Wednesday, December 14, 2016

14th December,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Rice Shortage Looms Amid Temporary Ban On Imports

Published:Tuesday | December 13, 2016 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Patrick Planter
Dolsie Allen, CEO, Consumer Affairs Commission Jamaica, addresses a press conference on plastic rice allegedly on the local market, yesterday. Also in the picture is Albert Anderson, director at Jamaica Customs.There are jitters in the marketplace that the country could be faced with a severe shortage of rice for the Christmas season, with one major importer of the product arguing that if the freeze imposed on the distribution of rice on the wharves is not lifted within a day or two, many Jamaicans might be scrambling to get the product for the holidays.Director in charge of the Contraband Enforcement Team Albert Anderson, told journalists yesterday at a press conference at the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) in Kingston that the agency and other regulatory bodies have decided to detain all shipments of rice currently at the port pending sampling and analysis, in the wake of reports of plastic rice being distributed on the local market.
The Bureau of Standards Jamaica, and the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division in the agriculture ministry are carrying out tests on samples of rice obtained from various distributors, supermarkets and other locations, but the results of the tests will not be known until another 48 hours.Ian Kelly, a senior executive of Derrimon Trading Company Limited, said if the decision by the JCA and other government agencies to halt the distribution of rice on the ports is not reversed shortly, the country will experience a shortage of rice for Christmas.

Guyana, Suriname Shortage

He told The Gleaner that in the last few months, there has been a shortage of rice out of Guyana and Suriname. Kelly noted that most of the rice from those two countries is being purchased by Brazil, Haiti and countries out of Europe.
Kelly pointed out that his company, which normally imports 120 containers of rice per month, has gone down to about 70 containers of rice out of Guyana and Suriname because of the shortage in terms of supply.He urged the various government agencies to resolve the so-called fake rice issue speedily so that the market will not be severely impacted.Commenting on his company's approach to accessing the grain, Kelly emphasised, "We are about safety and we want to know that there is nothing that is untoward that may harm our consumers, and it is important for our Government to do what is to be done."
He said Derrimon Trading Company Limited has been importing rice from Suriname and Guyana for the last 10 years and has never had an issue with the quality of the product. "We don't take chances when we buy," he added.Experts from the Ministry of Health yesterday explained that if plastic rice has been unleashed on the market for consumption, this would have some effect on the human system.
Commenting on possible sanctions against importers of fake rice, the director in charge of the Contraband Enforcement Team said: "The person would have made a false declaration to Customs when it entered into the market, so what would happen is that they would be fined under the Customs Act and the goods taken away."
Meanwhile, Dolsie Allen, chief executive officer of the Consumer Affairs Commission, is urging consumers to be extremely vigilant when they purchase rice noting that they should buy the item from reputable organisations or establishments."As far as the Consumer Affairs Commission is concerned, we continue to educate consumers to ensure that you purchase items from areas that are reputable," she said.
Dr Osbil Watson, chief veterinary officer in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, said food fraud is an emerging problem in the global marketplace.
"A lot of countries across the world now have to be moving towards ensuring that we do not only test in relation to food safety but to be able to detect fraud as it relates to the interventions by unscrupulous persons who will try benefit financially and deceive the consumer," he said.

On Tap for 2017 - Crop, Political, and Export Outlook
By Kristen Dayton

Interview with Ambassador Jones
Interview with Ambassador Jones
MEMPHIS, TN -- Looking ahead to challenges in 2017 was the theme of the final day of the annual USA Rice Outlook Conference."The U.S. rice industry has a dedicated and powerful ally in Ambassador Stuart Jones," explained Betsy Ward, president and CEO of USA Rice in introducing the former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq to the capacity crowd on Friday morning. "The insights he gave us on Iraq and the entire Middle East, and the direct advocating he did with the government of Iraq on our behalf are unique in my experience. We were fortunate to have him in Baghdad and here with us today."

Jones shared how he worked with the government of Iraq to reinforce the positive attributes of U.S. rice: "reliable, high-quality, and dependable," and the Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries on U.S. rice that he helped make a reality."We won some tenders and lost some tenders, but I'm encouraged by the steps the government of Iraq is taking, and while I don't want to overpromise, I think U.S. rice is well-positioned going into the new year," Jones said. The Friday afternoon sessions offered up 2017 projections from conference veterans and crowd favorites Nathan Childs and Jim Wiesemeyer.

Childs, Senior Economist at the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, gave an overview of global and domestic trends in rice production and trade. His detailed statistics and analysis are an invaluable resource to those involved in the rice industry, and this year was no exception. While the outlook was not favorable for the top five rice-exporting countries - including the U.S. - due to an abundant supply overseas pushing competitors' prices even lower than our own, attendees left the session well-informed about what lies ahead.

The anchor position was once again held by Jim Wiesemeyer, Senior Vice President of Informa Economics IEG. During his talk, Wiesemeyer dissected the results of the presidential election and forecasted what he sees ahead for U.S. agriculture in a Trump administration, for instance less regulation and probable SNAP reform. He opined that 2018 Farm Bill negotiations would be pushed back to late 2017. 

Attendees had many questions for Wiesemeyer about President-elect Trump's policies and who he might appoint to cabinet positions. Wiesemeyer cautioned speculation is rampant in Washington, but if we continue to monitor Twitter, we'll know details soon enough.

Back in business      

Japan Resumes SBS Tenders
By Kristen Dayton

ARLINGTON, VA -- Japan's Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) announced earlier this week that rice import tenders under the Simultaneous-Buy-Sell system (SBS) will resume on December 13.  SBS tenders were halted in October following reports in the Japanese press of "adjustment money" being paid by rice importers to wholesalers and distributors in Japan.  Concern arose about the price impact and legality of such payments.  A MAFF investigation found no negative impact, but changes were made to tendering procedures and guidelines.

"Although a relatively small portion of Japan's overall rice imports, SBS tenders are critical to the success of USA Rice's promotion efforts in Japan," said USA Rice Vice President of International Hugh Maginnis.  Friday's tender will be for 30,000 metric tons of rice from all origins, made up of 27,000 MT of whole kernel and 3,000 MT of milled rice.  Rice imported under the SBS system is destined for end users such as the foodservice sector, while imports through the larger ordinary minimum access tenders end up in government stocks or released for industrial and/or feed use.  Total imports under SBS are expected to be 100,000 MT in the current Japan fiscal year (JFY, April 2016-March 2017).  Japan's total rice import commitment each JFY is 682,200 MT.

"We were very concerned when the SBS tenders were suspended," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings.  "Consistent market access to Japan's consumers is always a challenge, and U.S. exporters are anticipating better success in SBS this year because of more competitive U.S. prices, so we are pleased that the tenders will resume.  We will continue to monitor the pace and success of SBS tenders."

No fake rice so far, says Samuda

BY KIMONE FRANCIS Observer staff reporter
Wednesday, December 14, 2016     

Karl Samuda (File photo)
FEARS that there could be a shortage of rice in the country were yesterday quelled by Minister of Industry and Commerce Karl Samuda who announced that imports from Guyana and Suriname will be allowed into the market.
The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) on Monday temporarily ceased the clearance of rice at all ports of entry, pending test results after a news report suggested that plastic rice was being sold for consumption in the country.
Samuda told journalists at a press conference at his New Kingston office yesterday that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) was provided with samples taken from across the island, including Manchester where the threat originated, and that so far, he can assure consumers that there is no evidence of any contamination of plastic within the samples tested.“At the moment, there are shipments on the wharves awaiting clearance and the decision has been taken that clearance would be made immediately so that by this afternoon supplies will be reaching the shelves of the supermarkets for all rice coming from Guyana and Suriname,” Samuda said.
He explained that both countries are considered a part of “our” domestic market and that there have never been incidents of any kind with contamination or otherwise.“So there are no justifiable reasons for us to hold those shipments of rice from the Jamaican people,” he said.Jamaica imports rice from Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam, India, United States, Guyana, Thailand, China, and Suriname.The minister said in the interim, BSJ will continue testing samples to ensure that consumers are protected. He added: “We will be vigilant in our spot programmes which will have spot checks of all importations of rice.”
Tests are also to be conducted by BSJ, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division.
At the same time, he said that Government is considering steps to have all packages of rice labelled before distribution for sale.“We have been advised that certain importers have been importing rice from sections of the Far East and this has caused great concern based on certain information reaching customs and our ministry that in three instances, at least, we have been advised of fake labelling.
“We are in the process now of confirming the allegation that these labels are fake labels, not genuine, and any doubt at all that we are in, we cannot put our Jamaican people at risk. We have to be very certain of the source of food that enters this country,” he assured.
He said agencies have been instructed to comb warehouses of supermarkets to identify the counterfeit product and warned that he will be seeking legal advice as to actions that can be taken, including closing establishments found with the products.


Nepal on path to record paddy harvest, says DoA

Sangam Prasain, Kathmandu

Dec 14, 2016- Timely and an above-average monsoon have put Nepal on a path to a record paddy harvest that is expected to boost the economy and farm incomes besides helping the country regain food surplus status.
According to the preliminary statistics of the Department of Agriculture (DoA), the summer paddy output has been projected to jump 15.70 percent to 5.54 million tonnes this year, the highest since 2011 when farmers grew 5.07 million tonnes of the staple grain.The department’s figure is slightly higher than the estimate of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO in its assessment of Nepal’s agriculture sector had forecast that the 2016 summer paddy output would recover to 4.8 million tonnes, up 13 percent from the 2015 level. Nepal’s paddy output fell sharply by 10.22 percent to 4.29 million tonnes last year.

The good news comes after two back-to-back failed monsoons that shrunk the paddy acreage to 1.35 million hectares last year. Paddy is cultivated on 1.5 million hectares of arable land in Nepal. As Nepal’s agriculture system is predominantly rain-fed, paddy fields are allowed to lie fallow when the heavens don’t open up. Round-the-year irrigation coverage amounts to only 18 percent.According to the department’s statistics, farmers planted paddy on 1.51 million hectares this year, up 11 percent from before. This is the highest paddy acreage since 2011-12.

Average productivity has increased to 3.66 tonnes per hectare from 3.15 tonnes last year. Region-wise, paddy output in the Eastern, Central and Western regions is expected to amount to 1.62 million tonnes, 1.46 million tonnes and 1.15 million tonnes respectively. Likewise, production in the Mid-Western and Far Western regions has been estimated to reach 616,861 tonnes and 686,476 tonnes respectively. Senior agro expert Bhola Man Singh Basnet said that a 10 percent increase in paddy production would boost the country’s GDP growth by 1 percent. The agricultural sector contributes about one-third of the real GDP, of which paddy accounts for 7-8 percent.

“The projected bumper paddy harvest will be a shot in the arm for Nepal’s economy that received a beating from the deadly April 25 earthquake and subsequent trade embargo last year. But there are some risks associated with a bumper harvest as a surplus will push down prices which could dampen the hopes of farmers expecting higher incomes,” he said.“Although the government has set the minimum support price of paddy for this year, it will not help farmers as the announcement came too late,” he said.Yubak Dhoj GC, director general of the Department of Agriculture, said that the country was on line for a record paddy harvest this year as timely and regularmonsoon rains encouraged farmers to transplant paddy on all lands available.

“Besides, timely budget allocation and distribution allowed agriculture offices across the country to supply inputs like seeds and fertilizers to farmers in adequate quantities,” he said. The bumper harvest will narrow down rice imports to some extent and help the country regain its food surplus status, he said.According to GC, even if the country has an ‘excess surplus’ of rice, imports will not drop significantly as imported rice is of the ‘fine aromatic’ variety which is not grown much in Nepal.“Due to burgeoning incomes and a swelling middle-class population in Nepal, demand for fine aromatic rice has been growing notably for the last few years. “We need to encourage farmers to produce high quality rice to offset ballooning imports.”Nepal imported rice and paddy worth Rs21.86 billion in the last fiscal year, down 11.7 percent from the previous year.Although import bills have dropped by double digits, they are still huge despite the trade embargo that lasted for five months had paralyzed Nepal’s entire trade and transit system in the last fiscal


Philippines approves rice trader imports of 641,080 T, below quota

Posted at Dec 14 2016 12:38 PM
MANILA - The Philippines' state grains agency has approved permits for local rice traders to import 641,080 tons of the staple grain from Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and India, it said in a notice posted on its website on Wednesday.The approved imports, which must be brought in by Feb. 28, 2017, account for 80 percent of the maximum volume of 805,200 tons that private traders are allowed to bring in under an annual country-specific quota scheme.Private traders will import 284,780 tons of rice from Thailand; 294,020 tons from Vietnam; 56,140 tons from Pakistan; and 6,140 tons from India, the National Food Authority (NFA) said after evaluating all applications.
The shipments will boost the rice supply in the country, which has remained ample this year thanks to the NFA's rice imports in 2015 and in recent months.The NFA has a stand-by authority to import another 250,000 tons of rice in addition to the 250,000 tons it bought in August from Vietnam and Thailand.Fresh demand from the Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice buyers, could underpin export prices particularly in Vietnam and Thailand, traditionally its main suppliers.Rice export prices in India and Vietnam weakened last week on thin demand, but still failed to attract buyers, while prices rose slightly in Thailand amid a slowing harvest.

Farmers warn of stir over ‘flawed’ policy

December 13 2016
Sambalpur: Opposing the paddy procurement policy of the state government for the current kharif season, the members of Paschima Orissa Krushaka Sangathan Samanwaya Samiti, a farmers’ outfit of western Orissa, Tuesday warned of a massive agitation. 

The farmers would suffer while the rice millers stand to make money due to the prevailing policy which should be amended immediately on the basis of crop cutting report of the district, the outfit’s convener Ashok Pradhan demanded at a press meet at Sanskrutika Samaj Bhawan here.Though crop cutting report was made at the district level, it was later altered, paving way for such an anti-farmer policy, he alleged. 

The farmers under Hirakud command area would block the state and national highways unless the government takes a decision to protect the interests of farmers in seven days, other members of the outfit said.According to Pradhan, the decision over the volume of paddy per acre to be sold by a farmer had been decided at district level since 2011. However, the practice has not been followed this year.According to the fresh policy of the government, a farmer of an irrigated region can sell 18 quintals of paddy per acre while it has been reduced to 12 quintal per acre for farmers of non-irrigated regions. The decision of the government is not at all acceptable in the present scenario, the convener said.According to reports, bumper production has been reported in Hirakud command area in Sambalpur, Bargarh and Subarnapur districts as the farmers didn’t have to suffer from pest attack during this kharif season. 

But, with the implementation of the fresh procurement policy, the farmers would be left with surplus amount of paddy which they would be forced to sell to rice millers at throwaway prices. Though the issue was raised at the Assembly, it was not addressed, it was learnt. On the other hand, the farmers are still struggling to get input subsidy, crop insurance and drought assistance for 2015.To make matters worse, the farmers of Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Deogarh and Bargarh districts are yet to get agriculture loan to the tune of `746 crore to raise crops in the upcoming rabi season.Of the `750 crore, only `4 crore has been sanctioned for disbursement among the farmers till December 13, it was learnt. The rabi crop would also be affected unless they receive the loan amount soon, the farmers rued. PNN.Several farmer leaders including Lingaraj Pradhan, Murari Prasad Purohit and Saroj Mohanty were present at the press meet.  PNN

GIEWS Country Brief: Cambodia 12-December-2016

·         Increased rains boost prospects for 2016 main season rice output
·         Rice exports in 2016 forecast above last year’s level
·         Rice prices increased seasonally in October
·         Large numbers of people affected by the lingering effects of prolonged drought in 2015 and 2016
Increased rains boost prospects for 2016 main season rice production

Harvesting of the 2016 main (“wet”) paddy crop, which normally accounts for about 80 percent of the national annual production, just started and is expected to continue until the end of February. Although dry weather conditions at the start of the season between May and July caused some delay of planting activities, rains resumed from August, allowing planting pace to pick up and boosting yield prospects. According to latest official estimates, as of early November, some 2.6 million hectares were sown to main paddy crop, 2 percent above last year’s level. Improved rains also benefited water availabilities for the 2016 mostly irrigated secondary (“dry”) paddy crop, currently being planted and to be harvested from March 2017. Assuming average growing conditions prevail, FAO forecasts the 2016 aggregate rice production at 9.5 million tonnes, slightly above last year’s level and a new record.The bulk of the 2016 maize crop was harvested by October. FAO’s latest estimate put the aggregate 2016 maize production at 750 000 tonnes, implying a strong recovery after two years of sharply-reduced outputs. This is the result of a larger area sown, as well as, improved yields, reflecting favourable weather conditions and Government input support, including the distributions of subsidized water pumps and fertilizers.
Rice exports in 2016 forecast above last year’s level
Rice exports in the 2016 calendar year are forecast by FAO at 1.25 million tonnes, 4 percent above last year’s level, mainly reflecting increased border trade with Viet Nam. By contrast, maize shipments in 2016 are anticipated to be three times lower than their level last year, due to the sharply reduced production in 2015. Maize exports are expected to return to normal levels at 140 000 tonnes in 2017, in line with a recovery in 2016 output.
Rice prices increased seasonally in October
Wholesale prices of rice increased in most markets in October, supported by seasonal tightness, but remained below their year‑earlier levels. In an attempt to boost prices paid to farmers during the 2016 main harvest, the Government approved in late September a special loan package of USD 27 million to rice millers to buy rice paddy from farmers. The total includes USD 20 million from the Government’s budget and USD 7 million from the state-run Rural Development Bank. On the loans provided to rice millers, the Government will charge an annual interest rate of 8 percent.
Large numbers of people affected by lingering effects of drought in 2015 and 2016
The impact of the prolonged drought from early 2015 to mid‑2016 has resulted in an increased level of food insecurity in the affected areas. According to official estimates, approximately 2.5 million Cambodians and 18 out of 25 provinces, were affected by the drought. Although rains improved from late July over most of the country, bringing relief to the drought affected areas, farming households with little resilience and low agricultural productivity have not recovered fully and may require some humanitarian assistance.


Gov't to Convert More Old Rice into Animal Feed Next Year

Write : 2016-12-13 17:06:30 Update : 2016-12-13 17:19:02

The government plans to convert more old rice into animal feed next year as part of efforts to reduce the mounting rice stockpile. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said on Tuesday that it will allow 520-thousand tons of rice harvested in 2013 and 2014 to be processed into animal feed next year. That's five times more than this year. The ministry expects the decision will save more than 116-billion won on rice stock management and imports of animal feed.

Ambassador signals big Mexican market for rice