Monday, October 03, 2016

3rd October,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newlsletter by riceplus magazine

Reap vows to take rice exports to $4 billion by 2020

October 02, 2016
The newly-elected office-bearers of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) took charge of their offices at the 18th Annual General Meeting held Friday night with pledge to take the rice exports to USD 4 billion per annum by year 2020 from the present level of USD 2 billion per annum. Mahmood Baqi Moulvi took charge as Reap Chairman for 2016-17 from the outgoing Chairman Ch. Muhammad Shafique while Shahjahan Malik and Bilal Muhammad came in as Senior Vice Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively. Haji Abdul Rauf Chappal will be the treasurer for the year 2016-17.

Speaking on this occasion Mahmood Baqi Moulvi claimed that the government would soon be giving a special rebate to the rice sector's stakeholders. He said he would be introducing the culture of austerity in the Association. Appreciating the efforts of the outgoing office-bearers, he said that he and his team would try to follow in their footsteps and work for the promotion of rice exports. Patron in Chief Reap Abdur Rahim Janoo in his address demanded that the government should take one representative of the rice exporters in the board of the Export Development Fund (EDF). 'They have over Rs 7 billion contribution in the EDF by REAP members and not giving representation to this sector which is the second biggest foreign exchange earner for the country,' he added.

He also urged the REAP members to fully participate in the upcoming 'Biryani Festival' being arranged by the Association in Indonesia to tap that high potential market.Chairman Founders Group (North) Shahzad Ali Malik in his address congratulated the Reap outgoing team for its performance. He also talked about contribution of his company in introducing a rice variety which doubled the per acre yield of coarse variety. He disclosed that his company will be introducing a new better yield variety very soon and invited whole REAP team to visit their factory for its demonstration. Outgoing Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique said that the rice sector was facing three big problems when he took over the charge of REAP last year. These include opening up of Iran market for Pakistani rice, reviving the dead Basmati rice export and setting up of a rice technical training institute.
 He disclosed that he took three delegations to Iran, China and Kuwait which were the high potential markets. He disclosed that rice export with Iran had revived and a currency exchange mechanism was being formulated by the government and was in the final phase. He claimed that the Chinese market was also giving encouraging results while the REAP had signed an MoU with the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) to train the required manpower for rice sector. He also said that an agreement with Indonesia had also been signed.

The Managing Committee members from North and South Zones of the Association, former LCCI President Mian Anjum Nisar, Pir Nazim Hussain Shah former Reap Chairman Ch. Masood Iqbal, Javed Islam Agha, Taufiq Khan, LCCI Executive Committee Member Ali Hussam and others were also present on the occasion.


The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has arranged a meeting on 5th October 2016  between Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) and Small Medium Industrial Leasing Estates Pvt Ltd (SMILE) at Unisame office to facilitate the SME agri based industries to obtain subsidized finance for their rice,wheat, maize, cotton, spices and value addition units of fruits and vegetables in Sindh.
The SMILE Pvt Ltd is a facilitating company with the aim and objective to facilitate the SME farmers, shellers, processors and exporters of rice, spices and commodities.

Mehboob ul Haq the CEO of SEDF said it is indeed a matter of great honor for him to apprise that Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) has been created by the Government of Sindh to encourage investment in the Agro sector both for On-Farm and Off-Farm activities with a view to facilitate efficient production, processing and marketing for wider economic gains. 

Khush Junejo co-ordinator projects SEDF said the fund provides technical and financial support to SMEs in the rural economy by providing opportunities for value addition in the agriculture sector for multiple economic benefits on intermediary services and productivity.

Zulfikar Thaver president UNISAME and chairman Capacity Building Group , Technical Committee National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) said the fund would provide markup (KIBOR Portion) subsidy to such enterprises which intends to upgrade their basic industry by introducing technology or setup new projects in the agro sectors by introducing value addition on the basis of modern trends and techniques. It would also provide the balancing, modernization and replacement
( BMR) finance to rice mills.

Tillers suffering at the hands of millers

By:  Staff Report


LARKANA: The issue of fixing paddy rates has not yet been resolved by the Sindh's Agriculture Department despite that fresh crop has already started reaching markets.The Sindh government last year fixed the rate of Rs 900 per 40 kilograms but the traders and rice millers are reluctant to pay this price to the tillers who are undergoing huge losses on the account of escalating prices. Agriculture Minister Suhail Siyal is holding a meeting of all relevant parties in Karachi today (Monday) in which rice mill owners and growers' representatives are expected to take part to decide on the issue.
On the other hand, Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has announced that if their genuine demands are not accepted they will come out on roads and hold protest demonstrations after 10th Muharram-ul-Haram. Sirajul Oliya Rashidi of SCA told Daily Times that currently the peasants are given between Rs 650 to 680 per 40kg instead of fixed price of Rs 900, and nobody is there to hold traders and millers accountable for this injustice to poor growers.
Rashidi added that growers spend over Rs 750 per 40 kg then how they can sell their commodity at such low rates. He said due to this issue in last two years many tillers have left their field works and are doing other labor jobs to earn livelihood for their families. He said Punjab tillers are getting better prices than their counterparts in Sindh. He said they hope that National Assembly Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah will also participate in their protests as he did for the tillers of Punjab.

Businessman launches hybrid rice revolution

posted October 01, 2016 at 11:10 pm by Manila Standard Business

SL Agritech Corp. launched Rice Revolution, a campaign dedicated to exploring how hybrid rice can be a sustainable choice for the Philippines.Rice Revolution is SLAC’s effort in gearing farmers to convert from inbred to hybrid seeds as a solution to the challenge of attaining rice self-sufficiency and increasing rice yields in limited space.SL Agritech Corp. chairman Henry Lim
“A rice revolution is just what we need. If we use hybrid, we can be competitive and self-sufficient in terms of rice production. We won’t have to import rice in the days to come,” said SLAC chairman Henry Lim.
Lim, dubbed the ‘father of Philippine hybrid rice,’ developed the first hybrid rice variety in the Philippines, SL-8H. He is coming forward to share his knowledge and expertise to Filipino farmers to grow nutritious rice varieties and help generate adequate rice supply.
“Hybrid rice farming is key to creating a strong agricultural sector. Even for the same amount of fertilizer, hybrid rice seeds can yield more compared to inbred. And because hybrid seeds are deeply rooted in the soil, they are more resilient during floods allowing farmers to grow rice seeds during dry and wet seasons and earn more while producing high-quality rice for consumers,” said Lim.
While it requires greater attention, a key advantage of hybrid rice farming is that it uses 15 to 18 kilograms of seeds per hectare and 60 percent less water compared to traditional rice varieties that use 80 to 120 kg of seeds per hectare and 5,000 liters of water per kilo produced.
“The revolution already began changing the rural landscape in Central Luzon and it needs to keep going if we really want to be self-sufficient,” said Lim.
SLAC is working in collaboration with entities from neighboring Asian countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea and also began exporting rice seeds to the United States and the Middle East.
SLAC is also the country’s pioneer in hybrid rice research and development, producing the popular hybrid rice seed SL-8H, which has helped uplift the lives of many Filipino farmers through higher rice yield. 
It produces the Dona Maria premium rice varieties Miponica and Jasponica

Going hybrid to save TN's rice bowl

Published: 02nd October 2016 03:58 AM
Last Updated: 02nd October 2016 03:59 AM
TIRUCHY: The old Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest is not a mere quote for agriculture, a sector hit by drastically changing climatic conditions and water disputes with neighbouring states.
The most recent warning on what is in store on the climate front came from the Asian Development Bank. Its study said stormy rains could increase alarmingly — by about a fifth  in the Cauvery delta region, coupled with a spike in temperature by as much as 1.5 degree Celsius. Add to these, the never-ending dispute over water-sharing.
It is clear that the need of the hour is a long-lasting, two-prong strategy that involves climate change resistant crops and overhauling of the irrigation system for optimum use of available water.Rice, the most common produce from the region, is a water-intensive crop. Experts say about 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water is needed to produce a kg of rice. This is something huge to ask of a State that has about 41 per cent less per capital availability of water when compared to the national average - 900 cubic metres per annum as against the national average of 1,545 cubic metres. This has created an almost absolute dependency on the Cauvery.
Though traditional paddy breeds are more resilient to the vagaries of climate, their yield is low when compared to the better breeds. Unfortunately, the better breeds are not resilient to climate change. This, however, cannot be a reason to abandon paddy crop. As rice is the staple food in Tamil Nadu, any sudden shift to alternative crops would affect food security, say agriculture experts. “Paddy is the suitable crop for delta districts, where the soil  will not permit any other alternative cropping practice. To sustain agriculture in the face of multiple challenges, we have to develop high yield paddy breed that also defies climate change, and also promote micro irrigation system,” Dr P Pandiarajan, dean of Anbil Dharmalingam Agriculture College and Research Institute near here, tells Express.
Following micro irrigation techniques can help avoid complete reliance on canal irrigation - drip irrigation, for instance, can reduce water consumption by half, experts say. “When we randomly wet the crop, chances are equally high for the weeds to grow between the main crop. Since drip irrigation is based on the water requirement of the crop, as much as 50 per cent of water can be saved,” Pandiarajan adds.
Molecular breeding
Both traditional and modern (post-Green Revolution) paddy breeds have their advantages and disadvantages. The former is more resistant to the changes in weather, but the latter gives more yield.
“Through molecular breeding, we can combine the resistance and low maintenance qualities of the traditional breeds and the high yield potential of the modern breeds to produce a new breed,” said agronomy assistant professor Dr T Ramesh.
Experts suggest that this new breed can be planted during the Kuruvai (short-term) season for which water availability is less. It will also ensure that the Samba (long-term) crop can be left untouched till the results are clear. It is not just the agriculture research institutes here that are involved in these efforts. Even the International Rice Research Institute has been working at producing multi stress tolerant paddy breed. “We cannot keep on growing the same paddy breeds, we also need to promote alternative crop. Governments should support that type of cultivation, for which we  need to change our food consumption style,” said Mahadhanapuram Rajaram, president of Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association

Agri varsity worried over occupation of research centre by army

By Aakash Hassan   

Kulgam: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) authorities have expressed concern over army setting up a camp in a part of the Mountain Research Centre for Field Crops (MRCFC) at Khudwani.Earlier, the police and CRPF had been occupying about three hectares of the facility for 25 years and had vacated it in June this year.The MRCFC, established in 1942, is an internationally recognised centre for maintenance of various indigenous and exotic genotypes of rice, wheat and oilseed crops.
“The forces vacated the facility in June after the intervention of the current chief minister. That happened after we had raised the matter with successive governments. They have again taken over the facility on September 12,” said Associate Director MRCFC Ghulam Ahmad Parrey.“It is very unfortunate for our research work. The research we carry out is labour oriented work we are facing shortage of manual labour because no one wants to work when forces are stationed at the same place,” he said.

Army’s 1st RR has been stationed at the centre after army was deployed in parts of south Kashmir, which has been the epicentre of the raging anti-India uprising.“After forces vacated in June we begun the renovation process with the hope that this internationally acknowledged research centre will touch new heights,” said SKUAST vice-chancellor Prof Nazir Ahmad.“This is an internationally acknowledged institution in rice research and we have tied up with various organizations and institutes to promote our research but the presence of forces will affect it adversely,” the VC added.

Stating the significance of the research centre, the VC said, “Rice is staple crop of Kashmir and about 80% of the seeds are provided to farmers from this centre. We even provide seeds to Chenab valley.”He said many significant buildings of the institution are under army’s control now.He said during the 2010 uprising, oilseed, wheat and rice crop suffered extensive damage as protesters used to regularly attack the forces stationed inside the centre.
“You cannot quantify that loss in monetary terms because researchers put years of work into raising crops here,” said a researcher.The VC said that the army has been provided space on the condition that they will vacate the facility once the situation improves.A few researchers this reporter spoke to blamed “the incompetent district administration”, saying the army could have been provided alternative sites.Deputy commissioner Showkat Aijaz said “we are looking into the matter”


1 OCT 2016

South Korean farmers burn sheaves of rice after marching against the government's agricultural policy in Seoul, demanding the government stop rice imports for meals and come up with measures to resolve the incident involving Baek Nam-ki, a farmer who has been in critical condition since November 2015 when he was knocked down by a police water cannon during a protest rally. Photo: EPA
Early one Saturday morning in November of last year, farmer Baek Nam-gi left his home in the rural south of South Korea, and with dozens of fellow farmers, boarded a bus bound for Gwanghwamun Square, a public space in the heart of the capital, Seoul, and a frequent venue for protests.
On that day, Gwanghwamun was the site of an exceptionally tense demonstration against the conservative government of President Park Geun-hye. Baek and his colleagues were pushing for intervention in the rice market, asking the government to guarantee purchase of excess supply in order to keep prices up. The farmers said that with bumper harvests causing a supply glut, prices had fallen so low they were barely scraping by.

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That day’s protests turned violent, with dozens of arrests after activists clashed with police. By the end of the day, a haunting image of Baek was being shared widely across the Korean language internet, showing the 68-year-old splayed on his back, awash in the frothy discharge from police water cannons.
An image shared across the Korean language internet showing farmer Baek Nam-gi splayed on his back, awash in the frothy discharge from police water cannons. File photo
During the protest, Baek was hit by the jet from a water cannon, fell back, hit his head and lost consciousness. He was taken to hospital, and for the next several months, as he lay in a coma, his name became a rallying cry for the country’s liberal opposition as a bitter debate broke out over whether the police spraying a water cannon at protesters was a legitimate, or excessive, use of force.
That debate picked up momentum this week, when after nearly ten months in a coma, Baek died, his passing coming at a time when rice prices are still tumbling, and South Korea’s farmers are growing more desperate.
South Korean farmers take part in a protest march against the government's agricultural policy in Seoul. Some 4,000 farmers demanded the government stop rice imports for meals and come up with measures to resolve the incident involving Baek Nam-ki. Photo: EPA
Three consecutive years of bumper harvests have created a spike in the supply of rice, which along with a decline in domestic consumption, has led to some of the lowest prices in years. Data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural affairs show a steady slide in prices since 2013, with an 80kg bag costing a little less than US$160 in that year, compared to around US$125 this month.
Rice has long been Korea’s staple food item. Fluffy white grains are served with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the common daytime greeting isn’t “Hello” or “How are you?”, but “Have you had rice?” The importance of rice is underscored in music, visual art and literature, where it is often used as a metaphor for warmth and comfort. In many Korean stories, whether or not the characters have rice means the difference between death and survival, or comfort and destitution.
South Korean farmer take part in a protest march with banners reading 'President Park Geun-Hye Resignation' during a rally against the government's agricultural policy in Seoul. Photo: EPA
When making their case to the government, South Korean farmers tap into this centrality, appealing to the public’s emotions and the special place that rice occupies in the Korean psyche. At rallies, farmers wear grim facial expressions while holding placards with messages such as “Rice is Life,” and sometimes shed tears as they set fire to rice plants.
South Korean farmer protesters, prepare to burn sheaves of rice after marching against government's agricultural policy in Seoul. Photo: EPA
But at least in terms of government support, South Korean farmers already have it pretty good. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that of 36 countries surveyed, South Korea was second only to Turkey in the generosity of its support for agriculture.
And it’s not clear how effective a strategy government intervention in the rice market really is, said Stefan Tangermann, a retired professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Göttingen in Germany. Tangermann said that “fiddling with market prices would create economic inefficiencies and also have negative impacts on consumer well-being. A more efficient and also more effective approach to supporting farmers’ incomes is to provide direct payments unrelated to the production of rice.”

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So far, the government’s efforts to keep prices up haven’t amounted to much. “The government’s goal is to keep rice at 180,000 won [US$163] per 80kg bag, and they’ve tried to get it there by purchasing rice and keeping it off the market, but so far they haven’t been successful in elevating prices,” said Jo Nam-uk, a Korea Rural Economic Institute researcher specialising in rice policy.
A South Korean farmer burns rice straw. Photo: Hemis
The farmers’ insistence that their government step in and set matters in their favour is a symptom of a particular situation in Korea, where interest groups of all kinds rely on their elected leaders for solutions, said Michael Breen, a Seoul-based historian and author of the forthcoming, The New Koreans: The Story of a Nation.
Breen said it was “the government that’s seen as ultimately responsible for everything here, regardless of what happens in the economy”.
Baek was a longtime activist, having protested against the authoritarian regimes that ruled South Korea in the 1970s and 80s, causing him to be twice expelled from university by government order. He was active in the street protests that pushed out the country’s military regime in 1988 and achieved multi-party democracy. But instead of settling in Seoul and taking up a public life in politics or journalism, as many other activists did, Baek returned to his home region and took up farming. His humble lifestyle further endeared him to supporters, and was recalled fondly by many grieving his death.
An image of Baek’s funeral, shared widely on Korean social media. Photo: Yonhap
In recent years, though he struggled to make ends meet and remained politically engaged, Baek mostly enjoyed a quiet lifestyle, tending his fields and relaxing with his wife, son, two daughters and grandchildren. This week, another image of Baek made the rounds on Korean social media, this one of him smiling placidly in a funeral portrait, surrounded by white flowers atop a memorial altar. With that image being displayed at supporters’ events across the country, Baek’s memory may be sowing new seeds for the farmers’ movement to keep trudging along.

Rice prices mark fresh rise


FE Report

Prices of rice, especially of the coarse varieties, have increased further in the city markets as elsewhere in the country, which traders attributed to a substantial rise in the paddy price at the growers' level.

However, market analysts have said there is no valid reason for the hike in rice prices as the country has adequate supply of the staple.They urged conducting strict market monitoring to combat any simulated shortage.
According to them, importers and millers should be brought under strict monitoring to protect market from being volatile.   Coarse varieties of rice like Swarna and BR-11 were selling between Tk36 and Tk40 a kg at the retail level on Sunday against Tk34-Tk 35 two days back.

Prices of the medium quality rice like Brridhan-28, 29, Paijam, Kajol Lata, Parija and Ratna increased by Tk2-Tk3 to Tk40-Tk45 a kg in the city kitchen markets in the last seven days.

Fine varieties like Miniket, Najirshail and Kataribhog remained static maintaining higher rates.

Miniket of different qualities were traded at Tk46-Tk 54 a kg and Najirshail at Tk48-Tk 57 a kg in the city.

Monibur, a grocer at Mirpur Section-2 in the city, told the FE that prices of coarse varieties witnessed an upward trend for the last few days in the wholesale markets.

He said per 100 kg sack of good quality Swarna increased to Tk3700 on Saturday which was Tk3350-Tk3400 a few days back.  

Asadulla, joint secretary of Badamtoli O Babu Bazar Chaul Aratdar Malik Samity, an association of rice wholesalers in the city, said prices have been increasing gradually at the mill gates in Kushtia, Pabna, Naogaon, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Nilphamari and Jessore.

He said the rate of Swarna was Tk37.5 to Tk38 in Rangpur and Dinajpur on Sunday morning.

Brridhan-28 sold at Tk42-Tk42.5 at the mill gates and the price might increase further in Dhaka, he said.

Secretary of Bangladesh Auto Major Husking Mill Owners Association KM Layek Ali said paddy prices increased by Tk150-Tk200 a sack (75 kg) in the last two weeks.

He said Brridhan-28 paddy was selling at Tk1750 a sack (75 kg) which means per kg milled rice will be available at Tk40.

Swarna paddy is selling at Tk1500-Tk1550 a sack while price of milled Swarna rice is at least Tk35 a kg.

He said production of Brridhan-28 declined notably in the last Boro season causing the recent hike in prices.

Production of rice seemed to have declined in the just ended Aus season as prices remained higher, he added.

He said prices will come down within a few weeks after the new Aman paddy harvest hits the market.

Md Hazrat Ali, a Nilphamari-based trader, said import of coarse rice has almost stopped following 25 per cent import duty.

He said cost of Indian Swarna will be Tk36-Tk 37 a kg--- which is same as the local prices.Md Azizul Islam, a Rangpur-based rice miller, said many of the importers and their allied traders are now active to force the government for a duty cut in rice import.The government should be cautious about them as they are creating supply crunch of paddy in the market, he claimed.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said the government should conduct strict monitoring to protect market from any artificial shortage.

Stores and godowns of big importers, millers and traders should be kept under watch to combat any simulated crisis, he said.Agricultural Economist Prof Golam Hafiz Kennedy said the government should take policies which could benefit farmers, traders and consumers.He pointed out that local production of rice declined to 34.57 million tonnes in the financial year 2015-16 from 34.7 million tonnes but it is still a surplus against an annual demand of 31.0 million tonnes.He said there is no valid reason for such high-rated hike in rice prices which has directly been hurting poor consumers.He said the millers should grow tendency to make less profit which could also help both farmers and consumers.

Export woes cut kharif basmati sowing by 25% in Punjab, Haryana

The sowing of basmati rice across the key growing areas of Punjab and Haryana has seen a sharp fall of 25% to 1.57 million hectares this kharif season from close to 2 million hectares reported in 2015.

By: Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: September 30, 2016 7:19 AM
The BEDF report said that in western Uttar Pradesh, the area under basmati rice has reduced by close to 22% to 2.6 lakh hectares, as many farmers have sown sugarcane replacing basmati, speculating quick returns from the state government. The sowing of basmati rice across the key growing areas of Punjab and Haryana has seen a sharp fall of 25% to 1.57 million hectares this kharif season from close to 2 million hectares reported in 2015, thanks to a fall in realisation from exports.
According to a survey conducted by Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF), a body under the commerce ministry, this year the rice-transplanted areas in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu & Kashmir have increased by more than 4.6% to 5.9 million hectares, while the areas under basmati variety have declined in Haryana and Punjab by 11.9% and 43.3%, respectively.
In Punjab, basmati rice acreage shrunk by more than 43% to 5 lakh hectares, mainly because of a reduction in the area under short-duration Pusa Basmati-1509. The sowing of this variety has been reduced to only 48,770 hectares this year, from 1.8 lakh hectares reported in 2015. “There has been sharp fall in basmati acreage of Pusa 1509 variety this year compared to last year as the farmers got very low prices,” the report said. In Haryana, the total rice acreage based on field survey has been estimated at 1.29 million hectares in 20 districts, while the area under basmati rice had been reduced by 12.5% to 7.2 lakh hectares compared with last year.
The BEDF report said that in western Uttar Pradesh, the area under basmati rice has reduced by close to 22% to 2.6 lakh hectares, as many farmers have sown sugarcane replacing basmati, speculating quick returns from the state government.
“Lower output because reduced acreage in this kharif is expected to push up basmati rice prices,” said a leading exporter. At present, basmati rice prices are ruling around R5,700 to R5,800 per quintal in the Karnal market.
According to data by the Agricultural and Processed Food Development Authority, exports realisation from the basmati rice fell by 17% to R22,714 crore in FY16 in comparison to the previous year. But the volume of exports rose to 4.04 million tonne (mt) from 3.7 mt during the same period. In 2013-14, the country exported basmati rice worth of R29,299 crore.
In April, rating agency ICRA had stated that the domestic basmati rice industry, which is witnessing excess supply and weak demand, may revive in the next harvest season in the second half of 2016-17. “The supply of basmati paddy is expected to witness some moderation as farmers are likely to shift away from basmati, given the non-remunerative prices in the last two crop cycles,” ICRA has stated in its report. The report also stated since Iran, the biggest importer of basmati from India, has removed the ban on rice imports, demand is also expected to improve.

Rice millers’ stir in Punjab threatens to derail just-begun paddy procurement

Atul Nagpal, Hindustan Times, Fatehgarh Sahib
Updated: Oct 02, 2016 15:24 IST
Punjab Mandi Board officials during the paddy procurement launch in Fatehgarh Sahib. (HT Photo)

Paddy procurement began in over 1831 grain markets of Punjab, including 150 principal yards, 283 sub-yards and 1398 purchase centres, on Saturday.Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and deputy commissioner Kamadeep Singh Sangha launched the procurement process in Amloh and Sirhind markets. Total 137 metric tonnes (MT) paddy was lifted by agencies in Fatehgarh Sahib district on the first day.Lakhowal said last year 169.55 lakh MT paddy reached grain markets of Punjab and claimed this year they were expecting 186 lakh MT to reach the markets, an increase of 10%. “It will be a record paddy production in Punjab,” he said.
Lakhowal said instructions were given to district mandi officers and market committee secretaries in the state to look after the arrangements and smooth procurement. “Any negligence may lead to action against officers,” said, Lakhowal.


However, Punjab Rice Millers Association (PRMA) boycotted the procurement process and said it would continue to stay away from it, till its demands are not met.PRMA has been demanding that government lower the power tariff for them and bring it to on a par with other industries, which is Rs 4.99 per unit. They also do not want to pay milling charges as suggested by Comptroller and Auditor General’s report. Apart from these, they want state agencies to release transportation charges. They alleged that transportation charges of rice delivered more than 8 km from 2003-04 to 13-14 that has been paid by Food Corporation of India (FCI) to state agencies was still not transferred to millers. Transportation charges of the stock delivered from 0-40 km in 2014-15 and 15-16 was also released to agencies by FCI but that too not transferred to millers.“We will continue with our decision and if government fails to meet our demands we may declare ‘no work’ for whole season on October 5,” said, Tarsem Lal Saini, PRMA president, on Saturday.

PRMA representatives have said the agencies do not have enough storage space for the stock and their strike would definitely build pressure on the government. “In coming days there would be huge rush in mandis and agencies are going to fail to manage the situation,” Said another miller.“Government will have to back to us.” he added.
Interestingly, after the non-lifting of paddy by some millers in 2007, 9,881 MT paddy remained unmilled till December 2008 and was damaged.

“Procurement has just begun. Millers are in talks with government and there would definitely be a solution by October 5. We will act according to the government’s decision,” said, Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, deputy commissioner, while answering about the arrangements made for storage, if millers continue the strike.

Weedy red rice reappears in California

Sep 14, 2016 Todd Fitchette | Western Farm Press

  • Weedy red rice has been documented in the past in California
  • It has again been found in California's Butte and Glenn counties
  • Cooperative Extension researchers are helping growers find and manage the weed
University of California Rice Farm Advisors Whitney Brim-DeForest, left, and Luis Espino are working with growers to identify weedy red rice in their fields.
Related Media
Weedy red rice, a considerable problem for rice growers in the South, may be in at least six fields in the northern California counties of Glenn and Butte.
Also known as red rice for its color, growers should be on the lookout for it and know the impact it can have in commercial rice.
University of California Cooperative Extension Rice Farm Advisor Whitney Brim-DeForest says weedy rice appeared in California in 2003, and maybe back as far as the 1930s and 1950s.
California has largely avoided the problem, possibly because of its continuously-flooded rice fields. The problem has resurfaced and farm advisors are trying to inform growers about the issue before it could get out of hand.
What is it?
Weedy red rice is considered one of the worst weeds in rice growing regions around the world. In 2008, surveys in Arkansas revealed 62 percent of the rice crop was infested with the weed.
One of the problems with weedy red rice is that it looks similar to cultivated rice, making it difficult to spot.
Beyond that, weedy red rice has characteristics that can reduce yield and rice quality by contaminating seed lots and requiring extra milling.
A University of California website can be found at with information on the topic.
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Another problem with weedy rice is the inability to control it with conventional herbicides. Brim-DeForest says common herbicides that could control the weed also can kill the rice because both belong to the same genus.
Additionally, weedy red rice tends to shatter, meaning it falls off the panicle rather than remain there for harvest. This is how the weed propagates. It also has a dormancy period, according to UCCE Rice Farm Advisor Luis Espino, meaning seeds can lay dormant for two years and in the third germinate and reappear in the rice field.
Rice specialists say the best control method is to attempt to keep it out of fields in the first place. To do this the University of California has a list of best management practices that include, but are not limited to:
  • Equipment entering California from areas known to have red rice will be subject to inspection by county agricultural department staff;
  • Use only certified seed;
  • Do not use an infested field as a seed field;
  • Red rice plants are easiest to identify at the heading stage – scout fields at that time;
  • For minor infestations remove red rice plants from the field. Be careful not to shatter red rice seeds while handling headed plants. Bag the headed plants before transport from the field and dispose of them by burning them or placing in a dumpster;
  • Keep water on the field with no drainage during the season. Red rice germination is promoted when water is drained from the field for stand establishment and foliar herbicide applications;
  • If possible, harvest affected fields last in the sequence of harvesting and do not move equipment into uninfected fields; and,
  • Straw should be cut as low as possible to the ground to facilitate effective burning.
According to Brim-DeForest, a good, hot burn can destroy red rice seed.
California growers are allowed to burn a maximum of 25 percent of their rice fields to control blast and fungal diseases, according to Paul Buttner, manager of environmental affairs for the California Rice Commission (CRC).
Weedy red rice control was recently folded into this program, Buttner says.
It still requires a grower to obtain a burn permit.
The UC recommends that growers with known red rice populations should prioritize those fields when determining which fields to burn.
The UC also recommended to avoid fall tillage as this may bury red rice seed.

Phnom Penh Post - No sign of relief for rice industry

A farmer harvests his rice crop at a paddy in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district last year. Vireak Mai

No sign of relief for rice industry

As the harvest season of Cambodia’s most important crop kicks off, a crisis is looming as both rice farmers and millers face crippling capital shortages and a promised industry lifeline has yet to materialise.
Industry experts said yesterday that these small farmers desperate to pay their debt obligations have had no choice but to sell the harvested rice from their drought and flood-damaged fields at a loss. Meanwhile, millers unable to obtain bank finance are cutting back on purchases, pushing farm-gate prices even lower.
The sector’s best hope – a $20 million to $30 million package of government-backed emergency loans to help rice millers purchase paddy from farmers for processing or stockpiling – remains entangled in bureaucratic red tape. If the funds are not released by the end of the harvest in November, the economic and social impact could be immense.
“The only hope is for the government to approve the disbursement of loans so that [millers and storage depots] can buy paddy rice and help farmers resolve their issues before the end of the harvest season,” said Den Srey Lim, deputy director of Agricultural Development for Chamroeurn Phal, an agricultural cooperative in Battambang province.
“If there is no effective solution, farmers will face a serious crisis.”
According to Srey Lim, the market price of paddy rice in the province has fallen off steeply since the harvest began earlier this month. She said the farm-gate price on paddy had fallen from about $250 per tonne to $190 per tonne during the short time that farmers harvested the first 10 percent of their fields.
“Farmers are now facing high risk,” she said. “They are concerned that if the price of paddy remains low like this they will face losses and be unable to pay back their debts.”
She explained that most smallholding rice farmers borrow from microfinance institutions (MFIs) or fertiliser distributors at the start of the season to purchase seeds and fertiliser. The farmers have been particularly hard-hit this year as in addition to a sharp decrease in paddy rice prices, their crops were damaged by a prolonged drought and recent flooding.
Chhun Hang Lay, managing director of City Rice Import-Export, one of the biggest rice millers and exporters in Battambang province, said when rice farmers face issues their problems inevitably spread up the line.
“The farmer is the first person to face an issue, which then spreads to the rice miller, and soon the whole industry faces a crisis,” he said.
Lay said the market price on paddy rice had plummeted about 25 per cent to $230 per tonne since the start of the month. Yet despite the low price, millers including his own were cutting down on purchases due to a shortage of capital as banks had become more strict on extending credit.
“Most of the rice millers have tried to cut down on purchases and are buying only for export orders as they cannot afford to purchase for stockpiling,” he said, adding that some millers were holding out until the premium varieties of jasmine rice come onto the market next month. “This [lower demand] in turn impacts the farmers, as they cannot afford to store rice or wait [for paddy prices to rebound].”
In June, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) announced that the government had agreed to disburse $20 million to 30 million in emergency loans through the CRF to its members to ensure that they had sufficient capital to purchase paddy rice from farmers this season. Yet even with the harvest already started, the fund are still nowhere to be seen.
Mey Vann, director of the financial industry department at MEF, declined to comment on the emergency loan package.
CRF finance manager Horn Theara offered two reasons for the hold-up, claiming that the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) had still not authorised the disbursement of the funds, while the CRF, as guarantor of the loans, must carefully vet the recipients.
“We are trying to help our members because they need it, but because this is government money coming from private-sector taxation collection we also need to ensure that millers can repay their loans,” he said. “It is a difficult balance to achieve.”
Theara said that while he was unsure when the funding would begin, MEF was insisting that millers put down rice paddy stock as collateral in order to qualify for loans. This has created a catch-22.
“Millers do not have enough working capital to purchase rice paddy stock at the moment,” he said, adding that he hoped MEF would recognise the urgency of the situation.
“The CRF needs to convince MEF that there are millers that are big enough and able to be profitable, and who thus deserve funding,” he said. “The $20 million to $30 million will not be enough, but we hope that once lending begins, this will just be the first phase of many to shore up the industry.”
Theara said with the government loan package tied up in red tape, the CRF was desperately reaching out to the Kingdom’s biggest commercial banks for credit facilities – but stumbling once again on collateral.
“The banks are also reluctant to lend because it is risky and they are not confident they will be paid back,” he said. “The banks want the millers to put down rice paddy stock for collateral as well before they consider lending.

Government Investigates Rice Sector

Following a Monday announcement from the Agriculture Ministry that provincial officials must ensure that the country’s rice millers pay adequate prices for rice paddy, the ministry followed up yesterday, saying that working groups had started discussing the situation with rice millers and rice farmers.
In a post on his Facebook page, Minister Veng Sakhon said that the working groups, consisting of 19 officials from relevant departments at the ministry, were liaising with stakeholders to better understand how to improve conditions for farmers.
“The working groups’ duty is to monitor, quality control and safety check agricultural products to help farmers analyze how to reduce production costs and increase revenue, and to intervene in current issues involving the prices for agriculture products,” he wrote.
This followed a statement from Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak on Friday, when his ministry issued a regulation directing all rice importers to follow the law concerning country-of-origin requirements.
“All rice importing companies must respect the laws and regulations, such as having proper packaging, company address, weight, origin of products, buying and sales contract, and a valid date on the attached import certificate,” the statement read.
The ministry’s’ reactions come amid growing concern from domestic rice farmers that the stresses of the recent drought have been compounded by a drop in the price that rice millers are paying.
The current price for a ton of unmilled fragrant rice is $200, down $100 from last year.
Nop Saloeun, a rice farmer in Banteay Meanchey province, told Khmer Times yesterday that despite government statements and proclamations, she has seen no intervention locally on rice prices.
She is now receiving about 600 riel ($0.15) for a kilogram of rice paddy, whereas last year she was able to sell it for about 880 riel. She blamed the network of brokers and millers for the drop and their lack of a clear pricing formula.
“As we owe money to MFIs [microfinance institutions] and fertilizer sellers, and there is no place to dry the newly harvested rice due to the rain, we decided we had to sell our newly harvested rice for the lower price,” Ms. Saloeun said.
“We know that we will lose money, but there is no choice.”
Song Saran, the president of Amru Rice (Cambodia), a rice exporting company, told Khmer Times that there were many factors affecting the price of rice.
He noted Vietnam’s recent move to grow fragrant rice – formally a Cambodian export to the country – the low amounts millers were prepared to pay, the lack of silos for storing rice during the rainy season and the over-supply of fragrant rice coupled with an import of Vietnamese rice, meant that farmers and millers were now facing a “crisis.”
He added that the government seemed to lack a clear policy for the rice sector, or a long-term vision.
“The 100,000 to 200,000 tons of rice needs at least three to four months of proper storage before it can be sold at a higher price, but farmers cannot wait for this since they have to pay back MFIs, and therefore the quality is low and there is a period of oversupply.”
Taing Sokkhy, a rice expert at Eng Dypo Development Company, said that one way to ensure higher prices was for rice farmers to focus on quality, not quantity. Regions should also start to specialize in a certain rice variety, which will lower transport, storage and milling costs, and increase prices.
“The solution to ensuring the market is sustainable is that farmers in a region should select the same rice variety and then all grow it in that area. Combined with an effort from rice millers to teach correct storage and drying techniques, then standards can be improved and prices rise.”

APEDA AgriExchange Newsletter - Volume 1569

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