Saturday, November 26, 2016

26th November,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

July-October rice exports down 19 percent YoY

November 25, 2016
Pakistan''s rice exports declined sharply by 19 percent during July-October of this fiscal year (FY17) mainly due to stiff competition in the world market. Exporters said on Thursday that the exports of the country''s second largest foreign exchange earner are on the decline for the last two years and need immediate attention of the government to overcome the current crisis.

According to Pakistan Statistics Bureau, Pakistan''s overall rice exports posted a 19 percent sharp decline in first four months of this fiscal year. The country earned foreign exchange amounting to $391.65 million in July-October of FY17 compared to $484.478 million in the corresponding period of last fiscal year (FY16), depicting a decrease of $92.822 million.During the period under review, exports of Basmati rice fell by 34 percent to $103.743 million. Non-Basmati rice exports declined by 12 percent to $288 million. Rice exports not only declined in terms of value, but also decreased in terms of quantity. Overall, some 883,074 tons of rice (Basmati and Non-Basmati) was exported during the first four months of the current fiscal year against one million tons in the same period of last fiscal year.

However, month-on-month basis, rice exports showed some improvement. The country''s total rice exports mounted by 79 percent during October 2016 compared to September 2016. During October 2016, Pakistan earned $149 million by exporting rice (Basmati and Non-Basmati) compared to $83 million in September 2016. In addition, rice exports in October 2016 are also one percent higher than October 2015 exports, in which overall rice exports stood at $147.5 million.
Mahmood Moulvi, Chairman Rice Exports Association of Pakistan (REAP), told Business Recorder that due to lower international prices and rising competition in the world market, this year will remain very challenging for the country''s rice trade. "Some appropriate and timely measures are required to save the country''s second largest export," he added. He said China is the world''s largest rice importer and mainly buying from other countries as Pakistani rice is costlier in the international market

Business Recorder 

Gov’t rice loans find few takers

Fri, 25 November 2016
An employee pours rice into a machine to be milled at a processing facility in Phnom Penh last year. Heng Chivoan

It has been over two months since the government made available a $27 million emergency loan package to the beleaguered rice sector, yet only 5 percent of the funds have been disbursed. Officials from the state-owned bank in charge of issuing the loans claim the low figure is proof that rice millers’ claims of facing imminent bankruptcy were overblown, while rice industry players charge it is because the lending comes with onerous strings attached.Kao Thach, CEO of the Rural Development Bank (RDB), insisted yesterday that the rice industry was not, as it has claimed, in dire need of capital.
“The RDB expected that loan applications, especially for fragrant rice harvesting, would have increased, but now with 40 percent of the fragrant rice paddy harvest completed, the application rate has not increased,” he said. “Based on the flow of loan requests, the rice sector is still not facing a shortage of capital.”In September, the government transferred its share of the $27 million package to RDB so that the bank could disburse loans to rice millers that would allow them to purchase rice paddy from farmers.According to Thach, however, the bank has released just $1.5 million in emergency loans to three millers, and in total has received requests from just five millers.
“Two of the millers who submitted requests for funding withdrew their requests for personal reasons,” he said. Thach stood by the notion that the RDB’s loans – offered at 7 percent annual interest and on the condition that millers purchase rice paddy from farmers for no less than $208 per tonne – compared favourably to those offered by private financial institutions. He noted, for example, that while bank loans typically take up to a month to process, RDB’s loans to millers took just two to three days to receive approval, provided millers had sufficient collateral in the form of paddy stock.
“Our requirements are simple and fast compared to traditional banks,” he said. “The shortage of capital that rice millers complained about was just something for them to yell about when in reality they still have plenty of capital on hand.”
However, Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice and a member of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF), the industry body that had championed for the emergency lending package, stood by his earlier statements that the funding was a lifeline, especially for the country’s smaller millers.
He attributed the low response from millers to the RDB requirement of putting up paddy stock as collateral, which he said was overly stringent.
“I still believe that rice millers are faced with a shortage of capital, and if the RDB made it easier to get loans the flow of applications would increase,” he said. The main impediment to access the credit lines, he said, was “due to the payment terms offered and that rice millers do not have large enough storage and drying facilities to apply”.Amru Rice is one of the country’s largest rice exporters. Saran said, however, that the company would apply for a loan from RDB as soon as it runs out of capital and has exhausted its investment into expanding its rice storage capacity.
“[Rice millers], based on their business plans, will ask for loans if they are confident that they can make a profit and repay the loan,” he said. Yang Phirom, a business advisor for Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), said that the RDB’s 7 percent annual interest rate was too high.“Based on our observations, the interest rate of loan from the RDB is still high compared to other countries that are offering lower interest rates,” he said. “Most of the rice millers would not dare to apply for the government’s loans as they are not confident that they will be able to pay them back.”Additionally, he said that the sector was still faced with large quantities of illicit milled rice coming in from Vietnam, while paddy rice was going out, skewing Cambodia’s rice prices and its ability to compete even domestically. “These challenges still have not been addressed,” Phirom said

China's ‘father of hybrid rice’ sets new world records

Source: Xinhua | November 25, 2016, Friday | 

The records were set by Yuan Longping, "father of hybrid rice". Yuan's team have managed 42 hybrid rice test fields in 16 provincial regions across China, including Yunan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Guangdong, Chongqing and Hunan since the beginning of the year.A new world record in output of double-cropping rice was set in south China's Guangdong, which achieved an annual yield of 1,537.78 kilograms of rice per mu (about 0.07 hectares) of farmland.In two other projects in Hebei and Yunan, the crops have yielded as much as 1,082.1 kilograms per mu and 1,088 kilograms of rice per mu. Both have broken previous world records for the highest yield in high-latitude areas as well as output on 100 mu of farmland.Other projects in Shandong, Hubei and Guangxi all broke previous regional records in China.
Hybrid rice, also known as super rice in China, is produced by crossbreeding different kinds of rice. About 65 percent of Chinese depend on rice as a staple food.Yuan, who developed the world's first hybrid rice in 1974, has also set three world records in hybrid rice yield in 1999, 2005 and 2011.
"Super rice has a bright future in raising grain production. China has solved the problem of food shortages on our own, people in other countries are also benefiting. Super rice will play a larger role in food security and world peace in the future," said Yuan, who added that his team is working on a new generation of hybrid rice, which is expected to breed rice of higher yields and better quality

The Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian, Research and Training Institute states that price of rice have been increased in the market.   Research Officer Duminda Priyadarshana told our news team that a kilogram of Nadu rice has been increased by 7 rupees while a kilogram of samba has been increased by 3 rupees.He also said that the prices revised, when the government’s buffer stocks are released to market from early December

Nduom to plug US$1.2bn rice import gap with Edwumawura Rice

Until recently, Edwumawura was only a nickname to business mogul and 2016 Presidential Candidate of the Progressive People's Party (PPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom.
With 60 companies now under his holding company – the Groupe Nduom (GN) – and thousands of mouths depending on his vision and direction for a living, Edwumawura, which is the Akan translation for 'jobs provider,’ fits well into the lifestyle and objectives of Dr Nduom.But after enjoying the accolade and popularising it for decades, Dr Nduom and his business empire are now seeking to raise the notches higher – capitalise on the mileage that the name has gotten to launch into the rice processing business.

Instead of just being the alias of the founder, Edwumawura will now be the brand name of the group's rice, which will be grown and processed locally.Edwumawura Rice, as it will be called, will be milled at two of the company's rice milling factories at Worawora in the Volta Region and Assin Breku in the Central Region.

While the one in the Volta Region, a 72-tonne million plant, is an old factor that the group is seeking to refurbish and revive, the 100-tonne plant in Assin Breku is a new plant GN will construct from the scratch.


At peak performance, the group's founder and president said the factories' produce -- Edwumawura Rice -- will be an answer to the country's gapping rice production and consumption hole.Every year, the country expends a total of US$1.2 billion on rice imports to supplement local production.“Imagine the jobs and development we are giving to America and Thailand,” Dr Nduom said at the commissioning of the Worawora Rice Mill in the Kpando District.“In four to five years, all the US$1.2 billion will stay in Ghana to help with the construction of roads, hospitals, schools and in the pockets of our farmers,” he added.It will also serve as a good source of employment to rice farmers in the two communities by providing ready market for this produce.This will inspire increased rice cultivation, which will translate into increased job creation and income generation for the farmers and their employees.

Worawora Mill

Prior to the refurbishment, the Worawora Rice Mill Factory was one of the things that exemplified failed industrisalition in the country.The rice factory was first established in 1973 as Oti Rice Mills Factory but later rebranded to Worawora Rice Mill Factory to help revive it.Although it was later refurbished by former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2004, it failed to achieve its intended purpose, mainly as a result of fluctuating supplies of rice, inadequate finance and poor management.Notwithstanding efforts by indigenes of the town to take over the Worawora Rice Mill, rising cost of operation made it unsustainable for them.

As a result, the chiefs and people of the area agreed to offload majority of the company’s shares to the Growth Fund Company Limited (GGFCL), a subsidiary of GN.This made it possible for the group to inject fresh capital and management expertise into reviving the company.It also created the avenue for the new majority shareholder to leverage its group advantage reviving the factory, providing ready market for rice farmers and helping create jobs for the teeming youth.

Assin Breku

At the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the rice mill at Assin Breku, Dr. Nduom said the factory was a response to several appeals by people in the area for him to intervene.He said business on the factor will commence in April, next year."After Easter, farmers will not pound rice again. Machines will do that. Rice farmers will be given training to be able to cultivate good and quality paddy rice,” he assured.And should the business expand successfully, Dr Nduom said "combine harvesters will be brought in to replace manual harvesting by farmers. It is my hope to halt rice importation in 2020."Dr. Nduom told the people that the Worawora Rice Mill Factory was currently working, and assured them that same will happen in the area.He further thanked the chiefs for assisting GN with the land to be used for the factory and his staff members for their earnest work over the years.


The Managing Director of GGFC, Mr Kwame Ofori Asomaning, said the factory will provide employment and support for local farmers in the Volta Region and their counterparts in parts of the Northern Region.He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to patronise the ‘Edwumawura Rice, which he said will hit the Ghanaian market soon.“Ghana has 580,000 acres of land that can produce 1.7 million tonnes of rice to feed the entire country, so why import,” he asked.

Farmers response

The President of the Assin North Rice Farmers Association, Mr Mammoud Kwaku Oppong, said his outfit was optimistic that many more farmers will benefit from Dr. Nduom’s initiative.he Sanaahene of Assin Breko, Nana Asare Baffour, who spoke on behalf of all the chiefs said the chiefs and people of the area were impressed with the initiative and will work to ensure that it succeeds.At Worawora, a citizen and past president of the Association of Ghana, Nana Owusu Afari, said the community was happy to see the factory come back to live after years of less activity.Nana Afari of Afariwa Farms said the factory's history was tight to the heritage of the Worawora people, who spend a larger chuck of their lives farming

Rice Prices

as on : 25-11-2016 08:10:21 PM
Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
North Lakhimpur(ASM)

Organic rice a saviour for struggling farmers
26 Nov 2016 at 05:00

Students plant rice saplings at an organic rice plantation and demonstration centre in Chai Nat's Muang district. Unlike other rice farmers who engage in conventional methods, organic rice farmers can earn more income and enjoy good health. 

When the government gave rice farmers 13,000 baht per tonne to shore up the all-time-low paddy prices, Boonsong Martthong and hundreds of organic rice farmers in Yasothon province just could not care less.
Why should they? Why kowtow to the rice millers who give farmers only 7,000 baht per tonne of paddy or rejoice at the state subsidy scheme at 13,000 baht when they can already get 20,000 baht without a fuss. What's more, their polished organic rice easily gets 45,000 baht per tonne from health-conscious buyers.
"If rice farmers go organic as we have, they, too, won't have to worry about plunging rice prices," said the veteran rice farmer from Yasothon's Kut Chum district.

According to Greennet, a non-profit organisation, the organic rice market has increased by 28% this year.
Rising health concerns among consumers and their willingness to pay more than market prices has saved organic rice farmers such as Mr Boonsong from uncontrollable prices and perpetual debt. "It has also saved us from illnesses from heavy use of toxic pesticides and herbicides," he added.With a rising global rice glut and the steady decline of paddy prices, there is no future for rice farmers when investment costs -- mostly for chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides -- are higher than market rice prices."We should turn this crisis into an opportunity," urged the leader of Kut Chum organic rice network. "Going organic means we can cut farming costs significantly. It also creates a new market with more value."
Easier said than done, many farmers may argue. Yields normally drop during the first few years after weaning from farm chemicals, but farmers have debts to pay and families to feed. And what about landless farmers who cannot gamble with uncertainty?

Indeed. If the path out of poverty is as easy as Mr Boonsong put it, why are the majority of rice farmers still trapped in money-losing chemical farming which also affects both their health and the environment?

Mr Boonsong is no stranger to such scepticism. Although hundreds of farmers in Kut Chum have proved successful with organic rice farming, they are still the minority in their own district.The problems in organic rice farming are real, he said. "The yields do drop during the transitional period but this is offset by cutting farm chemical costs," he said.

"Farmers also need to find pest-resistant varieties that grow well in their own localities. Those who go it alone without support easily lose heart."What's more, organic farming is much more time-consuming. Farmers need to closely take care of the paddy with natural pest control instead of resorting to old routines of immediately spraying the fields with pesticides and herbicides."Unless farmers really see the harm of farm chemicals, they easily quit organic farming half-way," he said. "In short, change is only possible when they change their mindset first."That is also true with the government.The passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has intensified all the more the state's display of commitment to his development vision -- the sufficiency economy philosophy -- which puts the poor and the environment before short-term economic gains. But there is a big gap between words and actions.

Despite state eulogies for the King, an advocate of organic farming, successive governments all strongly support chemical farming. The Agriculture Ministry has practically become the mouthpiece for agro giants -- and agricultural officials their salesmen.
It comes as no surprise then that Thailand is among the world's top users of farm chemicals.According to the Agriculture Ministry, Thailand is importing an average of 160,000 tonnes of farm chemicals a year, costing the country about 22 billion baht. In the past five years, the import of toxic farm substances has increased by 50%
That makes Thailand the world's 5th biggest user of farm chemicals, according to the World Bank. The country's agricultural land area, however, ranks 48th in the world only. What's more, about 70 chemical pesticides used in Thailand are highly hazardous and not allowed in the West.The results? Most rivers and reservoirs in the country have become severely contaminated with toxic substances, which go directly to us consumers through the food chain.

The farmers themselves are most affected. Due to high levels of pesticides in their bloodstream, farmers get cancer more than other people in occupations. Mothers' exposure to toxic chemicals also leads to childhood diseases and disorders -- not only in Thailand but also globally.Environmental and consumer groups have been calling for a ban on highly toxic farm chemicals. Despite substantive studies and bans in other countries, the calls have fallen on deaf ears.Meanwhile, the state-corporate alliance has become ever stronger. Now big businesses have become part of state committees to form not only policies on agriculture in support of chemical farming, but also investment, infrastructure and even education.

"In my parents' days, they didn't use any farm chemicals," recalled Mr Boonsong. "But then the government started telling us to use chemical fertilisers and pesticides to increase yields."That was in the 60s. Thailand had just adopted the so-called "Green Revolution" which encouraged farmers to grow newly developed high-yield rice varieties that respond to farm chemicals. Before long, indigenous rice varieties started to disappear. Pestilence became widespread and frequent due to large-scale mono-culture.Meanwhile, farmers face lower rice prices amid rising farm chemicals costs. Yet, the government insists chemicals are good. If farmers complain about low paddy prices, then it tells the farmers to grow something else to feed the agro industry -- and keep buying farm chemicals from them.
The government is also pushing for farm zoning. "But this top-down policy won't work," Mr Boonsong insisted. "Farn officials don't know our localities. They don't have field experience. They don't have a support system either. What they can do expertly is telling us what farm chemicals to buy."

But even if the government changes tack and wants farmers to turn organic, telling them to do so without providing necessary support is bound to fail; too many farmers have gone bankrupt by following state promotions without know-how and marketing support.That is where local organic groups can help. "Each locality needs to dig up old knowledge, revive, and develop the rice varieties that fit their environs," he said. "Different groups can also share knowledge and experiences among themselves."Group support is very crucial, especially when yield drops in the first few years or when pests begin to appear.

"According to our experience, however, the yields will drop only temporarily, and this is offset by much lower investment costs using farm chemicals is stopped. Then the soil fertility improves and the yields rise again," explained Mr Boonsong."As for the pests, we can use inexpensive herbal pesticide we make ourselves, which is safer for our health, nature and consumers."Experiences in cooperatives and direct marketing also go a long way to help new start-ups to overcome business problems.This is why the veteran farmer disagrees with state subsidies.During the Yingluck administration, organic rice farming networks almost went bankrupt because the rice-pledging scheme offered higher paddy prices.

Meanwhile, this government's current rice subsidy scheme offers only a brief relief to the farmers' dead end.
"Instead of wasting money on subsidies, help farmers to shift to farming with a future," Mr Boonsong said.
"Since many farmers really panic when yields drop during the first few years, the government should financially support them to revitalise their dead soil from prolonged use of chemical fertilisers."Systematic support for farmers' own research on local pest-resistant varieties will also help free them from being dependent on seed companies.Seed breeding and patents can also bring them new sources of income.The problem, as always, is the gap between state's rhetoric for environmentally friendly agriculture and and its actions, the farmer said wearily.
"Change won't happen unless officials start practising what they preach."