Thursday, February 09, 2017

9th February,2017 daily global,regional global rice e-newsletter by ricpelus magazine

Bad news for India’s basmati rice exports as Iran imposes caps on imports, prices

India’s basmati rice exports to Iran, a major destination for the long-grained aromatic rice from the country, is expected to take a big hit after Tehran put upper limits for import and consumer prices of the cereal.

By: Sandip Das | New Delhi | Published: February 9, 2017 6:14 AM
Description: Iran had been the largest importer of PUSA 1121 variety of basmati rice from India; however, in fiscal 2015-16, India’s exports to Iran almost halved (see chart).
Iran had been the largest importer of PUSA 1121 variety of basmati rice from India; however, in fiscal 2015-16, India’s exports to Iran almost halved (see chart).
India’s basmati rice exports to Iran, a major destination for the long-grained aromatic rice from the country, is expected to take a big hit after Tehran put upper limits for import and consumer prices of the cereal. While India’s recent exports of the rice to the West Asian country cost the importer around $950 per tonne (landed price), the ceiling price imposed is $850 a tonne and the maximum consumer price set is $ 1.15 a kg. Clearly, realisations of Indian exporters will diminish under the price caps.

This is unilateral imposition of a virtual import tariff. Iran government must realise that prices are decided by demand and supply… It is unfair to impose such restrictions,” a leading rice exporter told FE on condition of anonymity.Iran had been the largest importer of PUSA 1121 variety of basmati rice from India; however, in fiscal 2015-16, India’s exports to Iran almost halved (see chart).
Sources said Iran is saddled with excess stocks of basmati rice as FY14 imports of 1.4 million tonnes from India was not exhausted while merchants continued to contract more imports in subsequent years. The high carry-forward stock resulted in shipment to Iran falling to around 900,000 tonnes in the FY15 and further to 700,000 tonnes last fiscal.
Some exporters FE spoke to say that with the ceiling prices, it would not be economically viable to export rice to Iran. Iran consume more than 3 million tonnes of rice annually and a third of this demand is met by imports.
A 20-member Indian trade delegation comprising exporters and commerce ministry officials visited Iran between January 28 and 30 with a view to promoting exports. The delegation visited various Iranian departments including Food and Drug Organization, Government Trading Corporation and Trade Promotion Organization, Iran Chamber of Commerce and Rice Importers Association.
Iran had imposed a ban on rice imports during harvest season between July and November last year. “Domestic supply does not suffice to meet demand. We need imports, but imports that are limited and controlled,” Iran’s agriculture minister Mahmoud Hojjati had stated in November last year.
Rice shipments to Iran had got a boost when India launched a rupee settlement mechanism from April 2012 with Iran to avoid sanctions from the US and EU. As part of the initiative, state-owned UCO Bank tied up with Iranian lenders — Parsian, Pasargad, Saman and EN Banks — for settlements of dues. Iran and India also had agreed to have referral labs in India for testing rice consignments rejected by Tehran because of presence of pesticide residue.

Myanmar earns over US$300 million from rice export in 1st 10 months of FY

Myanmar exported over 1.2 million tons of rice in nearly 10 months of the current fiscal year 2016-17 as of January, earning 376 million U.S. dollars, according to the figures of Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar Wednesday.Of the rice export, 68 percent or 800,000 tons were done through border trade, while over 400,000 tons were sold through normal trade.

About 80 percent of the country’s rice export went to China mostly through border trade. Other exporting countries and regions are Indonesia, Singapore, European Union, Africa, Russia and Brazil.Meanwhile, Pakistan and the Philippines have proposed to Myanmar to purchase the country’s rice under government-to-government system, while negotiations are underway to boost rice export to Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

The country exported 767,753 tons of rice in the last fiscal year 2015-2016

PH to maintain QR on imported rice for 2 more years

 Wednesday, February 08, 2017 THE Philippine government will retain for two more years the quantitative restriction (QR) for imported rice, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Wednesday. Piñol said his office has also decided not to endorse the proposed amendment of the Tariff Code to lift the QR on rice and would instead endorse the extension of Executive Order No. 190 that imposed tariff rates for imported agricultural products, rice among them. This was despite the coming deadline for the Philippines to lift the QR on rice as part of its commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The DA chief expressed belief it would be impossible to implement the lifting of QR on rice unless Congress passes the bill amending the Tariff Code. “The DA holds on to its original position that was developed after a nationwide consultation that Filipino rice farmers should be given another two years to prepare them for the eventual entry of imported rice,” Piñol said. “We believe that our rice farmers are not yet ready, through no fault of theirs, to compete with imported rice,” he added.
Under its commitments to the WTO, the Philippines was supposed to lift the QR on rice years ago but the Philippine government negotiated an extension of its lifting to June 30 this year. Piñol said the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte, even if it wanted the lifting of the QR extended by another two years, could not do so anymore because of lack of material time. “It took the government two years to negotiate the current extension, which would last until June 30 this year,” Piñol noted. Instead, he said, the DA is counting on the reluctance of congressmen and senators to pass a new law amending the Tariff Code to implement the lifting of the QR on imported rice.
 “Even if the QR will be lifted by June 30, 2017, there will not be unregulated importation of rice without the implementation of the amendment to the Tariff Code,” the DA Secretary explained. If this happens, he noted, the Philippine government would have to inform the WTO that it has no option but to follow the democratic process and await Congress’ action on bills amending the Tariff Code. “We believe it will be a status quo (on the QR on rice) …. until the Tariff Code is amended,” Piñol said. "You cannot shortcut the democratic processes, these (chambers of Congress) are constitutional bodies, you cannot dictate on Congress to amend the Tariff Code if they do not want to (do so),” he added. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)

Rice yield to rise this year: USDA

Bangladesh's total rice acreage and production may rise in the year 2016-17 on increased aman harvest and prospect of higher boro plantation and yield, US Department of Agriculture said yesterday.The agency raised its forecast on rice production by 80,000 tonnes to 34.58 million tonnes from aus, aman and boro harvest this year.Total rice acreage has been projected to rise to 11.76 million hectares, up from 11.68 million hectares forecasted in October last year.
“Although aus rice area was affected by floods and rains, sources report that timely rainfall, favourable weather, and effective distribution of inputs such as fertiliser may make this an abundant aman rice harvest this season,” the USDA said in its latest Global Agricultural Information Network Report on Bangladesh.It said boro rice plantation is on schedule as forecast.The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of the government targets to ensure rice plantation on 4.8 million hectares to bag 19.15 million tonnes of rice this season.
The target for total rice production has been fixed at 34.98 million tonnes for fiscal 2016-17.
Aus output declined 7 percent to 2.14 million tonnes in the current fiscal year due to a fall in acreage, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.Though data on aman, the second biggest crop after boro, is yet to be finalised, millers and agriculture workers said farmers recorded a good aman harvest. Rice area rose 2 percent year-on-year to 5.69 million hectares during the aman season, according to preliminary data of the DAE.
During the current boro season, farmers prepared seedbeds in an area that is much higher than the DAE's target.Until February 6, rice has been planted on 3.5 million hectares against the target of 4.8 million hectares for the ongoing season, said a senior official of the DAE.The USDA kept wheat production prediction unchanged at 1.35 million tonnes for the current cultivation season.
The agency, however, raised Bangladesh's wheat import estimate by 6 percent to 5 million tonnes. It said import forecast has been increased on higher demand and lower world prices of the grain.The USDA also lowered rice import forecast to 50,000 tonnes for increased tariff on import from the beginning of this fiscal year.

Rice Sowing In Rabi Season Down By 11% This Year

8 February 2017 03:55 PM 
Description: Rice
Rice prices have soared around 28% since November 2016 till January end in many states of North India on account of low rabi sowing. As per reports, this year rice sowing has also declined by more than 11% than the same time last year.As of February 3, rice has been sown in an area of 25.64 lakh hectares as compared to 29.03 lakh hectares the same time last year. The average area for the season is around 43.58 lakh hectares in the country.

As per reports, Iran has reduced rice import from 40% to 26%. This in turn, is expected to boost basmati ex
port to Iran from India in the current season.
After hitting a record $4.88 billion in 2013-14, India’s basmati export earnings were on a declining trend over the past three years. Both in terms of low prices and purchases by Iran, which is its largest buyer.To increase the domestic production of 2 million tons, Iran imports about 1 million tons of rice every year, out of which about 7 lakh tons is exported from India.
However, purchase by Iran has been on a steady decline in the past three years. From a high of 14.40 lakh tons in 2013-14, it dropped to 9.36 lakh tons in 2014-15 and came down even more to 6.95 lakh ton in 2015-16.
The quality of Kharif crops is also low due to moisture. Moreover, as few months are still left for fresh Rabi crops, prices are expected to rise further.
So far the weather remained favorable for Rabi rice-growing states. Rabi rice contribution to total production is just 15% and rest 85% comes from Kharif crops.In such scenario, it’s hard to say that Rabi Rice will affect the price rise or not.

Carbon credits can be a win-win for rice farmers: Part II

Savings from water conservation efforts could pay off for Arkansas rice farmers in more ways than one.
Jim Whitaker says he’s using about 50 percent less water to irrigate his rice than he was a few years ago.Not all of the reduction is due to his involvement in the carbon credit market, but it’s part of the package of sustainability he and three other Arkansas farmers are bringing to their operations in the Arkansas Rice Belt.
Whitaker, who switched to zero-grade, continuous rice several years ago; Mike Sullivan, Burdette, Ark.; and Mark Isbell, North Little Rock, Ark., talked about their experience with carbon credits at the Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting in Stuttgart, Ark
Japan Foodservice Industry Sold on Calrose 
 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Over the past half year, the Japanese foodservice industry has rediscovered U.S. Calrose rice and initiated steps to evaluate its use in traditional Japanese cuisine.  Last fall a sample of Calrose as vinegar-seasoned rice for sushi was tested and found to be readily acceptable for use in sushi sold in supermarkets, convenience stores and in rotating sushi bars, called Kaitenzushi.  

In another test last month, the Japan Cooked Rice Association, an organization consisting of companies supplying cooked rice for ready-made meals and foodservice, tested Calrose at their own initiative.  USA Rice facilitated the supply of rice for the latest test from the 2016 crop where Calrose was compared to Haenuki, the Japanese origin rice most often used for sushi in foodservice.   The Association determined that Calrose was on par with the Japanese variety favored in foodservice and also comparable to local varieties Koshihikari (Ibaraki Prefecture) and Kirara 397 (Hokkaido) often used in "B branded," or lower priced, rice favored by the foodservice industry and ready-made meal manufacturers.
Nikkei Business Online reported recently on both tests, noting that a blanket conclusion that Japanese rice is superior in all categories of use including in sushi is not supported by the results.
"Currently Calrose is very competitive with local rice as those prices have risen lately while Calrose prices have declined," said USA Rice Vice President International Hugh Maginnis.  "Rice importers and the foodservice sector are optimistic that this trend bodes well for imports of Calrose this year under the Simultaneous Buy-Sell, or SBS, import regime.  USA Rice plans to capitalize on the favorable test results and increased competitiveness of Calrose by engaging even more with the foodservice industry and promoting the quality and versatility of U.S. Calrose rice borne out by these test results."

Sri Lanka rice market MRPs come into force
Wed, Feb 8, 2017, 09:04 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Description: 08, Colombo: Sri Lanka's consumer protection agency, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) today issued Maximum Retail Price (MRP) order for three varieties of rice to arrest escalating prices in the domestic rice market while the minister in-charge issued a stern warning to errant traders across the country.The MRP order is effective February 8th - the same date as issued-and was sent to the Government Printer to be gazetted on the same day, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.
"The CAA will act on errant traders who sell at higher prices," said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen during his meeting with top officials of CAA on Tuesday.
"The MRPs announced by Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) have to be followed. The CAA will act on errant traders who sell at higher prices. We are also working with the Customs to obtain details of rice importers and imported volumes," said Minister Bathiudeen.
He added that the CAA will set up a team of officials to investigate as to whether these imported rice quantities have been released to the market.
"Importers who hoard rice stocks will be considered errant and legal measures will be taken against them," the Minister warned.
Another team of investigators will be set up to investigate and monitor rice quantities milled by the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB).
The order No 41 dated February 8, comes into effect on the same day and is issued by CAA Chairman Hasitha Thilakeratne under Consumer Affairs Authority Act No 9 of 2003s section 20(5). The new rice prices will be effective on both local and imported rice varieties.
According to the order, MRPs for Nadu, Raw Rice, and Samba will become effective from 8 February. Accordingly, MRP of a kilo of Nadu rice is Rs 72, a kilo of Raw rice is Rs 70, and a kilo of Samba (excluding Keeri Samba and Suduru Samba) is Rs 80.
Consumers are invited to alert and complain to CAA about errant traders on hotline 1977 or even CAA direct line 117755481-3

Common method of cooking rice can leave traces of arsenic in food, scientists warn

Experiments suggest normal method for cooking rice can expose consumers to range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and cancer
Description: rice.jpgScientists warn that the usual method of cooking rice — simply boiling it in a pan with some water — can expose those who eat it to traces of the poison arsenic JMacPherson/Flickr
Millions of people are putting themselves at risk by cooking their rice incorrectly, scientists have warned.Recent experiments show a common method of cooking rice — simply boiling it in a pan until the water has steamed out — can expose those who eat it to traces of the poison arsenic, which contaminates rice while it is growing as a result of industrial toxins and pesticides.
The chemical has been linked to a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as development problems.

High levels of arsenic in rice: why isn't it regulated in our food?

While it is generally believed traces of arsenic are expelled when the rice is cooked, it has now been claimed this only takes place when the rice is soaked overnight.
Andy Meharg, professor of biological sciences at Queens University Belfast, tested three ways of cooking rice for the BBC programme 'Trust Me, I’m a Doctor', to see whether it altered the levels of arsenic.
In the first method, Professor Meharg used a ratio of two parts water to one part rice, where the water was “steamed out” during cooking — a method commonly used.
He found this left most of the arsenic present.By contrast, when the he used five parts water to one part rice and washed the excess water off, levels of arsenic were almost halved, while in the third method, in which the rice was soaked overnight,  levels of the toxin were reduced by 80 per cent.
The safest method of cooking rice is therefore to soak it overnight, then wash and rinse it until the water is clear, before draining it well and boiling in a saucepan, with a ratio of five parts water to one part rice.
According to research from Channel 4’s Dispatches and the Institute for Global Food Security, around 58 per cent of rice-based products in the UK contain high levels of arsenic


By Cici Zhang Yesterday at 11:00pm
Description: quinoa

Quinoa field in Salar de Uyuna, Bolivia

A striking sea of red and yellow.Hailed as the King of grains, quinoa doesn’t need more hype to cement its position as a superfood in the American supermarket. But now scientists have a hold of quinoa’s real identity—and what underlies the grain’s nutritious profile —thanks to its newly-sequenced genome.“There are a lot of things that can be done to improve quinoa. And understanding the genome of it is the first step,” says Mark Tester, the leader of an international team that just published the first genome sequence of quinoa in Nature.

Tester, a plant scientist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, originally started studying quinoa to investigate the grain’s salt tolerance. “Quinoa is an amazing plant. It could grow beautifully in very difficult environments, like the Middle East [or] Northern Sahara, where you have salty soil and salty irrigation water,” says Tester. He and his colleagues planned to figure out how quinoa tolerates the salt, then transfer that tolerance to other crops like rice and barley so they too can thrive in less desirable soils.
Quinoa is different from rice and barley. It is still mainly grown by hand in South America. It serves as a staple crop for nearly a million people, but modern agriculture has not yet touched quinoa fields in the highlands of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. The appearance of the quinoa plant reflects that: the grain grows tall and fragile.

Recognizing quinoa’s potential to provide food in marginal lands, Tester hopes to change those traits—making quinoa shorter and more compact—so it’s easier to grow on large modern farms. “[The goal is to] move this crop from its current status as a crop of importance in South America, and a crop of novelty in the West, to become a true commodity in the world,” says Tester.
In other words, he says, “I want it out of the health food section.”To improve quinoa and achieve that goal, Tester needed to sequence the quinoa genome. Having a genome sequence—the complete assortment of genes that make up an organism—will provide scientists with a basic blueprint for future breeding efforts, just like researchers did with rice in 2005.In collaboration with scientists from the United States, Germany and Australia, the team produced high-quality genome sequences of different quinoa varieties.

“The assembly is very good. It's right up there with the standards of other major commodity genomes that have been published before in Nature and other journals,” says Joshua Udall, a plant and wildlife scientist at Brigham Young University. “It will be a good resource for quinoa workers and also the scientific community in general.”

In addition to sequencing quinoa’s genome, the authors also pinpointed the evolutionary history of quinoa. “[The authors] resolved the mystery to a certain extent,” says plant evolutionary genomicist Jonathan Wendel from Iowa State University. “They shed light on who the best models are of the parents, and how long ago those parents hybridized to give rise to what nowadays is the modern quinoa plant. It will serve as a reference for everybody’s work from now on.”

There are many potential agricultural applications for the new research. The study authors have already identified one gene that they believe makes quinoa bitter by prompting the production of a chemical called saponin.On small farms, saponin could be used to naturally reduce predation from birds. But saponin is not only bitter. It’s also toxic, and removing it requires a lot of work and water. So for the “net benefit of the environment,” says Tester, breeders might want to grow quinoa with low saponin. But first, more work is needed to confirm that they've found the right gene to tinker with. Traditionally, such studies have been hard to fund.

“Most of the countries that use quinoa for [food] don't have the scientific infrastructure to make any improvement in the genetics of quinoa. But in the US, it's not a commodity crop, or even an orphan crop, so many of the federal agencies really have no interest in funding it,” says Udall. “Understandably so, as science funding is in short supply for every plant or crop.”
“I was really excited about [quinoa], and it has many unique properties. But it's hard to keep our research program going because of the lack of domestic attention,” says Udall. “That might be changing now with this Nature article.”

Udall believes that “a lot of breeding and a lot of improvements can happen as modern agriculture uses [quinoa] in places that have great soil.” It’s just that “some adaptation has to happen before quinoa can be widely grown throughout the world.”So Tester’s plan to bring quinoa out of the health food section is not a long shot. “I’d like to see quinoa changed into a crop that can be grown much more widely and become much cheaper,” Tester says. “I want the price to come down by a factor of five.

Carbon credits: Profit opportunities for rice farmers?

Trio of Arkansas farmers looking at carbon credits as a possible profit opportunity for rice producers.
Of all the crops grown in the United States these days rice has some of the highest costs and, perhaps, the least potential for higher prices, according to the market analysts who follow the crop.
Mark Isbell, a producer who lives in North Little Rock, Ark., and farms near Lonoke, Ark., says that means rice farmers have to look for ways to become more efficient and to find new profit opportunities when they present themselves.
He and two other rice growers – Jim Whitaker, McGehee, Ark., and Mike Sullivan, Burdette, Ark. – he’s working with don’t know for sure if carbon credits are one of those opportunities yet, but they’re working to find out.
The three farmers participated in a panel discussion on carbon credits during a session of the joint meeting of the Arkansas Rice Council and the Arkansas Rice Farmers at the Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart, Ark

Piñol : Govt still wants quantitative restriction on rice imports extended for 2 more years

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday said the government will maintain its position to retain for two more years the quantitative restriction (QR) for imported rice.
Description: MB FILE
DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Department has decided not to endorse the proposed amendment of the Tariff Code to lift the QR on rice and would instead endorse the extension of Executive Order 190 that imposes tariff rates for imported agricultural products, rice among them.
He said despite the coming deadline for the Philippines to lift the QR on rice, he believes it would be impossible to implement this unless the two chambers of Congress pass the bills amending the Tariff Code.
“We believe that our rice farmers are not yet ready, though no fault of theirs, to compete with imported rice,” he added.
Under its commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Philippines is supposed to lift the QR on rice years ago but the Philippine government negotiated an extension for its lifting to June 30 this year.
Piñol said the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte, even if it wanted the lifting of the QR extended by another two years, could not do so anymore because of lack of material time.“It took the government two years to negotiate the current extension, which would last until June 30 this year,” Piñol pointed out

Higher prices may lift basmati exports to last year’s levels

The recent uptrend in basmati prices on expectations that Iran would resume rice imports may help India sustain export earnings from the long-grain aromatic cereal for the current financial year at last year’s levels.Basmati shipments in the current financial year, so far, have been sluggish due to the curbs on rice imports imposed by Iran, a large buyer.
“There is a pick-up in price and also volumes. We may be able to catch up with last year’s levels in value terms,” said AK Gupta, Director, Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF), under the Agricultural & Processed Foods Export Development Authority (Apeda).
Overall volumes were likely to be marginally lower than last year. “We may see a drop of about 1 lakh tonnes, 2-3 per cent lower than last year’s 40 lakh tonnes,” Gupta told BusinessLine. Basmati prices in the international market have risen by around $100 per tonne to $800 in the recent past. The price rise will help in reviving exports, he added.
Though Iran has announced its intent to open up its market for the overseas rice, it is not clear as to when the country will start issuing permits. Iran has a temporary ban on rice imports mainly from end-July to early January next year in order to protect domestic paddy growers. Recently, a trade delegation led by the Apeda Chairman visited Iran to promote Indian rice exports.
Rice exporters are also hopeful of a rebound. “We may be able to achieve more or less the same as last year,” said Rajen Sundaresan, Executive Director of the All India Rice Exporters Association.
After touching a record $4.88 billion or 29,299 crore in 2013-14, Indias basmati export earnings were on a downtrend over the past three years on a decline in prices and lower purchases by Iran, a large buyer. To supplement domestic production of about 2 million tonnes, Iran imports about 1 million tonnes of rice every year out of which about 7 lakh tonnes (lt) is exported from India.Purchases by Iran have been on a steady decline in the past three years. From an all-time high of 14.40 lt in 2013-14, exports to Iran dropped to 9.36 lt in 2014-15 and came down further to 6.95 lt in 2015-16.
Shipments to the UAE have grown from 1.48 lt in 2013-14 to 2.79 lt in 2014-15, rising sharply to 6.12 lt in 2015-16. Exports to Iraq have also doubled to around 4.18 lt in 2015-16 from 2013-14

Salt-tolerant paddy brings hope to farmers

FEBRUARY 09, 2017 00:00 IST
UPDATED: FEBRUARY 09, 2017 04:13 IST
Scientists at the Rice Research Station of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) at Vyttila have successfully completed the first phase of field trials of a new variety of paddy tolerant to salinity intrusion, a major challenge faced by lowland farmers in Kerala.
The new variety was engineered in 2015 by introducing genes tolerant to salinity and iron toxicity into Jyothi, the most popular rice variety in the State, known for its superior grain quality. The scientists used the introgressive hybridisation technique to move the saltwater tolerant gene, Saltol QTL, from Pokkali rice to the gene pool of Jyothi.
“Results of large area trials have shown that the Saltol introgressed variety is as good as Jyothi in terms of yield. The tests have confirmed the possibility of cultivating the introgressed Jyothi lines in saline areas,” says K.S.Shylaraj, Professor and Head, RRS, Vyttila.
The KAU launched the intensive molecular breeding programme in 2008 for the development of stress-tolerant rice varieties for less favourable environments.
The programme involves the introgressive hybridisation of three paddy varieties, namely Jyothi, Uma and Jaya, to make them tolerant to both salinity and submergence. For submergence tolerance, the researchers introgressed the Sub 1 gene, characteristic of the FR-13A rice in Odisha, to build resilience to flash floods up to two weeks.
KAU Vice Chancellor P.Rajendran said the new rice varieties would help boost productivity and arrest crop loss due to salinity intrusion and floods. “Farmers in Kaipad, Kuttanad and Kole tracts will be benefited,” he said.
Introgressive hybridisation is the technique of transferring a gene from one species into the gene pool of another by the repeated backcrossing of a hybrid with one of its parent species