Wednesday, June 17, 2015

17th June (Wednesday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Philippines Considers New Technology to Analyze Nutrients in Rice Plants

Jun 16, 2015
Researchers from the Philippine Rice Research institute (PhilRice) is exploring new technology called visible-near-infrared (Vis-NIR) Spectroscopy to estimate content of nitrogen in the leaves of some Philippine irrigated lowland rice varieties, according to a news release on the PhilRice website.Vis-NIR spectroscopy can be useful in arriving at the exact amount of fertilizers needed by rice plants. It can also be useful for knowing the exact timing for fertilizer application.
The technology is more popular in the U.S. and Australia and is used to analyze nutrients in plants. It can also be used to analyze soil, chemical and grain quality. It is known to analyze data in less than a minute.The lead researcher of the project noted that though there are various tools, such as the Soil Test Kit and Leaf Color Chart, in the country to guide farmers with application rates of fertilizers and minimize environmental pollution, but the Vis-NIR spectroscopy helps in determining the nutrient status from tissue analysis of the plants at different growth stages and quantifies the nutrient demand and correspondingly helps in applying the needed fertilizers at appropriate time.However, the PhilRice official noted that the initial costs associated with the technology are high as they need to be imported. Currently such instruments, which can be used for commercial purposes, cost about P4-5 million (around $88,506 - $110,633) in the Philippines.If manufactured locally, such instruments can be got at about P100,000 to 150,000 (around $2,212 - $3,319), says the official.

Philippines Approves Up to 805,200 Tons of Rice Imports through Private Traders; Rejects Bids for 100,000 Tons

Jun 16, 2015
The National Food Authority (NFA) of the Philippines has approved private traders to import up to 805,200 tons of 25% well-milled rice under the WTO minimum access volume (MAV) to maintain buffer stocks and avoid potential price spikes amid fears of an impending El Nino weather pattern, according to a statement on the NFA website.Private importers can apply to the NFA for import permits from next month, Reuters quoted the spokesman of the NFA. Rice shipments are expected to arrive before November 30, 2015.
As per the WTO guidelines, about 293,100 tons of rice can be imported each from Thailand and Vietnam; about 50,000 tons can be imported each from India, Pakistan and China; and 15,000 tons can be imported from El Salvador and the remaining 54,000 tons from other countries. Import tariffs on the rice shipments are pegged at 35%.Meanwhile, the NFA has rejected bids by Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia for 100,000 tons of rice today as all the three bidders offered prices higher than the government's reference price of $408.14 per ton, according to Reuters.
The 100,000 tons are part of June 5 tender in which the NFA invited bids for 250,000 tons from Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia but purchased only 150,000 tons from Vietnam. While Thailand offered to sell 100,000 tons at $418 per ton, Vietnam and Cambodia offered $417 per ton and $464 per ton respectively.The NFA reportedly asked all the three governments to submit revised bids by 07.00 GMT today.The NFA bought 650,000 tons of rice (450,000 tons from Vietnam and 200,000 tons from Thailand) so far this year. It is authorized to import another 250,000 tons in case El Nino weather pattern intensifies.However, the NFA Deputy Administrator told reporters that the government will assess next month the impact of El Nino on rice production and decide on the additional imports.
Weather forecasters are expecting El Nino pattern to intensify in the latter part of the year significantly impacting the rice and other crops production. The Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) also estimated Philippines's 2015 second quarter (April - June) production to decline by about 4.3% to around 3.898 million tons from last year's 4.073 million tons due to a decline in harvest area prompted by dry spell and insufficient water supply as well as incidence of pests and diseases in some rice growing areas.Both FAO and USDA are estimating the Philippines to import 1.7 million tons of rice in 2015.

China Seeks to Enhance Grain Storage Capacity to 95% of Output by 2020

Jun 16, 2015
The government of China is planning to enhance its grain storage capacity to about 95% of the total grain output by 2020 in order to ensure grain supply and safety, according to Bloomberg.By the end of 2015, the government is seeking to add 50 million tons of grain storage capacity to the existing capacity. Currently, China has storage facilities that can hold about 106 million tons of grains compared to the total annual out of around 607 million tons.
The current warehouses were built in 1980 and are in a deteriorating condition. Therefore the government is planning to upgrade these warehouses by the end of 2017.The government has recognized the need to improve its ability to respond to emergencies, monitor its food quality, safety, reduce waste and set up efficient grain information system. 

Conab Estimates Brazil 2014-15 Paddy Rice Production to Increase 2% y/y to 12.399 Million Tons

Jun 16, 2015
Brazil’s National Grains Supply Company (Conab) has forecasted the country's 2014-15 paddy rice production at around 12.544 million tons (around 8.53 million tons, basis milled), up about 3.5% from around 12.121 million tons (around 8.24 million tons, basis milled) in 2013-14, and slightly up from its May forecast of around 12.399 million tons.Conab has estimated Brazil's 2014-15 paddy rice acreage at around 2.312 million hectares, down about 2.6% from around 2.373 million hectares in 2013-14. Paddy rice acreage in the key rice growing Centro-Sul (Center-South) region is projected at 1.548 million hectares in 2014-15, down about 1% from around 1.565 million hectares in 2013-14. Rice acreage in the North/Northeast regions is estimated at around 763,800 hectares, down 6% from around 808,400 hectares in 2013-14.
Average rice yield in Brazil in 2014-15 is projected at around 5.425 tons per hectare, up about 6% from around 5.108 tons per hectare recorded in the previous year.USDA estimates Brazil MY 2015-16 (April – March) paddy rice production at around 11.765 million tons (around 8 million tons, basis milled), down about 5% from an estimated 12.397 million tons (around 8.43 million tons, basis milled) in MY 2014-15. It estimates Brazil’s 2015-16 paddy rice acreage decline slightly to around 2.3 million hectares.  USDA estimates Brazil to export around one million tons of rice and import around 550,000 tons of rice in 2015.

Brazil Paddy Rice Index Increases About 2% from Last Week

Jun 16, 2015
The Brazilian paddy rice index maintained by CEPEA reached around 33.71 real per 50 kilograms as of June 15, 2015, up about 1.6% from around 33.18 real per 50 kilograms recorded on June 8, 2015.In terms of USD per ton, the index reached around $217 per ton on June 15, 2015, up about 2% from around $213 per ton recorded on June 8, 2015.
Global Rice Quotes

June 17th, 2015

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade          365-375           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken    345-355           ↔
India 5% broken         365-375           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken    380-390           ↔
Myanmar 5% broken   415-425           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken             430-440           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           465-475           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    565-575           ↔
Argentina 5% broken 555-565           ↔

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken 340-350           ↔
Vietnam 25% broken 330-340           ↔
Pakistan 25% broken 335-345           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken           410-420           ↔
India 25% broken       350-360           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         455-465           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd            360-370           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd    400-410           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd         355-365           ↔
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%          840-850           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         475-485           ↔
India basmati 2% broken        NQ      ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken   NQ      ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails             820-830           ↔

Thailand A1 Super      315-325           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken            310-320           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd    295-305           ↔
Cambodia A1 Super   350-360           ↔
India 100% broken stxd         280-290           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens NQ      ↔
U.S. pet food 365-375           ↔
Brazil half grain          NQ      ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

Government of India May Increase 2015-16 Paddy MSP This Week

Jun 16, 2015
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) may approve a proposal to raise the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy for the 2015-16 kharif marketing season, according to local sources.The CCEA is scheduled to meet on June 17 and the proposal on MSP of kharif crops, including rice, is listed on the agenda for discussion, the Agriculture Secretary was quoted as saying.
Based on the recommendations by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the body that advises the government on the pricing policy for major farm products, the Agriculture Ministry is reportedly considering to increase the MSP of kharif crops.In April this year, the CACP has advised the government of India to increase the minimum support price (MSP) for common grade paddy by about 3.6% or about Rs.50 per quintal (about $8 per ton) for the 2015-16 (July - June) crop season, according to local sources.Currently, the MSP for paddy is Rs.1,360 per quintal (around $218 per ton) for common grade paddy and Rs. 1,400 per quintal (around $224 per ton) for Grade-A paddy. 

Iraq Seeks to Purchase 30,000 Tons of Rice in International Tenders

Jun 16, 2015
Iraq has invited international tenders to purchase about 30,000 tons of rice from the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and India, Bloomberg quoted a statement from the Iraq's Trade Ministry.Last date for submitting bids is June 28, 2015 and offers remain valid till July 2, 2015.

Indonesia Aims to Procure 2 Million Tons of Rice from Local Farmers During Dry Season

Jun 16, 2015
The government of Indonesia aims to procure 2 million tons of rice from local farmers during the dry season (June - mid-December), Bloomberg quoted the Secretary General at Agriculture Ministry.The government directed the state logistics agency to procure the said amount of rice over the next two months, according to the official. He told reporters that the government has identified regions that are prone to suffer drought conditions during the dry season. However, the government is expecting a normal dry season despite fears of an impending El Nino.
The Ministry official expressed confidence that the country would have sufficient or surplus stocks during the months of October - December if production in dry season is normal.The President of the state logistics agency Bulog noted that the agency has 1.4 million tons of rice inventories currently. The government has ruled out immediate import of rice given sufficient stocks. It is likely to take a decision on rice imports after the Ramzan festive season in July.The government had lowered the rice procurement target to 2.75 million tons in the beginning of this month from the initially set 3.2 million tons due to slow pace of procurement. The procurement had been slow despite an increase in the government purchase price (Harga pokok penjualan, HPP) by about 10% to around Rp7,260 per kilogram (around $577 per ton) from the existing Rp6,600 per kilogram (around $524 per ton).USDA estimates Indonesia to produce around 36.3 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 57.17 million tons, basis paddy), and import around 1.25 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (October - September).

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Continue to Edge Higher but Market Lacks Fundamental Support

Jun 16, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery settled 2.5 cents per cwt (about $1 per ton) higher at $9.800 per cwt (about $216 per ton). The other grains rallied for the most part with wheat the only product to close in the red; Soybeans closed about 2.1% higher at $9.5750 per bushel; wheat finished about 0.1% lower at $4.8875 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 1.7% higher at $3.5400 per bushel.U.S. stocks traded higher on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve began its two-day meeting and investors attempted to shake off worries about the Greece debt talks. The Federal Open Market Committee kicked off its meeting on Tuesday. The real news of interest on monetary policy won't come until Wednesday afternoon, when the Fed releases its statement and Yellen holds a press conference. Consensus is for a rate hike in September.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 100 points as European stocks also recovered from early losses to close mostly higher. Concerns about Greece abated slightly after weighing heavily on stocks on Monday and index futures Tuesday morning. The major averages shook off mild declines to attempt gains in morning trade, with the Dow Jones industrial average recovering to trade in the black for the year after closing in negative territory on Monday. The Greek jitters weighed globally, with Asian shares closing broadly in the red. European stocks recovered to close mostly higher while the Greek ATHEX Composite ended more than 4.5% lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 104 points, or 0.60%, at 17,895. The S&P 500 traded 11 points, or 0.51%, at 2,094, with consumer staples leading nine sectors higher and industrials the only decliner. The Nasdaq traded up 26 points, or 0.51%, at 5,055. Gold is trading about 0.4% lower`         , crude oil is seen trading about 0.7% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.2% lower at about  2:00pm Chicago time.Monday, there were 1,825 contracts traded, up from 979 contracts traded on Friday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Monday decreased by 556 contracts to 11,132.

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures See Follow-through Buying Following Yesterday’s Afternoon Rally

Jun 16, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery are currently seen trading 7.5 cent per cwt (about $2 per ton) higher at $9.850 per cwt (about $217 per ton) during early floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading higher; soybeans are currently seen trading about 0.3% higher, wheat is listed about 0.3% higher and corn is currently noted about 0.1% higher.U.S. stocks traded mildly higher on Tuesday as investors attempted to shake off concerns about lack of resolution in Greece debt talks amid the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting.
The major averages shook off mild declines to attempt slight gains in morning trade, with the Dow Jones industrial average recovering gains for the year. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday blamed creditors for the collapse of talks on unlocking aid for reforms at the weekend. The impasse has raised concerns that Athens is heading for a debt default that could end with it leaving the euro zone. A spokesman said Athens has submitted proposals and is waiting for a response from lenders, Reuters said. Euro zone finance ministers are next due to discuss the Greek crisis on Thursday—when Tsipras has a planned visit to Russia. The Federal Open Market Committee begins its highly-anticipated meeting on Tuesday.
The real news of interest on monetary policy won't come until Wednesday afternoon, when the Fed releases its statement and Chair Janet Yellen holds a press conference. Consensus is for a rate hike in September. U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday as concerns about Greece's future took a toll ahead of the highly-anticipated Fed meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 53 points higher, or 0.32%, at 17,848. The S&P 500 gained 6 points, or 0.27%, at 2,090, with consumer staples leading nine sectors higher and utilities the only laggard. The Nasdaq traded up 12 points, or 0.23%, at 5,041. Gold is currently trading about 0.7% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 0.6% higher,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.2% higher at 9:00am Chicago time.

Thailand's Third Rice Auction Receives Less Interest than First Two

Jun 16, 2015

Description:'s third auction for around 1.06 million tons of rice this year has attracted less response compared to the first two, according to local sources.While the first auction had 96 bidders, the second had 45 bidders, according to the Commerce Ministry's Foreign Trade Department.Forty three bidders were qualified to bid in today’s auction, but only 40 bidders submitted their bids in the auction for 1.06 million tons of rice. The remaining three bidders reportedly backed out from the auction as they were doubtful of the quality of the grain offered for sale.The Thai government reportedly sold 840,000 tons of rice worth about 7.8 billion baht (around $232 million), according to Commerce Ministry sources. 
The Thai military government currently holds about 16 million tons of rice accumulated from the rice pledging scheme introduced by the previous government. It 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. It aims to sell about 10 million tons of stockpiled rice this year and about 7 million tons next year.
According to a stock-audit report released earlier this year, only about 2.35 million tons are of standard quality, about 14.4 million tons are of sub-standard quality, around 694,000 tons of rice are rotten and the remaining 390,000 tons of rice are missing. The Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade (DG-DFT) confirmed that only 2.6 million tons are fit for human consumption. The government is considering to sell the remaining stocks to the industrial sector.Separately, the farmers' associations are not happy with the government's call to delay main wet season rice planting due to low rainfall and deteriorating water levels in reservoirs. They are likely to defy the government's request and take chances.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Prices Seen Sideways as IGB Announces New Tender

Jun 16, 2015

The U.S. cash market was unchanged again today despite news that the Iraqi Grain Board issued another tender to buy at least 30,000 MT of long grain white rice which follows their last tender in which no origin was awarded.The IGB is seeking to buy either U.S., Uruguayan, Argentine, Brazilian, or Indian origin and offers need to be submitted no later than June 28th and must remain valid through July 2nd.  Analysts note that if the U.S. is able to secure some of this business it could turn the U.S. market around and cause buyers that are hand to mouth to change their strategy and look for great coverage. 

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16th June (Tuesday),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

June    16,2015

NFA bidding out milled rice supply deal

By: Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:26 AM June 16th, 2015
The National Food Authority is rebidding Tuesday a contract for the importation of 100,000 tons of milled rice as the Philippines is expected to remain among the world’s top rice importers in 2016.This volume formed part of the 250,000 tons programmed for importation in the third quarter.In a government-to-government auction held at NFA headquarters last week, the NFA awarded a contract for only 150,000 tons worth $61.5 million to Vietnam Southern Food Corp.Offers for the remaining 100,000 tons went above the NFA budget so the NFA decided to reject the bids and hold another bidding Tuesday for the remainder of the requirement.Joseph dela Cruz, chair of the bidding committee, said the latest importation was expected to be delivered by July 15.In the meantime, Economic Research Service, a unit of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-ERS), said the Philippines was expected to outsource between a million and 2 million tons of the staple grain next year.

The forecast import volume is the same as those of the European Union, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and South Africa.In an earlier forecast, the USDA-ERS penciled in 1.7 million tons for the Philippines’ importation this year.“Trade in 2016 (forecast at 42.5 million tons worldwide) would be the third largest on record,” the American agency said. “China is projected to remain the number one rice-importing country, taking a record 4.7 million tons of rice in 2016, up 7 percent from 2015, despite a record crop.”In the Philippines, the stock of milled rice rose for the second month in a row, hitting 3.17 million tons as of May 1, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

MQM seeks $2 billion under CPEC package for Karachi uplift

June 16, 2015
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday urged the government to allocate $2 billion for the development of Karachi under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) package. The MQM also demanded apology on the floor of the House by the Prime Minister on his statement about "Even if a fly dies, a protest strike is called in Karachi". Taking part in the budget debate in the National Assembly, MQM leader Sheikh Salahuddin also urged more allocation of resources to address problems being faced by Karachi like terrorism, unemployment and water shortage.
He said that the budget would increase inflation and the poor class will have to bear much burden. The MQM leader further said that the government has also proposed tax on second hand clothes and made it difficult for the poor to buy even second hand clothes. The government should announce more development projects like the metro bus to overcome transportation problems in Karachi, he added. Nasir Iqbal Bosal said Pakistan was exporting 75 percent rice to Iran; however India sent a team to Iran and convinced them for importing India rice, which negatively hit our exports. He urged the government to form a team and send to Iran for convincing them to buy Pakistani rice to give farmers a relief. He further said that the government should convince China to import Pakistani rice of low standard as it is the biggest importer. Bosal said the country's economy can be strengthened by promoting agriculture and resolving problems being faced by the farmers. 

Ghous Bux Mahar called for reduction in duration of load shedding and demanded duty on import of solar panels to promote use of solar energy. He further said every developed country gives subsides and incentives to agriculture sector, however in Pakistan it is being neglected. Agriculture sector should be given importance to increase growth rate of the country. Ali Gohar Khan Mahar demanded special development package for Ghotki district to overcome lack of educational, health and infrastructure facilities. About 200 oil wells are there in Ghotki and due to heavy traffic, roads are destroyed but no maintenance is being carried out.

North Korea says hit by worst drought in 100 years

Reclusive North Korea said on Tuesday it has been hit by the worst drought in a century, compounding chronic food shortages in a country where the United Nations says almost one third of children under five are stunted due to malnourishment.The North's KCNA news agency said paddies around the country including the main rice farming regions of Hwanghae and Phyongan provinces were drying up due to lack of rainfall. Paddies require enough water to keep rice plants partially submerged to grow."The worst drought in 100 years continues in the DPRK, causing great damage to its agricultural field," KCNA said, using the short form for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.The U.N. resident coordinator for North Korea, Ghulam Isaczai, last month warned of a looming crisis due to last year's drought caused by the lowest rainfall in 30 years.

Isaczai said he thought the food situation would not be as bad as in previous major droughts, since communities were now more resilient and might have some reserves.North Korea's farm production periodically suffers from droughts and floods in the summer, although the state has learned to cut damage by updating farming methods and switching to crops other than rice in recent years.North Korea suffered a deadly famine in the 1990s and has relied on international food aid, but support has fallen sharply in recent years because of its restrictions on humanitarian workers and reluctance to allow monitoring of food distribution.The United Nations in April called for $111 million to fund crucial humanitarian needs this year in North Korea, which it said remains drastically under-funded.Funding for U.N. agencies in North Korea fell from $300 million in 2004 to less than $50 million in 2014 and the country urgently needs money for food and agriculture, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation programmes, the world body said.
(Reporting by Jack Kim)

PH approves 805,200 T rice imports by private traders

Posted at 06/16/2015 1:38 PM
MANILA - The Philippines' state grains agency said on Tuesday it has approved guidelines for the import of up to 805,200 tons of rice by private traders, with shipments required to arrive not later than Nov. 30.Private rice traders will be allowed to bid for import permits, with tariff for the shipment pegged at 35 percent, at a date to be announced later, the National Food Authority (NFA) said in a memorandum, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.Under the guidelines, private traders are allowed to import up to 293,100 tons each from Thailand and Vietnam, up to 50,000 tons each from China, India and Pakistan, 15,000 tons from El Salvador and the rest from any other countries.The volume will be in addition to the rice imports by the NFA under deals with the governments of Vietnam and Thailand.

Gov't to try to import rice again
Posted at 06/15/2015 1:03 PM
MANILA - Government is taking a second shot at importing rice ahead of the lean season that starts next month after failing to buy as much as it wanted two weeks ago.A report from Reuters said the Philippines will invite bids for 100,000 tons of rice from Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.Government bought 150,000 tons from Vietnam earlier this month when it wanted to buy 250,000 from any or all of the three countries.The Philippines needs to import rice as dry weather from El Nino cuts local production, raising the possibility of shortages.A failure to import last year resulted in a spike in rice prices and general inflation. -- AN

North Korea says hit by worst drought in 100 years

North Korea has been hit by what it describes as its worst drought in a century, which could worsen chronic food shortages in a country where the United Nations says almost a third of children under five are stunted because of poor nutrition.The country suffered a devastating famine in the 1990s and has relied on international food aid, but support has fallen sharply in recent years, because of its curbs on humanitarian workers and reluctance to allow monitoring of food distribution.The North's KCNA news agency said late on Tuesday that paddies around the country, including the main rice farming regions of Hwanghae and Phyongan provinces, were drying up for lack of rain. Rice must be partly submerged in order to grow.

"The worst drought in 100 years continues in the DPRK, causing great damage to its agricultural field," KCNA said, using the short form of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles ties with the North, did not have a comment on Wednesday about the report.North Korea's farm production periodically suffers from droughts and floods in the summer, although the state has learned to cut damage by updating farming methods and switching to crops other than rice in recent years.Thomas Lehman, Denmark's ambassador to both North and South Korea, told Reuters that on a visit to the North late last month he could "clearly see" attempts to deal with the drought in its fields."The lack of water has created a lot of damage to the so-called spring crop, and the rice planting is extremely difficult without sufficient water," said Lehman, who has spoken to U.N. officials about the drought, and visited drought-hit areas.

North Korea has mounted a campaign encouraging the public to help out on farms, and is using mobile water pumps run on diesel and longer pipes to draw water into fields."Farm managers reported receiving training in dry rice planting techniques and other measures that they were trying to conserve water," said Linda Lewis of the American Friends Service Committee, a group that runs farm projects in the North.

The U.N. resident coordinator for North Korea, Ghulam Isaczai, warned in a Reuters interview last month of a looming crisis due to last year's drought, caused by the lowest rainfall in 30 years.At the time, Isaczai said he thought the food situation would not be as bad as in previous major droughts, since communities were now more resilient and might have reserves.In April, the United Nations called for $111 million to fund crucial humanitarian needs this year in North Korea, which it said remains drastically under-funded.Funding for U.N. agencies in North Korea fell to less than $50 million in 2014, from $300 million in 2004.North Korea relies heavily on hydroelectric power and suffers from chronic electricity shortages, which can be exacerbated by periods of no rain.
South Korea has also received sharply lower rainfall, particularly in the northern regions, which have got about half the rain of an average year, the national weather agency says.In early June, Pyongyang's propaganda officials produced two new posters and slogans to spur the fight on drought."Let's mobilize the masses and fight with all our strength against the drought," read one poster that showed a smiling farmer gesturing towards a field of workers with red flags and spades.

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Maize imports rise as rice exports fall
Viet Nam Southern Food Corp workers pack rice at a warehouse in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho. The country's rice exports declined in the first five months of this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
Description: CITY  (VNS) — Maize imports in the first five months of 2015 are on the rise but rice exports are on the decline, according to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.Viet Nam imported 2.87 million tonnes of maize, worth US$622 million, up by 30.3 per cent in volume, and an increase of 16.8 per cent in value compared with the same period last year.
The country also imported 700,000 tonnes of beans and other materials for processing of animal feed worth nearly $1.4 billion.Meanwhile, exports of rice from Viet Nam over the same period reached 2.08 million tonnes, worth $875 million, a decline of 255,000 tonnes in volume and $138 million in values over 2014.In all, the value of imported animal feed and other materials for the food processing industry in the first five months amounted to nearly $2.3 billion, nearly triple the total value of rice exports over the same period.Authorities have been urged to re-structure the country's planting systems, aiming to reduce material imports while easing the pressure on rice consumption.The programme to re-structure rice plantation to other crops including maize began in 2013 when the country's rice exports were stagnant.
However, the programme has faced challenges in many localities across the country.The slump in the world's farm produce prices, including maize prices, has caused local agricultural products to be less competitive than imported goods.Maize prices have dropped to less than VND5,000 per kg since the end of 2014, making maize growers' profits lower than rice growers'.It has forced many farmers to return to rice cultivation.Huynh The Nang, chairman of Vietnamese Food Association, said that global demand for rice had changed greatly compared to five to 10 years ago. Rice growing countries have increasingly raised their output, while rice buyers have also been promoting rice production."It's time for Viet Nam to re-consider rice production and exports with an aim to raise the added value of this product and a bigger effort to change rice into more necessary crops," he said. —VNS

NFA rejects rice supply offers

All offers, both initial and revised, are above the reference price, the National Food Authority says
6:16 PM, Jun 16, 2015
Updated 6:16 PM, Jun 16, 2015
Description: REJECTED. The National Food Authority (NFA) on Tuesday, June 16 rejects offers for the supply of 100,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as both initial and revised orders are above the reference price.
REJECTED. The National Food Authority (NFA) on Tuesday, June 16 rejects offers for the supply of 100,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as both initial and revised orders are above the reference price.MANILA, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) on Tuesday, June 16, rejected offers for the supply of 100,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as both initial and revised orders were above the reference price.

The NFA Council is expected to decide Wednesday, June 17, based on the provisions of the terms of reference of the tender, if the lowest offer for the day, $416.85 per metric ton (MT), may be considered for award.The offer was made by Vietnam’s Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) against the reference price of $408.14 per MT. All initial offers from the governments of Thailand (represented by the Department of Foreign Trade); Vietnam (Vinafood2); and Cambodia (Green Trade Company/Cambodia Rice Federation) were way above the reference price with offers of $418 per MT, $417 per MT, and $459.50 respectively.
Thailand declined to make another offer.

“The price is too low, it is even lower than the last (reference) price,” said Malou de Leon, marketing officer of the commercial affairs of the Royal Thai embassy.Cambodia and Vietnam then revised their offers to $455.50 per MT and $416.85 per MT respectively.De la Cruz said the 3 countries likely placed high offers because they have other markets or buyers who can buy at higher prices. China, for instance, is keen on importing around 2 million MT, an attractive supply destination for major rice exporters.

Patricia Galang de Jesus, lawyer and executive assistant to the NFA administrator, said the agency is deferring the decision, saying that under the terms of reference, the mechanism is that NFA should reject the offers – if these are above the reference price.“But the second sentence says the revised offers will be evaluated based on the lowest price [thus] we are referring the matter to the NFA Council for their decision,” De Jesus said.NFA bids and awards committee chair Joseph de la Cruz said another option for the council is to order a fresh tender using a new reference price. He added there is no precedence to considering the lowest revised offer and that the agency may be questioned by the state auditors.

Why import?
The 100,000 MT of rice should be imported by August to boost the NFA’s buffer stock for the lean season.The government was able to procure only about 150,000 MT of the 250,000 MT programmed rice importation for buffer stocking in the second half of the year.De la Cruz said domestic stocks are still abundant as traders and millers have large inventories at hand.The government, however, has to pursue the importation of the remaining volume under the programmed importation to secure buffer stock in the event of calamities. This will allow them to respond to relief requirements.NFA maintains a stockpile sufficient for 24 days equivalent to 750,000 MT. The state grains procurement agency is mandated to maintain a buffer stock sufficient for 30 days. –

Vietnam’s rice exports hit 2m tones in last 5 months


Description: Vietnam’s rice exports hit 2m tones in last 5 monthsHANOI: Viet Nam earned some US$875 million from shipping nearly 2.1 million tonnes of rice abroad in the first five months of 2015, according to the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA).The VFA recorded year-on-year declines of 10.7 per cent in volume and 13.6 per cent in value for rice exports. In May alone, the volume of rice exports posted a monthly decrease of 19 per cent, mainly as a result of pressure to sell inventory and low-quality rice stemming from Thailand and India, the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper quoted the source as saying.According to the VFA, the reasons for the decline are China’s adjustments to its import quota policies and limited transactions, even across the border, and the selling of rice in stock from Thailand and India.Asia remains the largest continent to import rice from Viet Nam, having purchased some 1.45 million tonnes of the product and accounting for more than 69 per cent of the country’s rice export value, followed by Africa and the Americas.Last month, Viet Nam secured a number of important contracts with key markets such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Cuba, while increasing its market share in the Pacific countries and Africa

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Jun 16

Nagpur, June 16 Gram and tuar prices moved down in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and
Marketing Committee (APMC) here on poor buying support from local millers amid high moisture
content arrival. Government decision to import pulses, fresh fall in Madhya Pradesh pulses and
downward trend on NCDEX also pushed down prices. Pre-monsoon rains yesterday evening in parts of
Vidarbha affected arrival, according to sources. 
               *            *              *              *
   * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor. 
   * Tuar gavarani and tuar Karnataka reported down in open market in absence of buyers 
     amid profit-taking selling by stockists at higher level.      
   * Lakhodi dal and watana varieties quoted weak in open market here on lack of buying 
     support from local traders amid good supply from producing belts.
   * 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                   3,400-4,450         3,500-4,640
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                6,000-7,050         6,200-7,120
     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            5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.                
     Gram Medium Best            5,500-5,600        5,500-5,600
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Mill Quality            5,200-5,400        5,200-5,400
     Desi gram Raw                4,400-4,450         4,400-4,450
     Gram Filter new            5,600-5,800        5,600-5,800
     Gram Kabuli                5,500-7,000        5,500-5,700
     Gram Pink                6,400-6,600        6,400-6,600
     Tuar Fataka Best             10,500-10,800        10,500-10,800
     Tuar Fataka Medium             9,900-10,300        9,900-10,300
     Tuar Dal Best Phod            9,500-9,700        9,500-9,700
     Tuar Dal Medium phod            8,800-9,300        8,800-9,300
     Tuar Gavarani New             7,300-7,400        7,400-7,500
     Tuar Karnataka             7,900-8,000        8,000-8,100
     Tuar Black                 11,000-11,300           11,000-11,300 
     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               10,500-10,800       10,500-10,800
     Moong Mogar Medium best        9,800-10,300        9,800-10,300
     Moong dal Chilka            9,200-9,600        9,200-9,600
     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)    11,500-11,750       11,500-11,750
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    10,600-10,800        10,600-10,800
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        8,900-9,200        8,900-9,200
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        4,200-4,400        4,200-4,400
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)           3,200-3,350         3,300-3,350
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)        3,300-3,400        3,400-3,500
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,100         3,100-3,150
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,600-4,500        3,600-4,600
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,400-1,600        1,400-1,600
     Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG)    1,550-1,650        1,550-1,650
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)        1,400-1,600           1,400-1,600
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)    1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,100-3,600        3,100-3,600
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,700-2,900        2,700-2,900
     Wheat 147 (100 INR/KG)        1,400-1,500        1,400-1,500
     Wheat Best (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100     
     Rice BPT New(100 INR/KG)        2,600-2,800        2,600-2,800
     Rice BPT (100 INR/KG)               2,900-3,100        2,900-3,100
     Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG)        1,500-1,750        1,500-1,750
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)      2,100-2,300        2,100-2,300
     Rice Swarna old (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,700        2,400-2,700
     Rice HMT new(100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,600        3,000-3,600
     Rice HMT (100 INR/KG)               3,700-4,100        3,700-4,100
     Rice HMT Shriram New(100 INR/KG)    4,200-4,500        4,200-4,500
     Rice HMT Shriram old (100 INR/KG)    4,400-4,900        4,400-4,900     
     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)    4,600-4,800        4,700-4,900
     Rice Chinnor (100 INR/KG)        5,400-5,900        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. 34.4 degree Celsius (95.3 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp.
24.9 degree Celsius (78.6 degree Fahrenheit)
Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a.
Rainfall : 3.4 mm
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Rains or thunder-showers likely towards evening or night. Maximum
and minimum temperature would be around and 35 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.)

It's So Bad in Greece, People Are Moving Back in With Their Parents

Youth joblessness is still alarmingly high, while fertility has cratered
June 16, 2015 — 11:46 AM PDT
Description: pass a view of the Acropolis Hill as they walk through the Acropolis museum in Athens. 
Photographer: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg
Moving out of the house you grew up in is a rite of passage. Moving back in with your parents is a cry for help.In Greece,  it's come to just that.The number of people too broke to afford their own place has ballooned since 2010, when the Mediterranean nation's economic woes began.  The share of momma's boys (and girls) between the ages of 18 and 34 has grown to 63.5 percent, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency. More than half of those between 25 and 34 live at home.Description:
The only country that can hold a torch to Greece is Italy, where it's a cliché how much kids love their mothers. Yet the reasons why so many adult children live with their parents is very much grounded in hard economic facts. Two factors are critical:


Zero job prospects

Looking at Greece's youth unemployment numbers, where more than half of people under 25 are out of work,  it's hardly surprising many of them settle for free home-cooked meals and their childhood rooms.


Declining fertility

Description: in Greece just aren't making babies. And who can blame them? Raising a family is expensive. What that means is that the population just keeps getting older, which leaves a shrinking workforce bearing the brunt of higher pension costs as more people retire.
For now, the parents are sustaining their adult children, but pretty soon it's going to be the other way around. And then what?

Amid Thai Water Shortages, Rice Farmers Defy Orders And Plant Crops

By Eben Blake @ebenblake on June 16 2015 10:11 AM EDT
A farmer displays a pile of rice during a rally outside Thailand's Finance Ministry in Bangkok, March 13, 2014.Reuters/Kerek Wongsa
Description: riceThe Thai government wants rice growers to delay planting their crops because of severe nationwide water shortages, but a leader of central plain rice farmers said Tuesday that most would defy the order because any delay would risk the loss of the entire harvest, reports the Bangkok Post. As an El Niño pattern, which brings heat and drought to Southeast Asia, begins in the Pacific Ocean, rice paddies are quickly losing water. 

Khwanchai Mahachuenjai, deputy head of the Farmers Network of the Central Region, said few growers would follow the Royal Irrigation Department's orders to delay planting their main rice crop until July. A general drought in the region caused by El Niño is expected to cause the price of rice, the food staple for half the world's population, to surge by 40 percent, the Bangkok Post previously reported. 

"This time farmers will go ahead, whether they must find water themselves or just hope for rain," Mahachuenjai told the Bangkok Post. "They will take their chances. If they do not, then they will have no income this year because later this year water coming downstream from the north will inundate their paddy fields and rice cannot grow then."Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Pitipong Phuengboon Na Ayudhaya has said existing reservoirs would be able to water only the 3.4 million rai (about 1.34 million acres) of paddies already planted, according to the Bangkok Post. The government is ordering the other 4 million rai to be planted in late July, when normal levels of rainfall are supposed to return.

Wichien Phuanglamjiak, president of the Thai Agriculturist Association, demanded Tuesday that the government provide rice growers compensation for the delay from water shortages, along with a three-year debt moratorium. In 2013, Thailand's government began buying domestic rice at an above-market rate in an attempt to cut exports and control the price of rice in the global market. In order to boost farmers' income, the government started stockpiling what is now 14 million tons of rice, which it expected to sell internationally at a higher price, according to the Wall Street Journal.The strategy backfired. India and Vietnam began selling more rice at lower prices, leaving Thailand with a huge debt and no easy way to sell the rice. With Thailand now facing a drought that could cause a rice shortage, the government's massive stores have begun to rot, according to a previous article by the Bangkok Post.

Monsoon to remain active over central and east India


The monsoon did not make further progress towards North on Tuesday, apparently waiting for the Bay of Bengal to get active and push more rain into central and east India. Global models have been suggesting the formation of a low-pressure area off the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha coast this week to boost the monsoon in the region.
‘Low’ expected

India Met Department has spotted an upper air cyclonic circulation over west-central Bay of Bengal off north Andhra Pradesh-south Odisha coasts. Its projections too favour the formation of a ‘low,’ which would cross coast and travel almost along a straight line across central India towards Mumbai-Gujarat.This would likely bring another round of heavy to very heavy rainfall over central India and west India, covering Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the US Climate Prediction Centre agree with this outlook.The US Centre predicts that the rains will cover entire east India and northern parts of northwest India (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir) by June 28.
Dipole event
The Application Laboratory (APL) of Jamstec, the Japanese national forecaster, persists with the outlook that the Indian Ocean would witness a ‘positive dipole phase’ soon.It could start influencing the regional weather (which includes Indian monsoon) from August, the APL said in its latest update.Indian Ocean Dipole mimics El Nino-La Nina in the equatorial Pacific; the positive phase is when the western part of the ocean warms up relative to the east, and vice versa.The positive dipole phase has come to the rescue of the Indian monsoon in the past, notably in 1997, which was a strong El Nino year.
July trend
It will be interesting to watch how this El Nino year plays out with a positive phase of the dipole being forecast.The Japanese forecaster also said that India would likely witness a deficient monsoon in July.August may turn predictably better with excess rain seen for central India and parts of adjoining north-west and east India. South India too may get good precipitation. But come September, the situation may reverse again with rain deficit forecast for most parts except in the east and north-east.This goes to cast doubts on the strength or tenure of the positive dipole event.Earlier on Tuesday, the Australian Met Bureau credited the good monsoon to unexpected support from the higher levels of the atmosphere in the form of a passing wave to the east.
(This article was published on June 16, 2015)
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for June 16

Net Change

July 2015
+ $0.025
September 2015
+ $0.025
November 2015
+ $0.040
January 2016
+ $0.040
March 2016
+ $0.030
May 2016
+ $0.030
July 2016
+ $0.030


Head outside to one of Burnaby’s scenic patios

by Tara Lee on June 10th, 2015 at 2:29 PM
Description: spots to relax over an al-fresco meal in the ’burbs include the stately Hart House Restaurant.
Sitting on the patio of Hart House Restaurant (6664 Deer Lake Avenue) in Burnaby is an idyllic experience. The serene waters of Deer Lake shimmer in the distance, and right before Description: nullyou is the lawn where you can play croquet or bocce if the mood strikes. This outdoor dining area is just one of the many gorgeous Burnaby patios that warrant a visit.Over the phone, Hart House’s general manager, Edwyn Kumar, suggests enjoying their weekly three-course chef’s menu ($38) on the patio, with items like roasted sunchoke soup and sous-vide sockeye salmon that showcase executive chef Mike Genest’s adept use of local, seasonal ingredients. This month, the restaurant will also be offering Champagne de Venoge by the glass ($18). As well, Hart House hosts stylish alfresco events on its grounds, like a Mediterranean Garden Party on July 22 ($68 per person), which includes winetastings, a Mediterranean-inspired buffet, and live music.
Riverway Clubhouse.
Nongolfers may not be in the know about two of Burnaby’s most scenic patios, at theRiverway (9001 Bill Fox Way) and Burnaby Mountain (7600 Halifax Street)clubhouses, both run by the City of Burnaby. Of the two, Riverway’s is particularly spectacular, with its modern wood-beam design and sweeping views of the golf greens and water.The Burnaby Mountain patio was completely renovated this year, with elegant lounge and table seating and views of the golf course. During a phone chat, Hugh Izumi, general manager of both clubhouses, is particularly excited about their new “feast for two” platters. The barbecue one features half a roasted lemon-and-mustard chicken, a rack of barbecued baby back ribs, fries, coleslaw, market veggies, grilled corn, and caesar salad or organic greens. The surf ’n’ turf platter includes a grilled 10-ounce Angus rib-eye, a pesto prawn kebab, crispy calamari, and Salt Spring Island mussels. Get to both patios early to snag seats.
Personas at the Grand Villa Casino.
The patio at Personas (4331 Dominion Street) at the Grand Villa Casino is an impressively lavish new space, perfect for chic sun- and food-worshipping. This under-the-radar spot seats 100, and includes a circular bar area, lounge and table seating, and a communal table, as well as fire pits and water features. Live music throughout the summer adds to the ambiance.Personas’ menu includes accessible options like California sushi tacos, tomato and bocconcini salad, and a chicken and Belgian waffle sandwich. Their Express Lunch items, such as a Mediterranean grilled vegetable wrap, will have you in and out in 45 minutes, aided by free valet parking from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

High atop Burnaby Mountain you’ll find the patio at Simon Fraser University’s Highland Pub (8888 University Drive), run by SFU’s student society and serviced by friendly student employees. Leaning back on comfy lounge seating, you can appreciate the clean lines of the campus architecture as envisioned by Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey. Expect pub favourites like a flame-grilled sirloin burger, rustic vegetable chili, and of course the well-known nachos grande—as well as draft beers like Big Rock Grasshopper Wheat Ale and Honey Brown Lager.Also on Burnaby Mountain is Horizons Restaurant (100 Centennial Way), with a highly-sought-after patio that’s set to open for the season in the last week of June (weather permitting). “It has one of the best views anywhere, honestly. It looks downtown, it looks into Burrard Inlet. You can see the North Shore,” says Diane Summers, senior manager, during a phone interview.
After taking in the surrounding landscape, she suggests ordering the seared albacore tuna with a citrus-y quinoa, cucumber, and fennel salad, or the curry-spiced cornmeal-crusted rockfish with sea scallops and saffron basmati rice. The dessert sampler—with blueberry bread pudding, chocolate pâté, and crème brûlée—makes the view that much better.The recently opened Burnaby location of Glowbal Group’s successful Trattoria (4501 Kings­way) will be launching its patio in the next week or so. “It’s a Tuscan Italian garden on Kingsway, with a lot of hanging flower baskets, flowerpots, and nice banquettes,” says owner Emad Yacoub over the phone. He explains that they’ll be expanding the about-to-open patio into an even larger, splashier year-round one by the fall. Start with the bruschetta sampler trio before choosing from pastas, like the must-have truffle cream spaghetti and meatballs, and pizzas, such as one with prosciutto, arugula, and burrata.And with this summer promising to be a hot one, you’ll have plenty of cloudless days for relaxing on one of these patios.

Enrollment Open for USDA's ARC and PLC Programs     

John Owen 
WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2014 and 2015 will officially be open for enrollment tomorrow, June 17, until September 30.
Eligible producers had until April 7 to elect whether they participated in the ARC or the PLC program until 2018 when the current farm bill is set to expire. Nationwide, PLC was the program of choice for rice producers - USDA announced that PLC was selected by 99 percent of long grain rice farms and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms. 
John Owen, a rice farmer from Rayne, Louisiana, and chairman of the USA Rice Government Affairs Committee said, "USA Rice strongly advocated for a farm safety net program that allowed growers to select which programs worked best for their operation and we're grateful that adequate options were included in the final bill."

Owen continued, "Rice growers are experiencing tough times and the safety net provided by the farm bill will help some of us maintain our operations while commodity markets are depressed." Producers are asked to visit their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to formally sign a contract enrolling their operation in ARC or PLC by September 30, 2015, if they wish to participate.

For more information about the programs, visit:

Third rice auction attracts 40 bidders
16 Jun 2015 at 16:46 WRITER: ONLINE REPORTERS
A bidder examines the quality of rice put up for auction by the Foreign Trade Department in rice auction, thailand rice stockpile.A total of 40 bidders submitted prices for a share of the 1.06 million tonnes of rice offered for auction by the Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Trade Department on Tuesday morning.There were 43 firms qualified to bid, but three decided not to take part in the third stockpiled-rice auction of this year. They were not confident of the quality of the grain, but admitted the auction was well timed as there is no freshly harvested rice on the market.The third auction attracted less attention than tthe first two, which had 96 and 45 bidders.
Since taking power, the National Council for Peace and Order government has held six auctions to release 2.01 million tonnes of rice worth 23.37 billion baht. Around 16 million tonnes still remain in the government stockpile, but only 2.6 million tonnes of good quality rice.The government has already indicated that the deteriorated rice may be sold off for industrial use, such as cattle feed.The rice accumulated in the government stockpile under the policy implemented by the previous Yingluck Shinawatra government, which later led to the impeachment of the former prime minister on charges of dereliction of duty for failing to stop corruption and losses in the rice-pledging scheme.

NFA charts next move on rice imports

HE NATIONAL Food Authority (NFA) Council is expected to decide today on its next move for the remaining 100,000 metric tons (MT) of rice that have to be imported to further boost the country’s buffer stock for the lean season starting next month, after countries that participated in yesterday’s tender made offers that topped the government’s budget for this purchase.

A worker climbs stacks of rice at a warehouse of the National Food Authority in Manila in this May 12 photo. -- Reuters
Description:“No rejection or acceptance of offers was declared during the tender,” NFA Spokesman Angel G. Imperial, Jr. said in a telephone interview yesterday.Mr. Imperial noted that “offers of the countries are still higher than the reference price,” adding that “[t]he results will be submitted to the NFA Council.

”The council -- which is composed of representatives of various government agencies -- will have to come up with a decision that will be announced today.“There’s a possibility that the NFA Council will reject all bids or just accept the lowest offer; but until then, we cannot predict what will be the decision,” Mr. Imperial said.Yesterday’s tender covered the balance of the 250,000 MT of 25% broken well-milled rice that the NFA was authorized to import via government-to-government deals for this procurement round.Existing bilateral rice agreements allow the Philippines to import from Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.All three countries participated in the first round of bid opening, but their offers exceeded the $408.14 per MT reference price set by NFA.

 Thailand and Vietnam submitted offers of $418/MT and $417/MT, respectively, for the supply of 100,000 MT, while Cambodia offered $464/MT for the supply of only 50,000 MT. NFA Deputy Administrator Joseph Y. dela Cruz yesterday morning announced rejection of all bids for that round.Under the terms of reference, the countries were given the chance to revise their offers in the afternoon.Vietnam submitted a revised offer of $416.85/MT, while Cambodia offered $459.50/MT -- both of which were still beyond the reference price.Thailand submitted a formal letter saying it wouldn’t revise its offer, according to Mr. dela Cruz.The contract to supply the initial 150,000 MT of rice under this procurement round was awarded to Vietnam last week.


In a related development, the NFA also started seeking private sector offers to bring in a total of 805,200 MT of rice under the country’s minimum access volume (MAV) commitment for this year.In a June 10 circular that was e-mailed to reporters yesterday, the state grains agency issued guidelines for importation of well-milled rice under the MAV Country Specific Quota (CSQ) and Omnibus Origins (OO).
 Under its commitment to the World Trade Organization as part of concessions for its special treatment on rice, imports will have a lower 35% tariff under the MAV scheme (compared to the regular 50% outside the program) this year. Under the CSQ, the country has allotted 50,000 MT each for China, India and Pakistan; 15,000 MT for Australia; 4,000 MT for El Salvador; and 293,100 MT each for Thailand and Vietnam. The remaining 50,000 can come from any country under the OO, the guidelines showed.
The MAV program allows the private sector to participate in rice importation. NFA said qualified importers can bring in up to 20,000 MT each.“All rice to be imported under this 2015 MAV Rice Importation Program shall be levied a 35% tariff, to be paid in advance with the Land Bank of the Philippines,” the circular read. “Final assessment shall be made by the Bureau of Customs.”NFA also said that the program covers imports of well-milled rice, with quality not below 25% broken or any special rice variety.
Interested NFA-licensed importers will have to submit supporting documents and pay a P50,000 non-refundable processing fee. Requirements include a letter of intent (LoI) as well as legal, technical and financial documents. There are also specific documents required of each type of business (corporation/partnership, sole proprietorship, farmers’ cooperative or organization, etc.)

An MAV pre-qualification team, which will check all submitted documents, will endorse applicants to the NFA Administrator within 15 days of receipt of application.The NFA chief will then issue a certificate of eligibility (CoE) to the importer that will specify volume to be imported based on the LoI as well as duty and tariff to be paid.The agency will determine in the CoE the volume that will arrive per month, until the entire allocated volume has been served.“The applicant importer must undertake the shipment of their [sic] import allocation on or before 30 November 2015,” the document read.Within 15 days from receipt of CoE, the importer should submit the document to the Landbank’s International Trade Department and pay the duty and tariff at any Landbank branch.

Seven days thereafter, Land-bank will then send a written notice to NFA’s Grains Marketing Operations Department that will specify volume and variety of grains to be imported, schedule of arrival, cargo type and port.An import permit can be obtained upon submission of shipping documents prior to arrival. The permit will be issued upon payment of P5,000 processing fee per bill of lading.“NFA shall publish a list of importers issued the import permit, indicating the volume and the country of origin, on the NFA Web site...,” the circular read.
The grains agency said “95% arrival of the importer’s authorized import quota shall mean substantial compliance with the allocated volume.”“Failure to meet the substantial compliance of the arrivals of the allocated importations... shall disqualify the importer from future importation of the NFA.”In the event of force majeure, an importer can ask for extension of the import permit’s validity and arrival period, which however should not exceed 15 days. Importers seeking more time should submit a written notice, explaining justification, within five days of force majeure occurrence.“The NFA Administrator shall decide within three days from receipt of the written request; otherwise, it shall be deemed approved,” the guidelines read.
The NFA identified Poro Point in La Union; Batangas; Iloilo; Bacolod; Zamboanga City; Subic, Zambales; Tabaco and Legazpi in Albay; Cebu; Cagayan de Oro; Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port; General Santos City and Davao City as ports for the program.The grains agency said it can revoke, cancel or suspend a CoE or an import permit due to involvement in rice smuggling or hoarding.Quantitative restrictions on rice -- which should have expired in 2012 -- were extended to 2017, according to Agriculture officials last year.As part of the extension, the tariff was cut to 35% for the a total of 805,200 MT MAV shipments starting July this year.
Prior to this, the Philippines committed to import 350,000 MT with a 40% tariff.NFA held the first tender for 2015 importations last March, when Vietnam and Thailand bagged contracts to supply a total of 500,000 MT of rice to boost the Philippines’ buffer stock for the three-month lean season.The NFA last month said it was also prepared to import 250,000 MT more should the need arise in the face of an El Niño episode that is more intense than initially expected, and the prolonged dry spell it brings. Decision on the schedule of the additional importation has yet to be finalized by the NFA Council.

Annual Rice Station Field Day Set for July 1

06/16/2015 01:58 PM
Description: 02:00 PM
CROWLEY, La. (Press Release) – The LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station Annual Field Day will be held July 1, with a host of rice experts and speakers discussing the latest in rice farming technology.“Anyone connected to the rice industry will learn from the subjects covered in the field day,” said Steve Linscombe, director of the Rice Research Station.Field tours start at 7:15 a.m., and the last tour will leave the rice dryer warehouse no later than 9 a.m.On the field tour, speakers will cover topics that include rice breeding, hybrid development, agronomy, and control of weeds, diseases and insects.

A poster session will be held from 7:15 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., followed by the program in the rice dryer building.Speakers will include Clarence Berken, vice chairman of the Louisiana Rice Research Board; Mike Salassi, LSU AgCenter economist giving an update on the rice market and the farm bill; Bob Cummings of the USA Rice Federation talking about the global competitiveness of American rice; Mike Strain, Louisiana commissioner of Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture; Rogers Leonard, LSU AgCenter associate vice chancellor.

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