Tuesday, April 25, 2017

25th April,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Iran terms Pakistan as 'trusted brother'
April 24, 2017, 3:53 pm
Description: Iran terms Pakistan as 'trusted brother'

President Hassan Rohani of the Islamic Republic of Iran has reiterated his country’s unflinching support and friendship to Pakistan, terming it a “trusted brother”. In a Message received from Iran, he made these remarks during his meeting with the Speaker National Assembly SardarAyaz Sadiq and the members of his delegation here in Tehran.
The over one hour meeting with President Rohani was termed as “President’s special gesture for Pakistan” given the fact that Presidential elections have been announced in Iran and President Rohani came specially for this meeting from his critical election campaign.
Speaker SardarAyaz Sadiq stressed Pakistan’s policy of unity among the Muslim World and assured President Rohani that Pakistan would never take any step that could go against the interests of the brotherly country of Iran. “Our region is worst affected by terrorism. We must pool our resources to jointly curb this menace, which is not only affecting our progress but also threatening our future generations,” explained Speaker AyazSadiq.
While referring to the recent news reports on the brutalities of Indian Forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, Speaker asked Iran to play its role in the early implementation on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions for the prompt settlement of the Kashmir dispute as per the wishes of the Kashmiri People. He also thanked the President for Iran’s continued support to Pakistan on Kashmir issue.
He also stressed on the Iranian President to turn the fraternal relations between the two neighbouring countries into a mutually benefiting partnership. The Speaker called for enhancing the trade volume, which currently stands at a considerably low level of mere USD 500 Million. “The two countries have immense potential and can help each other in areas like energy, petroleum products, agriculture, citrus and fruit trade, surgical equipment and defence,” said AyazSadiq. He laid emphasis on lifting of tariff and non-tariff barriers on Pakistani products such as rice and citrus.
President Rohani, while agreeing with the Speaker, stated that the two countries should take benefit of the complementarities enjoyed by the two countries and forge cooperation where they can benefit from each-other’s comparative advantage.  He showed immense interest in Iran’s joining the CPEC.
Both sides expressed satisfaction on the recently concluded banking agreement, which would pave the way for expanded bilateral trade between the two countries through the banking channels.  The Bilateral Payment agreement (BPA) was signed between Iran and Pakistan last week in Tehran. The two leaders also took stock of the advancements in the completion of Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline. The Speaker informed that from the Pakistani side, it was taken up on priority as work on Nawabshah-Gawadar section is in the process, which would then be linked from Gawadar to Iran. The project was likely to be completed in two years.
President Rohani, on his part, conveyed his warm wishes to Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif and the people of Pakistan and hoped that both nations would come further closer in near future. Iranian President was introduced to the Pakistani delegation comprising MNAs, Mr.Shahbaz Babar, Mr. Najaf Sial, Mr.Nadeem Abbas Rabhera, Mr.Ali Gohar KhanMehr, Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Sherazi, Mr.KhyalZamanOrakzai and Saman Sultana Jafari.

Basmati prices rise on foreign demand

Description: Illustration by Khalida Haq
Illustration by Khalida Haq
TO the relief of farmers, the domestic rice market is finally looking up. The paddy prices (basmati) have risen by almost 50pc over a year — from Rs1,500 per maund to current Rs2,200 per maund — and are still climbing.
With the cost of production down because of the subsidy package and the market prices going up, the farmers see some silver lining for the next season. Since the nursery sowing time starts by the end of April, the country may see some rise in rice acreage.
And the hope for a better basmati crop has come from China. Traditionally consumers of coarse varieties, the Chinese have lately started importing basmati as well. In November 2016, they formally certified 14 Indian factories for importing the variety.

According to basmati market watchers, China, with its increasing middle class and changing dietary habits, is now opting for finer and expensive rice varieties — and basmati becomes the natural choice

According to the basmati watchers, China, with its increasing middle class and changing dietary habits, is now opting for finer and expensive rice varieties — and basmati becomes the natural choice.
However, none of the Pakistani processing factories so far gone through the certification process. According to market reports, some containers bringing import items from China are stuffed with the basmati rice on their way back. The Basmati Growers Association (BGA) recently wrote to the Ministry of Commerce to take the matter of certification up with the Chinese authorities. The REAP feels that price improvement has come from two sources: Iran and the changing pattern of sowing.
Though, coarse rice varieties are still being preferred by the Chinese, the price of basmati has improved. The recent opening of the Iranian market, which absorbs over 70pc of total formal and informal exports, has given a big boost to Pakistan’s domestic market prices.
The other factor is that a new variety (1121), which is also treated as basmati, though not super basmati, has taken over more than 32pc of the sowing area, eating directly into the super basmati acreage. With sliding super basmati production and the rising Iranian demand for it, it is natural for the price to go up.
The Pakistani basmati has had a tough time recently: exports dropped by almost 70pc — from 1.2m tonnes to a paltry 400,000 tonnes while the Indian exports rose simultaneously from 1.2m tonnes to over 4m tonnes.
Pakistan produces world class rice and has a well developed rice processing industry as proved by its exports to high-end and the most sensitive markets around the world. However, one of the major weaknesses of Pakistani basmati has been its brand development.
China, with its massive and relatively easy market, offers a unique opportunity to develop such brands then spread them across the region.
Published in Dawn, Business & Finance weekly, April 24th, 2017

Plan For A Successful Rice Harvest With Modern Irrigation Technology (Apr 24, 2017)

•           Multiple Inlet Rice Irrigation offer significant savings in input costs
•           Often a required component for federal financial assistance programs
•           Use of gates and proper hole spacing is key to success
The key to success is often rooted in a solid plan, and experts with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are encouraging Arkansas rice producers to start that plan with the technology known as Multiple Inlet Rice Irrigation, or MIRI.

Chris Henry, an irrigation engineer and assistant professor with the Division of Agriculture, said MIRI technology has been around since the 1990’s, and has many benefits.

“MIRI reduces the cold water effect on the first levee, reduces total water use by 25 percent, allows for the implementation of alternating wetting and drying, and a faster flood time than the traditional cascade system,” he said. “Being able to quickly flood up a field is beneficial for being able to get the flood established for water management as well as weed control and ensuring fertilizer efficiency.”

Henry said both the Division of Agriculture and Delta Plastics have programs designed to promote the implementation of MIRI, as well as support growers throughout the process.

MIRI is a required component of a Natural Resource Conservation Service, Irrigation Water Management plan, which frequently provides financial assistance to growers, including those participating in alternating wetting and drying or carbon credit programs. 

MIRI has also been shown to increase yields by five to 10 bushels per acre over cascade fields.

“All in all, there’s more than $100 an acre available through incentive programs, yield advantages and pumping cost savings,” Henry said.

Blue gates — the 2.5-inch gates used in poly-pipe to control water flow — are an essential element to the MIRI system that are sometimes ignored during the installation process. Properly set levee gates are also key to optimum performance of a MIRI system.

“Two-and-a-half inch blue gates and a plan are required to use MIRI successfully,” Henry said. “The blue gates allow for a wide range of flow and for the irrigator to adjust and balance the flow to each levee, so that the field floods up evenly.

“Leave the ‘piranha puncher’ in the truck when you are in a flooded rice field,” he said, referring to the commonly-used hand tool used for punching small holes in poly-pipe. “It may be chewing through your profit.  If holes are punched without any way to adjust them, then some levees will cascade over the other.”

Effective implementation of MIRI should only have water going over levee gates when more than an inch of rainfall has occurred, and levee gates should be set higher than they would be for cascade irrigation, because they are essentially overflow devices when MIRI is used. Some MIRI irrigators no longer put in levee gates, instead using a simple overflow, further reducing cost and labor. When properly executed, MIRI eliminates the in-season chore of wading through rice fields to adjust levee spills.     

A mobile app developed by the Division of Agriculture in 2015, Rice Irrigation, helps takes the guesswork out of MIRI implementation. Levee files can quickly be created from aerial maps, uploaded from survey programs, or uploaded from the tractor GPS monitor to provide an effective MIRI plan on even the most complicated contour levee fields. 

Pipe requirements and blue gate settings are provided and can be shared easily with other mobile devices. Flow rate for the field is also needed, but portable flow meters are available for checkout from your local Cooperative Extension Service office, Conservation District offices, NRCS offices, and even some irrigation dealers.

Funding to develop the mobile app was provided by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. Assistance using the app is available through your local Cooperative Extension Service office. Search for “Rice Irrigation” in the Apple App Store or in the Google play store on android devices.

Source: uaex.edu

Asian farmers reject trials of 'golden rice,' other crops

Gathering in Philippines accuse genetically modified crops of wreaking havoc among farmers

Description: Asian farmers reject trials of 'golden rice,' other crops
Farmers and civil society groups from around Asia hold a media briefing in Manila on April 20 to express concern over the spread of genetically modified crops in the region. (Photo by Robert Gines)
Mark Saludes, Manila 

April 24, 2017

Farmers and civil society groups from around Asia called for an end to field trials of genetically modified rice or "golden rice" during a gathering in Manila last week.
"We are deeply concerned about the imminent commercialization of golden rice and other genetically modified crops," said Ana Christina Bibal, project coordinator of Stop Golden Rice Network.
She said genetically modified crops "adversely affect the staple food crop of billions of people across Asia."
In the Philippines, applications for the field-testing and the commercial use of "golden rice" are presently awaiting approval by the Department of Agriculture.
Cristino Panerio of Masipag, a network of peasant groups and scientists in the Philippines, said "inherent defects" associated with the modification of the rice has disrupted its native structure.
"The worst thing that could possibly happen is that the trait can transfer to other rice varieties through cross-contamination once the field testing is approved," said Panerio.
A study done by the International Rice Research Institute in 2014 revealed that the average yield of "golden rice" was "lower than that from comparable local varieties already preferred by farmers."  
Panerio warned that the introduction of the new rice variety will "prove disastrous to our already volatile rice production."
Narasimha Reddy Donthi of the Pesticide Action Network in India said that in recent years Asia has become a "huge market for the bioscience industry."
She said genetically modified crops "have wreaked havoc among farmers," and has led to suicides in India after they failed to recover losses in their production of genetically modified cotton.
"Contamination of traditional crops and food systems by under-quality genetically modified seeds are leading to loss of genetic purity, environmental problems, and health concerns," he said.
In Vietnam, an estimated 1.1 million hectares of land has been planted with genetically modified corn in 2016, resulting in "massive land use conversion."
Thi Tran Lanh of the Community Entrepreneur Development Institute of Vietnam estimated that in 2020 up to 50 percent of Vietnam's agricultural lands would be planted with genetically modified crops.
The civil society groups called on people around Asia to "mobilize against genetically modified crops" and press their governments to act in favor of farmers.
Panerio said it is "high time" for farmers and activist groups "to strengthen resistance against the increasing corporate control in agriculture and fight for food sovereignty.

Farm scientists shd encourage youths to take up farming:

Mon, 24 Apr 2017-10:07pm , PTI
Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Dr Trilochan Mohapatra has called upon farm scientists to encourage youths to take up farming in large scale.
Speaking at 'Dhaan Diwas', the foundation day celebration of National Rice Research Institute here today, Mohapatra, who is also the secretary of Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), said farm scientists and farm workers of the country are now determined to fulfil the aspiration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in doubling the income of farmers by 2020.
"It is our responsibility to fulfil the aspiration of our PM by doubling farmers' income in the next three years," Mohapatra said while addressing a gathering of farm scientists drawn from several ICAR institutes located in the state and farmers from Odisha, Assam and Jharkhand.
He said despite the challenges of climate change and weather hazards, productions of crops, milk, poultry, eggs, fish, vegetables and fruits have increased in the country in 2016-17.
"Most importantly, the country has been able to export 9 MT of rice, including 4.5 MT of Basmati rice last year," Mohapatra said.
Cautioning the farm scientists to remain alert to face the challenges of climate change, he batted for proper water management in the agriculture sector.
He also stressed on a vibrant value chain to ensure that minimum support price (MSP) is provided to the farmers.
"Diversification of agriculture and an industrious approach towards farming are also vital aspects, which need to be addressed properly for a strong farm economy," Mohapatra said.
(This article has not been edited by DNA's editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rice: Global geopolitical uncertainties weigh heavy on prices

It's difficult to justify planting more rice when the demand outlook is so dismal.
Bobby Coats | Apr 23, 2017
Global exporters face historic challenges
(NOTE: See accompanying charts for look at latest supply and demand fundamentals and technical analysis.)
As “Global Geopolitical Uncertainties” intensify, global exporters, especially rice exporters, find themselves facing a historically, post-World War II, unpredictable global business environment, due to economic, social and political change.
After years of embracing the globalization model, businesses are now, with an eye on survival, accelerating the restructuring process to enhance efficiency and profitability given today’s business realities.
·        It is difficult to find any market sector not under-going major restructuring, just a sign of the times.  
Why do global geopolitical uncertainties continue to evolve?
Poor economic performance – global and domestic – over extended periods of time guarantee to produce social unrest, evolving “Populists Movements” and political change.
Poor domestic and global economic performance, in this case, is a function of: chronic slow growth, low to negative interest rates and building debt, all of which remain domestically and globally problematic.
Leave these forces unchecked, and a global recession will emerge, which would intensify an array of geopolitical concerns: 
To lessen the ever-present geopolitical concerns, current governments and central banks globally have an objective to orchestrate an accelerated move away from:
·        Chronic low inflation to an aggressive simulative reflation economic setting
·        S. Central Bank’s monetary accommodation to managing economic activity in a rising interest rate environment
Subpar global growth for almost a decade is due, in no small part, to building global debt to sustain expanding social programs in country after country around the world.
Therefore, what we find is that today’s populists movements are accelerating a transition:
·        All countries are increasingly focused on economic, food, energy and homeland security, especially “food security.”
·        Rice’s “global food security” importance, as a food grain, used in feeding the world’s global population is second to none. Globally negotiating rice trade agreements have their challenges:
·        Some countries will not even negotiate rice trade agreements due to food security priorities and concerns and other issues;
·        Even countries that do negotiate trade deals are not likely to agree to open and free trade, and;
·        A country may negotiate a fairly open trade agreement, but challenging economic times (like today) may limit their level of compliance and enhance their protectionism.
·        Countries increasingly embrace
·        Nationalism
·        Protectionism
·        Regionalism over globalism or the economic and foreign policy planning activities on a global basis
·        Farm and business consolidation will continue, until the most efficient or predatory emerge
·        In any commercial business sector agricultural or otherwise, notice that the sector is contracting toward the most efficiency or highly structured.
·        Status quo or business as usual will likely fail.
World rice supply exceeds demand
World rice-Cliff Note version
·        World rice acreage at 161.5 million hectares is the 2ndhighest on record.
·        World rice yield at 4.4 metric tons per hectare is consistent with previous four periods.
·        World rice rough production at 717.5 million metric tons is the highest on record.
·        World rice milled production at 481.1 million metric tons is the highest on record.
·        World trade at 41 million metric tons is the 3rd highest on record.
·        World rice total use at 479.2 million metric tons is the highest on record.
·        World rice ending stocks at 118.1 million metric tons are the highest since 2001.
NASS Prospective Planting Report
1.     S. - Cliff Note version
·        2017 Arkansas long grain rice planted acres estimated at 1,050,000 acres or 25.5 per cent below 2016; 5-year average 1,150,000; 10-year average 1,202,000; 15-year average 1,250,000 acres.
·        2017 California long grain rice planted acres estimated at 9,000 acres the same as 2016, 5-year average 7,000, 10-year average 6,800, 15-year average 7,067 acres.
·        2017 Louisiana long grain rice planted acres estimated at 375,000 acres 9.2 percent below 2016, 5-year average 387,000, 10-year average 405,500, 15-year average 415,467 acres
·        2017 Mississippi long grain rice planted acres estimated at 375,000 acres, 9.2 percent below 2016, 5-year average 156,000, 10-year average 185,000, 15-year average 197,667 acres.
·        2017 Missouri long grain rice planted acres estimated at 200,000 acres, 13 percent below 2016, 5-year average 194,400, 10 year average 193,200, 15 year average 197,667 acres
·        2017 Texas long grain rice planted acres estimated at 155,000 acres 16.2 percent below 2016, 5 year average 150,000, 10 year average 158100, 15 year average 165,000 acres
·        2017 United States long grain rice planted acres estimated at 1,909,000 acres, 21 percent below 2016, 5-year average 2,044,400, 10-year average 2,150,600, 15-year average 2,229,267 acres.
 Long grain rice Cliff Note version:
·        2016-17 long grain rice production is estimated at 166.5 million cwt, 25 percent above last year, 5-year average 138 million cwt., and 10-year average 147 million cwt.
·        2016/17 long grain rice total supply is estimated at 209.7 million cwt, 3rd largest on record, 16 percent above last year, 5-year average 182 million and 10-year average 189 million cwt.
·        2016/17 long grain rice domestic and residual use is estimated at 102 million cwt, 3rd largest on record, 5-year average 91 and 10-year average 94 million cwt.
·        2016/17 long grain rice total exports is estimated at 78 million cwt., 5-year average 70 million cwt., and 10-year average 72.94 million cwt.
·        2016/17 long grain rice total use is estimated at 180 million cwt, 2nd largest on record, 5-year average 160 million cwt., and 10-year average 166.94 million cwt.
·        2016/17 long grain rice ending stocks are estimated at 29.7 million cwt, 3rd largest since 1985, 5-year average 22.3 million cwt., and 10 year average 23.8 million cwt.
 Conclusion: U.S. long grain rice producers certainly do not need to plant beyond the March 31, 2017 Prospective Planting Report intentions given fundamentals and no new demand source on the horizon. Overplanting in a world intently focused on regional rice self-sufficiency and an array of food security concerns will likely provide huge market challenges during the 2017 marketing period.
 Please view accompanying Rice Slide Show.
Bobby Coats is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas System. E-mail: recoats@uark.edu.

Rice imports deferred

 (The Philippine Star) | 
 3  128 googleplus1  0 
Description: http://media.philstar.com/images/pilipino-star-ngayon/bansa/20140720/national-food-authority-compound-5.jpg
 The government has decided to formally defer the importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice despite the continued insistence of the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy from international sources. File
MANILA, Philippines -  The government has decided to formally defer the importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice despite the continued insistence of the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy from international sources.
NFA administrator Jason Aquino had been pushing for an immediate government-to-government importation of 250,000 MT of rice despite a projected bumper harvest from local farmers.
But during the NFA Council meeting last week, members decided not to approve the NFA’s proposal to import the volume via government-to-government scheme anytime soon.
“We did not receive any approval. If we did, we would have received the letter saying we can proceed with the importation,” NFA spokesperson Marietta Ablaza said.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo warned that a government-to-government importation may expose the NFA to further indebtedness.
“I think all of us what to make sure on one hand, the price of rice will be maintained and be stable, while at the same time avoid exposing the NFA to further indebtedness. We are also cognizant of the need to avoid getting more rice when you have the so-called summer harvest coming in,” he said. Guinigundo serves as the BSP governor’s representative to the NFA Council, which also include the Cabinet Secretary, the NFA administrator, chairman of the Development Bank of the Philippines, president of the Land Bank of the Philippines, finance secretary, trade secretary, the National Economic and Development Authority and a representative of a farmer’s group.
The 250,000 MT of rice is supposed to serve as the country’s buffer stock in preparation for the onset of the lean months.
Under the law, the NFA is tasked to buy the palay produce of local farmers as buffer stock for calamities and other contingencies.
President Duterte already ordered the NFA to prioritize rice purchase from local farmers, but the agency maintained that it can no longer buy more and hit its target following higher prices offered by private traders.
NFA’s field monitoring shows traders are buying palay (unhusked rice) from the summer harvest at an average of P18-P20 per kilogram while the government support price remains at P17 per kg.
The NFA targets to procure 4.6 million bags or about 230,000 MT of palay from local farmers nationwide until yearend to boost buffer stock and rice distribution requirements.
As of the end first quarter, the NFA has bought approximately 21 percent of its 2017 procurement target.
The palay-buying for the first three months of the year is significantly lower by almost 80 percent as it only bought 134,355 bags compared to the 603,915 bags in 2016 due to higher than average farm-gate price of palay.
This year, the agency has a P5-billion budget for the procurement of palay.
The NFA is mandated to maintain a food security reserve good for at least 15 days at any given time.
By July 1, which marks the onset of the lean season for rice, the NFA must have at least a 30-day buffer stock to meet the requirements of victims of calamities and emergencies.
Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s rice inventory in March declined by 19 percent to 2.18 million MT, from 2.67 million MT recorded a year ago.
The agency reported that total rice inventory as of March was also five percent lower than the 2.3 million MT posted in February.
‘Rice stock still sufficient’
But Guinigundo allayed fears of a possible uptick in rice prices amid the issues that hound the country’s rice importation, asserting that the country has ample supply until the end of harvest season.
He said based on data from the PSA, the country’s rice inventory is still sufficient for 69 days. This rice buffer would be further augmented by the summer harvest, which will last until June.
“We don’t believe rice prices will move up in a very significant way,” Guinigundo said during a briefing on the country’s first quarter 2017 inflation.
Concerns of a possible rice inflation surfaced as Duterte decided to stop all rice importations in the country. Officials have also argued over rice import policies, whether to import through the private sector or through a government-to-government scheme.
Guinigundo said the government also allows private sector importation through the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme, which is the country’s commitment to the World Trade Organization while its quantitative restriction on rice has not been lifted yet.
In terms of the MAV, some of the rice imported by traders from abroad has not yet entered the country.
“The decision of the council is to extend (MAV) to end-March 2017. But there were issues because some of the rice from abroad has not entered yet. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon so additional supply will be available and that will provide additional support to stability of rice prices,” he added.

Soc Trang advised to expand high-yield rice, fruit tree farming
Description: http://www.saigon-gpdaily.com.vn/dataimages/original/2017/04/images256784_VNA-soc_trang.jpgThe Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang should expand the cultivation of high-yield rice varieties and fruit trees of its strength, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has told provincial officials.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the working session with Soc Trang officials on April 23 (Photo: VNA)
At the working session on April 23, he elaborated that each hectare of green-skin grapefruit and King orange here reportedly generates an economic value 10 times higher than that of one hectare of rice.
The farming of cattle on a large scale, which is a traditional practice of local residents, is also an advantage of Soc Trang as the global demand for beef is big, he said, considering this another measure to reduce poverty that is still high among ethnic minorities.
He asked the province to strive to become a shrimp production hub of the Mekong Delta while paying more attention to industrial development to create more jobs. He also highlighted the need to develop renewable energy – another advantage of Soc Trang.
Representatives from ministries and central agencies said Soc Trang has developed many high-yield rice varieties, 10,000 dairy cows, and 40,000 hectares of brackish water surface for shrimp farming – the largest area in Vietnam.
PM Phuc said as it is one of the three most disadvantaged provinces in the Mekong Delta, Soc Trang should pay more heed to encouraging start-ups and improving human resources quality.
The number of businesses here is just one in every 565 people, compared to the national average of 1/140. While infrastructure hasn’t been developed well enough, the province ranks 40th among the 63 provinces and cities in terms of favourable public administrative procedures.
The Government leader suggested Soc Trang capitalise on its own advantages that cannot be found in other localities amid limited resources. It should be more active and creative to find out the growth momentum for itself, instead of waiting for support from the Government.
He promised that more autonomy will be granted to local administration so that they can design their province’s development plans to fully tap local potential.
Soc Trang is home to nearly 1.3 million people, about 65.2 percent of which are Kinh people, another 28.9 percent are Khmer ethnics, and the remaining 5.9 percent are from the Hoa ethnic group.
In 2016, it attracted 1.13 million tourists, including more than 34,000 foreigners, and recorded 339 new businesses, raising the total number of enterprises to 2,366. The household poverty rate declined to 15 percent under the multidimensional poverty criteria.
However, due to severe impacts of drought and saltwater intrusion, the province suffered total loss of almost 1 trillion VND (44 million USD) last year, leading to an economic growth rate of 5.22 percent – lower than the target of 5.62 percent, statistics show.
Also on April 23, PM Phuc visited the Thanh Tin food processing factory in Soc Trang city and a shrimp farm of the Khanh Sung Co. Ltd in Dai Tam commune of My Xuyen district.
On April 22, he attended a ceremony marking 25 years since the re-establishment of Soc Trang province.

USA Rice Delegation Meets with Mexican Rice Council, Kicking Off Week of Meetings 

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO -- Amidst heightened rhetoric from the White House about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a USA Rice delegation of growers, millers, merchants, and exporters is meeting with officials and customers here to reassure them of the U.S. industry's commitment to the number-one market for U.S.-grown rice in the world.

The 12-member delegation is being led by USA Rice Chair Brian King and USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward, and is holding meetings with the Mexican Rice Council (MRC), the leading organization representing Mexican producers and millers, as well as with importers, wholesalers, distributors, and Mexican brand representatives.

"We are pleased and honored to have this opportunity to demonstrate our strong commitment to our loyal customers in Mexico who purchase the lion's share of our exports," said King.  "For many years, Mexico has been our top market both in terms of volume and value, and we want to keep it that way."  

Delegation members will review and analyze current promotion programs, and meet with customers and U.S. government officials to discuss opportunities to expand U.S. rice sales here.  Additionally, the USA Rice group will seek to allay Mexican concerns over difficult trade issues, including the future of NAFTA.

Ward plans to tell her counterpart at MRC, "Make no mistake, to us, NAFTA has been a success on both sides, and we have been steadfastly communicating this to the Trump Administration - 'update what you need to, but do no harm to what works.'"  

"I'm looking forward to a week of very productive meetings," said Louisiana rice farmer John Owen, who is a part of the delegation.  "It's important that we enhance and build on the strong customer relationships we have here, and I'd like to come away from this week with a mutual understanding that the U.S. and Mexican rice industries are in this together."

Mexico is currently the top destination for U.S. rice, with 825,000 metric tons heading here in 2016.  The United States enjoys an almost 90 percent market share, but Ward said trade between the countries could easily become disrupted as the countries trade barbs over various issues.

"We do not want to become a casualty of a broader trade war," Ward said

Novadrone and Sevilla University research rice crop optimisation

By Press
Description: https://www.suasnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Novadrone-Nomad-696x299.jpg
Novadrone and Sevilla University researchers are collaborating in a Research and Development project to help the rice crop industry to optimise rice production. During two years several flights will be conducted. The research study has two main objectives.
The first objective is to compare in real time, satellite captured images with drone captured images, in the aim to find better correlations between satellite images and the health of crops.
The second objective is to analyse nitrogen and health status of plants. Images captured with an agricultural drone and using PPK (Post-processing Kinematics) technology, high precision georeferences of the images will be obtained. At the same time, stem samples are taken at the field to be analysed in the laboratory and map health of the rice crops and correlate nitrogen levels. Agricultural drone bring benefits to rice crops optimisation researchers. Rice was first grown in Spain by the Arabs about the year 800. For many years rice cultivation was confined to a limited number of rivers and estuarine areas which run into Mediterranean sea. Valencia was the leading region. In 1860 approximately rice was introduced in Tarragona in the Ebro river delta and around 1930 rice cultivation spread to non-Mediterranean regions (Font de Mora, 1939).
Since 1970 Seville, in the Andalucia region, is the leading rice-producing region in the country. In the last season, the cultivated area of rice in Andalusia stands at 23,687 ha (58,531Acres), with 89% of it concentrated in the province of Seville and a total production of 208,080 tonnes.
Rice production in Spain will depend on the capacity of the rice sector to confront forthcoming challenges stemming from a more competitive environment. Presently, there are three circumstances which can negatively affect the competitiveness of Spain rice sector:
a) the inadequacy of its farm structure;
b) the scarcity of irrigation water and the potential increase in the price of this resource; and
c) the growing restrictions environmental regulations. However, these circumstances do not affect all rice producing regions equally.
In addition, both Seville and Extremadura are well suited for growing indica rice in high demand in Europe. It has the largest farms and it has been the leading region in introducing indica rice.
Seville has been the most innovative region in rice farming. However, future developments in rice production will depend on the capacity of the industry to introduce new technologies to optimise rice crops.
Because its greater precision and resolution than the satellite image, its flexibility to capture images even daily basis and its lower costs, the use of drones and multispectral sensors is the best tool available today to optimise rice cultivation.
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USDA Estimates 0.4 percent Increase In Bangladesh Rice Production For MY 2017-18
capital market | Mumbai | April 24, 2017 11:50 IST
USDA Estimates 0.4 percent Increase In Bangladesh Rice Production For MY 2017-18
As per the latest from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rice production in Bangladesh is expected to increase 0.4% to 34.7 million tonnes in the 2017-18 marketing year, driven by higher yields in the region, according to an April 13 report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the Meanwhile, planted area for the country is forecast down 0.3%, to 11.7 million hectares, on lower Boro and Aus rice planted area, the agency said.
Rice imports for 2017-18 are forecast at 125,000 tonnes, up from 100,000 tonnes in 2016-17, on expectations of better pricing from regional suppliers, the USDA said.
Bangladesh importers and rice millers have requested the government of Bangladesh (GOB) reduce import tariffs to ensure adequate domestic supplies, but the GOB believes domestic supplies of paddy rice in the wholesale market still are sufficient. Sources indicate that the spread between high domestic prices and lower international prices is great enough that importers are still netting profits despite the high import tariffs. Bangladesh primarily imports rice from China, Thailand, and India, with India being the largest supplier in recent years

‘No truth to NFA claim of high palay-buying price’

A non-governmental organization  said the National Food Authority (NFA) lied when it said it was unable to buy paddy rice from local farmers because private traders bought their crop at a higher price.
Arze G. Glipo, executive director of Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF), said the NFA “deliberately rejected” the option of buying palay from local farmers as it was purportedly decided on importing rice to fill up the country’s buffer stock.
“The government can actually raise the buffer stock to 15 days, but it opted not to,” Glipo told the BusinessMirror.
She said farm-gate prices were relatively high when local farmers have not yet fully harvested all their crops.
“At first, it was really beyond the NFA’s price cap of P17,” she noted, “but now, it is reasonably lower.” Citing the Bicol region, Glipo said farmers there were selling their palay at P14 per kilogram, which was almost P5 lower than the P18.60 per kilo farm-gate price the NFA declared last Tuesday.
“Our member-farmers in Central Luzon told us they were selling their palay at P15 to P16 per kilo,” the IRDF chief added. Glipo said the NFA is defying President Duterte as it continues to insist on importing rice to beef up its buffer stock.
Earlier the NFA said it could not purchase paddy rice from farmers as private traders were buying their crop for P18 to P20 per kg, higher than its support price of P17 per kg. The NFA cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The NFA had warned that sans importation, it would be hard-pressed to meet the 30-day buffer stock requirement of the Interagency Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council during the lean months, which would kick off in July.
The food agency is also required to maintain a buffer stock equivalent to 15 days of consumption at any given time

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- April 18, 2017
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-April 18

Nagpur, April 18 (Reuters) – Major rice varieties reported higher in open market on increasedfestival season demand from local traders amid weak supply from producing regions like MadhyaPradesh and Chhattisgar. Notable rise in demand from South-based traders also jacked up prices.
No auction reported in tuar and gram in Nagpur APMC as brokers failed to give payments i time,according to sources.


   * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor. 
   * Tuar varieties quoted static in open market here on subdued demand from local
     traders amid ample stock in ready position. 
   * Watana varieties reported higher in open market on good festival season demand from
     local traders.                 
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,350-4,450, Tuar dal (clean) – 6,800-6,900, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 9,500-11,200, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,100-7,400, Gram – 6,100-6,300, Gram Super best
     bold – 8,200-8,600 for 100 kg.

   * Wheat, rice and other commodities moved in a narrow range in scattered deals and
     settled at last levels in weak trading activity.
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  
     Gram Auction                      n.a.                5,650-6,000
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                n.a.                3,500-4,000
     Moong Auction                n.a.                4,000-4,400
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Wheat Mill quality Auction        n.a.            1,500-1,620
     Gram Super Best Bold            8,700-9,000        8,700-9,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            7,800-8,000        7,800-8,000
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000
     Desi gram Raw                6,200-6,400         6,200-6,400
     Gram Yellow                 8,200-8,400        8,200-8,400
     Gram Kabuli                12,400-13,500        12,400-13,500
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             7,000-7,200        7,000-7,200
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,600-6,800        6,600-6,800
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        6,000-6,300        6,000-6,300
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,600-5,900        5,600-5,900
     Tuar Gavarani New             3,900-4,200        3,900-4,200
     Tuar Karnataka             4,200-4,400        4,200-4,400
     Masoor dal best            5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000
     Masoor dal medium            5,600-5,700        5,600-5,700
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        7,200-7,500         7,200-7,500
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,800-7,000        6,800-7,000
     Moong dal Chilka            6,000-7,000        6,000-7,000
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            6,800-7,400        6,800-7,400
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 9,900-11,500       9,900-11,500
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    8,000-9,000        8,000-9,000   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        6,100-6,600        6,100-6,600    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,600-6,200        5,600-6,200
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          3,600-3,800         3,600-3,800
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            3,200-3,350        3,000-3,100
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)           3,300-3,500           3,200-3,400
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,900-4,400        3,800-4,300  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,100        2,000-2,100
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,700-1,800        1,700-1,800  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,100-2,300           2,100-2,300         
     Wheat Lokwan new (100 INR/KG)    1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,100-2,200        2,100-2,200   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   2,000-2,100        2,000-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,400-4,000        3,400-4,000   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,600-2,800        2,600-2,800          
     Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,400        3,000-3,400
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,500-4,000        3,200-3,700   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,200        2,700-3,000   
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,500-2,800        2,400-2,700
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)       2,300-2,500        2,300-2,500  
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,600-2,800        2,600-2,800  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,500        2,400-2,500  
     Rice HMT New (100 INR/KG)        3,600-4,000        3,600-4,000
     Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG)           4,000-4,500        4,000-4,500   
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,800-3,900        3,700-3,900   
     Rice Shriram New(100 INR/KG)           4,600-4,800        4,600-4,800
     Rice Shriram best 100 INR/KG)    6,500-7,000        6,500-6,800
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    6,000-6,400        6,000-6,300  
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    10,000-14,000        9,500-13,500    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,500-7,000        5,200-6,700   
     Rice Chinnor New(100 INR/KG)        4,600-4,800        4,600-4,800
     Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG)    5,800-6,200        5,600-6,000   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    5,500-5,700        5,400-5,600  
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,200        1,900-2,200   
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,800-1,900        1,800-1,900

Maximum temp. 44.0 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 26.5 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 44 and 26 degree
Celsius respectively.

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

How Agricultural Priorities Could Help Haiti

04/24/2017 11:49 am ET
Agriculture is the lifeblood of the Haitian economy, and one of the most important priorities for the new president. Millions of Haitians depend on the land, so it makes sense to examine how to expand the rural economy.
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The research project Haiti Priorise is releasing new research papers on agricultural priorities. Along with a paper on agro-forestry, the research provides more data about different approaches to improve Haiti’s agriculture.
The research stems from roundtable meetings with the government, farming leaders, businesses and civil society, to identify challenges and promising solutions. It is part of a large project that asks economists to examine different investments and policies for their costs and benefits. Starting later this week, all of the research will be studied by an eminent panel of Haitian experts, as well as by a forum of young Haitians.
Researchers Professor Travis J. Lybbert of UC Davis and Abbie Turiansky of Mathematica Policy Research have studied rice production in the Artibonite Valley, where 75-80% of rice is grown.
National rice production relative to rice consumption has fallen five-fold since 1985. There are many well-known challenges, including poor infrastructure, limited access to agricultural technologies, inadequate drying, harvesting, and storage facilities, and poorly managed, inefficient marketing systems.
In 2012, an approach called “System of Rice Intensification” or SRI was introduced to some farmers in the Artibonite.
Over 2014-16, scientists closely examined the results. This has informed the researchers’ proposal.
SRI aims to update farmers’ practices. Instead of transplanting older seedlings, they are encouraged to transplant younger seedlings. Instead of randomly spacing out seedlings, they plant in a grid pattern. And they allow their fields to dry out periodically.
These initiatives represent a radical departure from traditional practices, and contradict conventional wisdom of generations of rice farmers – but if followed, they do lead to increased rice yields.
Based on the Artibonite experience, the researchers propose setting up demonstration plots along with a training program and technical support. There would need to be coordination by local irrigation user associations, and an expansion of agricultural credit so that credit unions can lend directly to farmers.
The intervention would fund the dredging of primary irrigation canals by the ODVA, and provide financial incentives to mototiller (two-wheeled tractor) service providers, because there are too few service providers.

SRI is labor-intensive and therefore labor is the largest single cost, followed by land preparation, fertilizer, and harvesting, milling and transportation. There are costs for the scheme such as direct support to the irrigation associations for coordination and training. The total cost is around 3.9 billion gourdes, or $57 million.
For farmers with access to cheap labor, SRI generates better rice yields and profits. For other farmers, it can make less financial sense, but the researchers point out they are still likely to improve some farming practices.
The researchers suggest that overall the intervention would lead to an initial rice yield gain of 14%. On average, this means benefits of about 23,000 gourdes ($330) for each hectare each year. This sounds positive. However, costs go up as well. There are higher private costs for labor, land preparation, fertilizer and transport, and in addition substantial costs in technical support. For each hectare, costs increase by about 30,000 gourdes ($430). That is why the researchers find that the project does not ‘break even’ in terms of its investment: the overall returns to Haiti are less than what is spent.
This might seem surprising: SRI has many enthusiastic supporters. While the overall picture is not positive, SRI might make better sense for some farmers with access to especially cheap labor. It’s also worth pointing out that alternative configurations of SRI interventions might be more effective.
And some elements of SRI might make sense as stand-alone interventions. For example, ensuring that the ODVA maintains canals and drains would almost certainly have benefits higher than costs. Extending access to agricultural credit in the Artibonite Valley may similarly have important impacts.
A key to boosting Haiti’s rural economy is increasing agricultural productivity. While rice productivity is among the lowest in Latin America, yields of maize, rice, and sorghum have been declining since the 1990s.
Agricultural research and development can improve the types of crops that are grown so they are more resilient to local conditions, and identify practices that would raise yields.
While there have been sporadic attempts to set up research entities, there has been no formal, consistent investment in Haitian agricultural research and development. Foreign organizations have spent a lot on various activities with little evidence of systemic benefits.
Dr. Subir Bairagi, an agricultural economist from the International Rice Research Institute, examines the impact of spending 1.7 billion gourdes ($25 million) each year for 20 years to establish a research institution to help transfer cutting-edge agricultural technology to Haiti’s farmers.
Dr. Bairagi finds that this investment would result in approximately 210% increases in maize, 109% increases in rice, and 104% increases in sorghum yields.
The increase in supply would push down market prices for consumers, but not significantly. Nevertheless, consumption would increase. Haitians would be slightly more food secure.
The benefits vary depending on how many farmers adopt new technologies. Experience elsewhere shows that the adoption of any new agricultural technology generally takes about 15-20 years to reach the maximum level, which ranges between 50% and 70%. If 60% of farmers in Haiti adopted new practices, it would mean that every 100 gourdes spent would achieve 140 gourdes worth of good.