said while talking to President Pakistan Rice Mills Association Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch. He said that Pakistan is fourth largest exporter of rice and millions of jobs are linked to that critical sector which merits full attention of the policy makers.
At the occasion, Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch said that situation is turning against Pakistan and in favour of India which has introduced its own brand lacking aroma but increased in length. Indian rice is cheaper due to hidden subsidies which has resulting in lost Iranian and Middle Eastern markets, he informed.  He said that some 3000 rice mills are facing problems while those 1000 are on the brink that have failed to sell rice in last two years. He said that mills facing closure are located in Jhang, Chiniot and Layyah while 3.5 lakh bags are lying in only one district since two years. These mills are unable to pay loans resulting in increased interest.  Baloch said that price of super colonel banaspati was Rs 3600 per bag in 2013-14 while dropped to Rs 1300 in 2014-15 and it is projected to touch Rs 700 per bag soon. Many farmers have refused to sow rice in the next season due to the crisis which has put future of industry and agriculture at stake, he added.  At the occasion, Mian Zahid Hussain lauded the steps taken for rice sector in the budget but termed them insufficient. He said that government agencies should buy rice from millers to export them, their mark-up should be waived and it should be declared sick industry otherwise this important sector would crumble.
FPCCI team to leave for China to attend business conference 
karachi (Online): FPCCI President Mian Adrees, Vice President Fehmida Jamali, other senior officials of FPCCI and exhibitors will leave for China in coming week to attend the 10th China SA Business Conference, a press statement said here on Sunday. The 10th China - South Asia Business Forum, jointly sponsored by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, SCCI and People’s Govt of Yunnan Province, will be held during Jun 10-13, 2015 in Kunming ,China. Fehmida Jamali shared the details that this year the Forum will focus on the theme of “Promote the construction of Silk Road Economic Belt; accelerate the pace of business cooperation” and the topics include tourism and service, new energy industry, as well as cooperation among women entrepreneurs.
However FPCCI has completed preparation for Pakistan’s participation to attend the said event including Kunming fair and its first time allocation of stalls through open balloting to the exhibitors; she added. As China-South Asia Business Forum (the Forum) is the first forum mechanism established for regional economic cooperation between Chinese and SAARC industrial and commercial circles in the context of ever-increasing mutual trust in politic affairs and continuous economic cooperation between China and South Asian countries.
Cement export registers 26.13pc fall
Lahore (Staff Reporter): Cement exports have registered a sharp fall of 26.13 percent to 0.56 million tons in May as Iranian cheap cement is eating Pakistan’s market share in Afghanistan. APCMA data showed that exports dropped 10.82 percent to 6.64 million tons in July-May period of the outgoing 2014/15 fiscal year. Cement makers exported 7.44 million tons in July-May 2013/14. Industry expressed concern over the continuous decline in exports to Afghanistan. Pakistan exported 0.75 million tons of cement in the same month a year ago. “Iranian cement is fast making inroads into our neighbouring country,” said a spokesperson of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).
APCMA appealed the government to support local manufacturers in winning back the Afghanistan market by withdrawing duties, which will enable them to compete with highly subsidised Iranian cement.Exports from South registered an increase of 4.5 percent in July-May. These exports go through the sea. However, exports from North decreased 18.30 percent due to Iranian cement factor as exports from the North usually go to Afghanistan.

Upcoming Rice Field Days:  Mark Your Calendar and Plan to Attend the Event in Your Area               

Upcoming Rice Field Days:  Mark Your Calendar and Plan to Attend the Event in Your Area                

Dustin Harrell at the Vermilion Parish Rice Field Day in May 
June 9 - Evangeline Parish Rice Field Tour
7:45 a.m. Joey Hebert Farm and Bieber Farms
Contact: Keith Fontenot, 

June 16 -- Acadia Parish and Rice Research Station South Farm Field Day
8:00 a.m. - LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station South Farm, Hwy 13 South, Crowley, LA
Contact:  Barrett A. Courville,   

June 30 - Louisiana Horizon Ag Field Day
9:00 a.m. - GF&P Farms Shop, 3232 Crowley-Rayne Hwy., Rayne, LA 70578
Contact: Michael Fruge,

June 30 - 41st Annual Eagle Lake Field Day and Program
4:00 p.m. - Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Eagle Lake, Texas
Contact: Dr. Ted Wilson, 

July 1 -- LSU AgCenter Rice Field Day
7:30-9:15 a.m. Field Tours; program begins at 10:45 a.m. and concludes with lunch
LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station, 1373 Caffey Rd., Rayne, LA
Contact:  Dr. Steve Linscombe (337) 788-7531 or 

July 9 -- 68th Annual Beaumont Rice Field Day 
8:00 a.m.
 - Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center
1509 Aggie Drive, Beaumont, Texas 77713
Contact: Dr. Ted Wilson,    

July 21 -- Northeast Louisiana Rice Field Day
9:00 a.m. - Research Plot Tours, Woodsland Plantation, 282 Highway 15, Rayville, LA 71269
11:00 a.m. - Program, Rayville Community Center, 817 Louisa St., Rayville, LA 71269
Contact: Keith Collins, 

July 30 -  MSU-DREC Rice Producer Field Day
3:30 p.m. - Caps Center, Stoneville, MS
Contact: Dr. Bobby Golden, 

Aug. 7 -- Arkansas AgExpo (Rice Field Day)
University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center
2900 Hwy. 130 East, Stuttgart, AR 72160
Contact:  Dr. Chuck Wilson at
 (870) 673-2661 or 

Aug. 18 - Rice Tec Arkansas field Day
15329 Hwy. 1 , Harrisburg, AR 72432
Contact: Dr. Brian Ottis at (573) 391-0366 or 

August 20 - Arkansas Horizon Ag Field Day
Mark Wimpy Farm, Jonesboro, AR
Contact: Dr. Tim Walker, 

Aug. 26 -- California Rice Field Day
California Rice Experiment Station, 955 Butte City Hwy., Biggs, CA 95917
Contact:  Dr. Kent McKenzie
 (530) 868-5481 or 

Sept. 2 -- Missouri Rice Field Day
Jake Fisher Delta Research Center, Portageville, Missouri
Contact: Tina Clark at 573-379-5431or  

Crop Progress:   2015 Crop 95 Percent Emerged 
WASHINGTON, DC -- Ninety-five percent of the nation's 2015 rice acreage has emerged, according to today's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report. 

Rice Emerged, Selected States 
Week Ending
June 7,  2014   
May 31, 2015  
June 7, 2015 
2010-2014 average
Six States

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Preliminary):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for June 8
Net Change

July 2015
+ $0.140
September 2015
+ $0.135
November 2015
+ $0.140
January 2016
+ $0.140
March 2016
+ $0.140
May 2016
+ $0.140
July 2016
+ $0.140

Yummy wine and food combos

08 Jun 2015 send email (372) reads comments
I'm constantly focusing on food and wine pairings, mainly because I want an excuse to eat and drink, but also because the two work so well together. 

I've been doing pairing articles for a good year now but this one is extra special because instead of just sticking with one variety, I get to branch out and promote our new venture, 
MIXED CASES. Brilliant. The 6 wines in the white/red case offer something for everyone and are from a variety of terroirsHere are 6 of my favourite recipes paired with 6 wines from award-winning South African wineries:
Edgebaston Cabernet Sauvignon
Cab is typically a bold red wine and this one is no different - super dry with notes of cassis and mint. It's tannins can be quite pronounced which is where the right food pairing really helps to bring about a more harmonious drinking experience. Because the weather is turning, the perfect accompaniment to this wine would be a hearty plateful of Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta. Rich tomato sauce, tender meat and generous amounts of shaved parmesan can only be improved with a glass of Cab Sauv.
For the recipe, click here
Altydgedacht Barberra
There is an inherent sweetness to Barbera which comes from the luscious fruit notes. Altydgedacht make the most of the flavour profile of this Italian grape by not over oaking it thus it responds well to dishes that have a slight sweetness to them as well as a hint of acidity. I love this wine, the gentle tannins and juicy body will make it a great partner to Caramelized Vegetable Pizza with Goat Cheese and Pepperoni.
For the recipe, click here
Raka Biography Shiraz
Shiraz is a true winter warmer and a great wine for the meat fan. This wine has black berry and white pepper aromas with a hint of vanilla. Its lush texture will lend itself towards juicy, sauce-laden ribs or a steak covered in peppercorn sauce. To keep things truly South African, try it with boerewors pasta.
For the recipe, click here
Spier Creative Block 2 (Sauv/Sem)
This is a fresh wine and a dream to pair with dishes that have a generous squeeze of lemon and/or tomato. Whole fish roasted with potatoes and thyme would be lovely with this wine and even a homemade tomato soup with crusty parmesan croutons would be super yummy. This wine has some greenness to it but the inclusion of Semillon gives it a rounded, fuller mouthfeel. 
Stellenrust Chenin Blanc
One of SA's most popular planted cultivars, Chenin is relatively easy to grow and also easy to pair. If it's wooded, it demonstrates a creamy texture and whilst this one from Stellenrust did have some oak contact, it's deliciously fruity without being flabby. Make yourself a Cape Malay curry with lots of basmati rice and you're on to a winner.
Lammershoek Roulette Blanc
An unusual white wine blend that needs careful planning; a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Clairette Blanche and Viognier, thus it has an aromatic nose, slight honeyed features and a rounded, waxy texture. Dishes with a creamy sauce or a touch of citrus would be ideal.

Tidbits: Kool-Aid gelatin dessert; jasmine and basmati rice

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)June 8, 2015 
Mr. Tidbit has seen some strange things, but he doesn't recall ever seeing a product and a new virtually identical competing product coming from the same company.But that's the case with new Kool-Aid gelatin dessert. It's made by the Kraft Foods Group, which also makes Jell-O. The Kool-Aid box carries the iconic Kool-Aid pitcher, but otherwise there is almost no difference between the 3-ounce packages, and when Mr. Tidbit and two of his little friends tried the grape version of each, they found no apparent difference in flavor. Both desserts even had the identical amethyst color. (Mr. Tidbit would have called it "purple," but his little friends are much more graphics-oriented.)
There is one difference, though: Where Mr. Tidbit found them, the box of Jell-O sold for 67 cents; the Kool-Aid gelatin was 73 cents. That's 9 percent more.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Tidbit discussed his somewhat delayed discovery of Uncle Ben's new basmati rice and jasmine rice, which cook in 10 minutes (and Uncle Ben's two-serving Ready Rice versions of basmati and jasmine rice, which microwave in 90 seconds and are so old that the packages don't even say "new"). He marveled that the once-exotic rices had begun turning up as brand-name staples.Since then, he discovered that he had still failed to notice several other related brand-name products, not one of which apparently is new. There's Uncle Ben's Ready Rice brown basmati rice, and entries from two other rice purveyors:
Success Rice sells jasmine and basmati rice in 14-ounce boxes (eight boil-in-bag servings) at essentially the same per-ounce price as the Uncle Ben's 10-minute products.And there's Minute Rice jasmine rice in a two-pack of single-serving microwave tubs. Where he found it, it's a little cheaper than the Uncle Ben's microwave products. But all the microwave rices are much more expensive per serving than any of the rices that require you to get out a pan. Serving sizes are inconsistent, but the cost of a serving of one of the microwaved aromatic rices is roughly triple that of one of the you-boil-it versions.Minute Rice apparently also sells boil-in-the bag jasmine and basmati rices, but Mr. Tidbit hasn't found them on the shelf anywhere. Yet.

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With FTA talks set to start, EU seeks to tap Indian middle class

FIRST PUBLISHED: MON, JUN 08 2015. 12 16 AM ISTEU director general for trade Jean-Luc Demarty wants more access for the bloc’s automobiles and wines

Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Description: With FTA talks set to start, EU seeks to tap Indian middle classThe European Union (EU) is targeting the rich Indian middle class for enhanced market access in automobiles, wines and spirits, and cheese as Brussels and New Delhi kickstart stalled negotiations for a free trade agreement in goods, services, investment and public procurement.“We want market access for our automobiles and wines and spirits,” said Jean-Luc Demarty, the EU’s director general for trade.After attending a bilateral meeting between EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Indian commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Paris on 4 June on the margins of the annual Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting, Demarty said the stage is now set for a senior-level officials meeting between the two sides.Malmstrom and Sitharaman have directed their senior officials present at the meeting to start talks on all outstanding issues in the free trade agreement.
The talks will begin after the new Indian commerce secretary-designate,Rita A. Teaotia, takes over from her predecessor Rajiv Kher, who retired at the end of this month, Demarty said.Negotiations for the trade agreement talks began in 2007 when the then commerce minister Kamal Nath and his EU counterpart Peter Mandelsondecided to embark on a comprehensive deal covering all areas in goods, services and public procurement in both the markets.But the negotiations stuck many dead ends on both sides due to differences on issues of market access in goods and services as well as the demands made by Brussels in areas such as intellectual property rights, trade and environment, and trade and labour.
Close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to France and Germany, there is a renewed push from New Delhi to close the gaps to ensure that the agreement could act as a launching pad for investment in various ‘Make in India’ initiatives, analysts said.
The EU reckons India as an important trade partner and is now eyeing a “sizeable and growing market of more than 1 billion people,” said a former Indian government official, who asked not to be quoted.The two-way trade between the EU and India was estimated at around €72.5 billion in 2014 while the EU’s investment stock in India was €34.7 billion in 2013. Trade in commercial services quadrupled during the last 10 years, increasing from €5.2 billion in 2002 to €23.7 billion in 2013, according to an EU official release.The EU wants auto and auto-parts import tariffs, which are placed in a select sensitive list in India, to be brought into an open list with very low or nil import duty. Brussels had also proposed “zero-for-zero” duties for auto parts.The Indian domestic industry in auto parts is concerned about reducing the tariffs to zero. India had rejected the EU’s zero-for-zero demand because of the harmful impact it would have on the Indian domestic auto-parts producers.
India had maintained that it will not reduce the import tariffs below the current applied level of close to 10%, the official said.The EU also wants substantial access for wines to serve the rising middle-class consumers in India. New Delhi had agreed to give a tariff rate quota for guaranteed access at a minimum rate. But Brussels is not satisfied with the minimum price as it wants access at the actual price at which wines are sold in European markets.On brown spirits, too, the EU wants the same treatment, namely, market access in the Indian market at actual European prices.
Effectively, the EU’s demands on wines and spirits amount to foregoing huge customs revenue, said another former Indian official.In services, the EU wants liberal access in insurance, banking, and retail trade. With the Modi government’s latest insurance sector reforms, Brussels’ concerns are almost adequately addressed, the former Indian official said. But in banking there will be a demand for a higher level of participation in the Indian banking sector, according to the official.
The EU also wants easy access for legal services professionals, a no-go area for India.On the other hand, despite its ambitious market-opening demands for access in capital-intensive services in India, the EU is not so forthcoming to provide liberal access to Indian short-terms services providers in Mode 4 or even in Mode 1 involving supply of services from one country to the other.
The EU also wants India to agree to a higher level of protection for intellectual property rights over and above the minimum standards in the World Trade Organization’s trade-related intellectual property rights agreement (TRIPS).The EU, for example, wants data exclusivity for its pharmaceutical producers to ensure that when the patent protection expires after the requisite protection period of 20 years, the generic companies generate their own data before they market those off-patented drugs.Brussels is also demanding a higher level of compliance in line with its Geographical Indication notifications and registration of wines and other products. The EU has also demanded substantial access for its cheese products but is unwilling to provide the same treatment to Indian sugar, basmati rice and mangoes, the official said.

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