Tuesday, September 27, 2016

27th September,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Union of Small and Medium Enterprises urges SMEDA to recommend urgent revival plan of rice sector

Sep 9, 2016 Posted by MediaLine Pakistan
Karachi, September 09, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority held a special meeting yesterday at SMEDA Karachi office presided by Alamgir Chaudhry general manager (GM) out reach to discuss the issues of the rice industry and recommend measures to revive the sector on fast track basis before the arrival of new crop to facilitate the stakeholders.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver invited the attention of the GM SMEDA that the SME rice farmers, millers, processors and exporters are in turmoil and more than 1000 SME units are closed due to lack of demand from overseas buyers who have become very cautious in placing orders because of down slide in commodities. They are waiting for the prices to stabilize to place fresh orders. This lack of overseas demand is reflecting on the entire rice sector as unlike wheat, rice is an export commodity. As wheat is our staple crop but domestic rice consumption is much less than our exports and all varieties of rice are being exported to global buyers. The rice exports are next to textiles and need the immediate attention of the policy makers. There is urgent need to regain lost markets for the rice industry to survive.
Secondly our rice is become non-competitive as Indian rice is cheaper due to subsidy support from government Thirdly we have neglected research and development (R and D) on seeds to produce grains with less cost of production. The R and D side needs to be taken very seriously. Our super basmati rice which is our heritage is suffering a setback due to lack of R and D and we cannot afford to lose our share of basmati in world markets. Every aspect of basmati inclusive of packing, promotion, branding and marketing needs our immediate attention and needs immediate attention of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) on priority basis.
Other factors which are a setback are lack of finance for exports to third world countries and low premium insurance is unavailable.
The banks are not inclined to accept documents for negotiations for goods shipped to Iran and as such transactions with Iran are at a standstill. The ministry of commerce needs to work overtime to expedite the agreement with Iran and the matter needs immediate placement in the cabinet for prompt approval.
Thaver said SMEDA needs to advocate the cause of the SME millers ,processors and exporters of rice and urged the government to declare rice as an industry and grant relief on farm inputs Secondly to impress upon the government to expedite the geographical indication of rice now that the Draft GI protection bill is drafted and also to expedite the basmati trademark ownership issue Mukesh Kumar provincial chief SMEDA endorsed the views of UNISAME’s chief and Maimoona Sattar an SME expert also agreed with the suggestions of UNISAME and both expressed strong feelings for the capacity building of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and urged Thaver to work on the capacity building of REAP under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) jointly with SMEDA.
The GM SMEDA assured UNISAME of full support and promised a comprehensive recommendations proposal for the uplift of the rice sector to be submitted to the Ministry of Industries for remedial measures nrest in 2009-10, and illegal assistance for people prosecuted for political crimes.
She also stands accused of giving the Finance Ministry permission to borrow 350 billion baht for a water management scheme that had no details, and for proposing to finance a 2-trillion-baht infrastructure programme by unconstitutional means.

Du30’ rice paddy in Laguna draws visitors


By: Maricar Cinco

12:01 AM September 27th, 2016

A RICE paddy in Los Baños town in Laguna province, featuring President Duterte’s image, gives farming a twist. CLIFFORD NUÑEZ / Inquirer Southern Luzon
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Now, who says planting rice is easy?
Definitely not, especially when you have to meticulously tweak every inch and corner to turn a rice paddy into a giant art canvas.
On a quiet road past the University of the Philippine Los Baños (UPLB) campus here, rice fields have become a little more exciting to view through paddy art.
The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), an agency under the Department of Agriculture, uses the traditional Japanese art form of planting various rice types and colors to create a large image.
And what better way to feature this type of art than dedicate it to President Duterte, the country’s man of the hour?
“It’s about using rice fields as canvas, highlighting arts and culture and science,” said Mario Movillon, PhilRice chief science research specialist.
Movillon said 27 members of PhilRice’s Los Baños team planted rice on a 2,000-square meter plot here on Sept. 3 to create the image.
A little less than a month since, the image—featuring alphanumeric characters “D,” “U,” and “3” and the President’s silhouette resembling a “0”—is visible from the road.
The design was made by Jayson Baldoz, PhilRice’s science research specialist, and engineering students from UPLB.
When the Inquirer visited the site recently, a group of researchers parked their car in front of the paddy and took “selfies” with Mr. Duterte’s image as their background.
They said they heard about it on social media and wanted to see the paddy for themselves.
“Did they color the rice black?” one of them asked.
They said most of them supported Mr. Duterte during the elections and teased one in the group while taking his picture, since he supported then Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Purple, green
No artificial colors were used in creating the paddy art.
Instead, PhilRice combined inbred rice varieties of green and purple to create contrasting colors, said Imelda Olvida of PhilRice’s research and development division.
They also used regular fertilizers to protect the crops from snails, pests and diseases.
Movillon said the agency spent about P6,000 per hectare in preparing the rice paddy.
“With the many challenges that Philippine agriculture faces —climate change, rice shortage, agricultural land conversion, aging and dwindling number of farmers, and the dropping number of agriculture courses enrolees—the Du30 paddy art was conceptualized to make agriculture more popular,” Olvida said.
Du30 is PhilRice’s third rice paddy art. The other two were the images of popular television love team Alden Richards and Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza, and the images of Mr. Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo. These were planted in PhilRice’s farms in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija province.
Movillon said the Du30 paddy will be best viewed on Sept. 30, in time for PhilRice’s Farmers’ Field Day, where the agency invites farmers to tour its experiment stations. The Duterte-Robredo paddy will be best seen by Nov. 7, in time for PhilRice’s anniversary.
“Indirectly, this is also to show our support for the government’s effort to achieve rice sufficiency, which is also our advocacy,” Movillon said.
He said the rice paddy art, also called the “Tanbo Art,” has been popular in Japan, depicting images on farmlands as big as 20 to 100 hectares.
In the Philippines, he said, the art is relatively new and quite “ambitious,” especially since Filipino farmers have smaller land holdings (an average of 2 ha per farmer).
But still, he said, it remains viable for Philippine agro-ecotourism, especially for farmers who wanted to explore their creative side.
The rice paddy art also promotes rice management, “wherein every space or quadrant is preconceived,” Movillon said

NFA: Rice imports may be needed as La Niña buffer

September 27, 2016

THE Philippines may soon call an auction for the import of an additional 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as a precaution against the impact of La Niña in the first few months of 2017.

“We want to evaluate whether we have to import it right away,” National Food Authority Officer-in-charge Tomas R. Escarez told reporters on Monday, referring to the remaining balance of 250,000 MT from the 500,000 MT standby authority the Philippines may access at any given time to beef up its rice stock.

On Aug. 31, the NFA Council awarded the contract for the supply of 250,000 MT [of] rice to the world’s top rice exporters Thailand and Vietnam which offered 100,000 MT and 150,000 MT, respectively, under a government-to government (G2G) procurement scheme.

Some 40% of the order is expected before the end of the month and the remaining 60% before the end of October.

Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Reina A. Valdez of the Office of the Cabinet, the sitting chairperson of the NFA Council, in an interview with reporters said that the arrival of the initially imported rice is “ongoing.”

The NFA, Mr. Escarez revealed, will recommend that the council conduct the G2G procurement bid possibly early in the last quarter to ensure adequate rice inventory in December, which is usually good for 22 days.

Currently, the NFA’s rice inventory stands at 578,700 metric tons, sufficient for 18 days. The total exceeds the mandate of the grains agency to maintain a buffer stock enough for 15 days at any given time.

“Since we are facing La Niña and the lean months of January and February, I think we have to add some more,” Mr. Escarez said adding that the first two months of the year are considered lean periods in the absence of harvested rice.

The NFA council is set to meet today and discuss the move, he added. -- Janina C. Lim

Something to Chew On

Eating slowly and chewing less decreased blood sugar

We were all told as children to chew each bite 30 times or some variation close to that number. Well, that might not be the best advice after all.
A study from the A*STAR Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences found that eating slower and chewing fewer times released less sugar into the bloodstream than quick and continuous chewing.
When the blood sugar level surges it can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Individuals vary in their response to food, but how they eat apparently is also a factor.
A previous study by the same researchers found that blood sugar levels were lower when study subjects used chopsticks rather than a spoon to eat white rice.
Christiani Jeyakumar Henry, PhD, Yung Seng Lee, MD, and Verena Tan, PhD led the study of 75 healthy Asian men. Dr. Henry is the director of the Clinical Nutritional Research Centre at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Dr. Lee is a pediatric endocrinologist and Dr. Tan is a dietitian.
"The old wives' tale to chew and chew and chew like a cow is actually counterproductive when it comes to glycemic response," Dr. Henry said in a press release.
Each man in the study was served a bowl of either basmati or jasmine rice. Both are a type of long-grain rice.
The scientists studied the frequency of each mouthful, how long the men chewed, saliva content and how long it took food to clear the stomach. In addition, the scientists collected blood samples and saliva swabs before and after each meal.
The researchers found that fewer bites per mouthful, at a slower chewing rate, resulted in lower blood sugar levels. The researchers noted that this study is specific to only the rice and recommend further studies to confirm links between chewing and blood glucose for other foods.
"These results are gratifying because chewing time and frequency are behaviors that we can consciously change," Dr. Lee said in the press release.
The study was published in the July issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Information on funding and conflict of interest was not available

Scientists are using social media to determine air quality

Monday, September 26, 2016, 5:52 PM - Researchers have just found a way to gauge air quality based on social media posts.
A multidisciplinary study conducted by scientists at Texas's Rice University shows the frequency of words like cough, haze, dust, or blue sky, can be a "proxy measurement" of the amount of pollution in China's "megacities" at a specific time.

Select words were curated from millions of posts on Weibo, a popular social media platform in China.Computer scientists at Rice University were examining the data for a study on Chinese social media censorhip a few years ago.
Dan Wallach, Rice University computer scientist, and Daniel Cohan, environmental engineer, led the study that will be released in PLOS One, an open-access journal.
“The big takeaway is that people grouse about air quality, and as it gets worse, people complain more,” said Wallach in a statement.
"When it’s really bad, it flattens out. They’re as complained-out as they’re going to be. And if it gets good enough, few people complain. But there’s a zone in the middle where people really grouse, and we can measure that."
The scientists devised their own metric: Air Discussion Index (ADI). It's based on the rate that pollution-related words appeared in the 112 million posts culled from 2011 to 2013.
Residents from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, authored the millions of posts, and unsurprisingly -- these are the cities where pollution is believed to be worst in China.

Land use

(The Philippine Star) |
Food security is a very important item in the present administration’s agenda. Yes, there’s need to support and  increase rice production in this country. Promises have been made by our past administrators of our becoming rice-sufficient, but promises they remained unrealized. It’s a shame, our countrymen keep saying, about how the Thais whose technicians have mastered the science of rice production at UPLB and Los Baños-based International Rice Research Institute made Thailand self-sufficient in rice, and even exported the basic staple to our country.
Has our government really put heart and soul, energy and logistics to making us rice-sufficient? So much land – government and privately-owned, are lying shamelessly idle. Couldn’t these have been developed?
Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael V. Mariano has come up with a proposal to suspend for a two-year period, the processing and approval of pending or new applications for the conversion of the use of agricultural lands from agricultural uses to non-agricultural uses.
The proposal, which is being supported by the Department of Agriculture, has a “laudable” objective: to help establish the country’s food security.
But the proposed moratorium has its  downside effect on another top priority program of the government.
Real estate developers are requesting  the Executive Branch to put a hold on the draft Executive Order on the land conversion moratorium “because food production is not the only interest at stake, but the whole economy and Philippines society.”
In effect, the proposed two-year moratorium will increase the amount of land that may be cultivated for food crops, but it will reduce the amount of land for the construction of houses and the development of whole communities.
The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA), Organization of Socialized Housing and Developers Association of the Philippines (OSHDAP), Chamber of Real Estate and Brokers Association (CREBA) and the National Real Estate Association (NREA) summarize the impacts of the proposed moratorium as follows:
1. Land conversion for housing has minimal effect on food security.
2. 3.5 million jobs are at stake: these are in housing and housing-related industries.
3. The housing backlog is already estimated at 5.7 million units and rising.
4. The proposed moratorium “is contrary to the government’s efforts to decongest Metro Manila and the move toward federalism.”
5. Related industries involving billions of pesos of investments will suffer.
6. The government will lose a significant amount of revenues  from the housing and related industries and businesses.
The Executive Order on the moratorium whose draft is scheduled to be  presented to the President, premises that preserving prime agricultural lands to ensure food security. It will suspend the conversion of agricultural lands, including all lands previously awarded under Republic Act No. 6657, as amended, Presidential Decree or PD No. 27 and other agrarian reform laws, as well as agricultural lands with notices of coverage issued by the DAR, irrigated and irrigable lands, prime agricultural lands, retention areas of landowners which are  tenanted, and agricultural lands  with presence of agricultural activities or being cultivated by the farmers individually or collectively.
According to the industry groups, the Constitution “provides a foundation which specifically addresses the issue of industrialization based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform while ensuring the optimal use of the nation’s limited land resources.”
They state that Republic Act 6657 and other laws ”implement the constitutional mandate, which recognize that, under certain conditions, some agricultural lands are better reserved for non-agricultural purposes. Some of these conditions are when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes, or the land or locality has become highly urbanized and the land will have a greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.”
The group of real estate developers declare: “As an agricultural country, and in order to establish food security, the government must implement programs to help farmers and boost food production. Policies and programs designed to realize these objective, however, must also take into account other sectors of the economy, as well as the needs of society.”
*      *      *
On another front, an interesting art exhibit is currently showing at the Secret Fresh Art Gallery, on the rooftop of the Robac Lifestyle bldg. at Magallanes Commercial center. It’s a fitting tribute to the expressionist artist Onib Olmedo who passed away 20 years ago. It consists of toy sculptures – sculpted interpretations in resin of two of Onib’s works.
The sculptures are by Rommel Chua, who did a sculpted replica of “The Apartment,” and Edmund Yanga, who did “Bionic Syndrome.”
The winsome widow of Onib, Bettina Olmedo, said in her opening remarks that it was the young and creative owner of Secret Fresh Gallery, Big Boy Chen, who conceptualized the innovative art exhibit, which has proven to be highly successful in two previous consecutive shows. Big Boy and his talented group of young and bright millennials forming the gallery’s think tank came up with a suitable title for the avant garde exhibit of Onib: “Onib in 3D.”The group, said Bettina, felt that Onib’s paintings “really lent themselves perfectly for replication in the form of sculptures. For Onib’s paintings are truly three-dimensional, with the figures virtually jumping out of the canvas.”
Two of Onib’s renowned paintings are interpreted in the form of toy sculptures.The first painting, “The Apartment,” is recognized all over the world as an iconic work of art, said Bettina. It garnered an honorable mention award at the prestigious international competition held at the Chateau Musee de Cagnes-sur-Mer in France in June 1992. “Onib was the very first Filipino artist to be accorded such a distinction.”Rommel’s interpretation of “The Apartment” is a fascinating construction of a resin hut, faithfully  copied from Onib’s painting (which like “The Bionic Syndrome” was hung on the Secret Fresh Art Gallery wall) sends out its message in  a subliminal manner.

“In spite of the abject poverty depicted in the Filipino family’s squalid surroundings in a cramped shanty, the human spirit stills shines through,”said Bettina. “The woman holding her rosary beads exemplifies Filipinos who take refuge in their faith and spirituality, which empower them to hurdle the challenges posed by their dire circumstances.” The man strumming a guitar on the lower level of the shanty “depicts the other coping mechanism of Filipinos. In their day-to-day struggles, in the midst of their hand-to-mouth existence, they experience joy in their music.”

“The Bionic Syndrome” is presented in an edgy head sculpture of  the main character of  an American television science-fiction series that was a top-rated TV show in the 70s. This was a spy with superhuman powers through the use of cybernetic surgical implants known as “bionics.” But later she suffered from her body rejecting her bionic implants.

Onib’s “The Bionic Syndrome” said Bettina, “is a satirical portrait of modern man who has been reduced to a robot with metallic parts, who has become desensitized to the pain of others, who is nothing but an artificial toy full of fake components, an empty shell with a lot of pretensions and pretenses. All of us, to a certain degree, are suffering from the bionic syndrome in the materialistic society of the 21st century.”If you can’t own an original Onib, the next best thing is to own creative toy sculptures of his works.


CAG raps FS&CW department for undue favour to rice millers

Published: 26th September 2016 11:08 PM
Last Updated: 26th September 2016 11:08 PM
BHUBANESHWAR: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has rapped the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department for showing undue favour to private rice millers for custom milling of paddy despite huge arrears pending against them.
Performance audit of the department by the premier audit agency has detected that 211 millers of six out of eight test checked districts having no licenses from competent authorities were allowed to mill paddy for delivery of rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
As many as 1,523 rice mills operating in the state. The rice millers are required to get license from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Inspector of Factories and Boilers (IF&B) and Regulated Market Committee (RMC) for operating their mills.
In case of 769 mills, validity of SPCB license has expired as on September 1, 2014 while 904 have invalid IF&B certificates and 565 mills have no appoval from RMCs concerned.
"In three cases, despite default in delivery of 2,594 tonnes of custom milled rice (CMR) valued at Rs 5.44 crore, personal property of the millers could not be attached  as per terms and conditions of the agreement due to non-availability of property details," the CAG report for General and Social Sector for year ending March 2015 said.
It further detected that short delivery of 72,000 tonnes CMR during 2010-15 from the test checked districts namely Bargarh Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Sambalpur, Sundargarh and
Rayagada. Though the cost of the rice was valued at Rs 168.56 crore, only Rs 3.38 crore has been recovered.
"There was also misappropriation of 11,243 tonnes of paddy valuing Rs 40.78 crore by 20 millers in three of these districts," the report said.
Authorised agency procured excess paddy than that of marketable surplus. About 17,982 quintals of paddy were procured from 44 farmers who have no agricultural land.
Taking serous objection to arbitrary reduction of 2 to 4 kg of paddy on the plea that the paddy quality is below fair average quality (FAQ), the audit report said an estimated quantity of 2.51 lakh tonnes of paddy worth Rs 305.17 crore was unduly passed onto the millers during 2010-15 at the cost of the farmers

Speed up Rice Loan, China Told

The government has asked China to make good on its pledge to buy 200,000 tons of rice annually from the Kingdom and also to speed up the approval of a $300 million loan to the country’s beleaguered rice sector.
This request was made yesterday during a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong and the newly-appointed Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Namhong said China heeded Cambodia’s call to help the country’s rice farmers and millers who are grappling with falling prices and struggling to compete with the influx of cheaper rice from neighboring countries.

“China has been buying 100,000 tons of rice a year from Cambodia. Recently China agreed to buy an additional 100,000 tons annually, raising their quota to 200,000 tons a year. I asked the newly-appointed Chinese ambassador to help accelerate this,” added Mr. Namhong.“This purchase of 200,000 tons of milled rice annually is very important to help Cambodian farmers.”

Chinese Premer Li Keqiang, in his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Laos early this month, pledged to double China’s annual purchase of 100,000 tons of Cambodian rice to 200,000 tons, starting from next year.
Mr. Namhong also called on China to disburse its pledged loan of $300 million to Cambodia’s rice millers for building warehouses with drying facilities.

In a bid to stabilize falling prices, the Cambodian government last week gave the green light to the Rural Development Bank (RDB) to disburse loans totaling $27 million to millers to buy paddy rice from farmers at 840 riel ($0.21) per kilogram.

Phou Poy, president of the Green Rice Miller in Battambang province and also chairman of the Rice Bank, told Khmer Times that the RDB intervention was necessary to prevent rice prices from tumbling further.

“Without the 840 riel per kilogram government price, the price of rice might go into a free fall,” he warned.
But Mr. Poy pointed out that the $27 million was only a short-term measure.“We have to take into account the capacity of rice millers to store paddy rice in their warehouses and sell milled rice at a time when there is surplus rice in the market. If there is good market demand for their milled rice, and if they have the capacity to store paddy rice in their warehouses, then $20 million to $30 million is enough,” he said.

“But if the market is not there due to the influx of cheap quality rice from neighboring countries, then this $27 million will not go a long way. Then it’s just a band aid measure for the rice millers.

A man inspects milled rice at a processing plant in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district last year. Heng Chivoan

Bank trims rate to coax millers

Tue, 27 September 2016
The state-owned bank entrusted with extending $27 million in emergency loans to millers to purchase rice paddy has marginally lowered the interest rate on these conditional loans in an effort to shorten some of the strings attached.
The Rural Development Bank (RDB) announced late on Sunday that it would lower the annual interest rate on loans to rice millers to 7 percent, from 8 percent.
Kao Thach, the bank’s CEO, said yesterday that the revised interest rate aimed at helping farmers get more revenue from the sale of paddy rice by encouraging millers to accept a floor price. Under the terms of the lending package announced last week, millers who accept the loans are required to purchase paddy rice from farmers at $210 per tonne at the farm gate or $225 per tonne at their warehouse.
The package’s announcement came after the farm-gate price of paddy rice fell precipitously from $240 per tonne in August to $192 per tonne earlier this month.
“We think it is a suitable interest rate,” Thach said of the revised rate. “Many millers have suggested that we lower the interest rate much more than this, but this new rate is reasonable and acceptable for many people.”
None of the loans have been disbursed yet, Thach said, explaining that the bank is still evaluating the applicants. He expects the first loan to be issued later this week.
According to RDB’s announcement, the bank has received loan applications primarily from millers in Battambang, Pursat and Pailin provinces, with a combined 8,000 tonnes of paddy rice offered as collateral. The bank has agreed to provide loans up to 70 percent of the collateral’s value, which suggests a total of $1.26 million could be disbursed to these millers.
Phon Nary, director-general of Heng Huch Rice Mill in Battambang province, said while the RDB’s 7 percent interest rate was lower than the going rate at commercial banks, the stipulation that the funds must be used to purchase paddy from farmers at the above-market rate of $210 per tonne “makes things difficult”. At that price, millers have no margin for profit, he said.
“We know if we buy paddy at a very low price, farmers will die. But, if we buy paddy from farmers at a high price and sell milled rice at a low price, we will also die,” he said.
Nary explained that the market price of milled rice has also dropped, falling from $620 per tonne in August to about $550 per tonne. At that price – factoring in the costs of electricity, transport, labour and milling – he said millers could squeak by with a profit. However, heavy competition has pushed some local millers to offer their product at just $500 per tonne.
“The price of milled rice is decreasing, but we’re required to buy paddy at an above-market price,” he said. “We might take a loss and so we don’t dare to take the loans.”
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said that he is currently tapping his company’s reserve funds to purchase paddy from farmers, but might consider taking a loan from RDB when the main rainy season harvest of fragrant rice begins next month.
He said at 8 percent annual interest, many rice millers would prefer to borrow from a commercial bank, even at a slightly higher rate, in order to avoid the conditions attached to the RDB loan. However, by lowering the interest rate to 7 percent, the bank has made it more appealing.
“We want a 6 percent annual rate, but 7 percent is at least a bit better and acceptable for the majority [of millers],” he said.
The government’s announcement of emergency loans to millers and its call for officials and wealthy patrons to purchase paddy from farmers have had some effect on stabilising rice paddy prices, according to farmers, though prices remain low.
Seung Soda, who farms rice on his 12-hectare farm in the Sangke district of Battambang province, said he sold his paddy for a low $188 per tonne – though this was higher than the prices he was offered last week.
“The price is better than before, but we cannot earn profit from it yet,” he said

Rice Sector Intervention to Bolster CPP Support, Official Says

The government expects that its rapid intervention to save a rice sector crippled by a sudden slash in domestic paddy prices will boost the ruling party’s popularity ahead of upcoming elections next year and in 2018, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said on Monday.
With the value of paddy having fallen from about $250 per ton in the middle of last month to just over $190 earlier this month due to a drop in international demand, the government acted quickly to mitigate the effects of the tumbling prices on farmers.
An emergency grant of $27 million was approved to subsidize rice millers and stabilize the price they pay for paddy, while the government also requested an additional $300 million from China. CPP officials and their friends in the private sector were asked to personally purchase and transport as much rice as possible.
“All of those who bought rice are members of the CPP,” Mr. Eysan said on Monday. “It is the party’s principle…for all of its members to be linked to farmers and to be generous in supporting their standard of living.”
“It is also the policy of the government to increase the popularity of the CPP to attract support in response to the upcoming election,” he added.
Mr. Eysan said farmers would inevitably return the favor after the CPP’s financial intervention due to the prevailing Buddhist culture of gratitude.
“Even though we don’t want gratitude, the people will still give it to us—giving us support as we have obviously helped them generously,” he said. “They will not forget.”
According to the Rural Development Bank, mills across the country have purchased about 7,000 tons of paddy since the government released funds last week, while another 2,700 tons of milled rice were sold in the same stretch of time.
Deputy Prime Minister Hor Nam­hong met with Chinese Ambassador Xiong Bo on Monday to ask China to expedite the requested $300 million in emergency funds and to fulfill its promise to purchase 300,000 tons of milled rice annually.
“The Cambodian people are facing a crisis of rice prices which fell rapidly,” Mr. Namhong said, according to Reuters. “I asked the Chinese ambassador to report this to the Chinese government so they would hurry up and buy rice as they had promised in order to help our farmers.”
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that undertaking structural reforms to save the agricultural sector should be the priority, rather than attempting to win political points.
“While the people face difficulties, we should not talk about popularity,” he said. “We want to talk about solutions that restore the situation.”
Sustainable changes would require reforming energy policies, eliminating “informal costs” added by middlemen, improving cropping techniques, and expanding infrastructure and irrigation across the country, he said.

Six quintals of rice for a National championship!

Believe it or not, six quintals of rice are integral towards sponsorship of a National championship!
“We are in no position to be picky but open to piecemeal funding, in cash or kind,” Hyderabad District Basketball Association (HDBA) General Secretary Norman Isaac admitted to The Hindu . The sub-junior National basketball championship at the Sports Authority of Telangana State (SATS) stadium, Saroor Nagar, Hyderabad from October 1 to 7, is less than a week away.
Such support, not to be scoffed at, translates to about Rs. 25,000 in cash. It has been raised from internal resources, M. Raghunandan Reddy of the Nizamabad Rice Millers Association and Treasurer, Telangana Basketball Association, chipping in!
The nearly nine-month quest to meet the Rs. 90 lakh to 1 crore target has been tough, despite cutting corners at every step. The SATS indoor stadium, Gachibowli, can accommodate two courts, vital to complete fixtures in time. Rents in the vicinity are beyond reach though. Two adjacent courts cannot be fitted into the KVBR stadium, Yousufguda.
Minor players (born on or after January 1, 2003) present major problems! It’s a must that the manager of every girl’s team is a lady. As is transport for the 3km distance between venue and accommodation mandatory, since children cannot commute without adult supervision.
The Rs. 30 lakh committed to the cause so far will just about meet the costs of stay, 750 players and officials booked in 250 hotel rooms. Of the said amount, Rs. 10 lakh is from SATS and Rs. 5 lakh from the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).
‘Catch 'em young’ and ‘grass-root level growth’ will remain hot air if such is the scene for a sport among the top five in popularity world-wide

No headway in non-basmati export deal with Indonesia

Negotiations for exporting one million tonne of non-basmati rice to Indonesia from official reserves seem to be stuck, with Jakarta yet to respond to New Delhi’s call for sealing the deal at the earliest, sources told FE.

By: Banikinkar Pattanayak | New Delhi | Published: September 26, 2016 6:23 AM
Commerce secretary Rita Teaotia had said in June that both the nations were on the verge of signing a government-to-government deal. (Representative Image)
Negotiations for exporting one million tonne of non-basmati rice to Indonesia from official reserves seem to be stuck, with Jakarta yet to respond to New Delhi’s call for sealing the deal at the earliest, sources told FE.
Commerce secretary Rita Teaotia had said in June that both the nations were on the verge of signing a government-to-government deal. This would have been the highest export of rice from state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI)’s reserves since 2003-04 when it had shipped out 2.78 million tonne.
“Despite India’s reminders for clinching the deal, Indonesia is silent on the issue,” said a source. However, none of the countries has formally closed channels of negotiations, a senior industry executive told FE.
Scrapping of the deal would be a setback for both the nations. For Indonesia, India was supposed to act as a key source of rice from outside the ASEAN trading bloc (barring the former’s recent deal with Pakistan).
Having struggled to finalise similar contracts with Thailand and Vietnam, Indonesia had expressed interest on tapping the massive Indian grain market and diversifying import destinations.For India, a deal even at the 2015-16 economic cost of rice would fetch
R3,258 crore ($489 million) and help it regain some of the lost momentum in trading of non-basmati rice.
While Indonesia hasn’t yet specified the reason for the delay, India’s similar deals with other nations fell through on the issue of prices in the past. FE had earlier reported that India’s negotiations with Bangladesh around 2010-11 to supply grains from official reserves did not fructify due to differences over prices.
According to the FCI, its economic cost of rice stood at R32,580 ($489) per tonne for the common variety in 2015-16, which is estimated to go up to R32,667 in 2016-17.
The STC was to supply rice from FCI’s reserves to Indonesia’s state-run Bureau of Logistics, which handles food distribution and price control for that country. Despite massive stocks, India has failed to export much from its official reserves even through government-to-government deals, mainly due to the fact that economic costs of the FCI grains are much higher compared with prices of Thai or Vietnam varieties.
For instance, 5% broken rice was quoted an average of $415 per tonne in Thailand and $348 in Vietnam in August, while FCI’s 2015-16 economic cost was as high as $490 per tonne.A major reason for high costs of grains has been FCI’s “dis-economics of scale”, as stated in a report by the Commission For Agricultural Costs and Prices.
This means as FCI’s scale of operation increases, the per unit real costs also rise, in a stark contrast with the nature of operational costs of most companies. Consequently, the country hasn’t been able to export much of
FCI rice since shipping 65,000 tonne in 2004-05. As of September 1, rice stocks with the FCI touched 16.53 million tonne, higher than the mandatory requirement of 13.54 million tonne.

Indonesia to sign rice import deal with Myanmar

Nilar | Myanmar Eleven/ANN | Naypyidaw
Sun, September 25 2016 | 05:50 pm
Workers carry sacks of rice on their shoulder in State Logistics Agency's (Bulog) warehouse in Jakarta.(JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)
Myanmar is due to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indonesia to export 500,000 tons of rice a year until 2019, according to Myanmar’s Commerce Ministry.“There is a new minister of commerce in Indonesia and it has requested to postpone the deal for the time being. We are scheduled to visit Indonesia this month to sign the agreement,” said assistant secretary of the ministry Khin Maung Lwin as quoted by Myanmar Eleven on Sunday.
About 90 percent of rice exports currently go overland to China, but the Myanmar Rice Federation is looking to increase sales to Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan.
The Indonesian government initiated a plan to import rice from Myanmar in December 2015, saying that importing rice from Myanmar would serve as backup in case rice imports from Vietnam and Thailand were not adequate to stabilize local prices.
In May 2016, the Indonesian Agriculture Ministry reported that 15,000 tons of Myanmar rice had entered Indonesia, but was halted at Tanjung Perak Port, Surabaya, East Java. Then-trade minister Thomas Lembong refused to comment on the problem behind the rice import initiated by the State Logistics Agency (Bulog).(ags)

          Arkansas Rice: Downed Rice And Harvest Aids – Avoid Making Bad Situation Worse

By Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist, University of Arkansas September 25, 2016

Harvest aids are tools to help us harvest rice faster and more efficiently. Any tool can be misused. My favorite example is a hammer: it’s great when it hits the nail, not so great when it hits your thumb. Same with harvest aids.
Sodium chlorate does an excellent job of desiccating rice foliage for ease of harvest and lowering grain moisture content. However, applied at the wrong time or in the wrong manner and it causes more problems than it solves.
As of last weekend we still had ~30% of rice left in the field. That number is probably down to only 20% now, but much of it is lodged due to the high wind and rain event that hit the Delta last Sunday. So the question has been, can I apply sodium chlorate (salt) on my rice.
Sodium chlorate isn’t mobile in the plant. It’s only going to affect the parts of the plant that it touches. So in downed rice, only the plants on top are going to be affected. But the entire plant will receive coverage and dry down much more extremely than in standing rice. And the rice underneath? It will stay green and moist. That means you’ll be harvesting rice that is a mixture of the two extremes – this always creates issues.
In this situation, the rice treated will be much drier than the untreated rice below it. The drier rice will be more prone to rewetting and drying in the field which can increase breakage and lower head rice yields. If harvested and dried with grain of mixed moisture levels, the grains that become overly dry will break up and lower milling yields. Plants that become too dry also increase the chance of shattering as the panicles dry and do not hold the grain, leading to direct yield loss.
This is not to say that sodium chlorate can’t be used if there’s any lodging in a field. The point is in fields with a high percentage of severe lodging it should be avoided.
When using sodium chlorate properly in standing rice, use a rate of 3-6 lb ai/acre. Apply it when rice grain moisture is below 25% (DO NOT apply below 18%). If you use the proper rate and timing, and harvest in no more than 4-7 days, research has shown no adverse effects on grain or milling yields.
The coming week looks like a decent one for harvest. Good luck and let’s get this crop out of the field and say goodbye to 2016.

NFA assures enough rice supply for region

Monday, September 26, 2016
THE National Food Authority in the Cordillera region has enough supply of rice until the end of the year and even if visited by few typhoons.
According to NFA, the office has 63,705 bags of rice and there are still a stand-by supply coming from La Union staging warehouse.
In Baguio City alone, there are 147 Department of Agriculture accredited outlets in and out of the city market including several bigasang bayan and and food terminals in the different parts of the city to assure residents easier access to sufficient, good quality and low-price NFA supply.
In Benguet, NFA buyers generally consume 4,700 bags daily with the 50 kilos each product as based from the record in the daily stock assessment.
The NFA in the region added the agency has also enough imported rice stock to sustain possible emergency needs.
Since August 1 of this year, the NFA has yet to find a bigger warehouse to store rice stock after their depot at the PNR was sold to a bus company.
Meanwhile, the food authority has warned traders not to mix NFA with other low quality rice to avoid penalty and seizure of tampered products including the confiscation of permit.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 26, 2016.
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NFA: Rice imports may be needed as La Niña buffer

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Posted on September 27, 2016

THE Philippines may soon call an auction for the import of an additional 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as a precaution against the impact of La Niña in the first few months of 2017.

“We want to evaluate whether we have to import it right away,” National Food Authority Officer-in-charge Tomas R. Escarez told reporters on Monday, referring to the remaining balance of 250,000 MT from the 500,000 MT standby authority the Philippines may access at any given time to beef up its rice stock.

On Aug. 31, the NFA Council awarded the contract for the supply of 250,000 MT [of] rice to the world’s top rice exporters Thailand and Vietnam which offered 100,000 MT and 150,000 MT, respectively, under a government-to government (G2G) procurement scheme.

Some 40% of the order is expected before the end of the month and the remaining 60% before the end of October.

Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Reina A. Valdez of the Office of the Cabinet, the sitting chairperson of the NFA Council, in an interview with reporters said that the arrival of the initially imported rice is “ongoing.”

The NFA, Mr. Escarez revealed, will recommend that the council conduct the G2G procurement bid possibly early in the last quarter to ensure adequate rice inventory in December, which is usually good for 22 days.

Currently, the NFA’s rice inventory stands at 578,700 metric tons, sufficient for 18 days. The total exceeds the mandate of the grains agency to maintain a buffer stock enough for 15 days at any given time.

“Since we are facing La Niña and the lean months of January and February, I think we have to add some more,” Mr. Escarez said adding that the first two months of the year are considered lean periods in the absence of harvested rice.

The NFA council is set to meet today and discuss the move, he added. -- Janina C. Lim


NFA mulls importation of add’l 250,000 MT of rice in November

by Madelaine B. Miraflor
September 26, 2016
After securing 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice imports from Thailand and Vietnam earlier this month, the National Food Authority (NFA) is now mulling to tap the half of its standby authority to secure country’s grains requirement in the first few months of 2017. NFA Officer in Charge Tomas Escarez said the NFA Council will meet today to  evaluate whether the government has to buy another 250,000 MT of rice abroad right away.
“We already imported 250,000 MT but then we think more is needed because between January to February are lean months. So we recommended to the council based on the standby authority of 500,000 MT, even if we already imported 250,000 MT, we are allowed to import another 250,000 MT. We are just awaiting the instruction of the NFA council,” Escarez told reporters.
M FILE – Workers arranges sacks of NFA rice at a warehouse in Visayas Ave, Quezon City.
(Mark Balmores/ Manila Bulletin)
“We plan to have the G2G [government-to-government] earlier but its really up to the council but most probably the importation would happen around November. Most likely we will be allowed to import before December because it takes how many days to take the procurement process,” he further said.
Lean season in the Philippines usually starts in July and ends in September but with the threats of La Niña, more imports must be tapped immediately.
While assuring the public that there is more than enough stocks for now, Escarez said the country must prepare for La Niña.
Forecasted to hit the country this year, La Niña is a weather phenomenon expected to bring heavy rains in most parts of the country.
In September 1, NFA awarded the import contracts, covering 250,000 MT of 25-percent broken well-milled rice at $424.5 per MT, to Thailand and Vietnam.
The NFA noted that the price was 0.15 percent lower than the reference price of $425 per MT.
Escarez said earlier that 40 percent of the rice shipment is expected to be delivered by the end of this month, while the remaining 60 percent will reach the country by the end of October.
“This will give NFA sufficient lead time to preposition the stocks nationwide in time for the season of tropical storms and typhoons which usually occur during the end of the third quarter until the fourth quarter,” Escarez said then.
NFA Council earlier allowed the government to tap 500,000 MT of rice import as “standby authority” to fill an estimated gap of five percent of the national production as the result of the El Niño phenomenon


Cambodia asks China to speed up $300 million rice loan

by Reuters
Monday, 26 September 2016 10:21 GMT

PHNOM PENH, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Cambodia asked China on Monday to speed up a $300 million loan to help Cambodia's rice sector that has been hurt by plummeting prices amid fierce global competition.
Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong told China's ambassador to Cambodia, Xiong Bo, during a meeting on Monday that Cambodia urgently needed the funds which it first asked for last year.
China has drawn Cambodia into a closer military and diplomatic relationship in recent years as part of its efforts to quell regional opposition to its sea territorial claims in Asia, deepening China's already close ties to Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Rice farmers in Cambodia have had a hard time competition with other Southeast Asian rice exporters such as Thailand and Vietnam because of expensive transport and higher electricity prices. The lack of overseas demand has pushed prices lower to around $193 per tonne from around $250 in August.
"The Cambodian people are facing a crisis of rice prices which fell rapidly," said Namhong, adding that he had also asked China to make good on its pledge to buy 300,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice annually.
"I asked the Chinese ambassador to report this to the Chinese government to hurry up to buy rice as China had promised to help our farmers," he said.
China's embassy in Phnom Penh did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Kann Kunthy, chief executive of rice miller Battambang Rice Investment Co, said that the falling rice prices were a global trend and that Cambodia faces fierce international competition.
"There have been no orders from abroad so millers couldn't buy rice from farmers," he said. "Farmers are seriously affected."
Cambodia exported 530,000 tonnes of rice last year, well below its target of 1 million tonnes, partly because of drought but also due to a global supply glut.
(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Christian Schmollinger

3,860 farmers receive support for rice, sorghum production in Niger State
By Innocent Senyo
September 25, 2016 16:16:48pm GMT      

WorldStage Newsonline-- As part of efforts to boost rice production in Nigeria, about 2000 farmers in Niger state are being assisted by Fadama to cultivate 2000 hectares of rice farms this year while1,860 farmers were also being assisted in sorghum production.
Niger State Coordinator of Fadama, Engineer Aliyu Usman Kutigi told journalists in Minna the number was an improvement  from 1000 farmers on rice farming assisted in 2015. 
According to him, the need to improve local production of some food products especially staple foods like rice, cassava and sorghum cannot be over emphasized especially in the recent economic recession of Nigeria.
Kutigi said that with Fadama 111 Additional Financing which currently making huge impact in the agricultural sector in the country towards boosting food production with about 24 states in the nation working to improve various major crops, no doubt that there will soon be a change in the sector.
He stated that instead of producing one or two tonnes of rice per hectares, with the assisted improved inputs and mechanized tools, the farmers are currently producing five tonnes and more per hectares.
He said, "Fadama have mandated six states to boost rice production in the country. We started last year, although the impact is not much, the yield realized by the farmers in rice production have been increased. With 1000 hectares cultivated last year and 2000 being cultivated this year, there will be significant impact in the country soon." 
Kutigi further disclosed that Fadama in Niger state was aiming towards assisting 10,000 farmers of rice and sorghum while increasing their income and yield by 40 per cent, adding that 300 youths and women groups will be trained and empowered by Fadama in the area of livestock to reduce youth restiveness and boost the economy of the state.
Lao mills need to improve rice quality for exports to China: media

Source: Xinhua   2016-09-26 13:56:55          

VIENTIANE, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Lao officials said the country's mills need to improve rice quality as to meet the needs for exports to China, Lao daily Vientiane Times reported Monday.
Only a mill named IDP Rice Mill in Savannakhet province of central Laos is able to produce rice of sufficient quality to meet the standard required by Chinese buyers, said the report.
There are many rice mills around the country but they are inefficient and the finished product is of low quality. Based on a nationwide survey, only the IDP Rice Mill in Savannakhet has been able to meet Chinese standards.
Lao Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bounkhouang Khambounheuang, told to reporters on last Friday that Laos began selling rice to China last year. So far, about 3,700 tons of sticky rice and nonglutinous rice have been shipped.
"The Xuanye Company of China received an import quota from the Chinese government to buy rice from Laos," he said. Last year Xuanye was authorized by the Chinese government to import 8,000 tons of rice from Laos and this year has ordered 7,200 tons.
An official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said the rice grown in Laos had pure white grains, was soft and had a pleasant aroma.
Although the rice grown by Lao farmers is of good quality, rice mills must maintain high standards if they hope to export rice to China. Mills that use low quality methods will need to improve their operations and the machinery they use.
This year Lao rice went on display for the first time at the annual China-Asean Expo. The 13th Expo was staged from September 11-14 at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Centre, alongside the 13th China-Asean Business and Investment Summit in Nanning, Quangxi, China.
Lao government has earmarked 10 provinces for the cultivation of rice for export and to ensure food security.
To increase crop yields for food security and commercial gain, the government is continuing to build more irrigation schemes using its own budget and low-interest loans. Higher yields are helping to contribute significantly to socio-economic development and poverty reduction, according to the report.
More than 778,000 hectares of wet season rice and over 126,600 hectares of dry season rice are grown annually in Laos. However, about 226,000 hectares of rice fields in flatland areas are totally dependent on rainfall because irrigation channels have not yet been built in those areas.

Egypt's rice export ban worries farmers

                                    Source: Xinhua | 2016-09-25 03:41:59 | Editor: huaxia

An Egyptian farmer works after the harvest of paddy rice in a field in Gharbia Governorate, Egypt, Sept. 17, 2016. (Xinhua/Meng Tao)

by Marwa Yahya

GHARBIYA, Egypt, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- "I expect the rice price will get lower this season, and it will be better for me to buy rice than to plant it," said Mahmoud Abdel Fattah, a 55-year-old farmer.The rice harvest season came in September in the Nile Delta area of Egypt. Farmers will be busy on harvesting, packaging and selling through the whole month, with the hopes to earn more to feed their families.According to the official data from the Egyptian government, the rice price has surged by about 50 percent this year. In supermarkets of Cairo, the price of one kilo rice has increased from 3.5 Egyptian pounds (0.4 U.S. dollar) last year to unprecedented 11 pounds three months ago.

The hiking price encouraged more farmers to plant rice this year. However, this season is not a source of joy anymore since a ban of rice exports, issued by the government last month, aiming to control the price and preserve stocks for the local market.
"For this season, I have spent 2,000 Egyptian pounds on 12 acres since this May, but now I can't expect a reasonable income," Fattah said while spreading the rice on ground to get drier, helped by his daughter and his two grandchildren.He said that after calculating the expenses of seeding, cultivating, farming, using machines, hiring workforce and harvesting, as well as the revenues, he has regretted planting rice this year.
With the sound of reapers from behind, Fattah's family were collecting the crops by hand in piles. "I can't even afford 160 pounds per day to hire more hands," he added.

Since the year of 2011 when the former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrew, Egypt has been trapped in economic stagnation and security problems.In 2016, food problem has become more serious because of the hiking prices. The failure to stockpile rice earlier this year has left it at the mercy of traders, who are usually not interested in domestic market, or prone to stockpile for a higher price. "I don't care about exportation, I just want the rice to be available like last year with cheaper prices," said Amal Moustafa, a housewife in her thirties, while buying some vegetables from the market."The rice is a base for everyday dishes, and with high prices, I reduce the amounts of vegetables and meat to buy more rice," she said, noting the ban of rice exports is really important for poor people living in cities.

However, farmers stand on the other side, regarding to the ban and lower price of rice. "Actually, we produce more than enough rice for the domestic needs, especially this year. I was told that the price of a kilo of rice might be lower than 3 pounds after the harvest season," a farmer named Abdel Shafy Qasem told Xinhua.
He added that earlier this year, many farmers have planted rice and nobody expected that the government will totally ban the rice exports."It was a bad decision to plant the rice this season. I have some other fields planted with garlic, carrot and corn, now they are my hope for the whole year," Qasem said.

He said that for most farmers, this water-consuming grain has brought them more economic burden on irrigation, because they have to spent much to find water."My land is located in a higher level, and I have to dig nearly 150 meters for ground water, which cost me and my neighbors 15,000 pounds," Qasem explained in details.According to Ragab Shihata, head of the Rice Department in the Industries Union of Egypt, halting the rice exportation will lower the price in a short time, but in a long run, the ban will increase the stock percentage, and make the rice vulnerable for spoilage."The key problem is that nobody expected this policy earlier this year, so it will really harm the farmers' income," he said.At the same time, the expert called for a more balanced policy on rice."For example, the government can open exportation for one million tons of rice to make balance between controlling the high prices in the local market and avoiding losses of farmers and businessmen,


Cambodia seeks China's help as rice prices plummet

26 Sep 2016 at 18:38 3,699 viewed5 comments

A girl dries unhusked rice on a road in front of her home in Kampong Thom province, Cambodia, on Saturday. (Reuters photo)

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia is seeking early implementation of China's plan to annually purchase 200,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice, to help prevent plummeted rice prices from falling even further, a senior government official said Monday.Hor Namhong, deputy prime minister in charge of foreign affairs, said he made the request in a meeting with China's new ambassador Xiong Bo, while also explaining that the sharp decline in rice prices is seriously affecting Cambodian farmers.

Chinese Premer Li Keqiang, in his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Laos early this month, pledged to double China's annual purchase of 100,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice to 200,000 tonnes, starting from next year.Since last month, the price of rice has fallen from $240 per tonne to $192, leading to protests by some farmers and prompting the government to grant $27 million to millers to buy rice from them.The deputy prime minister also called for early disbursal of China's pledged loan of $300 million to Cambodia for building warehouses and drying facilities.Cambodia is a diplomatic ally of China, while the latter is a major provider of low-interest loans and grants to the Southeast Asian country.

36bn demanded from Yingluck for rice losses



24 Sep 2016 at 18:15 15,992 viewed35 comments


Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters prior to an appearance last month at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, where her trial for dereliction of duty in connection with the rice-pledging programme is taking place. Defence testimony is scheduled to continue until February next year. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

A government committee has concluded that Yingluck Shinawatra must pay 35.7 billion baht in compensation for losses from her rice-pledging programme from 2012-14.The bills could mount further as the military regime pursues several other cases against the former premier, including compensation for losses from the "poorly planned" responses to the severe flooding in 2011.Comptroller-General Manas Jamveha, the head of the civil liability panel, said Ms Yingluck was held responsible for 20% of the 178 billion baht in losses resulting from rice pledging in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 crop seasons.

An administrative liability panel ruled earlier that a violation was committed and the civil liability panel was set up to determine the financial damages. Under the chairmanship of Jirachai Moonthongroi, it originally settled on a total of 286.6 billion baht. But when Mr Manas assumed the chairmanship, a different calculation method was applied to arrive at 178 billion.

Ms Yingluck did nothing wrong in campaigning for votes on a promise to help farmers by buying all their rice, Mr Manas said. But she was responsible for refusing to stop the programme, as state agencies called on her to do, as its losses started to mount.

He was referring to warnings from the Office of the Auditor General, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Finance Ministry.The Yingluck government paid farmers inflated prices, 40-50% above prevailing market rates, for rice and built up huge stockpiles from 2011-14. World market prices were falling at the time and it became impossible to sell the rice, some of which rotted in storage.The situation was made worse by mismanagement and corruption including allegedly fake government-to-government sales, for which former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom is being prosecuted.

The government's borrowing of 400 billion baht to carry out the rice programme showed clearly the damage it was causing, and Ms Yingluck should have had the discipline to stop it, Mr Manas said.

Ms Yingluck had the right to contest the compensation demand in the Administrative Court, he added.

The former premier's Pheu Thai Party maintains that since she is still being tried in the Supreme Court in connection with the rice scheme, it is inappropriate to use administrative orders to demand compensation unless culpability is legally established first.

Defence testimony in the Supreme Court case is not scheduled to end until February next year.Mr Boonsong also faces a compensation order for 20 billion baht and he has indicated that he will go to court to fight it.Meanwhile, government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Ms Yingluck would be prosecuted for failing to deal effectively with the 2011 floods, the worst to hit the country in six decades.In addition to poor management of the flooding, her government's response was marked by questionable spending, he said.

Ms Yingluck, whose government was overthrown in the military coup of May 2014, is facing prosecution in as many as 15 cases of alleged wrongdoing. They include her government's issuance of a passport to her brother, the fugitive former prime minister Thakshin Shinawatra; undue influence on a military reshuffle; the transfer of a former secretary-general of the National Security Council; 7.5 million baht in individual compensation for people affected by political u


09/26/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report


2:24 AM (14 hours ago)


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Soybean Comment

Soybeans closed lower today as soybean meal moved to a new multi month low. While palm oil prices remain strong, the market seems to have already factored in these higher prices. The market was pressured by not only weak meal prices, but a disappointing export inspections last week. Soybeans need strong demand as the record demand forecast is keeping supplies in check this year and preventing a major build in soybean supplies. Soybeans continue to hold support near recent lows of $9.37


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Wheat Comment

Wheat prices closed lower today. While flooding and a reduction import duties in India were bullish for prices, weakness in outside markets and continue forecast for strong supplies continues to weigh on prices. Wheat prices closed below support near $4, and now have support at $3.91.

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Corn prices closed lower today. After wet weather supported prices last week, a change in forecast to drier weather has put pressure on corn prices. While demand continues to look good as this weeks export inspection were again strong, the expectations of a record crop are weighing on prices. In any other year, the 55% increase in exports year-to-date would be supporting prices; however, the large supply forecast continues to drag prices lower. Corn continues to hold support at recent lows of $3.14.




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Cotton futures were higher across the board, but closed a penny off the day's highs. Concerns about the U.S. Crop combined with strong export demand continue to support cotton. December continues to find support at 70-cents. Nationwide, 10% of the crop has been harvested, and 63% of the acres have open bolls. 48% of the crop is in good to excellent condition with another 36% in fair condition.


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Rice Comment

Rice prices were mostly higher, but harvest pressure continues to limit the upside potential of the market. 73% of the crop has been harvested nation-wide, and in Arkansas 84% of the crop is in the bins. November continues to chop along mostly sideways above support at the low of $9.35.


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USA Rice Welcomes New Government Affairs/PAC Manager

By Deborah Willenborg

Bree Pettigo
Welcome Bree!ARLINGTON, VA- USA Rice is pleased to welcome Bree Pettigo as the new Government Affairs/PAC Manager.
Bree comes to USA Rice from the U.S. House of Representatives where she most recently served as the Executive Assistant to Congressman Henry Cuellar [TX-28]. In that role, Bree managed Rep. Cuellar's daily schedule and coordinated logistics for all meetings and events the Congressman attended in both Washington, D.C. and throughout his district.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, home to the upcoming 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference, Bree grew up in Southaven, Mississippi, and attended Mississippi State University where she obtained a B.S. in Psychology

Rice tariffs to boost local rice farming
BIZLINKS By Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 27, 2016 - 12:00am
The groundwork to lift the quantitative restrictions on rice importation has started even against the protest of the Department of Agriculture on behalf of Filipino farmers who will definitely be hard-pressed to compete with lower priced rice imports.Even with tariffs of at least 35 percent, it is estimated that imported rice can still be sold at competitive prices to local farmers’ rice produce – or even cheaper, since one of the goals of the move to lift QRs is to lower the price of rice.

The plan to lift QRs on rice had been on the stove burner since last year in a bid to end almost 20 years of preferential restrictions approved by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on our rice importations.

The WTO first allowed the Philippines to impose a 10-year quota system for rice importation in 1995, and extended this in 2004 for another six years. When the QR lapsed in 2012, negotiations resumed to extend the preferential status starting in 2014 and ending in June 30, 2017.

Actually, it does seem a little embarrassing to ask for another extension, given the number of times the country has implored to be given “more time to prepare its farmers” for trade liberalization, and the two decades – 20 years – that was given.”

Therefore, if you hear Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol ranting a protest, please just bear with him: it’s a sort of duty thing. Really, if you think hard, it was not exactly his fault, but more of the neglectful agriculture bureaucrats during the last 20 years.
Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Competitive study

Therefore, it’s now reckoning time. The big question on the minds of many would be a concern for our farmers’ survival in the face of unlimited rice importation from such rice-exporters as Thailand and Vietnam. Will we start to see more Filipino rice farms being abandoned?

In a study by the Philippine Rice Research Institute completed in 2015, Filipino rice farmers were ranked fourth in competitiveness behind Vietnam, Thailand and India. China and Indonesia were the other two of the six countries included in the study.

The same study categorically stated that Filipino farmers when faced with the lifting of QRs, would not be able to survive. This would mean our struggling rice farmers may totally decide to give up their rice farms for other crops – or just abandon the land and find other jobs.

The study shows where Filipino farmers pale in comparison with competitors. Against Vietnam, for example, the Philippines had a higher production cost because Vietnam had “greater volume of paddy, more efficient handling, and higher milling recovery.”

There is also the  contention that there is a huge difference in land productivity. In Vietnam, there are three rice crop harvest in a year, whereas we have only two. Our average rice yields are also much lower, even during Vietnam’s autumn-winter season.

Then, the Philippines has a high labor cost (P3.76 for hired labor to produce a kilogram of paddy in Nueva Ecija, against only P0.46 in Can Tho, Vietnam). Our farmers rely more on hired workers, whereas the Viets mobilize all their family members before resorting to hired hands.

Also, Vietnam uses direct seeding in crop establishment, and combined with the use of harvesters, are able to further bring down labor cost. In the Philippines, transplanting is the preferred route, something that is labor-intensive, plus manual harvesting and mechanized threshing.

The study also pointed out that machine rental and fuel are more expensive in in the Philippines at P1.73 per kg of paddy, while it costs only P0.80 in Vietnam with the use of more efficient machines in land preparation, harvesting and threshing.

There’s more information available, but what is important is understanding where we stand against our more progressive neighbors in terms of rice farming, and for our government to be able to use this knowledge to craft measures that will keep rice farming competitive and alive in the Philippines.
Support rice farms

We cannot afford to lose rice lands for the very simple reason that the excess rice production set aside for export of countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and China will not be able to supply our needs.

The world’s rice surplus made available for the Philippines averaged at only 2.84 million metric tons a year from 2008 to 2012. Since our yearly total rice requirement is about 14.97 million MT, it is definitely impossible to rely on importations to feed our families without local production.
What to do?

Offhand, it would be safe to assume that imposing tariffs on rice imports would mean additional earnings for the government. Definitely, allocating part of the earnings on some form of cash support for displaced farmers would not be a good idea.

In the first place, cash subsidies for the victims of the QR lifting will be difficult to manage, and in the long run, would be an opportunity for corruption. More importantly, these kinds of subsidies are not productive and will not assure a structural change in the quality of rice farming in the country.

Instead of cash transfers, why not channel all  or a large part of the funds from the rice import tariffs to an agricultural fund that will support a definite set of programs.

First there should be free irrigation water to all our farmers and rice farms. Water is a state resource that should be channeled for the welfare of the nation, and in this case, what better use than water for rice paddies. Vietnam and China are doing this, why not us?

Second, mechanization of rice farms cannot be overlooked. This can help bring rice production to three harvests a year, improve production per hectare, and reduce costs on manpower, which is among the highest in the region. We should also explore better varieties of rice that promise improved yields.

Lastly, the collected tariffs must go to post-farm support: better dryers (not streets) and community storage facilities, more efficient mills, more extensive farm-to-market roads and access to cheaper transportation facilities.

On a parting note, it has been experienced – as with the garlic trade – that free trade without the proper safety nets does not necessarily mean lower prices. It would be a travesty and a tragedy if we will end up with higher priced rice in the years to come, and more importantly, the loss of our rice farms

USA Rice-Japan Academics Discuss Farm Policy Challenges 

Comparing notes
ARLINGTON, VA - Two agriculture policy specialists from Japan's Ibaraki University, Drs. Kunio Nishikawa and Katsutoshi Ohnaka, visted USA Rice's office last week to review farm policy developments in Japan and the United States.  They were joined by Mr. Takeshi Nakamura of JA-ZENCHU, the central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives and Japan's largest farm cooperative. 

USA Rice's Bob Cummings, Hugh Maginnis, and Peter Bachmann reviewed trade and agricultural policies in the United States and U.S. rice farmers' views on the Farm Bill.  The group also discussed proposals by Japan's prime minister to reform rice production policy. 

"We have met periodically with farm policy experts from Japan and these gatherings provide a good opportunity for an exchange of views and for both sides to provide information on current issues facing our industries," said Cummings, USA Rice's COO.