Monday, March 14, 2016

14th March 2016 daily global rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Today Rice News Headlines...

·         NFA disputes data on smuggled rice

·         Rice exporters: REAP irked by attaché’s ‘non-cooperation’

·         Health expert warns farmers against heat stroke

·         Rice exporters for extending payback period for loans

·         Taiwanese scientist makes mark as the 'Father of Dominican Rice'

·         By Luis B. Gomez Luciano, Special to The China Post

·         03/11/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

·         Bacteria increases upland rice yield – study

·         Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a useful tool in coping with climate change

·         PhilRice Midsayap promotes agriculture in senior high

·         Govt in talks with GCC countries on oil-for-food scheme: Pradhan

·         Palestine to organize Trade Expo in Pakistan this year: Envoy

·         Ex-Gov. Javier, mayor, 9 others indicted in Php10-M rice mill scam

News Detail...

NFA disputes data on smuggled rice

THE NATIONAL Food Authority (NFA) questioned the data used by an agricultural group suggesting that up to 700,000 metric tons of rice illicitly entered the country in 2014.

“We could not find in the UN (United Nations) Comtrade the 2.3 million [metric tons, or MT, of total rice imports] showed in SINAG’s PowerPoint presentation used by Senator (Cynthia A.) Villar,” NFA spokesman Angel G. Imperial said in a talk with BusinessWorld on Friday.

Mr. Imperial added that when the NFA asked SINAG for its sources, the group referred to the UN Comtrade Web site, the Chinese official news agency Xinhua, and, run by the Thai rice industry.SINAG, which stands for Samahang Industiya ng Agrikultura, is the umbrella group composed of 33 farmers’ and irrigators’ associations.Sought for comment on the 2.3-million-MT estimate, SINAG President Rosendo O. So said, “The extrapolation is our analysis and we are not publicly showing it yet. We stand by our data and analysis.”
The data validate the behavior of millers and traders who have not been buying palay at their usual levels, Mr. So added.Mr. Imperial said that the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Senator Villar, in a Senate hearing on Feb. 23, used SINAG’s data to question the performance of agencies involved in preventing illegal imports.The NFA spokesman said official Customs records revealed rice importations of 1.58 million MT in 2014. The NFA recorded similar levels at some 1.5 million MT. -- Janina C. Lim


Rice exporters: REAP irked by attaché’s ‘non-cooperation’

Published: March 13, 2016
ISLAMABAD: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) came down hard on the country’s commercial attaché in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for not cooperating with the association to facilitate the issuance of visas.“The REAP delegation postponed their scheduled visit to the Kingdom after they were given a cold shoulder by the commercial attaché Wasim Hayat Bajwa,” said REAP delegation leader Abdul Rahim Janoo, while talking to The Express Tribune.

“This is not the first time this has happened; we have had to cancel our scheduled visit twice because of the non-cooperative attitude,” he added. The REAP had prepared a 29-member delegation for a visit to Saudi Arabia from March 11-20 to discuss rice exports with the authorities and the business community.“Bajwa did not cooperate with us for the issuance of visa letter for the members,” said Janoo, adding that now the association had decided not to send any delegation to Saudi Arabia as long as the incumbent commercial attaché was posted.
He said Saudi Arabia was one of the largest rice markets for basmati rice but Pakistan’s share was a meagre 10% in it. “Our rice share in the Saudi market is continuously falling and neighbouring countries are taking advantage of it.”

Pakistan produced 7.008 million tons of rice during 2014-15 and recorded highest ever production due to timely sowing, availability of irrigation water and more acreage under high yielding hybrid rice  varieties.About 3 million tons of rice is annually consumed in the country and the remaining quantity is exported. This year, however, most of the stock could not be shipped due to decline of the commodity price in the international market.Thailand, India and Vietnam are occupying Pakistan’s traditional rice markets because of competitive pricing.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2016

Health expert warns farmers against heat stroke

With the onslaught of El Niño and the summer season fast approaching, an expert advises farmers to take necessary precautions against heat stroke.Dr. Raul V. Destura, an internal medicine and infectious disease specialist, says that heat stroke is one of the most common health risks among farmers who work under the scorching heat of the sun.
According to Destura, heat stroke, also known as sun stroke, is a severe heat illness with body temperature that is greater than 40.6 °C (105.1 °F), mostly due to environmental heat exposure.
“Most of the time, heat stroke becomes unnoticed or undiagnosed among the rural health units,” Destura said.
He added that people who experience this are sometimes thought of as “na-maligno” or under the control of a superficial creature when in fact, altered mental state or behavior is one of the symptoms of this illness.
Other symptoms of heat stroke include an alteration in sweating, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, and headache.
“If it’s heat stroke, your skin is dry. If you’re over-exercised, you get a moist skin,” Destura clarified.
Immediate interventions for heat stroke is to get the person into shade or indoors, remove excess clothing, keep him hydrated, and cool him with whatever means available.
This may include putting the person in a cool tub of water or shower, spraying with garden hose, or sponging cool water. Placing ice packs or wet towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits, and groin is also a measure that can be done.
Meanwhile, rice farmers are also highly exposed to respiratory ailments especially during the harvest season when they get to inhale dust particles from threshing. This may also cause allergies and skin infections.
Chemical exposure from the wrong use of pesticides is also risky. Destura, therefore, advises farmers to use protective equipment such as facemasks and gloves.
Considering these health risks, Destura strongly recommends that occupational health risks “must be comprehensively integrated in rice farming management.” He encourages a multidisciplinary approach that includes health of the farmers.
Mechanized farming is also one of his suggestions to reduce biological risks with proper training and machine maintenance to avoid mechanical accidents.
Lastly, he encourages farmers to consult a doctor immediately if they have any health concern. Destura also emphasized that doctors and health experts must direct their studies to practical applications that benefit the health of the farmers.
“We need to generate agricultural productivity without too much compromise on our farmers’ health,” he ended.
Destura’s talk on “Health Risks in Rice Farming” was featured in a seminar-series at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) earlier this year. He is currently the Chair of the Institutional Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee of UP Manila


Rice exporters for extending payback period for loans

March 13, 2016

LAHORE - The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has demanded the State Bank of Pakistan to extend the payback period for the export refinance loans to 360 days from the current 180 days, as the rice exports are constantly declining due to lowering prices of rice in the global market.The other reasons for the rice sector crisis include the soaring cost of production because of expensive inputs, lower yielding seeds, unsold stock of the last two years, acute shortage of funds, and the inability of growers, millers and exporters to return their loans.

“And the government seems to be indifferent to the situation, which is unfortunate,” observed REAP Chairman Shafique Chaudhary.In order to restore compatibility of Pakistani basmati, Shafique demanded refund of the Withholding Tax paid by the rice exporters in 2013-14 and 2014-15, and reduction in its rate in future to 0.

25 percent only.Addressing a meeting at the REAP office here on Saturday, the chairman also demanded the withdrawal of WHT of 3.5 percent on the local purchase of paddy rice and various strategic interventions that would enable the rice exporters to operate without subsidies.

“It has become uncompetitive, especially in the case of various basmati varieties, and the rice-importing countries have begun turning to India, Thailand and Vietnam,” Shafique added.
He further said that the demand for Pakistani rice was drying up because of its comparatively higher prices.

“In terms of quantity, the country has been producing about 2 million tonnes of basmati rice, half of which is consumed domestically and the rest is exported.But from 2011 onwards, the exports started declining for various reasons,” he elaborated.He added that one of the reasons for drop in the quality of basmati was that since 1997 no new basmati seed had been introduced in the market.

“The inability of public sector researchers to introduce new high yielding basmati varieties in Pakistan has resulted in a constant decline in its per acre production, enabling the Indians to capture global basmati market with new long grain, high yield varieties,” he added.
“However the more immediate problem faced by the rice industry is the shortage of cash flow.
The exporters are not in a position to even purchase paddy from growers,” the chairman said.
“If rice exporters’ concerns are not addressed and their proposals are not considered, the rice export will see further drop,” Shafique warned.

He demanded the rice mills be exempted from gas and electricity loadshedding, so that the export targets could be achieved.Moreover, rice must be included in the list of items that come under the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) signed with different countries, so that a substantial quantity of rice may be exported.


Taiwanese scientist makes mark as the 'Father of Dominican Rice'

By Luis B. Gomez Luciano, Special to The China Post
March 14, 2016, 12:02 am TWN
 TAIPEI, Taiwan -- How the Dominican Republic, a Caribbean country, became self-sufficient in rice production could be surprising, but for Dominicans there is no mystery. They know that a Taiwanese scientist contributed much for it. So, they call him the Father of Dominican Rice.

He is Dr. Yin Tieh Hsieh (謝英鐸), a native of Pingtung and an alumnus of National Taiwan University. Hsieh was motivated by his professor, Chao Lien-Fang, to stay two years supporting the work of the Taiwanese Technical Mission. In Taiwan, he was a rising star in rice genetics helping to develop several new varieties when the Green Revolution was booming.

Located in the Dominican Republic, the Taiwanese mission led by Hsieh and assistants in the country worked to purify the local rice cultivars that were once introduced by Spaniard conquistadores. This initial attempt helped to increase yield by 80 percent.

Two years passed and the results were so promising that his professor, Chao, asked Hsieh to stay for two more years. He accepted and started a breeding program that was to achieve unprecedented success in the region, making his research station (Juma) one of the most prolific in Latin America.

According to journalist Antonio Gil, in his book about Hsieh and the 50 years of the Taiwanese mission in the Dominican Republic, the success motivated the president of the Dominican Republic, Joaquín Balaguer, to convince Hsieh to stay longer.

The impact of the Taiwanese scientists working together with Dominican colleagues is reflected in the increase of crop yield by more than 200 percent in 20 years while the whole American continent's only increased 72 percent in the same period. This was achieved thanks to the development of a new generation of varieties combining local genetic materials with others introduced from Taiwan and other regions. The rice varieties developed by Hsieh fostered the development of a whole rice industry and more than 80 percent of the rice cultivated fields in the Dominican Republic have been growing varieties developed by Hsieh and his helpers.

They have not only created many rice varieties (best known are Juma 57, Juma 58 and Prosequisa 4), but have also educated several generations of Dominican professionals, who are now working in companies, research institutes and universities.

At the beginning, the plant breeder focused on rice yield improvement, which was barely 2.4 tons per hectare when the mission arrived in the Dominican Republic in 1965. Now, with the country self-sufficient in rice production and with a national average yield above six tons per hectare, Hsieh, at 86, works on the improvement of rice grain quality.

The title says it all. Dr. Hsieh, Father of Dominican Rice, has carefully worked to improve rice production with new rice varieties and technologies, training of local professionals and advice to the government.

For more information about Dr. Hsieh, visit


03/11/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

Long Grain Cash Bids
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Rice Comment

Rice futures ended lower, but traded within Thursday's trading range. Export sales last week were 145,800 metric tons, with Japan and Venezuela the top buyers, which is a marketing year high. However, this week’s WASDE report lowered US exports by another 2 million cwt, bringing the estimate to an even 100 million cwt. That left carry out up 2 million cwt at 43.9 million cwt. Global rice supplies for 15/16 were raised 1.8 million tons due to increased production.


Bacteria increases upland rice yield – study

Researchers at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) found that a certain bacteria enhances growth, root development, and grain yield of upland rice varieties.The study, Exploring the potential of plant growth promoting actinomycetes to enhance upland rice production, led by Jayvee A. Cruz evaluated the effectiveness of plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) in enhancing the growth and yield of upland rice.
PGPB is recognized in agriculture in reducing the use of chemical fertilizer due to its growth promoting abilities.

Actinomycetes, the study found, are the most economically and biotechnologically valuable bacteria. It also showed the bacteria’s potential to stay in the plant and promote growth by increasing the availability of primary nutrients.
Actinomycetes can help stimulate root development, and contribute to the increased capacity of the root system for soil nutrients and water uptake to support plant growth. Because of this, we applied the bacteria on upland rice to see its potential in increasing upland rice productivity,” Cruz said.
Amongst 59 tested, Cruz and her team identified S. mutabilis NB3 as the most promising.
“We found that S. mutabilis NB3 with half inorganic fertilizer increased the grain yield from an average of 600 kg/ha to 1,200 kg/ha, proving its potential to reduce fertilizer input by half. It also increased root dry weight and tiller number of upland rice varieties,” Cruz explained.
“Their enhanced growth and ability to survive in Carbonized Rice Hull (CRH) demonstrate the potential of actinomycetes as plant growth-promoting inoculant for upland rice. The CRH could also be an alternate carrier other than soil for commercial use in the future,” Cruz added.
With an average yield of 1 to 1.5 t/ha, upland rice production suffers from factors such as low soil fertility and moisture stress. To increase yield, there should be a high application of inorganic fertilizer according to Cruz.
“Since the study showed its potential to reduce fertilizer input by half, actinomycetes can help farmers minimize their expenditures on fertilizers. It also enhances the condition of the soil, improving its ability to take in water and nutrients,” Cruz concluded.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a useful tool in coping with climate change
A Japanese Professor from Tohoku University recommended the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool to rice researchers in helping farmers cope with climate change.LCA, according to Professor Masanori Sato, is a technique that enables industries to identify the resource flows (water and energy inputs), and environmental impacts (GHG emissions) associated with the provision of products and services.
Researchers and decision makers will find LCA useful in giving concrete recommendations to farmers on what alternative technologies, products, processes, or services that they can use in climate change mitigation.

“Nowadays, industries like farming use resources such as water and energy as inputs. The common misconception is that we tend to focus on the first and last parts of the whole farming system, without knowing that a large chunk of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions occur in the production stage. Using LCA as a tool, we can evaluate the environmental effects of a product throughout its life cycle, from cradle to grave,” Saito said during a lecture at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), 17 Feb.
Aside from LCA’s environmental benefits, Saito also mentioned how it contributed to the improvement of rice production in Japan. His team discovered that most carbon dioxide and GHG emissions occur in the middle of the production and drying stage. Their rice industry responded by changing from a conventional tillage to a reduced tillage system where CO2 and GHG emissions are relatively low.
“Using LCA is now a necessity as it helps businesses and industries better understand the environmental impacts of their practices. It aids in making informed decisions in process improvement as they reduce production costs, while also mitigating adverse impacts to the environment,” Saito added.
LCA can be a great tool for decision makers to make sound recommendations for farmers to adapt or follow, and to become resourceful and strategic in finding less GHG-emitting processes to substitute their current conventional practices.
Meanwhile, Engr. Elmer Bautista of PhilRice, also conducted a study on LCA titled, ‘Evaluation of the energy input-output and greenhouse gas emissions of rice production systems in the Philippines and possible mitigation technologies.’“When you do LCA, you will know each step in the rice production process. You can identify which step produces the most emissions. From there, we plan our actions,” Bautista said.
He also mentioned that LCA is not widely used in the country because people are not informed about it.
Saito and Bautista encouraged more Filipino researchers to use LCA like what Japan and Australia did to reduce the harmful gas emissions during production.
“Climate change is now affecting all industries, not only in the agricultural sector. This is a call for everyone to be responsible in their practices. Since climate change is inevitable, the most we can do is not to contribute to its effects,” Saito concluded.

PhilRice Midsayap promotes agriculture in senior high

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Midsayap, North Cotabato has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Midsayap-Dilangalen National High School (MDNHS) to promote agriculture to senior high school students, 8 February.
Effective this year, senior high school students of MDNHS will undergo an immersion-training program under the crop production curriculum. PhilRice Midsayap will provide technical assistance through lectures and hands-on activities on crop production.

“We want the students to have a deeper interest in agriculture. This will also serve as their training ground in actual office and technical operations to strengthen their formal learning,” said Melda C. Villora, school principal.

The said program will be part of the students’ requirements prior to graduation. As trainees, the students will have access to various rice production and management facilities at the PhilRice Midsayap station.

“This partnership can boost the number of students who will be interested to take up agriculture courses,” said Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, PhilRice Midsayap acting branch director.

“By introducing agriculture at a younger age, we can further fuel their interest to venture in agriculture and agri-related courses, and be part of the manpower that helps our farmers,” he added.

PhilRice has been conducting various development initiatives involving youth engagement in agriculture, such as the Rice Boot Camp, a training program that helps enhance the capacity of fresh graduates in agriculture and related sciences on the latest rice production technologies.

The Institute’s Infomediary Campaign mobilizes high school students to serve as information providers or “infomediaries” in their farming communities.

The campaign, in partnership with the Department of Education’s Technical-Vocational Unit, also incorporates Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) in major agriculture subjects in technical-vocational schools throughout the country.

Govt in talks with GCC countries on oil-for-food scheme: Pradhan

The govt is contemplating to increase export of basmati rice and wheat to GCC countries

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi March 11, 2016 Last Updated at 17:38 IST

Government to roll-out new crude oil import policy soon: Dharmendra PradhanAfrica to be major energy source for India: Dharmendra PradhanGovt is focusing on targeted kerosene subsidy: Dharmendra PradhanCrude oil cheaper than drinking waterBPCL commissions new .India is in bilateral talks with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, to ensure its energy security and also to increase its exports especially Basmati Rice and wheat under a scheme in which they can exchange crude oil for food.
"We are in talks with 2-3 GCC countries to ensure our oil security and at the same time they want to ensure theirfood security. The discussions are being held at the senior leadership level.," said Dharmendra Pradhan, minister for Oil, Petroleum and Natural Gas while interacting with media persons.
Under the programme, the government is contemplating to increase export of Basmati Rice and wheat to GCC countries.GCC region is the source of nearly two-third of India's crude oil requirements and its largest trading partner. UAEalone contributes significantly to India's energy security and is the sixth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2014-15. For India's energy security, UAE is an important country as it gets 9.38 per cent of total crude requirement from that country. The volume of supply in 2014-15 was 15.99 million tonnes.
Pradhan also added that that India has already set reserves to store crude oil. He added that the country recently commissioned 5.33 MMT capacity to store oil at Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Manglore and Padur in Karnataka. He also added that the work on setting up reserves for additional 12.5 MMTPA would commence soon.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to UAE, it was decided to increase the current volume of bilateral trade by 60 per cent in the next five years. India is UAE's number one trading partner while the Gulf nation is India's third largest trading partner after the US and China

Palestine to organize Trade Expo in Pakistan this year: Envoy


March 11, 2016
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A Trade Expo of Palestine is being planned in Islamabad in June this year to showcase the potential of many Palestinian products.These products included marble and stones, food items, agro products, industrial goods, handicrafts, technology and communications, leather goods, construction, tourism and many others for Pakistani consumers, Ambassador of Palestine, Walid Abu Ali said on Friday,In an interaction with business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here, he said the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) would sponsor the Trade Expo.He said Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry should cooperation with Palestinian Embassy to make this expo successful.

The Ambassador said the Trade Expo would provide a good opportunity to the businessmen of both countries to interact and explore ways and means for enhancing bilateral trade.He said though it was difficult for Pakistani businessmen to do direct trade with Palestine due to Israeli factor, however, they could export to Palestine through Jordon, Egypt and Turkey which were facilitating it in trading activities.He said many Pakistani products including rice, textiles, pharmaceuticals and others have good potential in Palestinian market.He stressed that more opportunities should be created for the businessmen of Palestine and Pakistan to identify all untapped areas of mutual cooperation.

He said enhanced business relations between the two countries would bring many benefits for their economies and people.He was also thankful to the Pakistani government and people for supporting the cause of Palestine and added that Pakistan was a source of main support for Palestine.Speaking at the occasion, President, ICCI, Atif Ikram Sheikh said that Pakistan and Palestine have good potential to complement each other in many areas and both countries should focus on developing bilateral trade to create better economic opportunities for their people.
He said both countries had agreed to form a Joint Ministerial Commission to improve two-way trade and economic relations and stressed that all possible efforts should be made to materialize this plan.
He said Pakistan wanted peace in Palestine so that trade and economic activities could flourish and people of Palestine could enjoy a better living standard.He appreciated the initiative of holding Palestine’s Trade Expo in Pakistan and assured that ICCI would extend all possible cooperation to make this venture successful.
Sheikh Pervez Ahmed Senior Vice President and Sheikh Abdul Waheed Vice President ICCI also underscored the importance of strengthening trade and economic relations between the two countries.


Ex-Gov. Javier, mayor, 9 others indicted in Php10-M rice mill scam

SAN JOSE, Antique — Former Antique Rep. Exequiel B. Javier, an incumbent town mayor and nine other local officials of the province, are indicted for violating the anti-graft and corrupt practices act involving a bogus rice mill project eight years ago.Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the findings of graft investigator and prosecution officer Amy Rose A. Soler-Rellin to charge Javier and company in court by giving a Php10-million rice mill machinery intended for the town of Patnongon to a hastily organized private firm.Javier, then congressman of Antique, appropriated Php10 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the acquisition of a rice mill for the use of the farmers of Patnongon but transferred it to the Greater Antique Development Cooperative (GRAND Coop) in haste.

The GRAND Coop, composed and run by political allies of Javier, was found out to be involved in “lending activities” and not in the business of operating a rice mill and it was even conveniently housed in the district office of the congressman in the capital town of San Jose de Buenavista.Indicted with Javier are Patonongon Mayor Johnny Bacongallo, then vice mayor; Henry Mondejar, then mayor of the town; Efren Esclavilla, chairman of GRAND Coop; and, then Patnongon councilors Gemma Cepeda, Thomas Bacaoco, Al Brian Crespo, Felix Barrientos, Rene Cayetano and Teopisto Estaris.The case stemmed from a complaint filed by a certain Rosenda Estaris through a text message, requesting for an investigation of the officials of Patnongon for the purchase of a rice mill machinery in the municipality.“In this case, there is sufficient evidence to indict respondents of the crime charged when they conspired with each other to ensure the full transfer of ownership, operation and maintenance of the rice mill machinery to GRAND Coop, a private entity, using government funds…,” the Ombudsman said.

The graft body said there was a manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence in the concerted acts of respondents to ensure the execution of the plans and directives of Javier to give the 40-ton rice mill machinery to GRAND Coop without financial consideration.The Ombudsman identified some of the officers of GRAND Coop as Javier’s late vice-gubernatorial running-mate Bob Operiano; liaison officer Angel Capadocia; and Esclavilla and Hernanny Abelo who ran as mayor of Jose and SP member, respectively, under the political party of the congressman.In their sworn affidavits, meanwhile, witnesses Robert Talidong, Rodolfo Balontong and Erlinda Almine and respondents Mondejar and Barrientos admitted that it was the “express instruction” of Javier that the rice mill machinery be given to GRAND Coop.

The fact that the rice mill machinery was delivered by ALHEED International Trading Corporation to the town of Hamtic, 24 kilometers away, and not in Patnongon, “already predetermined the ultimate end-user of the machinery from the inception of the project,” the graft body said.While the GRAND Coop was only accredited by the Municipality of Patnongon on Jan. 12, 2007, it was already chosen to be the recipient of the Php10 million project less than one month later even when it was not involved in operating a rice mill.The graft court also established that the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 6 was made a convenient conduit to receive the PDAF funds of Javier, a scheme similar to the controversial Janet Napoles Php10-billion pork barrel scandal that dragged into the mess several legislators.Javier is also facing a string of cases in the Ombudsman, including a multi-million peso plunder case filed by two popular radio commentators and broadcasters of Antique. PNA /