Saturday, September 12, 2015

11th September,2015 Daily global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

FCA may review Kharif crop output position by month-end

September 10, 2015
The next meeting of the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) is likely to be held by the end of this month to review Kharif crop production position and fix Rabi crop targets. An official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research MNS&RS told this correspondent that the FCA will review Kharif crop 2015-16 production position of sugarcane, rice, maize, moong, mash and chillies as well as supply of inputs for Rabi crops 2016-17 including seeds, fertilizer, irrigation water, agriculture credit and plant protects. 

Recent rains and floods have adversely affected Kharif crops, including cotton sown on 7.31 million acres, sugarcane sown on three million acres and paddy sown on 7.2 million acres due to which country is unlikely to achieve target of major Kharif crops. He said that in Punjab sugarcane was sown on area of 1.73 million acres, Sindh 0.8 million acres, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 0.325 million acres and Balochistan 0.2 million acres. In Punjab paddy was sown on an area of 3.6 million acres, Sindh 1.98 million acres, KP 0.175 acres and in Balochistan paddy was sown on 0.450 million acres. 

The official further revealed that maize was sown on 2.4 million acres across the country of which 1.25 million acres was sown in Punjab, 10,000 acres in Sindh, 1.25 million acres in KP and 10,000 acres in Balochistan. The official said that the FCA will discuss production plan for Rabi crops 2016-17 of wheat, gram, lentil, potatoes, onions, rapeseed, mustard and non-conventional oilseeds. The official said that the FCA would also set the targets for Rabi crops 2016-2017, including wheat, gram, lentil, potatoes and onion. 

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan will preside over the meeting. Provincial ministers for agriculture and secretaries, federal secretaries, representatives from federal and provincial agriculture departments, Indus River System Authority (IRSA), Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will also attend the meeting


World Rice Production



September 2015

This month the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the World Rice Production 2015/2016 will be 475.76 million metric tons, around 2.9 million tons less than the previous month's projection.Rice Production last year (*) was 478.56 million tons. This year's 475.76 estimated million tons could represent a decrease of 2.81 million tons or a 0.59% in rice production around the globe.

Rice Production by Country

(Values in Metric Tons)
China: 145,500,000
India: 104,000,000
Others: 39,942,000
Indonesia: 36,300,000
Bangladesh: 35,000,000
Vietnam: 28,200,000
Thailand: 18,000,000
Burma: 12,200,000
Philippines: 12,000,000
Brazil: 8,000,000
Japan: 7,900,000
Pakistan: 6,900,000
United States: 6,017,000
Cambodia: 4,700,000
Korea, South: 4,000,000
Egypt: 4,000,000
Nepal: 3,100,000

Next Update will be October 09, 2015.


Secret unlocked to underwater rice seed survival

 Paula Bianca Ferrer   |  Sep 11, 2015

A team of scientists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and theUniversity of California Riverside recently published a study in Nature Plantsunlocking the secret to how rice seeds can survive under water.

The cover of Nature Plants’ September issue, featuring Tobias Kretzschmar and co.’s study on rice seed survival underwater.
The study, which appears in the leading scientific journal Nature Plants, identified a gene that controls the availability of sugar to a growing seed, especially when under flooded conditions.“Basically, the gene that we identified as AG1 (or OsTPP7) works opposite the one found inscuba rice, in which the SUB1 gene signals the plant to conserve energy while underwater, allowing it to stay dormant until the floodwater recedes,” said Dr. Tobias Kretzschmar, one of the paper’s authors and head of IRRI’s Genotyping Services Laboratory.

A surprising find

“The gene that we found creates an ‘all or nothing’ escape mechanism that tricks the seed into thinking that more sugar should be given to its shoot—the plant part that grows into stems and leaves—so that the seed under water is able to grow more quickly and reach the surface of the water,” he said.He explained that the mechanism works when the seed is submerged up to a water depth of 10 cm, and can get ‘activated’ as soon as the seed is sown.“This is the first time anyone has established that the AG1 gene is responsible for this specific type of mechanism because it comes from a family of genes—and rice has 13 members of this family of genes,” Kretzschmar said.“This mechanism is well known on the other end of plant development during grain filling, but this is the first time it’s been shown to be important during germination,” he stressed.

Surviving under water

Field experiments in the wet season of 2013 showed promising results–IR64 rice containing the AG1 gene (third from right row inside flooded plot) can grow even when submerged during germination.Rice survival under flooding is important when it comes to direct seeding, in which seeds do not have to be pre-germinated and then transplanted. With direct seeding, seeds can be directly sown or broadcast into the field, requiring less time and energy from farmers.Moreover, one of the major limiting factors to direct seeding is weeds, because these can germinate well in air—although not under water without air. So, if rice can germinate well under water while none of the weeds can, then rice will be able to outcompete the weeds.

Mystery of the missing gene

“One thing that I’ve noticed is that Indica varieties, which are the ones mostly grown in the tropical parts of Asia, lack the trait or ability to grow under flooded conditions,” said Kretzschmar.“But in Japonica, varieties grown in the more temperate regions of Asia, Australia, and the United States, the trait is present,” he added. “That’s why these varieties have fewer problems with direct seeding.”He explained that the missing trait is a problem, especially with modern Indica varieties, as traditional ones have it.
Looking for an answer

Thanks to the AG1—or OsTPP7—gene (shown in blue), rice seeds will be able to grow and survive when submerged in water up to 10 cm. (Photo: Tobias Kretzschmar)

“We looked at a third to a half of IRRI released varieties, but the gene was missing. At first, we thought that maybe it was actively bred out, meaning that it could have had some negative effect, so the IRRI breeders selected against it,” Kretzschmar noted.“But, since we couldn’t find any yield penalty or negative effect on yield, we actually thought the gene got lost—and we know where it got lost.”The gene, he said, got lost during the time IR8, the famous miracle rice variety, was bred, because one of its parents had the gene, whereas the other didn’t.

Fitting pieces together

“I guess it was just never needed as a trait because the varieties were transplanted almost every time so there was no pressure for it. If they were direct seeded, then that gene would have probably been retained from the very beginning,” explained Kretzschmar.“Now that direct seeding is becoming popular, we’ve realized that we need that gene in the breeding program. Through the marker-assisted backcrossing approach, which significantly reduces the breeding period, you can reintroduce the gene and then fix it within one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years,” he added.

The way forward

With the unfolding of the ‘AG1 secret’, the work of rice scientists is far from done. AG1 works well in moderate stress conditions. In severe stress conditions, however, AG1 alone is not sufficient; additional quantitative trait loci (QTLs) or genes that complement the AG1 mechanism will be needed. IRRI and its partner universities are moving in that direction.

Paula Bianca Ferrer is a communication specialist at IRRI.

CCMB scientists to collaborate to develop multi-resistant varieties of rice


Ch Sushil Rao  
HYDERABAD: A project to develop multi-resistant varieties of rice is being undertaken by scientists here. The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Directorate of Rice Research (DRF) and Agri Biotech Foundation singed an MoU to collaborate on the project titled "Molecular cross talks between defense pathways in rice: antagonism to synergism". This project is funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to the extent of about Rs. 1.4 crores. 
It may be mentioned here that CCMB with DRR had developed a bacterial blight resistant Samba Mahsuri rice variety.
Accoridng to CCMB director Dr. Ch. Mohan Rao, during extensive interactions with farmers, their needs were understood. "One such need is protection from other infections as well for the variety of rice developed. It is also possible that over the time, resistance of the improved Samba Mahsuri rice may be overcome by the bacteria. It is necessary to continue to investigate plant pathogens and host defense systems," he said. The idea now is to incorporate resistance to different infecting agents simultaneously. "However, if we incorporate multiple genes, they may work in synergy or they may antagonize each other.
 Thus, it is necessary to understand the molecular cross talks between defense pathways to develop multi-resistant varieties," he said. Dr. Ramesh Sonti, Chief Scientist, CCMB, Dr. J.S. Bentur, Subject Matter Specialist, Dr. G. Mallikarjuna, Assistant professor, ABF, Dr. M. Srinivas Prasad, Dr. R. M. Sundaram, Dr. A.P.Padma Kumari, and Dr. G.S. Laha, senior scientists from DRR, Hyderabad are the collaborators from respective institutes. 
The expected outcome of this project would be: Identification of set of genes induced when rice plant is infested with either BB or blast pathogens or gall midge, either solely, sequentially or simultaneously, possible synergism of certain combination of genes in conferring non-target pest resistance, possible antagonism of certain combination of genes and to avoid use of such combinations and cross resistance against non-target pests/pathogens conferred by gene pyramids. 
Dr M R VishnuPriya, Head, PME and plant molecular biologist, CCMB said that understanding such gene interactions are indeed essential to develop effective multiple pest resistance in rice. CCMB director Mohan Rao said that such collaborative efforts would greatly help developing more multiple pest resistant rice varieties enhancing farmers' revenue. Such initiatives contribute towards country's economy by the development of disease-resistant rice varieties, he said.

4 reasons you must drink rice water or kanji every day

Poorva Chavan  Sep 11, 2015 at 11:49 am
You probably have had kanji or rice water as a child or when you were really sick. You might not have enjoyed the taste, but this humble concoction has various health benefits.
1.       Is a good source of energy: Kanji or rice water is rich in carbohydrates, and hence, an excellent source of energy. The body can easily derive energy by breaking down carbohydrates. Drink a glass of rice water in the morning before heading out and you will never feel dizzy or weak due to lack of energy.
2.      Prevents constipation: It is rich in fibre and facilitates smooth bowel movements. Also, the starch stimulates the growth of useful bacteria in the stomach promoting healthy bowel movement.
3.      Prevents dehydration: On a hot sunny day, rice water becomes your go-to-drink. In summer, the body tends to lose water and salts through sweat and, rice water helps replenish the lost nutrients and the water, reducing your chances of dehydration.
4.       Home remedy for viral infections: Rice water is widely used as a remedy for fever as it prevents water loss due to fever and vomiting during an infection. It helps replenish the lost nutrients and speeds the recovery process [1].
5.      Can manage diarrhoea: Rice water proves to be an excellent home remedy to treat diarrhoea [2], not only in adults but also infants. Infants are more prone to diseases like diarrhoea and if not treated at the right time, can lead to severe dehydration. A study found that rice water was more effective in controlling diarrhoea by reducing the volume and frequency of stool output in babies [3].
How to prepare Kanji

Cook a cup full of rice in three to four cups of water. Once the rice granules are half-cooked, strain the liquid. To this liquid, add some salt or sugar to taste. Drink while warm.

For more articles on diseases & conditions, visit our diseases & conditionssection. For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. For health related Q&A, click here!
1.      Lum L, Ng C, Khoo E. Managing dengue fever in primary care: A practical approach. Malaysian Family Physician : the Official Journal of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia. 2014;9(2):2-10.
2.      National Research Council (US) Working Group on the Effects of Child Survival and General Health Programs on Mortality; Ewbank DC, Gribble JN, editors. Effects Of Health Programs on Child Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1993. 4, Other Interventions Targeted at Single Diseases. Available from:
3.      Comparison of rice water, rice electrolyte solution, and glucose electrolyte solution in the management of infantile diarrhoea. Mehta, MeenakshiN. et al. The Lancet , Volume 327 , Issue 8485 , 843 – 845

Home Remedies For Diarrhea

Diarrhea is very common now a days due to polluted air and contaminated water, so its a sign that your body is trying to rid itself. Avoid excessive use of  counter medicines and instead try these natural solutions for relief.
Here’s  most effective home remedies for Diarrhea. Have a look!

Bind yourself with rice

Bananas, plain Rice, Applesauce, dry Toast, and tea: These foods are generally safe to eat when fighting off a bout of diarrhea, and will keep you feeling nourished

Joining hands, Cameroon’s customs and marine prevent 1,000 bags of rice from being fraudulently exported

Friday, 11 September 2015 03:39
(Business in Cameroon) - On September 8, 2015, Cameroon’s customs in collaboration with the marine arrested in the country’s Southwest, five ships with onboard 1,000 bags of rice which were being exported to the neighboring countries. Following the arrest, it was found that the ships’ occupants had no export permit for the rice.This catch is the first resulting from the recent partnership between Cameroon’s customs and marine, to protect the country’s commercial space. This collaboration also aims at decreasing, considerably, fraud and contraband whose main starting point is Cameroon’s coastline.

It should be recalled that since 2008, rice imports in Cameroon are tax-free. A breach used by some unscrupulous importers who fraudulently re-export shipments, officially destined for the Cameroonian market, to Nigeria (with the complicity of Nigerian importers) where prices are higher, as a consequence of the federal government’s decision to raise the tax on imported rice to 110% in order to encourage local production.In 2014, the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) reported that, “around 600,000 tons of rice have been rerouted from neighboring ports such as Benin, Cameroon, Ghana and Togo, because of this tax.” The shipments were later re-imported to Nigeria through contraband, revealed the same report.


Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open-Sep 11

Fri Sep 11, 2015 2:03pm IST

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices - APMC & Open Market-September 11
Nagpur, Sept 11 Gram prices reported strong in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and
Marketing Committee (APMC) here on increased buying support from local millers amid weak supply
from producing regions. Fresh rise on NCDEX, upward trend in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and
reported demand from South-based millers also helped to jack up prices, according to sources. 
               *            *              *              *
   * Desi gram raw recovered in open market on good Holi festival demand from local 
     traders amid thin arrival from producing belts.
   * Tuar varieties ruled steady here in open market on subdued demand from local traders 
     amid ample stock in ready segment. 
   * Wheat Lokwan varieties firmed up in open market on increased seasonal demand from 
     local traders amid tight supply from producing regions.
   * In Akola, Tuar - 9,7900-10,300, Tuar dal - 14,100-14,500, Udid at 9,600-10,000, 
     Udid Mogar (clean) - 12,100-12,600, Moong - 7,600-7,800, Moong Mogar 
    (clean) 9,200-9,800, Gram - 4,900-5,050, Gram Super best bold - 6,400-6,600 
     for 100 kg.
   * Other varieties of wheat, rice and other commodities remained steady in open market 
     in thin trading activity, according to sources.
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close   
     Gram Auction                   3,850-4,900         3,850-4,760
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                n.a.                8,000-9,375
     Moong Auction                n.a.                6,000-6,400
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Gram Super Best Bold            6,500-6,800        6,500-6,800
     Gram Super Best            n.a.                
     Gram Medium Best            5,900-6,100        5,900-6,100
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Mill Quality            5,800-5,900        5,800-5,900
     Desi gram Raw                5,200-5,250         5,150-5,200
     Gram Filter new            6,200-6,400        6,200-6,400
     Gram Kabuli                6,400-7,500        6,400-7,500
     Gram Pink                6,800-7,000        6,800-7,000
     Tuar Fataka Best             14,500-14,800        14,500-14,800
     Tuar Fataka Medium             13,300-13,900        13,300-13,900
     Tuar Dal Best Phod            12,900-13,100        12,900-13,100
     Tuar Dal Medium phod            12,300-12,800        12,300-12,800
     Tuar Gavarani New             10,300-10,500        10,300-10,500
     Tuar Karnataka             10,400-10,800        10,400-10,800
     Tuar Black                 12,100-12,300           12,100-12,300 
     Masoor dal best            8,500-8,700        8,500-8,700
     Masoor dal medium            8,200-8,400        8,200-8,400
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold               9,900-10,300        9,900-10,300
     Moong Mogar Medium best        8,800-9,500        8,800-9,500
     Moong dal Chilka            8,700-8,900        8,700-8,900
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            8,400-9,200        8,400-9,200
     Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG)    12,500-13,700       12,500-13,700
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    11,500-12,000        11,500-12,000
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        10,200-10,400        10,200-10,400
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,200-5,600        5,200-5,600
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)           4,000-4,200         4,000-4,200
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)        3,200-3,450        3,200-3,450
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,200         3,000-3,200
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,300-3,600        3,300-3,600
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,400-1,500        1,400-1,500
     Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG)    1,650-1,750        1,650-1,750
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)        1,350-1,550           1,350-1,550
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,300-2,400        2,250-2,400
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)    2,000-2,200        1,950-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,400-3,700        3,400-3,700
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,750-2,800        2,750-2,800        
     Rice BPT best(100 INR/KG)        3,100-3,300        3,100-3,300
     Rice BPT medium(100 INR/KG)        2,800-3,000        2,800-3,000
     Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG)        1,700-1,900        1,700-1,900
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,000-2,300        2,000-2,300
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Rice HMT best(100 INR/KG)        3,500-3,900        3,500-3,900
     Rice HMT medium(100 INR/KG)        3,200-3,300        3,200-3,300
     Rice HMT Shriram best(100 INR/KG)    4,800-5,100        4,800-5,100
     Rice HMT Shriram med.(100 INR/KG)    4,000-4,500        4,000-4,500     
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    8,000-10,000        8,000-10,000
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    7,000-7,500        7,000-7,500
     Rice Chinnor best (100 INR/KG)    5,200-5,400        4,900-5,100
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    4,700-5,000        4,400-4,800
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,100-2,350        2,100-2,350
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)        2,400-2,500        2,400-2,500
Maximum temp. 34.3 degree Celsius (93.7 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp.
23.4 degree Celsius (74.1 degree Fahrenheit)
Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a.
Rainfall : nil
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 35 and 23 degree Celsius respectively.
Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices.)


Drought improves in B’bang; concerns remain

Fri, 11 September 2015
Despite improving drought-like conditions in Battambang province, farmers and rice millers alike are still concerned about yield and quality levels of rice in one of the country's leading rice-producing regions.In last month’s report on the drought situation from the Agriculture Ministry, Battambang, along with Banteay Meanchey, accounted for around two-thirds of drought-affected areas, totalling 124,300 hectares out of 182,870 hectares of affected rice plants.However, Chhim Vichra, director of the Provincial Agriculture Department in Battambang, said the province had seen some rain in the last few days and that the situation was improving.

“If the rain continues for the next few months, I think it will be better. It’s difficult to help the areas that are far from the main source of water if there is no rain.”The impacted area dropped from 56,780 hectares in Battambang last month to 37,420 hectares as of Tuesday, according to Vichra, who added that some areas were still not seeing much rain.Kann Kunthy, CEO of rice miller Brico in Battambang, said a drought-like situation could affect the quality of the rice being produced, and that shortages will lead to higher prices – an issue Cambodia is already having to deal with in the international market.“The higher price doesn’t mean the farmer gets more benefits, because they get less income as they are spending more on water pumps and pesticides,” Kunthy said.

“Millers also get impacted by low-quality rice because it is difficult to sell.”Phan Saing, a 54-year-old farmer in Battambang province’s Borel district, said that his 10-hectare rice field did not have water for a month and 50 per cent of his rice field was damaged, given that his farm is away from any irrigation system.“We do not have any water system, even a canal or pond,” he said This year’s figures mark a sharp uptick from the 116,129 hectares hurt by a lack of rain during the 2014 wet season.In Pursat – the third worst affected province – Lay Viseth, director of Pursat’s Agriculture Department, said the province was still facing issues of drought.“We have two irrigation systems. It helps some areas but they cannot reach so much because we lack the source of water,” Viseth said.The Ministry of Agriculture said yesterday that while the drought situation hasn’t changed much from the last report, released on August 26, an updated national report on the current situation is yet to be released.

FAO pegs 2015 global milled Rice production at 500.6 mn tons

Sep 11, 2015 05:13 PM
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated 2015 global milled rice production at 500.6 million tons, advanced 0.7% from 497 million tons in 2014-15 and slightly above its previous estimate of 499.3 million tons.The rise in production is attributed to India, where plantings are progressing in line with last season in spite of the prevailing El Nino, FAO said.The UN agency estimates 2015-16 global rice utilizations at around 509.7 million tons (basis milled), up about 8.4 million tons from last year. It expects the rice consumption is around 422 million tons, up about 1.7% from last year.FAO estimates 2015-16 global rice stocks at 169.6 million tons, down about 5% from last year due to offloading of inventories in the five major exporting countries

Rain effect: Rabi output, not Kharif harvest, will be hurt, says India Ratings



The deficient monsoon can hurt the Rabi crop even if overall Kharif crop production is unlikely to be affected and will be higher than the previous fiscal, said a report published by India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) on Thursday.The report – titled ‘Monsoon Gazing Ends’ – comes a day after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported a 15 per cent deficiency in rainfall across the country.“In view of the total area sown under Kharif crops reaching 99.87 million hectares (mh) on September 4, 2015, which is 1.93 mh higher than last year’s, Ind-Ra expects the overall Kharif output this fiscal to be still better than in the last fiscal,” the report said.The inference deviates from a mid-August study done by Crisil Research which highlighted the pressure on profitability of farm output and identified 5 crops – jowar, soyabean, tur dal, maize and cotton – as particularly at risk.

Water storage levels
Kharif output, according to Ind-Ra, was likely to be higher due to increased acreage and better water storage levels (as on September 2) than last year in major foodgrain producing States such as Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.Reservoir levels in southern India, which recorded a 17 per cent deficit in rainfall as of September 9, had fallen to 33.2 per cent, it noted. According to the Central Water Commission, total storage levels are pegged at 92.92 billion cubic metres (bcm), 59 per cent of capacity, as of September 3.Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist and Senior Director of Public Finance at Ind-Ra, said that States which had received sufficient rainfall will make up any shortfall in output from other States.
“Karnataka, as a whole, has recorded deficient rainfall and coarse cereals’ production is likely to be lower. But Rajasthan has received excess rain, particularly in the western part. So total output should be the same if not more,” he said.

Pulses inflation
While the impact of the sub-par monsoon is likely to be muted in terms of rural spending due to the rising share of non-agricultural income in rural earnings, food inflation needed to be monitored.“Wholesale pulses inflation in July 2015 was 35.8 per cent. Although higher acreage under pulses this fiscal would help in containing inflation, weakening of the rupee will make import of pulses costlier,” the report said.On an average, India imports between three and four million tonnes (mt) of pulses every year to augment domestic production of 18-19 mt.
(This article was published on September 10, 2015)
Vietnam is losing its rice market

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam's agricultural sector still has an opportunity to change in order to compete with foreign rivals when Vietnam participates in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), said experts at a forum on strengthening the competitiveness of the rice and animal husbandry market of Vietnam, held in HCM City on September 8.

Doan Xuan Truc, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Livestock Association, emphasized that in the context of integration, the livestock sector has to reform, particularly feed production enterprises. Feed accounts for 60% -70% of the production cost of the livestock industry.The Chairman of the Vietnam Feed Association, Le Ba Lich, said that the production cost of animal feed of Vietnam was still higher than that of countries with a developed livestock industry in the region, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.Lich said Thailand sets the ceiling profit for this product of about 5%, but in Vietnam, nobody controls it. Profits of Vietnam's animal feed companies are up to 10% -15%.
He added that information about the cost price of feed enterprises are not accessible and proposed to fix the ceiling profit for animal feed.Vietnamese animal feed businesses said they could not fix the prices themselves, but have to base the prices of foreign-invested feed firms and this makes the price for feed high.To help Vietnamese livestock products compete with foreign imports, Lich said the government should have preferential credit for agriculture and livestock in particular because the interest rate for agriculture is currently at 7%, which is still high in comparison with 5% in China and 3% in Thailand.
Lich also suggested raising technical barriers to protect domestic producers.Another problem is cumbersome administrative procedures. Some feed companies said to import one ton of feed, they had to get the approval of the Department of Livestock, and then the technical council, and the Ministry of Agriculture. This process lasts for six months to 1 year.For Vietnamese rice, the situation is not better. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of the Institute for the Vietnam Economic Research and Policy (VERP), said the rice market of Vietnam is increasingly dependent on China.Vietnam is losing its traditional markets. Meanwhile, Thailand is diversifying the market with quality products so it takes footsteps in every market, from picky ones like the US, Japan, Europe, and China to less choosy markets like Africa.
"The problems of the Vietnamese rice market are: difficulty seeking markets for high quality rice; unable to build rice brands for Vietnam; rice price in the domestic market dependent on export prices; and lack of cooperation among local rice traders and exporters,” Thanh said.Professor Vo Tong Xuan, a senior expert in agriculture, said that while Vietnam’s rice exports fell in both volume and value, Cambodia's rice exports in the last eight months of 2015 increased by 50% compared to the same period of 2014. Cambodian rice is exported to picky markets like China, France and some European countries.To promote its rice, Cambodia launched a large-scale marketing program. It participated in all international rice fairs held in Thailand while Vietnam was absent.
They not only brought rice samples for customers to see and taste but also offered a price and signed contracts on the spot.Nguyen Duc Thanh, from VERP, said that to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese rice, it is a must to have transparency of export market information, to remove the floor price for rice exports and to ease conditions to become rice exporters.
Compiled by Nam Nguyen

Rival on the rise

Sat, 12 September 2015


Sat, 12 September 2015
Structural reform in ASEAN neighbour means more competition for Cambodia’s key export industries

While Cambodia’s economic development is often compared to that of neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand’s, industry insiders say the Kingdom needs to keep a close eye on the steady progress being made in Myanmar, which is predicted to eat into Cambodia’s exports in the long term.After decades of isolation, Myanmar has in the last four years seen structural reforms.An improved business environment propelled its gross domestic product growth to 7.7 per cent in 2014, and it is expected to reach 8.3 per cent for 2015, according to the Asian Development Bank.While Myanmar may not pose an immediate threat to Cambodia, Jayant Menon, lead economist at the Asian Development Bank’s office of regional economic integration, said the Kingdom will need to improve its productivity and increase its pool of skilled labour.Trade costs in Myanmar are still high, given the dearth of investment and infrastructure development, but as economic reforms begin to kick in, the country will increasingly grow its presence on the ASEAN stage, Menon added.

“In the longer term, Cambodia may have to lift its productivity if it is to compete with the well-educated workforce available at relatively low cost in Myanmar.”On the rice export front, Cambodia is already facing steep competition from Myanmar. Rice shipments leaving the Kingdom last year totalled a little more than 387,000 tonnes, compared to Myanmar’s 1.7 million tonnes – a large amount of it going to China.Cambodia may currently have the edge in exporting higher-quality fragrant rice, said Song Saran, CEO of leading rice exporter Amru Rice, but Myanmar is fast catching up and moving beyond its export of lower quality broken rice and parboiled rice.“In the long term, Myanmar will be a big threat to Cambodia, because they have started to improve their facilities,” Saran said. “And in the next 4 to 5 years there will be more stress for Cambodian rice in the European market.”
Cambodia’s rice industry benefits from favourable trade agreements that may soon be revoked. Vireak Mai

Saran said that when Cambodia graduates to a low-middle income economy and loses its European Union-granted Everything But Arms (EBA) status – giving least developed countries duty free exports to the economic bloc – Myanmar, which also enjoys the preferential treatment, could extend its advantage given that its exports will be cheaper than the Kingdom’s.“When EBA is off, we are going to have more hardship and the possibility of losing market share to Myanmar,” he said.“But with jasmine rice, I am still optimistic that we can maintain our market share even if EBA is off.”On the economic front, both countries are using similar sectors, including rice and garments to fuel growth.However, Myanmar also has to deal with the “overhang of the elections” in November, as well as ethnic and religious tensions, said Grant Knuckey, CEO of ANZ Royal Bank, who is also the head of Myanmar operations for ANZ.

“Despite that, Myanmar is a genuine threat based on both potential and clear intent,” Knuckey said, referring to economic reforms that are focused on increasing commodity exports.Infrastructure and logistical capacities are two key issues holding back both nations, but, according to Knuckey, investments made in deep sea ports and a better special economic zone policy can help Myanmar leapfrog the progress made by Cambodia in the past few years.“Myanmar will soon have a real edge, with deep sea capacity at both Thilawa and later Dawei,” he said.“Myanmar has also moved very aggressively on the SEZ framework, where Thilawa is more of a special administrative zone than an industrial park, which is the current Cambodia model.
”Srey Chanthy, an independent economist, said that as Myanmar grapples with the same “pitfalls” that Cambodia has had to address, such as low productivity, it will have to make good use of its young and well-educated population to accelerate its ascent up the ASEAN pecking order.“If the Myanmar government can significantly improve the domestic business-enabling environment to attract direct foreign investment, these things can be done in the short to medium terms, they need not wait for the long term.”

PH set for rice import negotiations with suppliers

September 11, 2015 9:40 pm
by James Konstantin Galvez

The National Food Authority (NFA) Council said the government is set to start negotiating now with countries that have existing executive agreements with the Philippines over its approved import of 250,000 MT of rice intended for the last quarter of 2015 and 500,000 MT for the first quarter of 2016.NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay said the government will try to take advantage of the currently low and stable rice prices in the world market. Rice prices could jump once global demand surges at the height of the El Niño dry spell, he added.Only three countries – Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand – have existing rice purchase agreements with Manila.Dalisay explained that the Food Security Committee (FSC), which has authorized the imports, initially approved the standby authority to import 250,000 MT of rice to preposition its food security stock before the yearend.

But upon recommendation by the El Nino Task Force, the interagency body raised the amount by a further 500,000 MT to meet the projected deficit in production at the start of 2016.Drought due to El Niño is expected to intensify beginning October this year and last until May 2016. DOST-PAGASA in its forecast likened the severe impact of the current drought to what happened in 1997-1998, when it caused a 24 percent drop in the country’s local palay production.According to the forecasts, the country’s traditional rice granaries such as Isabela, Mindoro, Quezon, Albay, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga are among the provinces that will be hardest hit by El Niño.The NFA chief said deliveries of the grains will be done on a staggered basis. For the 250,000 MT standby authority, shipment will be split into 125,000 MT by end of November and 125,000 MT by end of December this year.

Meanwhile, shipment of the 500,000 MT intended as part of the country’s rice supply for 2016, will be scheduled as follows: 175,000 MT by end of January, 175,000 MT by end of February and 150,000 MT by end of March next year.Dalisay said invitations to bid have been sent to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia for the supply of 250,000 MT well-milled rice intended for this year and 500,000 MT well-milled rice for 2016 under a government-to-government procurement scheme.For this year, the FSC and the NFA have arranged for the importation of 1.8 million MT – including 500,000 MT contracted in February; 150,000 MT and 100,000 MT contracted in June; 187,000 MT MAV-Omnibus Origin private import and the 600,000 MT allocated volume for the MAV-Country Specific Quota opened in July; and the 250,000 MT to be contracted this month.

Dalisay said the total volume of rice import is within the estimated deficit in the country’s palay production of 18.86 MMT, or 12.26 MMT rice equivalent, and the country’s consumption requirement with 30-day mandated buffer stock at the start of the lean month season.The Philippines, the former world’s biggest rice importer, allowed importation of a record 2.4 million MT of rice in 2010. The order was reduced to 860,000 MT in 2011, and trimmed further to 500,000 MT in 2012.In 2013, Manila approved 205,700 MT of rice imports under the omnibus minimum access volume for rice, plus 500,000 MT of rice from Vietnam. Last year, the Philippines imported more than 1.7 million MT of rice.

For this year, the government has approved a total of 1.8 million MT of rice imports, including the 500,000 MT rice awarded to Thailand and Vietnam in February; 500,000 MT approved for the lean season and reserve volume; and 805,200 MT private sector imports under the so-called minimum access volume. It was also the biggest under the Aquino Administration, and roughly the same level as 1.8 million MT rice imported in 2009.The NFA Council is chaired by Secretary Francis Pangilinan of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM).Members include the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), National Food Authority (NFA) and a farmers’ representative.

Philippines' rice stocks fall for 3rd straight month in August

Posted at 09/11/2015 11:49 AM
MANILA - Rice stocks in the Philippines, one of the world's top importers, shrank for a third straight month in August, government data showed on Friday, following a decline in the domestic harvest due to El Nino-induced dry weather.Total stocks as of Aug. 1 stood at 2.24 million tonnes, down 12.6 percent from the July inventory and this year's peak of about 3.2 million tonnes in May, despite the arrival of imports from Vietnam and Thailand.The latest inventory, which includes stocks held by the state food security agency, National Food Authority (NFA), was still up 30 percent on the same time last year and is sufficient to cover 66 days of the country's total requirement, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a report.

The Southeast Asian country has suffered crop losses in recent months due to below normal rainfall and is set to miss its 2015 target for rice output because of an El Nino dry weather pattern that is forecast to be among the strongest since 1950.The staple food, which led a contraction in crop output in the second quarter, has a nearly 10 percent weighting in the Philippines' consumer price index.On Wednesday, the NFA said it would import an additional 750,000 tonnes of the grain to boost buffer stocks, seeking delivery of the first 250,000 tonnes between November and December.Import approvals by the NFA for delivery this year have reached nearly 1.8 million tonnes, including 937,000 tonnes already shipped in by the agency and purchases by private traders totalling 600,000 tonnes. That compares with last year's purchases of about 1.7 million tonnes.The NFA has sought supply offers from Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia for the 750,000-tonne volume, with the balance of 500,000 tonnes to be shipped in within the first quarter of next year.

Rice exports to resume, says minister

Frontier Myanmar 11 Sep 2015 
The government has given the green light for the resumption of rice exports, six weeks after they were suspended following price rises on the domestic market amid concern over shortages caused by widespread flooding.

By Ko Ko Aung

A rice shop in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Ann Wang

The decision to resume exports was announced by Commerce Minister U Win Myint at the annual meeting of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers and Industry in Yangon’s National Theatre on September 9.The decision to resume exports had followed an evaluation of the recovery from flood damage in growing areas, said U Win Myint, who stressed the importance of rice as a strategic crop.“Rice has been re-planted in some areas and after we calculated the effect of the flooding, we decided to re-open the market to exports,” he said.The deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Trade Promotion, U Aung Soe, said the decision to permit the resumption of exports in mid-September had taken into consideration the need to avoid price volatility on the domestic market.

Exports were halted in early August amid concern about domestic shortages leading to increases in the cost of the nation’s most important staple.The temporary suspension of exports and the impact of the floods would mean that the amount sold abroad this year would be down by more than 400,000 tons on 2014-2015, said Dr Soe Tun, the vice chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation.The federation says figures for the fiscal year beginning on April 1 show that more than 400,000 tons had been exported to August and applications have been made for export licences involving 600,000 tons.Before the flood crisis began, the federation had been expecting exports of nearly two million tons, up from more than 1.7 million tons that Commerce Ministry figures show was exported in 2014-2014.

Rice Stocktaking Underway In Thailand


BANGKOK, Sept 11 (Bernama) -- Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha Thursday ordered a nationwide rice inventory compiled within 30 days, reports Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
Under the 2011-2014 subsidy scheme, 13.5 million tonnes of rice had been purchased and reserved across 1,800 warehouses across the country's 51 provinces.The new order means that local authorities need to present the exact quantity of good and decayed produce, helping set a more suitable price for rice biding.

Currently, 14 units won the bid to buy 246,793 tonnes of in-stock rice at 9,460 THB (US$266.50) per tonne.According to Chookiat Ophaswongse, Honorary President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the rice sale allows the government to collect under 10 THB (US$0.27) per kilogramme while the production cost, excluding preservation fees, is estimated at 24 THB (US$0.66).Despite Thai rice becoming less competitive in the global market, the weaker national currency helped rice export volume reach 6 million tonnes in the past eight months.

NFA allows private sector to import 602,560 MT of rice

by Mary Grace Padin - September 11, 2015
THE National Food Authority (NFA) said on Friday that it has approved the private sector’s importation of as much as 602,560 metric tons (MT) of rice under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme to beef up the country’s rice stocks.Based on the list of final rice import allocation released by the NFA, the food agency has approved the application of 95 farmers’ groups and companies to import 439,300 MT. These applicants, the NFA said, have already accomplished all the requirements set by its prequalification team.The NFA said another 31 applicants—with a total allocation of 163,260 MT—are still awaiting the agency’s final approval since they have not yet received their authentication certification from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.The bulk of imported rice, or 343,100 MT, will come from Thailand.

Vietnam—another major supplier of the Philippines—accounts for 258,900 MT. Some farmers’ groups and companies will import 500 MT of rice from India and 60 MT from China.Under the 2015 MAV rice importation program, all rice imported shall be levied a 35-percent tariff to be paid to the Land Bank  of the Philippines.NFA Administrator Renan B. Dalisay told the BusinessMirror the food agency is already releasing the import permits to all the eligible applicants.The importers will ship well-milled rice with a quality not lower than 25-percent brokens and any special rice variety. All shipments should arrive in the Philippines on or before November 30.The government has earlier approved the importation of 750,000 MT of rice to ensure that the country will have enough rice despite the onslaught of El Niño, which is expected to persist until 2016.

The NFA said the purchase of imported rice will be done under a government-to-government scheme. Of the total volume, 250,000 MT will be delivered in the last quarter of the year. The remaining 500,000 MT will arrive in the Philippines in the first quarter of 2016.Dalisay said the NFA has already contracted 1.787 million metric tons (MMT) of rice for 2015, of which 937,000 MT has already entered the country.El Niño, which is expected to intensify next month and last until May next year, could slash local paddy rice output. The data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the country’s total palay production for 2015 may decline by 0.6 percent to 18.86 MMT from last year’s 18.97 MMT due to the dry spell.

Sowing of Kharif crops rise 1.8 percent, pulses the most
New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS): A surge of 1.8 percent was recorded in sowing of Kharif crops which stood at 1,012.01 lakh hectares as on September 11, an official said on Friday.An area of 994.49 lakh hectares was sown for the Kharif crops, grown during the rainy season, during the same time last year."The total area sown under Kharif crops as on September 11 has reached to 1,012.01 lakh hectares," the agriculture ministry said in a statement.The maximum growth of 11 percent was witnessed in sowing of pulses, whose shortage the country is facing of, to 110.08 lakh hectares.
It was followed by coarse cereals (5.7 percent) and oil seeds (3.2 percent).Rice, widely consumed in India, was sown on 368.41 lakh hectares this season as compared to 366.51 lakh hectares during 2014-15.Coarse cereals and oil seeds were sown on 180.95 lakh hectares and 181.19 lakh hectares, respectively, during the monsoon this year, the statement said.The sowing of sugarcane remained almost flat at 48.84 lakh hectares.However, crops like 'jute and mesta' and cotton registered declines in sowing area.Jute and mesta crop, together known as raw jute, was sown on 7.80 lakh hectares this season against 8.13 lakh hectares during the previous monsoon.Cotton was sown on 114.75 lakh hectares in 2015-16 as compared to 125.29 lakh hectares in 2014-15.

Is Australia the home of rice? Study finds domesticated rice varieties have ancestry links to Cape York

Updated Thu at 9:11pm
A team of plant biologists believes that common rice varieties, domesticated over thousands of years and now grown around the world, may have their ancestry in northern Australia.
Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

The findings have been published in the journalScientific Reports, in an article titled 'Relationships of wild and domesticated rices (Oryza AA genome species) based upon whole chloroplast genome sequences'.

The report concludes that the varieties of rice grown today have genetics that can be traced back to "uncontaminated" wild rice from Australia's remote Cape York.Co-author professor Robert Henry, the director of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), said his team's study found rice varieties developed in Asia over thousands of years may have originated in Australia."We are reporting in Scientific Reports on the relationship between wild and domesticated rice species, including the species we grow in northern Australia, particularly Cape York," Mr Henry said."

We are confirming that these Australian populations are important relatives of domesticated rice. It is quite possible that these have an ancestral relationship."The analysis we are doing shows that the rice populations in northern Australia are very diverse genetically, with much more variation than those we find further north in Asia."This suggests that maybe the origins are in northern Australia, it's a centre of diversity and a possibly also the centre of origin of these important species."
Mr Henry said his team analysed the evolutionary relationships of rice to reach the conclusion.
"The complication we have is that rice has been grown in Asia for thousands of years and the wild and domesticated populations have inbred, but it's only in northern Australia that is likely to be uncontaminated by the impact of human domestication," he said."We believe the populations of rice in the north represent what rice might have looked like before human intervention 7,000 years ago when rice was first domesticated."

These represent the gene pools from which we can breed the rices of the future. It is how we access the diversity we need to adapt rice products to climate change and new diseases in future
Dr Robert Henry, QAAFI
Researchers hope that understanding the genetic history of rice, and its ancestral links to Australian wild rice, can help to boost world rice production to feed a growing global population.
"We don't have the increases in rice productivity that we need to keep pace with the projected demand out to the middle of the century," Mr Henry said."So this resource will help us fill that gap in terms of the productivity we need in rice globally."Mr Henry said the breeding qualities inherent in native rice from Cape York were invaluable."These represent the gene pools from which we can breed the rices of the future, it's how we access the diversity we need to adapt rice product to climate change and new diseases in future," he said.
"Knowing where to find the genetic variation is very important if we are to have food security and be able to access the diversity we need to continue to produce rice into the future."These wild populations have characteristics that are important for rice. They are inter-fertile with domesticated rice, so we can readily cross breed them."We can introduce pest and disease resistances from Australian material that will provide for greater food security anywhere in the world."

Wild rice could help unlock the secret to building large rice industries in northern Australia

Despite vast supplies of water and an ideal climate, northern Australia has struggled to establish itself as a rice growing region.Attempts to build a rice industry on the Adelaide River at Humpty Doo, near Darwin in the Northern Territory, failed in the 1950s.The Burdekin, south of Townsville, is now making the slow transition from cane to aerobic rice, but quantities grown there are in the thousands of tonnes, compared to the millions grown in the southern Riverina region.Global rice producer SunRice recently completed a takeover of a local Burdekin mill, owned by Blue Ribbon Rice, and is encouraging cane farmers to try planting rice instead.

Professor Robert Henry said the emerging industry could be given a boost by wild rice, which is naturally suited to local conditions."We have had a small amount of rice production in northern Australia, but wild rice emphasises the potential of this area because it is a native plant," he said."I think it indicates there is a real potential to explore producing rice varieties that are very specifically adapted to production in northern Australia, and they could provide an opportunity to do that quickly."

Mr Henry said rice types being grown in the Burdekin at the moment had not been bred with wild rice, but he said there was the potential for that to happen in the not too distant future."Commercial production in the north is using material from conventional sources, rices originally bred for production in southern Australia or elsewhere," he said."We have not begun to introduce local genetic resources into the varieties being grown."Rather than cross breeding, Dr Henry said another option for the Burdekin was to begin growing commercial quantities of wild rice, and marketing it as a purely local and native Australian rice.

We could produce novel rices that could be regarded as an indigenous product, something originating from northern Australia which would have particular appeal to consumers
Dr Robert Henry, QAAFI
"We could produce novel rices that could be regarded as an Indigenous product, something originating from northern Australia which would have particular appeal to consumers," he said.
"It is a distinct and additional possibility to using wild rice as a source of breeding material to assist mainstream or conventional rices."Native rice could be a potential gold mine, with the rare commodity capable of fetching as high as $120 per kilogram.Mr Henry said breeding elements of wild rice into existing varieties, as well as starting up a native rice industry, was possible within a decade.

"I don't believe it will be difficult to work with this [wild rice] material, it seems to be close genetically to domesticated rice," he said."These things could happen in a relatively short period of time, relative to the timescale we normally see for these sorts of innovations in agriculture."Certainly within five to 10 years we could see both of these things happening. "QAAFI is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the University of Queensland, with a focus on developing sustainable and competitive tropical and sub-tropical food, fibre and agribusiness industries.

APEDA Commodity News

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Registration for the 2015 USA Rice Outlook Conference Now Open
Mike Lee
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Early registration is now open for the upcoming 2015 USA Rice Outlook Conference that will be held here December 9-11.  The conference is the largest rice industry annual meeting, and this year's expanded programming will feature presentations from industry experts, an extensive exhibit hall, and offsite interactive learning sessions.In addition to keynote speakers Mary Matalin and James Carville, attendees will hear from the co-founder of the Commodity Weather Group, Joel Widenor; farm management expert Dick Wittman; economist Dr. David Kohl; and ag policy guru Jim Wiesemeyer.Feature programming also includes "A Conversation with Louisiana Congressman Dr. Ralph Abraham," and an exciting panel discussion on "The Future of Food and What it Means for Rice," with futurist Mike Lee, founder and CEO of Studio Industries, and rice end users.
Rep. Ralph Abraham
The Annual USA Rice Awards Luncheon and state rice outlooks and research reports round out the packed program.The hotel room block at the Sheraton New Orleans is also open and rooms are going fast, as are exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities.  Registration rates will increase on November 6, so anyone interested in attending is encouraged to act quickly.More information on all aspects of the 2015 USA Rice Outlook Conference, and registration materials, can be found on USA Rice's new website, here.

Contact:  Colleen Klemczewski (703) 236-1446

September Proclaimed Rice Month in Louisiana; Rice Industry's Food Bank Donation Honors Hunger Action Month    
Kevin Berken announces donation of 15K pounds of rice to help feed hungry
BATON ROUGE, LA -- Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain, rice industry leaders, and representatives of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank (GBRFB) gathered at the Capitol Park Museum in view of the state capitol yesterday to proclaim September as Louisiana Rice Month and Louisiana Hunger Action Month and to make the annual rice donation to the GBRFB.Dr. Strain presented Gov. Bobby Jindal's official proclamations declaring September as Louisiana Rice Month and Hunger Action Month.In making the donation to the GBRFB, Louisiana Rice Promotion Board Chairman Kevin Berken stressed the industry's strong record of support for the needy, noting that this year's donation of more than 15,000 pounds will provide more than 180,000 servings of rice to neighbors in need.Louisiana Rice Mill and Falcon Rice Mill of Crowley, Planters Rice Mill of Abbeville, and Farmers Rice Mill of Lake Charles provided rice for the donation.  Blue Runner Foods of Gonzales, Louisiana joined the effort to feed the hungry by donating twelve cases of their signature dry beans.

Network television affiliates from CBS, NBC and Fox covered the event as well as Louisiana Farm Bureau's weekly television program, This Week in Louisiana Agriculture.The GBRFB is a regional food bank that provides food to more than 114 charitable agencies operating food pantries, group homes, shelters, meal sites and special agencies in 11 parishes.  In 2014, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank provided approximately 8.9 million meals to those in need.

Contact:  Randy Jemison (337) 738-7009
WASDE Report Released  
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. 2015/16 rice supplies are lowered 14.9 million cwt from last month resulting from a decrease in production that is partially offset by a slight increase in beginning stocks. Imports are unchanged. U.S. rice production for 2015/16 is forecast at 189.5 million cwt, down 15.5 million from last month due to a decrease in both area harvested and yield. Harvested area is estimated at 2.57 million acres, down 174,000 from last month. Harvested area estimates are lowered for all states except California. The average all rice yield is estimated at 7,374 pounds per acre, down 98 pounds per acre from last month, with decreases in all states except Mississippi.
Long-grain rice production is forecast at 131.5 million cwt, down 17.5 million from last month, and combined medium- and short-grain production is forecast at 58 million cwt, up 2 million. All rice beginning stocks for 2014/15 are raised 700,000 cwt from last month to 48.5 million (rough-equivalent basis) based on USDA's August Rice Stocks report. All rice 2015/16 domestic consumption and residual is lowered 4 million cwt to 125 million due mainly to lower supplies. Exports are forecast at 97 million cwt, down 10 million from last month with long-grain exports down 10 million, but medium- and short-grain unchanged. All rice ending stocks are lowered 900,000 cwt to 41.5 million.

The 2015/16 long-grain season-average farm price range is projected at $12.80 to $13.80 per cwt, up $1.30 per cwt on both ends of the range from last month compared to $11.90 per cwt for 2014/15. The all medium- and short-grain farm price range is projected at $17.50 to $18.50 per cwt, down 30 cents per cwt on both ends of the range from last month compared to $17.90 per cwt for 2014/15. The California medium- and short-grain rice price, at a midpoint of $21.00 per cwt, is unchanged from last month. The Other States medium-and short-grain rice price, at a midpoint of $14.50 per cwt, is lowered 30 cents per cwt. The all rice season-average farm price is forecast at $14.20 to $15.20 per cwt, up 80 cents per cwt from a month ago compared to a revised $13.20 per cwt for 2014/15.

Projected global 2015/16 rice ending stocks are reduced on lower supplies. Global rice production is projected at 475.8 million tons, down 2.9 million from last month, primarily due to smaller crops forecast for Burma, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Philippines, and the United States. This is the first year-to-year decrease in production since 2009/10. Burma's crop is lowered due to significant widespread flooding in late July through mid-August. China's crop is lowered based mostly on early rice crop production data released by the government of China. Egypt's rice crop is lowered due to prolonged excessive heat during the growing season. Indonesia's crop is lowered due to a downward adjustment in expected yield.

 The Philippines crop is lowered due to a decrease in area and expected yield. Global beginning stocks are raised 1.8 million tons, due mostly to an increase in India. India's 2014/15 rice crop is raised 2.3 million tons based on data released by the government of India. India's exports for 2015/16 are raised 500,000 tons to 9 million, partially offset by a reduction of 400,000 for Burma to 1.8 million. Global 2015/16 rice consumption is lowered slightly from last month. Global 2015/16 ending stocks are projected at 90.2 million tons, down 700,000 from last month, and a decline of 11.7 million from the previous year. Endingstocks are lowered for Burma, China, Egypt, Indonesia, and the Philippines; and raised for India and Vietnam.

The complete report can be read here.


Pack to school: What do professional chefs pack for their kids?

Restaurant chefs are like every other parent when it comes to wanting to give their children specially prepared, tasty and healthy school-box lunches. But they have an advantage because of their professional background and access to a variety of foods, and can almost pull off anything when it comes to pleasing their child’s palate.Here’s how they think outside the box for the back-to-school days.



Sonja Finn, chef and owner of Dinette in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty, does not favor sugared foods for her 3-year-old son, Miles, but insists on some sort of fruit.What she packs: A pasta with walnut-basil pesto. Sometimes she would pack baked spinach rice, which she makes with basmati rice, onion, spinach and vegetable or chicken stock; or a roasted chicken breast; or some version of a peanut butter sandwich made with no-sugar peanut butter and low-sugar wheat bread. A banana is a must, and so is some sort of a cut-fruit like watermelon, strawberries or apricots.

 Miles’ favorite is matzo balls made by his nana.Her prep technique: “I make pesto ahead of time and keep it in the freezer. On Sunday night, I cook a pound of pasta and then add the frozen pesto to the hot pasta. I keep stirring until the pesto melts completely, coating the pasta and at the same time cooling it. That way I don’t need to wait for it to cool to pack it away (waiting isn’t an option anyway since it’s already midnight by the time I get around to making the school lunch). I can immediately pack it into individually covered containers and put it in the fridge, and I’m set for the week.” Frozen walnuts will ensure that the pesto will be green, she says.What she won’t pack: “No juice boxes and no yogurt shooters.

”From Dinette’s menu: Dinette doesn’t have a lunch menu, and so sometimes Miles gets a slice of cheese pizza that was made the night before. “A lot of Miles’ lunches are prepared at Dinette.”Her school lunch: “I didn’t take lunch from home. I did school lunch the whole time.”Changes in lunch-box fare: “The convenience foods and prepackaged foods have gotten worse. There is more sugar, more salt and the sizes have gotten bigger.”



Bill Fuller is the corporate chef at Big Burrito. He has an 11 and 14 year old and packs their lunches every day.What he packs: “Either a sandwich, milk (I pack the milk with a small ice pack together in a baggie because my kids hate warm milk), fruit and snack (crackers, chips, etc.) or a thermos of soup or leftovers instead of the sandwich. Occasionally two slices of leftover pizza in place of the thermos of soup/sandwich. If they are sweet, I’ll drop a piece of leftover Halloween candy or some cookies in there.”What he won’t pack: “Nothing that won’t be temperature safe through the course of the day. Not very many sweets. Never soda.”From Casbah’s menu: “I always sent leftover pastas from Casbah (his restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside), especially the Ricotta Cavatelli. Both my kids devour that.

”His school lunch: “We rarely packed lunches but when we did it was a sandwich, chips/snack, fruit. We usually ate school lunch because my grandmother cooked in the cafeteria. In those days, they actually cooked, so it was my grandmother cooking for us every day in grade school. Also, we got free or reduced lunches throughout school too, and that was hard to pass up.”His lunch box: I had an “Adam-12” box when I was a little kid. Also a Spider-Man one, I think. I remember the “Adam-12” one best because I hit Eddie Krauch in the face with it once and got in trouble. We were friends, mostly, but got in a fight that day.Changes in the lunch-box fare: Not much in my world. I guess I can afford fresh fruit and my mother couldn’t. A lot of kids bring pre-packaged stuff. My older kid likes to take Ramen noodles occasionally since the middle school cafeteria has a microwave. We never had a microwave!


Ling Robinson, executive chef and owner of Asiatique Thai Bistro in Larimer’s Bakery Square, who has four children and two grandchildren, says it’s important to prepare a different lunch everyday for children as they will remember it. “It’s a gift from childhood that creates special memories of how much their mother or father loved them,” she says.What she will pack: Fresh, healthy, non-processed food.” I always include a protein, fruit and vegetable. I grill chicken or beef or salmon, steam vegetables, thinly slice apples, cut up some carrots, and put it all together in one container with a light dressing using olive oil.

For my older boys, who require more calories, I would make a sandwich containing salmon, beef or chicken.”What she won’t pack: “Chips, soft drinks or prepackaged meats.”From Asiatique’s menu: “I would pack foods such as our Summer Roll, which is quick and easy to make, and contains fresh leaf lettuce, cilantro, mint, avocado, tomato and tapioca skin.” She wraps it with chicken or salmon and rice noodles.Her school lunch: “Growing up in Thailand, I would take rice with mixed vegetables and seafood.” She says she was fortunate because her parents insisted on those foods along with fruit. “All kinds of fruits.

”Her lunch box: “My lunch box was a vertical stack of containers — the bottom one had rice, the middle one had steamed vegetables and the top held fresh fruit. I also carried one metal spoon — no plastic spoons. If you had brothers and sisters at the same school, you also carried their lunches in your lunch box. You just added more containers to your stack. It was usually the older child who had to carry it to school.”Changes in the lunch-box fare: “Back then, our lunch boxes featured these three different compartments for three food groups. It was easy to open and was safe and secure. Today, everything is taken in Ziploc bags, which are sometimes not so easy for the children to open without spilling on themselves. Also, it’s all about processed fruits and puddings in plastic containers. I do use the safe plastic box containers that are easier to open. My boys and grandchildren would have a hard time carrying the stacked lunch boxes today, so it’s the next best thing.”


Any pasta will work for this pesto, but the more fanciful the shape, the better. I recommend having the child pick it out.
·         1 1/2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
·         2 medium cloves garlic
·         2 1/2 ounces frozen walnuts
·         6 ounces basil leaves
·         3/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
·         1 pound pasta, cooked
In a food processor, pulse cheese, garlic, walnuts, basil, salt and 1/4 cup olive oil until a little chunky. Scrape down sides.
Then running the processor, drizzle in the rest of the oil.
If making ahead of time, pack into a plastic bag or container and freeze.
Add pesto to cooked pasta.
Makes approximately 1 cup.
— Sonja Finn


You could freeze the Ricotta Cavatelli before adding the sausage and tomatoes.
·         2 Ricotta Cavatelli (see recipe below)
·         1/4 cup olive oil, plus oil for pasta water
·         2 loose Italian sausages (spicy or mild)
·         4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
·         1/2 bunch rapini, thinly sliced
·         1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
·         3 cups whole Italian canned plum tomatoes with juice
·         1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta (room temperature)
·         Make Ricotta Cavatelli.
In a 4-quart pot, add salt and oil to water. Bring water to boil before cooking sausage.
Heat a large skillet and add olive oil. Crumble sausage into oil and let it brown, breaking up large chunks with a spatula.
When sausage is browned, add garlic and rapini. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Stir until rapini is tender.
Roughly crush tomatoes with your hands and add with juice to rapini-sausage mixture.
Put cavatelli in boiling water. Let cook until it floats and then just a minute more.
Strain pasta and add to sausage mixture. Add fresh oregano and toss together. Add seasonings.
Place in a large, shallow pasta bowl. Arrange dabs of ricotta across the surface.
Serve immediately.
For Ricotta Cavatelli
·         1 pound Lamagna ricotta
·         3 eggs
·         4 cups all-purpose flour
Combine ricotta and eggs in mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix well.
Add flour; mix for about 5 minutes. If dough is sticky, add a little more flour and mix again.
Place dough onto counter. Wrap in plastic and allow to rest at least 30 minutes.
Roll dough out to 1/2-inch thick. Then cut into 3/4-inch strips.
Roll through cavatelli maker onto lightly floured tray. Freeze extra pasta.
— Bill Fuller

CHICKEN SUMMER ROLLIt is quick and easy to make.

·         1 to 2 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast
·         1/2 ounce olive oil
·         1 tapioca skin
·         1 ounce baby spinach
·         1 ounce brown rice
·         2 sprigs cilantro
·         1 ounce shredded carrots
·         2 slices of cucumber
Thinly slice meat. Wash in salt water; thoroughly rinse.
Pour olive oil in nonstick pan and sauté chicken on both sides until done. Let cool; side slice the meat and keep ready for use in summer roll.
Wet tapioca skin and lay flat on clean surface.
Spread spinach on top of tapioca skin. Then top with brown rice, cilantro, carrots, cucumber and sliced chicken.
Tightly roll up tapioca skin.
Slice roll to desired thickness.
Makes approximately 5 pieces.
— Ling Robinson

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Image: Steve Mellon,A summer roll by chef Ling Robinson. (Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

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