Thursday, April 06, 2017

6th April,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Whopping increase in prices of tomatoes, potatoes, eggs and rice while wheat prices remain stable

ISLAMABAD – As the PML-N government entered the fourth year of its third stint under prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a massive increase in prices of tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, and rice was observed while wheat prices remained fixed.
According to the latest data rolled out by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, prices of commodities witnessed a mixed trend with price of wheat going down and price of tomatoes going up.
Change in prices from March 2016 to March 2017
If we delve into the details further, we realise that the price of wheat over a period of one year stretching from March 2016 to March 2017 saw a downward trend and it shed by 1.43 percent.
For average quality ‘gur’ the price went down by 1.62 percent while it went 4 percent down for sugar.
Likewise, wheat flour bag saw a 2.06 percent reduction in price and red chilli powder saw a 2.67 percent cut over a period of one year.
On the other hand, lentils which are utilised by a majority of people in the country also saw a downward drift as PML-N entered into the fourth year of governance.
For washed pulse masoor, the price went down by 10.86 percent while it went a bit further 17.97 percent for moong. The price of mash pulse saw a maximum fall and it decreased by 26.88 percent.
Contrary to the reduction in prices, consumers also had to purchase some essential household items at an extended rate.
For instance, there was a 47.99 percent increase in the price of potatoes, considered an important element of any meal followed by tomatoes that saw a 136.19 percent increase.
And as the country is facing gas crises as well, Liquid Petroleum Gas used as an alternative also went hard on consumers with a 28.23 percent increase per 11 kilogrammes.
A 14.42 percent swell was observed in price of eggs while Basmati broken rice was sold at an enhanced 8.72 percent rate.
Popular cigarette brands observed a 12.29 percent rise in cost while the petrol price soared by 16.28 percent.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics also analysed rate of Pakistan’s most popular drink tea and its findings revealed that a 20.69 percent hike was detected over a period of one year from March, 2016 to 2017

Oil, Rice, Chabahar: India-Iran Trade Issues Demystified

Economically tied with high volume trade in crude oil and politically tied with similar interests for stability in the Middle East, Afghanistan, India and Iran have traversed a long and tumultuous journey to maintain a healthy trade relationship.
This received further impetus after Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with six world powers, which led to the removal of economic sanctions imposed on Iran.
In an interview with Hassan Nourian, consul general of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hyderabad, The Dollar Business explores current issues in the India-Iran bilateral relationship.
Speaking about diverse areas from the ambiguity in payment settlement mechanisms to problems in basmati rice exports, the diplomat lucidly explains the dynamics in India-Iran relations. Below is the full text of the interview:
TDB: How are the unresolved issues in payments settlement between India and Iran being dealt with?
NOURIAN:  The JCPOA opened banking routes for Iran and caused the old payment mechanism to become defunct. Opening up of SWIFT to Iranian banks has supplemented current payment methods. Minor issues still exist between Iran and India, which are in the process of being resolved.
Some of the Iranian banks have submitted proposals to the RBI [Reserve Bank of India] asking for permits to open branches in India, particularly Parsian and Pasargad. Opening up of branches in India will go a long way in introducing ease in business between the two countries.
 Iran seems apprehensive in the use of dollar for foreign trade. Which currency is being used currently?
There are different categories of sanctions, some imposed internationally and others specifically by the US government. The newly imposed international sanctions have been lifted recently by the United Nations Security Council, but the old American sanctions are not among these international sanctions.
The government of Iran is interested in diversifying its use of various currencies for foreign trade. With many countries, transactions are made in their respective currency, for instance, yuan with China and euro with the EU.
What is the strategic significance of Chabahar Port for India and Iran?
India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a tripartite agreement last year during the visit of [Indian] PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran, to develop the Chabahar Port into a transit hub. India has committed to a $500 million investment for the same.
Until 1947, Iran and India were neighboring countries. Since the separation of Pakistan, India has not had a direct trade route connecting it with Central Asia and Afghanistan. Easy trade access to Central Asia is the prime strategic reason behind India’s investment in Chabahar Port.
Chabahar is not only an economically beneficial area but also an important strategic area. Through investments from countries like India, Iran hopes to bring about the development of many undeveloped villages and cities in the Chabahar region.
What is India’s role in bringing stability to Central Asia, weighed down by terrorism and extremism?
Our region is suffering from problems of extremism. Afghanistan, due to an unstable and weak government, is a breeding ground for terrorist groups to emerge and grow. Poverty and a weak economy are the root causes for the emergence of extremism.
Empowering business environment and economy in these regions can help secure the region from growing terrorism, and that is why investment in the eastern part of Iran, which will provide a direct link to Afghanistan and Pakistan, may help empower small groups of people with productive tools of education and business, cutting off their ties to extremist ideologies.
Japan and China have also expressed interest in investing in the Chabahar region.
What are the supply-demand statistics of basmati rice in Iran?
Per capita consumption of basmati rice in Iran currently stands at 37–40 kg annually, or 104 grams per day. While Iran’s annual production of basmati rice averages 1.8 million-2 million tons, consumption is around 3 million tons. To fill in for this deficit between demand and supply, Iran imports rice to the tune of 1 million tons every year, mostly from India.
What is India’s share in Iran’s total import of basmati rice?
The quality of Indian basmati rice is ideal and suitable for Iranian consumption. As much as 700,000 tons of the Iranian annual basmati rice imports are sourced from India. Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam and other European and Latin American countries account for the remaining 30% imports.
Many other countries are competing for India’s massive share of the pie. India must keep its prices competitive to secure its edge.
Why has the Rice Importers’ Association in Iran capped import prices at $850/ton?
 A price hike of 50% in October 2016 caused Indian exporters to demand high prices for their produce. This compromised affordability for the Iranian citizen.
Iran has off-late cut down import tariffs on rice from 40% to 26%, to boost affordability. With the same objective, the Iranian government recommends a price cap of $850/ton for rice imports.
Why does Iran temporarily ban rice imports for a few months every year?
Iran imposes import restrictions not only on rice but on all agricultural products during their respective domestic harvest season. Averaging 3-4 months, the temporary barring of imports is a policy common for all of Iran’s agricultural produce.
What are some other concerns regarding basmati rice trade between India and Iran apart from prices and temporary import restrictions?
India’s negligence in meeting quality standards raised a few red flags at Iran’s Health Ministry. Instances of some Indian samples being laced with arsenic had aroused some quality concerns.
To override the triple hurdles of quality, price hike and seasonal import restrictions, a trade delegation from India had visited Iran in January 2017. During the high-profile visit, India invited Iran for laboratory visits to perform quality checks.
What impact will the oil price rise due to the OPEC deal have on India-Iran trade?
India, being a fast-developing nation, has a very high demand for energy. Complementing this need, Iran is the most stable and resourceful country in the region for India to import oil reliably from.
Due to a drop in global prices of oil, India-Iran trade volume dropped from $13 billion in 2015 to $9 billion in 2016, despite an increase in the volume of oil imports by India from Iran.
We do not wish for our economy to rely excessively on oil exports. With this objective, Iran has adopted the policy of Resistance Economy.
India-Iran trade is mostly confined to crude oil. What are some other areas of focus for increasing bilateral trade?
More than 70% of the India-Iran trade are currently in crude oil. Rice, dal [pulses] and other edibles make up for most of the remaining trade volume.
Iran would like to go beyond this traditional trade relationship and engage with India in advanced sectors like IT, aerospace, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
Hyderabad has immense potential for both industries, pharma and IT. About 70% of India’s manufacturing capacity in pharmaceuticals are housed in Hyderabad.
In fact, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore are three of the southern IT hubs, which fall under our jurisdiction.

Trump Asking for More Information and Enforcement on Trade
By Michael Klein

WASHINGTON, DC - On Friday, President Trump signed two executive orders (E.O.) dealing with trade issues, both of which are of interest to the U.S. rice industry.

The first provides for enhanced collection and enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duties and for stepping up enforcement of existing U.S. trade and customs law.

The second E.O. directs the Secretary of Commerce and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare, within 90 days, an Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits for the President's review.

This report will contain "...current and comprehensive information regarding unfair trade practices and the causes of United States trade deficits."  The report is expected to identify those trading partners with which the United States had a significant trade deficit in merchandise in 2016 and address the causes of the deficit and whether the foreign country is unfairly burdening U.S. exports or the commerce of the United States, among other requirements.

Media reports indicate that the Report will focus on trade deficits with the following countries:  China, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Viet Nam, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, India, Thailand, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Canada.  Several of these countries are either major export markets for U.S. rice or competitors on the global rice market.

"USA Rice has long called for increased action by the U.S. government to make sure that other countries are acting fairly in international and U.S. markets and living up to their international obligations.  These two executive orders show a shift in focus, and we look forward to providing information to the administration as details about implementing the president's directives become know," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings.

Customs Arrest 7 Vehicles Loaded With Smuggled Rice In Katsina

Hameed Ali, Customs Comptroller-GeneralThe Kaduna/Katsina Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NIS) says it has arrested seven vehicles loaded with smuggled rice in Katsina.The Area Controller, Mr Mohammad Jaafar Tanko, told newsmen on Wednesday in Katsina that the vehicles were arrested on Daura-Katsina road.
He said that the smugglers ran and abandoned their vehicles loaded with the rice when they sighted customs on the road who went there using intelligence information.
“Our men rounded up the area; this scared the smugglers and they ran and abandoned the vehicles.
“We were able to apprehend all the seven vehicles loaded with smuggled rice.
“No smuggler was shot or killed during the operation, but one person got injured while attempting to run and has been taken to the hospital for medical attention.
“The injured person will be prosecuted after receiving treatment to serve as deterrent to others,’’ Tanko said.
He reaffirmed the determination of the command to ensure zero tolerance on rice smuggling and other items whose importation into the country was prohibited by the government.

SKUAST-K to expand Mushkbudgi and Kamad rice in 5 more districts

SRINAGAR: Sharing and expanding production and productivity of Mushkbudji and Kamad at Mountain Research Centre for Field Crops, Khudwani, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Kashmir held Seed Distribution-cum Advisory function on improved Mushkbudji and Kamad for newly identified ecologies across the Valley.
The function was held on Wednesday at Rice Station Khudwani in collaboration with the financial assistance from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Under this programme Mushkibuidji and Kamad varieties will be introduced in five other district viz. Kupwara, Budgam, Kulgam, Anantnag and Baramulla. These district locations have similar climatic and altitude conditions for growing of these rice varieties.
Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-Kashmir, Prof Nazeer Ahmed, felicitated the function as Chief Guest while as Deputy Commissioner, Kulgam Showkat Ajaz Bhat, was Guest of Honour.
Speaking on the occasion VC, SKUAST complimented scientists of the Rice Research Station of Khudwani and the farmers for revival and promotion of Mushkibudji and Kamad varieties.
VC complimented the farmers of Sagam and Dandiwatpora who have earned cash award of Rs. 10 lacs from Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare for preservation and promotion of Mushkbudji and Kamad varieties.
Vice-Chancellor also distributed Seeds of these varieties among the farming community of the five districts viz. Kupwara, Budgam, Kulgam, Anantnag and Baramulla.  Under this programme 35 farmers of each district have been identified who will introduce Mushkbudji and Kamad in these districts.
Further calling upon scientists and Programme Coordinators of the respective KVKs, Vice-Chancellor laid stress for constant monitoring of these demonstration units and to extend all possible help to the farmers popularizing the crop. He also advised farmers for Integrated Farming System approach for income enhancement and employability.
He requested the officers of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development for devising plan for funding Integrated Farming System for the benefit of farming community in this endeavor. Deputy Commissioner, Kulgam, Showkat Ajaz Bhat hailed the efforts of the University scientists in promotion of prized rice varieties. He pitched for seed village concept which would be serving as demonstration units for better learning among the farming community of the district. He also requested the University to lay special emphasis for promotion of vegetables, floriculture and temperate seed production of vegetables in the district.

Director Research, Dr M.Y. Zargar highlighted research attainments in rice and complimented the scientists of the Station in their endeavour for revival of these two scented varieties. He also informed that university is striving hard to tune its research aiming at benefiting the farming community.
DGM, NABARD, Pushpas Pandey, also spoke and highlighted the role of the bank in facilitating  the financial assistance to the farmers. He assured of all possible help for expansion of the prized varieties of rice in the valley.

Duterte: Govt must protect rice farmers

APRIL 5, 2017
TALAVERA, Nueva Ecija—President Duterte on Wednesday said he is more partial to protecting Filipino farmers, and allow them to supply the rice requirement of the Philippines than import the staple.
“There’s free trade, and the Philippines is an open market; but, you know, you have to protect the Filipino [farmers],” Duterte said in his speech during SL Agritech Corp.’s Grand Harvest Festival held here.
“I would look foolish if the government would continue to give assistance to farmers, but they would remain helpless, because rice imports are cheaper,” he added.
The President vowed to ensure that farmers will receive enough assistance from the government to improve their productivity. “We will be able to feed millions of Filipinos if we use government funds wisely.”Duterte’s pronouncement came three months before the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice expires on June 30. The Philippine waiver on the special treatment on rice, which was approved by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods, has allowed Manila to implement the QR until this year.
Upon the expiration of the waiver, and no later than June 30, Manila’s importation of rice shall be subject to ordinary customs duties in accordance with the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture.
In his speech, the President also said he fired Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS) Undersecretary Halmen A. Valdez over the importation of rice done by the private sector under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme of the WTO.In a news briefing after SL Agritech’s event, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol confirmed to reporters that Valdez was fired by the President. The President placed the NFA under the supervision of the OCS.
“The President ordered the dismissal of Valdez over the importation of rice. It was Valdez who actually dealt with the NFA regarding the rice imports,” Piñol said.“NFA Administrator Jason Aquino wanted the government to import rice so that the government could take hold and control it instead of giving [the imports] to the private sector,” he added.
Because of the bumper rice harvest, Piñol said the President has decided to put on hold the purchase of 250,000 MT of rice from abroad. Citing  Duterte, Piñol said the government would first evaluate the need to import the staple.“The President today acted on the appeal of our farmers that the importation of rice be temporarily halted in the face of the bountiful harvest in the first quarter. This does not mean we are against importation; we will import when we needed,” he said.
Farmers are currently harvesting the dry-season rice crop. Piñol said the President would decide on rice importation by the end of the dry season in May.
The Department of Agriculture, he said, sees no immediate need to import rice to boost the buffer stock of the NFA during the lean months, which would start in July.
Earlier Piñol said the country’s rice production in the January-to-March period expanded by 5.34 percent to 4.14 million metric tons (MMT), from the 3.93 MMT recorded in the same period last year despite the decline in harvest area. The DA chief attributed the hike in output to good weather and the use of high-yielding hybrid-rice seeds by farmers.
As early as January, the NFA had requested the NFA Council (NFAC) to allow the importation of 250,000 MT of rice to beef up the food agency’s stocks. To date, the NFAC has not acted on the request of the NFA.
“Delaying further the approval for the government-to-government importation of the 250,000-MT balance could make it more difficult for the NFA to maintain the minimum levels of food-security rice requirement during normal times, more so during the lean months,” Aquino said.The NFA had planned to bring in the imports this month to preposition the stocks in calamity-prone areas.

Millers push for China access

Wed, 5 April 2017
Rice is harvested from a field using a small harvest machine in Tbong Khmum provice last year. Heng Chivoan
Amid concerns that the European Union could reject shipments of Cambodian rice, exporters are pushing for more access to China as an alternative market for the Kingdom’s principal agricultural commodity.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said just 26 Cambodian millers have satisfied China’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards, making them eligible to export rice to the Chinese market.
However, another 55 millers “have the quality and capacity to export to China” and have requested an inspection by China’s AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) to approve their shipments for export.
“We met Ministry of Agriculture officials to seek their assistance in opening the door wider for rice exports to China,” Lak said yesterday. “We hope that officials from AQSIQ China will come to inspect the rice millers’ production lines soon.”
According to Lak, Cambodia’s rice industry has struggled since 2015, with about 10 millers forced into bankruptcy and others deep in debt. He said the global market has become increasingly “narrow and strict”, and unless Cambodian exporters can develop new markets the rice industry could soon collapse.
The latest challenge to the sector is the EU’s call on farmers to eradicate the use of the fungicide Tricyclazole in rice production. The European Commission has given Cambodian producers of white rice until June and fragrant rice until December to meet its revised threshold levels – 0.01 milligrams of Tricyclazole residue per kilo of rice, far below the current limit of 1 milligram per kilo.
While the extent of Tricyclazole use in Cambodia is unclear, Lak said it could be difficult for producers to ensure the compound’s complete eradication in such a short timeframe.
“We are concerned that if we cannot comply with their requirement we will lose this market, even though we have requested that the EU give us more time to build our capacity before the regulation comes into effect,” he said
The EU is Cambodia’s largest market for rice, accounting for 63 percent of the 542,144 tonnes the country exported last year. China, however, has grown to become a major buyer in recent years, importing 127,460 tonnes of Cambodian rice last year and agreeing to import up to 200,000 tonnes this year.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, one of the country’s biggest exporters, said that while the EU’s decision to eradicate Tricyclazole poses a challenge, Cambodia’s use of the fungicide was still quite limited compared to its rival rice-producing neighbours.
“It’s a new challenge for us, but we should be able to manage as this chemical is not used extensively in rice production here,” he said. “However, the government should control rice imports and smuggling to prevent low-quality [tainted rice] from being mixed in with our exports.”
Saran said the Ministry of Agriculture should work quickly to have more rice millers approved for export to China given the market’s size and potential growth.
“The 26 [approved] rice millers will not be able to supply the annual quota set by our agreement with China,” he said.
Hean Vanhan, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, said rice millers need to understand more about the demands and criteria of buyers in order to compete in international markets.
“If they have suitable quality and standards they will be able to export their rice and expand their markets, including in big markets like China,” he said.

Switch to low-emission rice farming to cut greenhouse gases 

April 05, 2017 01:00 


A PLANNED shift to low-emission rice farming in Thailand is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 per cent over the five-year span of a project backed by a multi-donor fund.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on the plan, which will be funded by a multi-donor Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) facility.
The shift will involve 100,000 rice farmers and will drive wide-scale adoption of the rice standard of the Sustainable Rice Platform that is said to offer a framework for promoting climate-smart best practices and improving the livelihoods of rice smallholders. 
Thailand is among the top 15 countries most affected by climate-related impacts. With the ratification of the Paris Agreement in September 2016, the government committed to contribute to global efforts to achieve climate change mitigation. Agriculture is Thailand’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change. The country’s rice sector ranks as the world’s fourth largest emitter of rice-related greenhouse gases, mainly methane. 
“Thailand’s Rice Department , under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, which is a member of the National Committee on Climate Change, is the main implementing agency for the sustainable development of the rice sector. The Rice Department will participate in and support the implementation of Thai Rice NAMA,” said Anan Suwannarat, the director-general of Rice Department.
 Established in 2013, the NAMA facility is a multi-donor fund that supports developing countries to implement green projects. The Thai Rice NAMA, which was submitted with support from GIZ (German International Cooperation), is one of seven such projects that will receive preliminary funding for detailed preparation of their projects 
“The project will work with farmers and farmers’ associations in six provinces in the Central Plains of Thailand in shifting from conventional to low-emission rice farming, and promote its replication on a national scale and in the Asean region,” said Matthias Bickel, GIZ project director. 
 “The switch to low-emission cultivation of rice is estimated to help reduce baseline emissions from irrigated rice by more than 26 per cent over the five-year lifespan of the project, with increasing annual mitigation potential.
“Rice is an important crop to millions of small farmers in the Asia and Pacific region and an important contributor to food security, livelihoods and income of rural populations.” 
Dechen Tsering, regional director for UN’s Environment Asia and the Pacific Office, said: “This project will not only help boost production of this critical staple, but also protect the environment, safeguard livelihoods and mitigate climate change impacts.”

Rice Plantingting begins in nation’s top rice state


Posted Apr 4, 2017 at 5:06 PMUpdated Apr 4, 2017 at 5:11 PM
By Ryan McGeeney Special to The Commercial
Rice planting in Arkansas has begun in earnest, as growers in the nation’s top rice-producing state seed their fields beneath dark skies and intermittent rains, experts said.
Jarrod Hardke, rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said that despite weather forecasts that have contained much rain over the past two weeks, the prep work completed by many growers over the winter months allowed producers to move into the fields in mid-March.“We made a surprising amount of progress the last two weeks,” Hardke said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s March 26 report on crop progress in the state estimated that about 2 percent of the projected rice acreage had been planted, just shy of the five-year average of 3 percent planted at this point in the season.

“While a lot of the delta did get 1-2 inches of rain the weekend of March 25, it wasn’t everywhere,” Hardke said. “I was surprised by how much it dried up. We did have progress starting up again Monday afternoon, moving into Tuesday.”

In 2016, heavy rains in March kept the planting rate to zero for several weeks into the traditional planting window.

Early planting, cautious optimism

Hardke said there is some concern that producers inclined to invest heavily in the earliest phase of the recommended planting window may suffer negative consequences if 2017 does indeed turn out to be similar to 2016, although he was cautiously optimistic.
“We’re just now knocking on the door of what we consider to be the truly optimum time for planting in the northern part of the state,” he said. “But at this point, we’re still staying pretty warm, continuing to get some rice in the ground and make some progress. We’re right in line with where we need to be.”
In the second Arkansas Rice Update, a weekly newsletter published by Hardke and Division of Agriculture Weed Scientist Bob Scott, the authors reiterated several important staples of sound farming, including the importance of planting conventional rice varieties ahead of hybrids, in order to leverage the best yield potential from the available seeds as the planting window proceeds through the summer, and the importance of reevaluating seeding rates each year.
“Every year’s a little different, and it does affect the amount of seed in a pound,” Hardke said. “The weather did seem to change the grain size last year, enough to where we needed to adjust our seeding rates.”
While federal law requires that any seed sold must guarantee a germination rate of at least 80 percent, growers may have come to expect considerably higher actual germination rates, Hardke said. Growers should check the actual estimated germination rate on new bags of seed, in order to calculate the optimum seeding rate for the current season.
Tight margins
Although 2017 hasn’t yet presented any unusual natural obstacles for growers, Hardke noted that the gap between inputs and market sales have become exceedingly thin.

“The margins seem to be even tighter than they have been the last couple of years, and that’s really saying something,” he said. “Just like 2016, timeliness and efficiency are really going to be crucial to making a profit in 2017.”

Hardke said that input costs for rice, not including rent, are ranging between $600-$750 an acre across the state, while market prices hover at about $4.50 per bushel. In 2016, the average Arkansas rice yield was 153.7 bu/ac, producing about $690 per acre.
“When you start doing the yield calculations on that — what you need to hit in order to cover those costs — it gets very concerning,” he said.
Details: A county extension office or or
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.
— Ryan McGeeney is with the U of A System Division of Agriculture

Traders use truck strike as pretext to cut paddy prices
THE HANS INDIA |    Apr 05,2017 , 02:40 AM IST

Nellore: Traders on the pretext of the lorry strike have slashed the paddy price in their efforts to push the farmers to the wall. Citing zero exports to southern states due to trouble from agitating lorry operators, the traders have resorted to exploiting the farmer taking advantage of the strike.

In the district, a single crop of paddy—very late in the kharif season—was raised in an extent of eight lakh hectares. The paddy was ready for harvesting in Penna delta and at some other places and the harvested paddy was stored in drying yards. The yield is predicted to be at least 23 lakh puttys.


•           A putty of paddy should fetch at least Rs 22,000 to Rs 25,000 if kg Masuri rice is sold at Rs 50         
•              But, traders reduced price of putty to Rs 11,000 to Rs 13,000 from Rs 17,000-19,000
One putty is equal to 850 kg. According to farmers Raghavaiah, Ramanamma and Kappala Venkateswarlu of Alluru, they have no facility to store the paddy. Annually, the state government ropes in Indira Kranti Patham, DRDA, Civil Supplies Corporation and the Food Corporation of India to lift paddy from the farmers.

However, this year their role appears to be only nominal. Taking advantage of the sticky situation of the farmers, the traders and middlemen are out to exploit them. Citing the lorry strike, they reduced the paddy price from Rs 17,000-19,000 for a putty of the paddy to Rs 11,000 to Rs 13,000.  The farmer has to suffer a loss of up to Rs 5000 per putty.

The cumulative loss to the farmer by way of fall in prices is put at Rs 150 crore. In fact, there is no need for the traders to slash the prices in the wake of the strike by lorry operators. At this hour of the year, harvesting of paddy is ruled out in other states and districts.

Going by the open market price of Masuri rice, which is selling at Rs 50 or Rs 60 a kg, a putty of the paddy should fetch at least Rs 22,000 to Rs 25,000. The paddy is purchased in the district to the contrary of this. The official machinery is falling short of responding to the situation and come to the rescue of the farmers

INTERVIEW-U.S. rice exporters look to sell to Turkey while Russian row simmers

Maha El Dahan and Eric Knecht
CAIRO, April 5 (Reuters) - U.S. rice producers are looking to increase exports to Turkey after the government effectively halted purchases of Russian agricultural products, a major U.S. rice trade association said on Wednesday.Last month Turkey put purchases of some Russian agricultural products on hold by imposing high import tariffs. Ankara denies it has imposed an import ban but Moscow has said the move is hindering a further improvement in relations, which soured when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet in 2015.
While the official reason for the hike in tariffs remains unclear, the Turkish economy ministry has said the improvement in political ties is not "fully reflected yet in economic relations" and restrictions on visas and obstacles for contractors in Russia remain.
Greg Yielding, a representative for the private rice association U.S. Rice Producers visiting Egypt as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture trade mission, sees the Turkey-Russia row as an opportunity.
"Some Russian rice was going into Turkey and now there are problems, so we see it as an opportunity to sell more into Turkey," Yielding said.
"Turkey is a huge market, and even rough rice goes to Turkey, which is paddy rice," he said.
Turkey imported about 71,700 tonnes of paddy rice from the United States and 67,400 tonnes from Russia in the 2015-16 season according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
Turkey is a hub between suppliers and neighboring countries such as Iraq and Syria, with exporters estimating that roughly 300,000 tonnes of rice are being transhipped through Turkey, the USDA report said.
U.S. rice growers have benefited in recent years from the absence of Egyptian rice in Middle East markets amid that country's export ban, Yielding said.
Egypt first imposed a ban on rice exports in 2008 saying it needed to save rice for local consumption and also wanted to discourage farmers from growing the crop to save water.
The ban has been repeatedly lifted and reinstated in recent years, creating a gap in regional markets such as Jordan, Syria, and Gulf Arab states that traditionally relied on Egyptian medium grain rice.
"(U.S. rice) has replaced it because Egypt has been in and out of the market several times," Yielding said.
Beyond taking market share from Egyptian rice regionally, Yielding also sees an opportunity for U.S. rice exports into Egypt itself, where a longstanding dispute over domestic prices has created intermittent shortages in the local market.
Farmers last year refused to sell government mills their crops despite a plentiful harvest, arguing that the buying price of 2,400 Egyptian pounds($133.19) per tonne of rice paddy was too low.
"If it's not in the market and the market needs it, so that's the reason there are Egyptian companies that are interested in importing milled rice, and some are interested in trying the southern medium grain," said Yielding.
"With the growth of the population in the Egyptian market at around 2.5 million people per year, it's huge, so there's great opportunities." ($1 = 18.0200 Egyptian pounds) (Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Stallion Farms To Increase Rice Yield To 1.5m Tonnes Per Annum

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Stallion Popular Farms and Mills Limited has assured an annual increase in locally farmed rice from 450,000 metric tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes, using integrated rice value chain and enhanced milling activities, the group director, Hapreet Singh, has affirmed.
Singh made this pledge while acknowledging the Inside Business Commendation Award (IBCA), ‘Outstanding Projects and Business Leaders of the Year Award,’ recently conferred on the company for its remarkable role in integrated rice value chain and enhanced local rice production.
He said that the company decided to increase farmed rice yield to compliment President Muhammadu Buhari’s agri-business agenda to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production, while also applauding Chief Audu Ogbeh’s agrarian backward integration initiative.
“Our vision has always been to preserve and enhance rice production in Nigeria by ensuring genetic integrity of seeds, encourage scientific agricultural practices and promote world-class processing techniques to emerge as industry benchmark for product quality,” he added.
Singh thanked the IBCA for creating a platform to acknowledge real positive change makers in the agric sector where Popular Farms & Mills, which began farming activities in Nigeria 10 years ago, was distinguished as outstanding projects and business leaders of the year.
“We owe this accomplishment to President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership aptitudes and agri-business agenda,” Stallion Farms & Mills director said.
Adding that the farm would leverage on the impulse provided by the federal government through its transformation agenda, Singh said that Stallion has already established integrated agricultural operations such as world-class rice mills at strategic locations to promote milling and paddy cultivation in captive areas to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production.
A farm division of Stallion Conglomerate, Popular Farms and Mills Limited produces premium varieties of rice from locally farmed paddy, currently branded and marketed nationwide as Royal Stallion Shinkafa, Tomato Aroso, and Super Champion. The company has also established collection centres across rice producing states in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kebbi to not only help farmers embrace modern farming techniques, but also focus on distributing farm inputs through farmers’ cooperatives and associations to ensure rice revolution in Nigeria.
The agrarian establishment, however, promises to safeguard timely provision of certified seeds, fertilisers, advisory irrigation and crop management as well as buy-back mechanism to help farmers get good and profitable yields, especially during harvest.

Brazilian rice enters Mexican market after years of negotiation

Mexico consumes 900,000 tons of rice per year
Brazil Business
By plus55 on Apr 05, 2017

After two years of negotiations, Mexico finally opened its doors to Brazilian rice. The Mexican rice market is the largest in Latin America, consuming 900,000 tons annually. Furthermore, Mexico imports around 75 percent of its rice. As a result of the new measure, Brazil’s rice could supply between 20-30 percent of Mexico’s imports.
While Mexico was previously hesitant to open its rice market to Brazilian products, strained relations with the U.S. have pushed the market open.

Trade details

Rio Grande do Sul, responsible for 85% of the Brazilian rice production, should dominate exports. Producers expect that a higher international demand might push prices up in Brazil. The measure would concentrate on exporting paddy rice (with the husk).
Although the two countries already have a food health agreement established between them, diplomats still have certain trade details to sort out. A Brazilian committee on rice exports will travel to Mexico this month to finalize the agreement

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FAO and Irri collaborate for Apac rice sustainability programme

Post a commentBy RJ Whitehead RJ Whitehead , 06-Apr-20172017-04-06T00:00:00Z
The International Rice Research Institute will work more closely with the UN’s agriculture agency to support sustainable rice production in developing countries in a bid to improve food security.
The Philippines-based rice institute, which focuses on the development of more productive rice strains, as agreed to share its scientific knowledge with the Food and Agriculture Organisation so the two organisations can “expand and intensify their work globally”. 
The partnership will first analyse sustainable rice-based farming systems and help governments draw up sustainability strategies. 
"The world faces very significant changes over the next few decades to produce the volume and quality of nutritious food to feed a global population heading for 10bn people," said Irri director-general Matthew K. Morell. "Addressing these issues relies on global partnerships." 
With almost half of the world’s population eating rice every day, the crop is central to the world’s food security plans. At the same time, its production is vulnerable in many countries to the growing impact of climate change, said the FAO’s official for climate and natural resources, Maria Helena Semedo.
By teaming up with Irri, already a long-standing partner, we will be able to scale up, complement and amplify our work towards reaching this goal." 
Both organisations have been actively promoting more sustainable rice practices. Irri has also been working to improve rice’s nutritional properties, while the FAO is promoting enhanced crop resilience across Asia-Pacific.    
Together, they plan to help rice producers adopt adapted rice varieties and enhance the availability of certified seeds. They will also train growing communities on issues like pest management though initiatives such as schools for farmers.The International Rice Research Institute will work more closely with the UN’s agriculture agency to support sustainable rice production in developing countries in a bid to improve food security.