Wednesday, January 04, 2017

4th January,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

India to nudge Iran to resume Basmati imports

By Kirtika Suneja & Madhvi Sally, ET Bureau | Updated: Jan 02, 2017, 01.11 AM IST

India is keen to quell any concerns over quality of its basmati rice even as Iran has strict preshipment quality checks for all imports.NEW DELHI: India is readying to send a delegation to Iran to protect its big basmati rice market in the face of an aggressive campaign by Pakistan to paint the Indian variety as inferior. The delegation comprising government officials and exporters will travel to Iran on January 27-29, Mohinder Pal Jindal, president of All India Rice Exporters Association, told ET. He said the industry is hopeful that Iran will lift the ban on imports of basmati rice from India that has been in place for the past four months. "We have to counter other countries' efforts because our share in Iran's imports has fallen drastically," said a government official, who did not wish to be identified.

Iran has been one of the largest importers of Indian basmati rice in recent years. But in 2015-16, however, basmati rice exports from India to Iran almost halved to $571 million from $1.1 billion in the previous financial year. In the first half of this fiscal, basmati rice exports from India to Iran amounted to $356 million. Both India and Pakistan have claimed geographical indication on aromatic long grained basmati rice, saying the variety is unique to the respective countries. Uruguay is another rice exporter to the West Asian country.
 Iran has seen a spurt in trading ties with a large number of countries since January last year, when it was freed of economic sanctions imposed by the West for its nuclear programme. "We need to promote exports of basmati rice in Iran especially because other countries are aggressively promoting their varieties of rice," said another official.
India is keen to quell any concerns over quality of its basmati rice even as Iran has strict preshipment quality checks for all imports.

"We need to dispel rumours about basmati rice which are being made by parties with vested interests," said Rajen Sundaresan, executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association. "Iran is a stable but important market for us. They have not opened the permits for imports till now even though this should have happened in November."

Iran has a permit system of imports. However, no major consignments have been shipped from India in the past six months. India is the leading exporter of basmati rice, having shipped 4.05 million tonnes of the aromatic long grain basmati rice worth Rs 22,718.44 crore in 2015-16. The industry pegs exports to Iran at 1 million tonnes. Satish Goel, managing director of Shree Jagdamba Agrico Exports, which exports 50,000 tonnes of basmati rice to Iran annually, said that the country needs to dispel rumours that Indian rice is plastic. "Our image is being hampered and we need to put things in order," he said.

Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center: Focus on real-world challenges

Photo: Kevin Quinn/University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Rice Research and Extension Center at Stuttgart, Ark.As the nation’s number-one rice producer, the economy of Arkansas places a premium on every aspect of the crop’s production, from the the availability of unique and hardy varieties, to the financial success of our producers in the field, to the impeccable quality of the finished product.
As the nation’s number-one rice producer, the economy of Arkansas places a premium on every aspect of the crop’s production, from the the availability of unique and hardy varieties, to the financial success of our producers in the field, to the impeccable quality of the finished product.As the primary institution of higher education in support of agriculture in the state, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture spends a significant portion of its resources and efforts working to make sure rice, and the people behind it, succeed.Nathan McKinney, interim director of the Rice Research and Extension Center (RREC), came to the research station in the summer of 2016, after serving various roles in the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station.

McKinney said he encourages his researchers — there are about a dozen scientists attached to the RREC — to take a “portfolio” approach to their research. Solving problems that rice growers face today is the highest priority.“That’s what I call ‘applied’ research,” McKinney said. “Most of our effort is targeted towards answering present-day questions or applying a new approach, a new variety or technology to solve a problem.“However, part of that research portfolio is also forecasting what problems producers may see 10 years from now,” he said.

“Some of our far-reaching, basic research is trying to answer the question, ‘what happens when rice is exposed to high nighttime temperatures?’” McKinney said. “And what causes the physiological stress in rice under various climate conditions? What physiological pathways can we exploit to overcome heat stress? We have fundamental questions that we currently have no answers for — we have some blank spots in our knowledge of the physiology of rice.”

Focus on rice

Although researchers at the RREC conduct studies on other crops essential to Arkansas and the region including corn, soybeans and wheat, the focus is on rice.Jarrod Hardke, Extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, has been with the RREC since 2012. He described his applied agronomic work at the research center as research aimed at affecting production-based recommendations.

“We look at every variety of rice available to us, from both commercial seed companies and those varieties we breed ourselves, to see what works best under a range of conditions,” Hardke said. “One of the biggest points of emphasis is on-farm cultivar trials — actually comparing the different varieties and hybrids a grower has to choose from to observe their relative differences on various farms under different production systems.”
Over the course of multiple years and weather cycles, Hardke said, the Division of Agriculture is able to synthesize data that gives growers the best shot at success, from choosing the best cultivar for their soil to dealing with pests and environmental pressures as they arise.

Hardke said that over the long term, rice research in the state evolves through the extension and feedback process, as agronomic data is pushed out to growers through Cooperative Extension Service agents, and agents deliver feedback back to researchers.McKinney said the research has also been guided by challenges specific to Arkansas and the region, such as a potential scarcity of groundwater in the near future.“Our irrigation engineer, Chris Henry, has introduced a wealth of ideas new to Arkansas farming, and various water conservation measures for rice production,” McKinney said. “So that’s broadened the scope of the station’s research.

“We’ve also had a rice breeding program here for 60 years or so, but we’ve recently added a hybrid breeding emphasis. A new hybrid breeder joined us in November of 2015,” he said. “Hybrid seed production in rice is relatively new, and it has broadened the scope of our breeding program.”

Research umbrella

McKinney said all the researchers working under the RREC’s umbrella are to some degree involved in evaluating constant and increasing environmental stresses, and taking measures to help growers overcome those challenges.“For example, this year and in some recent years, it’s turned out that high nighttime temperatures created a lot of yield and grain quality problems for rice producers,” McKinney said. “It’s robbed us of millions and millions of dollars. And we’re attempting to solve that problem. Some of the pieces of the puzzle are falling in place, but there are still other pieces we’re trying to discover.“Everybody on this station is involved with that, either directly or indirectly. All of our scientists have their hands in it,” he said.

Researchers and staff at the RREC also work closely with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dale Bumpers researchers at the nearby Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, also located in Stuttgart, as well as other entities, including the Mid-South Breeding Consortium.“We’re bringing in the best resources to collaborate with, and to give us ideas and input,” McKinney said.Hardke said the facility is unique in that it remains the only fully faculty-staffed research Extension center in the state.“We house all relevant disciplines in the faculty here at the station, permitting us to be housed right in the heart of the rice-growing region of the state, performing our work,” Hardke said. “We’re here, we’re accessible. Our full-time job is rice, the rice industry and its improvement. That’s how all our time is spent — that’s unique to this location.

Winter rice clinics scheduled for Louisiana

Bruce Schultz  |  12/20/2016 3:06:49 PM
 (12/20/16) CROWLEY, La. – The LSU AgCenter will conduct a series of rice clinics in January and February throughout the rice-growing areas of Louisiana to help farmers get ready for the upcoming crop year.
Farmers will be able to get advice about key decisions that must be made early in the year, including variety selection and field preparations for the 2017 crop, said Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.“Topics to be covered in the clinics will include controlling weeds, insects and diseases,” Linscombe said. “We also will talk about our research for variety development and agronomic practices in addition to an economic outlook for rice.”
The sessions will be held at various locations on the following dates:
– Jan. 5 at the Acadia Parish Education Center in Crowley, 2122 N. Parkerson Ave., behind Gatti’s Pizza restaurant, starting at 8:10 a.m.
– Jan. 10 in Welsh at the Welsh Community Center, 101 Palmer St., starting at 8:15 a.m.
– Jan. 11 in Ville Platte at the Civic Center, 704 N. Soileau St., starting at 8 a.m.
– Jan. 12 in Abbeville at the Vermilion Parish Library, 405 E. Saint Victor St., starting at 8 a.m.
– Jan. 17 at the DeWitt Livestock Facility adjacent to the LSUA campus south of Alexandria, starting at 8:20 a.m.
– Feb. 8 at the Rayville Civic Center, 827 Louisa St., starting at 9 a.m.

Rice exports to Africa grow

Submitted by Eleven on Sun, 01/01/2017 - 16:18
Writer: Nilar
About 60 per cent of rice exports via sea from 2012 to 2016 are being exported to African markets with China second, according to the Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation (MAPCO).MAPCO exported over 86,000 tonnes of rice to Africa nations, more than 17,885 tonnes to China, in excess of 13,000 tonnes to Indonesia, more than 11,000 tonnes to Japan, more than 7,000 tonnes elsewhere and more than 6,800 tonnes to the European Union.Exports to China decreased this year due to the instability in the border areas and increased security checks. MAPCO chose instead to export rice by sea. The weak kyat has driven up exports. Sea exports struggled in the past because of the policies of the former government.
Myanmar is exporting about 60,000 tonnes a month to various African markets. Myanmar exported about 600,000 tonnes until mid-December compared with less than 150,000 tonnes during the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Translated by Aung Kyaw Kyaw

Nepal headed for largest paddy harvest in history


Jan 1, 2017- Nepal is headed for the largest paddy harvest in history as the heavens have smiled on farmers and sent down an above average monsoon, according to a preliminary crop production report released by the Agricultural Ministry on Sunday.Paddy production has been projected to jump 21.66 percent to 5.23 million tonnes this fiscal year, after two consecutive years of falling harvests triggered by drought. The country produced an additional 931,248 tonnes of paddy this year. In the last fiscal year, a crippling drought hit paddy production severely, dragging it down by 10.22 percent to 4.29 million tonnes.

Based on the average price of Rs21.45 per kg set by the ministry, this year’s output is valued at Rs113 billion, excluding the value of straw and husk. Ministry officials said that the record harvest was expected to bring down the country's rice import bill, and help the GDP to grow as the economy was strongly dependent on farm production. “Timely and regular monsoon was a key factor behind the robust paddy output,” said Ram Krishna Regmi, chief statistician at the ministry. “The average monsoon rainfall this year was the best in the last eight years.”

Besides, increased use of improved seed varieties, timely availability of chemical fertilizers and growing farm mechanization have helped the country to record a high paddy output, he said.The bumper harvest has also halved the annual food deficit to 400,000 tonnes from 800,000 tonnes in the last fiscal year. “If the winter wheat crop harvest remains the same as last year, we may be able to record a 800,000-tonne food surplus,” he said.

According to the ministry, the country had the highest food deficit of 485,000 tonnes in 1994-95. In the fiscal years 2009-10 and 2008-09, the food deficit reached 330,000 tonnes and 132,000 tonnes respectively.However, in 2010-11, the government had projected higher food reserves as the census had shown the population to be lower than estimated. As a result, Nepal’s food reserves increased to 443,057 tonnes.  In 2011-12, food reserves jumped to 886,307 tonnes due to a bumper harvest. In 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15, Nepal had surplus food reserves of 455,000 tonnes, 789,890 tonnes and 155,012 tonnes respectively.  

The ministry said that good rains this year allowed the country’s paddy acreage to increase 13.91 percent to 1.55 million hectares. Paddy productivity rose 6.81 percent to 3.36 tonnes per hectare. “Fiscal 2016-17 has been a productive year in the agricultural sector,” said Yogendra Kumar Karki, spokesperson for the ministry.
“We expect production to grow in the next fiscal year too as the government has implemented the Rs130-billion Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, which envisages adopting modern farm techniques to increase output.”

He added that increasing productivity remained the main challenge. “We have the lowest productivity in South Asia, and this is both a challenge and an opportunity for us,” he said, adding that if Nepal could increase productivity, it could be in a position to export rice. The country's average paddy productivity in the last 10 years was 3 tonnes per hectare. The statistics show that the summer crops -- maize, millet and buckwheat -- are also likely to grow. Maize output is expected to grow 1.25 percent to 2.25 million tonnes, millet by 1.26 percent to 306,215 tonnes and buckwheat by 1.78 percent to 11,847 tonnes.  

Published: 01-01-2017 19:10

NFA allows groups, firms to import rice

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.
An 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

Indonesian Agricultural Programs Deemed Successful in 2016
Sunday, 01 January, 2017 | 09:22 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - One of the aims of the Indonesian governments programs in 2016 was to advance the agricultural sector, in order to regain the country`s self-sufficiency in rice, as in the past. Due to its efforts to introduce mechanized agricultural technology, repair damaged agricultural infrastructure, and open new rice fields, the government has been able to change the countrys rice planting season from one to two, and even three times, per year.
With its success in carrying out these programs in 2016, the government increased unhusked rice production to 79 million tons, exceeding its target of 76 million tons of unhusked rice, and stop importing rice in 2016."Indonesia will not need to import rice, and it could even export the commodity to other countries, " Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman said in the village of Bhakti Rasa, Sragi subdistrict, South Lampung, on Thursday (Dec 29, 2016).National production of unhulled rice rose to 79 million tons in 2016, from 74 million tons of unhulled rice in 2015 and 70 million tons in 2014.
In order to maintain and advance the agricultural sector, the Ministry of Agriculture will continue to promote the use of agricultural technology.
Indonesian farmers should now become skillful in the use of technology and the use of hybrid seeds. Thus, they are expected to see harvest seasons two to three times per year.
Additionally, the use of technology will continue to be promoted by the Agriculture Ministry in order to improve the welfare of the farmers.
"Through the use of technology, including agricultural mechanization, rice production is expected to increase by 200 percent," Minister Amran Sulaiman said, conducting a rice grand harvest in Margorejo Village, Metro Selatan Subdistrict, Metro City, Lampung on Friday (Dec 30).
According to the minister, his ministry will continue to make efforts to increase agricultural production through mechanization, such as providing machine tools for farmers.
Through measures, such as the provision of agricultural machinery (alsintan) to farmers, the ministry encourages mechanization of agriculture, a policy that will continue to further improve agricultural productivity.
The minister said the use of agricultural technology resulted into reductions in production costs by 50 percent. The production cost of one hectare, which usually reached Rp12 million, has now been reduced to Rp6 million. In addition, in one year a farmer can plant two to three times. 
In order to regain the countrys former high levels of food production, the government has also overhauled various regulations in the food sector and repaired damaged rice growing infrastructure, which reached three million hectares. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked the minister to finish the repairs within three years, but the Minister of Agriculture said his staff has been trying to complete this 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 harm farmers.
Self-sufficiency in food can be achieved through efforts to modernize agriculture, while new regulations and infrastructure are improved. The officials have worked hard to boost production and control exports and imports. Organic agriculture is very attractive and prices for this produce could increase ten times and improve the welfare of farmers.
The government has distributed some 160,000 agricultural machine tools in the regions. Also, in 2016 Indonesia tried to open up 200,000 hectares of new rice fields.
By increasing the acreage of the countrys rice fields by 200,000 hectares, rice farms in Indonesia now cover some 9.0 million hectares.
Chairman of the Peoples Deliberative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan praised the efforts of the agriculture minister to increase agricultural production through various measures, including mechanization.
"We both know, at this time, to increase agricultural land was very difficult. But the population will surely continue to grow so that food production should be increased. Therefore, I appreciate the performance of the Minister of Agriculture and his efforts to increase production, especially through technology mechanization," he said.
The assembly speaker also expressed his gratitude to Minister of Agriculture Andi Amran Sulaiman, whose efforts during the past two years, he said, had lifted agricultural production and ensured that the country did not have to import rice.
"It must be recognized that I am grateful for the performance of Amran, who has proven his ability to increase agricultural production. And, this is the reality this year, as the government did not import rice after 32 years of importing the commodity. It should be appreciated because, with our current condition, it is not easy to do," he said.
According to Zulkifli, providing agricultural machinery to farmers is a very effective, helpful policy, and in accordance with current requirements.
"It is inevitable that mechanization is really required. Farmers used to set off into the fields while it was still dark, they are exposed to the sun and their skin became dark, and they returned home very late, again when it was dark. By using new tools, such as hand tractors, farmers can finish cultivating one hectare of land in three hours, where it used to take 11 days to cultivate," said Zulkifli

Rice worth $557.578m exported in five months

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 to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country earned $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 $688.322 million tons, it added.
During first five months of current financial year, the country earned $132.110 million by exporting 151,339 metric tons of basmati rice as against the exports of 202,334 metric tons worth $19.777 of same period of last year.
Meanwhile, 1,164.651 metric tons of rice, other than basmati rice, exported and earned $245.468 million as compared to 1,343,638 million of $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 $165.92 million as against the exports of 5,339 metric tons worth $203.844 million of same month of last year.
About 30,400 metric tons of basmati rice worth $24.704 million exported in months of November, 2016 as against 38,618 metric tons of $32.986 million of same month of last year. In month of November, 2016 exports of rice, other than basmati, was recorded at 407,999 metric tons valuing $141.216 million as compared to exports of 501,129 metric tons worth $170.858 million of same month of last year.

Celebrating rice

Mexican Holiday Cookbook
By Sarah Moran

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO -- In time for Christmas, USA Rice released a special edition holiday cookbook titled "Celebremos con Arroz" (Let's Celebrate with Rice).  The deluxe full-color cookbook includes ¬¬¬40 rice recipes for special celebrations and holidays.  Although the magazine is released in November/December for the popular Christmas season, the magazine features recipes for various holidays and will be a collector's edition for consumers to use year-round.
The dishes are easy to prepare and offer a great variety of ideas for consumers to use rice in their favorite celebrations and special events. The holidays featured are Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Mexican Independence Day, Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), and Christmas.  The cookbook was designed to serve as a valuable resource for consumers with extensive information, including tips and techniques to guarantee perfectly cooked rice, nutritional information, informative graphics, and a special section dedicated to parties and special events, and features elegant rice canapes.

"The target audience of the magazine are home cooks, who enjoy preparing traditional and contemporary rice dishes, as well as the food service industry," says Gaby Carbajal, USA Rice's representative in Mexico.  "Because readers share recipes, tips, and our entire magazine, publishers report 195,000 media impressions for the book."Fifty thousand copies of this special edition cookbook will be sold at newspaper stands nationwide as well as online in printed and electronic versions at the publisher's website,

Agri dept. targets to increase rice prod next year

Saturday, December 31, 2016
THE Department of Agriculture (DA)-Davao region targets to increase rice production for 2017 by enhancing rice mechanization.
During a weekly press conference at Abreeza Mall, DA-Davao Regional Director Ricardo Oñate, Jr. said that one of the ways to increase rice yield in the region is through the enhancement of mechanization in rice production.
The nationwide average yield is at 3.9 metric tons per hectare, which Davao Region had surpassed with its 4.6 metric tons per hectare average rice yield. However, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol wanted to increase nationwide average yield to six metric tons per hectare which makes the need for rice production in Davao region to still be increased despite the current sufficiency.
Oñate also said that with today’s generation, less and less young people are going into farming. He thinks that with proper education and campaign for mechanization, particularly of rice production, the youth will recognize that technology made it less difficult. He is hoping that mechanization will encourage more young people to go back to farming.
As for other farmers who are hesitant to use modern technology, Oñate said that trainings and seminars had been conducted to introduce the benefits of the equipment to them. He also added that by 2017, a thorough campaign drive will also be conducted.
Combined harvester is a machine that aids with the harvesting of grain crops. Compostela Valley had already started using this technology.
According to Oñate, Combined Harvester is a great help for rice farmers as it does not only aid with the harvesting but also with threshing. It serves two operations in a single machine. It lessens the time consumed in processing.
Oñate added that not only is the region equipped with harvesting facility. The Rice Processing Complex (RPC) is a post-harvest machine that aids with rice milling. RPC provides better production with 65 percent rate of recovery for the rice produce in comparison with the 50 percent rate by small rice millers. The machine also provides efficient rice production, milling, and even drying and storage. An RPC in the region is located at Matanao, Davao del Sur.
Increased rice yield will not be a problem of overstock as President Rodrigo Roa-Duterte already expressed plan to provide 20 kilos of rice per month to Filipinos under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Control price on imported rice
 Tuesday, 03 January 2017 - 13:13
The  cabinet has decided to impose a control price for imported rice.Rural Economic Affairs Minister P. Harrison during a press conference said that rice will be imported in the future to control the rising prices. Sowing of rabi crops rises 27% despite note ban

By ET Bureau | Updated: Dec 03, 2016, 12.43 AM IST
The area under pulses, oilseeds and wheat increased from a year earlier, that with coarse cereals and rice fell.NEW DELHI: Planting of crops in the current rabi season is at full throttle, with the acreage increasing 27% since last week and being 9% more compared with this time a year earlier, data from the agriculture ministry showed. The figures suggest that scrapping of highdenomination currency notes hasn’t affected sowing as some had feared. Planting is expected to continue, with the weather remaining favourable and the support prices for various crops being attractive. Winter crops were planted on 415.53 lakh hectares as of Friday, compared with 327.62 lakh hectares a week earlier, according to data from the agriculture ministry. A year ago, the acreage was 382.84 lakh hectares. The government’s target for this year is to plant rabi crops on 638.37 lakh hectares.

The area under pulses, oilseeds and wheat increased from a year earlier, that with coarse cereals and rice fell.

Water levels in key reservoirs were also higher than last year, according to the Central Water Commission that monitors 91 major reservoirs in the country. The reservoirs held 102.841 billion cubic metres of water, 26% more than at the same time last year, suggesting better availability for winter crops. However, the level was 2% less than the 10-year average. Wheat planting has fallen in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, but increased in Rajasthan and Bihar, the ministry said.

Planting increased largely in gram (chana), lentil (masoor) and field pea (lobia) pulses, while that in kulthi, urad bean and moong bean fell. Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Haryana have reported a fall in area under pulses.


Soldiers, cops to get rice subsidy

 (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 1, 2017 - 12:00am
Congress has included funds for the subsidy in the P3.35-trillion 2017 national budget, which President Duterte signed Thursday last week. File photo
MANILA, Philippines – Soldiers, policemen, jail guards and firemen will finally get a regular monthly rice subsidy starting this month.       Congress has included funds for the subsidy in the P3.35-trillion 2017 national budget, which President Duterte signed Thursday last week.Under special provisions in the appropriations of concerned agencies of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the rice incentive “shall be given in the form of cash allowance equivalent to 20 kilos per month.”The provisions ban the distribution of “rice, rice voucher and/or its equivalent.”Lawmakers imposed the ban apparently to avoid corruption in the procurement of rice or rice vouchers.The rice allowance is chargeable against the agencies’ maintenance and other operating funds.

U.S. rice exports to Colombia slide in 2016

January 3, 2017 - by Eric Schroeder
Decline reflects strong U.S. dollar and larger Colombian domestic production.

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. rice exports to Colombia declined 66% in 2016, reflecting a strong U.S. dollar, larger Colombian domestic production, and increased competition from Mercosur and other cheaper markets, according to a Dec. 21 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The decline in exports dropped Colombia to the ninth largest market for U.S. rice exports, down from the fourth largest market in 2015, the USDA said.“Colombian rice imports vary in direct correlation to the quality and quantity of its domestic rice crop, which increased in 2016 thanks to high local prices and government incentives,” the USDA noted in the report. “In the first semester of 2016, Colombia imported rice for the first time from Uruguay and Paraguay after granting phyto-sanitary access to Mercosur countries at the end of 2015.”

Rice is one of the key basic staple foods in Colombia, with per capita consumption of about 40 kilograms (80 pounds). The country only is able to supply about 10 months of its consumption needs through locally grown rice, though, forcing the country to look to outside sources for the grain.

As domestic prices for rice have increased, so too has domestic production, according to the USDA. In 2015, average grower prices increased by more than 32% over 2014, which prompted rice growers to enlarge dry-land rice area planted for the 2015-16 growing seasons.

According to the Colombian Rice Growers Federation (Fedearroz), over the past two years the area planted expanded by 177,000 hectares, resulting in a forecast 2016 production of 2.5 million tons, 32.3% higher than last five year average production, the USDA noted.

“Although the rice area planted increased, the El Niño drought phenomena slightly affected production in 2015 and pushed the first planting season of 2016 to the end of February/early March resulting in a late main harvest for 2016,” the USDA said. “Difficult weather conditions affected not only rice but other agricultural products, resulting in problematic food supplies, increased consumer prices and a higher inflation rate.”

Controlled price for imported rice

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 01:00
A Cabinet decision was taken to impose a control price on imported rice, Rural Economic Affairs Minister P. Harrison said.The government is to import rice to counter the escalation in rice prices within the last few months. “The government is planing to import both Samba and Nadu rice stocks,” Minister Harrison said at a media briefing at the ministry yesterday.He also said that the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) has 73,901 metric tons of white nadu, 68,875 metric tons of red nadu, 5,045 metric tons of white samba, 5,068 metric tons of red samba and 5,945 metric tons of kiri samba in its possession.
Minister Harrison said President Maithripala Sirisena along with the Cabinet was planning to impose a fixed rice price to counter the future price hikes in rice and paddy market, as well.“President Sirisena has appointed a Cabinet sub-committee headed by Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama to draw up a procedure to reduce the rice prices. I am a member of that sub committee as well,” Minister Harrison said.The minister said the importing of rice will take place within the next two weeks. “SATHOSA has already called for a tender in this regard. The tender is open to all qualified bidders. We are ready to take a decision by today,” Minister Harrison said.
Harrison said as imported rice come into the market with a fixed price, the rice prices are expected to go down.He said the government was planing to release the imported rice to the market through SATHOSA.Large scale mill owners are to be held responsible for the rice-mafia operating in the country, Minister Harrison said.“The PMB issued about 52,000 metric tons of paddy to small scale mill owners. Not all have returned the rice after milling to SATHOSA. It has been reported that some have sold paddy stocks for a higher price. We are taking legal steps against such mill owners,” Harrison said.Asked on the accusation directed at him, Minister Harrison said that he is ready to resign if anyone could prove that he has taken commissions from mill owners.
“Now there are all crime and corruption fighting institutes such as the FCID, the CID and the Police. If any single mill owner should testify against me, and if I am to be convicted of corruption, I am ready not only to step down from my post but to give up my MP post as well.”Minister Harrison also said President Maithripala Sirisena unlike the former President does not extend favours for his siblings’ businesses.“President Sirisena has never demanded me or my Secretary to favour his siblings. President Sirisena always abides by the vision of a Yahapalana government directing us to distribute the paddy stocks fairly and transparently,” Harrison said.
Asked on the allegation that the PMB has granted a paddy tender to a Katharagama Basnayaka Nilame who does not own a rice mill, Minister Harrison said that such transactions were immediately terminated.“I can assure the PMB has not issued paddy to persons who do not own mills. There were certain instances where such issuing has taken place. We have immediately terminated such transactions,” he said.Asked on the allegation that rice stocks are stashed to cause a price hike, Minister Harrison said that it is the responsibility of the Consumer Affairs Authority to look into the matter.“After inspecting if such stashing has taken place, the Consumer Affairs Authority should make a complain in this regard to us,” he said.Minister Harrison also said that they are to settle all loans taken by the PMB, within President Sirisena’s term of office by the end of 2017.He said the PMB had debts running into Rs. 7,000 million taken by the previous regime

Sri Lanka: President Brother Dudly kicked the asses of poor by playing rice monopoly

Home /Sri Lanka: President Brother Dudly kicked the asses of poor by playing rice monopoly

Jan 4, 2017
( January 4, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Rural Economic Affairs Minister P. Harrison yesterday challenged President’s brother Dudley Sirisena, who is the Araliya Rice proprietor to prove allegations that he had received kickbacks from some millers to release paddy stocks in the state-owned Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) storage facilities and was responsible for severe shortage of rice in the market.Addressing the media at his ministry, Anuradhapura District MP said that if the allegations were proved, he would quit his parliamentary seat.
Sirisena recently claimed that had paddy stocks in the state-owned godowns been released properly to rice mill owners, the country wouldn’t have faced the present rice shortage. Sirisena alleged that paddy stocks had been released to middlemen. He blamed Minister Harrison for selling a kilo of paddy at Rs. 43.65 a kilo to middlemen who re-sold it at Rs. 55 a kilo to millers thereby making a huge profit.Minister Harrison said that he hadn’t taken money from millers or middlemen or sought profits at the expense of the people.The UNPer said that Dudley Sirisena had received the lion’s share of paddy stocks held by the government on the basis of the highest price quoted by his enterprise. The Minister said that Sirisena had obtained 17,000 MT of paddy

Price control on imported rice: Harrison

2017-01-03 15:31:56 
The Cabinet has decided to impose a price control on imported rice to prevent the price of rice from sky-rocketting, Rural Economic Affairs Minister P. Harrison said today.“President Maithripala Sirisena and the Cabinet will decide on the price of imported rice,” he said adding that stocks of imported rice would arrive in the country within two weeks on tenders selected by Sathosa.The minister said it was decided to import rice after several local rice millers failed to supply rice to Sathosa.“Nearly 138 rice millers had been issued stocks of paddy and hand over the rice to Sathosa. But only 28 millers had done so. Others have sold their rice to the private sector and as such have been blacklisted and cases filed against them,” the minister said. “President Maithripala Sirisena plays no part in the family-run company and in no way nurtures his brothers, unlike what the previous government did,” he said.The minister said rice mill owners were behind the rice mafia in the country and are attempting to gain a huge profit through the rice market.He said the largest stock of 17,000 metric tons of paddy was released to Araliya Rice Mills proprietor Dudley Sirisena because he had made the highest bid. (Chaturanga Pradeep)
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Millers call for VAT exemption on rice imports

January 4, 2017 in National, News


THE Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has called on the government to reconsider its decision to impose value-added tax (VAT) on imported rice, saying it will affect the country’s nutritional needs and affect companies that had invested in repackaging of the commodity.GMAZ chairperson, Tafadzwa Musarara recently wrote to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa asking for the extension of VAT exemption that was brought by Statutory Instrument 9 of 2016, arguing that a tax will force an increase in the cost of the product to the consumers.
“An increase in price will regrettably trigger a decline in demand of about 40% from the 200 000 metric tonnes consumed annually. The current consumption levels account for over 10 000 jobs of direct and indirect employees, who will undoubtedly be severely affected,” he wrote. “Companies in the pre-packaging industries have invested more than $8 million in retooling in the past six years and a decline in consumption of rice will be unviable to investment.”GMAZ said it was not consulted about the reintroduction of VAT on rice imports, arguing its continued importation did not harm any farmers, as there is no rice production in the country.
“The industry was not consulted on this particular matter. Further, there is no rice farming in Zimbabwe that is being prejudiced by the importation of rice and continued suspension of VAT on rice causes no harm to our economy,” the letter further read.The association noted that rice has grown to become the second staple food after maize, considering that the publics that consume rice includes boarding schools, tertiary institutions, work canteens, restaurants and several households

Specialty rice program approaches release of two aromatic lines

By Ryan McGeeney, U of A System Division of Agriculture

The Division of Ag's Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas, is at the forefront of agricultural research. (U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture courtesy photo by Kevin Quinn.).
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s specialty rice program, seated in the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, is planning to release two varieties of aromatic rice in the coming years, researchers said this month.
Debra Ahrent Wisdom, a program and research associate for the Division of Agriculture in Stuttgart, said two jasmine-type aromatic rices, currently known simply as AR-1105 and AR-1102, are scheduled to be released in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
“These are really the first lines we’ve released through the specialty rice program,” Ahrent Wisdom said. “We determined there was a demand for these aromatics through conversations with growers, millers and marketers, and also by simply looking at rice imports across the country.”Ahrent Wisdom said that while the United States (and Arkansas in particular) doesn’t typically import much long- or medium-grain rice, imports of aromatics such as jasmine and basmati are strong.“There’s an interest among consumers for aromatic rice,” she said, noting that immigrants and foreign nationals, particularly from Asian counties such as India and Thailand, overwhelmingly prefer the rice grown in their countries of origin.
“We can’t grow the varieties they grow in Thailand and India, because of the photo period sensitivities,” Ahrent Wisdom said. “We can’t just say, ‘send us some seed and we’ll grow it here.’ It doesn’t work that way. There’s something about the environment in Thailand and India that makes those aromatic lines just pop. And it’s not everywhere in those countries—it’s just certain pockets where the soil and the environment just works.“We don’t happen to have that particular environment here—so we work around the environment we have,” she said.
Ahrent Wisdom said both of the new varieties claim Jazzman, a jasmine aromatic line originally developed by Louisiana State University, as a parent. In three years of test trials, AR-1105 and AR-1102 have averaged yields of 170 and 150 bushels per acre, respectively. While the yields aren’t comparable to most long-grain rice varieties, the numbers represent a strong showing among aromatics, she said.Jarrod Hardke, Extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, said specialty rice like Ahrent Wisdom’s aromatic lines make up less than 1 percent of overall rice production in Arkansas, the leading rice state in the country. Nevertheless, producers are always looking for an edge in marketing opportunities, he said.
“Our growers do want some investment,” Hardke said. “Any kind of value-added product, anything we can find a fit for, at a premium, and can grow and sell, that’s great. But to date, specialty rice markets are still pretty small.”
Karen Moldenhauer, a professor of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science for the Division of Agriculture in Stuttgart, said the RREC has been working with aromatic varieties for more than a decade, although the specialty didn’t become a focus of the program’s research until Ahrent Wisdom transferred from Fayetteville to Stuttgart in 2009.
Moldenhauer said that since the Division of Agriculture’s rice breeding program was established in 1931, it has released about 45 lines of rice, only one of which has been an aromatic.Glen Bathke, assistant director of the RREC, said that the specialty rice program’s pursuit of unusual lines provides an avenue for growers to find new markets in which to pursue revenues.
To learn more about the Division of Agriculture’s specialty rice program, rice breeding program or the Rice Research and Extension Center, visit

Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame to Induct Five

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 11:48 am  
Mark Simmons (Northwest Arkansas Council)
The Arkansas Farm Bureau on Tuesday announced five people who will be inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame at its 29th annual luncheon, set for 11:30 a.m. March 3 at Little Rock's Embassy Suites Hotel.The newest class includes forester Allen Bedell of Hot Springs, former state Sen. Neely Cassady of Nashville, rice farmer Gary Sebree of Stuttgart, poultry company executive Mark Simmons of Siloam Springs and the late Bobby Wells, a plant breeder who developed many varieties of rice that have positively impacted Arkansas farmers.
The new inductees will bring to 158 the number of those honored by the hall of fame.Bedell was a long-time forester for Georgia-Pacific in Fordyce and owned whole-tree chipping operations Circle B. Logging and Quality Stand Density Control Inc. He is a former chairman of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, a past president of the Arkansas Forestry Association, an organizer of the Arkansas Timber Producers Association, serves as the forestry representative on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture board and helped start the Log a Load For Kids program.
Cassady took over his father’s hatchery at the age of 18 and expanded it into a vertically integrated poultry company. He built and sold two companies that are now part of Pilgrim’s and Tyson Foods. He was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1982 and served for 14 years. Cassady was president of the Arkansas Poultry Federation, served on the Tyson Foods Board of Directors and was a long-time member of the Central Baptist College Board of Trustees.
Sebree, a third-generation rice farmer, spent 43 years as a farmer representative on the Producers Rice Mill board of directors, 24 of those as chairman. USA Rice presented the 2016 Rice Lifetime Achievement Award to him. He was on the first Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board, chairman of the USA Rice Producers Group and chairman of the USA Rice Federation.Simmons has been chairman of the board for Simmons Foods since 1987 and was named president in 1974, following the death of his father. The company has grown from a single plant with roughly $20 million in sales and 350 employees to approximately $1.4 billion in sales and nearly 6,000 employees in more than 20 facilities. He was also a founding member of the Northwest Arkansas Council, serves on the board of trustees at John Brown University and is a board member of the Walton Family Charitable Support Trust. 
Wells was a world-renowned expert on rice production, with special emphasis on rice nutrition and soil fertility. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in 1964, he worked for two years as an assistant professor at Murray State University in Kentucky. Wells then spent 16 years at UA’s Rice Research Station in Stuttgart before moving to the Fayetteville campus in 1982. He received numerous education and research awards. Wells passed away on Dec. 22, 1996

Five to be inducted into Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame

Wednesday:Posted at 12:01 AM

By Arkansas News Bureau
LITTLE ROCK - Five people whose leadership and service have brought distinction to the state's largest industry will be inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in March, the Arkansas Farm Bureau said Tuesday.
The newest class of honorees includes forester Allen Bedell of Hot Springs, former state Sen. Neely Cassady of Nashville, rice farmer Gary Sebree of Stuttgart, poultry company executive Mark Simmons of Siloam Springs and the late Bobby Wells, who was a plant breeder.
The five will be honored at the 29th annual Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame induction luncheon March 3 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Little Rock.
Bedell was a longtime forester for Georgia-Pacific in Fordyce and owned two whole-tree chipping operations, Circle B Logging and Quality Stand Density Control. He is a former chairman of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, a past president of the Arkansas Forestry Association and current forestry representative on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture board. He has an undergraduate degree in forestry from Louisiana State University and a master's degree in forest management from Yale.
Cassady took over his father's hatchery at the age of 18. He built and sold two poultry companies that continue today as part of Pilgrim's and Tyson Foods. He was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1982 and served the people of southwest Arkansas for 14 years. He is a former president of the Arkansas Poultry Federation, a former member of the Tyson Foods board of directors and a longtime member of Central Baptist College board of trustees.
Sebree, a third-generation rice farmer, spent 43 years as a farmer representative on the Producers Rice Mill board of directors, 24 of those as chairman. He was on the first Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board and served as chairman of the USA Rice Producers Group and the USA Rice Federation. He attended Hendrix College majoring in chemistry/pre-med, but had to leave due to tuberculosis, leading to his life's work on the farm.
Simmons has been chairman of the board of Simmons Foods since 1987. He first joined the family business in 1968 after graduating from the University of Arkansas. He was named president in 1974, following the death of his father. He was a founding member of the Northwest Arkansas Council, serves on the board of trustees at John Brown University, and is a board member of the Walton Family Charitable Support Trust.
Wells, who died in 1996, was a world-renowned expert on rice production and worked closely with others in the rice cultivation improvement program in Arkansas and adjoining states. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in 1964, he worked for two years as an assistant professor at Murray State University in Kentucky. He then came to UA's Rice Research Station in Stuttgart, where he spent 16 years before moving to the Fayetteville campus in 1982.

Basmati rice stocks rally; LT Foods, KRBL hit 52-week high


Basmati rice stocks gain; Kohinoor Foods, LT Foods up over 5%LT Foods rallies on acquisition of 817 Elephant rice brandLand routes opened for basmati exports to Bangladesh, NepalRice scrips gain as China opens marketHeritage Foods hits record high; stock zooms over 70% in two months.Shares of basmati rice producers rallied by up to 15% on the BSE on back of heavy volumes on expectation of higher realisations despite short-term impact of demonetisation, due to lower production volume and stable global demand.

LT Foods, KRBL, Kohinoor Foods and Chaman Lal Setia Exports were up in the range of 5% to 15% on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), as compared to 0.34% decline in the S&P BSE Sensex at 11:26 pm.According to rating agency ICRA, there has been a steady growth in the domestic market, although demonitisation should adversely impact the demand in the near term.

With regard to the international demand, Q1 FY2017 has reported some improvement, resulting in an increase in export realisations; however, the overall demand scenario has not changed much. The demand in the export market is expected to witness some pickup in the coming months when a majority of the export orders are received.This would help the industry, which is currently reeling under stress, owing to losses suffered in past. There is a likelihood of an increase in realisations in H2 FY2017 and FY2018 and the players holding inventory, which had been bought at low prices, are expected to benefit from this, ICRA said in recent report.

LT Foods, the company engaged in the manufacture and sale of rice under the brand DAAWAT, has rallied 15% to Rs 331, also its 52-week high on BSE in intra-day. The trading volumes on the counter jumped more than 10-fold with a combined 561,135 shares changed hands on the BSE and NSE so far.Chaman Lal Setia Exports (up 11% at Rs 107) and KRBL (6% at Rs 317) too hit their respective 52-week highs, while Kohinoor Foods was up nearly 10% to Rs 80 on the BSE in intra-day trade.