Friday, September 04, 2015

4th September (Friday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

China Seeks to Boost Rice Production Amid Challenges of Increasing Consumption, Environmental Pollution

Sep 03, 2015
China is seeking to boost rice production to meet rising consumption demand but increasing levels of soil and water pollution are posing great challenges to the East Asian country, say analysts.An article in the Nikki Asian Review analyses the challenges faced by China in boosting yields and quality of rice production in the light of rapid conversion of farmland to industrial use coupled with soil pollution and water shortages.
The Director for Asia Studies at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations recently warned in a commentary that "soil contamination, like air and water pollution, exacts a heavy economic and political toll on the Chinese people." She stated that China produces at least 12 million tons of heavy metal-contaminated rice worth about $3.2 billion annually. Officials also discovered high levels of cadmium in rice from Hunan Province, the center of Chinese rice production.
The U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap) noted in a recent report that China faces pressures to maintain quality in the context of heavy industrialization.  "It also must balance water resources across key sectors, as well as meet increased per capita demand," it said.
The U.N.'s 2015 World Water Development Report also noted that intensive irrigation in the Northern provinces has lowered the water table by more than 40 meters since 1960.
In 2014, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources noted in a report that 16.1% of the country's soil was polluted, including 19.4% of farmland.
China is reportedly taking measures to address the pollution and water problems. In April 2015, the government came up with the Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention and Control. Under this it aims to achieve significant improvements in water quality by 2020, including containing ground water pollution. The Ministry of Environmental Protection will introduce a new soil pollution prevention law from 2017.
From the production angle, the government is also trying to increase rice production with the help of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute. The IRRI is researching improves rice varieties that can produce higher yields in spite of environmental challenges.
However, analysts expressed concern that China's rice imports are increasing significantly to meet the demand. Unofficial imports are increasing due to wide price differentials between domestic and international prices. Smuggling is understood to take place through the borders of Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos with the connivance of Chinese authorities. Nearly 4-5 million tons of rice is said to enter China unofficially every year.
Experts are estimating that unofficial imports would increase because of the soil and water pollution issues. They also expressed concern that increased imports would lead to higher global rice prices.
According to the data from the International Grains Council (IGC), China's milled rice production is estimated to increase to around 144.6 million tons from an estimated 142.5 million tons in 2014. China is expected to import around 4 million tons officially in 2015 compared to around 3.7 million tons in 2014. Production and imports are likely to increase to around 145.6 million tons and 4.2 million tons respectively in 2016.

Asia Rice Quotes Mixed Today

Sep 03, 2015
Thailand rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today. Vietnam rice sellers increased their quotes for 25% broken rice and 100% broken rice by about $10 per ton each to around $320-$330 per ton and $315-$325 per ton respectively and lowered their quotes for Jasmine rice by about $5 per ton to around $450-$460 per ton. India rice sellers increased their quotes for 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton to around $300-$310 per ton. Pakistan rice sellers lowered most of their quotes by about $5 per ton today.                                                
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is indicated at around $350 - $360 per ton, about $25 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $325 - $335 per ton. India 5% rice is indicated at around $365 - $375 per ton, about $50 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $315 - $325 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday.
25% Broken Rice
Thailand 25% rice is shown at around $335 - $345 per ton, about $15 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $320- $330 per ton, up about $10 per ton from Tuesday. India 25% rice is indicated at around $340 - $350 per ton, about $50 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $290 - $300 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $355 - $365 per ton. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $355- $365 per ton, about $60 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice last shown at around $415 - $425 per ton.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is indicated at around $310 - $320 per ton, about $5 per ton from discount to Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $315 - $325 per ton, up about $10 per ton from Tuesday. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $300 - $310 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday and about $25 per ton premium on Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $275 - $285 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday.

Pakistan to Export Rice to Iran in Exchange for Electricity Payments

Sep 03, 2015
Pakistan has agreed to export rice to Iran in exchange for dues payable for imported electricity, Bloomberg quoted ta statement by the Finance Ministry.Pakistan will reportedly continue to purchase about 74 megawatts of energy from the Iranian company Tavanir. The deal is understood to be finalized by the Pakistani delegation that is visiting Iran.
The development would be a welcome news to Pakistani rice exporters who are struggling with increasing stocks, declining demand and falling prices. Iran is one of the largest importers of rice accounting for about 11% of the world's annual rice imports. Pakistani rice has a good reputation in Iran according to traders. Moreover, geographical proximity between the two nations is an added advantage for Pakistan rice exporters, say traders.
However, exporters say in order to ensure smooth export procedures with Iran, a proper currency transfer system is necessary. Pakistan's trade was routed through the Bank of New York (BNY). But due to sanctions, the U.S. suspended the trade route through the BNY. 

Bangladesh 2014-15 Milled Rice Production Reaches Record High

Sep 03, 2015
Bangladesh's FY 2014-15 (July 2014 - June 2015) milled rice production reached a record high of around 34.708 million tons, slightly up from around 34.41 million tons in 2013-14, local sources quoted provisional data by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
According to the BBS data, output from the Aman crop (July - December) stood at around 13.19 million tons, up about 1.28% from around 13 million tons last year; output from the Aus crop (February - August) stood at around 2.328 million tons, up about 0.8% from around 2.3 million tons last year; and output from the 2014-15 Boro rice crop (January - May) stood at around 19.19 million tons, up about 0.63% from around 19.07 million tons last year. Boro, Aman and Aus contribute to about 56%, 38% and 6% respectively to the total country's output.
Paddy rice acreage in 2014-15 stood at around 11.415 million hectares, compared to around 11.373 million hectares in 2013-14, as per the estimates from the Bangladesh Space Research & Remote Sensing Organisation (SPARSO).
Favourable weather conditions and supply of quality inputs in time were the keys to the growth said the Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
The country reportedly imported about 1.45 million tons of rice during FY 2014-15, about four times more higher than in 2013-14, despite a record production due to prevailing low global rice prices, according to the Ministry of Food.
USDA estimates Bangladesh’s MY 2015-16 (July 2015 – June 2016) milled rice production at around 35 million tons, slightly up from an estimated 34.5 million tons in MY 2014-15. It estimates Bangladesh to import around 1.2 million tons of rice in 2015.   
Global Rice Quotes
September 4th, 2015

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade          360-370           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken    325-335           ↔
India 5% broken         365-375           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken    315-325           ↔
Myanmar 5% broken   415-425           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken             425-435           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           530-540           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    535-545           ↔
Argentina 5% broken 530-540           ↔

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken 335-345           ↔
Vietnam 25% broken 320-330           ↔
Pakistan 25% broken 290-300           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken           410-420           ↔
India 25% broken       340-350           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         500-510           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd            355-365           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd    415-425           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd         355-365           ↔
U.S. parboiled 4% broken       570-580           ↔
Brazil parboiled 5% broken    545-555           ↔
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken            NQ      ↔

Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%          820-830           ↓
Vietnam Jasmine         450-460           ↔
India basmati 2% broken        NQ      ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken   NQ      ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails             830-840           ↔

Thailand A1 Super      310-320           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken            315-325           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd    275-285           ↔
Cambodia A1 Super   355-365           ↔
India 100% broken stxd         300-310           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens NQ      ↔
U.S. pet food 335-345           ↔
Brazil half grain          NQ      ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

Egyptian Cabinet Approves One Million Ton Rice Exports

Sep 03, 2015
The Egyptian Cabinet has given approval for exporting one million tons of rice, Bloomberg quoted a statement from the Cabinet.
The cabinet noted that exporters need to sell one ton of medium-grain rice at about 2,000 Egyptian pounds (around $255) to the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) for every ton of rice they export, as well as pay an export tariff of around $280 per ton of rice exported.
Export licenses granted as per the 2014 allowance are understood to be valid for the current exports.
The decision comes after the government has decided to ban rice exporters from September 1, 2015 in order to cater to domestic demand.
USDA estimates Egypt to produce 4.5 million tons of milled rice and export around 250,000 tons in MY 2014-15 (October - September).

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Rally as Other Grains Continue to Push into Negative Territory

Sep 03, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Nov delivery settled 10.5 cents per cwt (about $2 per ton) higher at $12.060 per cwt (about $266 per ton). The other grains continued to push lower today; Soybeans closed about 0.5% lower at $8.6950 per bushel; wheat finished about 2.9% lower at $4.6525 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 1.6% lower at $3.6150 per bushel.
U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range, attempting to extend a recovery as investors eyed fluctuations in oil prices and awaited Friday's key jobs report. The Nasdaq composite held mostly lower in early afternoon trade to wipe out gains for 2015. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average dipped in and out of negative territory in afternoon trade. Earlier, the blue chip index gained as much as 197.69 points in an attempt to stay out of correction territory. The energy sector struggled to hold gains after earlier spiking more than 2% on a surge in oil prices. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite closed out of correction territory to within 10% of their 52-week highs. The major averages are still on track for weekly losses of nearly 2%.Asian stocks mostly recovered on Thursday with the Nikkei up 0.5% helped by a positive finish on Wall Street overnight. Trading was relatively calm compared to previous sessions as Chinese stock exchanges closed for the commemoration of the end of World War II.
European stocks closed sharply higher, with the German DAX ending up 2.7%, following comments from ECB President Mario Draghi that kept quantitative easing unchanged while raising the cap on the amount of any one issue it could buy to 33% from 25%.In other economic news, weekly jobless claims rose to 282,000. The overall U.S. July trade gap narrowed to $41.86 billion, the smallest in five months, while the U.S.-China trade deficit in July increased slightly to $31.58 billion from $31.46 billion in June, Reuters reported. In the afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 17 points, or 0.11%, at 16,364. The S&P 500 traded up 2 points, or 0.11%, at 1,951, with consumer staples leading seven sectors higher and health care the greatest decliner. The Nasdaq traded down 12 points, or 0.27%, at 4,737. Gold is trading about 0.8% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 1.2% higher, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.5% higher about  1:45pm Chicago time.
Wednesday, there were 1,453 contracts traded, up from 1,255 contracts traded on Tuesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Wednesday decreased by 867 contracts to 10,096.

Indonesian Rice Production is Safe and Imports are Last Option, Say Agriculture Ministry Officials

Sep 03, 2015
The Indonesian Agriculture Ministry Secretary General reiterated that the country's rice production is safe despite the on-going dry weather conditions due to the El Nino weather pattern.He told reporters that the Ministry is expecting a 7% y/y increase in paddy rice production to around 75.2 million tons in 2015 from around 70 million tons in 2014. He however, noted that the output may be below the 75.55 million tons estimated by the statistics agency in July. He added that some 52,000 hectares of rice crops have failed as of August due to drought and due to that around 250,000-300,000 tons may be lost this year.
The official noted that the government needs to monitor the impact of drought on rice prices and inflation. Indonesia's state weather agency is predicting that the rainy season would be delayed this year and the drought conditions would peak from October to the beginning of next year due to the El Nino pattern.
The government has already distributed 20,000 irrigation pumps to farmers, made more than 1,000 reservoirs and dug 1,000 wells in anticipation of the El Nino this year, added the Agriculture Minister. He also reiterated that "imports are the last option".
Earlier this week, the Finance Ministry's Director General for Budgeting noted that the government has allocated about Rp 3.5 trillion (around $258 million) to support rice production during the drought conditions. Of the allocated amount, around Rp 1.5 trillion (around $105 million) would be reportedly used to ramp up the rice reserves at Bulog and the remaining Rp 2 trillion (around $153 million) will be used to help stabilize prices.
Meanwhile, analysts are predicting that Indonesia may have to import about 1.6 million tons of rice this year to maintain stocks and stabilize prices. Global rice prices are estimated to increase by 10-20% in the next few months as the El Nino induced drought is expected to lower production prospects in Asia.
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 Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures Weighed on Negative Grains Overnight

Sep 03, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Nov delivery are currently paused 3 cents per cwt (about $1 per ton) lower at $11.925 per cwt (about $263 per ton) ahead of floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading lower ahead of early morning action; soybeans are currently seen trading about 0.1% lower, wheat is listed about 0.9% lower and corn is currently noted about 0.9% lower.
U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Thursday, building on Wednesday's rally which saw major averages gain more than 1.5% by the close after a tumultuous week of trade so far. In Europe, stocks rallied as investors digested the European Central Bank's decision to keep interest rates unchanged. Regional stocks extended gains to rise about 2% and U.S. futures briefly more than doubled gains amid morning data releases and comments from ECB President Mario Draghi that kept quantitative easing unchanged while raising the cap on the amount of any one issue it could buy to 33% from 25%.The U.S. dollar spiked, with the euro lower near $1.11. Weekly jobless claims rose to 282,000. The overall U.S. July trade gap narrowed to $41.86 billion, while the U.S.-China trade deficit in July increased slightly to $31.58 billion from $31.46 billion in June, Reuters reported. The flow of top-tier releases also continues, ahead of Friday's key jobs report. The August ISM non-manufacturing index is due at 10:00 a.m. ET. Friday's job numbers is the last monthly employment report before the U.S. Federal Reserve meets later on in the month, when an announcement on interest rates is widely anticipated. Gold is currently trading about 0.9% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 0.3% higher, and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.6% higher at 8:30am Chicago time.

Oryza August 2015 Rice Market Review

Sep 03, 2015
The Oryza White Rice Index (WRI), a weighted average of global white rice export quotes, ended the month of August at about $388 per ton, down about $9 per ton from a month ago and down about $87 per ton from a year ago. Export prices and tonnage continue to remain under pressure as market support from potential El Nino supply cuts remain a distant mirage that may take a year to materialize.
Thailand 5% broken ended the month of August at about $360 per ton, down about 3% per ton from a month ago and down about 18% per ton from a year ago. The USDA forecasts Thailand's milled rice production in MY 2015-16 (January - December 2015) at about 18 million tons (about 27.3 million tons, basis paddy), down about 7% from about 19.35 million tons (about 29.35 million tons, basic paddy) in MY 2014-15 due to drought conditions that had impacted planting operations of the country's main season rice crop. Planting for the 2015-16 main rice crop planting is complete in major growing areas. According to the Ministry of Agriculture's Disaster Center report, about one million rai (about 160,000 hectares) of main rice crop had been affected by drought, particularly in the lower northern region and central plains.
Thailand's Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has found several irregularities in the implementation of the low-cost rice sales scheme by the Public Warehouse Organization (PWO), according to local sources. The PWO signed contracts with six companies to carry out the sales of bagged rice. The OAG found that only one of the five companies had an experience as a retailer and some of the others were related to the first one. It also found that a single person had issued checks on behalf of all the six companies when they purchased rice from the PWO.
The Thai military government has sold about 426,977 tons of stockpiled rice to 47 local traders in an open tender raising about 6.3 billion baht (about $178 million) in the most recent auction, Reuters quoted a Commerce Ministry official. There have been five auctions this year and nine auctions total since the military government took over in May 2014. The government sold about 4.4 million of rice raising about 48.6 billion baht (about $1.38 billion) from the nine auctions. The government of Thailand is also planning to auction about 732,806 tons of stockpiled rice on September 8th 2015, Reuters quoted a statement from the Commerce Ministry.
China reportedly agreed to buy about one million tons of rice in a government-to-government (G2G) deal from Thailand. The sale is part of a December 2014 memorandum of understanding (MoU) (that China signed with Thailand in December 2014) to buy 2 million tons of rice this year.
Thailand's Supreme Court has rejected the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's plea to allow the trial to be taken up by the Administrative Court as the case was not within jurisdiction of the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, according to local sources. The Court also denied her plea to reject additional documented evidence from 23 witnesses submitted by the prosecutors. The court adjourned the hearing to October 29th 2015.
Vietnam 5% broken rice ended the month of August at about $330 per ton, down about 3% per ton from month ago and down about 27% per ton from a year ago. Vietnam exported about 3.492 million tons of rice in January 1 - August 20, 2015, down about 18% from about 4.26 million tons of rice exported in first eight months of 2014, according to data from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). The average rice export price so far in this year stands at about $414 per ton (FOB), down about 4% per ton from about $431 per ton recorded during same last year. Meanwhile, Vietnam rice exporters have signed contracts to export about 4.45 million tons of rice as at the end of July 2015, down about 9% from about 4.9 million tons contracted during the same time last year; local sources quoted an Agriculture Department official as saying. Separately, Vietnam rice exports to Africa increased about 52% to about 525,896 tons in the first seven months of 2015 from about 345,984 tons exported during the same time last year, local sources quoted the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
China, one of the major destinations for Vietnamese rice for the last few years, has reduced rice imports from Vietnam since the beginning of this year. Experts say China normally imports higher volume when prices are low, but this year low prices have failed to attract demand, yet. Looking further out, both UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and USDA are predicting China to import more rice from Vietnam in the second half of 2015 due to declining rice prices as well as the impact of drought-inducing El Nino pattern on Chinese production.
Vietnam has lowered the minimum export price (MEP) of its lower quality (25% broken) rice exports by about 3% to about $340 per ton from about $350 per ton in order to boost exports. The MEP was effective from August 13, 2015.
Persisting dry conditions have affected rice seedlings in about 185,451 hectares of paddy fields in Cambodia. According to the report sent to the Prime Minister, about 9,240 hectares of paddy fields have been completely damaged. USDA estimates Cambodia's average yield per hectare at 2.43 tons. Based on these estimates, Cambodia may have about 450,000 tons of paddy affected by flooding this year. Cambodia produced about 9 million tons of paddy rice in 2014, according to the local sources.
Separately, a rice industry specialist has advised Cambodian rice exporters to focus on diversifying markets and focus on increasing fragrant rice exports, according to Khmer Times. Cambodia has exported about 312,317 tons of milled rice in the first seven months of 2015, up about 53% from about 204,128 tons exported during the same period last year, according to data from the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export Formality.
Cambodia produces multiple varieties of jasmine rice varieties, including Phka Romdeng, Phka Romeat, Phka Rumduol but lacks a single brand name that can differentiate its jasmine rice in the international market. The government and the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) are working separately to come up with a brand name that could distinguish Cambodian jasmine rice from the Thai jasmine rice.
FAO expects the ongoing floods in Myanmar to impact the volume of rice exports in 2015. FAO had earlier estimated Myanmar to export about 810,000 tons of rice in 2015. But in the light of floods affecting vast areas of paddy fields, the UN agency says Myanmar's rice exports may be below the earlier estimated figure. Severe floods in the northern and western Myanmar are said to have damaged about 560,000 hectares of rice fields. Meanwhile, the USDA forecasts Myanmar 2015-16 rice exports to decline by about 250,000 tons as the government would take measures to replenish stocks in the areas affected by recent floods.
Separately, the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) and the government have jointly decided to ban rice exports until September 15th, when the new monsoon rice crop is expected to reach the market. However, some local sources are expecting that Myanmar may not resume rice exports until November this year.
The Philippine Statistics Agency (PSA) has estimated the country's 2015 paddy output at about 18.86 million tons, about 6% below the targeted 20.08 million tons and slightly down from last year's output of 18.97 million tons. Meanwhile, the government of the Philippines will maintain the 20 million tons paddy output target this year despite concerns of an El Nino weather pattern, Bloomberg quoted the Agriculture Department Assistant Secretary. He said the Agriculture Department is seeking 940 million pesos ($20.3 million) in additional budget to fund programs that will mitigate the impact of El Nino. The Philippines is aiming to produce about 20.09 million tons of paddy rice in 2016, up about 6.5% from an estimated 18.86 million tons this year, according to Reuters.
Separately, the Philippine Center for Post-Harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have jointly developed a technology that helps in enhancing brown rice production in the country.
The Philippines Food Secretary has declared that there is a need to import more rice, above the already imported 750,000 tons from Vietnam and Thailand, in 2015 due to the impact of El Nino on rice crop, according to Bloomberg. He however noted that the quantum of imports is still not clear. He stated that the government is assessing the damage to rice crops due to drought and will decide on the volume of imports soon.
The National Food Authority (NFA) has already imported 750,000 tons of rice (200,000 tons from Thailand and 550,000 tons from Vietnam) under government-to-government deals to ensure adequate stocks in the lean season (June – September). It has also allowed the private traders to import 805,200 tons of rice under the WTO minimum access volume (MAV) rule. The NFA is still authorized to import another 250,000 tons in case of adverse weather conditions.
Total rice stocks in the Philippines as of July 1, 2015 stood at about 2.57 million tons, down about 15% from about 3.02 million tons recorded in June 2015, and up about 27% from about 2.03 million tons recorded during the same period last year.
Output from China's first harvest period (early rice) has declined about 1% to about 33.69 million tons from about 34.01 million tons produced in 2014, local sources quoted the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
India 5% broken rice ended the month of August at about $370 per ton, down about 5% per ton from a month ago, and down about 16% per ton from a year ago. The government of India, in its fourth advance estimates for major crops, has estimated India's rice production, milled basis, for 2014-15 crop year (July 2014 - June 2015) at about 104.8 million tons, up about 2.26 million tons or about 2.2% from its earlier estimates of about 102.54 million tons, according to a statement from the agriculture Ministry. However, the production is estimated to be down about 2% from about 106.65 million tons in 2013-14.
Separately, experts have noted that delayed planting and unevenly distributed rains across the country are likely to hamper the 2015-16 rice production though the on-going kharif rice acreage is ahead of last year as on August 21, 2015, according to local sources. Meanwhile, total rice planted area to India's 2015-16 Kharif (main) rice crop (June - December) stood at about 34.59 million hectares as of August 28, 2015, slightly up from about 34.55 million hectares planted during the same time last year, according to a press release by the Agriculture Ministry.
Analysts are expecting basmati rice prices in India to decline in the coming months as supplies from the on-going kharif crop would reach the market while there is still no confirmation over the resumption of rice imports from Iran, according to the Hindu Business Line. Basmati rice producers in India had suffered huge losses in 2014-15 (April - March) due to price falls and decline in demand after Iran imposed a temporary ban in November 2014 citing adequate stocks.
Average monthly wholesale rice prices in India increased to about Rs.2,663.31 per quintal (about $403 per ton) in August 2015, slightly up from about Rs.2,650.04 per quintal (about $416 per ton) in July 2015, and down about 18% from their year-ago levels of about Rs.3,254 per quintal (about $542 per ton).
India’s rice stocks in the central pool as of August 1, 2015 stood at about 18.6 million tons (including a milled equivalent of about 5.021 million tons of paddy), down about 24% from about 24.56 million tons recorded during the same period last year, according to data from the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
Pakistan 5% broken rice ended the month of August at about $325 per ton, down about 7% per ton from a month ago and down about 26% per ton from a year ago. Pakistan exported about 155,570 tons of rice (including basmati and non-basmati) in the first month of FY 2015-16 (July - June), down about 14% from about 181,398 tons exported during the same period in FY 2014-15, according to provisional data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). In terms of value, Pakistan's earned about $91 million in July 2015, down about 27% from about $125 million last year. Meanwhile, Pakistan exported about 3.93 million tons of rice in FY 2014-15 (July - June), up about 6% from about 3.72 million tons in 2013-14, according to the National Space Agency of Pakistan (SUPARCO). However, exports declined by about 6% in terms of earnings due to a decline in global prices of rice.
Separately, the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) of Pakistan has reportedly fixed the 2015- 16 (July - June) milled rice production target at about 6.902 million tons (about 10.21 million tons, basis paddy) from about 2.836 million hectares. It is targeting a yield of about 2.434 tons per hectare in 2015-16.
The Agriculture Policy Institute (API) under the Ministry of National Food Security & Research of Pakistan suggested the government to intervene in the market, based on a survey of cost of production and import/export parity prices. It suggested that the government could consider a paddy support price of about Rs.1, 800 per 40 kilograms (about $435 per ton) for basmati and about Rs.850 per 40 kilograms (about $205) for non-basmati rice.
Iran has agreed to lift the ban on rice imports from Pakistan in the aftermath of removal of international sanctions, according to local sources. The imports are to be reinstated from October 2015.
The government of Bangladesh has extended the time limit for aromatic rice exports until December 31, 2015 in order to enhance the share of the country's brands in foreign markets, according to local sources. However, some exporters expressed concern that the government should have extended the time limit until June 30, 2016 to strengthen exports.
Separately, Bangladesh rice farmers have been advised to preserve as well as increase production of indigenous rice varieties such as 'Parija' through modern technologies, according to local sources.
FAO estimates Indonesia 2015-16 (April - March) rice imports to decline about 10% y/y to about 900,000 tons due to a favorable production outlook for the 2015 rice production as well as self-sufficiency policies advocated by the government. The agency estimates Indonesia's 2015 aggregate paddy rice production at about 75.6 million tons, up about 7% from last year.
Meanwhile, on-going drought conditions are expected to reduce Indonesia's 2015 paddy rice production by about 800,000 tons, down from an estimated 75.5 million tons, according to Bloomberg. The country's statistics agency is estimating 2015 paddy rice output to reach about 75.55 million tons (about 47.6 million tons, basis milled) in 2015. The government is keen on achieving self-sufficiency in rice production and stop imports over the next few years.
The government of Indonesia has allocated about Rp 3.5 trillion (about $258 million) to support rice production during the drought conditions, local sources quoted the Finance Ministry's Director General for Budgeting. Separately, Indonesia's Public Works and Public Housing Minister has assured adequate water supplies for the 2015-16 rice planting season, which will last from September to January, according to local sources.
The government of Indonesia has fixed the 2016 paddy rice target at about 76.23 million tons (about 48 million tons, basis milled), Bloomberg quoted a statement from the Finance Ministry. The Indonesian government is also planning to expand rice fields by about 60,000 hectares in 2016. It is also reportedly planning to improve irrigation facilities in about 500,000 hectares of farm lands, including rice.
South & Central America
Brazil 5% broken rice ended the month of August at about $500 per ton, unchanged from a month ago and down about 18% per ton from a year ago. Brazil’s National Grains Supply Company (Conab) has forecasted the country's 2014-15 paddy rice production at about 12.432 million tons (about 8.45 million tons, basis milled), up about 2.6% from about 12.121 million tons (about 8.24 million tons, basis milled) in 2013-14, and slightly down from its July forecast of about 12.499 million tons. Average rice yield in Brazil in 2014-15 is projected at about 5.45 tons per hectare, up about 6.6% from about 5.11 tons per hectare recorded in the previous year, and slightly up from its July forecast of about 5.43 tons per hectare.
The government of Guyana is planning to implement a rice-marketing plan, which aims at improving productivity, reducing production costs, enhancing operational efficiency in rice mills and development of value-added products for export, local sources quoted the Agriculture Minister. The Minister said that rice is an import staple in the country contributing to about 61% of agricultural GDP and supporting at least 10% of the population as well as the highest foreign exchange earning product (accounting for about 21.3% of export earnings) in Guyana. The country's per capita rice consumption is estimated at about 50 kilograms, said the Minister.
U.S. 4% broken rice ended the month of August at about $490 per ton, up about 3% per ton from a  month ago and down about 9% per ton from a year ago. The USDA estimates U.S. 2015-16 all rice supplies at about 12.63 million tons, unchanged from its last month's forecast, despite expected lower production. It expects higher imports and stocks would compensate for lower production. The agency estimates U.S. all rice production (milled basis) at about 9.3 million tons, down from last month's estimate of 9.39 million tons due to a slight reduction in yield. It estimates 2015-16 all rice use at about 10.7 million tons, down from last month's estimates of about 10.89 million tons due to an estimated decline in domestic & residual use since exports are estimated to be lower from last month.  The USDA estimates 2015-16 all rice exports at about 4.85 million tons, down from last month's estimates of about 4.99 million tons, and the decline is expected in milled rice exports.
Rice output in the U.S. state of Louisiana is expected to be below last two years' output, according to the Director of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station. The official says that heavy rains between March and May as well as cloudy skies thereafter are main reasons for low yields. Louisiana is the third largest rice producing state in the U.S. after Arkansas and California and accounts for about 15% of the total U.S. rice production.
The government of Mozambique is planning to introduce surcharge on imports of rice beans, meat and eggs in order to encourage domestic production, local sources quoted the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security. Recently, quoted the National Director of Agriculture and Forestry noted that Mozambique has about 900,000 hectares of land for potential rice production but only 310,000 is being used currently. He added that this underutilization of production capacity in the country is leading to rice deficit and forcing the government to import rice.
The Head of the National Office of Rice Growing Department in Ivory Coast has urged the government to develop irrigation facilities in the country to help boost rice production in the country, China Post quoted local sources. Currently, 85% of the Ivorian rice relies on rain and only one dam caters to rice fields in the northern region, he says. Ivory Coast produces only 60% of rice needed for annual domestic consumption of about 2.3 million tons and imports the rest.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is planning to review the rice import policy in order to increase productivity, raise incomes of farmers as well as promote exports, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) was quoted. The Nigerian government has targeted to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production and end imports by 2015.
The European Union's (EU) imported about 1.143 million tons of rice in the first eleven months of the crop year 2014-15 (September - August), up about 13% from about 1.014 million tons last year. The European Commission (EC) says the EU rice imports have reached record highs after six years when they reached about 1.066 million tons in 2007-08. Meanwhile, the EU rice imports from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of Asia such as Cambodia and Myanmar under the Everything But Arms (EBA) Agreement have reached about 314,265 tons in the first eleven months of the crop year 2014-15 (September 2014 - August 2015), up about 12% from about 281,000 tons imported during the same period last year, according to data from the EC.
Meanwhile, the EU and the Vietnam have signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) after two-and-half years of intense talks, according to local sources. Under the agreement, the EU can import 80,000 tons annually from Vietnam at zero percent import duty.
Other Markets
Planting for Nepal 2015-16 rice crop is lagging by 3% over last year due to unfavorable monsoon, local sources quoted the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD). According to data from the MoAD, rice planting area stood at about 1.487 million hectares as of August 24, 2015, down 3% from about 1.533 million hectares planted last year. The current acreage accounts for about 87% of the country's total acreage. Paddy contributes to 20% to the total agricultural production in Nepal and about 7% of the country's GDP. The Agriculture Ministry estimates Paddy production in 2014-15 to decline about 5.71% to about 4.78 million tons from about 5.04 million tons in 2013-14 due to a late monsoon and untimely rainfall.
Meanwhile, Production shortfalls and expensive imports have been pushing up domestic rice prices in the country, according to local sources. The price of most commonly used rice variety Jira Masino have increased to about Rs.1,450-1,850 (about $559 - $713) per 25 kilogram bag from about Rs.1,350-1,750 (about $520 - $674) per 25 kilogram bag, according to local sources. They say traders of branded rice have also hiked prices in the recent past.  Nepal has imported rice worth Rs.24.75 billion (about $231 million) in the fiscal year 2014-15 (August - July), up about 43% from about Rs.17.26 billion (about $161 million) during FY 2013-14, local sources quoted the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).
The government of Iran is expecting 2015-16 (April - March) rice production, basis milled, at about 2 million tons, Iran English Radio quoted the Secretary of Iran's Government Rice Association (saying on Press TV). The main rice crop season starts in April and ends in September.
The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has signed an agreement with the government of Chad to provide about 4 million Kuwaiti Dinars (about $13.6 million) to help boost rice production in Chad, according to local sources.
The government of Egypt has planned to ban rice exports from September 1, 2015 in order to fulfil domestic demand; however, on September 3rd it was reported that the government will allow the export of one million tons. While Egypt is expected to produce about 2.7 million tons of white rice in 2015-16, its annual consumption demand is estimated at about 3.6 million tons. The Ministry reportedly said in a statement that the demand gap would be fulfilled from the existing stocks.
Research and Scientific Development:
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Africa Rice Center (AfriceRice) have jointly released two cold-tolerant rice varieties in Madagascar under the IRRI's Stress-tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) program.
Researchers from the Thailand Development Research (TDRI) have recommended to the government to set up a 'Rice Market Development Institute' to enhance rice related research.
Researchers from Japan's National Food Research Institute (NFRI) have developed a jelly like substance called "rice gel" that can be used in the processing food industry.
Chinese researchers have found that by modifying a gene called BG1 (Big Grain 1) in rice plants, the length and weight of the rice grains can be significantly increased.
The researchers of the Temperate Rice Research Consortium (TRRC) in Italy are organizing a meeting called "Perspectives and Solutions for Competitive Rice Growing" in the Italian Rice Research Center, in Castello d'Agogna (Pavia), on September 10, 2015.
Researchers at the UK's John Innes Centre have found means to increase rice plants' resistance to pathogens by understanding how rice plants detect pathogens.
August Tenders:
The Mauritius state purchasing agency issued an international tender to purchase up to 6,000 tons of long-grain white rice from optional origins.
The government of Liberia invited tenders from eligible and qualified Liberian owned businesses for the supply of Dry Ration (rice) during 2015-16, according to a statement by the Ministry of National Defense (MoD).
Iraq issued an international tender to purchase about 30,000 tons of rice from the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and India.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - New Sale to Venezuela Helps Support Prices

Sep 03, 2015
The U.S. cash market was firmer today rallying on the news of yet another sale of long grain paddy to Venezuela and anticipation of more milled rice business to Iraq.
Analyst note that without the recent increase in export demand prices would have likely remained depressed however others warn that these higher prices are beginning to turn off some foreign buyers.
In the meantime, the USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week that ended on August 27th, totaled 66,000 tons, an increase of 97% from the previous week.
Increases were reported for the following destinations including: 29,500 tons to Venezuela, 19,600 tons to Mexico, 7,200 tons to unknown destinations, and 3,000 tons to Panama, while decreases of 1,300 tons, 200 tons, and 100 tons were reported for Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Russia respectively.
U.S. rice exporters shipped 156,400 tons, and increase of 74% from the previous week, with the primary destinations including: 59,500 tons to Venezuela, 31,500 tons to Iraq, 24,800 tons to Mexico, 12,000 tons to Japan, and 6,800 tons to Haiti.

Real Rice Ban Never Existed in Iran, Says Indian Grains Analyst

Sep 03, 2015
Though Iran has been claiming that rice import from India was banned in 2014 due to their own surplus availability owing to local supplies or excess imports in 2013, they have created a system where by only select private parties have been supported with import licencing. This has existed for the last 15-16 months. Call it canalised import through privatisation, though Government Trading Corporation of Iran (GTC) too remains another conduit of import whenever required.
Thus it is very difficult to conclude when the ban is imposed or lifted. Food articles were never sanctioned under US/UN orders. In fact REAL ban never existed in Iran.
The same may be true for Pakistan as well and small containerised supplies of Pakistani rice may be going to Iran under such arrangements during sanctions as well. India had an advantage of rupee payment from 2011 till today—which will cease soon.
However Indian Pusa 1121 PB will continue to get overriding priority by Iranian buyers over Pakistan origin, so long as Indian prices are competitive and these will be. 
Pakistan is ideologically a nation with Sunni Muslim majority, while Iran is the leader of world’s Shia movement. Politically too, Pakistan will not be favoured in the trade on these grounds.   
Views by Mr.Tejinder Narang 

USDA Post Estimates Myanmar 2015 Rice Exports to Decline 5% y/y to 1.6 Million Tons

Sep 03, 2015
USDA Post estimates Myanmar 2015 rice exports to decline to around 1.6 million tons from an estimated 1.688 million tons in 2014 based on reports from the trade sources.
The decline is attributed to the imposition of a temporary ban on exports in the first week of August after floods damaged about 250,000 hectares of rice fields in the northern and western regions of the country leading to a surge in the domestic rice prices.
The Post estimates that around 250,000-300,000 tons of exports have been impacted due to the imposition of the ban.

The government has been supporting farmers in the flood-affected area to replant their crops. If rice cannot be replanted, the government is planning to help farmers plant other crops such as beans or pulses. The Post estimates Myanmar's MY 2015-16 (January - December 2016) milled rice production to decline about 3% to around 12.2 million tons from an estimated 12.6 million tons in MY 2014-15.

Download/View On-Line the above News in pdf format,just click the following link

3rd September (Thursday),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

News Headlines....
*      Declining prices: governments weigh up option to protect agriculture sector
*      U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for September 2: National Rice Month
*      Rice-pledging civil lawsuits on schedule, Wissanu says
*      Attaches tour rice, poultry, wine sites
*      Prime minister urges support to agriculture sector
*      Nigeria: Agric Ministry VS Stallion Group - Who Is Telling the Truth?
*      Antique’s rice stocks sufficient, NFA’s palay procurement on
*      Wet weekend predicted for South; rain deficit grows in North
*      Government to purchase the highest amount of paddy in Yala season
*      Rice output hits all-time high
*      DA urges farmers to plant crops for El Niño
*      Fortified Rice is Integral Part of Solution to Global Hunger      
*      CAMBODIA PRESS-Rice millers request exemption from VAT
*      Food security a top priority for ASEAN ministers and senior officials
*      Weaker yuan presses Vietnam’s rice price down
*      There should be no irrational resistance to GM crops: Principal Scientific Advisor
*      Govt advisor cautions against irrational resistance to GM crops
*      In Bengal, a rice economy rots away on food habits, subsidy
*      Restaurant Spy visits the Radcliffe Arms, Hitchin
*      CME Group/Closing Rough Rice
*      Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported    
*      Himalayan Dine Inn's herbs and lentils could start a knife fight
*      Restaurant Spy visits the Radcliffe Arms, Hitchin
*      CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  
*      Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported      
News  detail…

Declining prices: governments weigh up option to protect agriculture sector

September 03, 2015
The federal government and provinces on Wednesday weighed various options to protect the agriculture sector from declining prices of agriculture products in the international market. An official said that a consultative meeting on agriculture products and Basmati rice was held on Wednesday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair and various options were discussed during the meeting. The official said the issue of high costs of agricultural inputs was discussed. He said the Prime Minister directed to devise proposals to bring down the cost of inputs to improve per acre yield and profitability after he was given a detailed presentation on the present situation as well as on future scenarios. Secretary Food Department of Sindh government told Business Recorder that the meeting was a follow-up of a meeting held in August.
He said the meeting has not taken any decision and decided to hold another meeting in this regard to further discuss the proposals. He said the decline in agriculture products prices in the international market has created problems of exports. He said that farmers are suffering due to high input prices at home and low output prices. Secretary Agriculture Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government said a committee was constituted by the Prime Minister to suggest as to how to support small farmers. The meeting discussed implications of the government interventions to manage the price fluctuations while keeping in view the interests of both producers and consumers. A statement issued by the Prime Minister''s office after the meeting says that the surplus stocks of agricultural products in international and domestic markets have put pressure on the support price mechanism and profitability of the agricultural production has been affected. 
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research informed the meeting that in Pakistan agriculture is mainly a small farmers'' business, living in rural areas and any price shock has damaging effects on millions of small farmers earning their livelihood from agriculture sector. The meeting agreed that the Pakistani agriculture is suffering from global phenomenon and a strategy is required to come out of this economic situation. The Planning Commission organised a forum on agriculture pricing trends and its possible implications on rural economy in August 2015. The forum presented a set of recommendations for consideration by the government on Wednesday''s meeting. The meeting deliberated in detail on the recommendations of the forum regarding problems faced by the producers of major crops like rice, sugarcane, cotton, wheat and vegetables. The Prime Minister directed that the Ministry of National Food Security may initiate measures to attract investment in high-tech seed industry and asked if any legislation is required to do that. The Prime Minister also directed to develop standards for use of agricultural machinery to improve its efficiency.
 Provincial governments were directed to initiate a process for implementation of the recommendations for the agriculture forum. The meeting was attended by Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Minister of Commerce, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Minister for IPC; Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Minister for National Food Security; Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning and Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the PM, federal secretary National Food security, Secretary agriculture from Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Balochistan.

U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for September 2: National Rice Month

Sep 02, 2015, 00:01 ET from U.S. Census Bureau
WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following is the daily "Profile America" feature from the U.S. Census Bureau:

Profile America  Wednesday, September 2nd. To highlight its importance, both as a crop and as part of the changing U.S. diet, this is National Rice Month. Globally, rice is the world's most important cereal grain. Reflecting both our increasing cultural diversity and awareness of good nutrition, Americans have increased their annual consumption of rice from 1980's 9½ pounds to today's 31 pounds each. Rice has been grown in America since the late 17th century and is currently a $3 billion a year crop. While raising only 2 percent of the world's rice, the U.S. is the leading non-Asian exporter, sending nearly $2.1 billion worth annually to overseas markets. The grain is raised by farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at
Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on the Internet at (look for "Multimedia Gallery" by the "Newsroom" button). 
 SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau

Rice-pledging civil lawsuits on schedule, Wissanu says

3 Sep 2015 at 13:44 1,355 viewed1 comments
Civil lawsuits against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and others to seek compensation for her government’s loss-ridden rice-pledging programme will be filed before the statute of limitations expires, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam confirmed Thursday.Mr Wissanu told the National Legislative Assembly today that civil lawsuits against Ms Yingluck and other government officials could be filed late this year or in early 2016 at the latest, far before the statute of limitations expired in February 2017.Two government committees are handling the process.
One is fact-finding while the other is tasked with identifying those liable for compensation and setting the compensation amount, he said.Apart from Ms Yingluck, six government officials were possible targets for compensation demands, Mr Wissanu said.Civil lawsuits against private companies held liable in the rice scheme would need to be filed within one year, Mr Wissanu said. But the process against them can move faster because inquiry committees don't need to be established, he said.The state's losses in the rice-pledging scheme during Ms Yingluck's tenure from 2011-2014 were estimated at more than 530 billion baht. Her government bought rice from farmers at above-market prices that impeded resale. The government also had problems with quality rice storage.
The Bangkok Post

Attaches tour rice, poultry, wine sites

This article was published today at 2:06 a.m.
STUTTGART -- Vangile Titi-Msumza, a South African agricultural attache based in Washington, D.C., liked what she saw at a poultry farm in Farmington. Her counterpart from New Zealand was excited to see rice and cotton production for the first time.Twenty-eight agricultural attaches from 26 countries wrapped up a tour of farm and food processing operations in Arkansas on Wednesday before moving on to visit similar facilities in Louisiana. The tour, organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was designed to create export opportunities for Arkansas farmers."It's developing relationships and creating opportunities and introducing the attaches to Arkansas agriculture," Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward said. "That can open up doors down the road."Ward spoke at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Rice Research Station in Stuttgart, where the group stopped for lunch and a presentation on rice production in Arkansas.
The tour began with meetings Monday in Northwest Arkansas with representatives of Tyson Foods Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores. Inc., and included visits to Post Winery and Vineyard in Altus and Keo Fish Farms, and dinners hosted by agriculture trade groups.Titi-Msumza said she was particularly interested to see how chickens were grown in Arkansas. She was pleased that they were not densely packed into cages, which can increase the risk of disease."I was actually very impressed," she said. "The United States is a very big country, so we need to appreciate differences in approaches to agriculture among the states.
"Janine Collier, first secretary of trade and agriculture at the New Zealand Embassy, was impressed by the rice and cotton operations she visited. New Zealand is a leading exporter of dairy products, and she was interested in similarities between the way dairy and rice trade on the global market.Yvette Wedderburn Bomershein, a director in the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, which organized the tour, said a stop at American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame Inc. in Mulberry was a good example of how the tour can be educational for even well-traveled agricultural officials."There were people on the tour that didn't know what edamame was," she said. "One person thought it was cheese."Raymond Chung, president of American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame, was pleased to make a pitch for his product. His company already exports processed edamame to Asia, he said, and several tour participants told him edamame is popular in Europe.
"Looking forward, I'm optimistic about the opportunity to export our product to places like Europe," he said in a telephone interview.This year's tour marks the second time the service has brought its annual orientation tour to Arkansas. Participants included delegates from the European Union, individual European countries, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.Ward plans to travel with Gov. Asa Hutchinson to Cuba later this month when the governor leads a state delegation there to look for ways to develop trade ties as relations between the two countries improve. A partial trade embargo is still in place, but Ward said Cuba could constitute a $35 million market for Arkansas agricultural products if the embargo is lifted. It's important to build relationships with Cuban officials now so that the state can capitalize if the embargo is ultimately lifted.
Business on 09/03/2015

Prime minister urges support to agriculture sector

Published: September 3, 2015
PM also directed the concerned department to develop particular standards for use of agricultural machinery to improve efficiency. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday has directed concerned ministries to devise a strategy to bring down the cost of inputs, aimed at improving per-acre yield and profitability of the agriculture sector.

The prime minister further asked the Ministry of National Food Security to initiate measures to attract investment in high-tech seed industry and asked if there is any legislation required to do that.He was chairing a high level meeting in the PM Secretariat to deliberate over issues and problems being faced by the agriculture sector in the wake of downward trends in the international markets.He also directed the concerned department to develop particular standards for use of agricultural machinery to improve efficiency. Additionally, provincial governments were directed to initiate a thorough process for implementation of the recommendations made by the agricultural forum.Surplus stocks of agricultural products in international and domestic markets have put pressure on the support price mechanism and profitability of the agricultural production has been affected.

The meeting was informed that agriculture is mainly a small farmer’s business in Pakistan. Therefore, any price shock has damaging effects on millions of small farmers earning their livelihood from the agriculture sector.The meeting agreed that the Pakistani farming community is suffering from a global phenomenon and a strategy is required to come out of this economic conundrum.

The meeting was informed that in view of the situation, the Planning Commission organised a forum on agriculture pricing trends and its possible implications on rural economy in August 2015. The forum presented a set of recommendations for consideration by the government in Wednesday’s meeting.The meeting deliberated in detail on the recommendations of the forum with regard to problems faced by producers of major crops like rice, sugar-cane, cotton, wheat and vegetables. It also analysed and evaluated implications of any government interventions to manage the price fluctuations while keeping the interests of both the producers and consumers in mind.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2015.
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Nigeria: Agric Ministry VS Stallion Group - Who Is Telling the Truth?

By Vincent A. Yusuf
The media, recently, have been agog with the war of words between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Stallion Group over N17 billion rice import duties and levies.The ministry, last week, in a publication pointed out that Stallion Group-one of the nation's rice importers, did not tell the truth on the capacity of its rice mill in order to get more quotas on rice imports.According to the ministry, the claim made by Stallion Group of installed 430,000 metric tonnes capacity rice mill as against the 110,000 metric tonnes, was an attempt to evade tax duties and levies accruing to N17 billion.But Stallion Group, in a media statement, denied the allegation, insisting that the 430,000 MT represented a combined capacity for both Popular Farms and Masco Allied Industries, its subsidiaries.In another allegation, the ministry said that while the Popular Farms was given approval to import 89,939 MT of rice in 2014, Masco Agro Allied Industries did not get any allocation to import the product.
Antique’s rice stocks sufficient, NFA’s palay procurement on
 September 03, 2015
  Pilar S. Mabaquiao
SAN JOSE, Antique  (PIA) - - The National Food Authority declared that Antique has sufficient supply of rice with the latest inventory of 198,491 bags to last for 42 days.NFA Provincial Manager Marianito Bejemino said the total inventory was derived from the combined stocks of commercial rice dealers, households and NFA.Bejemino likewise said that palay procurement is ongoing at NFA warehouses in San Jose and Culasi at the price of P17 per kilo for clean and dry palay.  Incentives are also given to farmers organizations.For palay which do not pass the required moisture content, NFA has seven mechanical dryers with biomass furnace. It charges a minimal amount of P12 per sack (of 50 kilos) depending on the moisture content of palay when it was brought to the NFA warehouse.
Since last week of August, palay procurement increased said NFA Information Officer Elizabeth Salazar.She said some farmers have taken advantage of the change in climate by planting early thus, harvest time started early as well.Salazar encouraged farmers to sell their palay to NFA not just because of the higher price but also to help government procure enough buffer stocks.Walk-in farmers will be paid in cash up to P200,000 immediately after the transaction is completed or they will be given a ceiling of 200 bags of palay per farmer per day for cash payment.For subsequent delivery, farmers should get a passbook at NFA office free of charge. (JCM/PSM/PIA6Antique)

Wet weekend predicted for South; rain deficit grows in North

South India can look to some organised rainfall during this weekend even as the deficit over North-West and Central India has started climbing further.The all-important monsoon trough, the backbone of the weather system, lay in a shambles along the foothills of the Himalayas.
Trough breaks up
It has broken up into two, which speaks of the severity of the situation with rising surface temperature in Northwest India.The parent trough lies nestled along the foothills while the breakaway half is left stranded in the East of the country, its southern end dipping into East-central Bay of Bengal.
Now, the tip of a trough dipping into the warm waters of the Bay is always a potential area of ‘cyclogenesis’ (formation of low-pressure area) and will be watched with interest.The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts initially saw possibility of a ‘low’ developing under the benign influence of a building typhoon racing in from the Pacific.
Poor confidence
But it is less confident of the scenario where it would need to be wary of a ‘minefield’ developing to the east of the Philippines with explosive activity.The European Centre saw a virtual line of fire evolving here with at least two fresh typhoons developing even as the predecessor speeds away back towards the West-central Pacific.This east-northeast direction of the typhoon away from Asia could snuff out hopes of the ‘low’ in the Bay evolving to any significant strength.In the absence of south-easterly winds from such a ‘low,’ the way would get cleared up further for the dry air to fill and penetrate towards Central and adjoining East India.Meanwhile, the India Met Department has refrained from announcing the withdrawal of the monsoon from Northwest India, which is getting increasingly dry by the day.
Southern comfort
A western disturbance with its comparatively cooler air is seen delaying the process, though it will not take much longer for the announcement to come.In the south, a fresh rain-driving trough has materialised along the East Coast from Rayalaseema to Gulf of Mannar (off Sri Lanka) across Tamil Nadu.Moisture-laden winds are blowing into the trough from around Sri Lanka into the trough which is already bringing rainfall into parts of the peninsula.Most parts of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, south interior Karnataka and Kerala are forecast to receive rainfall during the weekend.The US Climate Prediction Centre says above normal rainfall would be the theme here during the period right until the middle of September.
(This article was published on September 2, 2015)

Government to purchase the highest amount of paddy in Yala season

The Government has allocated highest amount of funds for purchasing 120,000 metric tons of Paddy in Yala season and 80,406 metric tons have already been purchased by yesterday,said PM Ranil Wickramasinghe.It is the highest amount of Paddy which has been purchased by any government so far.He exposed this while answering a question arose at the parliament today(03).An amount of Rs.50.00 will be paid per one Kilo of paddy and the extent of the purchasing paddy from each one will be limited for 2000 Kilo grams with the sole purpose of extending this benefit to many more farmers.And further he said National Agricultural Authority with full powers will be established and warehouses facilities also will be developed.The problem is expected to discuss with the leaders of all political parties under the President's direction, he said.
Rice output hits all-time high
Yasir Wardad
 Rice output in the country reached an all-time high of 34.708 million tonnes in the last fiscal year (FY'15), registering some 0.3 million tonnes increase over FY'14, the latest data revealed.   Rice production achieved a 0.9 per cent growth in the year compared to that of FY '14 when overall production was 34.41 million tonnes.Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) provisional data, released on Wednesday, showed that in the line of success of Aman and Aus, Boro production also reached an all-time high of 19.19 million tonnes in FY '15, increasing slightly by 0.63 per cent over that of FY'14 when production was 19.07 million tonnes, the then record.

Joint Director (agriculture wing) at BBS Bidhan Baral told the FE that overall acreage has been estimated at 4.84 million hectares in FY'15 in Boro season which was 1.03 per cent higher over that of FY'14 when 4.79 million hectares came under Boro farming."But per hectare yield declined negligibly this year in Boro season as it was recorded at 3.987 tonnes/ha in FY'15 which was 3.99 tonnes/ha in FY'14", he said.However, BBS data showed that rice production in Aman and Aus seasons were 13.19 million tonnes and 2.328 million tonnes respectively in FY'15, which were also records."A total of 11.415 million hectares of land come under rice farming in FY'15 which was 11.373 million hectares in FY '14 as per the estimation of Bangladesh Space Research & Remote Sensing Organisation (SPARSO)," Bidhan Boral said.
The data of the state-run statistics provider showed that Aman output rose by 1.28 per cent and Aus production also showed a slight rise by 0.08 per cent in FY '15 compared to those of FY '14.The official said BBS jointly with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) conducted rice yield survey adopting the new crop cutting design.DAE Director General Md Hamidur Rahman said favourable weather condition and supply of quality inputs in time were the keys to the growth.
Three kinds of rice -- Boro, Aman and Aus -- grow in different seasons in Bangladesh. The seasons contributed 56 per cent, 38 per cent and 6.0 per cent to the total output, according to BBS.Demand for rice in the country now stands at 31.0 million tonnes, Directorate General of Food data showed.Despite the record output, private sector in the country imported a record 1.45 million tonnes of rice in FY'15, according to the ministry of food.

DA urges farmers to plant crops for El Niño

 Thursday, September 03, 2015
FARMERS are encouraged to plant cash crops such as cassava, camote and corn, which do not need much water in order to mitigate the effects of the strongest and longest El Niño phenomenon.Engr. Leo Retamar, of the Bureau of Soils Management of the Department of Agriculture, urged the public to plant such crops in the last quarter of this year until the second quarter of next year to prepare for El Niño.Retamar, who was in Iloilo City to attend the regional extension workers conference, said that 2015 is the International Year of the Soil.The farmers need not avoid rice planting totally but have to plant cash crops to augment their income due to late production next year, Retamar said, adding that El Nino was forecast to start by October 2015 until end of June 2016.

Western Visayas has 320,000 hectares devoted to rice lands, with 33 percent devoted to rain-fed and upland production, he said.Cloud seeding has been planned to induce rains especially in the coming summer season.While there are still rains and sunshine in Western Visayas to induce planting, Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon are currently suffering from floods spawned by heavy rains and typhoons. This is El Nino, the extreme for dry and dry seasons, Retamar said.Meanwhile, the agriculture department is allocating P187 million as El Nino mitigation fund for Western Visayas and P94.5 million was already released while the balance needs approval from the Department of Budget and Management.The region has sufficient rice stock, although production might be delayed. Rice farmers must not stick to one crop when there is no rain coming, the DA official said. (LCP/Sunnex)
Fortified Rice is Integral Part of Solution to Global Hunger           
  Conference attendees  
MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- More than 40 participants from the rice industry, academia, U.S. government agencies, and private companies gathered at Kansas State University (KSU) last week to develop a unified working agenda and promote production capacity of fortified rice in the United States. USA Rice has been collaborating closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the World Food Program, to ensure the increased use of fortified rice in the U.S. government's global feeding programs.  This event was the latest to emphasize the importance of a new fortified rice formulation in addressing global hidden hunger.
 With fortified rice being more readily recognized as an important tool in the fight against global malnutrition, the primary area of focus is resolving outstanding logistics issues in the complicated production chain in the U.S.  This requires ongoing close coordination and communication between the purchasing agencies, fortification entities, and the rice millers.

Jamie Warshaw, a Louisiana rice miller and chairman of the USA Rice Food Aid Subcommittee, attended the conference and said, "While the opportunities are enormous for the U.S. rice industry, obstacles to increased use of fortified rice remain, including, for instance, customer acceptance.  The KSU event was an important first step in bringing the major stakeholders together and coordinating a plan forward." 
 USA Rice is planning an informational session in Washington, DC next month to clarify some of the remaining questions about fortified rice and facilitate its use.  While the USA Rice session will include many important stakeholders, the target audience will be the end users - the humanitarian organizations who will work with U.S. government agencies to program increasingly greater amounts of fortified rice in new and ongoing feeding initiatives. 
 Contact:  Sarah Moran (703) 236-1457

CAMBODIA PRESS-Rice millers request exemption from VAT - Phnom Penh Post


As Cambodia continues to struggle with its cost competitiveness in the rice sector, rice millers and exporters met the General Department of Taxation on Wednesday asking for an exemption from paying the 10 percent value added tax (VAT), the Phnom Penh Post reported.The exemption will help ease prices in the sector, the newspaper reported, citing Kim Savuth, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation. (
NOTE: Reuters has not verified this story and does not vouch for its accuracy. (Phnom Penh Newsroom; Editing by Anand Basu)
Food security a top priority for ASEAN ministers and senior officials
"It is high time for ASEAN member countries, which are in the largest rice-growing regions of the world to support the scientific research necessary for the sustainability of their rice sectors," said Bruce Tolentino, deputy director general for communication and partnerships of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), on ensuring food security and strengthening cooperation in agriculture across the region.Sixteen ministers are scheduled to visit IRRI on 12 September as part of the 37th meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF), in addition to the 15th AMAF Plus Three Meetings with China, Japan, and South Korea hosted by the Philippines this year.
"The crucial role that IRRI fulfills is providing the scientific foundation, technical support, and capacity-building to each of the ASEAN member-countries in pursuing their own national rice and food security programs," Tolentino said.Each ASEAN member-nation has its own strategy and approach for meeting targets in this area.Some Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam or Thailand, export rice, while the Philippines or Indonesia, among others, are rice importers.
Myanmar is on its way to regaining its agricultural competitiveness. In the 1950s Myanmar led the ASEAN countries in rice exports.Brunei and Singapore, on the other hand, do import rice, and only the best quality rice. Moreover, Singapore is making investments to become the ASEAN center for biotechnology."So, each of these countries has differing approaches to achieving their food security goals. But all of these countries are bound together because there is a common ASEAN-wide framework for food security," Tolentino explained.That framework, according to him, which also includes a strategic action plan on food security, does not simply focus on strengthening the national capacity of each of the ASEAN member countries to produce any agricultural commodity, but also facilitation of trade.
The strategic action plan was conceptualized as part of the ASEAN member states’ need for a long-term agricultural development plan that focuses on sustainable food production and trade, especially in the context of problems brought about by the food price crisis in 2007–2008.The ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework, along with the Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security in the ASEAN Region, enables sharing of any agricultural commodity. A close inspection of various countries reveals variation in natural resources for rice production. This is also the case for other crops and agricultural commodities.
"In effect, there will be a country agenda and there will be a regional agenda, tied together by trade. ASEAN countries could look at exporting high-quality rice to, say, Europe, for example. And Africa is a major growth area because of its rising demand for rice. All these topics, including IRRI’s support to the Philippine Department of Agriculture’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program will be part of the discussions during the ASEAN event next week," he noted.
Weaker yuan presses Vietnam’s rice price down
VietNamNet Bridge - As predicted, importers have tried to lower Vietnam’s rice price after the Chinese government’s devaluation of the yuan. 

VnExpress quoted the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) as reporting that the rice price and sales may fall significantly because of the yuan depreciation.Chinese enterprises, which have to pay 4 percent more for rice import contracts with the payments in US dollars, are trying to force the price down to offset the loss they incur due to yuan depreciation.This coincides with Reuters’ prediction made in mid-August that Vietnam’s rice export price would decrease on the yuan and dong devaluation and the abundant supply.VFA then announced the lower floor export price of $330 per ton, a 2.9 percent decrease, for 25 percent broken rice. The decision was released in the context of the sharp fall of 8.8 percent decrease in exports in the first seven months of the year.Le Thanh Danh from Vinafood 1 confirmed that Chinese have asked to renegotiate the prices, reasoning the yuan devaluation, which has made Vietnamese exporters suffer. 

Danh said on Nong Nghiep that Vietnam now bears pressure as India and Pakistan are offering rice at relatively low prices.Therefore, Vietnam’s exports to China have seen the price decrease significantly to $340 per ton of 5 percent broken rice and $330 per ton of 15 percent broken rice. The price levels represent a $7-8 per ton decrease compared with some months ago. The price of rice exported through unofficial channels – across the border gates – has also fallen. Every kilo of rice sold across the northern border has seen the price fall by VND300.Some businesses in the Mekong River Delta estimated that over 1 million tons of rice have been exported to China this year across the border.
Nguyen Van Don, director of Viet Hung Rice Export Company, warned that Chinese importers may cut the volume of rice to buy from Vietnam and buy from Thailand and Myanmar instead.As the export price decreases, the rice price in the domestic market has also gone down. VFA said the price of 5 percent broken rice in Mekong River Delta has decreased by VND100 per kilo over the week before.Analysts warned that not only rice but other farm produce will also suffer from the weaker yuan, because China is a big consumer of Vietnamese produce. China alone consumed 38.1 percent of Vietnam’s 3.72 million tons of rice exports so far. It consumes 25 percent of Vietnam’s rubber and 13 percent of Vietnam’s cashew nut output. The country consumed 90 percent of 2.89 million tons of cassava sold in the last seven months of the year.

Kim Chi

The Prime Minister says in parliament that the government considers it as its responsibility to safeguard both the paddy farmer and the consumer

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe delivering a special statement in parliament today said that the government considers it as its responsibility to safeguard and provide maximum benefits to the paddy farmers as well as the consumers.  The highest ever paddy harvest in the Yala Maha season in Sri Lanka's history has been recorded this year.  The government has set aside funds to purchase 120 thousand metric tons of paddy of the Yala season.  More than 90 thousand 400 metric tons have been purchased by yesterday.  A kilo of Kirisamba and Samba is being purchased for 50 rupees and a kilo of Nadu for 45 rupees.
 The Prime Minister added that in order to hand over the benefits to a larger number of farmers, the paddy purchasing from a single farmer has been restricted to 2000 kilos.  Farmers are receiving a stable price for their produce  at 180 purchasing centers. A congestion has occurred due to the rush to sell paddy stocks.  The Prime Minister further said that in order to resolve the problem, the government was compelled to utilize the services of civil defence task force and to hold mobile services. 
 In a massive operation of this nature, shortcomings  may be a common occurrence of shortcomings.  The Prime Minister also said that any criticism should be leveled to rectify the mistake and not to gain political advantages. He added that a more methodical procedure should be implemented to purchase the paddy harvest in the coming Maha season.
 A national agricultural authority with full powers will be established to purchase agricultural produce.  More storage facilities are to be provided especially to stock paddy.  The Prime Minister also said that the purchase paddy stocks will be dispatched to  small and medium scale paddy mills through tender procedures.  The aim is to stabilize  the rice market.  Long term solutions will be found through discussion with political party leaders under the initiative of the President.  The paddy marketing board activities will be carried out without causing any injustice to the farmer and the consumer.
There should be no irrational resistance to GM crops: Principal Scientific Advisor
Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, Dr R. Chidambaram, while speaking at an event organised by industry body, Assocham in New Delhi said that there should be no irrational resistance to GM crops, after the completion of careful research, field trials and approval of Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).Whilestressing on the need for climate resilient agriculture he said that mitigation and adaptation strategies must include soil health restoration and development of new crop varieties including genetically modified (GM) crops.
In Focus
Hestressed on the need for more widespread techniques to improve irrigation facilities in India. While saying highlighting that farmers in India consume about 80 per cent of state water supply, he said there was a need to make a saving there. On the need for developing high-yielding basmati rice varieties, R. Chidambaram said that he would love to have a Grid for basmati rice research.While inaugurating the '4th Bio-Nano Agri Summit' the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government, according to a press release by the Assocham,also pitched for using 'agricultural drone with appropriate sensors' while citing an example of NETRA, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that was used to track damage and marooned people.
He said that nanoscience based viable advanced technologies (that are both economic and scientific) must be developed to counter negative effects of declining landholdings, increasing number of marginal farmers and land degradation."Agriculture contributes less than 20 per cent of India's GDP, accounts for over 10 per cent of India's exports and employs over half of our workforce, the latter number is three per cent for the USA," said R. Chidambaram.

Govt advisor cautions against irrational resistance to GM crops

A senior Government advisor on Tuesday pitched for “no irrational resistance” to genetically-modified (GM) crops and believed that nanotechnology could help Indian agriculture overcome problems of declining landholdings, increasing numbers of marginal cultivators and land degradation.“There should be no irrational resistance to GM crops once careful research has been done, field trials have been completed, and Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) approval has been obtained,” said R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Indian Government, said at the ‘4th Bio-Nano Agri Summit’ hosted by Assocham here on Thursday.Chidambaram was talking about the need for climate resilient agriculture and mitigation and adaptation strategies had to include development of new crop varieties, including GM crops, alongside soil health restoration.
 “Agriculture contributes less than 20 per cent of India’s GDP (gross domestic product), accounts for over 10 per cent of India’s exports and employs over half of our workforce, the latter number is three per cent for the USA,” he said.He highlighted the need for more techniques to improve domestic irrigation facilities to save water with farmers consuming “about 80 per cent of State water supply” and also suggested the need for a grid for basmati rice research and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles such as indigenously-built NETRA in agriculture.Chidambaram also pushed for technologies to prevent food wastage and pest attacks on crops. “While ensuring food and nutritional security, we have to provide mechanism for ensuring increased farmers incomes,” he said.
(This article was published on September 3, 2015)
Business Line

In Bengal, a rice economy rots away on food habits, subsidy


Mill closures swell bank NPAs

Namrata Acharya  |  Kolkata September 1, 2015 Last Updated at 22:35 IST
Each public sector bank can pick a niche area: R GandhiPublic sector banks: The market may be jumping the gunLetters: Better bankingPotato prices firm on fresh loading in cold storages.The closure of 500 of 1,200 rice mills in West Bengal over two years is weighing heavy on the non-performing loans of banks. Changing food habits, rising food subsidy and falling exports have brought the rice economy in Bengal, the highest rice producing state in the country, to the verge of a crisis. With the size of loans of rice mills between Rs 4 crore and Rs 15 crore, and around 200-250 accounts turning into NPAs in the past few months, the amount of NPA addition could be between Rs 800 crore and Rs 3,000 crore, according to DN Mondol, president of the Bengal Rice Mills Association.
“The market for rice in West Bengal is shrinking, and there is no upgradation in technology. The parboiled rice produced in Bengal was in high demand in eastern India, Bangladesh and Africa. However, Bangladesh has attained self-sufficiency in rice, leading to a shrinkage of exports. Due to lifestyle changes, the consumption of rice is also going down. The mills have also complained about delays in payment for levy rice,” said the manager of apublic sector bank in Burdwan district.
West Bengal produces 15 million tonnes of rice every year, mostly rice that has been partially boiled in the husk. Of this, the state government procures 2.2 million tonnes through the levy mechanism. Ever since the Trinamool Congress government came to power, the procurement has more than doubled from around one million tonnes. Much of this owes to the state government’s scheme for providing 35 kg of rice per month at Rs 2 a kg in the Naxal-affected blocks of the state.Under the levy mechanism, mills last year procured paddy at around Rs 1,310 a quintal, while the government bought rice from the mills at Rs 2,060 a quintal. The effective cost for mills for buying a quintal of rice works out to Rs 2,046 because a quintal of paddy yields 64 kg of rice.

However, the profit of Rs 14 per quintal turns into a loss of over Rs 50, when the cost of milling and transport is added. According to mill owners, against the Rs 80 per quintal cost of milling, the government provides only Rs 25 per quintal.The market price of paddy, on the other hand, is lower than the government procurement price. At present the market price of rice is Rs 1,700-1,800 per quintal. Moreover, earlier, around three million tonnes of rice from West Bengal was exported annually to Bangladesh. This has come down to nearly 700,000 tonnes.
The demand for parboiled rice has also declined substantially as rising income has led the demand shift to better quality rice. In the rural market, the key market for parboiled rice, demand for non-PDS rice has shrunk because of government subsidy schemes.Data from the NSSO survey on household consumption suggests between 2004-05 and 2011-12, the monthly per capita consumption of rice in urban areas declined from 6.77 kg to 6.24 kg. The monthly per capita consumption of PDS rice in rural areas increased from 0.61 kg in 2004-05 to 0.95 kg in 2011-12. But the monthly per capita demand for rice from non-PDS sources in rural areas decreased from 9.08 kg to 8.97 kg.
The trend is not restricted to West Bengal, as per capita monthly rice consumption in rural India declined to 5.98 kg in 2011-12 from 6.38 kg in 2004-05. In urban India, the fall in rice consumption was 0.2 kg per person per month. Per capita consumption of PDS rice has, however, doubled in rural India and risen by 66 per cent in urban India since 2004-05, implying the share of PDS purchases in rice consumption has risen substantially, according to the NSSO

Himalayan Dine Inn's herbs and lentils could start a knife fight

This food should be a spread for a crowd to share, fight over

"My name is Bhim. The name means ‘bravery.’”Bhim’s as tall standing as I am sitting, but he’s stocky, fit-looking, and confident. He’s wearing a Nepalese-style cap, with a little replica of two crossed knives on the front. Oh, right.
The meal: pakoras, dhal soup, samosas, papadum, and paneer pakauda, all for about $15

Ghurkas are the famed fighting men of Nepal who have fought with the British Army for the last couple of hundred years.“Ghurkas? Fierce,” my cousin Bob told me once. He had worked alongside them once when he was in the army, doing field exercises with the Brits. “I was so glad we were on the same side.”The one thing they always carried was their khukuri, their fighting knife, a scary-looking bent blade halfway between a knife and a scythe.Bhim points to one hanging on the wall. “We do everything with it, from harvesting to fighting enemies,” he says.This is happening inside a new place that used to be a Pakistani eatery named “Maizbaan.” It’s called “Himalayan Dine Inn” now, and looks kinda similar. Big old cavern on Broadway.
The “Coming Soon” signs had been up for the longest time, so today, when the sign says “Grand Opening,” I’m in like Flynn. Inside’s been given a lick of paint and fresh red tablecloths, blue carpet, lime-green skirting, cheddar-cheese-gold walls, hanging dish ceiling lights, and red, white, and gold gathered curtains. And your nostrils detect curry in the air. In some ways you feel you’re in some great old Indian hotel.He hands me a menu. I know it’s going to be mostly like Indian food, with lots of curries, clay-oven-baked breads, and chutneys.
Oh, dang. Too late for their lunch special, basically a chicken or vegetable curry with rice, which goes for $6.95.Natch, the menu starts off with chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken breast cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with “Himalayan herbs.”Aha. Himalayan herbs? I remember hearing about these. It’s what distinguishes Nepalese cooking from Indian cooking. Seems an herb called jimbu is one of the scarce plants that can handle the great heights and the cold of the most fantastic mountains on Earth. It grows all over them, basically holds them together when the snows melt. Tastes like onion and chives, helps sharpen up any dish. Good for you, too, for, like, flu and stomach pains. Also the timur berry. Puts some pepper heat in your mouth.

Five-lentil soup
Whatever. Chicken tikka masala is by far the most popular Indian-style dish for Westerners, Bhim says.Then there’s the new kid on the block: momo. Basically, Tibetan street food that came over to Nepal with the Tibetan exodus after the Chinese took over. Momos are more Chinese than Indian. Steamed dumplings. Here, a plate of ten chicken momos, stuffed with ground chicken, cabbage, cilantro, and onions and served with chutney, goes for $8.95. They have a vegetarian version for $7.95.And, yeah, if you’re vegetarian, Indian/Pakistani/Nepalese food is maybe the most interesting food you can get. Because these guys have been into it forever. One of the easiest ones to order is the vegetable biryani, which is basically a mess of flash-cooked veggies mixed into basmati rice, plus raisins and nuts and those Himalayan spices ($8.99).

Onion and cabbage pakauda
Bhim says all the chicken dishes come with basmati rice or naan, a flatbread that Gypsies, the Roma, brought from India to the Mediterranean back in the day. So, naan > flatbread > pita > pizza! Does anyone thank the Gypsies for bringing us pizza? All eight chicken curries go for $10.99, including the delicious-sounding coconut chicken curry and chicken vindaloo, the one with potatoes and the onion-sauce gravy.A whole lot of the same dishes, but with lamb as the meat, go for a couple of bucks more (like, $12.99) and seafood equivalents are $13.95. Good news is most vegetarian dishes, like aloo bhanta (delicious-sounding curry of eggplant and potatoes), go for a couple of dollars less than their meat brothers.

Paneer pakauda
Sigh. I love all this stuff. But soon enough, your eyes start to glaze over. Decisions, decisions. Usually, when in doubt, go for samosas. I ask Bhim for a couple ($4.95). Heck, I also go for a couple of pakoras — fritters of different kinds. I get a paneer pakauda (same as pakora) made of cheese, cabbage, potatoes ($4.95), and a vegpakaud, basically a deep-fried mess of chopped-up onions ($4.95).
First, though, Bhim brings up a bowl of Five Lentil (dahl) Soup with masala (“They areghana dahl, urad dahl, mung dahl, massor dahl, urad dahl,” says Bhim. They taste good. Basically, you think lentils. And you kind of need the liquid because the dishes, when they arrive, are all deep-fried and sauced up with chutneys.

Samosas and papadum
So, those dishes? The paneer pakauda is the least interesting, a fairly tasteless bunch of yellow cakes that depend on the sauces to give them meaning. But the veg pakaud onions are a lot of fun, especially with the mint sauce they have with them.But, once again, the samosas win. They’re just tasty and filling enough to make you want more. But even though I’m already full, I sort of wish I’d gone for one of the curries, because they are a whole world of taste in themselves. But, hey, Nepalese Cooking 101. We’ve started the adventure. Next time, the $6.95 lunch special. Then bring 20 of my best friends. Because this food should be a spread for a crowd to share, fight over.
Hopefully not with khukuris.

Prices: Two samosas (stuffed with potato, veggies), $4.95; paneer pakauda (deep-fried cheese, cabbage, potatoes), $4.95; veg pakaud (deep-fried onions, sauce), $4.95; 10 chicken momos (dumplings stuffed with ground chicken, cabbage, onions, with chutney) $8.95; veggie momos, $7.95; vegetable biryani (with basmati rice, raisins, nuts), $8.99; Himalaytan tarkari mixed (tandoori baked chicken breast, lamb cubes, shrimp, veggies in Himalayan sauce) $12.99; lamb vindaloo, $12.99; aloo bhanta (curry of eggplant and potatoes), $9.95
Hours: 10:00 a.m –10:15 p.m. daily (till 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday)
Buses: All downtown
Nearest bus stop: Broadway and Ninth
Trolleys: Orange and Blue Lines
Nearest trolley stop: City College
San Diego Reader

Restaurant Spy visits the Radcliffe Arms, Hitchin

By Hertfordshire Mercury  |  Posted: September 02, 2015
Lobster bisque

I expected trouble. And I was right.
The delightful Radcliffe Arms, in Hitchin, does not have a solitary burger of any description on its dinner menu.Not that I would have expected one. This is a wonderful gastropub, with a small, but perfectly formed, menu which had me salivating from the first glance.But, my dining companion, as we have learned, is a burger freak. Never one to step outside her comfort zone, she hones in on a menu looking for anything that comes sandwiched between two pieces of bread.But the Radcliffe Arms had nothing even vaguely resembling a burger. She even called for the bar menu to see if one was hidden away from the fine diners. But nothing.
Fearing I was going to have a toddler-type tantrum on my hands, I went through the menu with her, trying to highlight the things she might be tempted to try.There was lamb and duck and steak . . . I even pointed out that a steak was like having a burger but without the bread. But she was having none of it.I decided to adopt the policy that works for parents dealing with the terrible twos and simply ignore her.I had already made my choice – although I admit it wasn't easy. This is a gastropub that caters for all my needs and food loves.
I would happily have had any combination of dishes, but in the end I went for a lobster bisque for starters.Apparently, the Radcliffe had had a lobster event the previous night and had used the extra lobsters to add to the specials board.My only previous experience with lobster had involved racing them across a deck in a Long Island yard before plunging them, screaming, into hot water. It had been an emotional time.But as I hadn't had the opportunity of bonding with my lobster this time, I was able to sit back and enjoy it.Meanwhile, my dinner guest had made a decision. Duck – with chips!The confit of duck leg and a spring roll of braised duck was supposed to be accompanied by sweet potato mash, but chips go with everything, right?
And after all her moaning and foot-stamping, not only did she enjoy it, but she kept talking about it for days afterwards, to anyone who would listen.I'd decided on the fillet of sea bass steamed en papillote. It was the first time I had eaten anything cooked in paper and I wasn't sure what the correct dining etiquette was. Are you supposed to remove the paper? I decided to just unwrap the fish and tip in my braised basmati rice, peas, shrimps and baby carrots – which I guess was a posh version of eating fish from a newspaper.The Radcliffe is very popular and it isn't difficult to see why.
 Relaxing before dessert, I realised that it felt like I was sitting in someone's living room. The decor – the flamingo wallpaper is amazing – is very similar to what you'd see in someone's house and the dining room felt very laid-back.There's also a conservatory area and I'm guessing that is even more relaxed.When it came to dessert, I'd left the best until last – and that was saying something as every mouthful I'd had had been divine.Strawberry and balsamic crème brulee with a black pepper tuile ticked all the boxes, especially when it came to that satisfying crunch of caramel on the top.There was no stopping my dining companion now as she enjoyed a peach and apricot cheesecake.I think it's fair to say the Radcliffe had been forgiven!
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for September 3
Net Change

September 2015
+ $0.105
November 2015
+ $0.105
January 2016
+ $0.105
March 2016
+ $0.095
May 2016
+ $0.085
July 2016
+ $0.080
September 2016
+ $0.100

Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported  

WASHINGTON, DC -- Net rice sales of 66,000 MT for 2015/2016, up 97 percent from the previous week, were reported for Venezuela (29,500 MT), Mexico (19,600 MT), unknown destinations (7,200 MT), and Panama (3,000 MT), according to today's Export Sales Highlights report. Decreases were reported for Guatemala (1,300 MT), Costa Rica (200 MT), and Russia (100 MT). Exports of 156,400 MT, up 74 percent from the previous week, reported to Venezuela (59,500 MT), Iraq (31,500 MT), Mexico (24,800 MT), Japan (12,000 MT), and Costa Rica (6,800 MT). This summary is based on reports from exporters from the period August 21-27, 2015.

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