Monday, January 16, 2017

16th January,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by ricpelus magazine

FPCCI concerned over non-inclusion of horticulture, rice sector

PM’s exports package

Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI -  Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Executive Committee Members Fehmida Jamali, Abdul Rahim Janoo and Mian Usman Zulfiqar on Friday showed displeasure that Commerce Ministry and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) CEO once again ignored Horticulture and Rice Sector in the PM’s exports incentive package.
They said, “We must not forget that exports of the country have decreased except fruits and vegetables' export, mainly due to efforts of horticulture exporters”.
As fruits and vegetables have helped increase the country's exports by 10 percent, adding that the said exports could reach $7 billion, if special incentives given to this sector, they added. Despite the verbal assurances were given by the government on this issue, but the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved the same incentive package without any revision, they added. Similarly, just after one day of the announcement of the package, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) wrote a letter to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, asking him to include the horticulture sector in the Rs180 billion package. “We can immediately raise Pakistan’s horticulture exports to $1 billion if we get support of the government,” said PFVA Chairman Abdul Malik in the letter. The letter said the government should provide 5 percent incentive on freight-on-board (FOB) value and a three-year holiday from the 1.25 percent tax including withholding tax (WHT) and Export Development Fund (EDF).
FPCCI Vice President Riaz Khattak argued that internationally horticulture sector has been gaining importance since last two decades in world trade.  The fact is that in recent years, developing countries have created a space for themselves in this market. But they are not able to move beyond four to five percent of the world trade and in comparison Pakistan's share is just 0.3 percent. “However it may recall here under Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2015-18, the commerce ministry has identified four areas and horticulture is one of them but no incentive was announced in the package”, he remarked.
He said despite the offer of incentives to textile exporters in the package, the performance of “inept export managers” and CEO of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was visible.
The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan CEO should decide first whether he was interested in Chambers of Commerce or in its official position, he questioned. Khattak also pointed out that India had used protectionist policies very effectively and now its exports were worth nearly $300 billion.


B.R. Wells inducted to Agriculture Hall of Fame

 Top of Form
The late Bobby R. Wells, a world-renowned rice expert and University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture researcher, will be among five individuals inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in March.The induction recognizes service and leadership that have brought distinction to Arkansas’ largest business sector.In addition to Wells, the new Hall of Fame class includes forester Allen Bedell of Hot Springs, former state Sen. Neely Cassady of Nashville, rice farmer Gary Sebree of Stuttgart, and poultry company executive Mark Simmons of Siloam Springs.
The group will be honored at the 29th annual induction luncheon at 11:30 a.m., March 3 at Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel.“What a great cross-section of Arkansas agriculture to be selected for the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame,” said Butch Calhoun of Des Arc, chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame committee and former Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “The collective impact of these five are felt in every part of our state.
“I have said this before, and it bears repeating; agriculture is one of the great success stories of our state. What a privilege to see these great advocates of agriculture be recognized.”
The new selections will bring to 158 the number of honorees inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.Wells was internationally respected for his expertise in rice production, with emphasis on rice nutrition and soil fertility. He joined the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in 1966 and spent his first 16 years with the division at the Rice Research and Extension Center near Stuttgart.
In 1982 Wells moved to the division’s department of agronomy at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to continue his research and teaching. He was promoted to University Professor and appointed department head in 1993.Wells was a highly regarded professor and a mentor to many graduate students. He developed an upper-level class in rice production and taught it for many years.
Wells was very active in collaborative, interdisciplinary research. He worked with the Rice Technical Working Group and served as its chairman and secretary. He edited the division’s Arkansas Rice Research Studies journal from its inception in 1991 until his death in 1996. That year, the publication was named in his memory.
Bedell was a long-time forester for Georgia-Pacific in Fordyce and also owned two 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 and currently serves as the forestry representative on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture board. Bedell helped start the Log a Load For Kids program, an annual campaign that raises money for patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which has raised more than $8 million from Arkansas loggers. He also was one of the founding organizers of the Arkansas Timber Producers Association.
Cassady was a driving force for the poultry industry in southwest Arkansas, taking over his father’s hatchery at the age of 18 and expanding it into a vertically integrated poultry company. He built and sold two such 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, where he was a staunch advocate for agricultural issues. Cassady was president of the Arkansas Poultry Federation (1973-74), on the Tyson Foods board of directors (1974-2001), and 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 (1990- 2014), a time of phenomenal growth for Producers and the Arkansas rice industry. A farmer-owned cooperative, Producers grew from 956 members in 1971 when Sebree first joined the board, to a high of 2,637 members in 2013. During that span, member receipts increased more than tenfold, from 6.2 million bushels in 1971 to 65.5 million bushels in 2011, while sales grew from $17.5 million in 1971 to a high of $568.5 million in 2013. He was on the first Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board (1979-86), chairman of the USA Rice Producers Group (2000-2002) and chairman of the USA Rice Federation (2002-2004).
Simmons has been chairman of the board for 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. Under his direction, Simmons Foods has grown into one of the nation’s largest privately held broiler-processing companies and the largest private-label wet pet food manufacturer in North American. The company has grown from a single plant with roughly $20 million in sales and 350 employees in 1974 to approximately $1.4 billion in sales and nearly 6,000 employees in more than 20 facilities across North America. Simmons 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

January 14, 2017

TEHRAN: Pakistan and Iran agreed to boost their mutual cooperation in air aviation industry and transportation by establishing direct flights between Tehran and Islamabad. The issue was raised in a meeting between Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoust and senior Pakistani aviation officials in Islamabad Friday. Honardoust said in the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on implementation of agreements and starting direct flights between Tehran and Islamabad by June. “Iran is a big market and Pakistani goods have a good reputation there. There is a big demand of Pakistani basmati rice in Iran,” the Iranian ambassador said during the meeting. He reiterated that Pakistan and Iran have cultural, historic, linguistic and religious commonalities. 
“There are tremendous opportunities to improve the trade relations between the two countries; sanctions have now been lifted by the world powers and Pakistan can capitalise on lucrative incentives offered by Iranian government in sectors like energy, pharmaceutical, auto and information technology,” Honardoust added. 
In relevant remarks in late December, Pakistani ambassador to Iran Asif Khan Durrani called for the broadening of trade ties between Islamabad and Tehran. 
“There is a tremendous scope to strengthen trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Iran,” Durrani said during a visit to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Pakistani envoy in Tehran was in Pakistan to explain huge trade potentials in Iran for Pakistani businessmen. Durrani pointed to the hurdles in trade between Iran and Pakistan, and said, “the unavailability of banking channel is one of the biggest reasons of limited trade between the two countries; through exploiting trade and investment opportunities, mutual trade volume could easily touch new heights”. 
Durrani invited the Pakistani businessmen to participate in the ‘Aleeshan Pakistan’ exhibition slated for March 4-7 in Tehran, adding that it would provide an opportunity to establish new contacts with their Iranian counterparts, which is essential to boost two-way trade.The Iranian president and Pakistani prime minister have already agreed to boost trade volume to $5 billion

Direct Flight between Iran, Pakistan to Be Launched Soon: Envoy

News ID: 1296401 Service: Economy
January, 14, 2017 - 18:44

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Ambassador to Islamabad Mehdi Honardoost said Iran and Pakistan have agreed to establish direct flights between the two nations in the near future.

Pakistan and Iran agreed to boost their cooperation in the aviation industry and transportation by establishing a direct flight route between Tehran and Islamabad, Honardoost said on Friday during a meeting with Pakistani aviation officials, The News reported. “Iran is a big market and Pakistani goods have a good reputation there. There is a big demand of Pakistani basmati rice in Iran,” he further said.
“There are tremendous opportunities to improve the trade relations between the two countries; sanctions have now been lifted by the world powers and Pakistan can capitalize on lucrative incentives offered by the Iranian government in sectors like energy, pharmaceutical, auto and information technology,” Honardoost added.
Back in March, high-ranking officials from Iran and Pakistan signed six memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various areas, including health, commerce, security and foreign services.
The documents were signed in a ceremony in Islamabad on March 26, attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

AG exposes huge rice import scandal as Govt. prepares to import more

By Chandani Kirinde

The Auditor General who looked into the import of 257,000 metric tonnes of rice in 2014/2015 says bad practices that included disregard for government tender procedures had resulted in the loss of more than Rs. 15 billion.
Losses continue to accumulate to date due to non-payment of loans taken for the imports and demurrage costs for stocks that remain in privately owned container yards, the AG adds.
The AG, who undertook the inquiry at the request of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), released the report as the Government gets ready to import new stocks of rice to preempt a possible shortage this year.The stocks of rice were imported by Lanka Sathosa at a cost of around Rs. 27 billion during 2014/2015 but only around Rs. 11.8 billion was recovered from sales thus incurring a loss of more than Rs. 15.1 billion, the AG says.
The imports were made after a Cabinet memorandum was presented by the then Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando in July 2014, citing the need for “maintaining a buffer stock for food security and stabilising the price of rice in the market”.
Lanka Sathosa had obtained loans totalling more than 14 billion from the Bank of Ceylon and the People’ Bank for the Letters of Credit to import the rice but of this amount more than Rs. 8.9 billion remained unpaid till December last year with penalty interest as at November 21 last year amounting to Rs. 7. 9 million.
Even after the change of government, the new Commerce Minister Rishard Bathuideen in February had given instructions for the revision of the two Letters of Credit which were due to expire that month to import Samba rice for the balance value of the Letters of Credit.The AG says 23,751 metric tonnes of rice still remain in stores and private yards and hence the rent of stores, demurrage on rice containers, transport charges and labour charges will add to the losses.
The AG notes that though initially concessionary 60 days had been allowed without payment of demurrage, Lanka Sathosa had not taken action to get the containers released expeditiously.Between four and ten months had been taken to clear the major portion of the stocks. Random checks carried out by the Audit officials had revealed large stocks of rice had perished due to water seeping in to the containers. The stocks were infested with worms or insects and giving a putrid smell.
According to the information furnished to the AG by the Senior Accountant at Lanka Sathosa, by November 2016, ground rent amounting to Rs. 15.6 million had been paid to respective Container Yards while another 54 containers remained in yards till the end of last year.The rice had been imported from India and Bangladesh but the AG says there was no evidence to show if a market study was carried out to select the variety of rice to be imported as large amount of the imported stocks had to be sold as animal feed due to the lack of demand for them in the local market for this rice.
In addition to these imports, Lanka Sathosa had bought about 18,000 metric tonnes of imported rice from the local market to the value of around Rs. 1.1billion between April and December 2014 without following procurement procedures.No formal contract had been signed with suppliers even though government procurement guidelines stipulate that a formal contract should be signed for any supply of goods or services exceeding Rs. 500,000.
Rice had been bought from the suppliers at different prices as the 14 suppliers had been selected without following a procurement procedure.The AG notes that there is a need for a major revamp of the rice import process with the strict following of government procurement guidelines and the need for equal and maximum opportunity for eligible interested parties to participate in the process.The AG also says there should be annual registration of eligible suppliers while purchases in emergency situation should be made by inviting quotations from those suppliers.
The matter is now under probe by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (Investigation of Serious Frauds, Corruption and Misuse of Public Property, Privileges, Power and Authority) and the Financial Crimes Investigation Division


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Mexican chain buys big load of Thai rice

January 16, 2017 01:00 

THE COSTCO-MEXICO superstore has imported 112 tonnes of Thai rice for distribution to its 32 branches in 18 Mexican states.

The move is part of a coordination between the Thai Trade Centre in Mexico and Otis McAllister Co Ltd – a US-based importer of Thai rice – to promote the product and expand its presence in Central America market through their distribution channels in the US.
According to the Thai Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn, Costco is also willing to join the Thai Trade Centre to organise marketing campaigns for Thai rice to expand its market share in Mexico.
Malee Choklumlerd, the Department of International Trade Promotion’s director-general, said that the ministry had positioned Mexico as the base to distribute Thai rice in Central America, especially Panama and Cuba. 
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Malee said that Panama did not have a sufficient rice supply to serve local demand. Recently the Panama government increased rice imports to 67,000 tonnes, which is expected to climb to 135,000 tonnes soon.
Cuba, with 11 million people, is another potential market for Thai rice. However the export of Thai rice to Cuba needs to be done by authorised importers in the island nation.
In 2015 Thailand exported 16,167 tonnes of rice worth US$6.6 million (Bt234 million) to Mexico, while Mexico imported 781,000 tonnes of rice worth $273 million from the US. The Thai Trade Centre in Mexico has invited rice importers from Mexico, Panama, and Cuba to visit the Thaifex – World of Food Asia event in Thailand.
Last week the Hong Kong chain 759 Store imported the first lot of Thai hom mali rice and other types of Thai rice totalling of 136 tonnes from Siam Diamond Export Thailand as part of their memorandum of understanding signed last November. 
Under the MoU the Hong Kong superstore will import 10,000 tonnes of rice from Siam Diamond. The deal reflects the Department of International Trade Promotion’s attempt to promote the Thai rice in Hong Kong

Rice Conference Coming to Civic Center

Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2017 6:00 am

The Rice Belt Production Conference comes to the El Campo Civic Center Wednesday offering producers information and local businesses exposure.“They expect about 500 people and that involves people from outside of EC coming into town for the day and being exposed to our Civic Center and the city overall,” City Manager Mindi Snyder said. “(That) should have an impact on any vendors that they might do business with while here or return to do business with.”

Lalu fans arrive with curd, beaten rice

Amit Bhelari

RJD chief Lalu Prasad's supporters made a beeline outside his 10 Circular Road residence on Friday to supply curd, beaten rice, tilkut and other items for Makar Sankranti on Saturday.Lalu is set to host a grand feast that thousands are expected to attend. An added attraction for the family is the arrival on Friday of Lalu's eldest daughter Misa Bharti. "This is my first visit after my baby was born," Misa said at Patna airport, her husband Shailesh Kumar in tow."Some 20,000 people are expected to visit tomorrow. Laluji is personally monitoring the arrangements," said Lalu's close aide Bhola Yadav. Lalu usually organises a two-day feast.

Sources said the RJD chief does not need to purchase anything; his supporters provide everything. Surendra Prasad Yadav, RJD MLA from Belaganj in Gaya, supplied more than two quintals of beaten rice, curd and tilkut. Similarly, Pirpainti MLA Ram Vilas Paswan supplied more than a quintal of Basmati beaten rice. Already 50 quintals of beaten rice, 20 quintals of curd, 5 quintals of jaggery powder, 10 quintals of tilkut and 40 quintals of vegetables have arrived. Vegetables like potato, peas, pumpkin and cauliflower have arrived from supporters in Chhapra.Madhusudan Raut, a Lalu fan from his native place of Phulwaria in Gopalganj, has brought 5kg of beaten rice, 3kg of curd and 2kg of jaggery.Sant Kumar Choudhary and Shiv Ji Rai have come from Raghopur - Lalu's younger son Tejashwi Yadav's constituency - carrying curd, beaten rice and jaggery.Others have provided mineral water, chairs and tents