Monday, February 22, 2016

22nd February,2016 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

China Faces Rice Storage Problems Due to Government Procurement Policy

Feb 19, 2016

China is currently facing rice storage problems due to the government's procurement policy at high prices, according to experts, reports Caixin Online.
Though the policy is very attractive to farmers, they are now the victims as the state grain buying agency Sinograin is not in a position to buy rice as all its warehouses are filled up. While Sinograin's warehouses can hold up to 500,000 tons of rice annually, it had to buy nearly 1.7 million tons of rice in 2013, 1.2 million tons in 2014 and 1.5 million tons in 2015.
Sinograin has been building new granaries and partnering with private companies, which can provide storage facilities. The agency opened about 115 new warehouses across the country, but the storage problems are still persisting. This year, several farmers in various provinces are reportedly waiting for the agency to buy up their rice.
Industry sources say the agency still holds rice from 2013, which is feared to have spoilt. The Sinograin planned to sell some stockpiled rice in the domestic market, but there were very few buyers for the rice as the government is reluctant to lower selling prices.
The sources say farmers support the government's high procurement prices, which have almost doubled import prices from Thailand and Vietnam in 2015. But other market players noted that the government's policy of high procurement prices has distorted grain markets in the country. One of the rice processing factory owner expressed concern that the government's purchase policy continues would be a threat to the processing factories.
Most of the factories are managing by leasing some of their space to the Sinograin for storing reserves. Experts are warning that more alternatives should be sought to protect farmers. They are suggesting that the government should let the market determine the prices. They noted that the private companies should be allowed to compete with the Sinograin in running the whole procurement process.
Meanwhile, farmers are just hoping that more warehouses would come up and the government would buy up their rice. 

Drought and Salt Water Intrusion to Affect 330,000 Hectares of Winter-Spring Rice in Mekong Delta, Says MARD

Feb 19, 2016

Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is estimating that the on-going drought and consequent salt water intrusion are likely to affect about 330,000 hectares (or about 35%) of winter-spring rice in the Mekong Delta region, according to local sources. Winter-spring crop accounts for about 62% of the Delta’s annual rice production.
More than 950,000 hectares of winter-spring rice has been planted in the delta's eight coastal provinces – Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Kien Giang, and Hau Giang.
The delta is reportedly facing the worst drought and salt water intrusion in 90 years, according to the MARD sources. They noted that last year rainy season started late and ended early due to the El Nino phenomenon. Lesser rains have caused a shortage of fresh water and salt water intrusion to begin two months earlier than normal, they said. Salt water reportedly encroached 40-90 kilometers inland up the delta's major rivers, 10-15 kilometers further than usual.
The provincial administrations are taking measures to mitigate the damages, including restructuring crop cultivation schedules, building temporary dams and dredging canals to store fresh water and installing public pumps. However, they are not able to contain the damages to agriculture.
Speaking at a seminar in Can Tho City on Wednesday, the Agriculture Minister called for long-term solutions to deal with drought and salt water intrusion. But mobilizing funds to implement sustainable solutions is a major challenge, he said.
In the same seminar, the Deputy Prime Minister said each province should have a comprehensive plan to combat the current situation. He noted that the government would allocate VND2.3 trillion (around $104 million) from bonds and official development assistance loans for the delta to combat drought and salt water intrusion. He also ordered the Ministry of Finance to allocate around VND2 million (around $95) per hectare to affected households.

FAO Forecasts China MY 2015-16 Rice Imports to Decline 6% y/y to 5.8 Million Tons

Feb 19, 2016
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts china's MY 2015-16 (June - May) rice imports to decline about 6% y/y due to government's efforts to limit informal imports. The FAO forecasts china's total cereal imports in the 2015-16 marketing year to fall by 6% y/y to 29 million tons from last year's exceptionally high level due to record 2015 harvests and large stocks.
The FAO forecasts China's 2015 paddy rice output at around 208.25 million tons, up from around 206.507 million tons in 2014 due to favourable weather conditions.

Retail prices of Japonica rice increased slightly in January 2016 mainly due to sustained domestic demand. However, they are mostly similar to their year-ago levels, according to the FAO. Oryza Weekly: Rice Prices Continue to Fall on Low Demand

Feb 20, 2016
The Oryza White Rice Index (WRI), a weighted average of global white rice export quotes, ended the week at about $381 per ton, down about $2 per ton from a week ago down about $3 per ton from a month ago and down about $38 per ton from a year ago.
U.S. stock markets were dragged lower on Friday amid a slide in crude oil prices; the S&P 500 is poised for the best week of 2016.  Rising rents and healthcare costs are boosting prospects that the U.S. Federal Reserve will gradually raise interest rates this year.  Most analysts see other major central banks holding interest rates steady, an atmosphere that could lead to a comparatively stronger U.S. dollar against other major currencies. 
Thailand 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $360 per ton, down about $10 per ton from a week ago, up about $5 per ton from a month ago and down about $45 per ton from a year ago.
The government sold about 152,377 tons of stockpiled rice worth about 1.78 billion baht (about $50 million) in the first auction of this year.  Bids of 15 private companies were reportedly successful. In the second auction this year the government  sold about 245,262 tons of stockpiled rice worth about 1.53 billion baht (about $43 million).  Bids of nine private companies were reportedly successful in today’s auction.
In 2015, Thailand exported about 9.795 million tons of rice, down about 11% from the same period last year.
Thailand, which is part of the Mekong River Commission, is being accused of diverting water from the Mekong River to its Northeastern states that are suffering from drought conditions without proper notice to the MRC, according to Vietnamese media reports.
Witnesses present in Court on February 17 to testify against the former Prime Minister told judges that the scheme lacked appropriate accounting systems leading to loopholes in disbursements of the state budget.
Thailand’s 2015-16 secondary rice crop (January-June) acreage declined by about half to around 800,000 hectares due to extending drought conditions.
Vietnam 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $350 per ton, down about $5 per ton from a week and a month ago and down about $10 per ton from a year ago.
Experts warn that increasing salt water intrusion in Vietnam is likely to impact the nation’s rice production and exports significantly.
Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is estimating that the on-going drought and consequent salt water intrusion are likely to affect about 330,000 hectares (or about 35%) of winter-spring rice in the Mekong Delta region. Winter-spring crop accounts for about 62% of the Delta’s annual rice production.
Cambodia 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $415 per ton, down about $15 per ton from a week ago and a month ago, and down about $20 per ton from a year ago.
Myanmar 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $420 per ton, unchanged from a week and a month ago and up about $5 per ton from a year ago.
Officials of the Myanmar Rice Federation are urging the government to prepare rice reserves in anticipation of El Nino-induced drought conditions in the country.
India 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $365 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, up about $5 per ton from a month ago, and down about $30 per ton from a year ago.
India’s total rice exports during the first nine months of FY 2015-16 (April-December) have declined about 10% y/y to around 7.79 million tons.
The government of India forecasts India’s 2015-16 (July-June) milled rice output to decline about 2% y/y to around 103.61 million tons.
Wholesale basmati rice prices in the national capital increased Wednesday due to an increase in buying for stockpiling.
The government hopes to secure a one million ton rice export deal with Indonesia, which is likely to experience a decline in rice production this year due to ongoing dry conditions.
The Food Corporation of India and other government agencies have procured about 26.13 million tons of paddy in the 2015-16 kharif marketing season, up about 21% from the same time last year.
The USDA Post forecasts India’s exports in the current marketing year at around 8 million tons, a decrease of about 33% from last year.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority has made it mandatory for all Indian rice mills/processing units exporting basmati rice to the U.S. to register with India’s plant quarantine organization to ensure quality rice exports to the U.S.
The India-based Geographical Indications registry has granted the GI certification to India’s basmati rice, providing it a legal protection from other countries and companies using the “basmati” tag.  India’s central state Madhya Pradesh sought inclusion in the GI tag application, but was opposed, and the case will now be going to court.
A report by the National Sample Survey using data collected between January and December 2013 found that only 5% of rice farmers in the country insured their crops, and the majority of them were not even aware of the insurance concept.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts India's rice exports to decline in 2016 from last year's high level. It forecasts India's 2015 paddy rice output to decline about 2% to around 155.407 million tons from around 158.210 million tons in 2014 due to an expected decline in secondary rabi rice crop (November - May).
Pakistan 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $345 per ton, up about $10 per ton from a week ago, up about $5 per ton from a month ago and down about $5 per ton from a year ago.
The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has urged the government to provide zero-rated sales tax status to them as they are facing severe liquidity crunch due to pending tax refund claims.
The Kenya Port Authority (KPA) has reportedly agreed to release Pakistani rice consignments stuck at the Mombasa port in Kenya since January 20, 2016, following the cancellation of licence of two port yards Auto Ports Container Freight Station (CFS) and Portside CFS over allegations of dealing in contraband goods.
Central & South America
Brazil 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $460 per ton, unchanged from a week and a month ago and down about $90 per ton from a year ago. The Brazilian paddy rice index maintained by the Center for Advanced Studies on Applied Economics (CEPEA) reached around 42.1 real per 50 kilograms as of February 15, 2016, up around 0.36% from around 41.95 real per 50 kilograms recorded on February 08, 2016.  In terms of USD, the index reached around $207 per ton on February 15, 2016, down around 3.7% from around $215 per ton recorded a week ago.  Month-on-month, the index has increased around 1.84% from around 41.34 real per 50 kilograms recorded month ago. In terms of USD, the index increased around 1.24% during the month.
Five percent broken rice from Uruguay and Argentina is today quoted at about $440 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $45 per ton from a  month ago and down about $160 per ton from a year ago.
The UN’s FAO estimates Bolivia’s 2015-16 rice and other cereal imports to decline from the high levels of the previous two years due to a record production in 2015.  It estimates total cereal imports (including rice) in 2015 will decline about 19% y/y to around 476,000 tons.  Bolivia’s 2015 paddy rice production increased by about 25% y/y, to around 472,000 tons.
U.S. 4% broken rice is today quoted at about $465 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $5 per ton from a  month ago and down about $20 per ton from a year ago.
Chicago rough rice futures for March delivery fluctuated this week, moving higher early in the week after the Monday holiday and then closing back below $11.000/cwt (about $243 per ton) on Thursday.  The weekly high was on Wednesday, when futures reached $11.175/cwt (about $246 per ton).
The U.S. cash market saw little action this week but oscillated with the futures market as farmers remained on the sidelines.
The USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration is developing a new software called “Rice Studio,” which can be used along with consumer-grade photo scanners to grade rice by measuring the percentage of broken kernels in milled rice quickly and accurately.
Other Markets
The government of the Philippines may not import rice for the lean season (July-September) this year due to adequate stocks.
The government of Sri Lanka plans to export some of its 200,000 tons of surplus paddy rice to Southern African nations.
The Maldives plans to import rice and other products from Bangladesh.
The UN’s FAO estimates Bhutan’s MY 2015-16 (July-June) rice imports at around 70,000 tons.  It estimates total cereal imports, including rice, will decline about 8% y/y due to good 2015 harvests.
South Korea’s state-run Agro Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation is seeking to buy about 40,000 tons of non-glutinous rice in tenders for delivery between May 31 and June 30.
The government of China, which is facing storage problems, plans to clear old rice and corn stocks from reserves. The government’s procurement program is being criticized for the country’s storage problems.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts china's MY 2015-16 (June - May) rice imports to decline about 6% y/y due to government's efforts to limit informal imports. It forecasts China's 2015 paddy rice output at around 208.25 million tons, up from around 206.507 million tons in 2014 due to favorable weather conditions.
The Rice growers Association of Australia is urging the government to expedite the process of signing a biosecurity protocols agreement with China in order to export rice there.
Ukraine’s 2016 rice output is expected to increase about 12% y/y due to an expected increase in acreage by about 23%.
Rice imports by the European Union have increased sharply since the beginning of the crop year 2015-16 (September-August), with the EU importing about 526,984 tons of rice during the period September 1 – February 9, an increase of about 19% from the same period last year.
The EU’s rice imports from the Least Developed Countries of Asia such as Cambodia and Myanmar under the Everything But Arms Agreement have reached about 151,326 tons in the first five months of the crop year 2015-16 (September-January), an increase of about 40% from the same period last year.
The European Commission will soon present a proposal authorizing the temporary inclusion of tricyclazole fungicide, used to contain rice blast disease, among those authorized in agriculture.
The President of the Association of the Italian Milling Industries is urging rice farmers to increase the hectarage of Indica rice varieties.
The UN’s FAO estimates Tanzania’s MY 2015-16 (July-June) rice imports at around 100,000 tons, and estimates its 2015 paddy rice production to decline about 7% y/y to around 2.4 million tons.
Rice farmers in Ghana are concerned that there are no buyers for locally produced rice due to the influx of imported rice.
The government of Angola has set up the National Council of Pricing to monitor prices of rice and other food items such as sugar, milk, beef, fish, and corn.

FAO Forecasts 2016 India Rice Exports to Decline from Last Year's Elevated Level

Feb 19, 2016
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts India's rice exports to decline in 2016 from last year's elevated level. It forecasts India's total cereal exports in the 2015-16 marketing year (April/March) to decline about 27% y/y to around 12.5 million tons mainly due to a sharp decline in wheat exports.
The FAO forecasts India's 2015 paddy rice output to decline about 2% to around 155.407 million tons from around 158.210 million tons in 2014 due to an expected decline in secondary rabi rice crop (November - May). The FAO estimates the rabi rice planting area to decline about 7% over last year. The final outcome of this season’s harvests will depend on the availability of water supplies for irrigation and rainfall in the coming weeks, which are critical for crop development, says the FAO.
Harvesting of the 2015 kharif rice crop (July - December) is complete and the FAO estimates the kharif output at around 90.6 million tons, marginally below last year's level.
Retail prices of rice were stable in most markets in January 2016, despite the progressive arrival of the 2015 main crop in the market, due to the on-going government procurement purchases.

Kenya Port Authority Agrees to Release Pakistan Rice Consignments, Says REAP Chairman

Feb 19, 2016

The Kenya Port Authority (KPA) has reportedly agreed to release Pakistani rice consignments stuck at the Mombasa port in Kenya since January 20, 2016, following the cancellation of licence of two port yards Auto Ports Container Freight Station (CFS) and Portside CFS over allegations of dealing in contraband goods, Pakistan media quoted the Chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP).
Over 1,300 containers carrying 37,000 tons of rice worth $13 million have been held up at the Kenyan port despite paying all local duties and taxes. The release of the containers was reportedly linked with 100% examination.
The REAP Chairman and the Pakistan High Commission Commercial Counsellor in Nairobi met with the Managing Director of the KPA and other related officials and requested them to release the containers without 100% examination as they were imported by genuine importers. He also reportedly sought for the waiving of all demurrages and storage/re-marshalling charges that would have accrued over the past few days. It is understood that the KPA agreed to waive off the charges and asked REAP to provide the details of Bill of Lading along with container numbers of the consignments lying at the KPA.
"We have also asked for a deadline of 15th March, 2016 for removing the balance rice consignments from KPA without any storage or additional charge and KPA officials are almost agreed to it," the REAP Chairman was quoted.
Kenya is a traditional importer of Pakistani rice and the bilateral trade between Kenya and Pakistan is more than $600 million, according to the Pakistan High Commission Commercial Counsellor.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Prices Firm with Strong Export Sales

Feb 20, 2016

The U.S. cash market was slightly firmer today after the USDA reported respectable export sales figures despite most buyers being hand-to-mouth.
The USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week that ended on February 11 totaled 90,600 tons, an increase of 71% from the previous week and considerably higher than the prior 4-week average.
Increases were reported for the following destinations:  41,400 tons to Mexico, 22,100 tons to Colombia, 5,400 tons to Saudi Arabia, 4,900 tons to Haiti,  and 4,700 tons to Jordan.
U.S. rice exporters shipped 38,000 tons, a decrease of 23% from than last week and 26% lower than the prior 4-week average.
Increases were reported for the following destinations: 7,300 tons to Taiwan, 7,000 tons to Haiti, 6,100 tons to El Salvador, 3,900 tons to Mexico, and 2,900 tons to Canada

Pakistan Exporters Seek Zero Sales Tax Status

Feb 19, 2016

The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has urged the government to provide zero sales tax status to them as they are facing severe liquidity crunch due to pending tax refund claims, according to local sources.
The REAP Chairman was responding to the Prime Minister's recent decision to restore zero tax status to five export sectors, including textile, leather, carpet, sports goods and surgical goods. He said the Prime Minister should include rice sector also in the list.
“Rice exporters contribute a major share to the country’s export earnings and are providing direct and indirect employment to millions, ” he said. “Rice is the second largest export commodity, but despite earning $2 billion annually, we are not being given benefits while exporters of other commodities are facilitated,” he added.
The REAP Chairman also noted that rice exporters are facing with several problems and consequently their export capacity is being severely impacted. He noted that exports are already below target both in terms of value and volume. Absence of zero-rated facility and imposition of sales tax would further be burdensome to exporters.
He said that the association has also written letters to the Finance and Commerce Ministers asking them to provide zero sales tax facility to rice exporters and exempt them from sales tax and income tax on utility services.

Wholesale Basmati Rice Prices in India Continue to Rise on Increased Buying for Stockpiling

Feb 19, 2016
Wholesale basmati rice prices in the national capital have increased today for third consecutive day owing to an increase in buying for stockpiling against restricted supplies from producers, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).
On February 19, 2016, prices of Pusa 1121 increased to around Rs.4,050 - 4,950 per quintal (around $592 - $724 per ton) from previous levels of around 3,900 - 4,800 per quintal (around $572 - $703 per ton).
Prices of common basmati increased to around Rs.5,300 - 5,400 per quintal (around $775 - $790 per ton) from previous levels of around Rs.5,100 - 5,200 per quintal (around $747 - $762 per ton).
"Steady inflow of buying by stockists against restricted supplies from producing regions kept rice basmati prices higher," traders were quoted as saying.

Oryza CBOT Rough Rice Futures Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Recover to Finish the Week $0.26/cwt Higher as Market Participants Eye Potential Demand

Feb 20, 2016

Chicago rough rice futures for Mar delivery settled 16 cents per cwt (about $4 per ton) higher at $11.020 per cwt (about $243 per ton). The other grains finished the day lower; Soybeans closed about 0.2% lower at $8.8075 per bushel; wheat finished about 0.4% lower at $4.6675 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.1% lower at $3.6925 per bushel.
U.S. stocks traded in a range Friday, continuing to consolidate after solid gains earlier in the week and mostly shaking off pressure from declines in oil prices. The major averages held mixed in afternoon trade, but well off session lows with the Nasdaq composite trading mostly higher. WTI futures for March delivery, which expires Monday, pared losses to trade about 2% lower blower $30 a barrel after the U.S. oil rig count showed a decline of 26 in the last week, Baker Hughes said. As of the close Thursday, the major U.S. averages were up more than 2.5% for the week so far, on pace for their best week since November. In economic news, the consumer price index showed a 0.3% rise ex-food and energy in January. The headline figure was unchanged from the previous month. Year-over-year, the core CPI advanced 2.2%, the largest rise since June 2012, Reuters said. European stocks closed lower amid the negotiations and declines in oil. Asian stocks were mostly lower Friday, but the Nikkei 225 ended the week with gains of nearly 6.8%, while the Shanghai composite was up about 3.5% for the week. In afternoon trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 33 points, or 0.2%, to 16,379. The S&P 500 declined less than a point, or 0.04%, to 1,917, with energy leading five sectors lower and information technology the top gainer. The Nasdaq composite traded up 18 points, or 0.4%, at 4,505. Gold is seen trading about 0.4% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 3.3% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.3% lower at about  1:30pm Chicago time.
Thursday, there were 1,018 contracts traded, up from 952 contracts traded on Wednesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Thursday increased by 168 contracts to 13,133. 

Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan Rice Sellers Lower Their Quotes Today; India Rice Quotes Unchanged

Feb 19, 2016

Thailand rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice and parboiled rice by about $5 per ton each to around $355-$365 per ton and $365-$375 per ton respectively today. Vietnam rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice and Jasmine rice by about $5 per ton and $20 per ton to around $345-$355 per ton and $410-$420 per ton, respectively. Pakistan rice sellers lowered their quotes for 25% broken rice and 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton each to around $305-$315 per ton and $285-$295 per ton respectively. India rice sellers kept their quotes unchanged today.                                
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is indicated at around $355 - $365 per ton, about $10 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $345 - $355 per ton. India 5% rice is indicated at around $360 - $370 per ton, about $20 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $340 - $350 per ton.
25% Broken Rice
Thailand 25% rice is indicated at around $345 - $355 per ton, about $10 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $335- $345 per ton. India 25% rice is indicated at around $325 - $335 per ton, about $20 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $305 - $315 per ton.
Parboiled Rice           
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $365 - $375per ton. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $350 - $360 per ton, about $55 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice last shown at around $405 - $415 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super is indicated at around $325 - $335 per ton, about $5 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $320 - $330 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $260 - $270 per ton, about $25 per ton discount to Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $285 - $295 per ton.

Global Rice Quotes

February 22nd, 2016
Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade
Vietnam 5% broken
India 5% broken
Pakistan 5% broken
Myanmar 5% broken
Cambodia 5% broken
U.S. 4% broken
Uruguay 5% broken
Argentina 5% broken

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken
Vietnam 25% broken
Pakistan 25% broken
Cambodia 25% broken
India 25% broken
U.S. 15% broken (sacked)

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd
India parboiled 5% broken stxd
U.S. parboiled 4% broken
Brazil parboiled 5% broken
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken

Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%
Vietnam Jasmine
India basmati 2% broken
Pakistan basmati 2% broken
Cambodia Phka Mails

Thailand A1 Super
Vietnam 100% broken
Pakistan 100% broken stxd
Cambodia A1 Super
India 100% broken stxd
Egypt medium grain brokens
U.S. pet food
Brazil half grain

Medium grain milled
U.S. Calrose 4% broken
Egypt medium grain 6%
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

News have been shared with written permission of with thanks.

22nd February 2016 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine-Latest Rice News Updates

Pak-Iran trade hostage to failed trade diplomacy: PBIF

February 20, 2016
KARACHI: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Friday said Pakistan and Iran could become important trading partners for which serious efforts are needed.
Gas import deal that was to bring a revolution in the Pakistan's energy market is still under sanctions, therefore the two countries should ink new energy deals, it said.Bilateral trade, which was once $1 billion, has now come down to $128 million despite the agreement between both countries to boost trade to $5 billion, said PBIF President Mian Zahid Hussain. He said that sliding exports reflects the failure of trade diplomacy on the part of Pakistani authorities despite the fact that Pakistani rice, fruit, vegetable, sports goods and IT services are in demand in the neighbouring nations.

Hussain said that the government as well as private sector should initiate efforts to boost trade, which include opening of banking channels that are currently under sanctions and improved transport infrastructure.


Writ Plea from Madhya Pradesh Seeks Quashing of IPAB Order on Basmati Rice

Published: 18th February 2016 04:01 AM
Last Updated: 18th February 2016 04:01 AM

CHENNAI: The State of Madhya Pradesh, through its Additional Director of Agriculture, has moved the Madras High Court with a writ petition seeking quashing of an order, dated February 5, 2016, of the City-based Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).The February 5 order, among other things, held that the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a statutory body in New Delhi, is entitled to get Geographical Indications (GI) tag for Basmati rice in respect of the area and region specified in the certified copies of the maps annexed with its GI application No 145 and consequently, the Assistant Registrar, GI Registry, Chennai, shall proceed with the registration and issue the certificate of registration within four weeks.The writ petition came up before the first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh on Wednesday.

The bench ordered notice to the IPAB, APEDA, Assistant Registrar of GI and others. It also directed that, till a decision is taken on the writ petition, no precipitating action will be taken by APEDA in respect of the produce from the State of Madhya Pradesh quo the existing areas where such rice is alleged to have been growing.Petitioner’s senior counsel submitted that the issue of inclusion of certain areas of MP as Basmati rice growing areas would have to be examined by the Assistant Registrar of Geographical Indications in view of the impugned order of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) and there were already directions to conclude that aspect within six months.

The issue which is sought to be raised before the Bench, as per the submissions made, is that certain States have been included in toto, while actually what should have been included was certain specified areas of those States where the cultivation of Basmati rice goes on. It is the counsel’s contention that such a plea was not capable of being raised in the proceedings before the Assistant Registrar of GI and can be raised before this court as a consequent of the impugned order.

APEDA senior counsel stated that the petitioner never assailed the earlier order of the Assistant Registrar of GI dated December 31, 2013 and had thus lost the right to raise the issue as otherwise they could always raise it before the Assistant Registrar of GI, subject to the meeting of the terms and conditions required for raising such an objection.The aforesaid is the limited controversy which will have to be examined by this court as agreed to by both the sides. Let counters be filed by the parties to the case restricting to the aforesaid aspects within three weeks, the bench said. Rejoinder if any be filed within two weeks thereafter, the bench added and posted the matter for April 5
The  Indian Express

Is Iran’s Comeback a Double-Edged Sword for India?

Iran’s reengagement promises both more opportunity and more competition for India.

Description: Is Iran’s Comeback a Double-Edged Sword for India?February 21, 2016
Since 2014, buoyed by the economic pitch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has been in the global economic spotlight. In 2016, however, at least some of the focus will shift to Iran, as it rejoins the global economy following the lifting of sanctions. What does this new Iran really mean for India? As much as it can benefit from a more open Iran, India will also face some more serious competition, from both Iran and its potential partners.There is no doubt that India will benefit from cheaper commodity prices and an Iranian shopping spree.

With Iran boosting its oil production and exports amid a global supply glut, major crude oil importers like India will benefit immensely from the cheaper oil. For India, cheaper oil helps it to reduce its import bill, reducing trade and current account deficits. The Indian government has already taken the opportunity to hike excise duties on fuels, which are expected to yield additional government revenue at a time of fiscal consolidation.

But Iran’s comeback means more than just cheaper oil and better fiscal position. Besides agro and allied products, which have been India’s biggest exports to Iran, exports of Indian pharmaceuticals, IT, commodities, and general goods are all expected to increase. The Indian government is moving swiftly to expand trade ties with Iran. During the second meeting of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Commerce in November 2015, Iran and India agreed “to open up a channel for exchange of information” to start preliminary consultations for a preferential trade agreement (PTA).Indian companies are also expected to play a greater role in Iran’s infrastructure projects.

In fact, Iran hasasked India to invest $8 billion in infrastructure projects, particularly in connectivity plans. India has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to develop the strategic Chabahar port and pledged to invest about $85 million. India is also keen to develop Iran’s railways, participating in the Chahbahar-Zahedan-Mashhad railway line as well as supplying rail tracks, rolling stock, signaling and other equipment.Energy is another area where India is seeking for greater access. During the 18th session of the India-Iran Joint Commission in December 2015, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj conveyed India’s interest in exploring Iranian oil and gas blocks and asked Iran to allow India to develop Farzad-B gas field, which was discovered by a consortium of Indian companies in 2008.

More Competition
Despite the much-hyped expectations of opportunities in post-sanctions Iran, India is likely to face more competition in engaging with Iran. During sanctions, India was one of the few countries that continued trade links with Iran. Food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment were explicitly excluded under the sanctions, and Iran imported basmati rice, sugar, soymeal, corn and other products from India, whose exports to Iran almost doubled in the years since 2011. With the sanctions lifted, however, Iran now has more options for both its exports and its imports – all major exporting countries are keen to tap the Iranian market. China moved first when President Xi Jinping visited Iran last month to expand trade and strengthen ties. On February 15, a cargo train from China arrived in Tehran in an attempt to revive the ancient Silk Road. This will only buttress Iran’s geostrategic position.

Competing with others in the Iranian market is not the only concern. India now will have to compete with Iran itself for foreign investment. Less than two weeks after sanctions were lifted, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed megadeals worth billions during his state visit to Europe. Iran now expects to attract up to $50 billion in foreign investment and finance in the next fiscal year, which begins on March 20.

The upsurge of global interest in the Iranian market is clearly evident. China and Europe are already racing to get a slice of the pie. A bilateral investment pact between Japan and Iran was signed early this month, while Joint Economic Committee meeting between Iran and South Korea will be held tomorrow with the expectation of signing more than 15 agreements. With Iran emerging as the next frontier for investment, India is no longer a sure thing to remain the world’s most favored investment destination when U.S. primary sanctions against Iran are lifted.Iran’s reengagement with the world certainly promises great opportunities to India. However, India is not the sole beneficiary, and New Delhi will need to consider its strategy carefully.

Dr. Soyen Park is a South Korean national, currently living in New Delhi where she works as a researcher on the Indian economy.

Trilochan Mohapatra is now Secy, ICAR


Staff Reporter, New Delhi
Trilochan Mohapatra, Director-cum-vice Chancellor, IARI, ICAR, New Delhi, has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Agri Research & Education-cum-Director General in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. In August 2015, Mohapatra was appointed as Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), which played a major role in the country's Green Revolution after remaining headless for more than a year.

 Mohapatra, previously also headed Odisha-based Central Rice Research Institute, Bureaucracy Today has learnt.  Mohapatra, who has been working in the area of molecular genetics and genomics, has published over 145 research papers in national and international journals of repute.He has developed the first high-yielding basmati rice variety resistant to bacterial sequencing of rice and tomato.


Korean researchers find black rice helps reduce body fat


Updated: 2016-02-22 14:03:36 KST

More people are eating different types of rice for a healthy lifestyle.Black rice contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanin antioxidants, which act as anti-cancer agents.The rice is also good for anti-aging and prevention against various diseases.And according to research, black rice also fights against obesity.Substances found in the outermost layer of black rice, including anthocyanin, inhibit lipogenesis and fat absorption.The researchers fed ten out of 20 mice with black rice extract for three months.

Compared to the control group, the mice that were fed the extract saw a nearly 26 percent reduction in obesity index and a 27.five percent reduction in abdominal fat. Their blood cholesterol was also reduced by ten.five percent.Post-menopausal women who took black rice extract capsules for 12 weeks also saw a more than five-percent reduction in abdominal fat.Korea's Rural Development Administration will transfer its extraction technology of black rice to companies, which will produce medicines and various health products.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.
Reporter :

Nigeria spends $1.8b yearly on rice import, says Dangote

Posted By: Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezieon: February 22, 2016

Launches Rice Outgrowers Scheme
Description: Nigeria spends $1.8b yearly on rice import, says DangoteAfrica’s richest man and President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has lamented that Nigeria spends nearly $1.8billion per year importing (approximately 3.2 million) metric tons of rice to feed its population.He said this huge foreign exchange (forex) would have been used on more impactful social development interventions if they were not needed for food imports.Speaking during the launch of the Dangote Rice Outgrowers Scheme in Jigawa State at the weekend, he  said the nation’s  agricultural commodities and food imports bills averaged over N1trillion in 2013 and 2014, with foods such as sugar, wheat, rice, fish accounting for 93 per cent of the total cost of imports
He described the situation as unacceptable for anyone who loves the country. To check the the unncessary waste of forex on food importation, the Dangote Group has made investment in the agrci sector to create jobs and assure food security in the country.The Rice Outgrowers Scheme was launched in Hadejia, Kafin-Hausa Local Government Area of Jigawa State.Starting with 20,000 hectares of rice cultivation to be expanded to cover 800, 000 hectares over the next three years, Dangote said there was no better time than now to turn to agriculture to save the  economy.
The scheme started  with the distribution of treated rice seedling for planting to some 5000 farmers.He said: “We are committed to the development of outgrower scheme by providing local, value added products and services that meet the ‘basic needs’ of the populace. To this end, the Dangote Rice Farm Ltd, will run an initial pilot in Hago-Fadama, Kafin Hausa and Auyo areas which would see Dangote Rice developing small hold farmers by providing quality inputs (certified seeds, fertiliser, agro-chemicals and petrol), improved agricultural practices and technology to increase yield and produce quality rice paddy which would also be bought back from them by Dangote Rice Limited.
“The programme in Jigawa State is expected to create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs to the host communities.”Aside the outgrowers aspect of the investment, he said Dangote Rice is planning to plant approximately 150,000 hectares  of long grain white rice and produce near one million tons of high quality par boiled white rice for sale into the market.Furthermore, he said the internal policy within Dangote Rice Ltd is to procure 30 per cent of rice production from local farmers who will be developed into outgrower groups. According to him these outgrowers will be simultaneously developed alongside the company’s commercial farming operations.
Dangote said before the discovery of oil, the economy was built around potentials from palm oil, ground nut, cotton, and rubber plantations. “Now the price of oil has plummeted from a peak of $116 per barrel in June 2014 to as low as $29 per barrel in January this year. This means there is huge loss of revenue to the government,” he said.Currently the average yield of rice in the country is between 1.8 to 2.5  metric tone per hectare (MT/ha), depending on the region and the crop (wet or dry) and with or without irrigation 1.8 MT/ha, which is significantly lower than the best practice yields in Africa of 9.2 MT/ha generated in Egypt. Locally produced rice is more expensive than imported rice due to the high cost of production relative to the low yields in the country because of poor agronomic practices.
In addition, the Federal Government has implemented policy incentives that encourage investment in domestic rice production and milling.Dangote disclosed that the Dangote Rice Outgrowers Scheme was designed as a one stop solution for the rice value chain.In his remark during the rice seedling distribution, Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heneiken Lokpobiri lauded the initiative of Dangote, saying the intervention in the government efforts at providing food security for the citizenry, creating jobs and reducing dependence on food importation is appreciated by being boosted.According to him, so much forex is spent on importation of food items that could be produced locally.
While expressing the government readiness to provide all the needed support to make the Dangote Rice Outgrowers Scheme a success, the minister said the government is putting in place a strategy that will make farmers have greater access to farm implements to help them produce with ease.Also speaking the Special Adviser to Alhaji Dangote on Rice and Coordinator of the Outgrowers Scheme, Mr. Lulu Carlos explained that 6.1million metric tone (mmt) of rice is consumed annually but not more than 2.6 million metric tons are produced locally leaving the rest to importation.Lulu said: “We are happy to start today the partnership with the First Out Growers bloc of 200 hectares, shared among 8 communities. I have seen the same project grow in my country, Brazil, whereby from 2.5 Mt tons in the beginning to today where we reached 9 tons of paddy rice per hectare in productivity.
“This has transformed our country (Brazil), from a net importer of Rice in the year 2000 to a neýt exporter in the year of 2009.   This was achieved through a big out grower scheme in the rice region, which today involves thousands of independent farmers responsible for 80 per cent of the 12 million tons locally produced rice and a small number of large Commercial farms supplying the remaining 20 per cent.“Also, Alhaji Aliko, has   instructed me to conduct the project here for at least 30 per cent from out growers and 70 per cent from our commercial farm to be established in the state. But this is not our limit. We are today convinced that this equation will have more and more out growers participation in the future, due to very good and welcome response we are getting from all the communities we are dealing with.
“We are bringing to the people top quality seeds, fertilizers and chemicals as well the training and teaching the best and most modern agriculturalý practices, to enable you to boost your productivity and quality of your rice. We are also committed to roll out the scheme to cover another 1,000 hectares for the coming rainy season in June / July, using the experience of this 1st plot to guide our progress.”
The Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Badaru Muhammed Abubakar thanked the Dangote Rice Limited for choosing Jigawa as the pilot state for the project. He pledged the readiness of his administration to provide all necessary support to the project.He said, the project was part of his government’s commitment to improve agriculture and industrialize the state for job creation and poverty eradication.
“Right from my inaugural speech, I made it clear that, agriculture was one of my government cardinal points and we are ready to collaborate with private investors in achieving the desire goals.“The project we are launching today is one of the numerous projects we intend to embark in collaboration with private investors from within and outside the country and we have already signed memorandum with many of them,” the governor said.The governor then assured Dangote Group of the state government’s support in making any policy and intervention that will make the investment profitable and generate jobs for the teeming population of the state.

Aurora’s festival puts the spotlight on brown rice

Description: PhilRice-brown rice
Eight of the best suman makers in Aurora competed during the Farmers’ Day, in what was to be their first official attempt at using unpolished or “brown” rice in creating the best tasting suman, 15 February."Every year, the local government holds a Pinaka Contest. This 2016, we are holding the Pinakamasarap na Brown Rice Suman as suman is one of the most sought-after delicacy  that visitors and tourists buy in Aurora. It is also in response to the call of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to eat brown rice," said Venecia B. Estacio, focal person for organic agriculture and high value crops.

Suman is a steamed rice cake wrapped in fresh coconut palm or banana leaves. A native delicacy made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, and salt, suman has become a staple in typical Filipino fiestas."In our promotion of organic farming, we have heard farmers and non-farmers alike express their growing concern for their diet and health. We also note that their awareness and demand for pinawa or brown rice is increasing. Hence, the twist in our suman-making contest, "Estacio added.

Brown rice is the common term for the whole grain form of any kind of rice. It still has the bran, the part that is removed during polishing to make rice white.  Thus, its brown color. Because of the bran, brown or unpolished rice has more protein, dietary fiber, minerals, antioxidants, B vitamins, and vitamin E compared to white rice.“We want to make Filipino rice consumers healthier through the promotion of unpolished or brown rice. Since Filipinos also eat rice during snacks, we also want to develop and promote rice-based food products made of brown rice. Hence, the event,” explained Hazel V. Antonio, Be RICEponsible campaign director.

The Be RICEponsible Campaign of DA, has since 2014, been raising awareness as well as improving the consumption and production of brown rice in the Philippines. The promotion of brown rice is one of its pillar messages in making Filipinos responsible rice consumers."Junk foods are sold almost everywhere. We need to promote healthier alternatives to these like brown rice suman for snack and breakfast to nourish our children [and people] better," said Eleanor De Mesa-Olivar, tourism officer and co-chair of the Suman House exhibit.Farmers' associations and rural improvement clubs from the eight municipalities of Aurora joined the contest: Baler, Casiguran, Dilasag, Dinalungan, Dingalan, Dipaculao, Maria Aurora, and San Luis. San Luis' milky soft suman bagged first place, taking home P10,000, followed by the latik-laden entry of Maria Aurora with P7,000, and the cheesy variant of Baler with P5,000.

Description: PhilRice-brown rice-suman
Reviving lost tradition

The recently erected mini Suman House, a two-storey wooden hut decked with colorful suman-shaped decorations and other indigenous embellishments reminiscent of the Pahiyas of Quezon province, served as the venue for the taste off."We are pouring efforts to showcase Aurora's suman-making heritage not just for the sake of marketing but to inspire community participation in helping revive the Suman Festival, which we last held in 2004," Olivar added.From 1997 to 2004, Aurora is home to the grand celebration of the Suman Festival, which also coincides with the province's founding anniversary.

It is believed that the suman of Aurora started even before the Japanese came. Travelers from Nueva Ecija and Manila, journey from three to five days by walking or riding on a horse. This long journey entailed extra work like bringing food that would keep them full while traveling. This triggered the preparation of suman, which was easy to bring and less perishable.

Healthier, taste even better
Description: PhilRice-brown rice-suman entry

"All the pinawa suman tasted so good that you can hardly say that the makers used unpolished rice. I think they even tasted better than all the suman (made with polished rice) I have ever tasted," remarked Antonio.Lydia Amatorio, a contestant from Baler, said that although pinawa required more time to cook, it has a natural flavor that makes the resulting product taste better than that made with polished glutinous rice.

"The secret to making a milky rich and soft suman is in the soaking and amount of coconut milk used," Melba Eberio, the master cook from the winning San Luis team."If unpolished glutinous rice will become accessible, it is possible for us to use it regularly for our suman," Eberio added.Meanwhile, suman maker Josie Mambalo of Brgy. Suguit, Maria Aurora has already begun selling brown rice suman to her clients on a made-to-order basis since their cooperative acquired a brown rice milling unit in 2015.The Pinakamasarap na Brown Rice Suman Contest was organized by the local government of Aurora in partnership with the Be RICEponsible Campaign of DA.

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