Saturday, May 13, 2017

13th May,2017 daily global,regional local and national rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Rice mill owners look for alternative businesses
By Amber Rajashekar | THE HANS INDIA |    May 12,2017 , 11:07 PM IST

Kamareddy: The State Government policies have been allegedly forcing the rice mill owners to close down their businesses. In fact, during the kharif season this year, not less than 20 rice mills were shut down their businesses and the mill owners switched over to alternative vocations.

Many more mills are on the verge of closure.  In the past, the rice mill owners enjoyed a lot of clout. Banks used to advance loans to them and politicians used to patronise them. The mill owners used to conduct their businesses extending necessary financial support to farmers. But the government policies allegedly proved to be a threat to the rice mills.

Some of the rice mill owners are not in a position to repay the bank loans given to them. A situation has arisen where banks have no alternative except to seize the properties.  There are 89 rice mills in the district, but only 69 mills milled paddy this season and the rest of the 20 mills remained closed.

The State Government sent 1.07 lakh tonnes of paddy, purchased by the paddy purchase centers, to the rice mills for milling. After milling the paddy, the rice has been entrusted to the Civil Supplies Corporation. 

As against the earlier practice, custom milling was through for three months. The rice mills remained idle for about three months waiting for farmers to get their harvest. As the rice mill business has been severely affected, clashes between rice mill partners became more common.

Earlier, the rice millers used to purchase paddy directly from farmers and the milled rice was sold by them. Some of the millers used to export the rice to other states and even to other nations.  With the entry of Farmers’ Cooperatives and IKP outlets in paddy procurement business on behalf of the State Government, the rice mills are facing severe crisis.  

Further, management of the rice mills has become difficult. Many mills are not in a position to afford the wage bill expenses of their workers because of the drop in business.

Over 15 rice mills were closed in the district during the past two or three years. In each mill, at least 20 to 30 workers used to work, including drivers. With the closure of the mills, the workers were driven on to the streets. 

The rice millers have decided to close down their mills in villages around the town and some are keen on developing real estate ventures in the rice mill site. Some rice mill owners vanished from the town unable to clear the debts. Banks obtained orders to attach property of some of the rice mills from the cour

Piñol seeks ‘last’ NFA rice import

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Friday conceded that the government should no longer be involved in rice importation to ease the debt burden of the National Food Authority (NFA).
But the state grains agency should be allowed to do a final importation of the staple, the Cabinet official said in
an interview, without going into details.
“My suggestion to the President, when we met last April 26, was that this should be the last importation by the NFA. In the future, the NFA should no longer intervene, it should only be concerned with local procurement,” Piñol said.
“Let the private sector do the importation. Let them fill the gap in our production through importation. The NFA will only drown in debt because of repeated importation,” he added.
The President is studying the proposal, the Agriculture chief said.
A dispute between NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Aquino and the NFA Council over the former’s decision not to extend private rice import permits beyond February led to the sacking of an undersecretary under Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, who heads the council.
Aquino wanted to pursue government-to-government deals that could further bloat the NFA’s debts, and was accused of favoring certain private rice importers.
Debt at P157B, not P211B
Aquino denied earlier reports, citing official documents released by the Department of Finance (DoF), that the grains agency’s debts have ballooned to as much as P211 billion as a result of massive rice importation.
“The current NFA management is paying for these debts, which ballooned from only P10.7 billion in 2000 to P177 billion by June 30, 2010. The NFA accumulated these loans to finance the implementation of food programs that were not sustainable during those times,” Aquino said.
“The figure released by DoF, totaling P210.73 billion, is not the amount of NFA loans. As stated in the document, it was the total support given to NFA as of December 31, 2016. The total loan was only P157.02 billion as of that date,” Aquino explained.
Piñol said the government should start importing rice now that the harvest season is over, adding that he would propose a buffer stock of at least three months.
“I never said that we should not import rice. Our position is that if we need to import rice, then the right time is now as it would no longer affect prices of local palay,” he told reporters.
Piñol also said that rice importation before the lean months, the size of which had yet to be decided, would arrest the unusual price movements of rice in the local market as a result of hoarding and price manipulation by rice traders.
“If we are going to import, we should no longer make noise out of it because it tends to push prices upward,” he added.
No voice
Piñol pointed out that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has no voice in the NFA Council, which decides on rice imports.
Piñol said the Office of the Cabinet Secretary had promised to allow a DA representative to participate in decision-making at the interagency NFA Council.
“I have already talked with Secretary [Leoncio] Evasco, who said that he would allow me to sit at the NFA Council,” Piñol said.
Evasco has yet to reply to his letter. “I don’t know what happened,” Piñol said.
Under Presidential Decree 1770, or the National Food Authority Act, the NFA Council should include the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Finance, Trade and Industry, the governor of the central bank, the chairman of the Development Bank of the Philippines, the president of Land Bank of the Philippines, the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority, and a farmers’ representative.
The DA was booted out of the NFA Council after former President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed Executive Order 165, which transferred the NFA along with the National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority to the Office of the President.

Indian scientists develop transgenic rice that can withstand drought

Friday 12 May 2017
Under water scarce conditions created in laboratory, the transgenic rice performed better than their unmodified counterparts
A group of Indian, Chinese, and Canadian scientists have developed transgenic rice that gives high yields even under severe water deficit.
The new rice variety has been developed by transferring a gene from a common plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, into a variety of Indian rice called samba mahsuri. This gene is known to be involved in pathways controlling growth and development. Arabidopsis thaliana is a flowering plant widely used for research purposes but it has no agronomic value as such.
Putting the thaliana gene into rice increased its height, length of the panicle that encloses the grain, efficiency of photosynthesis, chlorophyll content, and water use efficiency. Under water scarce conditions created in laboratory, the transgenic rice performed better than their unmodified counterparts, according to research results published in journal Scientific Reports.
The content of chlorophyll which is required for plants to grow reduces under stress conditions like drought, which in turn hits the yield. The transgenic rice maintained high chlorophyll content even under water-deficit and therefore performed better.
“The need of extensive irrigation is a major constraint in rice production. Overexpressing TOR gene plays a major role in improving plant development, biomass, and yield potential under limited water conditions. Transgenic plants would be expected to have higher yields and better plant performance. Also, saved water, the most important ingredient in cultivation, could be utilized in the cultivation of other crops that need water and are deprived of it,” said P B Kirti, professor at the Department of Plant sciences, University of Hyderabad.
The research team included Achala Bakshi, Mazahar Moin, M Udaya Kumar, Aramati Bindu Madhava Reddy, Maozhi Ren, Raju Datla, E A Siddiq, and P B Kirti at the University of Hyderabad and PJTS Agricultural University in Hyderabad, University of Agricultural Sciences-GKVK in Bangalore, besides scientists from National Research Council of Canada in Canada, and Chinese academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, and Chongqing University in Chongqing, China. (India Science Wire)
For more such i

Centre, basmati exporters looking at alternative fungicides to treat rice

Isoprothiolane is good alternative to tricyclazole, but restricted in the US
The Centre is working with basmati exporters to identify alternatives to tricyclazole — a fungicide used to treat rice — as the European Union seems inflexible in its decision to bring down the tolerance level for the chemical next year, effectively banning its use.
“If alternatives are not found, India’s basmati exports to the region could get hit drastically as the levels of tricyclazole in Indian rice is mostly much higher than the default level of 0.001 ppm (parts per million) that the EU wants,” a government official told BusinessLine.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), under the Department of Commerce, together with basmati rice-exporting companies, is looking at possible solutions to the problem, the official added.
No issues with current cap

The maximum residue limit (MRL) for tricyclazole, a fungicide used by rice-growing countries to protect the crop from a disease called ‘blast’, is at present fixed at 1 ppm by the European Union.
Indian exporters do not have any problems staying within this limit, but once the default level of 0.001 ppm kicks in, much of the $3 billion of basmati exported to the EU from India could get affected.
The industry and government are finding it difficult to zero in on other fungicides that could be used because of a peculiar problem, the official said. While the fungicide isoprothiolane (IPT) could be a good alternative to tricyclazole as it has similar properties and is allowed in the EU, it is difficult to advise farmers to switch to it as the chemical is restricted in the United States.
So, in order to save the market in the EU, India would have to put at risk its market for basmati rice in the US, if it switches to IPT. The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) is also working on varieties of rice that are resistant to the heat blast disease but it will take time to yield results.
“Before we are able to have our own varieties of disease-free rice, we have to use our diplomatic skills to sort out the problem with the EU and also with the US if required,” the official said.
India is continuing to talk to the EU hoping to convince it to change its mind about lowering the maximum residue limit for tricyclazole.
“The EU does not seem too impressed by the problem Indian basmati exporters may face next year. India is talking to countries like Italy and Portugal, which do not support the EU initiative of raising the tolerance level, to strengthen its argument,” the official said.
(This article was published on May 11, 2017)

PHL must import rice soon–Piñol 

In File Photo: A worker passes a sack of rice to other workers inside a National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse in Taguig City
The chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday he has changed his mind, and is now urging President Duterte to allow the National Food Authority (NFA) to import rice for its buffer stock during the lean months.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol made the pronouncement following reports that rice prices have increased by as much as P100 per 50-kilogram bag.
“Let the NFA do the importation now, because the harvest season has ended. The NFA is complaining that they don’t have sufficient buffer stock. If it wants to import, it should be now,” Piñol told reporters in an interview on Thursday.
“I told the President that now is the best time for the NFA to import. And it should be via government to government,” he added.

Citing data from the International Rice Research Institute (Irri), Piñol said the country’s rice shortfall this year could reach as much as 800,000 MT. “However, this is much lower than the shortfall in previous years. The Irri study showed that the trend in the rice consumption of Filipinos is declining,” Piñol said.
“The Filipino family has become prosperous and, more often than not, when they eat outside, they only consume less rice,” he added. The NFA had earlier asked the interagency NFA Council (NFAC) to allow the government-to-government purchase of 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice, citing its difficulties to procure palay from farmers to boost its stockpile.
The food agency said it would need an additional 490,800 MT to meet the 30-day buffer-stock requirement of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.  The NFA is mandated to maintain a rice buffer stock that will last for 15 days at any given time and 30 days at the onset of the lean months. Rice harvest is significantly lower during the lean months of July to September.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that as of April 1, rice stocks held by NFA depositories reached 327,240 MT, which is sufficient for only 10 days. NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino had been urging the NFAC for months to approve his proposal to import rice. “It’s always better safe than sorry, especially when dealing with our people’s basic staple. If the government does not possess the right volume of stocks when the lean months come, who would provide for the needs of calamity victims?” Aquino said last month.
The NFA chief had been urging the council to approve the purchase of the 250,000 MT of imported rice. The volume is part of the 500,000 MT standby authority granted by the council to the agency in 2015. Last month Duterte thumbed down the purchase of imported rice, citing the need to protect local farmers. The NFAC and Piñol had also been lukewarm to the idea of allowing the NFA to import rice.
Some members of the NFAC said they prefer the private sector to buy rice from abroad to prevent the food agency from incurring more debts due to government- to-government importations.
To boost its buffer stock and reduce its debts, Piñol asked the NFA to focus on the procurement of palay from local farmers. “In the future, if the NFA intends to increase its buffer stock, then it should buy local produce. Importing rice would only cause the NFA to be saddled with more debts,” he said.
Data from the PSA showed that Philippine unmilled-rice output declined by nearly 3 percent to 17.62 million metric tons (MMT), from 18.14 MMT recorded in 2015. The DA attributed the decline in output to onslaught of strong typhoons, as well as pest infestation in some rice-growing areas.
USDA Reorganization Matches Up with Rice Priorities
WASHINGTON, DC - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has announced a reorganization of his agency that shows a clear emphasis on trade - a priority of this Administration's - and a philosophical shift on policy priorities at the farm level - both of which are in line with USA Rice initiatives.
 Trade Up
 An Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA) has finally been created; the position was included in the 2014 Farm Bill but never filled by Secretary Vilsack.  The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), that is vital to the rice industry, has been pulled away from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) and placed under the auspices of the new TFAA. 
 FAS manages the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, that together provided USA Rice with more than $4 million this year to help develop U.S. rice markets and promote American-grown rice overseas. 
 The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), also important for rice, remains under the Marketing and Regulatory programs Under Secretary at USDA, however as a means of facilitating communication among all agricultural trade components, the new TFAA will chair an inter-agency committee including FAS, APHIS, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS). 

"U.S. agricultural exports have quadrupled over the past 40 years so it makes sense to have a component of USDA completely devoted to trade," said Carl Brothers, chair of USA Rice's International Trade Policy Committee.  "With 50 percent of the U.S. rice crop exported each year, export markets are hugely important to our industry, so seeing an Under Secretary dedicated to trade is quite encouraging."
 Brothers explained that while tariffs and duties on U.S. goods remain a major obstacle and concern, non-tariff barriers have grown substantially over the past several decades and require the expertise of agencies such as APHIS to deal with foreign sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions.
 Home Front
 Perdue also announced his intention to create an Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, to include the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Realigning these domestically-oriented departments logically puts farm services, crop insurance, and conservation programs under one roof and recognizes that conservation programs, like the very successful Regional Conservation Partnership Program of which rice is a major benefactor, are the way of the future for farming and farm policy.
 Since the number of Under Secretaries the Department can have is limited by Congress, Perdue eliminated the position of Under Secretary for Rural Development and will have the agencies and functions dealing with this area report directly to him.
 "This reorganization has been a long time coming and is quite welcome," said Brian King, Chairman of USA Rice. "It shows that this is an agency well-aligned with our priorities and I expect our already great working relationship will only improve as we look to help our industry with strong and growing foreign markets and domestic policies and programs that ensure our farmers can continue to feed their families and families around the world in a safe and sustainable manner."
Trump Trade Team Locked and Loaded with Lighthizer

WASHINGTON, DC - President Trump's trade team was rounded out yesterday when the man at the top, Robert Lighthizer, was finally confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the U.S. Trade Representative.
 Ambassador Lighthizer hits the ground running with a long list of To-Do items, perhaps most notably overseeing the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a process that could get underway as early as next week with a formal notification to Congress of his intent to reopen the sprawling deal.

Lighthizer's views on free trade and agriculture that emerged during his confirmation process did much to reassure the ag sector, upset by what many perceived as reckless rhetoric on trade coming out of the White House.
 When asked if the needs of farmers and ranchers could be protected during any tinkering with NAFTA, Lighthizer responded: "I do believe it can be done. I'm not suggesting that it will be easy, but I do believe it can be done."
 "We welcome Ambassador Lighthizer to his new position and trust that any renegotiation of NAFTA will adhere to the guiding principle of 'First do no harm,'" said Betsy Ward, President and CEO of USA Rice.  "Mexico remains our top export market and Canada our fourth.  That is because of NAFTA, not in spite of it."
 Other issues awaiting Lighthizer include a 100 day trade program with China that, at this time, does not look to include U.S. rice, a possible opening up of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement from which rice was excluded in 2007, and a stepped up emphasis on enforcement of existing trade deals and rooting out bad actors as emphasized by President Trump on the campaign trail and since.

Flooding hits northeast Arkansas rice hard

The spring floodwaters currently covering northeast Arkansas will cost the state’s rice crop dearly.
“At this point, we’re estimating over 150,000 acres of rice will have been lost by the time this is over,” says Jarrod Hardke, Arkansas Extension rice specialist. “Of course, soybeans and corn will be taken out, but to less an extent. There wasn’t as much of those crops planted in the region being affected – especially corn, which is typically planted in lighter soils on higher ground.”
The May 1 NASS report said 89 percent of Arkansas’ expected 1.2 million-acre rice crop had been planted.
“Once rice is 10 days submerged, you can start writing it off. Some will survive but once that 10-day mark is hit you’re on the downhill side of expectation for a good rice crop. Rice may like a flood but doesn’t like to be submerged. And while it may survive being submerged longer than other crops it has a breaking point.”
In many cases, says Hardke, “the water isn’t going down but is leveled out. And farther downstream the flooding is getting worse. The additional rain last week just added insult to injury. More rain is forecast for (the week of May 8).
“It’s heartbreaking for the areas hit. It’s very reminiscent of the flooding in 2011 when we thought the flooding was bad enough. By all accounts, this may have far surpassed that.”
The rains came while expectations for a great crop were high.  
“Things were going so well. This has been described as one of the fastest, earliest, best-looking rice crops we’ve had in anyone’s recent memory. To have things go so well and then have an event like this is devastating – especially on the heels of the floods from excessive rains last August.”

More acres

The flooding of northeast Arkansas follows a shift to more rice acres in recent years.
“Our largest rice-producing counties are now in the northeast where the flooding is worst – Lawrence, Jackson, Poinsett. Arkansas County isn’t that far behind. Lawrence and Randolph counties have taken the brunt of the flooding. The hits just keep on coming for Randolph County. Obviously, flooding got them in 2011 and there have been some more minor issues until last year’s two flooding events.”
How much this could cost the state?
“Just for rice, and based on input costs incurred so far for acres that will be lost, it’ll be a $30 million loss. And that number will only get worse as the water moves farther south.
“That $30 million is only for the acres that’ll be lost. That doesn’t include the cost for all the acres affected – washed out levees that have to be re-pulled, lost yield, replanting, you name it.”
Hardke has been asked about potential help coming from the government.
“I’m being asked about this and the (Arkansas governor’s) disaster designation should kick things off. The area from Pocahontas to Walnut Ridge is the largest lake in the state, right now.
“Elnora Church just south of Pocahontas is kind of a landmark that’s a good place to pull into the parking lot and meet folks. I meet county agents and growers there all the time before heading out to a field.
“Right now, the water is to the eaves of that church. It has to be 8 feet deep. If that isn’t a disaster area, there isn’t one.

Making brown rice? Don't follow the instructions on the box

By Chris Morocco
You've been cooking brown rice wrong your whole life.  (iStock)
When I was a kid, brown rice felt like punishment. Like the ever-increasing amount of whole wheat flour that would appear in my mom’s pancakes and waffles, brown rice with dinner felt like we had done something really wrong.
My mom would always scorch it, informing us that, in other parts of the world, kids fight over who would get the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot. Charred rice cinders were the one thing my sister and I never felt compelled to fight over.
My mom was right about one thing, though: Brown rice is better. It just took me 15 years to come around.
There are some things, like sushi, that I’ll still choose white for, because its flavor is so unobtrusive. But I actually prefer the nutty intensity of brown rice in stir-fries, grain bowls, and as my go-to grainy side dish. When it comes to how to actually cook brown rice, though, there’s a shocking amount of bad info out there. I want to go out on a limb and assume that you like your brown rice pleasantly al dente, not mushy. Unfortunately, everything from the directions on the bag of rice to your rice cooker are working against you.

If you gave up on brown rice ever being good, you are not alone. We are here to show you the way. These are the three failsafe approaches to making the best brown rice of your life.
Method #1: The Rice Cooker
Say you have one of those fancy rice cookers with a computer chip and a special setting for brown rice. Don’t use it. Cook brown rice on the white rice setting and you'll get better rice in nearly half the time.
In the Bon Appétit test kitchen, our fancy rice cookers have always worked perfectly for white rice. Brown rice, however, tends to come out a bit mushy and overcooked. But, as I recently discovered, if you cook brown rice on the white rice setting, it comes out perfectly, with distinct chewy-tender grains.
I called up Zojirushi, the brand of rice cooker we’ve always sworn by, and spoke with Marilyn Matsuba, their marketing manager. It turns out she’s been hearing this feedback every so often, specifically from users outside Japan. She said that, in Japan, people often prefer their brown rice to be a good bit softer and stickier, while Americans tend to prefer a much firmer grain. She confirmed that, as long as there’s enough water in the rice cooker (i.e., add water to the mark indicated for brown rice inside the cooking pot), cooking it on the white rice setting is perfectly fine.
Side note: You know what that brown rice setting is actually great for? Cooking super-dense whole grains like spelt, rye, einkorn, whole barley and whole farro. We simply mix handfuls of several types that we have on hand and cook them all together.
Method #2: The Fast Stovetop
Do you want the most distinct, perfectly cooked grains possible in half an hour? The best thing about this method is that it's the fastest possible way to cook brown rice, and the amount of water you use doesn’t matter. That’s because we are talking about just boiling the rice like pasta in a pot of salted water until it’s al dente (25-30 minutes), then draining it and returning it to the pot for 10 minutes, covered, to steam out and get even fluffier and drier.
I was very skeptical about this before trying it. It somehow felt like violating the rice to treat it like pasta, but that’s actually how I like to cook quinoa and most other grains, so I don’t know why I would be giving rice special treatment. It creates the most beautifully separated fluffy-tender grains of rice possible, but some of the rice’s flavor does get lost to the boiling water. Chances are you won’t notice.
Method #3: The Standard Stovetop
If you want maximum nutty flavor and don’t mind a slightly longer cook time or pleasantly sticky grains, the standard method is there for you. This is the method that’s on the back of the bag of rice, but probably not the ratio you'll find there. We recommend 1¾ cups water to 1 cup rice. No need to rinse, but salt is essential. Bring the rice to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until rice is tender and water has evaporated, about 40–45 minutes. Fluff gently and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes to make it as light and fluffy as possible.
Phew. You made it. Welcome to the world of people who love brown rice

Rice exporters delegation eyeing big deals in KSA

Observer Report
A 14-member joint delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and Pak-Saudi Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PSJCCI), headed by Shah Jan Malik, Vice Chairman REAP visiting Saudi Arabia from 11-19 May, 2017, as part of trade promotion activities to increase export of rice to the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
According to the Consulate General of Pakistan, Jeddah, Shehryar Akbar Khan Consul General of Pakistan has appreciated the initiative taken by the rice exporters of Pakistan, and hoped that these efforts would support our efforts to increase the exports of rice to the Kingdom.
He shared that the consulate is making an extensive programme for the delegation which includes meetings with Makkah and Jeddah chambers, Business to Business Networking Session and meetings/visits to the leading supermarkets and hypermarkets of the Western Region.
The President of Pak-Saudi Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mian Mehmood said Saudi Arabia imports over USD 1 billion worth of rice every year making great opportunity for REAP to further increase the export of rice.
He said the joint chamber of both the countries is playing a very vital role in promoting trade in all the sectors between the two brotherly countries.
Vice Chairman Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Sheikh Mahzen Batterjie has welcomed the visit of the delegation and said such bilateral visits are necessary to increase the bilateral trade, commerce and investment between both the countries.
Members of the delegation are very confident that they will meet their objective and the visit will be fruitful. They are hopeful that there is tremendous scope for the export of Pakistani Basmati rice to Saudi Arabia, because of its supreme quality, unique aroma and taste

Brown rice prices unstable

Submitted by Eleven on Fri, 05/12/2017 - 15:34
Writer: Nilar
Workers unloading rice bags at Wardan jetty in Yangon.
The price of brown rice has been unsteady in the domestic market, according to rice merchants.

Merchants speculate that the unsteady price is due to Chinese buyers who have come to Ayeyawady Region to buy the rice directly.

A Yangon-based merchant said: “They [Chinese] pay whatever price the sellers ask, making the domestic market prices unstable.”
The price of a sack of brown rice from Myaungmya, Ayeyawady, jumped from Ks19,000 (US$14) to Ks22,000 between April and May. The prices may vary with the type and quality of rice.

I think the market prices may fallFormerly, they bought rice through brokers. So Yangon brokers were careful not to hurt market prices. Now the Chinese are bypassing the brokers. They purchase rice at the asked price so the prices rise and domestic brokers can’t compete with them. When they stop buying, the prices fall and the market becomes inactive,” said the merchant.

Chit Khine, chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation, told a workshop on April 29 that he asked the government to do something about the situation since it could hurt the market in the long run.

Chinese buyers are buying rice directly in Bago and Yangon regions. I’ve requested the government to control them with a trade policy since they disrupt domestic trading. The country’s rice trade heavily depends on China and the business becomes inactive when the Chinese government seizes Myanmar rice because it is unofficial in China. 

There was an agreement in 2014 over the export of 100,000 tonnes of rice by sea. There are no more contracts since.

Demand from China, Africa supports Vietnamese rice prices at harvest end
By Ho Binh Minh   May 12, 2017 | 03:21 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese rice is being offered at around $35-$40 a ton below Thai grain.China and several African countries have returned to Vietnam seeking fragrant and white rice, and the demand has helped stabilize export prices even though supply has risen at the end of a major harvest, traders said on Friday.They also said Vietnamese rice being offered for cheaper prices than Thai and Indian rice has also attracted buyers, mostly from Africa. Vietnam is the world's third-largest rice exporter, behind India and Thailand.
Farmers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's food basket, have finished harvesting the winter-spring crop, the biggest of the country's three annual crops. Paddy output eased 2 percent from last year to an estimated 9.8 million tons, based on government statistics. Most of the grain from this crop is being exported.
Reuters cited Vietnamese traders' quotations for five percent broken rice showing prices rose this week to $355-$360 a ton, free on board (FOB) basis, on more active trade.At $360 a ton, the price is at its highest since August 31, 2016.But traders at foreign firms and a dealer at a state-run export company in Ho Chi Minh City told VnExpress International that exporters are looking to sell the grade at around $355 a ton, while bids stood at $350-$352 a ton, similar to last week.
"Rice exports to China are going well," the dealer said. "Africa is also coming back with inquiries for the 5-percent and the 15 percent broken varieties, as well as fragrant rice."He added that ample supplies are now available to state-owned export firms that have better access to bank loans, while private exporters are struggling to build stock due to weaker finances.
Vietnamese prices are below those offered by Thailand, where the 5-percent broken rice rose this week to $387-$392 a ton, FOB basis, from $380-$390 last week and $360-$375 at the end of April due to loading demand during a slow off-season harvest, Reuters cited Thai traders in Bangkok as saying.Traders noted China, the biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice, has been taking more of the grain in the past month.
China imported 288,000 tons of rice from Vietnam in April, way above the monthly average of 176,000 tons in the first quarter, Vietnam Customs data showed.That brought Vietnam's total export volume to China in the January-April period to 815,000 tons, a rise of 16 percent from a year ago, based on data from the Finance Ministry-run customs agency.
Earlier this year, China approved 22 Vietnamese rice export firms as official suppliers, but is also trying to limit rice purchases across the land border with Vietnam.China is projected to import 5 million tons of rice this year, up 8.7 percent from 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.Vietnam is forecast to export 5.6 million tons in 2017, up 10 percent from last year, the USDA said in a report on Wednesday.
The USDA also forecasts both India and Thailand will export around double that amount this year

Asia Rice-Buyers turn to Vietnam as prices stay firm in Thailand, India
By Patpicha Tanakasempipat
BANGKOK, May 11 Buyers of Asian rice turned to Vietnam this week as prices remained firm in Thailand and India, traders said on Thursday.Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 edged up to $387-$392 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, from $380-$390 last week."Some ships are still loading," said a trader in Bangkok. Thai prices went up last week as exporters rushed to fill shipments amid a slow off-season harvest.Prices are expected to remain high for the next one to three weeks, traders said.

Trade will likely stay subdued as rice-consuming countries in the Middle East prepare to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims around the world will be fasting.Ramadan begins on May 26 and ends on June 24 this year.

Thailand's commerce ministry said on Thursday it will hold the second state auction of the year on May 24 for 1.82 million tonnes of rice.Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 was quoted at $355-360 a tonne, FOB Saigon, up from $350-$352 last Thursday on more active trade.
"Thai prices increased further, so importers turned to Vietnamese rice," said a Ho Chi Minh-based trader.Vietnam shipped an estimated 1.84 million tonnes of the grain between January and April, down 8.8 percent from the same period last year.Thailand and Vietnam are the world's second and third biggest rice exporters.
In India, the world's biggest rice exporter, prices of 5-percent broken parboiled rice RI-INBKN5-P1 were steady at $394-$399 a tonne this week as export demand remained weak amid a rally in local paddy prices."Overseas buyers are not ready to pay more than $390 and Indian exporters couldn't cut prices due to rising paddy prices," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

"Buyers are shifting to other producers like Vietnam."Local paddy prices are rising due to limited supplies and aggressive buying by state-run agencies, dealers said.The Indian government buys rice from local farmers at a fixed price to supply subsidised food and meet any emergency needs such as a sudden spike in prices.
An appreciating rupee is also making it difficult for exporters to reduce prices, said another exporter based in Kakinada.The rupee has risen more than 5 percent so far in 2017, trading near its highest level in 21 months. A stronger rupee trims returns of exporters.India mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East.
Bangladesh said this week it will import 600,000 tonnes of rice, parts of which will be from the world's top three exporters through government-to-government deals. (Additional reporting by My Pham in HANOI, Rajendra Jadhav in MUMBAI, Ruma Paul in DHAKA; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

N. Korea calls for bumper “nuclear bomb” rice harvest in response to sanctions
Rodong Sinmun says low gasoline supplies and drought affecting production methods, however
May 12th, 2017
North Korean authorities are pushing for a bumper rice harvest to mitigate the effects of sanctions and a reported drought, with the Rodong Sinmun on Friday describing the planned record crop as a “nuclear bomb” against the U.S. and its allies.
The editorial, entitled “Mobilize and concentrate all the power to finish the rice transplanting at the right time and in a proper way”, came a day after the ruling party organ announced the unveiling of a new rice plantation in Pyongwon County, South Pyongan Province.
Pyongyang claimed the U.S. and hostile forces – who are reportedly “freaked out” by the DPRK’s “nuclear deterrence and powers extending to the universe” – are now “publicly and habitually make military threats and blackmail.”
“The malevolent offensives of all the hostile forces – who stubbornly cling to the brutal racket of imposing sanctions and smother the space for our lives as well as take away our right to survive – is unprecedented in history,” the Rodong Sinmun said.
The party organ reiterated that the success of the country “can’t be considered without self-sufficiency of food,” but also said that recent gasoline shortages and an ongoing drought meant that farmers had shifted to harrowing dry rice paddies instead of wet.
Pyongyang called for farmers, workers, and volunteers to be “deeply aware” that the struggle to resolve the food problem is part of a “fight without guns.”“Rice is socialism. And a splendid harvest is like ‘a nuclear bomb’ that gives a terrible punishment on the heads of the enemies,” Rodong Sinmun said.“If we have enough rice there is nothing we are afraid of, even if we face an Arduous March a hundred times,” it added, a reference to North Korea’s famine of the 1990s in which hundreds of thousands are estimated to have died.The DPRK is urging its people to “breach the despicable and atrocious siege ring” of the country’s enemies by achieving the “great story of the rice planting campaign by any means.”
Rodong Sinmun reported on Wednesday that wheat, barley, and corn production had begun to suffer from drought damage due to low rainfall on the east coast, as well as South and North Hwanghae Provinces.
In the editorial entitled “Let’s Powerfully Struggle to Prevent the Drought Damage,” the North reiterated that preventing drought damage is a “time-sensitive project.”

After Wheat, FCI to Set up Rice Silos

 ET Bureau | May 12, 2017, 11.22 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Food Corporation of India, on a pilot basis, will set up rice silos in the country to drive modernisation and technology adoption for mechanised preservation of food grain.

In the past, the country’s only centralised food procurement agency has set up wheat silos, with technology and grain movement in bulk for the crop, for a while. Rice silos are different from wheat silos in size: They are smaller, and require chilling units.

“In Kaimur and Buxur regions of Bihar, we will be setting up 12,500-tonne capacity rice silos on a pilot basis. The tenders have been issued and in the next three months, the results will be out,” says Aseem Chabbra, general manager (silos), FCI.

The silos will be developed in proximity to private freight terminals, so that grain could be transported by specialised rail wagons in bulk form. “This will prevent loss, damage and degradation of grain quality,” says Chabbra.

Officials say they were exploring the possibility of setting up rice silos in Chhattisgarh and Andhra.

Chabbra added that rice silos require a chilling unit to maintain 15 degree Celsius temperature to avoid degradation in rice quality. However, in wheat silos, blowers are used and there is no need to bring down the temperature. Further, rice silos have a capacity to store a maximum 3,125 tonnes, while in wheat it is 12,500 tonnes, he says. In each location, FCI would be putting up about four silos, with a maximum rice storage capacity of 3,125 tonnes in each silo.

This capacity building will be part of the government’s target to construct 100 lakh tonne silos across the country in a phased manner by 2019-20. The silos are being constructed by FCI and various state agencies

PH-Korea collaboration to develop corn mill

By Zac B. Sarian
 It is all systems go for the development of an efficient village-level corn mill under a collaborative project between the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (Kamico) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech).
The memorandum of agreement (MOA) was recently signed for this project between Kamico chaired by Shin Gil Kim and PhilMech headed by Dr. Dionisio G. Alvindia.
PROMOTING PHILIPPINE FARM MECHANIZATION – Philip Kim of Fitcorea Philippines is largely instrumental in bringing together the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (Kamico) and PhilMech to undertake joint projects to promote farm mechanization in the country. The first project is the development of an efficient village-level corn mill that will process white corn for human consumption. Another project is the setting up of a farm mechanization training center at the PhilMech headquarters in Muñoz City in Nueva Ecija. Photo shows Philip Kim operating a Branzon tractor, a Korean brand that is prized for its high quality and performance.LeeWha Industry Company, makers of compact rice mills, headed by Seok Jin Lee, has been designated by Kamico to implement the project. LeeWha is the number one manufacturer of compact rice mills in KIorea which has revolutionized rice milling in that country.Because the compact rice mills are efficient, the big rice processing centers with huge rice mills are no longer necessary for most farming communities in Korea. The compact rice mill is affordable by even individual farmers, hence it has become very popular. The rice mills can also be a good investment for entrepreneurs in the countryside.The corn mill to be developed for the Philippines is also compact as well as efficient and affordable. The target is to provide milling facilities for white corn which is a favorite staple food, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao.MECHANIZATION TRAINING CENTER – Another area of collaboration between Korea and the Philippines is the setting up of a training center at the headquarters of PhilMech in Muñoz, Nueva City.The center will showcase the different machines needed for various chores on the farm. These will include Branson tractors and various implements that could be attached to the big machine.Farmers and trainees will be familiarized with different kinds of machines and equipment that can help promote faster mechanization of farms in the Philippines. Machines like rice transplanters, direct rice seeders, harvesters, levelers, disk harrows and plows, loaders and many more will all be showcased there.Philip Kim of Fitcorea also sees a need to train tractor operators on proper land cultivation. The plows and harrows should achieve the proper depths so that the plants will be provided with properly prepared land. Philip Kim has observed that many tractor operators operate their tractors as if they are racing so that the land is not properly cultivated.
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MANGO FESTIVAL – The AMIA Mango Festival started yesterday at the Centris Walk on Edsa corner Quezon Avenue in Quezon City and will end tomorrow, Sunday. Go visit the place to get updated on the latest developments in the mango industry. There are also fresh and processed mangoes on sale.
IMPACT Philippines – This is a new project that will be launched on Monday, May 15, with Sen. Villar giving the keynote speech at the Agricultural Training Institute in Quezon City. The project under the auspices of an NGO called ASSIST, will help smallholder farmers in Buguias, Benguet to increase their productivity and income through the use of tools supplied by Pessl GmbH of Germany.

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