Saturday, November 05, 2016

5th November,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

11/4/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

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Rice Comment

Rice futures were higher again today. January has found support at the contract low of $9.60 for the time being. USDA announced this week the final marketing year average price of $11.10/cwt for long grain rice, meaning rice farmers will receive a PLC payment of $2.90/cwt on their rice. The southern medium/short grain rice marketing year average price was set at $11.20/cwt, resulting in a $2.80/cwt payment for eligible medium/short grain acreage.

Pyay rice farmers crushed by falling prices

Eleven on Fri, 11/04/2016 - 17:11
Wai Lin (Pyi)
Farmers are harvesting the monsoon paddy in Pyi Township
Farmers in Pyay District of west Bago Region say that they cannot afford to pay off the government's agricultural loans because of falling rice prices and low demand. Despite the start of monsoon paddy harvest, the farmers are facing difficulties such as significantly falling paddy prices, low market demand and difficult harvesting and the drying of the harvested paddy due to untimely rainfallThey said current paddy prices could not cover expenses for agricultural inputs so they would find it difficult to repay the loans. 

"What is worst is that the same time last year, we got a price of Ks500,000 to Ks600,000 for 100 baskets of paddy and then the prices gradually decreased to Ks450,000 at the lowest level. We have to spend about Ks400,000 growing about 100 baskets of paddy. But now, the price is just Ks300,000. So we are making a loss. We need more money to grow further crops. If that price remains, we won't be able to grow rice in the coming years," said farmer Ohn Myint from Zitaw village. Other farmers said the price was around Ks350,000 per 100 baskets. Currently, China is suspending purchase of rice while exporting low quality rice to Myanmar. Rice millers in Pyay District called on the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry to act, as it had in previous years.

Anand warns Civil Supplies staff to shun malpractices or face axe

November 4, 2016 Hyderabad 0 Comments

The Civil Supplies Commissioner C V Anand has warned the staff, who was addicted to corruption, that consequences would be very serious if employees failed to restrain from malpractices. Speaking at a meeting held in Corporation office here on Friday with district managers and technical staff, Anand announced that four employees MSA Saleem (Karimnagar), J Bhasker Reddy (Nalgonda), V Venkat Ramana (Khammam) and A Balreddy working in Quality Control wing on temporary basis, were removed from services on the charges of corruption. He warned that stringent action, including removal from service, would be initiated against those who do not change their attitude. He had a detailed discussion at the meeting over the purchase of paddy.
Informing that he was having the entire list of those who were resorting to malpractices and joining hands with some rice millers, the Commissioner said the government would not hesitate to sack corrupt staff whoever they may be. He regretted to have not observed any change in the attitude of employees, including district managers even after two months after his taking charge as Commissioner. He said he was satisfied with the results after series of meetings with rice millers. Stating that he was aware of the percentage collections of technical staff and was having the reports from Vigilance and Intelligence officers, he asked them to restrain from malpractices at least from now onwards.
Stressing the need of bringing a radical change in the department, the Commissioner reminded that Civil Supplies Corporation was playing a key role in the government. “Past is past. I will not allow any action that brings bad name to the government. Do not try to kill the department, I will not spare anyone whoever they may be, and whatever rank they hold”, he said in metallic tone.
Anand, mentioning that farmers were unhappy over the payments to their produce, asked the staff to take all possible steps to help the farmers in paddy purchasing centers, including early payments. He asked them to bring the reasons for delay in online payments to the notice of head office immediately to set right. Assuring to solve the shortage of staff problem, he said technical and accounting staff would be recruited through outsourcing at the earliest. He also said he would consider paying additional allowance to those who were holding responsibilities of two districts. (NSS)


Fighting for food self-sufficiency

Jumat, 4 November 2016 15:42 WIB | 471 Views
Pewarta: Andi Abdussalam
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi, right) chat with the Minister of Agriculture Amran Sulaiman (center) and Minister for Rural Development Lagging and Transmigration Eko Putro Sandjojo (left) to commemorate World Food Day in area under rice cultivation in Tanjungsari, Banyudono, Boyolali, Central Java, on Saturday (Oct. 29, 2016). (ANTARA/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - As an agriculture country, Indonesia was once self-sufficient in the production of rice, the staple food for its people of 250 million, but now it is importing some of the commodity and is struggling to regain its past glory in rice production.Through the Ministry of Agriculture, the government has continued to improve regulations deemed to have been impeding Indonesias efforts to regain its self-sufficiency in rice production.

"We are improving all regulations, which are seen to be hindering the pace towards achieving self-sufficiency in food production," Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said on the sidelines of a function held to observe the 36th World Food Day in Boyolali, Central Java, on Friday last week (Oct. 28).So far, all procurements such as the procurement of high-bred seeds and fertilizers should be carried out through tenders so that efforts to increase food production are often made late.

According to the Agriculture Minister, Indonesia has been hit by the El Nino and La Nina weather phenomenon for two consecutive years. The challenges faced in 2015 were extraordinary and the heaviest ones along the history of Indonesia with an intensity of 2.44 percent.The same phenomenon also affected the country in the 1997-1998 with an intensity of only 1.9 percent at the time, but Indonesia was forced to import 12 million tons of rice.

"With hard work, we have been able to pass the heaviest season over the past two years and imported only 1.9 million tons of rice. We hope will no longer face the same problem in 2017," said Minister Amran.Even, now the government has two million tons of rice stock, which is adequate to meet the need for the commodity up to May next year. Moreover, in March, the rice harvest season will begin so that rice stocks are adequate.

In addition, all regional governments across the country have been asked to increase their regions rice production with assistance provided by the central government. If they fail to increase production, the assistance will not be provided in the following year.In order to regain the countrys glorious food production, the government has overhauled various regulations in the food sector and repaired damaged rice infrastructure, which reached three million hectares. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked the minister to finish the job in three years but the Minister of Agriculture said his side has been trying to accomplish it in one year.

The government is also improving the distribution of fertilizers and has taken action against those who distribute fake or mixed fertilizers, which disadvantage farmers."Self-sufficiency in food can be achieved through efforts to modernize agriculture, while in parallel we improve regulations and infrastructure. We have to work hard to boost production and control export and imports. Organic agriculture is very attractive and prices could increase ten times and that could improve the welfare of the farmers," he said.

The government has also distributed some 160 thousand units of agricultural machine tools to the regions. This is intended to cut production costs from Rp2 million per hectare to Rp1 million.This year, Indonesia has planned to open up 200 thousand hectares of new rice fields. The plan to increase the acreage under rice farms in the country by 200 thousand hectares is expected to help the government achieve its target of unhusked rice production of Rp76 million tons.

By increasing the acreage of the countrys rice fields by 200 thousand hectares, the rice farms in Indonesia will cover about 9.0 million hectares.As a country where rice is a staple food, Indonesia must always have adequate rice stocks, particularly in the face of two extreme dry and rainy seasons. During the rainy season, thousands of hectares of rice could be damaged while during the drought, thousands of hectares of paddy fields could also fail to produce any harvest.

On an average, the domestic need for rice in Indonesia is predicted to reach about 30 million tons per annum.President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said Indonesia should be able to compete with other countries in the food, energy and water sectors."I should say that the competition among countries today has become really tough," Jokowi stated on the sidelines of the 36th World Food Day (HPS) 2016 celebrations at the Office Complex Square of the Boyolali Regional Government last weekend.

According to the President Jokowi, Indonesia, with its 17 thousand islands and fertile soil, should start preparing, planning for and anticipating the development in food sector. If the people worked hard to improve production, Indonesia will no longer have to import food commodities.

Jokowi believed that with a consistent approach, the country would no longer have to import foods such as maize by 2018.Despite the fact that Indonesia is a big country with fertile lands, it has not been able to become self-sufficient in food. That means something is wrong. "Clearly, if such is the scenario, we need to improve. We are confident that Indonesia can be self-reliant in food in the future," the president underlined.As of now, the government has assured that it would not import rice until the end of 2016 as there was sufficient supply of rice."I can assure there will be no rice imports until the end of this year. I said last year that supply during the September-October period was only 1.030 million tons but now it has reached 1.980 million tons," Jokowi disclosed while inspecting the rice harvest in the village of Trayu in Boyolali, Central Java.

Calculations made by the Ministry of Agriculture had found that the per capita consumption of rice in Indonesia is 124 kilograms per annum. So the government based its rice production target on the basis of a per capita consumption of 124 kilograms.With a population of 250 million, the domestic need of the people for rice reaches some 31 million tons.However, following a joint assessment conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) and the Ministry of Trade some time ago, it was found that Indonesias per capita consumption of rice is only 114 kilograms per annum.So, based on this figure of 114 kilograms, the domestic need is pegged at only about 28.5 million tons.Thus, if the target of 76 million tons of unhusked rice production is achieved this year, Indonesia will be able to become self-sufficient in rice production.


The Rice Debate: Why Nigeria Can’t Meet Local Rice Production Demand

Posted on Nov 5, 2016 in Business | 

By Stanley Nkwazema

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Since the rice and cement Armada of the early 80s when the late Alhaji Umaru Dikko was Minister under the regime of Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari democratically elected government which encouraged  importation of several shiploads of rice from the United States and Brazil, to meet the short fall, there have been several claims and counter claims on the quantity of rice consumed by Nigerians, the quantity imported and the quantity produced locally by the established farms and subsistent farmers in the country.
The claims are however getting more interesting following inconsistencies and policy reversal  on the duties to be paid on the imported ones and incentives thereafter for the local producers. In this case the subsistent, semi and well established farms.While many – from different strata of the society have fallen in love with the local brand of rice to the extent of patronising it as a staple food, others will never have anything to do with the home grown species and qualities for several reasons. They will rather prefer the foreign brands for its peculiar taste and fine grain, others just love it for the status associated with consuming the foreign brands. They have now graduated to the basmati brand which is believed to be better for people diagnosed with sugar problems as it is believed to be low in carbohydrate. Rice is one of the staples in the country and could be found in the homes of the higher class, the middle-income earner and the downtrodden. This is basically why every policy or decision taken by government on the importation or tax on rice affects all homes.

Interestingly, Nigeria is the world’s second and Africa’s largest importer of rice and over the years, the country has depended so much on imports to fill the local supply gap which arose due to inability of local producers to meet demand. Though rice is a staple food for Nigerians, transitional government policies on importation and high processing costs due to infrastructure challenges have failed to foster a condusive environment for local rice production to thrive.The consumption of rice in Nigeria has grown rapidly over the past decade and is currently at an all-time high of 7 million Metric Tonnes. More so, only 2.7 million MT is produced by the farmers in Nigeria, which presently leaves a gap of 4.3 million MT to be cushioned by importing it into the country. This clearly means that we have only 49 per cent self sufficiency ratio.

At this rate, there is a per capita consumption rate of 27 kilogrammes at $460 per metric tonne.Rice represents that staple food which falls on the same level of carbohydrate in the class of Garri, corn, yam, across all social strata of the Nigerian society. The Preferred variety is parboiled which is mostly sourced from imports. Rice consumption forecast to grow at minimum of 5% per annum.According to available industry reports, local production of the commodity fluctuated between 2,400 to 3,600 in the last five years, while imports have grown from 4,800 to 5,850, within the same period ,in geometric projections.

However, since 2011, without capturing informal estimates of cross border trade on the same product from Benin Republic and in some cases Togo, imports have exceeded local production making up over 50% of consumption..Out of the 36 Nigerian states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), only about eight states ,  Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Nassarawa and Anambra farm heavily on the product. Since 2011, imports have exceeded local production making up over 50% of consumption. Informal cross border imports from Benin Republic not captured in formal imports estimates.Within local production, eight of 36 Nigerian states contribute over 50% of the local production: Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba. Nasarawa, Anambra and Taraba states produce over 50% of the product it claims.

Even as Olam Intergrated  $120million  rice farm and Mill in Ondorie, Nasarawa State is the acclaimed leader in the production of rice in Nigeria with over 10,000 hectares fully irrigated farm, Anambra State claims that the large industrial farms in the state have pushed local rice production within its territory from 90,000 metric tons to 210,000 metric tons. At this rate, we shall soon surpass the 320,000 metric tons we consume in Anambra State per annum. This could be verified by the authorities as a landmark achievement.Conversely, Nigeria imports mostly from Brazil, Thailand, India, Vietnam and USA to meet the 4.3 million metric tonnes shortfall valued at over N365 billion to meet the annual demand which stands at 7 million MT.

The Vice President and Head of Government Relations in Olam, Ade Adefeko, who in a chat, gave a candid insight into the rice palaver after a chat with THISDAY, explained that there were no shortcuts to solve the problem.Adefeko, who is also the Chairman of the Export Group of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry NACCIMA, noted that the rice industry was huge but bedevilled with several challenges which was surmountable.On the issue of value chain of processing, production and end use, he stated that inadequate irrigation leads to highly volatile productivity levels while low levels of farming technologies – mostly rudimentary for subsistence farming, hamper yields due to the inability of  farmers to mitigate impact of weeds, insects and birds.

With the aforementioned , Adefeko disclosed that limited processing capacity would actually  exist, with mill processors generating substandard output due to poor quality control practices, poor drying and sorting techniques and  power failures which lead to high cost of production.For the end-users, the cost is now passed through several middlemen, squeezing margins for retailers, and perceived high quality of imports leads consumers to shun local produce while the Open market is mostly dominated by the retail channel.Interestingly, Olam located 265 km south east of Abuja on the banks of the River Niger, commenced business in 2011, with an initial investment of N25 billion. The company presently cultivates 4,450 out of 9,479 hectares, employing 1,044 regular and 450 seasonal farmers out of which 959 are from the local communities. The farm is expected to yield 10 MT per hectare (over two annual crop cycles), based on four varieties of high-yield rice tested with the West African Rice Development Association. With 4,040 hectares already under cultivation, a further 3,000 hectares on target for 2016/17, up to 1,000 workers are employed on the farm depending on seasonality

About 4,000 farmers including 500 women are currently engaged in the programme, with a target of 16,000 by 2018, ultimately supplying 30-40% of the mill’s capacity. In 2014, the company introduced seed of high yield variety and evenly distributed to 888 farmers involving 990 Ha. Olam collects rice in four warehouses, controls quality and hires transport to factory.In the current farming season, 4,000 farmers have been mobilised to produce one of the best qualities of rice that can compete with imported products in the domestic market – creating high-end rice from Nigeria, and for Nigerians

Scalability of the nucleus model is significant, and it is hoped that other players will replicate the success of Olam’s rice farm to further enhance Nigerian food securityAgain,  in other to help farming communities thrive and commit to the next generation through, the company is providing school buildings, materials and scholarships for students and connecting communities through development of 54km of roads between surrounding villages. It also ensures access to clean water and electricity through provision of boreholes and solar lamps.

Unarguably, the biggest player for now, many believe that Nigeria will need more companies in the mould of Olam to achieve local production needs and sustainability. After a recent observation of the Olam trend, which typically has embodied the traditional inclusion and bettered itAdefeko, who spoke with THISDAY in Abuja, is however advising against taking a hasty decision on the issue without commensurate plans to bridge the wide gap. “Government wants to ban rice importation by 2017 and wheat by 2018. How do they want to take care of the gap that has been in existence and will further widen?  You do not take care of policy issues by political fiat or by electoral cycles of four years. It might cause a major food crisis. There must be a rethink on this issue if we want to avoid serious problems because rice is a staple food consumed by all.

He warned that the ban could be detrimental to the nation’s economy as smugglers will feed fat on the porosity of the nation’s borders and enrich their pockets. “The truth is that there will be plenty sides to the ban. The revenue will drop. Few will benefit by smuggling in the product because of the porosity of our borders.”
Again “before we can do that we need to stimulate the local production and marketing of the product. Many still feel imported rice is still the best. But our soil is better conditioned to produce nutritious rice. Our mills are also improving. But you don’t encourage them by an outriht ban.

To the NACCIMA export group head, four years are just too short. “it will be near impossible to sail”.A case in point, Paddy Costs is currently about N175,000  per tonne , up from N120,000. This will translate to rice being produced and sold at round   N14,500 to N15,500.However, the Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonanya Onu, while confirming that the country spends over N365 billion annually on the importation of rice ,reiterated Federal Government’s focus on food security, saying Nigeria had no business importing food.  ”It is lamentable that, the country is spending over N1 billion daily, on importing rice, for instance. Its time every Nigerian takes agriculture more seriously, adding that Nigeria must feed Nigerians. There is no reason Nigerians will go to bed at night on an empty stomach,” he insisted while pleading that more needed to be done to realise the lofty dreams for a stable and prosperous nation in food self sufficiency.

Onu said “even as many believe that before we talk of banning rice importation, we must increase our local rice productivity level to avoid food scarcity in the future. All hands must be on deck to support PMB’s economy diversification to agriculture, because this will create jobs and food sufficiency.Although it seems the Federal Government has already concluded plans to suspend importation of the country by 2017. But in conflict with the plan for 2017 that the policy would not be enforced until it has developed local industries to produce maximally for local consumption

The Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, had recently after a joint meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and permanent secretaries of federal ministries stated that with the emerging political will power of the present government and the availability of arable land, Nigeria can sustain itself with rice production.
“The meeting was on the new policy on agriculture and food sustainability. We discussed how we can boost rice production in Nigeria and start thinking about how we are going to put policy in place on how rice importation will be banned in the country. We have the potential. We have the human resources. We have the arable land to grow rice. In the next two years, we will not need to bring rice from outside Nigeria. We are going to ban it. It is only in Nigeria, a country of millions of people, that there is no food security. We discussed the policy with the relevant permanent secretaries and CBN governor.

“The policy is going to be in place and we gave our commitment that we are ready to support the government policy in ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in food production in the next two years. Nigeria is currently a major importer of rice. Now, the political will is in place to stop it. We in about nine states are going to be seriously engaged in massive rice production. We are hoping that in the next two years, rice importation into Nigeria will be banned. We are committed and the political will is in place,” Yari said.

It would be recalled that the Bank of Industry (BOI) had shortly before the present administration came into office disclosed that it is working with the Ministry of Agriculture on a N13 billion Rice Intervention Fund for the establishment of 10 integrated rice mills and six cassava mills across the country. The Bank explained that the objective of the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda is not only to increase crop production, but also to create value-added food processing industries as a means of reducing food imports. But that project we gathered may have gone the way of others and yet the problem lingers.The truth, however, is that having rice mills all over the the country without the concomitant rice farms is like to putting the cart before the horse

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USA Rice Once Again Participates in the Havana International Fair (FIHAV)
By Sarah Moran

HAVANA, CUBA - This week, USA Rice exhibited at the 34th annual Havana International Fair (FIHAV).  The USA Rice delegation was led by Ernesto Baron and Ana Vettorazzi, USA Rice representatives for the region, and Dr. Michael (MO) Way from Texas A&M.  In addition to meeting with several hundred attendees, USA Rice also held meetings with delegates from ALIMPORT (the Cuban Import Company), the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, and from Grupo Empresarial Agricola-GAD (Agriculture Enterprise Group).

ALIMPORT informed USA Rice that they have always had a good impression of U.S. origin rice quality and would like to once again be able to import from the United States, but that the main barrier to trade remains the lack of ability to negotiate credit terms/financing with U.S. companies. Currently Cuba imports around 80 percent of their rice from Vietnam, Brazil, and Uruguay.  These purchases enjoy 100 percent credit with terms averaging 120-180 days.

National Institute of Agricultural Sciences representatives discussed current rice production challenges in Cuba and opportunities, and said they are looking forward to developing research and educational programs with U.S. research institutions for the benefit of rice industries in both countries. Top among the research opportunities they identified were chemical and biological pest/disease management practices and water use.

Discussions with the Agriculture Enterprise Group centered on USA Rice's proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  They expressed great interest in the MOU and delivered a counter proposal for USA Rice to consider. "We are excited to be a part of the positive steps between Cuba and the U.S.," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  "We look forward to working with our colleagues Ambassador Cabañas Rodríguez and Minister Counselor Ruben Ramos Arrieta at the Cuban Embassy to develop a meaningful and helpful MOU for our rice industries."


USA Rice Identifies Trade Obstacles for USTR

By Kristen Dayton

ARLINGTON, VA -- Last week, USA Rice submitted its comments for the 2017 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE), an annual report issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).  Published in the first quarter of each year, the NTE is a summary of significant foreign trade barriers facing U.S. exports and is instrumental in USTR's negotiations to eliminate such barriers.
Obstacles abound

The USA Rice submission identified the EU's tariff regime and biotechnology regulation; phytosanitary issues in Colombia and Turkey; domestic price supports in India and Thailand; and various import policies in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan as significant obstacles for the U.S. rice industry. 

"Given the recent action the Administration took with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against domestic price supports in China, it is crucial to continue beating the drum on unfair trade practices," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings.  "Many other countries have policies which ignore their WTO violations, thus distorting global trade, and the U.S. rice industry is suffering for it.  Our submission makes it clear where we are facing the most egregious barriers to trade."

USA Rice's NTE comments were issued in response to a notice in the Federal Register.

Ousted Thai Leader Likens Failed Rice-Subsidy Program to Junta’s Current Policy

Yingluck Shinawatra says there is little difference between her plan and the government’s policy


BANGKOK—Thailand’s former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Friday that she sees little differ

3 secrets to perfectly cooked sticky rice

Use this foolproof technique and this fragrant staple side dish will be perfect, every time.
Rice (Photo, iStock.)
Cooking rice properly is a learned skill. You may think you have it down, but perfectly cooked rice is something that requires technique — and believe me, you’ll notice the difference.I learned how to cook different types of rice from friends and cooking school. By trial and error, the only consistent thing about my results was a total lack of consistency. Short-grain rice is more challenging to cook as it is more glutinous than other varieties of rice (like long-grain and basmati) giving them a ‘sticky rice’ texture that’s perfect in Asian dishes such as Japanese sushi and Korean bibimbap. Cook it too long, and it gets mushy; not long enough, and it gets stuck in your teeth. As such, it requires some skill to get it just right.
After attending a cooking class hosted by Chef Sang Kim (formerly of Wind Up Bird Café and Yakatori Bar), I’ve made this rice four times and it has worked every time. Here are some of his pro tips. (Note: Chef Kim also recommends investing in a rice cooker, which is inexpensive and reliable.)
1. Measure the amount of short grain rice you would like to cook. Wash the rice 3 to 4 times. Cover the rice by 1 inch of water and let it soak for 10 minutes (precisely).
2. Drain and transfer the soaked rice to a pot with a good pinch of salt. Add enough water that when you place your hand flat on the surface of the rice, the water covers your fingers and stops at your knuckles. (If you are using a rice cooker, set the cooker and you’re done here. When it’s done, unplug the appliance and leave covered until you’re ready to use it.)
3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Fluff with a fork and let sit in the pot, covered, until ready to use.
Originally published May 2nd, 2014. Updated November 2016

Thailand's junta and ousted PM Yingluck seek rice farmers' support ahead of 2017 election

Ousted former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra gestures as she arrives at the Supreme Court for a trial on criminal negligence looking into her role in a debt-ridden rice subsidy scheme during her administration, in Bangkok, Thailand November 4, 2016. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom .Thailand's politically powerful rice farmers are becoming the new battleground between the country's junta and ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, with both trying to woo their support amid concerns of a flashpoint ahead of 2017 elections.Yingluck on Friday attacked the military government's recent rescue packages worth at least $1.70 billion aimed at stabilizing low rice prices as it tries to maintain stability ahead of the general election.

"The military government's latest rice measures are no different from the rice pledging policy (of my government)," Yingluck told reporters outside a Bangkok court on Friday.The military overthrew Yingluck in 2014, charging her government with corruption. She is currently in court fighting charges of criminal negligence over her government's rice subsidy scheme which paid farmers above-market rates rice.Critics say the scheme, which helped sweep her to power in 2011, hemorrhaged billions of dollars. Last month authorities fined Yingluck 35 billion baht ($1.00 billion) over her government's rice scheme.
Thailand is the world's second-largest rice exporter.Yingluck cannot run in the 2017 election because the junta banned her from politics for five years but that hasn't stopped her from making a series of cross-country trips that her team says are aimed at keeping her in the public eye.For more than a decade, Thailand has been rocked by clashes between supporters of Yingluck and her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup, and those who back the royalist-military establishment.
On Thursday, Yingluck visited rice farmers in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani. Thailand's rice farmers have traditionally supported the Shinawatra family."Low rice prices are a truth and a burden for the people which should be a burden for, and the responsibility of, every government," Chayika Wongnapachant, Yingluck's niece and aide, wrote on Twitter, along with photographs of a tearful Yingluck next to farmers in Ubon Ratchathani.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd warned the former premier not to use farmers for political gain. "I believe people will be uncomfortable with the fact farmers' problems are being used as a political tool," Sansern said.
Manas Kitprasert, head of the Thai Rice Millers Association, resigned on Thursday after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said this week that rice millers and politicians were colluding to drive down rice prices for political reasons.Manas denied the accusations.(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Michael Perry)

Myanmar Rice Exports Decrease

HANOI, Nov 4 (Bernama) -- Myanmar exported over 559,649 tonnes of rice in the first seven months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year (from April 2016 to March 2017), a reduction of 200,000 tonnes year-on-year, according to the country's Ministry of Commerce.Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports that about 80 per cent of Myanmar's rice exports went to China, mostly through the trade border.

Meanwhile, rice price is descending in the domestic market as the harvesting season comes.Myanmar can compete with other regional countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and Pakistan in rice exports despite lack of technology.At present, the Myanmar government is encouraging farmers to raise productivity and boost rice export.Myanmar shipped 767,753 tonnes of rice in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.


BJP MLC urges State to bring down rice price

The paddy procurement system should be improved making it a win-win situation to farmers and consumers, BJP national executive member and MLC Somu Veerraju has demanded.While the minimum support price for coarse and fine varieties of paddy was Rs. 950 and Rs. 1100 respectively, consumers were buying a kg at Rs.40 and Rs.50, he said.Instead farmers should be paid Rs.1200 and Rs.1500 for the varieties and after de-husking paddy, rice should be sold by the government directly to consumers at Rs.30 and Rs.35, he said.
This would result in farmers getting a better price and also prevent lakhs of families spending more on rice, the staple diet in the State, Mr. Veerraju said. The Civil Supplies, Marketing and Vigilance wings should be utilised to achieve the goal, he said. Rather than input subsidy, paying higher price would benefit farmers, he said.He also took exception to liquor being sold at higher rates. Besides, timings of opening and closing of shops was not followed. On liquor a higher price of up to Rs.30 was being collected and the poor were ending up spending more money, he said.

BJP MLC urges State to bring down rice price

The paddy procurement system should be improved making it a win-win situation to farmers and consumers, BJP national executive member and MLC Somu Veerraju has demanded.While the minimum support price for coarse and fine varieties of paddy was Rs. 950 and Rs. 1100 respectively, consumers were buying a kg at Rs.40 and Rs.50, he said.Instead farmers should be paid Rs.1200 and Rs.1500 for the varieties and after de-husking paddy, rice should be sold by the government directly to consumers at Rs.30 and Rs.35, he said.
This would result in farmers getting a better price and also prevent lakhs of families spending more on rice, the staple diet in the State, Mr. Veerraju said. The Civil Supplies, Marketing and Vigilance wings should be utilised to achieve the goal, he said. Rather than input subsidy, paying higher price would benefit farmers, he said.He also took exception to liquor being sold at higher rates. Besides, timings of opening and closing of shops was not followed. On liquor a higher price of up to Rs.30 was being collected and the poor were ending up spending more money, he said.

Nigeria’s rice policy crashes global exports – Minister

  • Christabel Japheth-Gyang

Audu Ogbeh
Federal Government’s efforts to boost self-sufficiency in rice production next year have affected export of the commodity globally, as prices of the product slump, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said. He disclosed this at a roundtable meeting of rice supply chain of the agribusiness supplier development programme.He revealed that the current surplus in production, ban on importation and the 2017 target of self-sufficiency, were already causing uproars among leading rice exports countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China.
The event was jointly organised by the ministry, the United Nations Development Programme and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending in Minna, Niger State.Ogbe said government was ready to maintain a stable policy in rice business in order to reduce post-harvest losses in the country’s production.He said: “We are now rice sufficient in the country. By 2017, Nigeria will be self-sufficient in rice production. We are getting close, as there is improvement on what we have been getting before. This will boost our economy.
“The ban on rice importation by the Federal Government remains as there is currently surplus across the country.“This means there is result and it shows that the farmers and all government’s policies are aiding agriculture produce.”The agric minister further disclosed that the bulk of the rice consumed in the country was imported and had over the years exerted undue pressure on the country’s scarce foreign exchange. He said: “This, of course, was the result of our inability to produce sufficient paddy rice to meet the demand of processors.
“But the strategic implementation of the programme would lead to an increased availability of domestic agroinputs supply, enhance production and reduce post-harvest losses, support the private sector and create market linkages.”
Reports showed that farmers in Chai National province in Thailand have started putting up “for sale” signs on their farmland amid plummeting rice prices. The decisions came after they could no longer shoulder losses and needed cash to repay bank loans.Also, exports to many markets have dropped as rice exports fell 21.2 per cent in quantity and 16.9 per cent in value compared to the previous year.However, average rice exports in the first nine months of the year managed to fetch $449/ton, up 4.8 per cent yearon- year.
The decline in consumption can be traced back to a decrease in imports from many markets.China, Vietnam’s biggest customer, only imported 1.35 million tons (equal to $613.8 million), down 23 per cent in quantity and 13.9 per cent in value year-on-year.Vietnam also suffered from a drop in rice export values from other countries such as the Philippines (47.8 per cent), Malaysia (47.4 per cent), Singapore (34.6 per cent), the U.S. (32 per cent), the Ivory Coast (25.2 per cent) and Hong Kong (11.4 per cent).

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Nov 04

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices - Open Market-November 4
Nagpur, Nov 4 Desi gram raw prices showed weak tendency in open market on lack of
demand from local traders amid high moisture content arrival. Release of stock from stockists
and easy condition in Madhya Pradesh gram prices also affected sentiment, according to sources.
   * Tuar varieties ruled steady in open market here on subdued demand from local traders 
     amid ample stock in ready position.
   * Moong varieties declined in open market here on poor demand from local traders 
     amid increased arrival from producing belt.
   * In Akola, Tuar New - 6,300-6,400, Tuar dal (clean) - 10,800-11,700, Udid - 
     9,700-10,000, Udid Mogar (clean) - 11,400-11,700, Moong - 
     6,100-6,300, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,800-7,200, Gram - 9,000-9,500, 
     Gram Super best bold - 12,400-12,700 for 100 kg.
   * Wheat, rice and other commodities moved in a narrow range in scattered deals, 
     settled at last levels.  
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close   
     Gram Auction                n.a.                6,000-8,600
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                n.a.                5,400-6,000
     Moong Auction                n.a.                6,400-6,600
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Gram Super Best Bold            12,600-13,100        12,600-13,100
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            11,900-12,200        11,900-12,200
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            10,300-10,600        10,300-10,600
     Desi gram Raw                9,900-10,100        10,000-10,200
     Gram Yellow                 13,400-13,800        13,400-13,800
     Gram Kabuli                13,800-15,100        13,800-15,100
     Gram Pink                        13,100-13,600        13,100-13,600    
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             11,500-12,000        11,500-12,000
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        10,900-11,200        10,900-11,200
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        9,500-10,200        9,500-10,200
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        8,500-9,000        8,500-9,000
     Tuar Gavarani New             6,700-6,800        6,700-6,800
     Tuar Karnataka             6,800-6,950        6,800-6,950
     Tuar Black                 11,900-12,400        11,900-12,400 
     Masoor dal best            6,400-6,500        6,400-6,500
     Masoor dal medium            6,000-6,200        6,000-6,200
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        6,600-7,000         6,700-7,100
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,100-6,400        6,200-6,500
     Moong dal Chilka            6,000-6,200        6,100-6,300
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            6,400-7,000        6,400-7,000
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 11,000-12,100       11,000-12,100 
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    9,500-10,500        9,500-10,500    
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        7,300-7,600        7,300-7,600     
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        6,300-6,700        6,300-6,700
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          4,700-4,900         4,600-4,800
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            2,800-2,900        2,800-2,900
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)           3,400-3,600           3,400-3,600
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    4,000-4,500        4,000-4,500   
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,950-2,050        1,950-2,050   
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         1,750-1,950        1,750-1,950
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,250-2,450        2,250-2,450    
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   1,950-2,250        1,950-2,250
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,300-4,000        3,300-4,000    
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,400-3,000        2,400-3,000           
     Rice BPT best New(100 INR/KG)    2,800-3,250        2,800-3,250    
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,300-2,650        2,300-2,650    
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,200-2,500        2,200-2,500
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,100-2,450        2,100-2,450   
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      1,800-2,000        1,800-2,000   
     Rice HMT best New (100 INR/KG)    3,450-3,800        3,450-3,800    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,600-3,000        2,600-3,000    
     Rice Shriram best New(100 INR/KG)    4,200-4,500        4,200-4,500 
     Rice Shriram med New(100 INR/KG)    3,800-4,100        3,800-4,100   
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    8,700-13,300        9,000-13,500     
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    6,300-7,800        6,500-8,000    
     Rice Chinnor best New(100 INR/KG)    5,300-5,600        5,300-5,600    
     Rice Chinnor med. New (100 INR/KG)    4,900-5,100        4,900-5,100    
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,200        1,900-2,200    
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,700-1,850        1,700-1,850
Maximum temp. 32.0 degree Celsius (89.6 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp.
15.6 degree Celsius (60.1 degree Fahrenheit)
Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a.
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 32 and 16
degree Celsius respectively.
Note: n.a.--not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, butincluded in market prices

Prayut slams rice-buying publicity stunts

Grower found hanged as price pressure rises
A farmer from Ubon Ratchathani (left) hugs Yingluck Shinawatra to show her support while the former prime minister arrives at the Supreme Court to defend the rice-pledging scheme. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
- +
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned politicians against exploiting the slump in rice prices for political gain, by buying grain from farmers and publicising it.
The warning came after former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday visited the northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani and Surin, where she bought rice from farmers despairing over falling prices.
Ms Yingluck on Friday invited people via her Facebook postings to buy the grain she had bought in front of Fashion Island Shopping Mall on Ram Intra Road at 4pm today.
The rice will be sold at 20 baht a kilo, the same price at which she bought it from the growers.
Meanwhile, the price slump has taken its toll on farmers, with one grower from Phichit, 43-year-old Supakit Panplaek, found dead hanging from a tree. His relatives believe he committed suicide because of stress over falling paddy prices.
One of his relatives, Nithat Panplaek, said the slump in rice prices and a huge debt of almost one million baht were the possible reasons for Mr Supakit taking his own life.
Gen Prayut said politicians can buy rice from farmers, but "they must really intend to do so, not only to try to boost their image".
The government has rolled out a rice-subsidy scheme of 13,000 baht per tonne for Hom Mali paddy to help farmers suffering from the price slump.
Of the 13,000 baht, 9,500 baht will be paid to farmers to store their paddy, while the rest covers other costs, including maintenance and storage.
It is intended that farmers redeem their rice within five months of joining the scheme
The prime minister said the government's subsidy programme will not be detrimental to the market rice mechanism, adding the media should not distort the facts.
He said the government is looking for ways to fix the rice trade.
Some 30 executive committee members of the Thai Rice Millers Association, including the organisation's president, Manas Kitprasert, stepped down on Thursday following criticism that millers were behind the recent drop in rice prices.
This came after Gen Prayut earlier blamed rice mill operators and some local politicians for manipulating rice prices and causing the price plunge.
Gen Prayut said he did not want the executives to step down because it would take time to appoint new ones.
The government sometimes obtains information and needs the association to explain the facts, the premier added.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Ms Yingluck's buying rice from farmers in the Northeast would be accepted by society if she was willing to help farmers without a hidden agenda and was not attempting to seek a political boost.
If the former prime minister wanted to seek headlines or tried to cover up her alleged wrongdoings and charges in relation to her rice-pledging scheme, members of the public may feel unease that politicians were using farmers' woes to seek political benefits, he said.
Responding to scepticism over her recent northeastern visits to buy rice from farmers, Ms Yingluck said yesterday she did so as a Thai citizen who feels sympathy for growers, insisting her visits were not politically motivated.
Referring to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon's call for her to buy all grain from farmers to help them, the former premier said: "If I was in office, I would do so. But I am now only an ordinary person so I will do as much as I can."
Ms Yingluck was speaking as she arrived at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office-Holders, where she was due to attend a hearing on the dereliction of duty charges against her in connection with her government's rice scheme, which was said to have incurred more than 500 billion baht in losses.
Meanwhile, a group of farmers who travelled in three coaches from Ubon Ratchathani yesterday went to the court to give moral support to Ms Yingluck.

Yingluck tries to figure out rice policy differences

A farmer from Ubon Ratchathani (left) hugs Yingluck Shinawatra to show her support while the former prime minister arrives at the Supreme Court to defend the rice-pledging scheme.
- +
As Yingluck Shinawatra is battling in court over the debt-ridden rice-pledging scheme, the former prime minister is pondering the differences between what the government is doing and what her administration has done.
Ms Yingluck said on Friday that the storage pledging scheme carried out by the government was based on the same principle as her party's policy when she was in power.
Both were aimed at helping farmers with no hidden agenda to reap benefits from rice growers, she said before entering the Supreme Court to fight a negligence charge over the rice scheme.
Ms Yingluck has been fighting the charge in the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions. The Office of the Attorney General indicted her for causing damage estimated at 536 billion baht to the country after she ignored warnings from several state agencies.
As rice prices are plunging, the Prayut Chan-o-cha government on Tuesday introduced a storage pledging scheme to help farmers. In addition to price pledging, the policy covers financial aid on harvesting, crop improvements and storage costs.
Ms Yingluck was again in social media limelight on Thursday after pictures of her in tears while buying rice from farmers during her visit to Ubon Ratchathani made the round.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon sarcastically reacted on the same day, suggesting her to buy rice from farmers all over the country if she really wanted to help them.
The former PM on Friday cautiously averted a war of words. "If I were in the government, I would do that. But since I'm only an ordinary citizen now, I'll do the best I can to help them."
The former prime minister denied the entire scene was staged to drum up public sympathy at a time when she is fighting to clear her name in court.
"I was touched by the spirits of the farmers. They got nothing to eat nor money to spend. Yet they came forward to show me their support," she said, when asked whether her crying in Ubon Ratchathani was a "drama".
Farmers from the northeastern province underlined their support for her on Friday by coming to Bangkok in three busloads to greet her at the courthouse.
After hearing prosecution witnesses, the court has been hearing defence witnesses for six weeks on Friday, when former deputy prime minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong was scheduled to take the stand.
But Mr Kittiratt, also a former finance minister, asked the nine-judge panel through his lawyer for a deferral as his mother was seriously ill.
The court approved his request and will later set the date to hear Mr Kittiratt.
On Nov 18, former cabinet secretary-general Ampon Kittiampon and former deputy finance minister Thanusak Lek-uthai are scheduled to take the stand.

Seawater rice expected to boost China's grain harvest in 5 years

Asia News Network (ANN)
Yuan, best known as the country's "father of hybrid rice", has set his eye on his next trophy — a seawater rice for full commercial production in five years. 
By that time, a rice strain grown by his research team is expected to yield up to 4.5 metric tons per hectare — around 60 percent of the yield from regular paddies, Yuan said.
If the potential is fully utilized, Yuan said, China can reap an additional 50 million metric tons of grain per year, enough to feed 200 million people. 
Although wild rice that is potentially resistant to diseases and does not need fertilizer is known to grow in briny swamps, such rice has never been turned into a commercial crop. 
China has plenty of saline-alkaline wasteland that could be put to use when the country's arable land is sparse, Yuan said. More than 13 million hectares of such wasteland in the country is suitable for seawater rice farming, he added. 
Under Yuan's direction, a sea rice research center will be built in Licang district of Qingdao, Shandong province, where his team will use molecular breeding technologies to develop a sea rice strain with high photosynthetic efficiency and yield. 
With funding of 100 million yuan ($14.79 million), scientists will start their experiments on 2 hectares of saline-alkaline marshland north of Jiaozhou Bay in April, and they expect their first harvest next autumn.
Once the 2 billion yuan research and development center is completed, Yuan's team will start planting a sea rice species in 1.33 million hectares of saline-alkaline soil along the coast. 
Seawater rice seeds and planting techniques could also be exported, such as to countries in Southeast Asia, which has a total of 20 million hectares of saline-alkaline soil, Yuan said.
"Our Qingdao center is likely to help Southeast Asia raise its yearly rice production by 20 million tons," he said. 
Zhang Guodong, general manager of Yuance Biotech, a partner in Yuan's project, said this marks the first time a rice strain that can thrive on seawater as well as yield a high output has been reported. 
Although there are overseas institutions reportedly trying to develop seawater rice using genetic technology, they seem to remain lab attempts so far, Zhang said.


86-year-old scientist aims to revolutionize rice planting

November 03, 2016 22:19 

Developing a new strain of crop is time-consuming. But that doesn't worry 86-year-old Yuan Longping, China's renowned rice scientist.

Yuan has set his sight on next trophy, a seawater rice for full commercial production in five years.According to Yuan, it takes time for this kind of revolutionary development of new agricultural species to become full-fledged. It will take three years to develop a breed that has commercial value, and would take five years for it to be mass marketed. And to make it popular in China's tidal-flat areas and saline-alkali lands, it would take about 10 years.
He told China Daily in a written reply that by that time, a rice strain grown by his research team will yield up to 4.5 metric ton per hectare, around 60 percent of the yield from the regular paddy fields. And the increment of rise output will be enough to feed 200 million people.
Now and then, here and there across Asia, small news items appear about discovery of some wild rice grown in briny swamps, potentially resistant to diseases and with no need for fertilizer.
A sea-rice research center in Dongying, Shandong province. Photo provided to
But successful development of the discovery into a commercial crop has never hit the headline. So, for Yuan, it's never too late to start his own quest for the glory.China has plenty of saline-alkaline wasteland and can be put into use when the country's arable land is sparse, Yuan said, adding that more than 13 million hectares of such wasteland could potentially be used for sea-rice farming.If fully utilized, Yuan said, China can reap an additional 50 million tons of grain.
Under Yuan's directorship, a sea-rice research center will be built in Licang district of Qingdao, Shandong province, where his team will use molecular breeding technologies to develop a sea-rice strain with high photosynthetic efficiency and yield.With a seed fund of 100 million yuan ($14.77 million), scientists will begin experiments on two hectares of saline-alkaline marshland just north of Jiaozhou Bay in next April, and expect to reap their first harvest in the autumn.
A sea-rice research center in Dongying, Shandong province. Photo provided to
Once the two-billion-yuan R&D center is fully built, Yuan's team will start planting a sea-rice species in 1.33 million hectares of saline-alkaline soil along the coast.Seawater rice seeds and planting techniques could also be exported to countries in Southeast Asia, which has a total of 20 million hectares of saline-alkaline soil, Yuan said. "Our Qingdao center is likely to help Southeast Asia raise its yearly rice production by 20 million tons," he said.According to Zhang Guodong, general manager of Yuance Biotech, a partner in Yuan's project, a rice strain that can both thrive on seawater and yield a high output has not yet been reported.There are overseas institutions reportedly trying to develop seawater rice using genetic technology. But all seem to remain lab attempts thus far, Zhang said