Wednesday, October 14, 2015

13th October 2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

News Headlines....

·         TPP pressures farmers into cost cuts
·         Philippines considers buying 1m T more rice ahead of severe El Nino
·         1.5M metric tons of rice imports eyed in 2016 amid El Niño
·         Sulfate may affect wild rice plants
·         Thailand invests in partnership-driven rice research
·         Rice class visits California
·         Strengthens efforts to combat effects of El Niño
·         Indonesia considers rice import amid El Nino
·         Indonesia considers rice import amid El Nino
·         Rice deal against the local grain
·         Rice productivity
·         The challenges of Vietnam agriculture
·         Importers, traders laud govt for lifting ban on rice
·         Nigeria, Brazil ready to strengthen trade ties
·         Govt apathy leaves Nokha rice bowl without scent of premium variety
·         Fed Govt suspends quota issuance to rice millers
·         The publication Global Rice Market to 2019 Market Size, Growth, and Forecasts
·         USA Rice at World's Largest Food Show
·         Crop Progress:   2015 Crop 88 Percent Harvested
·         CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  
·         New rice development strategy is ready, Agriculture PS says                     
·         Higher yields, quality, technology ahead for RiceTec hybrids: Part III
·         Punjab farmers end rail blockade, to protest against ministersPunjab Farmers to End 'Rail Roko' Agitation After Government Promises Compensation
·         Farmers' Protest Derails Samjhauta, Passengers Suffer
·         AD, BJP appeal farmers to work with govt to resolve issues
·         Punjab farmers continue to 'Rail Roko' as talks fail
·         India’s poor may soon get a taste of biryani

News Detail...

TPP pressures farmers into cost cuts



TOKYO -- Should the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement come into force, the price of agricultural products will fall in Japan, including that of rice -- the country's biggest concern. To counter cheap imports, Japanese rice farmers must raise their game. Urgent steps include lowering prices to consumers by cutting production costs, and switching to strong-selling varieties.

A drone plants rice seeds in Tochigi Prefecture, Central Japan

 Under the terms of the agreement, Japan will allow a quota of tariff-free rice from the U.S. and Australia that will gradually rise to 78,400 tons in year 13 of the deal. That is equivalent to 1% of Japan's total production. The volume of imported rice consumed in Japan is likely to increase as a result, given that demand for cheap rice is strong, particularly in the food service industry.

     The government will continue to buy domestically grown rice in volumes equal to the tariff-free import quota. This rice will go into Japan's national reserve. The idea is to encourage farmers to shift to production of feed-grain rice, thereby supporting domestic prices. The government is also expected to develop a framework aimed at fostering technological innovation and helping farmersexpand their businesses.

Firm rice, soft price

Japan is not required to import the full quota. Under the terms of the agreement, the zero-tariff rice will trade under a simultaneous buy and sell system, which allows private companies to place their own orders. In fiscal 2014, under the current SBS system, Japan imported just over 10,000 tons, or 10% of the quota. Under the TPP, the SBS system will be altered to raise the number of successful bids.     In the short-term, however, the impact of the TPP is likely to be limited, industry watchers say.

Thanks to falling domestic prices and the yen's depreciation, the price gap between domestic and imported rice in Japan has narrowed to less than 100%. With this in mind, the country may not be able to consume the full quota of imported rice. For now, the impact of the trade deal on domestic rice prices will be limited, according to Kitoku Shinryo, a Tokyo-based wholesaler. Many market players agree.     In fiscal 2014, the government purchase price for U.S. medium-grain rice, which restaurants prefer to blend with domestic rice, was 138 yen ($1.14) per kilogram. The sales price for the private sector stood at 179 yen, including the government markup. The price for directly traded domestic rice grown that year averaged a record-low 202 yen per kilogram on a milled-rice basis. The current price trend makes imported rice less attractive. An official at Hiday Hidaka said the restaurant chain has no plans to use imported rice, considering the gap in quality between home-grown rice and imports.

A Yoshinoya Holdings official said the beef-bowl restaurant operator may use imported rice if it becomes more attractive than the domestic product in terms of price and quality. Restaurant operators and other home-meal replacement businesses are generally looking for rice at reasonable prices.

Philippines considers buying 1m T more rice ahead of severe El Nino

The Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice buyers, is studying a proposal to purchase 1 million tonnes more rice to keep an adequate buffer stock and prevent a spike in local prices, a senior government official said on Tuesda 
OCT 13, 20152:54 PM
[MANILA] The Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice buyers, is studying a proposal to purchase 1 million tonnes more rice to keep an adequate buffer stock and prevent a spike in local prices, a senior government official said on Tuesday.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, the national staple, because of a stronger and prolonged El Nino dry weather phenomenon that is potentially one of worst in 65 years.The government has bought 500,000 tonnes rice for delivery in the first quarter for its 2016 needs.
But another purchase of 1 million tonnes would ensure a 45-day buffer stock kept by the state grain agency National Food Authority (NFA) is maintained throughout the dry season, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, told reporters.The proposal for additional rice imports still needs to be approved by the inter-agency NFA Council, said Balisacan, who is also a member of the council. "Based on our analysis of the current data, we may need to increase, to import another one million tonnes to maintain a 45-day buffer stock," said Balisacan, adding the proposal will be discussed with President Benigno Aquino this week. "Adequate supply and the timely importation is crucial because what we want to avoid is domestic prices shooting up while world prices are relatively stable. We want to make sure that supply is there when we need it the most." The Philippines last month split a 750,000-tonne rice supply contract between Vietnam and Thailand as it sought to boost shrinking stocks.
The government is assuming a 25 per cent drop in rice output due to the impact of the dry spell, the same magnitude recorded in the 1997-1998 El Nino weather disturbance, Balisacan said.The NFA has approved imports for delivery this year reaching nearly 1.8 million tonnes, including 937,000 tonnes already shipped in by the state grain agency and purchases by private traders totalling 600,000 tonnes. The Southeast Asian country last year purchased about 1.7 million tonnes of rice.

1.5M metric tons of rice imports eyed in 2016 amid El Niño

By: Ben O. de Vera


Philippine Daily Inquirer

04:38 PM October 13th, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is seeking President Aquino’s go-ahead to import up to 1.5 million metric tons of rice in the first quarter of 2016 or triple the volume of the original program to ensure enough supply and keep prices stable amid the prolonged drought due to El Niño.NEDA Director-General and Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told reporters on Monday night that this intervention would form part of the proposed Roadmap to Address the Impact of El Niño or “Rain,” which was aimed at mitigating the dry spell’s impact on food supply, ensuring stability of food prices, and providing assistance to farmers and households in adversely affected areas.Last week, NEDA submitted to President Aquino a memo listing down the proposed interventions to mitigate the effects of El Niño.

Balisacan is hoping to present the roadmap to the President this week.Balisacan said the government has programmed to import 500,000 metric tons of rice during the first quarter of next year, but NEDA has seen the need to import an additional one million metric tons.“We might need to increase, import another one million [metric tons of rice] to maintain a 45-day buffer stock, because if we don’t, the inventory would fall drastically. As you have seen in 2013 and 2014 when the inventory dropped sharply, prices also rose,” Balisacan explained.The NEDA chief said the country should import more rice as the impact of the ongoing El Niño on domestic rice production would likely match the damage caused by drought in 1997 to 1998.“During that period, agricultural production shrunk quite significantly.

In 1998 alone, rice production declined by almost 25 percent mainly as a result of El Niño,” he noted.The National Food Authority or NFA Council usually decides on rice importation volumes, but Balisacan said the President’s approval should be sought as increasing the imports would cost the national government billions of pesos more.“The government may have to directly import the additional rice or may source from half of the maximum access volume to be brought in by the private sector,” he added.“The most important thing is to make sure we have adequate [rice] supply, and timely importation is crucial, because we want to avoid domestic prices shooting up while world prices are relatively stable. We want to make sure that supply is there when we need it the most,” Balisacan said.
The NEDA chief said the government may have to allot up to P19.2 billion to be spent on various programs and projects that would help mitigate the effects of El Niño starting this year.Balisacan said P7.5 billion might have to be disbursed before the end of the year, while the rest would have to be allotted for the first half of next year, as El Niño has been projected to last until June 2016 and could peak between December and February. SFM 

Sulfate may affect wild rice plants

U researchers are studying how sulfate levels in lakes can decrease seed populations.
October 13, 2015
Sulfate from acid rain, sewage treatment plants, mines and bacteria is creating a harmful byproduct affecting wild rice in Minnesota.
 The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and University of Minnesota scientists have been investigating the relationship between sulfate levels in water and the presence of rarely studied wild rice.

John Pastor, a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, has been growing wild rice in tanks to learn more about how sulfur affects the plant. He’s looking for patterns to see what is causing a decrease in seed populations, he said.Data shows that sulfate is not toxic, but the sulfide it produces has harmed rice populations, he said.
 “It doesn’t take much sulfate entering into the water to cause the production of enough sulfide to cause the population to go extinct,” Pastor said.In the 1970s, Minnesota added language to its water quality legislation stating that water with sulfate levels greater than 10 milligrams per liter can’t be discharged to bodies of water that grow wild rice, said Amy Myrbo, a research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences and the director of outreach, diversity and education in her lab group.Sulfate isn’t thought to be harmful on its own, she said, so scientists want to find out what is causing smaller seeds and lower populations of rice.
 Myrbo and her lab group have gone to lakes and rivers around Minnesota to sample the density of wild rice, the surface water chemistry and the water in the sediment in areas where wild rice grows. She has been working with students and other researchers to test their hypothesis on over 100 different sites.“By looking at several hundred different types of data over a couple hundred different sites, we could start to look at the correlations between the chemistry and the abundance and presence of wild rice,” she said.Another concern, Pastor said, is the mines operating near the areas where rice grows, mainly in northern Minnesota.
 “Sulfate is one of the forms of sulfur that is leaching from iron mines right now and could leach from the copper nickel mine,” he said. “There’s a concern about this for all mines.”While the mines are part of the problem, there are other sources of sulfur, such as agricultural fields, sewage treatment plants and acid rain, Pastor said.Most people are focused on the mines because the sulfur concentration levels nearby are at least 10 times the state standard, he said.
 Ed Swain, a research scientist for the MPCA said the state Legislature gave the agency $1.5 million to cover the research in 2011. He said the large grant allowed the agency to collect a hefty amount of data. A proposal draft has also been devolped. Swain said the team is planning to figure out how much sulfate is too much for wild rice.
 The research group is going to evaluate the existing 10 milligram standard and propose a way of calculating a unique number for every body of water that grows wild rice, he said. This is unusual because water quality standards are usually uniform for every body of water, he said.“The chemistry is different in every system, and no individual number is appropriate,” Swain said.Myrdo said the researchers plan to publish their findings in the near future.

Thailand invests in partnership-driven rice research

By International Rice Research Institute October 13, 2015 | 4:30 pm EDT
In an effort to further implement the rice research agenda of the country, the Royal Thai Government through the Rice Department recently approved annual donation of THB 3,600,000 (equivalent of USD 100,000) starting fiscal year 2014-2015 to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).In a letter addressed to the Thai Rice Department Director General Anan Suwannarat, IRRI Director General Robert Zeigleracknowledged the funding contribution. “We once again take this time to convey our deep gratitude to the Royal Thai Government for its support of IRRI and its mission,” Zeigler stated.The funding donation will greatly support the collaboration between IRRI and the Thai Rice Department toward achieving the goals set forth in the country's research agenda.IRRI Deputy Director for Communication and Partnerships Bruce Tolentino explains the goals of this collaboration.

“As Thailand faces more complex and more serious challenges in this modern era, the country's policymakers are adjusting their domestic policies to strengthen the competitiveness of Thai rice in the face of growing competition from major producers such as Vietnam and India, and from newer competitors such as Myanmar,” he said. “The impacts of climate change will become more serious over the long term. Thailand must also raise farm yields, which requires the rapid strengthening of the national agriculture R&D system to ensure the availability of technology adapted to Thailand and readily accepted by Thai farmers,” Tolentino added.
Since its collaboration in 1960 when IRRI was established, Thailand has been a staunch supporter of institute’s research. Key achievements of this partnership include improvements in deepwater rice culture and development of new rice varieties that can tolerate flood and drought. IRRI and Thailand have been working together to improve rice production and enhance capacities of Thai rice researchers.
In October 2014, the 4th International Rice Congress (IRC2014)—the largest regular conference and exhibition of the global rice scientific research community and industry—was held in Bangkok under the patronage of the Royal Government of Thailand, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Thailand hosted, co-organized, and provided financial support for IRC2014. The country was chosen as the location for the congress as it is a key player in world rice trade. Dubbed the “Olympics of rice science,” IRC2014 gathered around 1,500 participants from 69 countries. The event highlighted the latest in rice research to ensure global food security.
With 16 partner countries, IRRI now explores partnerships with many nations to meet their specific local needs where traditional donor agencies lag behind in carrying out research activities. Collaborative funding arrangements between IRRI and countries, such as India, the Philippines, and now, Thailand, helps these nations become not only beneficiaries but partners of their own research initiatives.

Rice class visits California

We asked the seven members of the 2014-16 Rice Leadership Class for their impressions of the week-long learning session that included tours of the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District, an aerial audit of the Oroville Dam, Lake Shasta, and the Salinas Valley water systems, and a research update from Dr. Kent McKenzie, director of ...

Photo SubmittedThe 2014-16 Rice Leadership Class went on a week-long learning session that included tours of the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District, an aerial audit of the Oroville Dam, Lake Shasta, and the Salinas Valley water systems, and a research update from Dr. Kent McKenzie, director of the California Rice Research Station in Biggs.

By USA Rice Federation

Posted Oct. 13, 2015 at 3:33 PM 

SACRAMENTO, California —
Who wouldn't want to spend a week here getting an overview of California's rice marketing and production practices, crop diversity, conservation and environmental issues, and a close-up look at the state's rice harvest? It's an itinerary any young rice farmer would love.We asked the seven members of the 2014-16 Rice Leadership Class for their impressions of the week-long learning session that included tours of the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District, an aerial audit of the Oroville Dam, Lake Shasta, and the Salinas Valley water systems, and a research update from Dr. Kent McKenzie, director of the California Rice Research Station in Biggs. They also got to experience rice harvesting on Leo LaGrande's ranch, hear about conservation practices at Montna Farms, and tour PGP International where they observed the many ways rice is used as an ingredient.
Here's what they said:
"I gained a new respect for growers in California while on this trip. They continue to produce a high quality crop despite the exceptional drought and intense regulation." — Derek Haigwood, rice farmer from Newport, Arkansas
"The trip was very insightful on the complexity of issues the local rice industry faces. From water and air quality issues, to wildlife preservation, to water availability, and increased cost of production for producers, it became apparent very quickly that the California rice industry is a different ballgame from the South. It appears to be a delicate political and regulatory balance of which everyone along the supply chain was cognizant.” — Jonathan Hobbs, Russell Marine Group
"It is important in every area of life to build strong relationships. Through the Rice Leadership Development program I have been given the opportunity to meet and get to know people from every corner of the rice industry. I have learned that though there are miles between us, we are more the same than we are different. This program has definitely challenged me to think about our industry in a different way. Instead of asking the question: "What's good for me?" Let's ask the question: "What's good for all of us?" — Jeremy Jones, rice farmer from England, Arkansas
"This leg of the program in California has been great. I have gotten to see parts of the region that I was not familiar with yet. I especially appreciated learning about water rights and water issues facing California. I am hoping others get a good sense of the struggles we have with regulations and labor so they can go back to their states and address the issues proactively." — John Munger, rice farmer from Yuba City, California

Strengthens efforts to combat effects of El Niño
October 13, 2015
 QUEZON CITY, Oct. 13 -- As early as April 2014, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has started preparing for the impacts of El Niño on the country’s agriculture sector.“We will seed all (of the) seed-able clouds; we will waste no opportunity,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.Cloud seeding is a weather modification method where chemical “nuclei” such as silver iodide or calcium chloride are introduced into the atmosphere to induce condensation, and eventually, precipitation. Moisture collects around these “nuclei” and, upon reaching a certain saturation level, falls as rain.According to Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) Director Silvino Tejada, DA has conducted cloud seeding operations in strategic locations nationwide since last year.

Tejada added that the “(the department) has set up water management and conservation measures through its BSWM and regional field offices to ensure that scarce irrigation water supply will be efficiently used and maximized.”The DA has also released drought-tolerant rice varieties in threatened rice-producing areas.
 For long-term adaptation measures, the DA improved the country’s small-scale irrigation systems to make these more resilient to the effects of extreme weather and other calamities. It has also promoted climate- and disaster-smart farming and fishery technologies to cushion the agro-fishery sector against the negative effects of calamities.
 While the DA and other government agencies have put in place programs to address the challenges of El Niño, the Agriculture Secretary emphasized that adapting to the effects of this extreme climatic condition, considered to be the worst in 65 years, is a shared responsibility among Filipinos.
 Alcala dispelled fears that crops cannot be grown during the El Niño, and cited the Mung bean as an alternative crop, among others, which requires a warm climate during its growing period.
 Cloud seeding is only one of the many interventions used by the DA to combat the effects of El Niño. Though this technology is beneficial to many agricultural lands, this may not be required or suitable in some areas. (DA)
Indonesia considers rice import amid El Nino
Jakarta, Oct 13 (IANS): The Indonesian government has been in talks with Vietnam and Thailand on the possibility of importing rice in an effort to counter the impact of El Nino, a senior official said on Tuesday."We have been in talks with Vietnam and Thailand," Indonesian Economic Chief Minister Darmin Nasution said.A final decision over the rice shipment will be made at the beginning of the next month, he said.
Moderate impact of El Nino has hit Indonesia since August and may end in December with the peak in September, Xinhua news agency reported.El Nino has triggered drought and prolonged harvest as well as disturbed cultivation in paddy rice fields in Indonesia.Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the country's rice output may not be sufficient for the compliance of the demand of most of the country's 250 million populations.
The Indonesian government has created artificial rains and distributed hundreds of pumps to water down some areas which have suffered from drought.The prolonged dry season has caused lack of water over 200,000 hectares of rice fields across the country of which 30,000 hectares has failed in harvest.In 1998, El Nino hit Indonesia with severe impact, pushing the government to import five million tonnes of food.

Indonesia considers rice import amid El Nino

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 20:01
Jakarta: The Indonesian government has been in talks with Vietnam and Thailand on the possibility of importing rice in an effort to counter the impact of El Nino, a senior official said on Tuesday."We have been in talks with Vietnam and Thailand," Indonesian Economic Chief Minister Darmin Nasution said.
A final decision over the rice shipment will be made at the beginning of the next month, he said.Moderate impact of El Nino has hit Indonesia since August and may end in December with the peak in September, Xinhua news agency reported.El Nino has triggered drought and prolonged harvest as well as disturbed cultivation in paddy rice fields in Indonesia.Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the country's rice output may not be sufficient for the compliance of the demand of most of the country's 250 million populations.The Indonesian government has created artificial rains and distributed hundreds of pumps to water down some areas which have suffered from drought.
The prolonged dry season has caused lack of water over 200,000 hectares of rice fields across the country of which 30,000 hectares has failed in harvest.In 1998, El Nino hit Indonesia with severe impact, pushing the government to import five million tonnes of food. 

Rice deal against the local grain

13 Oct, 2015 06:20 AM
FIRST, the US won a better deal to export rice to Japan.
Now, Australian rice growers fear their Californian competitors have gained a head-start on entering the lucrative and bigger Chinese market.US and Chinese authorities are believed to be close to agreeing on a phytosanitary protocol to export US rice to the world's biggest grain market.Australian rice growers have tried for the past eight years to negotiate such a deal but have failed to win priority from the Grains Industry Market Access Forum, which co-ordinates export deals, and authorities in Beijing.Ricegrowers' Association of Australia executive director Andrew Bomm said selling rice to China would be more lucrative than exporting to Japan because its fast-growing middle-class had a taste for clean and green imported produce.
Mr Bomm said China was also more pragmatic about importing rice, as opposed to Japan where the grain was considered a powerful symbol of self-sufficiency.It was also among the thorniest issues in hammering out the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, which the 12 nations around the Pacific Rim struck last week."I don't think there is the same level of romanticism in China," Mr Bomm said."They are more pragmatic and...are a significant importer of rice, but not currently from Australia."We understand the US is developing a importation protocol. If that occurs, that would put us at a significant disadvantage because our main competitors are Californian medium grain growers."The US has lobbied Chinese authorities to allow American rice imports for more than 15 years. In that time, China has switched from being a rice exporter to importing 2 million tonnes or more of long grain rice.Vietnam has provided most of the Chinese imports because of price, proximity and quality. However, the US and Australia haven't been able to sell their product because of the lack of export protocols.Dwight Roberts, president of the Houston-based US Rice Producers Association, said China requested that the phytosanitary protocol for rice be signed in Beijing.

Rice productivity

Updated: October 12, 2015 05:54 IST
 A total of Rs.81 crore has been sanctioned for a programme to improve rice productivity in the State during the current financial year under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).The amount has been sanctioned to complement the subsidy under the Comprehensive Development of Rice programme and the Sustainable Development of Rice programme 2015-16, which is being allotted Rs.15,000 per hectare, said a posting on the Department of Agriculture website. An additional Rs.45,000 per hectare will be given away as input subsidy for a total area of 1,80,000 hectares during 2015-16 under the RKVY.The top districts that will be covered under the programme are: Palakkad (72,000 hectares); Alappuzha (36,000 hectares); Kottayam (16,000 hectares); and Thrissur (19,000 hectares).

The challenges of Vietnam agriculture
VietNamNet Bridge – Dr. Dang Kim Son, former director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Dr. Vu Trong Khai, former Rector of the School for Training of Rural and Agricultural Management Experts, point out the challenges facing Vietnam’s agriculture and farmers.

Agriculture is the pillar for social stability of Vietnam and it helped Vietnam stand firmly in crisis but we are facing many challenges right now. “Good harvest – low prices for agricultural products” is the “refrain” that is repeated annually. Why can’t Vietnam’s agricultural production escape from that vicious circle?

Dr. Dang Kim Son: Our agricultural products are good, but they are only good in quantity, not quality, so their competitiveness is low.Our agricultural production is falling into the vicious circle like this. The more production grows, the lower the price because of oversupply. It happens to all kinds of agricultural products.

Our agricultural production is excessive not because the markets do not need the products but because we do not produce the new products that the market requires. The countries that purchase our agricultural products have been doing so for almost 30 years. The situation is tougher because of the appearance of new agricultural exporters like Cambodia, Myanmar and Pakistan. They are competing fiercely with us in our traditional markets.To seek the new markets, we must have good and diverse products. The matter now is that it is time to switch to a new agriculture that we call "restructuring agricultural production."

Dr. Vu Trong Khai: We are seeing the fact that agriculture is in recession. Farmers have to abandon the fields and go to the city to do anything, even jobs without skills, to still earn higher income than farm work. However, the lives of these people in urban areas and industrial zones are very poor.

Dr. Vu Trong Khai

In our country, the people living by agriculture account for 70% of the population. At least 57% of the workforce works in the agricultural sector, but this sector generates less than 20% of the country’s GDP. Therefore, they only benefit from that number. GDP per capita in rural areas is only $200 compared with the national average of $1,600/person.According to a survey by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, the average income of a farmer household with four people is VND60,000 (less than $3) per day, below the poverty line. Up to 47.4% of farmer households are unsatisfied with the present life; 50% of the households had debt, of which only 13% had access to bank loans. The remaining 87% were clients of loan-sharks. The annual savings rate was only VND5-8 million ($250-$400) per household, of which 80% was for hedging.

The vicious cycle goes on and on. Low productivity leads to low income; low income leads to low savings; little saving leads to small investment; and small investment leads to low productivity...

Thus, the achievements of agriculture, the great role of agriculture as the "pillar" became a screen that obscures the misery of farmers. They have to sacrifice too much.

In my opinion, agricultural renovation is actually untying the potential; like a tightly compressed spring, after being released, it springs up at full throttle to return to its original state, not more. In other words, this policy is not effective anymore so it cannot create the ability to grow in quality.

We had the “untying” policy but we did not have the policy of motivation. The motivation policy is completely different to the “untying” policy. It takes the role of pushing development to a new level, improving quality, increasing competitiveness and meeting the increasing requirements of the market.

Therefore, the policy of "motivation" should be made with a scientific and practical basis; and it requires qualified policy makers who do their job conscientiously and courageously. The facts always change and the policy must also change to adapt. In the context of international economic integration, policy makers must understand the WTO rules and international practices. The policy implementation capacity of the public administration and civil servants must be improved.

The conscience and courage of the policymakers are shown through their firm stuff to avoid the influence of interest groups, leading to sacrifice the interests of farmers.

Dr. Vu Trong Khai, you have many studies of agricultural and rural development. Could you talk briefly about the biggest problem of Vietnam’s agriculture?

Dr. Vu Trong Khai: With the small production scale at present, each household has only 0.8 hectares of cultivation land on average. Farming is still a "hereditary" profession, which is based on experience. Processing and trade remains the same, without association with a value chain. The economy in general and agriculture in particular are involved in the global value chain in a disadvantageous position.

Thus, with low added value, more deeply integrating into the global market, agriculture increasingly brings negative socio-economic and environmental consequences, and the farmers get poorer.

Why do we fall into this situation? There are many reasons. After joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), we have not taken advantage of global integration but have been affected by the negative impact of globalization.

At the micro level, an important cause, which is "the cause of all causes," is that we're missing the "big farmers" and agricultural administration in a professional manner. In other words, our institutions have not formed a team of professional farmers and large agricultural production.

As you said, the more we export rice, the more losses we get. So why do we keep producing rice and exporting 6-7 million tons of rice annually?

Dr. Dang Kim Son: First of all, rice production itself is an important advantage of Vietnam, especially the Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is not only the granary of Vietnam but also of the world. In the future when climate change will increasingly be more intense, the more valuable the Mekong Delta rice basket will be.
Dr. Dang Kim Son
However, in terms of economic efficiency, we need to recalculate. For years we have not calculated the cost of the environment. Wet rice is a water and soil intensive variety. Rice is among the plants producing large carbon emissions. If all of these things are taken into account, production of wet paddy is not highly profitable. Indeed in other countries, the governments heavily subsidize wet rice cultivation because it is considered “political plant” rather than “economic plant” to maintain social stability, create jobs and ensure food security for the poor.

One of the reasons why we continue to maintain rice production is that we have a tradition of production of rice, one of the oldest rice civilizations of the world. Our people have produced rice for many generations so it is hard to switch to other crops overnight.

Dr. Vu Trong Khai: If we don’t plant rice, what crops should we cultivate is a tough question, especially for the Red River and the Mekong Delta, because rice production is a system and we have to start from the market to processing, and other infrastructure facilities.

For farmers, if the rice prices are low or they cannot sell rice, they can keep it to eat. The other crops don’t have such advantage!

A big problem for agriculture at present is the burden of fees and charges on agricultural products. Why does this absurdity happens?

Dr. Dang Kim Son: I would confirm that the central government does not want that. The government knows clearly that the contribution of farmers is not important for the increase of budget revenue. The State’s goal is to stabilize the countryside and the lives of farmers.

But there are state bodies with the cumbersome apparatus and civil servants whose salary is low, so they create "hurdles" to extort money. Besides, it is the bureaucratic attitude of officials who want to ban to easily control, to avoid risks in management, regardless of difficulties of the producers and traders.

Therefore not only the central state but also the people have to struggle against bureaucracy. The renovation process itself must also cope with this. Breakthrough in institutions is the most important breakthrough of the process of economic restructuring.

Dr. Vu Trong Khai, you have said that the interests of farmers and agriculture have not been respected and guaranteed though we have policies on this. Could you point out some "evidence"?

Dr. Vu Trong Khai: The 1993 Land Law only set limits for the area of land used by farmers, not enterprises. The duration of land use rights for farmers is only 20 years for annual crops while enterprises can use land for 50-70 years, depending on the project. That is, for the same behavior of using land for agricultural production and business, farmers can use up to only 2-3 hectares for 20 years, while the restriction is not applied to businesses.

According to the 1993 Land Law, farmers only receive compensation for land use rights under state prices when their land is revoked to give to investors. Farmers don’t have the right to bargain. But after the land is allocated to investors and the State wants to take back to build infrastructure or lease it to someone else, the State has to negotiate the prices under the market mechanism.

Some tycoons emerged in Vietnam after they were allocated land revoked from the farmers. At the same time, the farmers who lost their land had to go to cities to work at industrial zones or take manual jobs.

Investors have dominated the policy; why have the interests of farmers been sacrificed?

There are many similar painful stories that I can’t tell in this talk. The big issue that I want to say is, there are many policies on agriculture and farmers that need to be reviewed.

More importantly, I think we need to reconsider the current industrialization in Vietnam. We can see these problems very clearly in industrial zones and export processing zones.

Could you clarify these problems?

Dr. Vu Trong Khai: In other countries, they invest in industrial zones for the goals of economic development and also social objectives like attracting labor in the rural areas in order keep farmers in their hometown. In Vietnam, industrial zones grow in big cities.

Secondly, our industrial zones only create jobs not life, as they are not tied to residential areas and people. Rural laborers working in industrial zones have temporary lives. They don’t have kindergartens, schools, and hospitals. If they have children, they have to send them back home to their grandparents. Thus, how can they work in peace and contentment?

So farmers leave home to be workers, but they always return by keeping their fields. They don’t dare to sell or rent agricultural land in the long-term, but keep it or lease it for a few years only. They are always ready to come "back home".

Thus, we cannot realize the objective of transferring manpower from agriculture to industry and our agricultural production is still on a small scale.

To be continued…


Importers, traders laud govt for lifting ban on rice

Posted By: Oluwakemi Daudaon: October 13, 2015In: Business, MaritimeNo Comments
A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Finance, who craved anonymity, said the N20 billion yearly loss was not part of the duty owed the government by rice importers who exceded the import quotas given to them. Some importers also enjoyed ‘questionable waivers’ too.The  administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, had through the Ministry of Agriculture, approved import waivers for rice importers.In spite this largesse, all entreaties, notifications and notices  given to the importers by the Customs, many of them still defaulted paying Customs duty and other charges on the excess imported rice.
A few months ago, offcials of the NCS sealed warehouses of major rice importers for failing to pay debts valued at N23,603,479,402.44
The affected importers are: Olam, Stallion/Popular Foods/Masco Agro, Ebony Agro and Conti-Agro (Milan).Allowing the issue to degenerate to the level of closing down their warehouses was one of the reasons the government reviewed the ban.“These people were given special allocation by the government and the terms of agreement were spelt out to them. But, at a stage, they brought in rice in excess of the allocations that were given to them. It became difficult for them to pay the duty imposed by the government. I don’t know when Nigeria became Father Christmas where anybody can ship in commodities without paying the necessary duty to the government.
“Those who put rice under import restriction list failed to understand that some people that are close to the government may abuse the process and that is why we recorded huge losses from the border stations where the government is supposed to collect huge revenue from duty and other charges.“Immediately, the item was banned, rice became the most smuggling commodity.“Those using local production to sustain the ban could not achieve anything before they left power. “How many tonnes of rice are we producing in the country? What is the method and level of our production? How many genuine rice farmers do we have in the country? How much was allocated for rice production by the last administration and where is the rice in our markets or the money in our purse?
“Without the necessary policy frame work and massive production of the commodity across the country, the ban on the commodity cannot be sustained.
“Rice business is a big business. Rice is an international commodity and it will always find its way into our country like fish in the Atlantic Ocean; wherever the water goes, you find fish. Every grain of rice is money,” an official of the NCS said.ANLCA President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, commended President Buhari and the Col. Ali for reversing the obnoxious policy of the last administration.He argued that the ban on rice importation through land borders had led to upsurge in  the smuggling of the essential commodity and threw up some emergency millionaires.
He said over 10,000 bags of rice are smuggled in daily.In 2011, Shittu said, 2.9 million tonnes of rice were imported, not 342,000 tonnes, as claimed by some top officials of the last administration.He called on the National Assembly to support the Federal Government with a legislation that would promote agric production.Shittu urged the Federal Government and the NCS  to put in place an effective sanction for rice smuggler.He identified low tariff on rice in neighbouring countries as one of the major factors contributing to smuggling of rice, urging the government to look into the 60 per cent levy imposed by the last administration.An importer at Alaba Rago Market,Mallam Audu Bello, howver, said the decision to ban rice importation was not well thought-out.
“Rice is important in Nigeria. This is because it is a staple food of most homes,” he said.According to government statistics, yearly consumption of rice is about 5.5million tonnes. It is also a fact that local production accounts for about 1.8million tonnes. Analysts say the question is how to bridge the gap.“The fact is that over two million metric tonnes are smuggled into the country and the country loses huge revenue through it,” he added.Also, the President, Shippers’ Association Lagos State, Rev. Jonathan Nicol, lauded the lifting of the ban. He described the action as the ‘most sensible’.According to him, rice is the staple food of many Nigerians. “When Nigeria is ripe to produce enough rice, Nigerians will be glad to adjust and consume local produce,” he said.
Tags:BanImportersricetraders laudPresident Muhammadu Buhari has been praised for approving the recommendation of the Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), to lift the ban on  rice importation through land borders.According to stakeholders in the maritime sector, the Federal Government loses over N20 billion yearly for putting rice on the import restriction list.
This is because no fewer than 10,000 bags of rice were smuggled into the country daily from Benin Republic and other neighbouring countries before the ban was lifted.Customs Public Relations Officer Mr Wale Adeniyi, last week, in a statement, announced the lfiting of the ban.The action of the government was lauded by officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Customs officers, importers, traders and others.

Nigeria, Brazil ready to strengthen trade ties

By Abdullateef Salau | Publish Date: Oct 12 2015 10:02PM | Updated Date: Oct 13 2015 2:03AM

Ambassador of Brazil to Nigeria, Joao Lima (L) and Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Sally Mbanefo, when the Brazilian trade delegation visited the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, in Abuja, yesterday.
A trade delegation from Brazil said the country is ready to strengthen trade relations with Nigeria because of its “very important” position in ECOWAS.  The delegation, which is composed of businessmen from different sectors of the Brazilian economy, said its investments in Nigeria would focus on rice production, housing, waste recycling among others.Head of the delegation, Mr Evaldo Silva, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo.

“Nigeria occupies a very important position in ECOWAS while Brazil also occupies a strategic position in its region. We want to use that advantage to strengthen trade relations between the two countries,” Silva said. Concerning rice production, he said: “Brazil, being the largest producer of rice in South America while Nigeria being the largest consumer of rice in Africa, we want to help Nigeria develop rice production and also initiate discussion about rice supply to meet up with extra demands,” he said. Silva also disclosed that the Brazilian housing project called “My House My Life” which provides housing to the poor and low income earners would be replicated in Nigeria to tackle the country’s housing deficit.

On his part, a senior official of the ministry, Ambassador Ozo Nwobu, who spoke on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, told the businessmen that their investment focus is timely because housing and accommodation remains a challenge not only in Nigeria but also in most of its sub-regions.While assuring them of the Federal Government’s support, he said “This is a momentous time for us in Nigeria and Nigerians must be ready to work with developmental partners who will really give us that impetus for change we are clamouring for.”
The Nation Newspaper 

Govt apathy leaves Nokha rice bowl without scent of premium variety

Nokha (Rohtas): Four-term BJP MLA Rameshwar Chaurasia is locked in a close contest with RJD greenhorn Aneeta Devi for Nokha seat in Rohtas district. This part of Rohtas was once known for a special variety of rice called 'Patna rice'. Elders of the area still remember the high yielding variety of 'Sona Chur' and 'Govind Bhog'. Now, it has become a part of history. Rohtas, once an epicentre of high-yielding variety of paddy (boiled rice), was known as a 'rice bowl' in the country. But it slowly met a natural death because of the apathetic attitude of the government towards paddy growers. The district, which once boasted of having more than 1,000 rice mills, is now left with only a few ones.
 Old-timers say Rohtas rice was exported to Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan but now even locals crave for it. The local economy was mainly based on rice and stone quarrying. More than one lakh families are badly hit with the decline in this trade, said Sunil Singh, one of the rice mill owners at Nokha. BJP MLA Chaurasia is also the chairman of the rice millers association. Her opponent Aneeta's husband Anand Mohan was a two-term MLA and a former minister in Rabri regime. He died three months back at S K Memorial Hall in Patna.

Fed Govt suspends quota issuance to rice millers

Posted By: Frank Ikpefanon: October 13, 2015
The Federal Government has suspended the issuance of quota to millers for rice importation.The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Sonny Echono, said there would be no issuance of quota to any intending importer for now pending the review of the policy which gave preferential treatment to some importers.Echono, in an interview with reporters in Abuja at the weekend said the suspension became necessary because of abuse of the policy by rice millers, adding that only those who were paying 70 per cent import duty would be allowed to bring in rice for now.
He said there is no subsisting allocation for this year as the allocation for last year had expired. He said the country had a supply gap of about 1.5 million tonnes between national rice demand and supply, blaming the situation on insufficient local milling capacity.Echono however said the Ministry was addressing this challenge.
He also said the Ministry would seek clarifications on measures put in place by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to ensure that importers pay appropriate duty for rice imported through land borders.Mr. Echono said the clarification became necessary following the lifting of the ban on importation of the commodity through land border by the  NCS last week.“I will be meeting with the Comptroller-General of Customs in the interest of the principle of consistency in policy. As long as the machinery for the importers to pay the appropriate duty is in place on the land borders, it should not be a problem.
“Rice importation through land border was earlier banned because the machinery for proper duty collection at the borders was not in place.“But if they put in place the right policy to ensure that the routes are clearly defined and duties are paid before they bring rice in, then, we need to get the assurance on how the mechanism works. That is why I need to meet him,” he said.The permanent secretary said lifting of the ban was not a problem, adding that the ban was earlier placed because of lack of machinery for proper collection of duty at the borders which had no defined routes to check smuggling.The permanent secretary said the volume of rice that would be allowed into the country would be limited to the current supply gap.


We reversed restrictions on rice import to check smuggling –Customs

Posted By: FRANCIS EZEMon: October 13, 2015In: Business & FinanceNo Comments
The Nigeria Customs Service has said that its decision to remove the restrictions on the importation of rice through the land borders was part of measures to check the massive smuggling of the staple food, through which the Federal Government has lost huge import revenue.Under the new policy approved by the Comptroller General of the service Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) importation of parboiled rice would be through both the seaports and land border, both of which will attract 10 per cent import duty and 60 per cent levy, bring to a total of 70 per cent tariff.
Similarly, in the new tariff regime, rice millers will enjoy preferential levy with valid quota allocation, which would however attract a duty rate of 10 per cent with a 20 per cent levy on rice importation, bringing to a total of 30 per cent tariff.The Federal Government had since 2007 restricted the importation of the product to the seaports alone, as it was believed that importation through land borders was fraught with massive fraud.
National Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, who made the clarification, disclosed that the Comptroller General of the service, Ali has also approved the removal of the restriction on the importation of the commodity.
According to him, the government imposed the restriction because the borders were believed to be a difficult terrain in terms of effectively monitoring and controlling the importation of the commodity a development that has proved to be counterproductive, as it has fuelled massive smuggling of the commodity over time
He said: “Over the years, importation has been restricted to the seaports because the border authorities found it difficult to effectively monitor and control importation of rice”.
“The decision to ban rice importation through the land borders has not proved to be an effective measure because smuggling of the product thrives with people using different means of conveyance including small trucks, bicycles and even animals; putting the smuggled products on donkeys and some actually carry it on their heads”, Adeniyi added.
Investigations however showed that apart from checking the thriving smuggling of the commodity, the service believes that the new policy would enable it streamline its anti-smuggling war by focusing on prohibited items such as poultry products, which are also massively smuggled across unapproved border routes including the creeks and waterways.
“These new measures will be for customs to streamline its anti-smuggling operations at the border areas and ensure that all those importers through the borders bring their rice through approved routes and pay their extant duty”, Adeniyi, a Deputy Comptroller of the service also said.

International Benchmark Price
Price on: 12-10-2015
Benchmark Indicators Name
CZCE Early Rice Futures (USD/t)
Pakistani 100%, FOB Karachi (USD/t)
Pakistani 15% Broken (USD/t)
CZCE Wheat Futures (USD/t)
NYSE Liffe Feed Wheat Futures (USD/t)
NYSE Liffe Milling Wheat Futures (USD/t)
Australian 5 Crown, CIF UK (USD/t)
Iranian natural sultanas (Gouchan), CIF UK (USD/t)
Turkish No 9 standard, FOB Izmir (USD/t)
For more info
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Commodity-wise, Market-wise Daily Price on 12-10-2015
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Singroli (Madhya Pradesh)
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Vasai (Maharashtra)
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Barnala (Punjab)
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Price on 09-10-2015
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Package: 50 lb cartons
Package: cartons film wrapped
Package: 4/5 bushel cartons



Tuesday, 13 October 2015 | PNS | Hazaribagh | in Ranchi
Hazaribagh Sadar MLA Manish Jaiswal has demanded opening of rice mills which had been sealed by the district administration last month due to non-payment of Government money.Manish said that the Govt should adopt some other method to punish them and to get its money returned but  closure of rice mills will make the peasants of this area suffer in the days to come. If rice mills do not open they will have to sell their paddy to middle men at low cost. He would be taking up this issue.

The publication Global Rice Market to 2019 Market Size, Growth, and Forecasts in 70 Countriesenables readers the critical perspectives to be able to evaluate the world market for rice.
Market Research Store has announced the addition of the "Global Rice Market to 2019 - Market Size, Growth, and Forecasts in 70 Countries" report to their offering.The publication provides the market size, growth and forecasts at the global level as well as for the following countries:
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam
The market data covers the years 2008-2019. The major questions answered in this comprehensive publication include:
         What is the global market size for rice?
         What is the rice market size in different countries around the world?
         Are the markets growing or decreasing?
         How are the markets divided into different kinds of products?
         How are different product groups developing?
         How are the markets forecast to develop in the future?
         Which are the most potential countries and markets?
The market information includes the total market size for rice as well as the market size and trends for the following kinds of products:
         Broken rice
         Husked brown rice
         Wholly milled/semi-milled rice
The publication is designed for companies who want to gain a comprehensive perspective on the global rice market. This publication makes it easy to compare across different countries and product groups to be able to find new market opportunities and make more profitable business decisions.

USA Rice at World's Largest Food Show

E, GERMANY -- USA Rice and several member companies are participating in Anuga 2015 here, the world's largest food and beverage trade fair where new products, innovations, food trends, and old favorites are on display.  USA Rice has been exhibiting at Anuga for more than twenty years, and as in years past, all forms of U.S. rice are on display, from long grain white, brown, and parboiled, to Calrose, and even wild rice.The show, that is expected to attract 155,000 attendees, opened Saturday and continues through Wednesday with more than 7,000 exhibitors from 108 countries including California's SunWest Foods, The Sun Valley Rice Company, In Harvest, and American Commodity Company.

"Attending this show is always a highlight for us," said John Hasbrook, vice president of SunWest.  "So many of my customers are here, they all come to me instead of me having to hop all over the world.  It's a good use of our time and efforts and we can display some of our exciting new products and beautiful, just-harvested California medium grain rice." But challenges for the United States are also on display.

"The strong dollar is really having an impact," said Brendan O'Donnell, a representative of Sun Valley.  "There's still a lot of interest in our rice, but the exchange rate is making all American products cost more, and that's encouraging some of our customers to look for other suppliers, even if they know it's going to be a lesser quality.  They'll still buy U.S. rice for their high end customers, but not all of their customers can afford U.S. rice."

On the positive side, O'Donnell said he is seeing a lot of new interest coming out of the Middle East, though credit and payment terms are expected to be difficult here as well.

The USA Rice booth is located in a prominent position in the USA Pavilion and saw a special visitor on Saturday.  Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse stopped by on his way to the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the pavilion and chatted with Chris Crutchfield, president of American Commodity Company.

The pair talked about the importance of trade fairs like Anuga and the teamwork that goes into them to spread U.S. products around the world, and developments in two potentially new and exciting markets for America's rice industry: China and Cuba.

Scuse told Crutchfield he's hopeful Congress would take action to allow companies to extend credit to Cuba and to let groups like USA Rice use USDA promotion money in the country.
 "Once those things happen, I think we'll see significant increases in agricultural trade with Cuba and be able to open that market up for all kinds of American products," he said.
 On China, Scuse said he knows there's demand for U.S. rice there, so it's just a matter of the Chinese government signing the phytosanitary agreement that he is hopeful will happen sooner rather than later.
 "It was a pleasure to visit with Secretary Scuse again, he's been a great cheerleader for U.S. rice, and hosting him in the USA Rice booth was quite special," said Crutchfield.  "The opening of new markets he was talking about is very important to the U.S. industry, especially given the many challenges and realities we're seeing here at Anuga.  With about half our crop destined for overseas markets, the more options we all have, the better off we'll all be."
 Coming Up: USA Rice Daily sits down with some of the biggest rice traders and brokers for an in depth look at some of the challenges facing the U.S. industry in Europe.  

Click image for video interview 

Crop Progress:   2015 Crop 88 Percent Harvested   
WASHINGTON, DC -- Eighty-eight percent of the nation's 2015 rice acreage is harvested, according to today's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report. 

Rice Harvested, Selected States 
Week Ending
Oct 11, 2014
Oct 4, 2015 
Oct 11, 2015
2010-2014 average
Six States
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for October 13 
Net Change

November 2015
- $0.290
January 2016
- $0.295
March 2016
- $0.295
May 2016
- $0.295
July 2016
- $0.315
September 2016
- $0.265 
November 2016
- $0.265

New rice development strategy is ready, Agriculture PS says                      

Agriculture Principal Secretary, Sicily Kariuki announced that the government will continue to offer other farm inputs to enable farmers reap maximum benefits from rice farming. [PHOTO/]
The government has developed a national rice development strategy to address the identified constraints and to fully capitalise on the opportunities in rice farming.The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sicily Kariuki said the strategy will rejuvenate the rice sector that has faced a myriad of challenges.Kariuki said the rice sector from production to marketing will be addressed through the new strategy to improve the livelihoods of rice farmers.“The strategy encompasses production, processing and marketing that is significant to improving on livelihood,” she said.She noted that the government is keen to identify and introduce new rice varieties that are fast maturing and with high yields.
Speaking at Ahero National Irrigation Board in Muhoroni constituency on Monday when she opened training for plant operators for the newly acquired agricultural machineries, Kariuki told farmers to rely on the government to learn new farming technologies.She said the government has partnered with Japan International Cooperation Agency to avail to farmers’ proper machinery for rice farming.The Principal Secretary announced that the government will continue to offer other farm inputs to enable farmers reap maximum benefits from rice farming.“The government is facilitating access to affordable farm machinery. I want farmers to be keen on preparation of their farms and using the right seeds for proper yield,” she said

Higher yields, quality, technology ahead for RiceTec hybrids: Part III

Oct 12, 2015Forrest Laws  | Delta Farm Press
Everything seems to be getting higher – except the stature – for RiceTec’s new hybrids. New lines under development will have higher yields, higher amylose content and different herbicide tolerances. But RiceTec will also offer some new shorter, semi-dwarf lines. RiceTec’s Van McNeely explains in this video from the firm’s field day at its Harrisburg, Ark., research facility.

Punjab farmers end rail blockade, to protest against ministers

Blockade had affected over 800 trains over the past week, inconveniencing thousands of passengers
mage Credit: PTI
Farmers on the the sixth day of their 'Rail Roko' agitation on the rail tracks at Muchhal village near Amritsar.
Published: 16:44 October 13, 2015
Chandigarh: Punjab farmers demanding better compensation for losses due to a whitefly pest attack on their cotton crop ended on Tuesday the weeklong rail blockade and decided to protest against state ministers.After a meeting of eight farmers’ organisations here, the ‘rail roko’ (railway blockade) was called off on the seventh day. The protest had hit hundreds of trains.“We have decided to end the rail roko. We will now ‘gherao’ (protest against) Punjab ministers at their residences and other functions,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Jagmohan Singh said here.The rail blockade had affected over 800 trains in Punjab over the past week, putting thousands of passengers to inconvenience.The Monday meeting was held after talks between farmers’ leaders and the Punjab government, led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Monday failed to end the deadlock.
The government said it was not in a position to accept the demands of the agitating farmers, government sources said.Badal reiterated that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government was committed to the welfare of farmers and farm labourers.Akali Dal leader and MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said the meeting was held in a “positive atmosphere”.Over 800 trains, including the Samjhauta Express train between India and Pakistan, were cancelled or diverted due to the agitation by farmers.Thousands of train passengers were stranded. The loss to the railways and other agencies is said to be over Rs10 billion (Dh564 million).Agitating farmers are demanding compensation of Rs40,000 per acre for loss of cotton crop, purchase of basmati rice at the minimum support price and immediate release of payments to sugarcane growers.
Gulf News India

Punjab Farmers to End 'Rail Roko' Agitation After Government Promises Compensation

All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: October 12, 2015 23:39 IST

Farmers in Punjab block railway tracks in an agitation over crop losses.
CHANDIGARH:  The six-day-old 'Rail Roko' agitation by Punjab farmers is likely to end tomorrow, the union leaders announced after talks with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The government has offered some compensation and promised to take up their demands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We will carry on with our agitation till tomorrow," said BKU Ekta (Dakunda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh who was part of the representatives of 12 farmers' outfits who took part in the three-and-a-half hour meeting with the Chief Minister in Chandigarh to find an end to the strike which has paralysed the train services.

About the offer made by the chief minister, Mr Singh said government has offered to pay Rs.64 crore compensation for farm labourers but no assurance was given with regard to raising compensation component on cotton crop loss by pest attack and higher rates for basmati rice prices.

"The state government is not ready to pay more than Rs. 8,000 per acre on crop loss. The government is also not giving any assurance on giving higher rates for PUSA basmati1121 price," the leader of the union said.

The unions have been demanding Rs. 40,000 per acre compensation for farmers whose crop got damaged by whitefly attack, Rs. 20,000 per family compensation for farm labourers, Rs.4,500 per quintal rate for Basmati PUSA 1509 variety, Rs. 5,000 per quintal for Basmati PUSA 1121.

Besides, they are also seeking payments of sugarcane dues by private mills, debt relief andRs. 5 lakh financial assistance to the family of farmers who commit suicide.On the issue of debt waiver, Mr Singh said Mr Badal assured them that he would take up the matter with RBI. "(Prakash Singh) Badal said for loans regarding cooperative sector, a policy will be framed," Mr Singh said.To check exploitation by commission agents (Arthiyas), Mr Singh said the state government would come out with a Money Lending Act in this regard.

A parliamentarian from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal Prem Singh Chandumajra, who was also in the meeting said, "the meeting with farmers held in a very cordial atmosphere. We expect positive response from their side."He said that both sides "understood each other's limitations. "We discussed each and every point of farmers. They told us that they will announce their next line of action after holding their meeting. We hope that they will call off their agitation.

Farmers' Protest Derails Samjhauta, Passengers Suffer

Published: 13th October 2015 12:10 PM
Last Updated: 13th October 2015 12:11 PM
AMRITSAR: The six-day old 'rail roko' (railway blockade) agitation by farmers near here has had an unlikely fallout - it has led to the stalling of the peace train, Samjhauta Express, between India and Pakistan and precipitated a diplomatic row between both the countries.

Agitating farmers have blocked the Amritsar-Jalandhar-Delhi railway track since October 7, forcing railway authorities in India to cancel the Samjhauta Express train.
They are demanding compensation of Rs.40,000 per acre for loss of cotton crop due to whitefly pest attack, purchase of basmati rice at minimum support price, and immediate release of payments to sugarcane growers.Passengers from both the countries have been stranded on either sides. After waiting for the train service to resume, many of them have been forced to walk back into India and Pakistan on Monday.

Immigration officials in Attari, the last village on the Indian side along the international border with Pakistan, 30 km from here, said that 72 passengers from Pakistan crossed into India on foot on Monday after the Samjhauta train remained cancelled.About 30 Pakistani nationals also left for their country on Monday on foot through the Attari-Wagah joint check post between both countries.

The bi-weekly train runs between Lahore and Attari stations on Monday and Thursday. On the Indian side, the Samjhauta Express link train connects Attari with Delhi."It is the link train that the railway authorities have cancelled. Since the train cannot take passengers coming from Pakistan side to Delhi, the actual Samjhauta has also been cancelled in the past nearly one week," a railway official at Attari told IANS.

Last week, the Pakistan foreign office summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad, S. Raghuram, and expressed concern over the train cancellation.In New Delhi, external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup, replying to the Pakistani concern, said that the Samjhauta Express had to be cancelled "due to a local agitation, including railway blockade".

"Indian Railway authorities had informed their Pakistani counterparts in advance that the train would not be able to run in such a situation," Swarup said, adding that the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was in touch with the Pakistan government to extend help to stranded passengers.The 'rail roko' agitation by farmers in Punjab continued for the sixth day on Monday as farmers blocked rail traffic at several places in Amritsar, Moga, Mansa and other districts.

Over 800 trains, including the Samjhauta Express peace train between India and Pakistan, have been cancelled or diverted by railway authorities.Thousands of passengers have been left stranded due to cancellation of trains. The loss to the railways and other agencies is said to be over Rs.100 crore in these six days.Talks of farmers' organisations with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh on Monday evening failed to produce any results.
News Indian Express

AD, BJP appeal farmers to work with govt to resolve issues

CHANDIGARH: Welcoming the farmers' decision to lift the week-long rail blockade, ruling coalition partners SAD and BJP on Tuesday appealed to them to work with the Punjab government to get their issue resolved at the earliest. The decision would help the common man who had been subjected to inconvenience for the last seven days, SAD MP Prem Singh Chandumajra and senior BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal told reporters here. "Peace and communal harmony are most should have faith in the government and work with it to get all their pending issues resolved at the earliest," they said. They said chief minister Parkash Singh Badal held talks with the protesting farmers and assured them that he would take up all pending issues with the Central government. 

Henceforth, all crops, be it fruits, vegetables or even pulses and food grains would be considered for relief and relief parameters would be relaxed to include fog in climate conditions, Chandumajra said.
 It was also decided in the talks that a joint delegation of SAD and BJP would soon meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of farmers' problems, he said. The chief minister assured farmers that all cases relating to farm labourers including of housing and power connections would be taken up for redressal immediately, the MP said, adding that old cases against farmer leaders would be reviewed and surveys in suicide cases conducted. 
Meanwhile, BKU Ekta (Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri in a statement said the Punjab government has agreed to include crops like moong, guar, vegetables, paddy including basmati rice that were damaged by untimely rains in special girdwari (crop loss assessment). It has also agreed to give Rs 64.4 crore relief to farm labourers engaged in cotton farms in the wake of damage by pest attack.Kokri said the state government had also promised to clear outstanding dues of sugarcane growers within a week.

The Times of india

Punjab farmers continue to 'Rail Roko' as talks fail

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 13, 2015 06:21 hrs
Chandigarh: The ongoing 'rail roko' agitation by Punjab farmers and farm labourers will continue, they announced on Monday as a meeting between their representatives and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and senior government functionaries failed to produce any result.No conclusive breakthrough could be achieved as the government said it was not in a position to accept the demands of the 18 organisations of farmers and farm hands, government sources said after the meeting that lasted over four hours in the evening. Sources said that Punjab government refused to accept the demand of farmers for considerable enhancement in compensation for losses due to whitefly pest attack on cotton crop.
After the meeting with representatives of the coordination committee of 18 farmer and farm labour unions here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, however, reiterated that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government was committed to the welfare of farmers and farm labourers in the state.Senior Akali Dal leader and parliament member Prem Singh Chandumajra also told the media that the meeting was held in a "positive atmosphere".
On the other hand, farmer leaders who attended the meeting left for another venue to discuss among themselves the issues raised with Badal and state government functionaries."We will discuss the issues and let you know later," farmer leader Sukhdev Singh Khokriwala told the media at Punjab Bhawan here after the meeting.
The 'rail roko' (railway blockade) agitation by farmers in Punjab continued for the sixth day on Monday as farmers blocked rail traffic at several places in Amritsar, Moga, Mansa and other districts.
Over 800 trains, including the Samjhauta Express peace train between India and Pakistan, have been cancelled or diverted by railway authorities due to the ongoing agitation by farmers.Thousands of passengers have been left stranded due to cancellation of trains. The loss to the railways and other agencies is said to be over Rs.100 crore in these six days.Agitating farmers are demanding compensation of Rs.40,000 per acre for loss of cotton crop due to whitefly pest attack, purchase of basmati rice at minimum support price, and immediate release of payments to sugar cane growers.
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India’s poor may soon get a taste of biryani

Financial Chronicle | Prabhudatta Mishra | October 13, 2015, 13.38 pm IST
The government may sell basmati rice at Rs 3 a kg through ration shops to the country’s poorest people (Representational Image)

New Delhi: The country’s poorest may get their first taste of world-famous basmati rice, a favourite of biryani connoisseurs. The government may sell basmati rice at Rs 3 a kg through ration shops to the country’s poorest people as it has started purchasing paddy after rates fell below the minimum support price.The food ministry has allowed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to purchase Pusa 1509 and Pusa 1121 basmati rice, the world's longest grains post-cooking, as Punjab and Haryana have requested for it, a government official said. “Earlier too, FCI used to buy higher grade, but basmati was never bought as it earned a premium,” he said. There are two options before the government – either to sell it through the public distribution system (PDS) or in the open market sales scheme (OMSS), the official said.

FCI began purchasing the new crop from October 1 and will continue to buy as long as farmers sell it, the official said. The OMSS offtake is very poor as only 38,600 tonnes could be sold out of 6.73 million tonnes on offer since April this year, according to official data. If the government decides to sell it through PDS, many poor people may, for the first time, get a taste of biryani, which goes best with basmati rice, constituting a big gift from the Modi government.The government purchases paddy from farmers at Rs 1,410 per quintal for common variety and Rs 1,450 per quintal for higher grade. After processing, it sells rice to states for distribution through ration shops. Rice is sold at Rs 3 per kg to the poorest of the poor under the antyodaya anna yojna and to all beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act.

However, the population below poverty line (BPL) category gets it at Rs 5.65 per kg and those above poverty line (APL) get the common variety of rice at Rs 7.95 a kg. In addition, a higher grade is available at Rs 8.30 per kg. Currently, farmers in Haryana are selling Pusa 1509 variety of paddy at Rs 1,550 per quintal, which is sold at Rs 1,350 in Punjab. Prices in Haryana improved only after FCI started buying the grain, said Vijay Setia, former president of All India Rice Exporters Association.
Farmers in Punjab are protesting declining prices of basmati rice and have sought Rs 4,500 per quintal rate for Pusa 1509 variety and Rs 5,000 per quintal for Pusa 1121 type of rice. “Though exports will not drop in terms of volume, the realisation will definitely be less as prices have dropped,” Setia told Financial Chronicle by phone from Karnal on Monday. The exports may remain around 3.7 million tonne in FY16, the same as last year, he said. Exporters are earning $600-$700 a tonne this year for the same basmati rice for which they were getting $1,100 last year and about $1600 in 2013, he said. The higher production of basmati contributed to the drop in prices, Setia said.India ranks 55th in the global hunger index of countries, according to US-based international food policy research institute .
The country has 172 million poor people, according to the World Bank, which considers global poverty line as a person's ability to live on $1.90 (Rs 123.15) per day. Data released by the plan panel in 2013 calculated the number of poor in India to 269 million. In rural areas, about 81 per cent of the population does not consume the recommended level of 2,400 kilo calories a day, a 2011 plan panel data said.India has a share of 65 per cent in world’s basmati rice trade, while the only other producer, Pakistan, accounts for the rest, according to agricultural and processed food products export development authority (Apeda). Saudi Arabia and Iran are two major buyers of Indian basmati.

Deccan Chronicle