Thursday, March 16, 2017

16th March,2017 daily global,regional and local rice news by riceplus magazine

Clear rice policy

The current dilemma facing the National Food Authority (NFA) and the interagency NFA Council (NFAC) concerning rice imports are symptomatic of what has been ailing the Philippine government when it comes to its economic policies, particularly those that affect the farm sector. Members of the NFAC, including its ex-oficio Chairman Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr., have announced that the government is not keen on importing the buffer stock of the food agency. To beef up the NFA’s rice inventory for the lean months, when farmers do not harvest rice because typhoons usually hit the country from July to September, the NFAC said the government should expand its procurement program instead of buying rice from abroad. The NFAC said private-sector imports under the so-called minimum access volume (MAV) scheme would also prop up Philippine rice inventory in the coming months.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the NFA have countered that importing the requirement of the government for buffer-stocking purposes should not be left solely in the hands of the private sector. The DA had even warned that local consumers would be left at the mercy of private traders who can dictate domestic prices. Unscrupulous traders, the agency warned, could make rice unaffordable, which would be disastrous to many poor Filipinos who consume more of the staple to fill their stomachs because they cannot afford more expensive protein sources, such as pork or chicken.
While the government’s plan to increase its purchase of palay from farmers is a welcome development, the NFA’s annual procurement has not even exceeded 1 million metric tons (MMT). In 2008 amid the global rice crisis, the government wanted to buy more palay from farmers to encourage them to plant the crop. The government wanted more farmers to go into planting rice after it had difficulties importing the buffer stock needed by the food agency in 2008 because of limited stocks, which resulted in price spikes. It also did not help that the country’s annual paddy rice output is usually short by 1 MMT. As an incentive, the support price of the NFA was raised by P1 to P17 per kilogram. Farmers, however, complained that they find it difficult to sell to the NFA because of the agency’s “stringent” guidelines in its palay procurement.
Also, despite the existence of the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice for two decades, the cost of producing rice remains high in the Philippines. Filipino farmers cannot compete head to head with their counterparts in Vietnam and Thailand—where Manila usually sources NFA’s buffer stock. The QR on rice—a trade privilege allowed by the World Trade Organization—has been extended twice. The extensions signaled the Philippines’s resolve to become sufficient in rice and reduce its purchases from abroad. Unfortunately, this never happened, because the government could not decide whether it would just import cheap rice or pour huge resources into the local rice sector. There were economists and bureaucrats who have advocated for more rice importation, as this would not cost so much. But there were also those who made a pitch for “self-sufficiency” due to climate change and the possibility that the 2008 rice crisis may be repeated.
The Duterte administration now has a unique opportunity to provide clarity regarding the government’s rice policy. The QR on rice would lapse on June 30 but until now, the government has yet to say whether it would allow more imports or it would prefer to spend as much as P400 billion in two years to “prepare” rice farmers. The government should bear in mind that unclear and vague policies would only hurt the poor, who live in rural areas.

CSO in soup over Rs 7.26 cr waiver to rice millers

March 15 2017
Description: CSO in soup over Rs 7.26 cr waiver  to rice millers
Jajpur: The Managing Director of Orissa State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (OSCSC) Wednesday sought an explanation from the district civil supplies officer (CSO) Kushal Majhi for waiving security deposit to the tune of Rs 7.26 crore to the rice millers. 
The CSO had been in trouble for waiving Rs 6 crore to six rice mills during 2015-16 fiscal. 
OSCSC MD Niranjan Nayak in his letter indicated the violation of norms saying as per their milling capacity the millers have paid Rs 7.26 cr less towards security deposit. Besides, five custom millers who had collected paddy during last procurement season, have not delivered a single grain of rice, Nayak marked in the letter and asked CSO Majhi to respond on these issues within a week.
On the other hand, it was alleged that violation of norms by the CSO is a regular affair since the action of OSCSC is limited to serving of show cause notices and framing charges. 
According to reports, the corporation failed to reimburse rice worth Rs 4 crore from Savitri Industries, a rice mill of the district due to the indifferent attitude of supply officials. The mill owner cleverly shifted the paddy consignment to another rice mill owned by him in Keonjhar district before the mill was confiscated by a bank, it was learnt. 
It may be noted that Savitri Industries was exempted from paying security deposits of Rs 3.34 cr during 2015-16 fiscal. The corporation framed charges against CSO Majhi, two other officers Prahlad Chandra Sethy and Biswajit Mishra over the irregularities but no concrete action was taken against them. 
 The collection of paddy has been extremely discouraging this fiscal due to undue favour shown to rice millers and a step-motherly attitude towards the farmers, alleged paddy growers. 
OSCSC has drawn flak from several quarters over inordinate delay in collection of paddy and waiver of security deposits to millers. When contacted, CSO Majhi said measures have been taken to accelerate paddy collection and he would respond to the departmental letter.

Govt saves $5m daily from ban on rice, wheat imports

The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe yesterday in Kano said the policy on the ban of importation of rice and wheat has enabled the country to save $5 million daily. Description: Govt saves $5m daily from ban on rice, wheat imports
Chief Ogbe, who spoke in Garun Baba village in Kano during this year’s wheat farm harvest ceremony, said the importation of rice, wheat and some other cereal crops through land borders, as well the raising of tariffs on them, have been saving the nation $5 million daily.“The tariff increase introduced in December last year saw the import duty on rice increased from 10 to 60 per cent in an effort to increase local production of the product,” he said.
Chief Ogbe added that the policy option has created wealth for local farmers and those in the farm produce value chain.“The rice you grow, the wheat you grow is saving Nigeria a lot of money. Before now we were spending N5 billion a day importing rice from Thailand. Now that money is in the hands and pocket of farmers in Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and other parts of the country. “That is why farmers are getting richer; before now, the money was going to some other places and the poverty was coming here, that era is gone,” he noted.
He said the figure represents the money being spent on the importation of these farm produce before the ban on food importation and tariff increase by the government.
Chief Ogbe commended Kano State government and the farmers for the rice, wheat and other food programme saying it has expelled recession from the state and supplied food to needy states across the federation.
“I’m proud of you and thank you for all your effort. I know if we give you the right support as we are trying to do, you can feed the whole nation and there will be no hunger in Nigeria,” he added.
He said further production is being encouraged through reduction of price of fertiliser to as low as less than N6,000 per bag by the Federal Government via an arrangenment with the Moroccan government.On herdsmen/farmer clashes and cattle rustling, the minister said grazing reserves are being created across the federation fitted with accommodation, human and veterinary clinics, water, schools among others to stop herdsmen from roaming about,
“Similarly, the good news is that 3,000 Civil Defense operatives are being trained by the Nigeria army to combat issues of cattle rustling perpetrated on those rearing cattle by hoodlums,” he noted


 MARCH 15, 2017
The rice industry’s premier research showcase, the Rice Field Day, was hosted at ‘Old Coree’ near Jerilderie on Thursday.It was attended by more than 350 rice growers and agribusiness professionals.
The theme for 2017 was ‘Tradition, Technology, Productivity – A Balancing Act’.
Participants said the event was beneficial to their business and reflected the importance of continual innovation in the rice industry.
The field day, designed to showcase the latest in rice research and technological advancements in rice growing, for the second year running had a business and innovation forum.
According to Rice Research & Development Committee chairman Ian Mason, the event was structured to reflect the importance of the industry’s R&D program for grower profitability.
‘‘Some of the highlights this year at the field day included the latest information on rice R&D, innovation, new perspectives on agriculture and a SunRice grower update,’’ he said.
‘‘R&D topics such as the evolution to aerobic rice and remote sensing for nitrogen management were covered throughout the morning’s field visits and proved to be of interest.
‘‘This is a very important date for rice growers every year and this year we had a fantastic range of speakers to assist Australian rice growers to be smarter farmers and better equipped to make decisions, both in the paddock and the office.’’
One of the day’s presenters, Department of Primary Industries research agronomist Brian Dunn, spoke of remote sensing for nitrogen management.
‘‘The day was a great opportunity to interact with growers and discuss some of the innovative uses growers can use drones for.
‘‘The use of drones and remote sensing in agriculture is promising many benefits, but it is important that their use can provide increased productivity and profitability in the rice industry.’’
Following the field tour and business forum, participants heard from SunRice CEO Rob Gordon and chairman Laurie Arthur.
Mr Gordon outlined global market conditions. Despite downward global trends, he indicated SunRice pricing has held relatively well.
Participants then had the opportunity to enjoy the social aspects of the day viewing the displays from resellers and industry groups.
A cooking demonstration of a simple, healthy and quick Mediterranean chicken with rice and quinoa by television cook Zoe Bingley-Pullin was also enjoyed by the large crowd.
The number of people attending the field day demonstrated the passion and commitment growers have to the rice industry.The positivity of growers was evident through the lines of questions and interactions with presenters and fellow growers.This year the Rice Industry Field Day was held in conjunction with the International Temperate Rice Conference, with many international guests attending the Field Day and Sundowner Dinner.
‘‘International guests enjoyed both the International Temperate Rice Conference and the Rice Industry Field Day,’’ Mr Mason said.‘‘The Sundowner Dinner was a great opportunity for conference delegates, industry members and rice growers to further socialise and was enjoyed by all who attended.’
Lighthizer Survives Confirmation Hearing, Reiterates Importance of Agriculture for U.S. Trade 
 March 15, 2017

 Robert Lighthizer (left)
and Senator Bob Dole who introduced him in the Senate hearing
By Peter Bachmann

WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Finance held the confirmation hearing for Robert Lighthizer, President Trump's nominee to the position of U.S. Trade Representative.

Lighthizer spent more than an hour and a half under scrutiny by Members of the Committee with the majority of questions aimed at the importance of preserving agriculture's bounty due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and working out alternative trade deals in Asia following the demise of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In response to concerns over NAFTA renegotiation and potential harmful effects to U.S. agriculture markets, Lighthizer said, "We have to be careful not to lose what we gained.  I do believe it can be done.  I'm not suggesting that it will be easy, but I do believe it can be done."

Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) told Lighthizer, "If we do not sell agriculture commodities over the next several months, you, sir, will have a problem on your hands.  We all will have a problem on our hands."

"I expect we're going to have very rigorous enforcement," Lighthizer told Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), adding that President Trump had picked him for the job "in part because of my enforcement background.  I expect to bring as many actions as are justified, both at the [World Trade Organization] and in our bilateral agreements," he added.

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) raised concerns on the horizon from the rice industry over the proposed renegotiation of NAFTA.  "Products say for example, rice, are actually advantaged under NAFTA so it actually benefits them.  What would you say to my rice farmer that's concerned that there will be retaliation [from Mexico] and they'll now be competing against Vietnam that may have a state-owned enterprise selling rice at a discount relative to what our rice producers can do?" said Cassidy.

Lighthizer responded by saying, "I hope we can renegotiate NAFTA in a way that benefits both countries and doesn't put agriculture in a precarious position."

Also important for U.S.-grown rice, Lighthizer stressed that, "Japan, of course, is a primary target for increased access for agriculture."

The next steps for Lighthizer's confirmation by the Committee and then the full Senate are still unclear.  Democrats on the Committee are requesting a waiver for Lighthizer's prior business interests (required for his confirmation to proceed) and demanding that it be packaged with an unrelated bill on coal miner rights.

Mekong Delta takes urgent steps to prevent drought
VietNamNet Bridge – Last year’s drought devastated crops and caused serious losses for farmers in the Mekong Delta. This year, authorities are restructuring crops, building dykes and erecting sluices in anticipation of continuing weather disasters.  
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New initiative: Local residents collect products from the mangrove-shrimp model project.
The official attitude of provincial authorities in the Mekong Delta region this year could be deemed “forewarned is forearmed”.
Authorities are determined to prevent a recurrence of the disaster that struck last year after the worst drought in 90 years, along with serious saline intrusion, affected the entire region.
This year, the Delta is storing as much fresh water as possible. Dykes have been upgraded, sluices erected, and crops restructured. Master plans on climate-change adaptation are being reviewed and adjusted.
Predictions are that saline intrusion will be at a higher level this year in comparison with previous years. But it will be lower and less serious than last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Irrigation General Department.
Salty water is already beginning to enter the Delta and will increase by early March.
Kien Giang Province in the southwestern area of the Delta has taken precautionary measures by investing more than VND40 billion (US$1.8 million) to upgrade 276 dykes and build sluices on the Kien River and Cut Canal.
Another VND20 billion ($900,000) has been spent on drilling more wells to ensure fresh water for domestic use.
The province has also worked closely with the neighbouring province of An Giang on “a proper plan to use water resources”, according to Nguyen Van Tam, the director of Kien Giang’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department.
Authorities have made careful plans for the winter-autumn crop, based on the availability of water resources in different localities.
In Bac Lieu Province, hot weather and salinity have been occurring since early February.
The province, working with the neighbouring provinces of Ca Mau and Soc Trang, is now operating 100 major sluices to adjust the usage level of fresh water.
More than 40 temporary dykes have been built, and farmers have been warned to preserve fresh water.
In an attempt to prevent saline intrusion and preserve soil quality, the entire region has also reduced the number of rice crops planted from three to two each year. The extra time will be used for vegetable cultivation.
Tien Giang in the coastal region, for example, has already shifted 2,500 hectares of land to vegetable cultivation.
Master plan
Opinions about a master plan for the Delta to cope with climate change vary among experts, but all agree that it must be adjusted and completed as soon as possible.
Dr Tang Duc Thang of the Southern Institute of Water Resource Research said: “The Delta needs a long-term master plan to cope with drought and salinity, as it is one of several places in the world that will suffer the most from climate change.”
This year, the amount of fresh water in the Mekong River is estimated to be 15-35 per cent lower in comparison with previous years, according to a report from the General Department of Irrigation.
“Water-related development in the Mekong upstream has already affected agricultural production and daily life, and it will have a more serious impact in the future,” Thang said.
“The government should give priority to investing in salinity-control sluices along the Tien and Hau rivers and modernising irrigation by using automatic measurements and connecting independent irrigation systems to a larger system,” he added.
To cope with changes in weather, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has made a 2016-20 action plan, which links agricultural production and rural development in the Mekong Delta.
Under the plan, rice is now mainly cultivated in the Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) sub-region, which includes the provinces of Long An, Dong Thap and Tien Giang.
Coconuts and pomelos are grown in a sub-region traversed by the Tien and Hau rivers in the provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh and Ben Tre. And shrimp are farmed mostly in the sub-region of the Ca Mau peninsula, which includes Soc Trang, Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Kien Giang provinces.
As part of the plan, rice and catfish are now the major products in the sub-region of Long Xuyen, which includes the provinces of Hau Giang, An Giang, Can Tho and Kien Giang.
Tran Cong Thang, deputy head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that while the government had taken action to cope with climate change, more solutions were needed.
“Viet Nam has built more irrigation dykes and sluices, enhanced measurements and warnings, provided more financial and technical support, changed timetables for crop farming, shifted farm land from rice to vegetables, and planted new rice seeds resilient to drought and salinity,” he said.  
“But all of these measures have limitations and we still lack long-term, sustainable solutions for the region,” he added.
However, Dr Andrew Wyatt, the Mekong Delta programme manager at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Viet Nam, told Viet Nam News that the Mekong Delta Plan had already covered many of the most pressing issues.
The plan was created in 2013 by Viet Nam and the Netherlands under a Strategic Partnership Arrangement on Climate-Change Adaptation and Water Management.
“The Mekong Delta Plan has carefully noted all of the climate-change impacts that would affect the region over the long term, and all suggestions have been properly given under the 100-year plan,” Wyatt said.
The master plan is currently being reviewed and adjustments will be made, according to Wyatt.
Salinity: friend or foe?
“I think Vietnamese authorities and local communities should change their views and consider salinity as an opportunity to develop in a new way,” Wyatt said, adding that agricultural practices could be shifted to take advantage of saline conditions.
Before Viet Nam’s reunification in 1975, the Mekong Delta region had no dyke systems to keep fresh water.
“In the past, farmers knew how to cope with salinity, but now, after a long time of being protected, they don’t know how to deal with it,” he added.
Wyatt said that warnings about serious drought and salinity from local authorities to local farmers had been ignored last year.
“Local authorities should provide farmers with useful software that will help them prepare for climate change,” he said.
Over the years, the extensive irrigation system in the delta helped Viet Nam become one of the biggest rice exporters in the world. However, changes to that system have occurred.
“In many places, like the southernmost province of Ca Mau, local farmers destroyed irrigation systems and dykes so they could pump salt water into their shrimp farms," he said. "So now, it’s time to carefully review agricultural production in the region in the context of climate change."
Wyatt also pointed out that in the past, only land in the middle of the Delta region could grow fruit because it was not threatened by flooding or saline intrusion at that time.
“Now, fruit-growing areas have expanded and salinity could affect orchards because fruit needs several years to grow,” he said.
Mangrove-shrimp farming model
One climate-adaptation project, a new integrated mangrove-shrimp farming model, has been highly successful in the coastal region of the Delta.
Introduced in Ca Mau, it has helped farmers earn more income, while preserving mangrove swamps that aquaculture often destroys.
Many shrimp farmers in the past, for example, cut down mangroves to build ponds for shrimp, which thrive in salty water. This caused coastal erosion and increased saline intrusion in inland farming areas.
The mangrove-shrimp project, organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Netherlands Development Organisation, was first set up in Ca Mau Province’s Nhung Mien Protective Forest with 1,075 households.
The project goal is to help local shrimp farmers become more profitable by combining farms with protected mangrove forests, thus increasing profitability and sustainability while also enhancing coastal resilience to climate change.
Although shrimp farming is one of Viet Nam’s leading export-related activities, it is also the leading cause of mangrove loss in a country with a long, densely populated coastline vulnerable to tropical storms and rising sea levels.
The sustainability of the shrimp farming business and the conservation of mangroves are both national priorities.
The mangrove-shrimp project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
It focuses on a group of around 2,700 farmers who use an integrated model of farming shrimp in mangrove forests in which each household has to earmark 60 per cent of the land for mangroves.
While farmers may have significantly lower yields per hectare than intensive shrimp farms, the integrated model results in a highly diverse output, lower costs and much lower risk of crop failure.
Not only is this model resilient to disease, but it is also stable and profitable, with incomes significantly higher than from traditional farming.
Households receive training that allows them to acquire certification in raising shrimp without industrial food or chemicals. Farmers also learn how to manage household waste and protect forests.
“With the model, local residents can earn a sustainable living while mangroves are preserved and protect the coast,” Wyatt said.
Underground water is also protected as the mangroves reduce water evaporation.
“If you can protect underground water, you can help stop ground depression, and right now, the Mekong Delta is expected to sink around 10 millimetres each year because of excessive use of underground water,” Wyatt said. 
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Natural disaster: Viet Nam’s worst drought in 90 years destroyed many crops in the Mekong Delta last year. - VNS Photo Nguyen Luan

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Climate change: Rice ruined by drought. - VNS Photo Nguyen Luan

Description: Mekong Delta, prevent drought, weather disasters, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
Green growth: A mangrove-shrimp model in Ca Mau Province. -- VNS Photo Hoang Nam

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Lack of water: Local residents dig a deep hole to find fresh water. - VNS Photo Nguyen Luan

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Hard times: Little water was available for daily use last year during the drought. -- VNS Photo Nguyen Luan

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Saline solution: New constructions are built to prevent saline intrusion. - VNS Photo Nguyen Luan

By MindaNation
The long cherished dream to produce enough rice for the Philippines’ growing population could be realised at the latest by Year 2020, but that is only if government will invest to modernise the industry.
During the recent Rice Derby held in M’lang, North Cotabato, members of the country’s Rice Board and experts from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and PhilRice agreed that rice sufficiency is attainable in three years with the needed support and intervention from the Philippine Government.
In fact, when funded and managed well, the country’s Rice Sector could even produce more than the local demand and could possibly export rice to big consumers like China, the Middleast and the African Continent.
The Technical Working Group on Philippine Rice Sufficiency Program which I ordered to be organised on Wednesday during the meeting of the National Rice Board, scientists from IRRI and PhilRice and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is now preparing a presentation for President Rody Duterte and the Cabinet during the next Cabinet meeting to outline the strategy on how to produce enough rice for the 105-million Filipinos.
The Technical Working Group, whose designated head is Dr. Jauhar Ali, a senior scientist at IRRI, initially listed five basic interventions and support needed to achieve Rice Sufficiency:
1. Introduction and Adoption of Hybrid Rice Seeds which could double the current national average production of 4-metric tons per hectare per harvest.

Of the estimated 3.9-million hectares of rice farms all over the country, only 500,000 hectares are planted to Hybrid Rice Seeds which produce an average of 6-metric tons per harvest per hectare.
The TWG is targeting an additional area of 1-million hectares to be planted to Hybrid Rice Seeds in the next three years which theoretically are expected to yield an additional 4-million metric tons of Paddy Rice per year.
With a milling recovery of 65%, the added production could yield 2.6-million metric tons of rice which is more than enough to cover the national shortage of 1.8-million metric tons every year.
2. Implementation of a massive small-scale irrigation systems establishment like the recently launched Solar-Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) which could be built in just one month and could irrigate between 50 to 100 hectares per set up.
Along with the Shallow Tube Well and the Small Water Impounding Programs, the SPIS could easily irrigate at least 200,000 hectares every year for the next five years with a budgetary requirement of an estimated P20-B every year.
At a growth rate of 1.9% per year, the Philippine population needs an additional irrigated area of 80,000 hectares every year to produce enough rice.

Last year, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) was only able to irrigate 10,000 hectares and the prospect of providing water to more areas appears bleak because of the long periods required to build big irrigation dams.
3. Support for Fertilization, either organic or inorganic, is vital to increasing the yield of Filipino rice farmers.
With the high and prohibitive price of fertilisers in the market, most Filipino farmers use very little soil nutrients and additives resulting in lower yield.
4. A National Farm Mechanization Program must be implemented nation-wide to make farming efficient and to prevent post-harvest losses.
Data provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization showed that up to 16% of the yield of rice farms is lost because of the absence of post-harvest facilities like harvesters, dryers and storage facilities.
All of these interventions were identified by the country’s outstanding rice farmers as the very critical factors in increasing their yield.
During a forum in the University of the Philippines Los Baños on July 6, 2016, the country’s six outstanding rice farmers said they were producing between 8 to 14 metric tons per hectare because they have access to Hybrid Seeds, Sufficient Irrigation Water, the Required Soil Nutrients and Pre-and-Post Harvest Machineries.
5. Easy and Accessible Credit Facility for the farmers to be able to respond to the needs for rice production.
Under the proposed Farmers and Fishermen’s Quick Credit Facility which has been proposed to Congress, Farmers and Fishermen should be provided with access to credit and financing without necessarily going through the rigorous process of filling up voluminous bank documents and submitting collaterals.
What is the cost of all of these interventions?
For Hybrid Seeds and Fertilization, an allocation of P50-B every year for the next three years as the roll over capital extended through non-collateralized credit will allow the farmers to have access to the finances they need to buy good seeds, fertilisers and farm inputs.
The farmers are not asking for dole-outs but a credit facility that they could access without having to go through the difficulty of accomplishing tedious bank requirements.
For Farm Mechanization, an annual budget of P50-B over the next three years, again through a non-collateralized loaning program which could be paid back by the farmers in at least 20 years.
For the Small Irrigation Projects, an annual budget of P20-B over the next five years to achieve the target of irrigating an additional 1-million hectares during the term of President Rody Duterte.
Is the budget being asked huge?
Maybe yes. But we have to ask ourselves, do we really like to provide enough food for the Filipino people?
To those who argue that it is cheaper to import rice, here is my take: The volume of rice traded every year is only 40-million metric tons and most of this comes from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and India.
With the threat of Climate Change, the question which we should ask ourselves is: What would happen if El Niño or other Climatic Hazards would hit these rice producing countries?
What would happen if the rice harvest of China, with its almost two billion population would fail?
The answer is: Rice Crisis.
We may have the money to buy but if there is no rice available in the international market, there would be food riot in the Philippines.There is only one solution: the Philippines must produce enough rice for its growing population.
We cannot take the risk in the face of Climate Change. This is a must.
#Changeishere! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers! #RiceSufficiencyAMust!
(Photo shows the recent visit to the Rice Derby area where 14 Hybrid Rice varieties are on trial in M’lang, North Cotabato taken by Al Jacalan, DA-AFID. The first photo shows the great difference in the number of grains between the Hybrid Rice (left) and the Inbred Rice.)

Vietnamese PM calls for reform on rice sector

Source: Xinhua   2017-03-15 22:23:08                 
HO CHI MINH CITY, March 15 (Xinhua) -- It is time to comprehensively reform rice production since the staple plays an irreplaceable role in Vietnam's agriculture, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Wednesday.
The prime minister chaired a conference in southern An Giang province to seek ways to develop the Vietnamese rice sector sustainably in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's rice hub, Vietnam News Agency reported.
In the next one or two decades, Vietnamese rice should bring about the best added values by satisfying general nutritious and medicinal demand and standards, the prime minister said.
He asked for the rice sector to launch a comprehensive reform by breakthrough solutions in terms of policies and development models. He suggested expanding the land ceiling limit for each farming household in an appropriate manner.
Rice farming land must be kept, but the cropping calendar and intercropping must be considered, the government leader said. The rice sector also needs to pay more attention to the domestic market of nearly 100 million people to prevent the domination of imported rice, he added.
The conference targeted that profit for rice growers in commercial rice production areas must account for at least 30 percent of the total revenue. The area of certified rice varieties should make up over 75 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2030. Post-harvest loss must be reduced to under 8 percent and the greenhouse gas emissions must be cut down by 10-20 percent from at present.

Vietnam earns US$27.3 bln from export in two months

Vietnam’s total export earnings hit US$13 billion in February, raising the total in the first two months of this year to US$27.3 billion, up 15.4% annually, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Description: vietnam earns us$27.3 bln from export in two months hinh 0Of the two-month figure, US$19.7 billion was contributed by foreign investment sector, including crude oil, marking a 16.8% increase while the remaining was from domestic sector, up 12.2%. The MoIT’s statistics showed that agro-forestry-fisheries earned US$3.2 billion in February, or 9.9% rise year-on-year, accounting for 11.4% of the total. 

Several commodities raked in less export revenues, including rice (21.4%), pepper (26.9%), cassava and its products (15.8%). 

Mineral and materials group saw a 49.2% surge to nearly US$0.7 billion, equivalent to 1.9% of the total. Meanwhile, processing industry group earned US$22 billion, up 1.5% year on year and making up 80.6% of the total. Only a few commodities suffered steep export prices such as pepper (21.1%) and ore and other minerals (48.4%). 

Notably, the US remained Vietnam’s largest importer with a two-month growth of 18.9%, or 21.8% of the country’s total shipment. It was followed by Asia, European Union, China and the Republic of Korea. 

According to experts from the MoIT’s Export-Import Department, the decrease in export volumes of agro-forestry-fisheries, minerals and materials shows that domestic exporters are facing increasingly intense competition from their Cambodian, Philippine, Bangladeshi and Pakistani rivals, pointing to the need to outline a long-term scheme to stabilise export capability. 

During the two months, the import of iron & steel wastages and nine-seater automobiles from ASEAN and India rose significantly due to a reduction of tariff imposed on ASEAN automobiles with fewer than nine seats from 40% to 30% as committed in the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, and steep discount of made-in-India car prices to compete with those from Thailand and Indonesia. 

The MoIT is embarking on a sustainable export development scheme, in which, specific measures are outlined to restructure the market, renew growth and improve competitiveness of export products. 

It will also accelerate trade promotion of goods of high competitiveness, expand export markets for key items and develop production to meet domestic and overseas demand, towards a more balanced trade

Vietnam rice export has not improved and is going to decline in the near future

 By khanhtam   
Description: Vietnam rice export has not improved and is going to decline in the near future
Vietnam’s rice export in the first two months of 2017 has not shown any sign of recovery when export volume and turnover continued to decrease in comparison with the same period in 2016. Rice export of Vietnam has been decreasing because of competition pressure and quality quarantine barriers in a number of major export markets.
Vietnam’s rice export decreased
According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam exported 407,000 tons of rice in February 2017, gaining USD 171 million. In the first 2 months of 2017, Vietnam exported 738,000 tons of rice (declining by 24% in comparison with the same period in 2016), gaining USD 314 million (declining by 25% in comparison with the same period in 2016).
Among rice export markets, China and the Philippines continue to be major rice export markets of Vietnam. In particular, export turnover of rice to China reached USD 113 million, rising by 51%. Similarly, export turnover of rice to the Philippines reached USD 78 million, rising by 37%.
However, this export increase has not offset the export decline in other markets. In detail, Vietnam’s rice export to Ghana declined by 82%; to Hong Kong declined by 55%; to Malaysia declined by 52%; to Singapore declined by 49%; and to Ivory Coast declined by 13%.
Vietnam has been facing difficulties in export markets
According to the representative of Vietnam Food Association (VFA), the reason for Vietnam’s rice export decline is that many countries tend to self-supply rice and limit rice import. Meanwhile, a number of countries have been developing other kinds of foods. As a result, Vietnam’s rice industry has been threatened.
Most recently, Vietnam Food Association predicted that Vietnam’s rice export in 2017 would continue to decline because Thailand was going to open its rice stockpile. Moreover, Vietnam rice export enterprises have to compete fiercely to get the opportunities to export rice to other countries.
At the end of February 2017, the Vietnam News Agency reported that in 2017, Indonesia would try to stabilize rice prices and allocate rice reasonably so as not to import rice.
In addition, emerging rice exporters including India are promoting the production, processing and export of rice. Earlier, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India stated that India would produce 108.86 million tons of rice in the 2016 – 2017 crop year. In 2016, India mainly exported non-basmati rice to African countries and high quality basmati rice to the Middle East. At this growth rate, India will become a rival of Vietnam in terms of rice exporting.
Description: In 2016, India mainly exported non-basmati rice to African countries and high quality basmati rice to the Middle East.

In 2016, India mainly exported non-basmati rice to African countries and high quality basmati rice to the Middle East.
Vietnam Food Association predicted that Vietnam could only export 5 million tons of rice in 2017. In 2016, statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs shows that rice export volume decreased by 27% to 4.8 million tons; and rice export turnover drcreased by 22% to USD 2.2 billion.

The quality of export rice

Notably, that Vietnam rice’s quality can’t meet the standards of rice importing countries is a reason making Vietnam’s rice export decline.According to Federation of European Rice Millers, the European Commission is preparing to issue the decision to lower the Maximum Residue Limit of tricyclazole contained in imported rice from 1mg/ kg to 0.01 mg/ kg. The official decision may be published in July 2017 and officially take effect 20 days later.

Prof. Vo Tong Xuan, agricultural expert, said that the EU market strictly required product quality, environmental standards, prestige of enterprises, and production process. Therefore, if Vietnam enterprises want to penetrate EU market, they need to have knowledge of this market to improve product quality

Sufficient number of outlets opened for procurement of paddy in Bihar

Patna, Mar 15 (UNI) Bihar Cooperative Minister Alok Mehta today said in state assembly 
that sufficient outlets for procurement of paddy had been opened across the state to enable 
the farmers to sell their produce and get reasonable price. 
Mr Mehta while replying to debate on budgetary demand of cooperative department for 
the financial year 2017-18 in the House, said the state government had made arrangement 
for procurement of paddy through 7,500 Primary Agriculture Credit Cooperative Society 
(PACS) to enable farmers to sell their produce at Minimum Support Price (MSP). 

"The successful operation of procurement centres opened by the state government could 
be gauged from the fact that price of paddy in open market is Rs 1350 per quintal", Mr Mehta 
said adding that provision had also been made for tillers to sell the paddy at the procurement 
The Minister said Land Possession Certificates were earlier required for farmers to sell 
their produce but relaxation had been made to enable the tillers to sell their produce as well. 
Payments were being made directly to farmers through RTGS/NEFT in their accounts, to 
avoid chances of irregularities, he added

Rice exports increase in this Fiscal year

March 14, 2017
Description: labourer unloading rice from a ship at Botahtaung Jetty. Photo: Phoe Khwar
The Ministry of Commerce announced yesterday that rice exports reached 1.5 million tonnes on March 3 in the 2016-2017 Fiscal year, an increase of 70,000 tonnes from the previous fiscal year.
“We suffered some losses last year due to natural disasters, but this fiscal year we did better,” said Permanent Secretary U Toe Aung Myint from Ministry of Commerce.
Myanmar exports the most rice to its neighbours China and Thailand through the border trade. Exports used to be done mainly by sea routes but starting in 2011 exports through the border became the preferred route.
“In the past we did 80 per cent of our exports by sea route, but after permission to trade through the border, use of the sea route declined. However there has been some increased trading by the sea route recently,” said U Toe Aung Myint.
The Ministry of Commerce announced that in the 2015-2016 fiscal year 21 per cent of exports were done by sea route while 79 per cent were done through the border. The highest export value was in the 2014-2015 fiscal year with 1.8 million tonnes of rice exported

Odd forecasts suggest El Nino may set in by July

Some global models seem to suggest that the tropical Pacific may relapse into an El Nino phase as early as July, when the South-West monsoon in India normally reaches its peak.
This comes after the previous monsoon proved indifferent to most parts of South India, which is now in the grip of a persistent drought.
Australian outlook

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), six of eight models it tracked suggested that El Nino thresholds may be reached by July.
But the Bureau sought to temper its outlook saying that forecast accuracy is low during this time of the year.
All eight models surveyed by the Bureau show steady warming of the central tropical Pacific Ocean over the next six months (covering the four-month-long Indian monsoon).
Giving an update, it said that currently, the Pacific is in a ‘neutral’ state (neither El Nino or La Nina). But model outlooks and recent warming in the Pacific mean there is an increased chance of El Nino.
The Bureau’s outlook is currently at El Nino ‘watch’, which means the likelihood of El Niño forming this year is around double the average chance at 50 per cent.
US model speak

Meanwhile, the US Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) is of the view that ‘neutral’ conditions in the Pacific may continue through at least spring 2017, with increasing chances of El Nino later.
Some dynamical model forecasts, including the NCEP CFSv2, anticipate an onset of El Ninolate in the spring (March-May 2017).
“Because of typically lower skill in forecasts made at this time of the year ... the forecaster consensus favors neutral phase during March-May with a 75 per cent chance,” the CPC said.
Thereafter, there are increasing odds for an El Nino toward the second half of this year (50- to 55 per cent chance from approximately July-December).
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University said dynamical models favor El Nino during the early summer, while statistical models favour a ‘neutral’ phase into autumn.

Rice basmati up on rising demand

Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,700, Basmati common new Rs 7,600-7,700, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 6,100-7,500, Permal raw Rs 2,275-2,300, Permal wand Rs 2,400-2,450, Sela Rs 3,100-3,200 and Rice IR-8 Rs 2,025-2,050, Bajra Rs 1,400-1,410, Jowar yellow Rs 1600-1650, white Rs 3,350-3,550, Maize Rs 1,540-1,550, Barley Rs 1,650-1,670

New Delhi, Mar 15 Rice basmati prices firmed up by Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today due to pick up in demand.
Bajra and maize also traded higher on increased offtake by consuming industries.
Traders said uptick in demand from retailers against restricted supplies from producing regions mainly led to the rise in rice basmati prices.
In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa-1121 variety moved up by Rs 100 each to Rs 7,600-7,700 and Rs 6,100-7,500 per quintal, respectively.
Other bold grains like, bajra and maize also went up by Rs 30 and Rs 20 to Rs 1,400-1,410 and Rs 1,540-1,550 per quintal, respectively.
Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal):
Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,450-2,750, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,920-1,930, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,930-1,960, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 260, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 260, Roller flour mill Rs 1,060-1,070 (50 kg), Maida Rs 1,140-1,150 (50 kg) and Sooji Rs 1,250-1,260 (50 kg).
Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,700, Basmati common new Rs 7,600-7,700, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 6,100-7,500, Permal raw Rs 2,275-2,300, Permal wand Rs 2,400-2,450, Sela Rs 3,100-3,200 and Rice IR-8 Rs 2,025-2,050, Bajra Rs 1,400-1,410, Jowar yellow Rs 1600-1650, white Rs 3,350-3,550, Maize Rs 1,540-1,550, Barley Rs 1,650-1,670.


by Dolapo Adelana
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Tuesday said the policy on the ban of importation of rice and wheat has enabled the country to save $5m daily.
Description: said this while speaking in Garun Baba village, Kano during this year’s wheat farm harvest ceremony.
“The tariff increase introduced in December last year saw the import duty on rice increased from 10 to 60 per cent in an effort to increase local production of the product,” he said.He added that the policy option has created wealth for local farmers and those in the farm produce value chain.“The rice you grow, the wheat you grow is saving Nigeria a lot of money. Before now we were spending $5m a day importing rice from Thailand. Now that money is in the hands and pocket of farmers in Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and other parts of the country.
“That is why farmers are getting richer; before now, the money was going to some other places and the poverty was coming here, that era is gone,” he noted.Ogbeh said the figure represents the money that was previously spent on the importation of these farm produce before the ban on food importation and tariff increase by the government.

Guyana to export rice to Mexico

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | 10:00 AM  
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyana has reached an agreement with Mexico allowing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to export duty-free an estimated 150,000 tonnes of rice and paddy to Mexico before yearend.The ministry of agriculture noted that on March 1, 2017, the Mexican government gazetted the authorisation to import 150,000 tons of rice and paddy, duty-free from Guyana before the end of December 2017.
Since 2015, Guyana has been seeking to enter the Mexican market following the collapse of the Venezuelan market with a delegation of grain producers and exporters recently participating in Expo ANTAD 2017, considered to be the largest trade fair for food retailers in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“The Guyana team also met with representatives from Commercial Mexicana and Soriana,” the release said, adding “these are some of the leading brands in food retailing in Mexico; they operate in excess of 650 supermarkets in more than 200 cities.”
Extension Manager at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRBD), Kuldip Ragnauth said that rice production will be higher this year.
 “I like to let the figures speak for themselves. We have already seen an increase in acres sown when compared to last year. So far we have recorded 225,000 acres as opposed to 180,000 acres for the same period of last year. Description:
“As a matter of fact, we had projected 210,000 acres to be sown for this crop, looking back at the weather impact on the spring crop for this year and last year,” Ragnauth was quoted in the statement by the ministry of agriculture

Mexico offers zero tariff for rice import
16 Mar 2017 at 04:00 1,319
 Thai rice on sale at a department store in Bangkok. Mexico offers tariff-free quota for long-grain white rice until end of the year to lower its food costs. Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
Thailand is expected to export 10,000 tonnes of long-grain white rice to Mexico soon after receiving a free import tariff quota from the Mexican government, says Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn.
Mrs Apiradi said Mexico recently allowed zero tariff for 150,000 tonnes of imported long-grain white rice from March 2 to Dec 31 this year, as its government seeks to lower the country's food costs and meet higher demand.
Apart from Thailand, the Mexico has also granted the zero tariff for long-grain white rice to Argentina, India, Italy, Uruguay, Vietnam and the US. The country's import tariff for rice is normally set at 20%.
Under the combined 150,000 tonnes this year, the Mexican government has set a maximum 10,000 tonnes per company to get free import tariff.Mexico's Ministry of Economy announced the quota for these countries on the Official Gazette recently, said Mrs Apiradi."The quota allocation will be done on first-come first-serve basis so Thai companies should moves fast to ensure they benefit from the quota," said Mrs Apiradi.
Exporters can ask to ship rice under the quota at the National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service (Senasica), which is the food and drugs authority of Mexico.The quota accounts for 13% of total Mexican demand for rice in 2016 of 1.12 million tonnes.Mexico relies heavily on imported rice. In 2016, its demand for imported rice rose by 7% from 2015 to almost a million tonnes, or 83% of total rice consumption last year.
The Mexican government has attempted to cope with the high demand over the past five years by promoting domestic rice plantation. Since then rice output per year has only risen by 8.5%.
In 2016, Thailand was the fourth largest long-grain white rice supplier to Mexico, with a 3% market share, following the US, Uruguay and Argentina.
The US share was as high as 45%, Uruguay 40% and Argentina 7.7% .
Last year, Thailand shipped a total of 7,690 tonnes of long-grain white rice to Mexico worth US$ 3.3 million, which was about 50% lower than 2015, both in terms of volume and value.The decrease of Thai rice exports in Mexico was mainly due to higher logistics costs than its rival countries.Mrs Apiradi said that the ministry has planned to promote Thai rice more aggressively through Mexican rice importers and retailers such as Costco Department Store which operates 37 branches in Mexico, and Walmart.
"Through these retailers, we hope to increase the presence of Thai rice among Latin American countries," said Mrs Apiradi.The Commerce Ministry anticipates Thai milled rice exports to reach 10 million tonnes this year, of which 5.2 million are expected to be sold in Africa, 2.2 million tonnes in Asia, 600,000 tonnes to the US, 400,000 tonnes to the euro zone, 360,000 tonnes to the Middle East and 210,000 tonnes to Oceania.
Rice sales through government- to-government deals (G2G) comprise deals with China, under which Thailand has agreed to deliver 100,000 tonnes per month this year. Further G2G deals are under discussions with Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Egypt.
Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general the Foreign Trade Department said the Commerce Ministry will lead the Thai delegation to Japan to meet rice exporters there in March 7-10.She added that the Thai delegation hopes to discuss the opportunities to export short-grain white rice to Japan before Japan's Crop Production Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries begins its annual rice import auction for 2017 in April until March 2018.
Thai rice shipments to Japan average more than 300,000 tonnes per year.In 2016, Japan imported 325,436 tonnes from Thailand, an increase of 15% from the year before.For the first month of this year, Japan has imported almost 46,000 tonnes of Thai rice, an increase of 37% from last year.

Asian Eating trends in Rice (Chawal),Pakistan an Indonesia and India Bharat Hindustan 
Rice News Ref Jang 15March 2017 The Jang Lahore Edition