Wednesday, March 08, 2017

8th March,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Envoy encourages Canadian companies to invest in Pakistan


Published: March 7, 2017
OTTAWA: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Canada Tariq Azim Khan has invited Canadian companies to cash in on the investment opportunities emerging in Pakistan as a consequence of economic boom and demographic dividends.
“As Pakistan is on the threshold of economic boom, there is a huge potential for Canadian firms to capitalise on the growth that has led to a huge demand for consumer goods,” he said in a meeting with Manitoba Chamber of Commerce President Chuck Davidson.
Highlighting Pakistan’s economic achievements over the past few years, he said gross domestic product (GDP) growth before 2013 stood at 3%, but now the country was expected to achieve 5.5% growth in the current fiscal year.
He emphasised that the economy was set to grow over 8% between 2018 and 2025 with inflation rate in single digit. In 2016, Pakistan Stock Exchange was the best-performing bourse in Asia and its benchmark index had risen from 18,000 to 50,000 points in just three years.
Chinese investment in a gigantic economic corridor and a booming middle class in Pakistan have instilled confidence in foreign investors. “Ongoing infrastructure and energy projects under CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) will usher in a new era of prosperity and development in the region,” he said.
The high commissioner pointed out that trade between Pakistan and Manitoba province of Canada had risen almost 100% over the past two years, but still a huge potential existed for enhancing commerce between the two sides. He said textile products including bed linen, sports goods, surgical instruments, Basmati rice, leather products and mangoes of Pakistan were of best quality.
He asked the chamber president to form a delegation of investors for a trip to Pakistan in order to explore investment opportunities, meet Pakistani counterparts and forge linkages.
Davidson explained that cultural diversity in Manitoba due to immigration boom over the past few years had brought positive developments in the economy of the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2017

Canadian investors urged to explore Pakistan

Description: Canadian investors urged to explore Pakistan
KARACHI: Pakistan has invited Canadian companies to benefit from the investment opportunities unfolding in the country following game-changing economic development and rising demographic dividend, a statement said on Monday.
"As Pakistan is on a threshold of economic boom, there lies a huge potential for Canadian firms to capitalize on the spurring growth that has led to huge demand of consumer goods,” High Commissioner to Canada Tariq Azim Khan told Chuck Davidson, president of Manitoba Chamber of Commerce during a meeting in Winnipeg.
Pakistan’s GDP growth before 2013 stood at 3 percent, and now it is expected to achieve 5.5 percent growth rate this year.”
Khan informed Davidson Pakistan’s economy is set to grow over 8 percent between 2018 and 2025 --with a single-digit inflation.
Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has been declared the best performing capital market in Asia 
and its benchmark index has risen from 18000 to 50,000 in only three years,” he added.
The Chinese investment, he said, in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the booming middle class in Pakistan have boosted the confidence of foreign investors to a heartening measure.
“The ongoing infrastructure and energy projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will usher in a new era of prosperity and development in the region,” the Pakistani high commissioner said.
Khan also briefed Davidson the trade between Pakistan and Manitoba province has risen almost 100 percent during the last two years, but still, there exists a huge potential for enhancing trade between the two countries.
“Textile products including bed linen, sports goods, surgical instruments, basmati rice, leather products, and mangoes from Pakistan are of best quality in the world,” Khan said offering the chamber to host a delegation of Canadian investors in Pakistan, where they can explore the investment opportunities that lie in the country and meet with their counterparts for developing synergies.
Speaking on the occasion, Davidson told Khan the cultural diversity of the province due to immigration boom during the last few years has had a positive impact on economy of the province.
“Manitoba has a diverse economy led by the agriculture sector. Its main exports to Pakistan were agriculture products including lentils, seeds, oilseeds and spices,” he added.  Moving forward, he agreed there was a huge potential for cooperation between Manitoba and Pakistan, while both sides agreed to work together for enhancing trade and for exchange of business delegations for exploring trade opportunities. Anis Khan, President Pakistan Business Association of Manitoba was also present in the meeting
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Rs 5,262 cr bank loan fraud: NCLT orders initiation of CIR process for Basmati rice exporter REI Agro


The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Kolkata, has ordered for initiation of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution process in respect of Basmati rice exporter REI Agro, which has allegedly been involved in a massive bank loan fraud, under the provisions of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

By: FE Bureau | Kolkata | Published: March 7, 2017 7:24 PM
United Bank of India (UBI) had filed a winding up petition against REI Agro in the Kolkata High Court in 2014 for failing to repay Rs. 224 crore loans it had borrowed from the bank. (Representative Image: Reuters)
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Kolkata, has ordered for initiation of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution process in respect of Basmati rice exporter REI Agro, which has allegedly been involved in a massive bank loan fraud, under the provisions of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The city-based company has allegedly defrauded a 20-lender consortium, led by public sector Uco Bank, through conspiracy, cheating and forgery. The consortium of bankers had extended a staggering Rs 5,262 crore loan to the Basmati rice processing and marketing company. In a stock exchange filing on Tuesday, REI Agro Limited said pursuant to filing of an application by Surendra Kumar Joshi, an operational creditor of the company, the NCLT, Kolkata, has ordered for initiation of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution process vide its order dated February 27.

By the order of the Tribunal, the powers of the board of directors of the company stand suspended and such powers will be vested with Anil Agarwal, who has been appointed as an Interim Resolution Professional to carry out all compliances as per the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) in respect of the company.
After passing of the order, the NCLT has granted a moratorium to the company. It prohibits any action to foreclose, recover or enforce any security interest created by the lenders in respect of its property, including any action under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. It also prohibits recovery of any property by an owner or lessor where such property is occupied by or in the possession of the lenders.
Significantly, Uco Bank had filed a recovery suit in the debt-recovery tribunal (DRT) nearly two years ago on behalf of the group of banks over a whopping unpaid debt.

Sebree and Wells Inducted into Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame
By Lana Roth

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Last Friday, at the 29th annual luncheon sponsored by the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Gary Sebree and the late Dr. Bobby Wells were inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame. 
A third-generation rice farmer, Sebree farms approximately 2,000 acres of rice and soybeans near Stuttgart, Arkansas.  He was elected to the Producers Rice Mill board of directors in 1971 where he served for 43 years, the final 24 of those as chairman, from 1990 to 2014.  When Sebree assumed his leadership role at Producers, a farmer-owned cooperative, Arkansas rice acreage totaled 24 percent of the U.S. crop.  By the time he retired from the board in 2014, Arkansas was producing more than 50 percent of the entire U.S. crop, a distinction it still holds.

Sebree was chairman of USA Rice from 2002-2004 and recently received the Rice Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference.

Dr. Bobby Wells, former head of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Agronomy Department, was a world-renowned expert on rice production, with a special emphasis on rice nutrition and soil fertility.  He was principle developer of the nitrogen fertilizer application method known as the Arkansas three-way split application scheme, which has been found to be the most efficient method of fertilizing rice with nitrogen world-wide.  Wells was honored for his contributions of research, teaching, and service to the rice industry.

USA Rice Exhibit A Crowd Pleaser at Mid-South Farm & Gin Show
By Randy Jemison
 MEMPHIS, TN -- Thousands of attendees to the 65th Annual Mid-south Farm and Gin Show visited the USA Rice booth this past weekend.  The annual trade show, known as an American agricultural event, attracts approximately 18,000 visitors over the two-day time frame.
USA Rice joined 400 other exhibitors from 40 states and fifteen countries to share the rice message.  For the second year, USA Rice staff set up an exciting prize wheel to draw visitors and create opportunities to talk about the rice industry and the awesome commodity it produces. 
This year, in addition to receiving rice prizes for answering rice questions correctly, patrons also were given new materials including a coloring booklet for children ages 2-8, to teach them about rice grown in the U.S., and two new rice recipe brochures titled Rice: The Grain to Go With and Rediscover Rice.
"The coloring books were a big hit," said USA Rice staffer Mary Jemison.  "And not only with the kids but with their parents, too.  Several teachers attending the show were interested in using them in their classrooms back home."
USA Rice members also participated in two educational seminars offered at the show.  Carl Brothers, COO at Riceland Foods, updated participants on the outlook for rice and wheat, and Milo Hamilton, co-founder and senior agricultural economist of Firstgrain, Inc., conducted a special rice marketing educational seminar.

NFAC to look into government-led rice importation

The National Food Authority Council (NFAC) said it will investigate the government’s rice importation transactions after NFA officials refused to allow the extension of the deadline for the arrival of rice imported via the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme.
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr., who is also ex-officio chairman of the NFAC, said he will push for the creation of a special committee that will look into the government’s rice imports during the council’s next meeting.
“I will propose the creation of a special committee to investigate officials who have been making a cash cow out of government-led importations,” Evasco said in a statement.
He also said the NFAC has long been requesting the NFA for copies of the terms of reference of all international and domestic cargo handlers. Evasco said the NFA management has yet to provide the council with these documents.Evasco noted that cargo handling does not go through the regular procurement process prescribed by Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, as it is considered as supplier’s choice.
“It creates serious doubt on the part of the NFAC when some of the NFA’s executives have been insisting on government-to-government procurement despite lack of recommendation to import from the National Food Security Committee [NFSC],” he said.
The NFSC recommends to the NFAC whenever there is a need to purchase imported rice. The council has the final say on the volume and the timing of the importation.Despite the lack of recommendation from the NFSC to import rice, Evasco said the NFA informed Hanoi that Manila would purchase rice from Vietnam this month for the food agency’s buffer stock.
“We have received a copy of NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino’s letter to Vietnam embassy, informing the latter that the Philippine government will open a state-to-state importation this month for its buffer-stock. That letter was sent to Vietnam embassy behind the Council’s back,” he said.
Evasco said this could be the reason behind the “blatant refusal” of Aquino to honor and implement the NFAC’s decision to extend rice importation through the MAV scheme by a month or until March 31.
As of press time, Aquino could not be reached for comment. NFA Spokesman Marietta J. Ablaza said the food agency will issue a statement on the allegations made by the NFAC on Tuesday.
The NFA is one of the 12 agencies tasked with resolving food security and poverty issues that are under the administrative supervision of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.
The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said expanding the government’s rice procurement program would help stabilize the farm-gate price of the staple and allow farmers to earn more.
“In anticipation of the farmers’ good harvest this summer season, the NFA should procure directly from local farmers to boost its buffer-stock. That is the best way to protect them [farmers]. Assuring our local farmers that they have a steady market for their produce whatever happens,” Neda Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement.
Image Credits: Bloomberg

My day on a plate: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, scientist and author, 68.

7am Big radio/TV day. Cuppa tea (loose leaf – hate tea bags!) with milk. Rolled oats, chia seeds, apple, cashews, cardamom and cinnamon, milk and brown sugar. (Not into super foods, I just like variety.)
8.30am Black coffee (a vasoconstrictor) and dark chocolate (a vasodilator). Delicious, and I love the Zen-like physiological balance.
1pm Leftovers of basmati rice, stirfried greens and barbecue pork. Black coffee and chocolate.
3pm Finish leftovers – prince of foods! Tap water.
3.30pm An apple and a pear.
6.30pm Vegetarian daughter is home. Spiced chickpeas, yoghurt, spicy spinach and eggplant with flat bread. I bite on an unexpected rock (in chickpeas). Other daughter says rock must have fallen out of my head into my dinner! Two glasses of chardonnay and tap water.
9.30pm Tiny glass of muscat, watching Offspring with the gang.

Dr Joanna McMillan says:

Top marks for… Using up leftovers – food waste in Australia is a huge problem, plus leftovers are often healthier than grabbing food available at work. You also have a fabulous variety of foods, including plant foods and spices.
If you keep eating like this you’ll… Fuel that brain nicely for years to come! We need the antioxidants plant foods provide to protect our cells from damage as we age. However, you are lacking in long-chain omega-3 fats on this day, vital for brain function as well as heart health. 
Why don’t you try… Eating oily fish such as salmon, trout or sardines at least twice a week. It’s difficult to meet daily omega-3 requirements, so I also recommend taking a supplement.
Dr Karl’s 40th book, The Doctor (Macmillan Australia), is out now.

Sellers of U.S. long grain rice face strong headwindsDescription: Bobby Coats and Nathan Childs answer questions at Rice Outlook Conference
Bobby Coats, left, University of Arkansas, and Nathan Childs, right, USDA economist, visit with David Jessup, president and CEO of DeWitt Bank and Trust in DeWitt, Ark., at the USA Rice Outlook Conference.

Increased rice supplies could add to burdensome stocks situation for world's foremost food commodity.
Bobby Coats | Mar 06, 2017
First, demand for U.S. long grain rice exports remains problematic. This is, in part, a function of quality, protectionism, nationalism, macro issues, etc.
Presently 2016/17 long grain rice ending stocks are estimated at 31.7 million cwt, the 3rd largest since 1985; the five-year average is 22.3 million cwt and a 10 year average is 23.8 million cwt. (See
Second, World Rice Supply Exceeds Demand
World Rice-Cliff Note Version
·        World rice rough production at 716 million metric tons is the highest on record.
·        World rice milled production at 480 million metric tons is the highest on record.
·        World trade at 41.5 million metric tons is the 4th highest on record with anemic global growth slowing global trade and raising protectionism barriers.
·        World rice total use at 479 million metric tons highest on record.
·        World rice ending stocks at 118 million metric tons – highest since 2001/02.
Third, all countries will elevate their level of protectionism in hard economic times. This is especially true of their rice sector.   
The world’s global economies are frail and filled with more risk, uncertainty and potential anomaly events than most realize. This leads most countries to focus on self-sufficiency, revisiting ongoing trade agreements or not adhering to current trade agreements, and embracing a higher level of nationalism.
Said differently, this leads to an intense security focus country after country around the world not only related to food security but also related to economic, homeland, and energy security.
Food Security: Rice’s importance in feeding the world’s population cannot be overstated. Why? These are historic economic, political and social times, at least for the modern era post-World War II. All countries strive for a high level of self-sufficiency in hard economic times, when it comes to feeding their population be damn trade agreements.
Trade: Today, there is increasingly less emphasis on globalization and increasing emphasis on nationalism with secondary emphasis on regional trade.
In today’s global economic setting countries will be increasingly supportive of their domestic rice sector, regional rice imports, and multi-lateral trade agreements, over the globalization trade model and justifiably so from a homeland security perspective.
Fourth, Global Dollar Dominance Will Grow This Year: An increasingly strong dollar over the next 1 to 2 years will be highly problematic for U.S. exports with some exports being impacted more than others.
Dollar’s Biggest Threat: The biggest near term threat to the dollar (stronger dollar) this year is from the slow motion European Union Unwind.
The United Kingdom’s vote to start the process of exiting the European Union was only the tip of the iceberg. Populist’s movements exist throughout Europe and especially in the European Union Countries where bureaucracy and heavy socialism are chocking the life blood out of countries.
French Elections: If Marine Le Pen wins the first round of the 2017 French Presidential Election to be held on April 23, 2017, but she does not have a majority, then a run-off election between the top two candidates will be held on 7 May 2017.
The point is Le Pen is riding a “Populist Tidal Wave” and she will likely be France’s next President.
The importance of a Le Pen win to our rice discussion is that a Le Pen win means the European Union Unwind will be guaranteed. The only question is how long and orderly or disorderly the breakup.
What’s the impact on the EURO and the Dollar with a Le Pen win?  
EURO: With a Le Pen win the EURO currency will likely show more weakness than strength against the dollar until its demise be that a couple of years or longer.
The dollar’s strength will become increasingly problematic for U.S. exports including rice. Now there are an array of currency relationships that will be impacted but that is a discussion for another day.

If U.S. long grain rice producers overplant in 2017 given present fundamentals and no new demand source, will likely provide huge market challenges during the 2017 marketing period.
·        You can certainly start to understand that the President, Congress and Federal Reserve and their counterparts around the world along with global business are operating in historic uncertain times Post-World War II, so EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED FROM MARKETS.
Long Grain Rice Cliff Note Version:
·        2016 long grain rice harvested acres estimated at 2,400,000 acres 31% above 2015, 5 year average 1,904,800, 10 year average 2,120,300, and 15 year average 2,268,467 acres
·        The U.S. LG rice yield is estimated at 6,927 pounds per acre or 154 bushels per acre
·        2016/17 long grain rice beginning stocks at 22.7 million cwt, previous 10 year average was 24.8
·        2016/17 long grain rice production is estimated at 166.5 million cwt, 25% above last year, 5 year average 138 and 10 year average 147
·        2016/17 long grain rice total supply is estimated at 209.7 million cwt, 3rd largest on record, 16% above last year, 5 year average 182 and 10 year average 189
·        2016/17 long grain rice domestic and residual use is estimated at 102 million cwt, 3rd largest on record, 5 year average 90 and 10 year average 94
·        2016/17 long grain rice total exports is estimated at 78 million cwt, 5 year average 70 and 10 year average 72
·        2016/17 long grain rice total use is estimated at 178 million cwt, 4th largest on record, 5 year average 159 and 10 year average 166
·        2016/17 long grain rice ending stocks are estimated at 31.7 million cwt, 3rd largest since 1985, 5 year average 22.3 and 10 year average 23.8

 Bobby Coats is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas System. E-mail:

Rice Outlook U.S. and World Supply and Demand Charts

Plans to increase rice acres should be tempered by consideration of the current market fundamentals.

Any increase in U.S. rice acres in 2017 could be problematic for rice prices, an analysis of the fundamentals in the rice markets indicates.
Dr. Bobby Coats, professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness at the University of Arkansas Systems Division of Agriculture, says the current fundamentals and no new source of demand will make any improvement in rice prices difficult in 2017.
“You can certainly start to understand that the president, Congress and Federal Reserve and their counterparts around the world along with global business are operating in historic uncertain times Post-World War II,” he said.
“So growers need to expect the unexpected from markets and make their planting decisions accordingly.”
Dr. Coats prepared the accompanying slide show to help illustrate the market fundamentals in play in the U.S and world markets.



MANILA, March 7 (Reuters) - The Philippines' food security
agency said on Tuesday it was looking to import 250,000 tonnes
of rice as soon as possible via a government-to-government deal
with any of its traditional suppliers such as Vietnam and
The volume will augment rice imports of around 543,000
tonnes shipped in by private traders between December and
February, and help boost state buffer stock ahead of the
country's lean harvest season beginning in July, it said.
The National Food Authority (NFA) has informed Vietnam of
its import plan via a letter to its embassy in Manila, it said
in a statement.
Major rice suppliers, Vietnam and Thailand, are keeping an
eye on any fresh demand from the Philippines, one of the world's
biggest buyers, but the NFA has yet to decide when to issue a
tender for its import requirement.
The timing remains uncertain as the NFA Council, a panel
comprising the country's economic managers, still has to approve
the terms of reference.
The planned purchase is part of the 500,000-tonne import
volume the NFA Council approved last year. The NFA had bought
only 250,000 tonnes -- 150,000 tonnes from Vietnam and 100,000
tonnes from Thailand.
"We need the additional 250,000 tonnes for our buffer
stock," NFA spokeswoman Marietta Ablaza told Reuters. "We are
running out of time."
Ablaza could not say if the NFA has formally informed
Thailand of its import plan.

Thailand aims to export 10 million tonnes of rice in 2017

Description: Thai farmer harvests rice at a field in Narathiwat province on March 17, 2016
Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai Government has set a target of exporting 10 million tonnes of rice in 2017, including 1 million tonnes sold in governmental contracts and the rest through private exporters.

According to Thai Minister of Commerce ApiradiTantraporn, this year, the country will ship abroad 900,000 tonnes of rice to China under a contract with the Chinese Government after selling 100 tonnes to the country earlier.

Thailand will also seek another contract to sell1 million tonnes of rice to China within the framework of the memorandum of understanding on bilateral agriculture cooperation, he said.

For the private sector, the Thai government will support domestic exporters in shipping 5.19 million tonnes of rice to the African market, 2.22 million tonnesto Asian countries, 630,000tonnesto the US and Canada, 390,000tonnes to Europe, 360,000tonnes to the Middle East and 210,000 tonnes to Oceania.

The Ministry of Commerce will also launch a programme to enhance the image of Thai rice trademark in various markets, while exploring the possibility of exportingrice to new markets such as Japan, Hong Kong (China), Cuba and Mexico. 

At the same time, Thailand is also considering the feasibility of a plan to build a rice warehouse in Benin, West Africa to serve the massive African market.-VNA
Mexico's rice import plan may open door for Vietnamese grain
By Ho Binh Minh   March 7, 2017 | 02:45 pm GMT+7
Farmers on a rice paddy field in Phu Tho near Hanoi. Reuters/Kham
Description: Mexico's rice import plan may open door for Vietnamese grainThe plan could help Vietnam's rice shipments rebound from an eight-year low in 2016.The Mexican government has given the green light for 150,000 tons of rice to be imported at a zero percent tariff to meet domestic demand and diversify its supply sources, a move that would cut the market share currently held by the U.S. and open the door to Vietnamese rice, the Mexican government and traders said.
Imports of both paddy -- or unhusked rice -- and milled rice, can take place before the end of 2017, the Mexican government said in a statement published on its Official Gazette on March 1.
Even though Mexico's rice output grew more than 8 percent per year from 2012-2016, it could not meet domestic demand, and the country still had to import 82.6 percent of its needs from "mainly a single supply country", the statement said.
Mexico imports paddy only from the United States, and milled rice from Uruguay, with which it has signed free-trade agreements, according to Vietnam's Industry and Trade Ministry. Thailand, the world's second-biggest rice exporter after India, also sells its long grain to Mexico.
The zero-tariff import plan could help increase rice shipments from Vietnam, the world's third-largest exporter, after it lost its rank in 2015 of being Mexico's second-biggest supplier as a result of a 20 percent tariff on rice imports.
Vietnam sold 67,000 tons of milled rice to Mexico in 2014, soaring from 12,000 tons the previous year, according to the U.S. Rice Federation, which represents the voice of the U.S. rice industry.
While the Mexican government's plan may not boost Vietnamese rice exports immediately, it has made the market "nervous" as it would reduce its reliance on U.S. rice imports, which usually stand at around 800,000 tons a year, the U.S. industry body said in a February report on its website.
“For a long time, Mexico has been an almost exclusively paddy market and a lock for U.S. exporters,” Brian King, chairman of USA Rice and of USA Rice’s Western Hemisphere Promotion Subcommittee, was quoted as saying in another report published on March 2 by the federation.
"While the United States still dominates the paddy market, Uruguay has supplanted U.S. as the leading milled rice origin for what the trade reports as having better quality,” he said. Last year U.S. milled rice exports to Mexico fell to a record low of 49,000 tons.
Traders in North America said the current price spreads are not large enough to favor Asian rice over U.S. grain, and that these spreads need to be significant to offset foreign exchange risks, increased delivery times, and potential phytosanitary issues.
"However, the threat of increased Asian imports does exist, especially as the potential for price spreads widens," the federation's report said.
U.S. long grain grade 2, 4 percent broken stood at $438 a ton in 2016, or $42 a ton above Thai 5-percent broken grain, narrowing from $104 the previous year, based on data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in its March 2017 report. The gap further narrowed to $34 a ton in February this year, the report said.
Vietnamese 5-percent broken rice prices were $20-$40 a ton below Thai grain in the first two months of 2017, the FAO said.
Vietnam has seen a slow start for rice exports in 2017, with shipments falling on thin demand in key markets in Southeast Asia and Africa.
January-February's rice exports dropped 17 percent from a year ago to 799,000 tons, the agriculture ministry said. The country plans to export around 5 million tons of milled rice in 2017, slightly up from last year's 4.8 million tons, the lowest since 2008.
"Despite the small quantity, Mexico's plan is a good push for Vietnam's rice market which has been slow so far this year," a Vietnamese trader at a foreign firm in Ho Chi Minh City said.
Mexico said it would allow rice importers three shipments each with a maximum of 10,000 tons a time by December 31, 2017.
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open-March 08,2017
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-March 8

Nagpur, Mar 8 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices firmed up again in Nagpur Agriculture Producing
and Marketing Committee (APMC) on good Holi festival season demand from local traders amid weal
supply from producing regions. Healthy rise in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and repeated enquiries
from South-based millers also pushed up prices, according to sources.


   * Desi gram reported higher in open market on good demand from local traders amid thin
     arrival from producing belts. 
   * Tuar gavarani and tuar Karnataka recovered in open market here on good demand
     local traders amid weak supply from producing regions.

   * Wheat Lokwan moved down in open market here on lack of demand from local traders
     amid good arrival from producing belts.           
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,400-4,500, Tuar dal (clean) – 6,700-6,900, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 8,500-9,000, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,600-6,900, Gram – 5,000-5,100, Gram Super best
     bold – 7,500-7,700 for 100 kg.

   * Other varieties of wheat, rice and other commodities moved in a narrow range in
     scattered deals, settled at last levels.
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  
     Gram Auction                     4,400-4,810         4,100-4,820
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                3,900-4,420         3,900-4,300
     Moong Auction                n.a.                6,400-6,600
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Gram Super Best Bold            7,500-8,000        7,500-8,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            6,600-7,000        6,600-7,000
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            4,700-4,800        4,700-4,800
     Desi gram Raw                4,950-5,250         4,900-5,200
     Gram Yellow                 7,700-8,200        7,700-8,200
     Gram Kabuli                11,800-13,000        11,800-13,000
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             6,800-7,000        6,800-7,000
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,400-6,600        6,400-6,600
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        6,000-6,200        6,000-6,200
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,500-5,800        5,500-5,800
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,600-4,800        4,400-4,500
     Tuar Karnataka             4,550-4,750        4,450-4,650
     Masoor dal best            5,600-5,800        5,600-5,800
     Masoor dal medium            5,300-5,500        5,300-5,500
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        6,900-7,200         6,900-7,200
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,200-6,600        6,200-6,600
     Moong dal Chilka            5,500-6,100        5,500-6,100
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            6,100-6,900        6,000-6,700
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 8,500-9,500       8,500-9,500
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    7,600-8,000        7,500-8,000   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        5,300-5,600        5,300-5,600    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,200-5,500        5,200-5,500
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          3,600-3,800         3,600-3,800
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            3,000-3,100        3,000-3,100
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)           3,200-3,400           3,200-3,400
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,800-4,300        3,800-4,300  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,100        2,000-2,100
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    2,000-2,100        2,000-2,100  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,100-2,300           2,100-2,300        
     Wheat Lokwan new (100 INR/KG)    1,950-2,400        2,000-2,350
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,350-2,550        2,500-2,700   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   2,050-2,350        2,200-2,500
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,600-4,200        3,600-4,200   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,700-3,200        2,700-3,200          
     Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG)        2,800-3,200        2,800-3,200
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,200-3,600        3,200-3,600   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,700-3,000        2,700-3,000   
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,200-2,500        2,200-2,500
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)       2,250-2,450        2,250-2,450  
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,600        2,400-2,600  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,300-2,400        2,300-2,400  
     Rice HMT New (100 INR/KG)        3,200-3,600        3,200-3,600
     Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG)           3,800-4,200        3,800-4,200   
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,200-3,500        3,200-3,500   
     Rice Shriram New(100 INR/KG)           4,200-4,600        4,200-4,600
     Rice Shriram best 100 INR/KG)    5,200-5,500        5,200-5,500
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    4,700-5,000        4,700-5,000  
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    9,200-13,300        9,200-13,300    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,000-6,200        5,000-6,200   
     Rice Chinnor New(100 INR/KG)        4,600-4,800        4,600-4,800
     Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG)    5,600-6,200        5,600-6,200   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    5,100-5,500        5,100-5,500  
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,300        2,000-2,300   
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000

Maximum temp. 33.0 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 21.0 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 33 and 20 degree
Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but
included in market prices)

Farmers flout crop warnings

7 Mar 2017
A buffalo herd struggles in a dried-up field in Bang Rakam district of Phitsanulok province. Water experts and the Royal Irrigation Department have warned farmers there might not be enough water for their second-season rice crops. (Photo by Chinnawat Singha, Post Today)
Farmers in the Central Plains provinces are planting more off-season rice crops than allowed at their own peril, a senior irrigation officer warned.
Bowdaeng Takaew, head of the Ayutthaya Irrigation Project, said many farmers in the Central region have refused to cooperate with authorities and gone ahead with planting the crops despite warnings of a water shortage this summer.
A survey by the authorities found farmers in the Central Plains have grown more than 5.3 million rai of off-season rice crops, 2.7 million rai more than the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) is able to supply water for.
The Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok road subsides in the middle as the adjacent Khlong 9 dries up. Apichit Jinakul
In many areas, the rice crops are around two months old and due for harvest at the end of April, he added.Irrigation officials have repeatedly warned farmers of an impending drought and a water shortage in many parts of the country.The RID also urged farmers to switch to growing drought-resistant crops.In Ayutthaya alone, more than 570,000 rai of off-season rice crops have been grown. However, the province has enough water to feed 340,000 rai of the rice, Mr Bowdaeng said.The water shortage would adversely affect agricultural production and selling prices, he said.The water scarcity will also undermine the provincial water management plan as farmers will be desperate in looking for water sources to be diverted to their farmland for use, possibly leading to water conflict.
Meanwhile, farmers in drought-hit Chai Nat have showed resilience as they have opted for alternative crops.
Kitti Paeng Nakhon, 58, a farmer in Moo 7, tambon Thammamoon, Muang district of Chai Nat decided to grow peanuts, which require less water consumption this summer.
He found peanuts generated more income than even the off-season rice.
Mr Kitti said he received 17,000 baht per rai from selling his peanuts to a middle-man.
The peanuts, he added, would fetch a higher price if sold directly to vendors who boil them for sale, he added.
Since December, Mr Kitti has grown peanuts at his farm using water pumped from the Chao Phraya River. He had invested around 7,000 baht per rai for growing peanuts.
The mature peanuts can be harvested in 60 days, according to him.
He said the peanuts also produce more yields and command a better price than off-season rice, although he did not say how much he made from selling rice.
Last week, the Agriculture Ministry said the water levels in 34 main reservoirs and dams were adequate, with 21 billion cubic metres of usable water stored in total, which is seven billion cubic metres more than at the same time last year.
However, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation warned that some of the large reservoirs might have to stop feeding water to farmland in coming weeks, when temperatures are predicted to surge in many agricultural areas.
Farmers in the Central Plains provinces are planting more off-season rice crops than allowed at their own peril, a senior irrigation officer warned. Bowdaeng Takaew, head of the Ayutthaya Irrigation Project, said many farmers in the Central region have refused to cooperate with authorities and gone ahead with planting the crops despite warnings of a water shortage this summer.
 A survey by the authorities found farmers in the Central Plains have grown more than 5.3 million rai of off-season rice crops, 2.7 million rai more than the Royal Irrigation Department is able to supply water for. In many areas, the rice crops are around two months old and due for harvest at the end of April, he added. Irrigation officials have repeatedly warned farmers of an impending drought and a water shortage in many parts of the country.

Government should secure PHL rice buffer stock

The government must be wary of allowing the private sector to import the rice buffer stock of the country, as some unscrupulous traders could make the staple more expensive, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.

During the Cabinet meeting on March 6, Piñol said he warned the President against letting the private sector secure the country’s buffer stock, as this would be disadvantageous to consumers.
“I told the President that we should be cautious about the rice importation of the private sector. If the purpose is to come up with a buffer stock, letting the private sector import won’t work,” he told reporters in an interview on Tuesday.“What some of those in the private sector do is that they restock and rebag the imported rice, which they would sell in the market as commercial rice. This will not help consumers,” Piñol added.

While it would be ideal to purchase the paddy rice produced by local farmers, the chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the National Food Authority (NFA) has not been able to significantly expand its palay-procurement program.The NFA buys rice from farmers at a support price of P17 per kilogram to augment its buffer stock, which the food agency releases to areas devastated by natural calamities.

Piñol said he also asked  Duterte to again include the DA in the National Food Authority Council (NFAC), which decides on the government’s rice importation. He said the decision to import also takes into account the welfare of farmers, particularly the timing.“When I reviewed the law, Presidential Decree 1770 of the NFA, it is stated that the Ministry of Agriculture is a member of the council. But, in reality, we are not included,” he said.

“We have been shut out [in rice-importation plans]. That’s why I told the President if we could be included in the NFAC, so we could give our inputs on the matter. The President said, ‘Okay’,” Piñol added.The NFAC is the highest policy-making body that oversees the affairs of the NFA, particularly in deliberating and approving rice-importation proposals via government to government or the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme.

The DA was dislodged from the NFAC, after the NFA was transferred to the administrative supervision of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization by former President Benigno S. Aquino III. Prior to its transfer, the NFA was attached to the DA.
Piñol said he made the proposal to Duterte when the issue of the tension between the NFAC and the current NFA management was raised during the Cabinet meeting. He added he would write a formal letter to Duterte to request for the inclusion of the DA in the NFAC.

At  present, the NFAC is comprised of the Cabinet secretary sitting as its chairman, while the NFA administrator serves as the vice chairman. Other members of the current NFAC include the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor, Development Bank of the Philippines chairman, president of the Lank Bank of the Philippines (LandBank), finance secretary, trade secretary, socioeconomic planning secretary and a representative from a farmers’ group.“I hope the DA will be given a voice in the council, so we can share our inputs or be given access to information on rice importation, so that we would know how much they would import, when would they import and when the imports will arrive,” Piñol said.
The DA chief also revealed the President has ordered the review of all government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) to determine their “relevance” to the country’s food-security program.“The Preident directed Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III to head a group that will review the viability and relevance of GOCCs in relation to the food-security program,” Piñol said.

“The NFA has the highest debt [among GOCCs], with P210 billion, while No. 4 is the National Irrigation Administration, with P160-billion debt. So, it looks like they are going to check the viability of these agencies,” he added.

Rice-import probe

NFA officials on Tuesday said they welcome any investigation into allegations that “food officials are making a cash cow out of government-led importations.”This was in reaction to a statement by NFAC chairman, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr., that he will propose the creation of a special committee to investigate the culprits of this “flagrant corruption to the detriment of the country’s food security”.

“This is a very serious accusation, and it is very sad this is happening at a crucial time when we should be focusing our sights on helping our farmers, who are currently harvesting their summer crop, earn a reasonable income from their produce,” NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino said in a statement.

“Instead of pointing accusing fingers and casting doubts on those who are faithfully  implementing the mandates of the agency, we should be focusing our  watch over a possible abuse of the import permits given to private rice importers in view of allegations that these permits are being recycled for smuggling purposes,” he added.Aquino said the NFA’s recommendation to push through with a government-to-government importation refers to the balance of the 500,000-metric ton (MT) importation for 2016, which was approved by the NFAC.

He said this was the subject of  his letter to the Vietnam Embassy. “Only 250,000 MT was contracted in 2016, thus the NFA is recommending importing the balance of 250,000 MT for this year’s buffer stock in preparation for the lean months.”The NFA is mandated by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council  to maintain a food-security reserve good for at least 15 days at any given time. By July 1 of each year, which marks the onset of the lean season for rice, the NFA must have at least a 30-day buffer stock.Aquino said the current national daily rice-consumption requirement is pegged at 654,400 bags, or 32,720 MT