Tuesday, June 30, 2015

30th June (Tuesday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA RiceE-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Liberia Extends Suspension of Tariffs on Rice Imports to Rein in Price Hikes

Jun 29, 2015
The government of Liberia has issued Executive Order No. 70 extending Executive Order No. 61, which suspends tariffs on rice imports, according to a news release on the government website.The order, issued by the President on June 28, states that: "the Government of Liberia in its desire to continue bringing relief to the public, is extending Executive Order No. 61, suspending the import tariff on rice as classified under tariff Nos. 1006.30.00 (in packing of more than 5kg or in bulk); 1006.30.00 (in packing of at least 5kg); and 1006.40.00 (broken rice) under the Revenue Code of Liberia Act 2000." The Executive Order is said to be implemented with immediate effect.
The news release says the extension of the Executive Order No. 61 is based on the findings of a government assessment and evaluation of the causes of increases in the prices of various strategic commodities. The government has recognized the need to curb the continuous increases in the price of rice and make it affordable to the public.
The order also states that: "there exists a need for exigent measures to achieve the desired objective of easing the economic burden on the people of this country to enable access to the staple food, and such measures cannot await long processes."The government earlier suspended tariffs on rice imports through Executive Order Nos. 11, 19, 45 and 61 in the interest of public
According to latest data available with the FAO, in February this year, retail prices of imported rice in the country's capital city stood at around 59,500 Liberian Dollar per ton (around $701 per ton), up about 21% from their year-ago levels.Liberia produces only one third of the rice needed for local consumption and imports the rest. The FAO estimates Liberia to import around 350,000 tons in 2015, while the USDA estimates the west African nation to import around 300,000 tons. Average annual consumption of the country is around 450,000 tons, according to USDA. 

Inadequate Infrastructure, Less Financing Options and Labor Migration Undermining Cambodia's Rice Export Capability, Say Experts

Jun 29, 2015
Inadequate milling and storage facilities; meagre financing options and consequent bankruptcies among small farmers; as well as recent migration of a number of male farmers to Thailand are all undermining Cambodia's capability to increase its exports, local sources quoted experts as saying.They noted that above factors are not allowing the country to achieve the one million tons export this year. The country is not in a position to take advantage of the increasing demand from China and the European Union due to these reasons. They added that the Cambodian exporters are facing a stiff competition with Thailand and Vietnam rice exporters in terms of pricing as they are in a position to lower prices they have better techniques and skills as well as government support.
The experts also said that currently, Cambodia's rice surplus is not so high to increase exports. Therefore they are urging the government to help farmers to increase production beyond the sufficiency needs in order to be able to boost exports as well.A former Senior Adviser to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) noted that lesser financing options and high interest rates in the country have forced many Cambodian farmers to flee to Thailand for jobs in attempt to avoid paying arrears to micro finance institutions.
They say a silent crisis is going on in Cambodian rice fields, which is not in the interest of the country. They warned that the country's rice sector cannot thrive if the government follows a hands off "laissez faire policy".Meanwhile this year's production is likely to be impacted by dry weather conditions and low rainfall across the rice growing regions.Cambodia exported about 243,025 tons of rice in the first five months of 2015 (January - May 2015), up about 64% from about 148,262 tons rice exported in the same period last year according to the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export. Cambodia has exported about 387,100 tons of rice in 2014.USDA estimates Cambodia to export 1.1 million tons of rice (including official and unofficial exports to Vietnam and Thailand through borders) in 2015, up about 10% from an estimated 1 million tons in 2014.

India Average Wholesale Rice Prices Decline Sharply in June 2015

Jun 29, 2015
India average wholesale rice prices declined sharply in June 2015 after continuously increasing for three consecutive months from March to May. The decline can be attributed to increasing supplies in the domestic market due to a declining export demand.Planting for India's main/kharif rice crop (June – December), which began last month, has been good enough throughout the month of June due to above-average rains recorded in most of the rice-growing regions. However, as of June 26, the total planted area at around 2.328 million hectares slightly lagged by about 7% from last year.Average monthly wholesale rice prices in India declined to around Rs.2,657.50 per quintal in June 2015, down about 8% from around Rs.2,903.67 per quintal in May 2015, and down about 8% from their year-ago levels of around Rs.2,901.95 per quintal.
In terms of USD per ton, wholesale rice prices in India stand at around $419 per ton (using current exchange rates) in June 2015, up about 8% from around $455 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in May 2015, and down about 13% from around $483 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in June 2014.     India’s average prices are likely to increase if India’s production is dampened by a moderate drought-inducing El Nino weather pattern, which is expected to persist between July and September. Weather bureaus in Australia and Japan are forecasting an intensifying El Nino weather pattern, which is already causing dry conditions in South East Asian countries, including Thailand, North Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The government of India is monitoring the impact of El Nino on monsoon rains in the country, which have been so far unaffected by the phenomenon.  USDA estimates India's 2015-16 (October - September) production at around 104  million tons, up about 1.5% from an estimated 102.5 million tons in 2014-15. It estimates India's 2015 rice exports at around 10.2 million tons, slightly up from an estimated 10.15 million tons in 2014.

India Basmati Rice Growers Advised to Plant Pusa 1509 After July 15 to Avoid Breakage

Jun 29, 2015
Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150629indiabasmatirice.jpg
Farmers in India's two main basmati rice growing states Punjab and Haryana have been advised to plant Pusa basmati 1509 variety after July 15 to avoid incidence of breakage, according to local sources.Government officials noted that since transplanting of basmati 1509 seeds before July 15 is said to lead to a high incidence of broken content and moisture content during milling, the two state governments are carrying out a campaign to educate farmers about the ill-effects of early transplanting the seeds. Rice exporters have been complaining of low or no acceptability in the export market if there is higher content of brokens and moisture in the seeds.
One of the leading basmati rice exporters that they had faced huge losses during the last season due to this reason. "We want that crop should be sown after July 15, which should be ready by October," he was quoted as saying.Basmati 1509, which has been developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), is popular among the farmers of both Punjab and Haryana for its high yield and short duration.The IARI Principal Scientist said: "We have always been saying that transplantation of 1509 variety should start from July 20 onwards and it can be transplanted till August 10. Then it will have good aroma and will have no broken rice issue."
About 300,000 hectares in Punjab and about 250,000 hectares in Haryana were used to plant basmati 1509 variety last year.Total basmati area in Punjab is about 800,000 hectares and 600,000 hectares in Punjab and Haryana respectively. Punjab and Haryana have targeted 2.65 million hectares and 1.2 million  hectares under paddy for current Kharif season.
Global Rice Quotes
June 29th, 2015

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade           375-385           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken     350-360           ↑
India 5% broken          385-395           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken     375-385           ↔
Myanmar 5% broken   415-425           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken NQ       ↔
U.S. 4% broken           450-460           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    565-575           ↔
Argentina 5% broken   555-565           ↔

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken 345-355           ↔
Vietnam 25% broken   330-340           ↑
Pakistan 25% broken   335-345           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken            NQ       ↔
India 25% broken        350-360           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         440-450           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd             365-375           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd      395-405           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd           360-370           ↓
U.S. parboiled 4% broken       555-565           ↔
Brazil parboiled 5% broken     570-580           ↔
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken             NQ       ↔

Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%           815-825           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         475-485           ↓
India basmati 2% broken         NQ       ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken    NQ       ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails NQ       ↔

Thailand A1 Super       315-325           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken             310-320           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd     290-300           ↓
Cambodia A1 Super    NQ       ↔
India 100% broken stxd          280-290           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens   NQ       ↔
U.S. pet food   350-360           ↔
Brazil half grain           NQ       ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel, oryza.com

Myanmar to Boost Aromatic Rice Exports to Singapore, U.S.

Jun 29, 2015
Myanmar is planning to increase aromatic rice exports to Singapore and the U.S., Xinhua News Agency quoted sources from the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).The country produces both short and long-term aromatic rice varieties, according to the MRF. It produces two types of fragrant rice - Lone Thwal Hmwe and Paw San.The country is particularly planning to increase exports of the aromatic rice variety Paw San, which is grown in limited quantities in the regions of Ayeyawady Delta, Bago and some parts of Sagaing Regions in monsoon, said the MRF sources. Last year, Myanmar exported 20 tons of Paw San rice to the U.S.
In June, a delegation from the European Union (EU) visited Myanmar to discuss the country's ability to export fragrant rice to the EU in the mid- to long-term. The General Secretary of the MRF reportedly told the delegation that Myanmar can grow both short and long grain aromatic rice through the contract farming system and can meet the EU demand. The MRF Vice-Chairman told local sources that aromatic rice farmers should be encouraged to increase production of Paw San in the light of increased export demand.
He noted that farmers usually don't show interest in exporting Paw San as it fetches a good price locally itself. The export price of Paw San is currently in the range of $900 per ton.Myanmar's rice exports have been increasing consistently for the last three years, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar exported about 1.7 million tons of rice in FY 2014-15, about 1.2 million tons of rice in FY 2013-14 and about 1.4 million tons of rice in FY 2012-13.The government is keen on increasing rice exports to around 3 million tons over the next few years and has prioritized rice in its National Export Strategy (NES), which it launched earlier this year. 

Laos Rice Production May Decline Due to Dry Weather in Upland Areas, Flash Floods in North-East

Jun 29, 2015
Laos rice production is likely to decline this year due to two simultaneous and contradicting weather patterns in the country, Xinhua News Agency quoted the state run Vientiane Times.Dry weather conditions and less rainfall are disrupting planting preparations in the country's upland areas. Many farmers are understood to have postponed their planting operations with hope of receiving rains soon. If this situation persists, rice output may decline thereby pushing up local prices.On the other hand, unprecedented flash floods in the country's north-east Huaphan province due to heavy rains last week are understood to have damaged several hectares of paddy fields.
In the prior week a grasshopper plague reportedly affected crops in the northern province of Luang Prabang.Considering the present weather conditions, the country's paddy production is expected to fall below estimated 4.2 million tons, according to local sources. The unforeseen development is likely to spoil plans of Laos to increase rice production and begin exports this year.The UN's FAO estimates Laos 2015 paddy rice production to increase about 3% y/y to around 3.4 million tons. USDA estimates Laos 2015 paddy production to decline about 4% y/y to around 2.5 million tons in 2015. 

Thai Government Encourages Farmers to Purchase Main Rice-Crop Insurance to Contain Drought-Related Losses

Jun 29, 2015
Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150629thairicefield.jpg
The government of Thailand is encouraging farmers to buy main rice-crop insurance to reduce losses from harvest failure caused by natural disasters, according to local sources.Especially in the light of ongoing drought conditions, the government has announced that it would subsidize the farmers' premiums up to 80%. Last year farmers in around 112,000 hectares purchased main rice-crop insurance. This year, the government is expecting around 240,000 hectares to be insured this year. About seven insurers are offering main rice-crop insurance through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) between May 6 - August 14, 2015, according to the President of the Thai General Insurance Association (TGIA).
He noted that the IGIA would request the National Catastrophe Insurance Fund to reinsure some main rice-crop insurance to support local insurers and encourage more farmers to insure their crops.Separately, the BAAC announced that it would suspend interest and principal payments for drought-hit farmers.In this backdrop, the honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) told local sources that rice prices, which have been declining for the last few months are likely to increase due to drought.
He noted that the production levels in India and China would mainly dictate rise in global rice prices. The trend would be evident by August, when they start harvesting their crops.As for Thai rice, he said increased demand for parboiled rice from Nigeria and Benin prompted higher exported in May. He also noted that winning the upcoming 250,000 rice import tender by the Philippines is important for Thailand. The Philippines is yet to announce the timing of the tender.Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry is planning to meet with rice exporters, millers and traders to discuss about the falling domestic rice prices.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Tumble as Market Lacks Buying Interest as Market Eyes Large Carryover; Wheat Continues to Add Weather Premium

Jun 29, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Sep delivery settled 16 cent per cwt (about $4 per ton) lower at $10.085 per cwt (about $222 per ton). The other grains finished the day with mixed results with the only component to make a distinct move being wheat, which continues to add to recent gains; Soybeans closed about 0.6% lower at $9.8000 per bushel; wheat finished about 2.7% higher at $5.8350 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.1% higher at $4.0225 per bushel.U.S. stocks fell more than 1.5% on Monday, following a decline in global markets on the escalating Greece debt crisis. S&P downgraded Greece to "CCC-" and said in a Reuters report that the probability of the country exiting the euro zone is now about 50%. Earlier, a Greek official told Reuters in midday trade ET that the country will not pay its loan due to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.
In addition to capital controls in Greece, Puerto Rico's governor said the commonwealth cannot pay its debt of about $72 billion. Mainland Chinese markets entered bear market territory, with the Shanghai Composite closing 3.3% lower on Monday despite initial attempts at gains following the central bank's rate cut over the weekend. Concerns over Greece hit global markets hard, with stocks in France and Germany closing more than 3% lower. Asian stocks also fell overnight, with Japan's Nikkei off 2.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 236 points, or 1.32%, at 17,709. The Dow transports traded more than 1% lower. The S&P 500 traded down 29 points, or 1.38%, at 2,072, with financials leading nine sectors lower and utilities the only advancer. The Nasdaq traded down 79 points, or 1.55%, at 5,001. Gold is trading about 0.5% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 2.2% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading at about 0.7% lower at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Friday, there were 2,198 contracts traded, up from 1,703 contracts traded on Thursday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Friday decreased by 222 contracts to 9,711.

Thai Supreme Court Begins Trial Against 21 Individuals in G2G Rice Case; 19 Plead Innocence

Jun 29, 2015
Description: Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150629thairicepledging.jpgThe Criminal Division for Holders of Political Officers of Thailand's Supreme Court has begun trial against 21 individuals, including the former Commerce Minister and the former Deputy Commerce Minister, former Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade, three civil servants and 15 others, for their alleged corruption in government-to-government (G2G) rice deals with two Chinese companies, according to local sources.The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) filed the charges against the 21 individuals based on the advice of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which assured that there was adequate evidence to bring the case to trial.The NACC earlier noted that the accused 21 persons apparently helped two Chinese companies, which were reportedly not authorized by the Chinese government, to seal G2G contracts for about 1.2 million tons of rice with the Thai government without participating in a bid. They  are said to have violated the Criminal Code, the Public Competitive Bidding Act and the Anti-Corruption Act.If found guilty, the 21 individuals, including the former Commerce Minister, may face life imprisonments as well as a fine of up to 35.2 billion baht (around $1.1 million).
The Supreme Court had granted bail to the former Commerce Minister in the present case at 20 million baht (around $593,190) and barred him from leaving the country without its permission.Former Commerce Minister and 18 other accused have reportedly pleaded innocence in the G2G rice case. They have been allowed to submit a written tesimony to the court by August 31 and the Court is to examine the evidences on September 29, 2015.

Rice During January 1 – June 25, 2015

Jun 29, 2015
Vietnam exported about 2.45 million tons of rice in January 1 - June 25, 2015, down about 19% from about 3.015 million tons of rice exported in first half of 2014, according to data from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). Average rice export price so far in this year stands at about $419 per ton (FOB), down about 3% per ton from about $431 per ton recorded during same last year.
During June 1-25, 2015, Vietnam exported about 368,547 tons of rice, down about 45% from about 671,174 tons rice exported in full month of June 2014, and down about 30% from about 525,742 tons rice exported in full month of May 2015. Average export prices in so far in June stands at about $412 per ton, down about 3% per ton from a year and a month ago.

Thailand Expects Greater Interest for Fourth Rice Auction in First Week of July 2015

Jun 29, 2015
Description: Description: http://oryza.com/sites/default/files/field/image/150629thairice.jpgThe government of Thailand is expecting a greater interest from private bidders for the fourth rice auction that has been planned on July 7, according to local sources.The Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Trade Department told local sources that they are expecting a good response in the fourth auction based on the sales in the third auction, in which the Ministry auctioned about 1.06 million tons of rice and sold about 840,000 tons (about 80% of auctioned rice).
“Demand in the rice markets remains high. So the auction comes at the right time and it seems to have no negative impact on the whole rice market," she was quoted as saying.The Commerce Ministry is putting up around 1.39 million tons of rice consisting of 14 types of rice from 156 government stockpiles, 107 warehouses under the Public Warehouse Organization (PWO) and 49 Marketing Organization for Farmers warehouses in 32 provinces across the country.The Commerce Ministry sold about 2.94 million tons of rice in the first seven auctions since it took power, raising about 30.2 billion baht (around $894 million).The Thai military government currently holds over 16 million tons of rice in its warehouses and is planning to sell about 10 million tons this year about six million tons next year.

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

Jun 29, 2015
Vietnam rice sellers increased their quotes for 5% broken rice and 25% broken rice by about $5 per ton each to around $350-$360 per ton and $330 - $340 per ton respectively; and lowered their quotes for Jasmine rice by about $5 per ton to around $475-$485 per ton today. India rice sellers lowered their quotes for parboiled rice by about $5 per ton to around $360-$370 per ton. Pakistan rice sellers lowered their quotes for 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton to around $290-$300 per ton today. Thailand rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.                                                                                                                       

5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is indicated at around $365 - $375 per ton, about a $15 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $350 - $360 per ton, up about a $5 per ton from Friday. India 5% rice is indicated at around $385 - $395 per ton, about $10 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $375 - $385 per ton.

25% Broken Rice
Thailand 25% rice is shown at around $345 - $350 per ton, about a $15 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $330- $340 per ton, up about a $5 per ton from Friday. India 25% rice is indicated at around $350 - $360, about $15 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $335 - $345 per ton.

Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $365 - $375 per ton. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $360 - $370 per ton, down about a $5 per ton from Friday and about a $35 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice shown at around $395 - $405 per ton.                                                                                                             

100% Broken Rice

Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is indicated at around $315 - $325 per ton, about $5 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $310 - $320 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $280 - $290 per ton, about a $10 per ton discount to  Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $290 - $300 per ton, down about a $5 per ton from Friday.
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29th June (Monday),2015 DailyGlobal Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Unisame demands immediate closure of QRC

The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises ( UNISAME ) has invited the attention of the ministry of commerce  ( MINCOM ) to the difficulties being faced by the SME rice exporters due to the one week delay in the closure of the Quality Review Committee ( QRC ) and urged the      federal commerce minister engineer Khurram Dastagir to keep his promise of disbanding the futile committee and to close it immediately as every single day matters for closure of this troublesome body.President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said it was finally  decided by the MINCOM to close the QRC as it was unanimously agreed that QRC has become futile and the committee as pointed out by all stakeholders is not serving any purpose. The buyers prefer to import rice in their own or selected brands of blended rice.

 In fact it is an impediment as the majority of rice being exported is non basmati. The QRC was entrusted to protect the basmati label and make sure the basmati rice exported was not mixed with contrast varieties. The global demand is for 1121 which is non basmati rice and 386 rice which is also not basmati rice. Many  buyers demand blended rice of different varieties with basmati rice as basmati rice has aroma and when mixed with 1121 and 386 makes it aromatic.> It is pertinent to note that 1121 is the most expensive rice. It is in great demand all over the gulf and middle east countries but is not classified as basmati rice. The demand for basmati rice is very little as compared to 1121 and 386. QRC is not required any more and its presence as an inspection cell is more an hurdle than a monitor because it is issuing certificates for non basmati rice as basmati rice under pressure to keep business going. The big rice exporters are obliged but the SMES are facing difficulties.
Besides the concept of inspection is for third party inspection and always the prerogative of the buyer. In the last several meetings it was decided to disband the QRC and the government had indicated it's closure by 30th June 2015 positively which is also the end of the fiscal year. Unfortunately no intimation has been received till close of business today and a meeting has been ummoned on 6th July 2015 to work out the final modalities and examination of the audit report.  The requirements of returning the properties purchased by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan ( REAP ) to the government is perhaps  bothering REAP and it is presumed that are influencing it's delay. It was also suggested to use the premises for the Pakistan Rice Board (PRB) which would be another mistake as the PRB would be another white elephant.


Rice exports: Vietnam fails with low-price export strategy
VietNamNet Bridge - Though Vietnam offered the lowest bidding price among three tenders, it was not chosen as the supplier by the Filipino National Food Authority (NFA).

Description: Vietnam, rice export, the Philippines, G2G contract
Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon quoted the director of a rice export company as saying that all three exporters lost the bid to provide 100,000 tons of 25 percent broken rice to the Philippines.The three exporters attending the bid on June 16 included Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. The problem was that they all offered prices higher than the price level fixed by NFA at $408.14 per ton.Vietnam offered $417 per ton, and Thailand and Cambodia $418 and $464 per ton, respectively.At previous bids, if NFA did not choose suppliers after the first bid, it allowed bidders to lower the bid. However, the principle was not applied this time.An analyst said that Vietnam fails with its low-price strategy. He said the Philippines recently tried to force the prices down because it anticipated that Vietnamese exporters, once losing the bids, would lower prices to obtain the right to supply rice.As a result, farmers have to sell rice to exporters at prices which cannot bring profits.“Vietnamese farmers cannot make reasonable profits though they have been working hard on rice fields,” the analyst said.
Professor Vo Tong Xuan repeatedly warned that the monopoly enjoyed by Vinafood 1 (the Northern Food Corporation) and Vinafood 2 (Southern Food Corporation) is the biggest hurdle that prevents private businesses to join the rice market. Taking full advantage of the monopoly, the two corporations can control the rice prices at which they collect rice from farmers.Former late Deputy PM Nguyen Cong Tan also noted that Vinafood 1 and Vinafood 2 are the exclusive buyers, while the Vietnam Food Association enjoyed the right to grant quotas for export.Farmers thus do not have opportunities to contact other enterprises and partners to sell rice at better prices.In related news, Nguyen Ngoc De from the Can Tho University warned that Myanmar has emerged as a strong rival to Vietnam in rice exports.The country wants to become one of the three largest rice exporters in the world in the near future.It not only exports low-cost rice, but also high-quality fragrant rice which mostly targets the EU market. According to the Myanmar Rice Federation, the country plans to export 200,000 tons of rice to the EU this year, double the export volume to the market last year.

Dat Viet

As their fields dry up, farmers face the threat of financial ruin
Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation
Pathum Thani June 29, 2015 1:00 am
TO RICE FARMERS, ongoing drought is an imminent financial crisis. Their paddy fields remain parched this year as authorities warn locals against sowing seeds or planting seedlings on their farmland.Now, my rented fields are empty. I hope the government will provide some help to ease my woes," said Suree Kansomngam, a farmer in the province's Nong Suea district.Description: Despite the ongoing rainy season,drought is so serious that a resident can easlly walk across the dry Ping River in Kamphaneng Phet's Muang district yesterday.
She said without any yield from the field, her family would definitely have difficulty covering its daily expenses, let alone repaying debts to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.She said in addition to the drought, the problem also lay in falling rice prices."We have to sell our crops from the last farming season at a very low price. I can sell the rice for only Bt6,000 per two cubic metres - while the cost for growing one rai of rice paddy is already up to Bt5,000," Suree lamented.She added that now authorities have told rice farmers in the Chao Phraya River Basin to postpone growing rice.Suree is not alone in her plight. So many rice farmers in the area are sharing the same fate.Even those who have grown rice ahead of the authorities' warning are struggling in their own way. They have now had to pray that their paddy fields will get adequate water until they are ready for harvest. Their yield is also facing hungry rats.
Anan Bunsongsri who has 30 rai of rice paddy in Khlong Luang district said around half the rice in his fields, which were the crop from dry season and not yet ready to harvest, were eaten by the hordes of rats."Up to 30 cubic metres of rice have already damaged. This is the highest damaged crop as far as I can remember. I trap many rats everyday but they are still coming," Anan said. "I think it is because there is not much grown rice paddy left in the area, so they all come to find food in my fields."He demanded authorities take more action to help the farmers because not only were their crops damaged by the drought and pests, the selling price of rice was low too."I have invested Bt70,000 in this crop. I don't know how much I'll gain after harvesting the rice in the next two weeks," he said.
Parts of Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya are being hit by the drought as well as many regions of the country. The water level in Raphiphat Canal and many other branch canals dried up to only few centimetres late on Friday.This year's drought situation was more severe than the previous years. Arun Pholti has had to postpone the rainy season rice plantation until late July because of water shortage even though his paddy fields were at the head of a local irrigation canal."Normally, I plant the rainy season crop around the beginning of June but this year I still can't grow a new crop even if I’ve already harvested last year's crop," said Arun.The drought has led to not only a water shortage but rat infestation here too - another major factor that could destroy the rice yield.

According to Arun, many farmers have had to abandon their fields and find a new job in the city because of the crop destruction and financial problems."I am luckier than many other farmers because my land is very near the irrigation canal, so my paddy field access to the water before many farmers downstream. I also run a small restaurant, so I have other sources of income. I have heard that some farmers down there have had to sell their land and move away," he said.Images: Despite the ongoing rainy season,drought is so serious that a resident can easlly walk across the dry Ping River in Kamphaneng Phet's Muang district yesterday.

Rice Export Goals Quietly Fall
Sunday, 28 June 2015; News by Khmer Times/T. Mohan and Muny Sithyna

Description: http://www.khmertimeskh.com/files/news/12698/1435495980-t.jpg
Workers tend to rice in the fields of Siem Reap province. Photo: ND Strupler

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Cambodia’s ambitious goal of exporting one million tons of rice this year has been quietly dropped. A follow-up export goal of 600,000 tons also is falling by the wayside.Undermining these goals is the reality of the rice paddies: labor emigration to Thailand, high costs for milling, and spreading bankruptcies among small rice farmers. This is the view of two experts affiliated with the Cambodia Rice Federation, the leading industry group.
Instead of an expected great leap forward for Cambodian milled rice exports last year, final numbers showed that exports only grew by 2.2 percent, to 387,061 tons in 2014.

Late Rains, Low Rice Harvest

Now, with June rains delayed in many parts of the Kingdom, a checkerboard drought pattern is expected to suppress further growth.“Now the rice industry is in dire straits and may be insolvent by the year end,” warns a new internal report from the Rice Federation. Some millers and exporters have incurred tremendous losses and may be forced to shut down.David Van, a former Senior Advisor to the Federation confirmed the report and gave his own analysis.“Farmers have long gone bankrupt, but nobody noticed it because they had left the country [to Thailand] to avoid paying arrears to micro finance institutions,” he said.  “Europe’s ‘Everything But Arms’ policy is meant to improve our farmers’ livelihood. But farmers are getting scarcer in Cambodia. In some provinces 70 percent of the farmers have deserted the paddy fields.” Agreement over a silent crisis in the rice paddies came from Song Saran, president of AMRU Rice (Cambodia) and board member of the Rice Federation.

Men Desert Paddies for Jobs in Thailand

“Within the last two or three years, many of our farmers have turned away from farming,” Mr. Saran said. “From what I see in the villages I have gone to, the male workforce has gone. In Preah Vihear, mostly women do the farming. Only 10 to 20 percent are men, since the farmers left to work in Thailand. If we don’t motivate them, the paddy stock that we expect cannot be achieved.”Last year, a World Bank report calculated that Cambodia’s high fuel and electricity costs make milling rice here 30 percent more expensive than in Vietnam and Thailand. Cambodia’s milling capacity has increased seven-fold over the last decade.

China Wants Cambodia as a Supplier

On the up side, China is loaning Cambodia $300 million to build 10 modern rice warehouses. At the same time, the nation’s road network is gradually improving, due in part to Chinese aid.
China’s goal is to turn Cambodia into a reliable rice supplier. This is all the more urgent given the often rocky relations between China and Vietnam.“Exporting to China is positive as it is increasing, compared to the previous year, so it reflects them recognizing our rice quality and price,” said Mr. Saran of AMRU.On a further positive note, Cambodians’ growing purchasing power means that more and more of the nation’s annual 9 million ton rice harvest is simply eaten at home. This helps explain why the nation’s paddy rice harvest has doubled in a decade, but exports have been stagnant over the last two years.

Cambodia Loses to Vietnam

Indeed, despite these improvements, Cambodia lost to Vietnam two weeks ago a 100,000-ton tender to export rice to the Philippines.“We also face competition in the region, and it is hard for us to make profits,” Mr. Saran said. “We export, but gain very little profit because the regional climate among the rice exporters is not very good, especially with Thailand.  Thailand can sell at a lower price and has the capacity to produce more rice since they have better techniques and skills.“Our millers have low rice drying capacity, they face problems with storage and financing,” he continued. “Farmers need funds to pay their debts. They cannot wait to sell their paddy at a more profitable time. After the harvest, they need to sell it right away. We should support our farmers to be able to sell their paddy at a high price.”

No Laissez Faire for Rice

Mr. Van, a longtime rice expert, said rice farming, once the economic mainstay of the nation, cannot thrive if the government follows a hands off “laissez faire policy.”“The commodity market of a country cannot survive without adequate government strategy and policy,” he said. Agreement came from Mr. Saran, whose company has been buying rice in Cambodia since 1982.“The Cambodia Rice Federation, as well as my company, try to deal directly with the farmers themselves to prevent them from losing their money planting something we do not want to export,” he said in an interview. “We should give farmers the motivation to grow rice by reducing their costs, offering low interest rates and helping farmers purchase fertilizers and equipment in bulk and at affordable prices,” he continued. “Because from what I see, farmers usually go on credit with their equipment and fertilizer suppliers and this exposes them to the exploitation of their suppliers.”


Commerce Ministry to hold meet over low domestic rice price

THE NATION June 29, 2015 1:00 am
THE Commerce Ministry will this week call for a meeting with rice exporters, millers, and traders to try and solve the problem of the rice price falling domestically despite the higher export price for rice and stronger demand globally due to drought including in Thailand.Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya said the domestic rice price should increase soon because of the widespread drought."The price of rice domestically |should reflect the export price, with |the price of white rice increasing |gradually from higher demand amid drought in many countries, mainly in Thailand, China, and Vietnam," said Chatchai.He said that the ministry would ask traders to buy rice from farmers at a fair price and one that reflects market demand.
Chatchai added that with lower rice supplies in the world market, Beijing has urged Thailand to accelerate the supply of rice to China under a government-to-government agreement."Thailand should be able to export 10 million tonnes of rice this year as more orders will come from drought-hit nations," he said.The Thai Rice Exporters Association reported that Thailand shipped 3.77 million tonnes of rice in the first five months of the year, down 1.4 per cent on the same period last year, while the value dropped 2.7 per cent year-on-year to Bt61.36 billion.However, shipments in May were up by 7.3 per cent in volume to 945,597 tonnes, while the value rose 2.3 per cent to Bt14.11 billion.
As of June 24, the export price for 5 per cent white rice was US$380 (Bt1,284) a tonne, up from $373 a tonne the previous week.Last week, the price of 5 per cent white Vietnamese rice was $355, and Indian rice was $370 a tonne.The Thai Rice Millers Association reported that the price of white paddy rice was between Bt7, 500-Bt8,000 a tonne last week.

Monsoon enters lull phase; Pacific typhoon may revive it from weekend

Description: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/multimedia/dynamic/02456/weather_2456127f.jpg
The monsoon has entered a subdued phase and is likely to lie low for the first 15 days in July except along the foothills of Himalayas and parts of east India.The India Met Department said that the monsoon was vigorous (marked by heavy rain) over east Uttar Pradesh, east Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh during the 24 hours ending on Monday morning.The Met has already predicted that July is likely to deliver below normal rainfall (at 92 per cent of long-period average) this year.
Weather systems

The two main rain-driving systems are a low-pressure area (erstwhile deep depression from the Arabian Sea) over east Uttar Pradesh and a truncated offshore trough from Maharashtra to Kerala.The ‘low’ will continue to loiter in the region for a couple of days and then weaken and merge with the land-based monsoon trough extending from north-west to south-east (northwest India to Bay of Bengal). But indications are that a fresh low-pressure area may form over the head end of the Bay of Bengal (northernmost part of the Bay) by the weekend.This would happen as the monsoon flows get energised from ‘pull’ exerted by a projected typhoon in the west Pacific, southeast of Philippines and heading towards east China according to initial assessments.The revived flows are expected to touch off activity in the Arabian Sea, peninsular India and the Bay of Bengal from Friday/Saturday.US models predict that the initial west-northwest movement of the typhoon would trigger the formation of a ‘low’ in South China Sea that lies next to the east.
Fresh bay ‘low’

The Pacific and South China Sea teaming up in this manner has sent its own ‘pulse’ into the Bay of Bengal which is the next big sea body that is located further east in a straight line.No wonder models point to the ‘sweet spot’ in the head Bay where they expect a fresh ‘low’ to materialise. It would most possibly take the path along foothills and keep the monsoon in full flow in that region only.This promises another round of heavy to very rainfall and suspected landslides in northeast and east India from the weekend.Meanwhile, the offshore trough has been delivering good rainfall over Kerala and adjoining region in the south peninsula over the past couple of days.It is now a feeble formation and will cause rainfall over isolated places over Kerala and coastal Karnataka during the next couple of days.

Myanmar to export more aromatic rice to Singapore, U.S.

Xinhua News Agency
 on Jun 29, 2015 @ 4:55 PM
Myanmar to export more aromatic rice to Singapore, U.S.YANGON, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar will export greater volume of aromatic rice Paw San to Singapore and the United States, according to sources with the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) Monday.The production of Paw San rice is low as it can only be cultivated in Ayeyawady Delta and Bago and some parts of Sagaing Regions in monsoon, said the federation.In previous fiscal year, only around 20 tons of Paw San rice were exported to the United States.At present, Paw San rice is priced at around 900 U.S. dollars per ton in its export.Meanwhile, the European Union is seeking import deal of two types of aromatic rice -- Lone Thwal Hmwe and Paw San as demand in Europe is on rise.Officials of the MRF said Myanmar can grow both short and long grain aromatic rice to meet EU demand through the country's contract farming system, pointing out that exporting to Europe would enable Myanmar growers to diversify their markets.

Paw San was regarded as the world's best rice at the World Rice Conference in 2011.Myanmar official statistics indicate that the country's rice export reached nearly 2 million tons in the fiscal year 2014-15 which ended in March, up 40 percent from the previous yearThis article was produced by the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China. Xinhua describes itself as the "information organ of the central government." Given China’s size and importance, GlobalPost publishes Xinhua’s press feed as a resource for its readers and makes no claims as to journalistic accuracy.


Commerce Ministry plans 4th rice auction with hope of greater attention from bidders

Sunday, 28 June 2015By  NNT
BANGKOK, 26 June 2015 – The Commerce Ministry plans the fourth auction of 1.39 million tonnes of both fragrant and white rice in different grades kept in the government stockpiles nationwide, Banjongjit Angsusingh, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department said on Friday.The grains are from 156 government stockpiles, 107 warehouses under the Public Warehouse Organization and 49 Marketing Organization for Farmers warehouses in 32 provinces across Thailand.There are fourteen types of rice to be sold this time and 56,000 tonnes of the amount are White Rice 5% and Jasmine Rice 100%.Banjongjit was confident the fourth auction could draw greater attention from private bidders as the ministry was successful in the latest auction in which 70% of stockpiled rice was sold.She believed “demand in the rice markets remains high. So the auction comes at the right time and it seems to have no negative impact on the whole rice market”.

Nigeria: CBN Explains Denial of Foreign Exchange to Rice Importers

By Bassey Udo

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday explained its new policy of making public lists of goods and services items barred from for accessingFOREIGN EXCHANGEDescription: http://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png in the Nigerian market for their imports.The Bank's Director of Trade and Exchange department, Olakanmi Gbadamosi, said the new policy was part of efforts at stabilising the foreignEXCHANGE MARKETDescription: http://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png and stimulating local production of goods and services."It has become imperative to exclude importers of some goods and services from accessing foreign exchange at the Nigerian foreignEXCHANGE MARKETSDescription: http://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png in order to encourage local production of these items," Mr. Gbadamosi said.
"The implementation of the policy will help conserve foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and employment generation," he added.Some of the affected items included rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel, palm oil products, vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and process vegetable products, poultry (chicken, eggs, turkey), tomatoes/tomato paste, soap and cosmetics and clothes.Other items included private airplanes/jets, Indian incense, tinned fish in sauce (Geisha/sardines, cold rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel sheets, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows, head pans, metal boxes/containers, enamelware, steel drums and pipes, wire mesh, steel nails, wood particle boards and panels.

El Nino threatens to disrupt rice trading

The potential impact of El Nino on paddy farmlands worldwide is changing rice trading patterns, triggering importers' fears that lower rice supply from drought caused by the weather phenomenon could translate into higher prices.Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the dry spell had now started to affect the world's rice trade psychologically. Importers are increasingly aware the dry weather may worsen to the extent that it hits global rice production."The world's rice trading environment is now changing," he said. "Buyers who had been reluctant to purchase rice and keep it in their stockpiles in recent years are now doing just that for fear global rice prices will rise."
Mr Chookiat said the market for parboiled rice had become active again, with higher purchase orders from Nigeria and Benin resuming, leading Thailand's overall May rice exports to surpass 900,000 tonnes from an average of 700,000 tonnes in previous months.Strong exports are also anticipated next month if Thailand can win a rice import tender from the Philippines. That country is expected to invite tenders from Thailand and Vietnam to supply 250,000 tonnes of rice in July to boost its buffer stocks as well as prevent rice price increases.
The Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice importers, last month said it could buy more if the drought-inducing El Nino intensified, as its government hoped to avert a potential surge in food prices due to possible supply disruptions that could be caused by El Nino, which Japan earlier confirmed had set in.Last year, the Philippines imported more than 1.8 million tonnes of rice to replenish rice stocks and control price rises.Higher demand from that country would be good news for regional rice markets that have been flagging this year due to oversupply.Mr Chookiat said the psychological impact was now clearer, as indicated by higher free-on-board prices for 5% white rice, which rose by US$10 a tonne last week to $385 a tonne.
Local milled rice prices also increased accordingly to 11,500 baht a tonne from 11,120 baht, while paddy prices rose to between 8,000 and 8,200 baht a tonne from 7,700 baht.However, Mr Chookiat said despite the impact being clearly visible in India and Pakistan and lower-than-expected rainfall in Thailand, it remained unclear whether and how far global rice production would drop. India's monsoon season, due to start in July or August, will have to be closely monitored.Nonetheless, he said the unusually low rainfall in Thailand was expected to shave production of the second crop by 40-50% from 8-9 million tonnes of paddy this year.
Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the main factors dictating prospects for global rice prices were likely to be rice production levels in China and India and how much these countries were affected by drought.Prospects are expected to be clearly evident around August, when their main crops start being harvested, he said.Mr Charoen said rice exporters expected Thailand would ship no fewer than 9 million tonnes this year.As of June 15, Thailand had shipped 3.9 million tonnes of rice this year, fetching 64.2 billion baht, down by 8% from the same period last year.


19 plead innocent in G2G rice-corruption case

Former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and 18 others pleaded innocent in the government-to-government rice-sales corruption case Monday.Two others charged in the case -- Weerawut Wajjanapukka, former secretary to Mr Boonsong, and Suthee Luanthaisong -- failed to appear and never have applied for bail. The court issued arrest warrants for the pair.
Mr Boonsong and other defendants are allowed to submit written testimony to the court by Aug 31, and the court set Sept 29 for the first examination of evidence.The 21 individuals were indicted March 17 on charges of committing and supporting malfeasance in violation of the Criminal Code and competitive-bidding and anti-corruption laws.Prosecutors alleged they colluded to help two Chinese firms not authorised by the Chinese government to undertake G2G deals with the Thai government to buy rice from stockpiles generated by the Yingluck Shinawatra administration's pledging scheme.Each in the group, which comprises three politicians in the Yingluck government, three civil servants and 15 authorised directors of companies and juristic persons, faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and combined fines of 35 billion baht.

link:http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/607496/19-plead-innocent-in-g2g-rice-corruption-case. View our policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip. © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.

USA Rice Co-Sponsors Cooking Seminars in Colombia                
Chef Bernardo cooks for a packed house
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- USA Rice recently hosted a seminar here, conducted by Executive Chef Bernardo Gomez Cortazar, focusing on the high quality and benefits of utilizing U.S. rice dishes and poultry products in food service.  More than 60 participants from the hotel and foodservice sector attended the interactive activity which took place at the prestigious Mario Moreno culinary academy, one of the best culinary schools in Latin America.The seminars were sponsored by USA Rice, the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, and the United Soybean Board.  Similar seminars were conducted in Cali and Medellin.
"U.S. rice exports to Colombia have skyrocketed this year, making Colombia our number one export market on a milled rice basis," said Jim Guinn, USA Rice vice president of international promotion. In the first four months of 2015, the U.S. has exported nearly 240,000 MT of rice, which is nearly 150,000 MT above the tariff rate quota (TRQ) for 2015.  Just four years ago, Colombia was our 51st largest export destination bringing in less than 5,000 MT of U.S. rice.

Guinn added, "After the successful conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and the establishment of an Export Trading Company to manage the licenses to import U.S. rice into Colombia under the TRQ, Colombia has been one of our top export markets."
Contact:  Sarah Moran (703) 236-1457
Crop Progress:   2015 Crop 16 Percent Headed   
WASHINGTON, DC -- Sixteen percent of the nation's 2015 rice acreage is headed, according to today's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report

Rice Headed, Selected States 
Week Ending
June 28, 2014  
June 21, 2015  
June 28, 2015
2010-2014 average
Six States

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Preliminary):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for June 29
Net Change

July 2015
- $0.170
September 2015
- $0.160
November 2015
- $0.155
January 2016
- $0.155
March 2016
- $0.155
May 2016
- $0.155
July 2016
- $0.155


APEDA News  (India)
Price on: 26-06-2015
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Chinese whole, CIF NW Europe (USD/t)
Indian Cochin, CIF NW Europe (USD/t)
Guar Gum Powder
Indian 100 mesh 3500 cps, FOB Kandla (USD/t)
Indian 200 mesh 3500 cps basis, FOB Kandla (USD/t)
Indian 200 mesh 5000 cps, FOB Kandla (USD/t)
For more info
Market Watch
Commodity-wise, Market-wise Daily Price on 29-06-2015
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Unit Price : Rs per Qty
Market Center
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Khatra (West Bengal)
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Gumla (Jharkhand)
Batala (Punjab)
Sitapur (Uttar Pradesh)
Mechua (West Bengal)
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For more info
Rs per 100 No
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Source: e2necc.com
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Unit Price : US$ per package
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EAC states impose common external tariffs to protect paddy farmers

29th June 2015

The East Africa Community (EAC)
Description: http://www.ippmedia.com/media/picture/large/15.pngThe East Africa Community (EAC) partner states have imposed Common External Tariff to help traders and farmers in the community to benefit from what they grow and protect rice smuggling that destroy small scale farmers engaged in paddy production in the region. A report from Rice Council of Tanzania (RCT) issued by the Rice Council Executive Director, Winnie Bashagi say that the EAC has decided to imposed the common external tariffs after it identified that right now Tanzania and other EAC rice industry is under the threat of imported rice from Thailand and Pakistan.She said across Tanzania, and the rice value chain, farmers, millers and traders are bitter about the high volumes of cheap Asian rice that somehow makes its way into the country and region duty free.
 In a national market assessment in March and April, the Rice Council found Chapa Africa Thai rice and Kasuku Pakistan rice in every region visited. If you look at the wholesale price and what it should cost to import with the EAC rice tariff paid,” says Winnie Bashagi, “it is clear that the tariff was not paid. If the tariff had been paid, the importers would be losing on every kilogramme they sold,” she said.lso in late 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture declared Tanzania to have produced a 700,000-tonne rice surplus.This surplus was trapped in the country as, in June 2013, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda imposed the Common External Tariff of the East African Community on all Tanzanians in reaction to some 80,000 tonnes of duty-free rice officially allowed into Tanzania in early 2013, according to the Council’s Position Paper.  
When the 2013 duty-free rice began entering the EAC partner states, often blended with Tanzania rice, the partner states imposed the EAC tariff on all Tanzania rice. The trapped surplus in Tanzania led to two years of wholesale prices too low for smallholders to breakeven on their production. Only since Uganda lifted the tariff on Tanzania has the wholesale rice price begun to improve. Rwanda has yet to lift the tariff.In Morogoro Municipality and in Kahama, the council witnessed large lorries unloading Chapa Africa Thai rice and large quantities being blended with Tanzanian rice. The blending of this smuggled rice with Tanzania rice for export to Uganda led Uganda to re-impose the EAC tariff on all Tanzania rice. 
Cutting off the surplus from Uganda would depress the wholesale price again, further damaging the livelihoods of at least 500,000 smallholder rice farmers and the 2 million family members who depend on them.On the other hand a trader from Kahama noted that the imported rice is killing my business,” said a trader in Kahama, whose business is selling Tanzania rice to Rwanda and Uganda, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of physical harm. One big shot brought in three thousand tonnes for DR Congo. He paid duties on a bit to cover his tracks, but all of it he sold to local warehouses.  It never went to DR Congo.” The trader says it’s impossible for Tanzanians to compete with cheap Asian rice.In Morogoro, local millers complain that imported Asian rice is selling in shops for less than they can pay farmers for unmilled paddy.“Smuggled rice appears to enter Tanzania in two ways,” says Rice Council Chairman Julius Wambura.
“Zanzibar does not enforce the 75 percent EAC tariff and imports enough rice to the extent that, the study by SERA 2013 quoted FAO food balance sheet of fifty kilogrammes of rice per person per day! This rice doesn’t stay on the island but comes by dhow to the pirate ports along the coast.”The second way, according to the Council, appears to be tens of thousands of tonnes imported as transit goods to the DRC that are dumped in Tanzania.“The only people making money in the rice industry right now are the traders who are smuggling rice,” says Wambura. “Everyone else has been losing money for two years.
The large-scale smuggling threatens to ruin the industry. We are calling on the government to put a stop to the smuggling and to enforce the rule of law and the EAC treaty commitments.”Through smallholder apex associations, the Rice Council of Tanzania represents some 500,000 of the smallholder rice farmers across the country who in total number are about a million. The Council also represents commercial farms, agri-input suppliers, traders, millers and packagers of Tanzania rice, and banks that lend to the industry. “If the government wants to reach its Big Results Now and National Rice Development Strategy goals of doubling rice production for food security and regional export by 2018,” said Council Chairman Wambura, “The first step is to put an end, once and for all, to the large-scale organised rice smuggling. Otherwise, the rice industry will not go forward but backward.”
News Shared by PhilRice
DA-PhilRice, IRRI develop climate-resilient varieties
To mitigate the impacts of climate change on rice production and food security, the Department of Agriculture (DA)-PhilRice and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are developing varieties that could withstand multiple biotic and abiotic stresses. The collaborative project titled, ‘Accelerating the development and adoption of next-generation (NextGen) rice varieties for major ecosystems in the Philippines’ aims to fast-track  the introduction and adoption of higher yielding inbred and hybrid rice varieties resistant to major pests and diseases and tolerant to adverse environments.
To help the country achieve food security, the project targets to produce higher yields by more than 5% of previous varieties, using marker-assisted breeding and selection, multi-location testing, increased breeder/foundation seed production and dissemination.Conventionally, it takes 6 years of breeding work, 3 years of testing, and 2 years of commercial seed production before farmers can plant a new variety.“The project would help shorten the breeding time to produce new varieties faster and make them accessible to rice farmers,” said Thelma F. Padolina, senior research fellow at PhilRice.
Multi-location trials are done in all major irrigated and rainfed rice-growing regions in the country under the supervision of DA-RFOs and state colleges and universities. Adaption trials are being done in farmer-partners’ fields.“Yield trials in farmers’ fields will help them (farmers) see how improved varieties perform in their (farmers) area,” said Padolina.In its recent assessment and planning workshop held in Subic Zambales, 7-11 June, Dr. Georgina Vergara, IRRI scientist, reported that as of 2014, the project has nominated 766 entries for multi-location environment testing (MET). Among the nominated entries, 206 lines were PhilRice-bred, 488 IRRI lines and 72 GSR lines compared with eight check varieties.The Rice Technical Working Group (RTWG) also approved 24 new promising inbreds and hybrids developed by the project.According to Dr. Vergara, more than 2,000 lines were screened for submergence, 12,000 for salinity, and 80 lines for drought in 2014.The project is an initiative under the Food Staples Sufficiency Program of DA being implemented jointly with PhilRice and IRRI in partnership with UP Los Baños, DA RFOs, state colleges and universities, LGUs, and rice farmers.
AgRiDOC training starts for Vis-Min participants
Continuing its objective of enabling the next generation of rice extensionists, Project IPaD welcomed participants from Visayas and Mindanao to its second batch of training program titled “Enabling the AgRiDOC: a new breed of rice extensionists.” The Improving Technology Promotion and Delivery through Capability Enhancement of the Next Generation of Rice Extension Professionals and Intermediaries or IPaD is one of the seven projects under the flagship of the DA’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program. Being funded by the National Rice Program through the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research, it is the only project that deals directly with improving the agricultural extension system in the Philippines.
A new training program designed for rice extensionists is one of the ways by which Project IPaD is helping revitalize the Philippine agricultural extension system. The program’s foundation is now farm community transformation, not just technology transmission.During the opening program, Mr. Julian Lapitan, interim head of IRRI partnerships office and lead of Project IPaD at IRRI said to the trainees: “As extension workers, your work should not only be limited to transmission, but it should go toward transformation. And you cannot transform if you yourself are not transformed.”Director Edmund J. Sana of the National Rice Program challenged the future AgRiDOCs (Agricultural Development Officers of the Community) to maximize the opportunity to learn from the training.
“You are here to get more, to increase your capacity, and be motivated to enjoy your work so that you can deliver,” he said.Director Sana was instrumental in the realization of the Project IPaD.“The moment you give justice to your job, that’s when you start to enjoy it; and it will not be a work anymore if you enjoy it,” he told the participants.“You (extension workers) have to put it in your hearts to serve our farmers, our community, and our country,” said Emelita Flores, municipal agriculturist of Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. Flores is a three-time Rice Achiever awardee for outstanding performance in extension. The training has a diverse pool of 25 participants. They are young, age range is 22-41 years old, agricultural technicians, extension workers, college instructors, staff members of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and staff members of PhilRice branch stations. The trainees will undergo 4 months of intensive training that aims to strengthen their technical competence, nurture values relevant to development work, and sharpen their leadership, communication, and entrepreneurial skills.Guiding the program is the curriculum, which was piloted last season with the Luzon batch. The curriculum is a strong mix of engaging and experiential learning designed to heighten trainees’ understanding and appreciation of rice-based farming system and the development processes in farming communities.The training curriculum consists of six modules: BeTransformed, AgRiCool, AgRiSurvivors, PalaYcheck and PalaYamanan v2.0, Rise with Rice, and Be RICEponsible. “I expect to learn many things about rice production and agriculture in general from this training, so I can better assist our farmers,” said Jun Rey Samillano, AgRiDOC trainee from ATI-RTC Region 12.The training runs from 16 June to– 23 October, 2015. Upon graduation, the AgRiDOCs are expected to help raise the bar of performance in extension in the Philippines, increase productivity to secure food self-sufficiency, and help catalyze farm community transformation.Plans for outscaling the project beyond 2015 are being laid out.
Study identifies most stable varieties

To identify appropriate varieties with wider or location-specific adaptation, the project titled Accelerating the development and adoption of next-generation (Next Gen) rice varieties for major ecosystem in the Philippines conducted the initial participatory varietal selection (PVS) in selected sites across 16 regions of the country. PVS entries were composed of new varieties developed under the DA’s Rice Self-sufficiency Program implemented in 2009 to 2013 and serving as start-up materials in the new Food Staples Sufficiency Program under Next Gen.Next Gen aims to use recent advances in plant breeding and improved computational power to make the country’s rice breeding program more efficient.PVS is part of Next Gen’s component 2 that aims to accelerate the adoption of high-yielding rice varieties through a new multi-environment testing strategy and production of high quality seeds.“Through PVS, yield trials in farmers’ fields will help them see how improved varieties perform in their area,” said Thelma F. Padolina, senior fellow at PhilRice.In the recent assessment and planning workshop held in Subic, Zambales on 7-11 June 2015, Next Gen identified the preferred varieties by the farmers after 131 seed kits were deployed across 16 regions in 2014 wet season.Out of the 86 trials established, 63 sites have valid data and were then analyzed by Next Gen researchers.According to Dr. Mary Jean Du of the International Rice Research institute (IRRI), after analyzing data from regional clusters 1, 2 and 3 (composed of Luzon and Visayas regions), the most stable varieties across sites are the following: NSIC Rc302, inbred variety for irrigated lowland; RAELINE 3 for rainfed and drought; PSB Rc68 for submergence; and NSIC Rc330 for saline.In regional cluster 4 (Mindanao), Du reported that the most stable varieties across sites are the following: NSIC Rc300 (performed best in Lanao Del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay), NSIC Rc222 and NSIC Rc298 (performed best in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental) for irrigated lowland; NSIC Rc192 and NSIC Rc348 for rainfed; NSIC Rc226 for saline; and PR40146 for submergence.Varieties RAELINE 3 and PR40146, however, have not been released commercially.Preference analysis and sensory evaluation of PVS test entries and field day activities were done as observed during monitoring visits of the Next Gen team to different PVS sites in 16 regions.The Next Gen project is an initiative under the Food Staples Sufficiency Program of DA being implemented jointly with PhilRice and IRRI in partnership with UP Los Baños, DA RFOs, Bureau of Plant Industry, state colleges and universities, LGUs and rice farmers.

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Desi Scientists Turn to Crop Gene Editing

By C Shivakumar
Published: 29th June 2015 04:35 AM
Last Updated: 29th June 2015 04:35 AM
CHENNAI: With their ambitious plans to undertake genetic modification of crops failing to take off as the debate on the suitability of GM crops remaining inconclusive in the country, scientists here are looking at ‘gene editing’ to tweak the crop without attracting the ire of sceptics.
Speaking to Express, Ajay Parida, executive director of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, said the Department of Biotechnology was paving the way for research on gene editing as it entailed lesser regulations unlike the transgenic crops. “Here, the genes of a plant variety is edited. This is a non-transgenic method, done without importing genes from another crop,” he said.
Scientists working on it said that by editing the genes of rice varieties, they could raise high-yielding disease resistant and nutritious crops.
Through editing, the gene of rice plant could be tinkered to improve the biomass-grain output ratio, said Parida. For instance, if a crop has a biomass of 70 per cent and grains 30 per cent, gene editing would be carried out to increase the yield to about 35-40 per cent, he said.
While this won’t have much difference on the plant, it requires extensive tests to study variations in culinary characteristics of the variety.
As it does not entail introducing new, foreign traits to a plant as is the case with a transgenic plant, gene editing would not have to undergo the stringent checks and regulations like the GM crops, he said. Unlike transgenic crops, which require antibiotic marker, gene editing process does not require any such tests.
Gene sequencing of 1,500 plant varieties have been completed so far, Parida said.