Tuesday, January 03, 2017

3rd January,2016 daily global,regional and local rice enewsletter by riceplus magazine

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RICE contributes 9pc to the national export proceed and 3.1pc to the agriculture GDP of Pakistan.
During the last decade, the composition of rice exports has changed drastically. Basmati’s share in rice exports has declined from 58pc in 2007-08 to 24pc in 2015-16. In value terms, the basmati exports have declined from $1.1bn to $447m whereas that of non-basmati varieties has nearly doubled from $767m to $1.4bn.
Though this transformation appears inconsequential as the net export proceeds remain similar, it’s indeed regressive as Pakistan is being knocked out of the premium quality rice segment and improving competitiveness in the coarse rice market characterised by a price race to the bottom.
The main reason for the unending slide in Pakistan’s basmati exports is the gradual erosion of competitiveness and the failure to adapt the product with the evolving international market dynamics in a zero-sum competition with the only other basmati producing country india.
During the last 20 years, India has seized the basmati market from Pakistan owing to its lead in the development of basmati varieties and improvement in processing technologies especially parboiling.
Since 1995, India has developed more than 20 high-yielding, disease-resistant and extra-long varieties of basmati, its hybrids and look-alikes, whereas in Pakistan no successful indigenous high-yielding basmati variety has been fielded since the approval of Super Basmati in 1990s.
Conversely, the Basmati-385 variety has commercially petered out due to unviable low yields and shorter grain length; Super Basmati has degenerated in natural varietal life-cycle.

Around 46pc of the global basmati consumption, outside the subcontinent, is in Saudi Arabia and Iran only. In the Saudi market of $1.4bn, Pakistan has gradually lost its share to India from 59pc in 1986 to a meagre 6pc in 2015 whereas in Iranian market of $1.2bn Pakistan’s share is a dismal 0.4pc now

The two recent Indian-developed varieties 1121 and 1509 have nearly taken over the increasingly parboiled-preferring global basmati market. Both the varieties have average grain length (AGL) of 8.1-8.4mm and a per acre paddy yield of 2.0-2.4 tonnes compared with 7.0 to 7.4mm AGL and 1.2 to 1.7 tonnes yield of Super Basmati. The superior aroma of Super Basmati becomes irrelevant for the parboiled/sela rice as the aromatic compounds evaporate in the parboiling process.
While Pakistan has been trying to preserve its natural heritage of basmati at international forums and through promulgation of legislation on geographical indications, the commercial extinction of indigenous basmati varieties would render such protection meaningless.
On the processing side, India has secured a technological advantage by developing mechanised parboiling technology which ensures color consistency and absence of odour which sets in through manual parboiling techniques. The development of 1121 and 1509 varieties ideally complemented the parboiling technology.
The market side developments have also accentuated Pakistan’s struggle in the world market.
The global basmati market size has phenomenally grown from 2m metric tonnes (MMT) in 2005 to 4.7MMT in 2016, whereas Pakistan’s share has declined from 42pc to 11pc during the same period in all the major basmati importing countries.
Around 46pc of the global basmati consumption, outside the sub-continent, is in Saudi Arabia and Iran only. In Saudi market of $1.4bn, Pakistan has gradually lost its share to India from 59pc in 1986 to a meagre 6pc in 2015 whereas in Iranian market of $1.2bn Pakistan’s share is a dismal 0.4pc now.
Though the loss of share in Iranian market can be partly attributed to economic sanctions, the near elimination of Pakistan from the Saudi market is owing to loss of competitiveness, failure to adapt the product offerings and poor marketing.
The EU’s duty-free regime of brown basmati imports makes the EU a unique market for basmati but Pakistani basmati has been generally faring well here.
Poor marketing techniques and poorer business ethos have also contributed to the erosion of Pakistan’s market share. In 1999, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan with the support of the Export Promotion Bureau had set an unprecedented model of voluntarily creating a Quality Review Committee (QRC) for mandatory inspection of basmati rice to ensure quality standards and checking the mislabelling of blended rice as basmati.
The blended rice exporters, after around 15 years of consistent effort to undo the QRC, were finally able to get it disbanded in 2015, further eroding the quality perception of Pakistani basmati in the import markets.
To conclude, Pakistan is steadily regressing in a progressing global basmati market due to loss of competitiveness ensuing from productivity crisis, innovation deficit in varietal development and processing technologies, lack of product adaptation, and poor marketing techniques and ethos.
The strategy to regain the market share in premium rice segment entails: immediate focus on agronomic research of high-yield, short-period, long-grain, drought-and-disease-resistant basmati varieties; proliferation of processing technologies; re-introduction of mandatory pre-shipment inspection mechanism for improving quality perception of Pakistani basmati; promotion of
branding and development of short-term penetration strategy for the post-sanctions Iranian market.
The writer is a joint secretary (Exim), Ministry of Commerce

International Temperate Rice Conference program announced

2 Jan 2017, 9:29 a.m.
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Griffith is set to host an international rice convention in March, highlighting the city’s important contribution to the rice industry on both an international and national platform.
The program for the sixth international temperate rice conference (ITRC) was revealed in December, with organisers promising the four day event will showcase the latest advancements in temperate rice research, technology and innovation.
Keynote speakers announced included Dr Steve Linscombe, a senior rice breeder at Louisiana State University Agricultural centre, Professor of food science at the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences Melissa Fitzgerald and Dr Russell Reinke a senior scientist in rice breeding and bio-fortification from the International Rice Research Institute.
Head of the ITRC organising committee Russell Ford said the rice industry experts would explore topics including breeding, agronomy, biotic stress, crop protection, precision agriculture and process over the two day conference.“The conference is a rare opportunity, not only to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our rice growers, but to learn and network with growers and industry professionals alike from around the world,” he said.The ITRC will run from Monday, March 6 to Thursday, March 9, registrations are open until Friday, February 24
Pacifict microbes in disease treatment may make pathogens stronger
Janury 2, 2017 - 5:57pm
  Introducing pacifist microbes into treatment to combat is popular in some circles, yet unproven. It's not as crazy as using a placebo to treat symptoms similar to a disease, as homeopathy charlatans do, but it remains unvalidated. However, in agriculture microbial disease treatment could be beneficial, whereas homeopathy is stupid and inhumane. It has been suggested that this approach could also be an effective way of treating cancer, and scientists have already produced encouraging results in the fight against Clostridium difficile infections.
One new paper claims that introducing 'friendlier' less-potent strains into a population of disease-causing microbes can lead to increased disease severity. Instead of being a 'silver bullet' to weaken disease, the pacifist microbes could make the aggressive pathogen stronger, which could hamper disease management.
One strategy being explored to treat infections that resist current drugs involves neutralizing the disease-causing agent. This strategy involves extracting the agent from the patient so that scientists can remove components of the microbe's DNA in order to neutralize the disease.This new harmless agent is then grown in the lab and re-introduced to the disease site with the expectation that it will out-compete its more harmful cousin by stealing resources the disease needs to proliferate. Such research has proved effective in several lab tests.

The scientists tested this method in rice blast infections, but found more severe disease symptoms. The scientists used cooperation theory and mathematical modeling to identify the reason for their surprising result. They found that in some circumstances pacifists "helped" aggressive microbes to be more efficient in utilizing resources obtained from the host.
Professor Ivana Gudelj, who led the research, said, "Our study shows that a promising disease management strategy may not always be effective and indeed may have damaging unforeseen consequences. Importantly, our work also provides a foundation for the analysis of when, and why, this can happen. We find that the mechanisms driving our unexpected findings when treating rice blast infection are pertinent for many diseases involving bacterial and fungal pathogens."
Professor Nick Talbot, Professor of Molecular Genetics at University of Exeter said, "The strategy of introducing less aggressive microbes to fight more aggressive ones may prove effective to control some crop disease, but our study shows that they are not a silver bullet and caution needs to be exercised. We need to understand how microbes interact with each other in natural settings, before we can try to alter their ability to cause disease in this way. Our study also shows why mathematicians and biologists need to work together more often, because we would not have understood this phenomenon at all without the mathematical analysis carried out."
The scientists tested this strategy using a plant pathogen, the devastating rice blast disease. They introduced a mixed population of the fungus that causes this disease into rice, where the mixture included an aggressive strain and a pacifist mutant. They expected that the overall disease severity would decrease because of the presence of the pacifist strain. However, they found the opposite. The rice plants succumbed to much more severe disease.The research shows that the therapy can in some circumstances have the opposite effect, and that the way the pathogen will behave can be unpredictable, leading to more severe disease.

NFA allows groups, firms to import rice

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The National Food Authority (NFA) said it has approved the request of 210 traders to import rice, which would come in at a higher duty under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme.As of December 21, 2016, the NFA has allowed 210 farmers’ organizations and private firms to import 692,340 metric tons (MT) of rice, 110,160 MT less than the country’s annual MAV of 802,500 MT.
The NFA list available on its web site also showed that 194 qualified rice traders, including AgriNurture Inc. and Pilmico Foods Corp., will import 642,340 MT of rice under the country specific quota (CSQ). Of the total rice to be imported under the CSQ, 293,100 MT of rice will be bought from Thailand and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, 16 qualified applicants will import a total of 50,000 MT of rice under the “omnibus origin” category, according to the NFA list.Under the importation guidelines released by the NFA, rice traders are allowed to source from countries with specific quota and from omnibus origin or from any country.
Rice traders and farmers’ groups can import 293,100 MT of rice from Thailand and Vietnam. They can also import 50,000 MT of rice from China, India and Pakistan; 15,000 MT from Australia; and 4,000 MT from El Salvador.
Description: imageAn additional volume of 50,000 MT is allowed to be imported from any country.The NFA said it allows each organization or firm to import 20,000 MT.The rice imports by the qualified traders must arrive in the country not later than February 28, according to the official guidelines of the NFA.Currently, the government allows rice imports within the MAV scheme to enter the country at a lower tariff of 35 percent. Imports in excess of the MAV are slapped a higher tariff of 50 percent.


Monday, 02 January 2017 15:32
ISLAMABAD: Rice export from the country during first five months of current financial year was recorded at 1,316.44 million tons as compared to exports of the corresponding period of last year.According the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics country earned US$ 557.578 million by exporting rice during the period from July-November, 2016.The rice exports in first five months of last financial year was recorded at 1,545.578 million tons valuing US$ 688.322 million tons, it added.During first five months of current financial year, country earned US$ 132.110 million by exporting 151,339 metric tons of basmati rice as against the exports of 202,334 metric tons worth US$ 19.777 of same period of last year.
Meanwhile, 1,164.651 metric tons of rice other then basmati rice exported and earned US$ 245.468 million as compared to 1,343,638 million of US$ 497.308 million of same period of last year.On month on month basis, rice exports during the month of November, 2018 was recorded at 438,399 million tons valuing US$ 165.92 million as against the exports of 5,339 metric tons worth US$ 203.844 million of same month of last year.About 30,400 metric tons of basmati rice worth US$ 24.704 million exported in months of November, 2016 as against 38,618 metric tons of US$ 32.986 million of same month of last year.In month of November, 2016 exports of rice other then basmati was recorded at 407,999 metric tons valuing US$ 141.216 million as compared to exports of 501,129 metric tons worth US$ 170.858 million of same month of last year