Friday, March 10, 2017

10th March,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine



Pakistan to export hybrid rice seed to Philippines

March 10, 2017

LAHORE: Pakistan has struck an unprecedented deal with Philippines for the export of hybrid rice seed to the Southeast Asian nation, an industry official said on Thursday. Description: Pakistan to export hybrid rice seed to Philippines
  “Philippines has decided to import hybrid rice seed from Pakistan because the crop raised form this variety is less labor intensive compared to Irri,  which is currently being cultivated in the Southeast Asian country,” Shahrukh Malik, executive at Guard Agricultural Research & Services told journalists in a media briefing.
“For the first time in the history of the country, domestically developed hybrid seed will be traded to a foreign country. Philippines needs the seed for 2018 crop and we have already increased the production area to 900 acres to meet the demand.”
He informed the journalists that Philippines have over 137,000 varieties of Irri but being a labor intensive crop, the archipelago in the southwestern Pacific is looking for a hybrid variety. “The climate in which hybrid rice seeds are bred in Sindh is similar to that of Philippines. Their experts assayed the procedure of seed production thoroughly at our farms before cutting a deal with us,” Malik disclosed.
The Guard rice research executive observed the export of hybrid rice seed will be a milestone in the country’s rice sector and will open new opportunities in the international market apart from giving local research and development a fresh impetus. 
“We have also developed a basmati hybrid seed. The field trials are already underway. It’s expected to be commercially available by 2018,” he said.  Replying to a question, he said unfortunately lack of public private sector partnership is hindering the progress of seed development in Pakistan
“Public sector has its own inherited problems, while the private sector conducts research with commercial result-oriented focus. Thus the pace of private sector is fast compared to the public,” Malik said. 
He continued that there’s a yawning trust deficit between the public and private sector researchers and it needs to end through coordinative initiatives. “Due to this deficit, the authorities take too long to green-signal a newly developed seed for commercial launch, hurting private sector growth,” he asserted.
Moving forward, he explained that at least 45 companies are importing hybrid seeds, including the top five firms of the world, but none of them is producing hybrid seeds in Pakistan, which is an obstacle in the transfer of technology to the country.
“The government shall bind those companies to produce at least 20 percent of the total quantity of imported seeds in Pakistan,” he suggested adding it will revolutionise the seed development and agriculture sector.
Summarizing the growth of the hybrid rice in Pakistan, Malik told the media that during 2008-09, area under Irri cultivation was 560,000 hectares but reduced to 423,000 hectares in 2014-15, while area under hybrid cultivation was only 84000 hectares, which increased to 302000 hectares in 2014-15. 
“Similarly, in 2008-09, Irri production was recorded at 19,49,000 tons but it decreased to 11,61,000 tons in 2014-15, while hybrid rice production, which stood at 4,54,000 tons in 2008-09, jumped to 14,16,000 tons during 2014-15,” he added. 
Continuing his talk, he said the aforementioned numbers also reflected in the exports as total quantity of the basmati rice sold overseas stood at 11,37,943 tons in 2010-11 but reduced to 676630 in 2014-15, while non-basmati export, which was logged at 25,63,664 in 2010-11, increased to 3054680 tons in 2014-15. 
“A substantial increase in hybrid production and exports of non-basmati rice export is encouraging for the sector,” Malik said

AIREA All India Rice Exporters Association : Punjab Agricultural University unveils paddy, basmati, moong, sugarcane varieties


03/09/2017 | 07:45am EST
CHANDIGARH: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, has released some varieties of paddy, spring/summer moong (greengram), basmati and sugarcane for general cultivation in Punjab. These include PR 126 of paddy; TMB 37 of spring/summer moong; CSR 30, Punjab basmati 4 and Punjab basmati 5 of rice; CoPb 92, CoPb 93 and CoPb 94 of sugarcane.
According to a press released issued by the PAU on Monday, these were approved during a meeting of the state variety approval committee held under the chairmanship of B S Sidhu, director of agriculture, Punjab.
The parmal rice variety PR 126 is an early maturing strain. Its average plant height is 102 cm and matures in about 123 days after seeding. It is resistant to seven of the ten prevalent pathotypes of bacterial blight pathogen in Punjab. Its average paddy yield is 30 quintal per acre.
The TMB 37 matures in 60 days as compared to 62 days for SML 832 and 61 days for SML 668. It has medium sized grains and possesses good culinary properties. The basmati rice variety CSR 30 is about 139 cm tall. It possesses extra long slender grains with excellent cooking and eating quality characteristics. It matures in about 142 days after seeding. Its average paddy yield is 13.5 quintal per acre.
The Punjab basmati 4 is a high-yielding, semi-dwarf, lodging tolerant variety, which is about 96 cm tall. It is resistant to all 10 pathotypes of bacterial blight pathogen, presently prevalent in Punjab. It matures in about 146 days after seeding and its average paddy yield is 17 quintal per acre. The Punjab Basmati 5 is a semi-dwarf variety, which is about 112 cm tall. It is resistant to all 10 pathotypes of bacterial blight pathogen, presently prevalent in the state. It matures in about 137 days after seeding and its average paddy yield is 15 quintal per acre.
The sugarcane variety CoPb 92 is tall, medium thick and purple green in colour. Its juice contains 16-17% sucrose in November and 18% in December. It is a good ratooner (second crop after harvest). It is tolerant to most of the prevalent pathotypes of red rot disease and frost. Quality of gur (jaggery) is also good. Its average yield is about 335 quintal per acre. The CoPb 93 variety is tall, thick and yellowish white in colour. Its juice contains 17-19% sucrose in January and March, respectively. It is a good ratooner. It is tolerant to the prevalent pathotypes of red rot disease. Its average yield is about 390 quintal per acre.
The CoPb 94 is tall, thick and yellow greenish in colour. Its juice contains 16-19% sucrose in January and March, respectively. It is a good ratooner. It is tolerant to the prevalent pathotypes of red rot and smut diseases. Its average yield is about 400 quintal per acre







Asia Rice-Rice prices advance in India, Vietnam while Thai prices drop on weaker baht

Description: imageBANGKOK/HANOI/MUMBAI: Rice prices in India and Vietnam advanced while Thai prices dropped due to a weaker baht, traders said on Thursday.In India, the world's biggest rice exporter, 5-percent broken parboiled rice prices rose to $375-$380 per tonne from $373-$378 last week, as demand improved from African buyers.
"In last few days African buyers have become active," said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Another exporter in Kakinada said local buyers were also activate in the market.
"The competition between exporters and local buyers is keeping paddy prices firm," he added.
Along with private buyers, government agencies are actively buying paddy for the public distribution system, pushing prices up above the minimum purchase price, exporters said.
The country's rice production in 2016/17 is likely to rise by 4.3 percent to a record high 108.86 million tonnes, Farm Ministry said on Wednesday.
In Vietnam, the world's third largest rice exporter, 5-percent broken rice prices rose to $355-$360 a tonne, from $350-$355 a tonne last week on thin supply near a new harvest season.
"Prices in Vietnam now are higher than other countries, keeping foreign importers from buying," said a Ho Chi Minh-based trader.
He added that Vietnam's market was quiet but will be more lively once the harvest season starts by the end of this month.The harvest season will significantly raise supply, which in turn will ease prices.In the world's second biggest exporter, Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice narrowed to $350-$355 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, from $350-$360 last week.Traders said this was due to the Thai baht weakening against the US dollar at 35.33 baht per $1, down from 34.98 baht per $1 last week.
"There isn't much demand going on, and the baht is weaker," a trader in Bangkok said.Thailand sold 1.35 million tonnes of rice from state stockpiles in its first auction of the year worth $376 million on Tuesday.
It also said it will hold another auction for 3.66 million tonnes of spoiled rice for industrial use but did not say when.Thailand has exported about 2 million tonnes of rice this year up until March 6, the ministry said, down 2.05 percent from the same period last year

Vietnam wants China to permit more rice exporters
 Many Vietnamese rice exporters are facing difficulties after China authorised only 22 Vietnamese businesses to export rice into the country.

Description: Vietnam wants China to permit more rice exporters, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news

The permission was announced by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), which allowed 22 firms to export rice and rice products from January 1, counting from the date of departure from the Vietnamese border. Any businesses not listed by AQSIQ were banned from exporting to the Chinese market from January 1.
This decision has affected many Vietnamese firms which were not in the list but had already signed rice contracts before the date.
One such company is Can Tho Food Company, which is not allowed to export rice to China, although it had signed a contract to export 18,000 tonnes of rice to China at the end of last year.
Nguyen Van Dung, the company’s deputy director, said the delivery would have been completed by early February, but following the new order, it was no longer permitted to export and hence was suffering huge losses.
“Our contract was canceled cancelled and we have to compensate some VND300 billion for our partner. In addition, we have to bear further costs,” Dung told Vietnam Television.
Dung said rice was preserved in the store for quite a long time so the company had to re-process 10,000 tonnes of rice, which raised the cost by VND200-300 per kg.

“I hope the State and relevant sectors create conditions for my company to sell rice, helping us to overcome difficulties. If it is not solved soon, my company will go bankrupt,” Dung said.
Tran Thanh Nam, deputy minister of agriculture and rural development (MARD), said the ministry would soon contact China authorities, asking them to send an expert delegation to Viet Nam to assess more businesses which could be eligible for exporting rice to China.China’s permission to 22 Vietnamese rice exporters was given after a group of Chinese experts traveled travelled to Viet Nam to inspect 31 enterprises that had previously applied to the local ministry for export rights to China last year.
According to MARD, China tops the list of Viet Nam’s rice export with 35.4 per cent of market share in the first three quarters of 2016.
Total rice export turnover to the Chinese market touched 1.35 million tonnes, amounting to $613.4 million in 2016, down 23 per cent in terms of quantity and 13.9 per cent in terms of value in comparison with the same period in 2015. 

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open-March 09,2017

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-March 9
Nagpur, Mar 9 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices reported higher in Nagpur Agriculture Producing
and Marketing Committee (APMC) on increased festival season demand from local traders amid thin
arrival from producing belts. Fresh rise in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and reported demand from
South-based millers also boosted prices, according to sources.
   * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.  
   * Tuar varieties quoted static here on subdued demand from local traders amid ample 
     stock in ready position.    
   * Rice basmati firmed up in open market on good buying support from local traders amid 
     weak overseas supply.            
   * 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.
   * Wheat, other varieties of rice and other commodities moved in a narrow range in 
     scattered deals and settled at last levels. 
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close   
     Gram Auction                     4,500-5,050         4,300-4,900
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                4,000-4,500         3,900-4,400
     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         4,950-5,250
     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        4,600-4,800
     Tuar Karnataka             4,550-4,750        4,550-4,750
     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        2,350-2,550    
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   2,050-2,350        2,050-2,350
     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)    9,300-13,400        9,200-13,300     
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,100-6,300        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. 32.2 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 16.5 degree Celsius 
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 33 and 18 degreeCelsius respectively.
Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, butincluded in market prices)

Nigeria's rice boom raises output but old problems persist

By Ulf Laessing
GADAU, Nigeria, March 9 Nigerian Abdulhakim Mohammed has just graduated in architecture but, like many people ranging from unemployed locals to foreign investors and Africa's richest man, he has decided the future lies in rice farming.
The reason is that domestic rice prices have more than doubled in the last two years due to an import ban and a dive in the Nigerian currency. At the same time, the government is subsidising tractors, mills and fertilisers as well as arranging cheaper loans to boost production - with considerable success.
And yet the drive to cut an annual food import bill of $20 billion has run into the kind of problems that have long bedevilled Nigeria's efforts to build up an economy outside its dominant the oil industry.
Despite rice growing being a government priority, many farmers still work with their bare hands in fields lacking irrigation channels. Mills are often ramshackle while poor roads make getting the crop from the main growing areas in northern Nigeria to consumers in the south difficult and costly.
As a result, the industry has so far failed to fill a supply shortfall amounting to about 3 million tonnes of milled rice created by the import ban. In the commercial capital of Lagos, supermarkets mainly sell rice from India or Thailand.
Mohammed took up growing rice three years ago to help fund his university studies in the northern state of Bauchi. When he finished last year, he opted for a career in the fields around the town of Gadau, rather than in architecture.
"My advice to the youth is to join rice farming," said Mohammed, who is expanding his own area from 1.5 to 2 hectares (3.7 to 5 acres) as well as working as a supervisor on a new farm that workers are preparing nearby.
"One bag of rice sells for 10,000 to 11,000 (naira). Two years ago I was selling for 4,500," he told Reuters.
That makes a bag worth almost $25 at the exchange rate on the black market, where many Nigerians go due to restrictions and dollar shortages in the official banking system. In Bauchi state, hundreds of farmers are busy expanding, preparing new fields and drilling water holes for irrigation.
Farms have been opening across much of the country, lifting output of unmilled rice to 7.85 million tonnes in 2016 - a 17.4 percent jump from 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics told Reuters. That compares with just 4.54 million in 2010, before the campaign began.
Until 2015, Nigeria imported up to 4 million tonnes of rice annually, much of which was smuggled from the western neighbour Benin Republic. But this has fallen to about 700,000 tonnes as authorities now monitor the border, industry players say.
That lifted prices for the staple, along with currency curbs imposed to prop up the naira which has been hit by a fall in revenues from Nigeria's oil exports.
Part of the rise is because farmers are passing on higher costs, saying the government subsidies are not enough. Importers have to pay a premium of 30 percent over the official rate to get dollars on the black market for buying the foreign-made machinery and fertilisers that growers need.
On top of this, farmers complain that endemic corruption means the government help doesn't always reach the right people.
"Some people who got fertilisers were not even farmers. They sell it then," said Mohammed Tafida, the local head of a rice farmers' association, who is also expanding his own fields.
"Fertilisers are very expensive," he told Reuters, standing by a new paddy field being prepared. "Our production costs are very high. You now pay workers 500 to 700 naira a day; before it was 200 naira."
President Muhammadu Buhari has made fighting graft a priority since coming to power two years ago. But he has to work with Nigeria's 36 states where officials executing the federal programmes often help out supporters or relatives.
Farmers and food producers can get subsidised loans well below the benchmark interest rate of 14 percent. But one processor of garri - another local staple, made from cassava - said he had waited six months to get his loan approved as banks are new to the farming business.
"In Nigeria talking is one thing and implementing plans another," said Idris Salihu, another rice farmer in Bauchi. "We need more support."
The rice boom has also drawn large scale investment from Africa's richest man, Nigerian Aliko Dangote, and foreign firms to supply the huge market of 190 million people.
Dangote Group said last month it planned to launch a rice mill with a farm scheme which will produce 225,000 tonnes of parboiled, milled rice by the year-end.
Wacot Rice, part of Lagos-based food and farming conglomerate TGI, will open a rice mill next month with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes annually. It works with rice farmers on 15,000 hectares and plans to expand to 165,000 hectares within 10 years.
Abroad, Singapore-based Olam plans to increase its Nigerian rice farming to 6,000 hectares from 4,300 hectares "in a couple of years or so", a spokesman said.
Nigeria hopes such large-scale investors will improve rice yields, measuring output per hectare. These are among the lowest in Africa as the market is dominated by relatively inefficient farmers running fields of two to five hectares.
The lack of good roads also means that rice from the north hardly reaches Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city. The government plans to increase capital spending by nearly a quarter in 2017 to fix pot-holed routes and help trade. However, a collapse in oil revenues due to low world prices has slowed many projects.
Nigerian growers also struggle to meet quality standards set by foreign agri-businesses, with consumers complaining about having to extract grit from the rice.
"I like better the taste of the local rice. The only problem is the stones in it," said Samuel Ativ, 38, as he shopped in the busy Bauchi market. "If I am in hurry I prefer the foreign rice because there are no stones."
Nigeria has imported 110 mills which remove grit in the process but most farmers still go to villagers to handle their rice with home-made machines.
Larger investors hope Nigeria will not repeat the mistakes of the past by losing interest in domestic food production if and when global oil prices pick up again, helping the naira to recover and making imports cheaper.
"Important is that they started the journey to become food self-sufficient," said Rahul Savara, TGI Group Managing Director. "They are going on the right track, and the government has to continue the same policies it is doing now."
($1 = 304.0000 naira) (additional reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha in Lagos; Editing by David Stamp)

Rice exports to Africa shows signs of recovery  Agriculture  Economy

The Hanoitimes – Vietnam’s rice export turnover to markets in Africa, West Asia and South Asia recorded considerable growth in the first quarter of this year to hit 71.3 million USD, 531 percent higher than that of the same period last year.
Of the figure, 94.1 percent was generated through exports to African markets, forecasting a strong recovery after a recent downturn in the market.
Vietnamese rice shipped to
 African markets has seen strong growth since 2011. 
In 2013, the country exported 2
 million tonnes of rice to Africa, accounting for nearly 30 percent of Vietnam’s total volume of rice sold in foreign markets. Africa became Vietnam’s second largest rice importer that year, after China.
However, the country’s rice export turnover to Africa in 2014 reached only 452.7 million USD due to decreased demand in the market. Vietnamese rice firms also faced competition from companies in Thailand, India and Pakistan. 
To support Vietnamese
 rice exporters, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Africa, West Asia and South Asia Markets is outlining a rice export plan to African markets.
As stipulated, promotion activities will be intensified to help
 rice exporters’ access to new markets.
The ministry advised Vietnamese exporters to provide high-quality rice products besides traditional rice, given their increasing demand in Africa, to fully tap the potential of the continent’s markets.
Africa is now the largest rice
 consumer in the world with an annual demand of over 9 million tonnes of rice, almost 6.5 million tonnes of which is imported.
U.S. Rice Headed to Africa in Advance of Global Hunger Crisis 
 ARLINGTON, VA -- Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized the purchase of 28,120 MT of Number 2 or better long grain milled rice headed to Conakry, Guinea, as part of the Food For Progress (FFPr) program.  FFPr relies on the monetization or barter of a commodity, to fund local agricultural value chain efforts conducted in country by Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) to help develop a profitable ag sector which in turn helps local economic development.  

USA Rice has participated in monetization programs for many years and in the last year has had two successful programs, the current one in Guinea and another in Burkina Faso where 6,300 MT has been monetized.  This is largely the result of increased global demand for food assistance and USA Rice's ongoing efforts to enhance outreach to PVOs conducting food assistance programs.  

"USA Rice will continue to work with PVOs and key USDA and U.S. Agency for International Development decision makers to encourage the use of both milled and fortified rice in response to the pending global hunger crisis," said Bobby Hanks, president of Louisiana Rice Mill and chairman of the USA Rice Food Aid Subcommittee.  "Additionally, we are anticipating final release of new specifications for fortified rice that will clear the way for increased tonnage in 2017 as U.S. stakeholders seek to assist in the battle against malnutrition."  

USA Rice forecasts a very active year in food aid in 2017 for both milled and fortified rice.  Numerous sources, including the Family Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET), predict that 2017 will see a global famine of catastrophic proportions, with up to 70 million people, across 45 countries, requiring enhanced food assistance.  Already four countries, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are in the beginning stages of severe famine with several others slipping into food insecurity and malnutrition.  

"This points up the critical importance of food aid," continued Hanks.  "The U.S. government is facing budget cuts in this area yet USA Rice is working hard to preserve this program because these programs are good for our industry and they're the right, humanitarian thing to do.  And now that fortification technology has been officially approved, fortified rice has been recognized as a superior, cost-effective food that can provide relief from hunger, address nutritional deficiencies, and is already well accepted by beneficiaries."

WASDE Report Released 
WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. 2016/17 rice supply and demand estimates are unchanged this month.  The all rice marketing year average price is also unchanged with the midpoint of the range at $10.50 per cwt.  Medium-and short-grain prices are raised slightly. Global rice production is minimally increased to 480.4 million tons with Brazil accounting for all of the increase.  World exports are modestly reduced as lower exports by Australia, India, and Vietnam are only partially offset by increases for Brazil and China.  Global use is fractionally raised this month, resulting in projected ending stocks declining to 117.7 million tons, which is still the highest level since 2001/02.

Read the full report here

Poinsett Rice & Grain acquires Ritter Grain Services

March 8, 2017 - by Eric Schroeder
Description: Grain harvest

MARKED TREE, ARKANSAS, U.S. — Poinsett Rice & Grain, Inc. has acquired the Grain Services operations of Ritter Agribusiness located in Marked Tree, Arkansas, U.S. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Description: Ritter Agribusiness_Kevin Wright_president_Photo courtesy of Ritter Agribusiness
Kevin Wright, president of Ritter Agribusiness.
“We’re pleased that Poinsett Rice & Grain, a family-owned, Arkansas-based business has taken over the Marked Tree grain operation and that all of Ritter’s grain services employees in Marked Tree have transitioned to Poinsett Rice & Grain,” said Kevin Wright, president of Ritter Agribusiness. “We’ve had a great working relationship with Poinsett Rice & Grain for many years and we believe they will be great partners for us and our producers as Ritter continues to serve the Delta agriculture community.”
Ritter Agribusiness owns 32,000 acres of Delta farmland, oversees the management of another 16,000 acres, and is a partner in a cotton gin and warehouse operation. The company has leased a grain facility in Otwell, Arkansas, U.S., since 2013. Ritter said the lease on the Otwell location expires at the end of March, at which point the property owner will reassume control of the facility.
“Delta farming is part of who we are and it is deeply embedded in our company history,” Wright said. “We remain committed to the agriculture industry and to the Marked Tree community. We’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”
With the acquisition, Poinsett Rice & Grain now owns and operates six storage facilities as well as a river port and a brown rice mill. The Waldenburg, Arkansas, U.S.-based company ships crops via truck, barge, rail and vessel and offers the following products for domestic and export markets: long grain rough rice, medium grain rough rice, long grain brown rice, medium grain brown rice, soybeans, corn and wheat.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to continue to grow our business as we serve Northeast Arkansas farmers and Arkansas agriculture as a whole,” said Ryan Carwell, vice-president of Poinsett Rice & Grain. “The acquisition of the Marked Tree facility gives our customers another marketing option that will prove beneficial to their businesses. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.{87CAD77B-5DA5-40F5-A212-CAFBD8930097}&cck=1

2017 International Temperate Rice Conference hits home with Griffith growers and stakeholders

9 Mar 2017, 11:26 a.m.
Description: growers and industry stakeholders have continued learning from the world’s best of the best as the International Temperate Rice Conference hit its third day on Wednesday.
The opportunities locally haven’t stopped with growers and have extended to other industry stakeholders many of whom are also grasping the chance to learn what they can while Griffith enjoys a position as the centre of the rice world.
Griffith man and Sinochem chemical rep Kevin Sternberg said for him the conference was a chance to catch up on the significant leaps and bounds the rice industry has made in his absence

DA seeks return to NFA Council to have more say in rice imports

March 08, 2017

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is seeking to re-assert its position in the National Food Authority (NFA) Council to have more say in rice importation, a proposal which it added President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved.

“We have been shut out. I asked the President if it is possible for the department to have a say on the NFA Council. He said yes,” Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters Monday.

“My desire is that the Department of Agriculture is heard and that we have access to data so we know how much rice is to be imported and when, so our input is heard,” said Mr. Piñol adding that “We are in the dark” in regard to the country’s current rice buffer stock.

The DA is part of the inter-agency Food Security Committee which recommends to the council whether the country will need to import rice based on available supply data. 

Mr. Piñol said that he will write a letter to the President to formalize his request.

He added that he disapproves of private-sector-led imports of rice, calling it ineffective in terms of maintaining buffer stocks and erodes the priority of locally-produced rice.

“If it is our purpose to come up with a buffer stock, it won’t work if the private sector does the importing because what is commonly done, when the imported rice comes, it is restocked, re-bagged and sold on the market,” he said.

“It does not help consumers if the price of imported rice is the same as commercial rice,” he added.

Mr. Piñol also said the NFA’s procurement is insufficient.

In addition, the government is set to review the relevance of the NFA, including those of the three other agencies in terms of its purpose and performance.

“[The President] directed [Finance] Secretary [Carlos G.] Dominguez [III] to head a group that will review the viability and relevance of these agencies in relation to these agencies to the food security program,” said Mr. Piñol.

Sought for comment, lawyer Maia Chiara Halmen Reina A. Valdez, undersecretary for the Office of the Cabinet Assistance System, welcomed the proposal of Mr. Piñol.

In a text message, Ms. Valdez addded: “The council shares Secretary Piñol’s protectionist stance towards our farmers We want NFA to be our farmers’ first customer. The old mindset is that we are the buyer of last resort. If we could increase the support price [it would be] much better?” she added.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III signed on May 5, 2014 Executive Order No. 165 which transferred the NFA along with the National Irrigation Administration; Philippine Coconut Authority; and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, to the Office of the President.

The DA was removed from the council at that point, which Mr. Piñol says violates Presidential Decree 1770, which gives the DA a seat on the council. -- Janina C. Lim

Commission rejects Italy demand for action on duty-free rice imports

Published: 07 March 2017 11:10 AM Description:
Rice production in the EU is in danger of being abandoned completely if the bloc continues to allow imports of duty-free rice from least developed countries, Italy has warned, but the European Commission disagrees that the market is being disrupted.

At the Farm Council in Brussels yesterday (March 7), the Italian delegation claimed countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar are increasing duty-free shipments of rice to the EU and are therefore pricing EU producers out of the market.
Under the so-called

Philippines' food security agency plans to import 250,000T rice soon

Reuters | Mar 7, 2017, 03.51 PM IST
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 Thailand.
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.
(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Nigeria Customs impounds 23,000 bags of imported rice Description: Nigeria Customs impounds 23,000 bags of imported rice

The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, has seized 23,000 bags of 50 kilogramme of imported parboiled rice.
Importers of the product are believed to owe the Federal Government N149.5m in import duty.
The Public Relations Officer of the command, Jerome Attah, stated this in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement quoted the Controller of the command, Comptroller Haruna Mamudu, as saying that its action was in conformity with the law of Nigeria.
He enjoins Nigerians to see smuggling as a crime which threatens national development.

Two persons convicted of importing rice without licence

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      ​A 48-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman were each fined $2,500 today (March 8) at Fanling Magistrates' Courts for importing rice without a licence, in contravention of the Reserved Commodities (Control of Imports, Exports and Reserve Stocks) Regulations
Customs officers intercepted an incoming private vehicle at Lok Ma Chau Control Point on January 1 and found on board the vehicle 11 packs of rice, each weighing 25 kilograms. The total quantity of the rice involved was 275kg. The 48-year-old male driver and the 48-year-old female passenger were arrested.    Under the Reserved Commodities (Control of Imports, Exports and Reserve Stocks) Regulations, it is an offence to import into and export from Hong Kong rice except under an import or export licence issued by the Director-General of Trade and Industry.
No licence will be required for rice imported into or exported from Hong Kong in the personal luggage of a person solely for his own consumption or as gifts in an amount not exceeding 15kg. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for one year

High oil prices, more expensive rice to put pressure on inflation

Description: Photo: Motorists fill up at a gas station in Manila.
Filipinos should brace for higher commodity prices in the next few months due to more expensive crude oil and rice, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said on Tuesday.
Neda Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said these factors, plus the depreciation of the peso—which would make imports more expensive—would affect inflation.“Risks to the inflation outlook appear to be tilted to the upside. This could drive inflation toward the higher end of the target,” Pernia said.
Pernia added the National Food Authority (NFA) memorandum, which did not extend the arrival of rice imports under the minimum access volume (MAV) program, will also have a “significant” impact on food prices. The deadline for MAV rice imports was set on February 28.This means that after February 28, Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) senior research fellow Roehlano Briones said, the private sector will no longer be allowed to import rice.
Briones added the impact on rice prices will depend on how fast the NFA will be able to procure rice.
Any increase in rice price will ultimately affect food and nonfood prices nationwide. This will particularly have significant impact on the poor.  According to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), rice accounts for 30.6 percent of the total food expenditure of the poorest 20 percent of households, based on the 2012 Family Income and Expenditure Survey.
“[It will] depend on how fast the NFA can do the procurement,” Briones said. “[But] there seems to be enough stocks. [It] also depends on scheduled import arrivals and harvest season.” In February the country’s inflation rate spiked to 3.3 percent, the highest since November 2014, when inflation rate reached 3.7 percent. This brought average inflation in the first two months of the year to 3 percent, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The Neda said the increase was largely due to hikes in rice and other food prices. There was also an increase in nonfood items.
Pernia said rice, meat, fish and vegetables propped up the food subgroup inflation rate to 4.3 percent in February from January’s 3.6 percent. The Neda said rice prices increased because of low inventories. It said rice stocks fell by 17.9 percent in January, due to the contraction in palay production in the fourth quarter of 2016.
There were also price increases in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels that drove the nonfood subgroup inflation rate to 2.5 percent in February 2017, from January’s 2 percent.
“The risks to inflation that we see on the external side include increase in the price of oil and the depreciation of peso,” Pernia said.
Inflation in Metro Manila went up by 3.6 percent in February 2017. Inflation in the previous month was posted at 3 percent and in February 2016, 0.1 percent.
The increase in commodity prices in Areas Outside the National Capital Region reached 3.2 percent in February 2017

N FA mulls 800,000 MT rice imports

 (The Philippine Star) | 
This comes after the NFA decided to reject the extension of the private sector-led importation under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme. File photo
MANILA, Philippines - State-run National Food Authority (NFA) is mulling the importation of around 800,000 metric tons (MT) of rice via government-to-government scheme that will serve as the country’s buffer stock in preparation for the start of the lean months.
This comes after the NFA decided to reject the extension of the private sector-led importation under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme.
In a briefing yesterday, NFA administrator Jason Aquino said importation would cover 250,000 MT as standby authority and another 550,000 MT for the lean months which starts in July and ends in September.
“Buffer stock of the NFA is short. By the end of June, we will be short of three days that’s why we are pushing for the approval of the 250,000 MT importation,” Aquino said.
It would be recalled that the Food Security Committee approved 500,000 MT of rice imports last year, half of which had been already awarded to Thailand and Vietnam.
The remaining half was not utilized due to oversupply of the grains in both government and private warehouse because of less than expected impact of the prolonged drought. “We need to beef up supply. If we get hit by typhoons, we might not be able to support the needs of the local government units. We might run out of stocks,” Aquino said.
“We will ask again for the implementation of that because it was already approved. We need to utilize by June this year the remaining standby volume to cover the gap in our 15-day buffer stock requirement,” he added.
The 250,000 MT of rice are targeted to arrive by June, Aquino said.Apart from the 250,000 MT, the NFA will also propose the importation of another 550,000 MT of rice, which would cover the higher buffer stock requirement for the lean months.
“Bidding for that (550,000 MT) would come later [after the arrival of the 250,000 MT],” he said.
The NFA is mandated to maintain a food security reserve that is good for at least 15 days at any given time.
By July 1, which marks the onset of the lean season for rice, the NFA must have at least a 30-day buffer stock to meet the requirements of victims of calamities and emergencies.
Current rice inventory is about 2.6 million MT, 1.26 million MT of which is held by households, 948,000 MT in commercial warehouses and 400,000 MT in NFA warehouses.
However, the NFA chief admitted he has yet to discuss  the proposed volume to be imported with the interagency NFA Council.Meanwhile, Aquino welcomed the probe that will be conducted against him following allegations he and other NFA officials were turning government-led importations into a cash cow.
“I will not fail our President. I will continue to do my job to the best I can. Accusations against me are wrong and malicious. I welcome any investigation from any agency of the government,” Aquino said.
The Office of the Cabinet Secretary under Leoncio Evasco Jr. has accused Aquino and deputy administrator Ludovico Jarina of connivance for undertaking actions without the approval of the NFA council.
Aquino is now facing serious disciplinary sanctions over his repeated defiance of the NFA Council’s decision to extend rice importation under the MAV scheme.
The MAV refers to the volume of a specific agricultural product that is allowed to import with a lower tariff as a commitment of the Philippines under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of the World Trade Organization.
The annual MAV importation is being shouldered by the private sector.
The NFA council is composed of Evasco and representatives of the NFA, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Department of Finance, Department of Trade and Industry and National Economic and Development Authority

NFA estimates rice import requirement at 800,000 MT

March 09, 2017

THE National Food Authority (NFA)is looking to import around 800,000 metric tons (MT) of rice this year under a government-to-government arrangement to cover the lean months in the third quarter.

Workers unload sacks of rice at a warehouse of the National Food Authority. -- AFP

Citing “critical” stock levels of the staple grain in government warehouses, NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino said that, as of March 8, inventory in government warehouses was 400,000 MT, good for about 13 days. Stocks have thus fallen below the 15-day buffer stock the agency is mandated to maintain.

“If we are to maintain a 30-day buffer, more or less we will need 800,000 metric tons,” he said in Filipino. Asked if that quantity will be satisfied by imports, he said “Yes, so we can satisfy the 30-day buffer stock.”

“Other regions and provinces are at critical supple levels,” he added. “Some places will have very tight supply by April and May,” Mr. Aquino said in a Wednesday news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Quezon City. He was citing reports from NFA regional directors across the country.

“By end of June, the NFA’s buffer stock will be short three days. That’s why we are pushing for the approval of the 250,000 MT importation... We need to utilize by June this year the remaining standby volume to cover the gap in our 15-day buffer stock requirement,” he added.

However, as the July to September period covers the lean months during which the state-run agency is required to maintain a 30-day buffer stock, Mr. Aquino said that this may translate to an 800,000 MT requirement, making more imports necessary beyond the approved standby authority.

Asked if Mr. Aquino will propose the importation of the 800,000 MT volume to the NFA Council, he replied in the positive, adding that the arrival of a portion of these imports, specifically the remaining 250,000 MT standby authority, is intended for before the lean months start.

In a text message yesterday, NFA Spokesperson Marietta J. Ablaza said that the 250,000 MT of rice is proposed to arrive April or May “to have ample time to position the stocks before onset of lean supply months.”

Last year, the inter-agency NFA Council approved the importation of 500,000 MT of rice under a government-to-government scheme, giving the agency standby authority in preparation for last year’s El Niño.

Of this total, only 250,000 MT has been activated with the top exporting countries, Vietnam and Thailand, clinching the bid. 

The remaining portion, however, has not been shipped due to sufficient stocks of rice in both government and private warehouses when the dry spell proved to be less severe than expected.

As early as December, NFA proposed the importation of the 250,000 MT, citing an expected shortfall in rice production due to typhoons Karen, Lawin, and Nina which hit the country last quarter.

The NFA Council did not approve the proposal amid the lack of endorsement by the inter-agency National Food Security Committee chaired by the National Economic Development Authority, which recommends to the council whether the country will need to import, based on rice inventory data. -- Janina C. Lim


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