Tuesday, November 01, 2016

1st November,2016 daily global,regional and local rice enewsletter by riceplus magazine

 Direct seeding of rice can reduce input cost, increase production’

ISLAMABAD: Cultivating rice by using direct seeding of rice (DRS) through drill, farmers can save up to 25 percent water, labour at the time of transplantation, reduce their overall cost of production drastically, and enhance yield per acre of the crop by up to 20 percent.
"The DRS technology improves farmers profitability by allowing savings on a hectic and lengthy land preparation process, substituting labour and, more crucially, getting better plant population," said WAPRO Project Manager Zafar Iqbal while talking to a group of rice growers.
A demonstration on sowing of direct seeding of rice was conducted by the rice partners (RPL) in rural part of Muridke in collaboration with Mars Food and Intercooperation Pakistan, said a statement received on Sunday.
Zafar informed that the RPL had organised many activities in the past six months to promote direct seeding of rice in rice value chain.
Muhammad Ihsan, a farmer, who adopted the DSR technique first time in his life on his 70 acres, informed said that he was happy to see the results of his rice crop as DSR technology helped reduce his overall expenses on crop management besides improving production of the crop.
Project Agronomist Imran said on the occasion that in the present scenario of water scarcity in the country, drill sowing was inevitable for sustainable rice cultivation. "Their work in drill sowing of rice has been welcomed by farmers, as this system provides a lot of benefits like drudgery and land preparation time is saved, optimum plant population management can be maintained, energy use is reduced by 30 percent, and water use is reduced by 25-30 percent," he added.
He further discussed with the farmers during field day and said many researches show that rice cultivation through drill increases the yield up to 10-15 per acre. "As a result, rice growers spent less on their crop management and earn more as compare to conventional methods of rice cultivation," he added.
Invited farmers visited the demo plot of host farmer and admired the health of crop, asked questions on the relevant topic, which were responded promptly by the host farmer. Chief Operating Officer Ali Tariq assured the farmers about their full cooperation and services including free supply of drills, good quality seed and technical advisory service during the entire crop cycle


NFA buys storm-damaged palay

  • October 31, 2016
QUEZON CITY, Oct. 31 -- The National Food Authority has started buying storm damaged palay in Regions 1, 2 and 3 that were severely affected by Typhoons Karen and Lawin.
NFA Officer In Charge Tomas Escarez has authorized its field offices in Regions 1, 2 and 3 to procure storm damaged palay (SDP) from individual and farmers’ groups affected by the recent typhoons that hit these areas.  Concerned NFA field offices are allowed to procure SDP for a period of one month. He added that the food agency continues to procure palay especially in surplus provinces at government support price of P17 per kilogram plus a maximum of P0.70 per kilogram incentives under its regular procurement program.
The base price for the procurement of SDP is P11 per kilogram, however it will vary depending on the quality specifications such as moisture content, purity, discoloured and damaged grains. SDP with more than 80% damaged and discoloured kernels shall no longer be bought.
Escarez said that funds to be used in the procurement of SDP shall come from the Calamity Fund or the President’s Social Fund.  But, he assured affected farmers that the NFA has the needed funds to buy their SDP using the food agency’s regular cereal procurement fund (CPF) meantime that the calamity funds for this purpose are not yet remitted by the national government. 
He also directed concerned NFA field officials to mobilize their procurement teams, prepare the necessary logistical requirements and coordinate with their local government units (LGUs) and farmers organizations in identifying priority areas for the procurement of SDP.
Meanwhile, NFA has released a total of 25,075 bags of rice as of 24 October 2016 to relief agencies and LGUs for distribution to affected families in typhoon hit areas. (NFA

Government will resolve rice price issue on sustainable basis: government spokesman

By Thai PBS
October 31, 2016

The government is trying to resolve the rice price problem on a sustainable basis and will not just hand out money to help the farmers because that is not the right way to solve the problem but, besides, it will hurt the economy as a whole, government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd told the media on Sunday. He said that the government had explained to the farmers that Thailand is not the only rice producing country and there are several countries that export rice in competition with Thailand, hence, rice price cannot be dictated by Thailand or any other countries but by market mechanism.

In order to cushion the impacts of rice price slump, he said farmers should not depend on rice farming alone to make a living, but should engage in mixed agriculture by cultivating other cash crops which consume less water or to raise cattle or poultry.“All sectors are fully aware that when the harvest season arrives, there will be a lot of rice and the price will drop,” said the spokesman, adding that the government has meted out several measures to help farmers to stock up their newly-harvested crops so that not all the rice crops are simultaneously dumped into the market, sending rice price to plunge downward.Sansern said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha appreciated the effort of some farmers to help themselves by selling their rice crops directly to the consumers bypassing the middlemen or selling their rice through the social media.The Rice Policy and Management Committee is due to meet on today to discuss rice price problem and is expected to come up with some measures to address the problem.


Thailand offers $1bn loan to rice farmers in push to boost prices

Scheme comes after junta fined former premier same amount over crop subsidy programme
Thailand’s military regime is to boost struggling rice farmers’ incomes by providing them with loans totalling $1bn — even though it recently fined a former prime minister the same amount for running her own crop subsidy scheme.

By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy.The latest government handout to 2m households is an effort to ease growing hardship in the country’s populous rice-growing heartlands, where support for the generals is historically weak. The economic shock of the fall in the international price of jasmine rice to a near nine-year low has emerged as a growing problem both for farmers and the junta.
The generals declared an end to allegedly wasteful civilian government subsidies when they seized power in 2014 but have since been forced to inject funds into rural areas because of collapsing agricultural prices. 
Farmers will be able to get money from the new Bt35.8bn ($1.02bn) rice scheme if they agree to store their crop for six months, Apiradee Tantraporn, commerce minister, told reporters on Monday. She said the stockpiling would help limit supply and buoy prices. 
Market rates for high-quality jasmine grains, which account for about a quarter of Thailand’s total rice export crop, have fallen from about $1,200 a tonne in 2012-13 to well below $800 a tonne this season, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association. “If we can push up prices of jasmine rice, prices of other rice varieties will go up too,” Ms Apiradee said. 
The government’s announcement comes after it imposed a Bt35bn fine on Yingluck Shinawatra over the rice subsidy scheme her administration ran before the generals toppled it in May 2014. Ms Yingluck also faces criminal prosecution and a jail sentence of up to 10 years for alleged negligence related to the multibillion dollar programme. 
Ms Yingluck has denied any wrongdoing and has claimed the pursuit of her is politically motivated. Thaksin Shinawatra, her brother and predecessor as prime minister, is the Thai military’s bĂȘte noire. 
The rice-growing areas of the north and north-east are noted centres of support for the political machine of the Shinawatra family, whose parties have won every general election since 2001.
The new rice programme is less sweeping for now than the Yingluck government’s upfront cash payments to all farmers, but there are similarities in concept and execution. While the latest scheme is being pitched as a loan rather than a subsidy, it was not immediately clear what the repayment conditions or penalties for default would be. 
The junta’s initiative also carries echoes of the Yingluck era’s ill-fated effort to manipulate world rice prices by stockpiling grain. Other growers, including India, ramped up production in response, toppling Thailand from its position as the world’s leading rice exporter. 
The Thai government is keen to head off any risk of unrest during the sensitive process of royal succession triggered by the death in October of King Bhumibol Adulyadej after more than 70 years on the throne.

Nigeria: Farmers in Niger Projected to Produce 1m Tonnes of Rice, Says CBN

Photo: Xinhua/Liu Dalong
The cluster of rice farms in Niger are expected to produce one million tonnes of rice through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers' Programme, the bank said in a statement in Abuja o Sunday.The CBN acting Director of Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said in the statement that the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made the fact known when he inspected rice farms in some local government areas of the state.The governor was accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, the Governor of Niger, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, and the Governor of Kebbi, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.Emefiele said that over 14,000 farmers in Niger had benefited from the Anchor Borrowers' Programme, with billion naira disbursed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund

Govt looks to boost China rice exports

Workers unload rice bags at a jetty in Yangon. (Photo-Kyi Naing)
 The commerce ministry says it will use diplomacy to export 400,000 tonnes of rice to China via land and sea routes.Khin Maung Lwin, assistant permanent secretary at the ministry, said: “Exports of rice and corn to China are illegal.”It has been a year since China allowed Myanmar to export 100,000 tonnes of rice under a quota system.The ministry is making efforts to send an additional quota of 400,000 tonnes of rice to China, equally split via land and sea.“We are trying to inform China about the quota on rice exports through diplomatic channels. China is very sensitive about rice quotas,” he added.
Discussions are due soon with China's Yunnan province. Until October 14 this fiscal year, the country earned over US$145 million from exports of rice to 33 countries. More than 85 per cent of exports went to China, according to the Customs Department.The country generated over US$123 million from rice exports to China, US$7 million via sea routes and more than US$115 million through border trade.
 Translated by Myo Than

Hom Mali rice price plunges to the lowest in ten years

in Business 

The price of milled Hom Mali rice for the month of December as quoted by rice exporters at 15,800 baht per tonne or 8,000 baht per tonne of paddy which is the lowest in a decade.The price of Hom Mali rice for 2016-17 crop is steadily plunging because potential buyers have suppressed rice prices in the wake of bumper harvests in most rice-producing countries.Export price for milled Hom Mali rice for the month of December was quoted below US$500 or US$490 per tonne which is regarded as the lowest level in ten years.

The export price of 5% white rice has also dropped accordingly to US$347 per tonne for rice deals to Japan which is regarded as VERY low and is not much different from similar grains from Vietnam and India, Thailand’s main competitors.15% (humidity) Hom Mali paddy from Buri Ram was quoted on October 26 at 9,000 baht/tonne compared to 10,000 baht/tonne just a week earlier while 30% Hom Mali paddy from Nakhon Ratchasima was quoted between 6,800-7,000 baht/tonne on October 26.
A source in the rice exporting business, however, is optimistic that Hom Mali price has dropped to its lowest level and is expected to rebound once the government has intervened by starting stockpiling and finding new export markets.The Commerce Ministry has asked rice exporters to buy 200,000 tonnes of Hom Mali rice to keep in storage for about three months which will hopefully help edge up rice prices.The Rice Policy and Management Committee is due to meet on Monday to discuss ways and means to help shore up rice prices and to help farmers.

Rice Prices

as on : 31-10-2016 08:10:30 PM
Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
P.O. Uparhali Guwahati(ASM)
North Lakhimpur(ASM)
Tamluk (Medinipur E)(WB)

Lowest rice prices in 10 years force farmers to seek new sales ideas
October 31, 2016 01:00
By Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation
Organic crops claim higher premium; scheme promoted for direct sales to consumers
BANGKOK: -- FARMERS ARE struggling to survive the lowest rice prices in a decade. For many, profits from selling paddy to rice millers are not sufficient to pay their debts and income from directly retailing their produce to consumers is unreliable. 
This harvest season has seen the lowest prices in the last 10 years with jasmine paddy sold for about Bt5 per kilogram. Farmers have complained that profits for selling paddy this year were not enough to pay off debts incurred to sow the crop. Rice millers have also said they could not pay higher prices to farmers because the global price had fallen so low.
Full story: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30298766

November 01, 2016 3:26 AM Vietnam Rice Industry Faces Threat From Climate Change, Mekong Dams

Ron Corben
FILE - Terraced rice paddy fields are seen during the harvest season in Hoang Su Phi, north of Hanoi, Vietnam, Sept. 18, 2015.
Vietnam’s government is banking on agricultural reforms in its main rice producing region to meet the challenges posed by climate change and disrupted water flow on the Mekong River.The reforms aim to produce higher quality climate-adapted rice, and boost alternative crops to ensure sustainability in the Mekong Delta, home to 18 million of Vietnam’s 94 million people.
The region, which produces more than half of Vietnam’s rice and feeds over 145 million people in Asia, covers 13 provinces in Vietnam’s south where the river flows into the South China Sea.
The Mekong, with its source in the Tibetan plateau, runs 4,300 kilometers through six countries from China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before reaching Vietnam.
Climate change
Heightened concerns over the Delta’s future followed an extreme drought this year that resulted in sharply higher salinity levels intruding into the delta. Rice production fell 1.1 million tons according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Sydney University professor Philip Hirsch says climate change’s impact is evident due to more extreme weather.
“Climate change, sea level rise in particular, but also increasing frequency of storms has implications for the Delta. One of the big concerns is the amount of salt water and the distance the salt water moves up various Mekong tributaries into the delta, which again threatens the viability of rice farming,” said Hirsch, a member of the university’s school of geo-sciences.
Workers carry bags of rice off a conveyor belt to stack in trucks, Tien Giang, Vietnam, September 14, 2012. (D. Schearf/VOA)
International scientists are working with their Vietnam colleagues through CLUES – or climate change affecting land use in the Mekong Delta – to find solutions to the rising problems.
A CLUES project coordinator Dr N.D. Phong, in a promotional video, said key issues the Delta faces include rising salt and fresh water levels, higher temperatures, rising greenhouse gases and a higher population.
The region also faces the prospect of lower rainfall, reduced numbers of farm laborers and reduced valuable land.
CLUES scientists are developing rice varieties able to cope with rising salinity when water levels are too high or dry conditions, aimed at sustainable solutions for all delta rice production regions.
Australia’s Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is assisting Vietnam to improve rice production inefficiencies.
ACIAR scientists say Vietnamese rice farmers have successfully adapted to changes over the past 30 years. But the outlook is still concerning.
“Recent and [future] forecasts of agro-hydrological changes threaten the viability of these farming and social systems and food security within South East Asia,” an ACIAR research report said.
Leocadio Sebastian, Vietnam-based regional program leader South East Asia for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) says Vietnam’s strategy is to raise farm incomes and boost rice quality by creating a distinctive Vietnamese rice brand.
Sebastian says IRRI and the Vietnamese government aim to restructure the rice sector from three rice crops a year to two crops, but grow a higher value grain.
“That means you have other crops when faced by rising salinity that are more adapted to these kind of conditions. And then in areas where it’s really not possible anymore to plant rice – where it is very salty – salinity will be very high in the future they can move to either aquaculture or other crops during the period,” Sebastian said.
“That is the strategy – the compelling thing that is driving them up faster – they have to position the Vietnam rice to a higher quality and higher priced level so that the farmers now and in the future can have a better income from rice production,” he told VOA.
FILE - Laborers gather rice grains for stacking, Tien Giang, Vietnam, September 14, 2012. (D. Schearf/VOA)
Hydropower dams
But scientists say Vietnam’s delta also faces the threat from increasing numbers of hydropower dams being built on Mekong River mainstream, especially China, as well as Laos and Cambodia.
Chris Barlow, an ACIAR fisheries expert, says the mainstream dams will have a profound impact on the lower Mekong regions.
“China has completed three large dams on the Mekong and a further five are being built or being planned. These dams have major impacts on hydrology and completely block fish migration in the Upper Mekong,” Barlow said in a paper highlighting the conflicting agendas between hydro power and fisheries.
Plans for hydro-power in lower Mekong – nine high level dams in Laos, with two underway – the Xayaburi and Don Sahong – and two in Cambodia point to “severe impacts” on fisheries yield and food security, he said.
Scientists say the dams will prevent vital sediment from reaching the Delta, alter flow regimes, lower water temperatures of dam outlets and create still water environments upstream of dam walls.
Barlow says while there may be economic gains from hydro-power, “On the debit side, the fishery and other ecosystem services provided by the river will be permanently degraded.”
The Mekong Delta relies on silt flowing downstream. But silt levels reaching the region have fallen dramatically due to the construction of dams.
Le Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Institute of Climate Change Research at Can Tho University, told Vietnamese media that damming and reduced silt deposits threatened the Delta’s future.
Sydney University’s Hirsch says Vietnam’s government need to be “more assertive” with members of the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) to “try and put a brake on the very rapid pattern of hydrological development in the upstream countries.”
But Hirsch fears the Delta Region’s most productive years may have been before damming on the river began.
In the early 1990’s, Vietnam, through major reforms, moved from being a major global rice importer to being the world’s second largest exporter.
“This is also a time when the entire length of the Mekong River ran freely. Once China started to dam its section of the Mekong and much more recently, Laos… This is the start of the long decline and potential disaster environmental and also food security disaster of the Mekong Delta,” Hirsch said

‘Wal-Mart Model’ could help advance rice breeding

Oct 31, 2016Forrest Laws  | Delta Farm Press
Dr. Susan McCouch says scientists are discovering a tremendous amount of information about plants, such as rice. But that pales in comparison with what companies like Wal-Mart are discovering about their customers.McCouch says programs such as the “Wal-Mart model,” which collects more data on shopping trends in hours than scientists have collected about the rice plant in decades, could help channel that information into new break-throughs in rice breeding.
Her comments in this last of a three-part series summed up the direction she hopes entities such as the LSU AgCenter’s H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station can take rice breeding developments in the coming years. They came at the 100-plus-year-old research facility’s annual field day near Crowley, La.
For more information, visit www.LSUAgCenter.com

10/31/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

Long Grain Cash Bids
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Rice Comment

Rice futures were lower again today with November testing support around $9.80. Weekly export sales improved last week, with a total of 79,000 tons sold to foreign buyers. The crop is 97% harvested at this point, with most of what remains to be harvested in California.

Return of the Rice Queen  

ARLINGTON, VA -- USA Rice is pleased to welcome Lydia Holmes back to USA Rice as the new Regulatory Affairs Manager.  Lydia originally worked for the Government Affairs team at USA Rice while studying for her master's degree in Public Administration at George Washington University (GWU).

After graduating from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2014, Lydia immediately headed to Washington, DC, to pursue a career navigating the alphabet soup of governmental regulatory affairs.  She followed her initial stint at USA Rice with jobs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the GWU Regulatory Studies Center where she compared the legislative regulatory burden on the agricultural sector of the EU to that of the U.S.  Lydia is the daughter of Brenda and Byron Holmes, and grew up on their rice farm in Forrest City, Arkansas.  She is a former Miss Arkansas Rice and we have the
 phototo prove it.

Can rice importation end next year?

Adeola Adenikinju (Professor of Economics, University of Ibadan)

There are a number of issues that we have to look at if we want to stop the importation of rice. One, what is the proportion of the rice we are eating locally now? Two, what is on the ground to enable us to close that gap between the rice we are importing and what we are consuming?

We need not to just have a plan to cultivate and harvest, we also need to have successive plans and build capacities. We need to have a marketing system that ensures sustainability.We need to have the quantity of local rice that matches imported rice. The quantity must also be commensurate. Now, can we do all of that within two years? My answer is that I doubt it. Most of our farmers will tell you that much of the support needed from the government is not got on time. This is a strategic programme in which we have to look at the whole value chain.
Another area is the issue of credit being available and the issue of rice seedlings to be used by the farmers. The government should also be looking at incentives for farmers and managing agricultural transportation.Efforts of growing rice production must also be entrepreneurial. People can put their money into it and they can expect profit. The Federal Government has to provide incentives to producers. They have to ensure that access to credit is made a lot easier. They also have to provide an agricultural extension service.

The process should not be allowed to be hijacked by importers. The government must come up with predictable policies. People should rest assured that they could set up a rice-processing mill and expect to make profit. Therefore, there must be a clear-cut commitment on the part of the government.Charles Ugwuh (Chairman, Tara Agro Rice Millers)

Stoppage of rice importation can be done. We must not keep opening the doors to import rice. If we do that, we will kill local investments. Once we determine that we are going to grow our own capacity, we must close the doors and allow the indigenous farmers to grow.They will make mistakes and also correct their mistakes. They will achieve a fairly stable price and make rice available in the market place. If we are in a hurry to get comfort and bring rice from Thailand, Brazil and other countries, we will not be able to grow our own rice.
The government needs to use fiscal and tariff measures, and control importation or stop it completely. Our local people will then seize the opportunity to grow rice locally.Nigerians are growing rice now more than ever. People are investing heavily in rice production. Kebbi farmers earlier in the year made a lot of money when scarcity of rice was recorded.

Therefore, we must allow farmers, investors and rice millers to expand their capacities. We have all the ecology to do that more than any other part of the world.Nigeria has a very good soil, which aids massive rice production. My answer is yes. We can use fiscal policy measures and import bans to prevent competition and locally grow rice sufficiently.

Wale Oyekoya (Director, Bama Farms, Lagos State)

It is possible to stop rice importation by next year if the Federal Government takes decisive steps. Too much importation is one of the reasons why we are even in a recession, whereby we are spending over N1bn every day on the importation of rice into the country.With what we are seeing, there is a very good picture coming from states producing rice locally like Kebbi, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Niger and others. I believe stopping importation of rice is possible if the government can sustain the present momentum.Our problem has been policy somersault, whereby the government changes from policy to policy. For example, the authorities of the Nigeria Customs Service need to get stakeholders involved on this. The government needs to come up with farmer-oriented policies to achieve the stoppage of importation.

Definitely, it is achievable if the state and local governments also carry out their own responsibilities. One of the steps to be taken by the federal and state governments to make this work for the Nigerian farmers includes encouraging farmers financially.Much of the money into agriculture goes to state-controlled farms, while subsistent farmers are neglected. So, the federal and state governments have to channel the money appropriately. They must procure equipment for mechanised farming.Farmers should also not be subjected to producing without creating ready markets to take their produce. So, the government needs to focus on this. Farmers need to be given improved seedlings, fertilisers and other necessities. This will help our economy and also provide more job opportunities. I believe rice importation can stop by next year if all these things are done.

Professor Kolawole Adebayo (Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State)

Technically, it is feasible to stop rice importation. What do you require to produce a good crop of rice? You need good land. You need good varieties. Luckily, we have the ‘Ofada’ and ‘Abakaliki’ rice, which are very popular varieties.To start with, we need dedicated farmers and Nigeria has them. There are only a few things that are missing presently, which if fixed, then we can really put our minds off importation.One, we need an agricultural extension service. What we have now is already collapsing. The job of the extension service is to train farmers on how to go about rice production. This service is available in our research institutes and in universities. The knowledge has to leave the institutes and universities and go to the farmers who need it.

In every state in Nigeria, you have the Agriculture Development Programme. It was established in the 1980s through a World Bank-assisted scheme. Many of the good hands, who left the programme, need to be replaced. We also need to be target-driven. We have 180m Nigerians who feed on rice practically every day.If we allot a quarter of a kilo to everybody per day, that gives you the idea of the area of land that should be committed to rice production.Two, there should be investments in transport infrastructure. We know that many of our rural roads are bad. If we produce rice and we cannot move them out of the farms, it is also a problem.The third area is storage. Once we produce the rice, we need to be able to store it, so that we can have rice all year. So, we need storage facilities to make this achievable.
Akai Egwuonwu (Chief Executive Officer, Stine Industries/rice producer in Anambra State)

It is feasible and achievable for Nigeria to stop the importation of rice. With the level of cultivation we did this year and with the farmers, who sold very well, Nigeria is on track. This will encourage more farmers to go into it.As long as there is more rice cultivated, we can achieve it. So far, the price of rice has not gone up locally. If you go to every market, it is the same. But, there is a big cartel that has so much money and is sabotaging the efforts to stop rice importation. It is not true as they claim that we cannot stop importing rice.
What the government needs to do is to create an enabling environment for the farmers and the millers. This will help to stabilise the industry. An average miller should know what the government is planning and the borders should not be porous.

Therefore, there must be constant consultation and the government should not just come up with policies without adequate consultation. In the meantime, the government needs to create such an atmosphere where there would be monitoring. A lot also has to be done on power generation. Rice millers are beset with the problem of power generation.

Contact: editor@punchng.com


California Rice Grower Feeds Minds Also

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

By now, growers have harvested much of northern California’s rice. Most of it is already in the rice mill. While prices were low this year, production has been very good, according to Matthew Sligar, a third-generation rice grower in Gridley, up in Butte County.Matthew Sligar, “How Rice is Harvested.”“Yes, we just got done with rice harvest. We are chopping the rice straw that is left in the fields. We’re disking it in to aid in decomposition,” Sligar said.“Then we flood the fields with about 4 to 6 inches of water, creating a natural habitat for migratory birds. We just let the field sit over the winter so the straw decomposes. We work it back up in the spring.”

Northern California rice growers dedicate the winter months, and even the early season months when fields are first flooded, to help migratory birds whose original habitat has been taken over by cities and expanding neighborhoods.Birds by the millions – including ducks, geese and shorebirds – rest, feed and rear their young in rice fields during their annual migrations. “Our fields turn white like snow from the down floating feathers left behind by birds,” Sligar said.
Matthew Sligar, California Rice Grower and Blogger
And yet, due to global oversupply, rice prices are trending lower this season. “We had to put our rice into a marketing pool because we wanted to guarantee a home for it,” Sligar said. “We did not want to gamble on the cash market. We haven’t seen the returns yet; however, I got a great yield, and I hear most of Northern California got extremely good yields.”“Hopefully, that will make up for some of the low price, and we might make some money. When you get a good year, you’ve got to save that money for bad years like this year, just make it through to next year,” Sligar said.Besides farming rice, Sligar is a cyclist and a social media blogger. He produces great videos on all segments of the rice industry.
“That’s one reason why I started Rice Farming TV because whenever I’d be at a restaurant or some spot socializing, someone will say, ‘What do you do?’ I tell them that I farm rice. ‘Rice? Where do you live?’ I say, ‘I live in California.’ They don’t know that rice is grown in California, but it’s the best,” Sligar said.

Click below to view Sligar’s video, “How Rice is Harvested!

Govt to act tough on overloaded goods vehicles

November 01 2016

Bhubaneswar: After opening a helpline for complaints against public carriages overloading passengers, the state government will now tighten its noose around goods vehicles, especially trucks carrying freight much beyond their capacity as well as companies which encourage such acts. The move follows a series of big road accidents in the recent past in which almost 60 people have died.According to a study, the state witnesses close to 12 deaths in road accidents every day. Overloaded goods vehicles are believed to be a major reason behind road mishaps.According to the state transport commissioner and state transport authority (STA), their flying squads have found carriages carrying overload to the extent of 10-25tonnes than the permissible gross vehicle weight.

The transport department claims most of the overloaded vehicles move through Angul, Dhenkanal, Talcher, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Keonjhar, Chandikhole and Jajpur.To tackle the menace, enforcement officers will be deployed near source points or loading points like rice mills, industries, factories and mines to conduct surprise raids and prevent movement of overloaded goods carriages.The first phase enforcement will be from November 1 to November 30 and all RTOs will submit report at the end of the drive. Action will be taken against goods carriages owners and drivers as per the Motor Vehicles Act.

Industries promoting overloading will also be taken to task, transport department officials said. “In some cases industries and rice millers are imposing conditions upon goods carriages owners that they will allow overloading to the willing truckers,” a transport department letter says.The state transport commissioner said in such cases, the onus will also be on the company or its concerned employees.Accordingly, the RTOs have been asked to lodge FIRs immediately against the director, manager, secretary or other officers of the concerned company for commission of offence.Action will be taken against the guilty as per the ‘offence by the companies’ provisions under the MV Act, officials said.Meanwhile, a meeting on road safety chaired by state transport minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi will be held today at the state secretaria

Thailand offers $1 bln loan to struggling jasmine rice farmers

Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:43am GMT

BANGKOK Oct 31 (Reuters) - Thailand's rice management committee said on Monday it will offer loans worth $1 billion to jasmine rice farmers struggling with falling prices, on a condition that they store the grain for six months to slow down market supply.The new rice harvest season is currently underway in Thailand, the world's second-biggest rice exporter, and the Southeast Asian nation expects output of the grain for the 2016/17 production year to come in at 25 million tonnes.
Prices for jasmine rice, Thailand's highest quality rice, have tumbled to their lowest level in years, leaving the military government scrambling to appease the country's farmers.The 35.8 billion baht ($1.02 billion) loan scheme, which will be implemented by Thailand's state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), is aimed at curbing an oversupply of jasmine rice in the market and stabilising prices, said Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn."If we can push up prices of jasmine rice, prices of other rice varieties will go up too," Apiradee told reporters in a news conference in Bangkok on Monday.

The loans will be provided to 2 million farm households to hold on to their jasmine rice stocks for six months, said Supat Eawchai, the bank's assistant manager.The government will follow up with other measures to help improve rice prices, Apiradee said.Prices for Thai 100 percent jasmine rice were quoted at $725 per tonne, FOB Bangkok, on Friday. RI-THFRA1ST-A
It was the lowest since hitting $710 a tonne in January 2008, according to Reuters data.Thai jasmine rice made up 25 percent of Thailand's total rice exports from January to August this year, according to data from the Thai Rice Exporters Association.The commerce ministry said this month its rice export push for the last quarter of 2016 will help support Thai rice prices during the annual harvest period. ($1 = 35.00 baht) (Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Christian Schmollinger)

Regime pushes ahead with rice scheme

Prayut says politicians behind falling prices
The National Rice Policy Committee on Monday approved a subsidy programme for rice farmers following a fall in rice prices while Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha accused some politicians of colluding with rice millers in pushing prices down.The measures, including a pledging-like scheme, for growers of Hom Mali rice, are aimed at encouraging farmers to delay selling of paddy while prices are low.
Business is brisk at this Rangsit market rice kiosk, but farmers are crying foul over the slump in prices, and the prime minister sees a conspiracy by politicians. (Photo by Tanaphon Ongarttrakul)
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said after the committee meeting that farmers who participate in the programme would receive 11,525 baht per tonne of Hom Mali paddy in total.
The scheme is specifically for Hom Mali fragrant paddy with 15% moisture content. Measures will be proposed for the cabinet's approval today, she said.
According to the committee, of the 11,525-baht subsidy, 8,730 baht will be paid to farmers for storing their paddy in barns for a certain period of time.
The sum is equal to 90% of the market price for the rice, which is 9,700 baht per tonne.
At the end of the designated period, when market prices are expected to have increased, the farmers are required to redeem the paddy.
If not, they will be charged interest rates which will be based on the Minimum Retail Rate or Minimum Lending Rate, Ms Apiradi said.
The rest of the subsidy will cover harvesting, quality improvements as well as storage costs. The aid is capped at 10 rai of paddy per household, the commerce minister said.
The financial assistance is being facilitated by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC).
Farmers who do not have barns to store their paddy and need to sell them immediately can receive a total of 10,995 baht per tonne for their crop -- 9,700 baht per tonne which is the current market price plus 1,295 baht per tonne for harvesting and quality improvement costs.
Supat Eauchai, BAAC executive vice president, said the packages will cost a total of 27.20 billion baht and would provide assistance to two million farmer families.
Ms Apiradi also said the total production of Hom Mali this year was 10 million tonnes, higher than the previous projection of up to 9 million tonnes.
She said 90% of the production will be harvested this month and the rest next month.
Speaking ahead of the rice board meeting, Gen Prayut said the falling rice prices, especially for Hom Mali rice, can be attributed to two factors: incomplete restructuring of the agriculture sector and political activities.
He said the restructuring of the agriculture sector is still ongoing and will take time. The problem is complicated by collusion between politicians and rice millers in driving the rice prices down to create pressure against the government.
He said he had instructed the rice board to come up with relief measures that could be implemented without delay but would not cause further problems.
"I've told them to reach a conclusion that can be implemented right away, otherwise [the matter] will be distorted so much that other areas of work will also be affected," he said.
Speaking during his visit to Sanam Luang on Monday, Gen Prayut promised the government would try to maintain rice prices at 10,000 baht per kwian (approximately one tonne).
"The production cost is about 4,000 baht per kwian, so the government is making efforts to shore up the price to 10,000 baht. We are working on it," he said.The prime minister insisted it is not possible to hand out cash to the farmers like during previous governments and urged farmers to consider growing substitute crops.Col Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokesperson of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said the regime has detected there might be attempts to intervene in rice market mechanisms for political purposes.
She said the NCPO's peace-keeping task-force is looking into the matter by talking to rice farmers and monitoring paddy rice purchases by rice millers in a bid to compile information for submission to the government.Pheu Thai's Pichai Naripthaphan, a former energy minister, voiced agreement Monday with the scheme to help farmers, but said it was similar to the Yingluck administration's rice programme.

Rice price subsidy set at B11,525 a tonne

31 Oct 2016 at 15:32 6,317 viewed28 comments
Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn, left, announces assistance for rice growers at Government House on Monday. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)
The Rice Board has set the price the government will pay farmers under its barn programme at 11,525 baht a tonne for hom mali paddy compared to the market price of around 9,000 baht.Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said on Monday that the price was for hom mali fragrant paddy with 15% moisture content. The cabinet was likely to approve the assistance on Tuesday, she said.The price was calculated based on three forms of subsidy. The first 8,730 baht is for a tonne of grain, equivalent to 90% of the market price at around 9,700 baht.
Second is a subsidy for harvesting and rice improvement costs, at 500 baht a rai and not more than 10 rai per household.Third is the subsidy for barn storage of 1,500 baht per rai but not more than 10 rai per household. The first 1,000 baht will be paid immediately and the remaining 500 baht will be paid when the rice is sold. Farmers with no barns of their own will not receive the third type of subsidy.  Mrs Apiradi attributed low rice prices to worldwide oversupply and lower demand. The global rice yield rose 2.4% due to promising rain while worldwide demand dropped by 1.5%, she said.She estimated this year's Thai hom mali rice output at 10 million tonnes, up from an earlier forecast of 8-9 million tonnes. Some 10% of the output will hit the market in October, 80% in November and the rest in December.
Authorities will also try to sell more rice through talks with foreign buyers and government-to-government deals such as with China and Iran.As well, farm innovation institutions will also be set up to add more value, from 20% at present.
Mrs Apiradee also encouraged farmers' groups to sell their rice online directly to consumers so they can fetch higher prices, instead of through millers. Khwanchai Mahachuenjai, a leader of the rice farmers' organisation in Ayutthaya province, said on Monday that white rice paddy prices ranged from 4,500-5,000 baht a tonne in the Central Plains and the Northeast.
He blamed the low prices on rice traders and millers.Col Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokesperson of the National Council for Peace and Order, said on Monday that present rice prices were abnormal and there might be attempts to intervene market mechanisms for political purposes.This government's answer to the costly rice-pledging programme of its predecessor is a barn-pledging scheme.
Although the methods are similar, a key difference is the government only subsidises the interest a state bank should have received for the loans to farmers.Growers also keep the grain in their barns instead of at contracted warehouses like in the rice-pledging programme. There are also restrictions which limit the number of farmers eligible for the subsidy to effectively one third of all farmers, unlike the "buy-every-grain" pledge of the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
Rice exports rose 10% in September

31 Oct 2016 at 11:22
Rice is loaded on a truck at a warehouse for delivery and export. Thailand shipped 790,000 tonnes of rice overseas in September, a growth of 9.9% year-on-year, lifting total exports of the grain for the first nine months of 2016 to 6.85 million tonnes.Charoen Laothamatas, president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, said exports in September were worth 12 billion baht, up 3.4%. For the nine-month period, rice exports rose 3.7% in volume compared to the same period last year, but the value increased by only 1.6% to 108 billion baht.
He said September exports jumped from the delivery of both old and new-harvest rice to buyers in Africa, as African countries have resumed purchasing rice to add to their diminishing stocks.
Exports of parboiled rice to African markets totalled 255,000 tonnes in September, up 103% from August. Benin was the largest buyer, taking 177,000 tonnes of parboiled rice.The export of white rice to African and Asian countries also rose by 22% in the month to 371,000 tonnes.   However, exports of Jasmine fragrant rice dropped by 13% to 158,000 tonnes.Mr Charoen said he expected rice exports would total 700,000-800,000 tonnes for October, with deliveries  to China and continuous sales to African buyers.
As of Oct 25, the export price of 5% white rice from Vietnam and India stood at US$350 a tonne and $345 from Pakistan. Thai rice of the same quality was quoted at $369 a tonne on Oct 26, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

Rice farmers despair amid low prices
31 Oct 2016 at 04:30
No way out: Just as the rice harvest begins, farmers are caught in a trap, facing the lowest prices of the century, with worldwide demand still falling. (File photo)
Kneeling and sobbing before a top commerce ministry official, a Phichit farmer appealed to the government Sunday to help growers suffering from the fall in rice prices to 5,000 baht a tonne, the lowest level in decades.Sanit Kaho, a 63-year-old farmer, held the legs of permanent secretary for commerce Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa, who visited Wangkrod Tai Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) in Muang district to meet local authorities, farmers and rice millers to discuss ways to deal with the tumbling price of paddy.The farmer said she wanted the prime minister to help. She can't afford to sell her Hom Mali rice now due to current prices, adding that mills are offering just 5,000 baht per tonne.
The crop will be ready to harvest this week, though farmers will not be able to survive with this price, she said.According to Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn, a new scheme will be proposed at a meeting today held by the national rice policy committee.The scheme sets out a pledging price of no less than 10,000 baht a tonne for Thai Hom Mali paddy.The measure is expected to be forwarded to the cabinet tomorrow for approval and will take immediate effect as one measure to help farmers.Ms Sanit said most of Phichit farmers do not have their own barns and usually sell their rice immediately after harvesting it.
The government should come up with ways to address this problem, she said.Mana Wuthiyakorn, head of the rice farmer network in Bang Mun Nak district, said the government should buy Hom Mali rice directly from farmers at 10,000 baht per tonne, insisting farmers would shoulder the cost of rice production.He asked Ms Wiboonlasana to relay the concerns to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.He said farmers in the province's three districts are due to harvest their rice this week, but prices are still falling due to manipulation by middlemen and millers.
He said his group will close the Bang Moon-Tapan Hin road if nothing is done to solve the problem.Mingkwan Pook-eiam, head of an unofficial rice milling club in Phichit, said it is impossible to force millers to buy rice from farmers at 10,000 baht per tonne as exporters buy rice from the millers at lower prices, adding the government should hold talks with exporters to find ways to deal with the issue.Ms Wiboonlasana said falling global rice prices are to blame for the problem, noting that many rice-growing countries are undercutting Thailand.
As part of the scheme up for approval, the government is planning to set a quota of 50,000 tonnes at US$600 (about 21,000 baht) to countries and exporters interested in buying Thai rice, a measure that should shore up prices, says Ms Wiboonslasana.The government will launch campaigns to boost domestic demand in rice, such as holding farmers markets specialising in rice, and seek more foreign markets, she said.Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd insisted the government wants to solve the problem of falling rice prices in a sustainable way, while educating farmers and the public that domestic prices are determined by global pressures.