Tuesday, May 30, 2017

30th May,2017 daily global,regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine


Rice farmers are being exploited by the millers

By STAFF WRITER May 29, 2017

 Dear Editor,

The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) is supposed to be a very vibrant government watchdog agency with the rice industry. Its board members have a wide range of responsibilities and authority in the general operations of the industry, but for some time now they have become toothless poodles in the real series of this adage, by not doing the things they were put there to do. There is a lot of empty rhetoric and very little action. This organization has sat and allowed most of the rice millers of this country to violate the Factories Act for too long. I refuse to sit and allow this exploitation dalliance to go on any longer.

We all know that the millers are very important people and their operations are essential components in the paddy processing and rice production business, but this notwithstanding must we sit idly by and allow a special breed of cunning exploiters to destroy firstly the livelihood of all rice farmers, secondly the entire rice industry, and thirdly the country’s economy? No! We must not be docile in our resolve to put an end to the millers’ multi-faceted exploitation.

The GRDB has to let the millers know that they are not dealing with rice farmers in the right and proper manner. They have the legal status to do the right and proper thing in the best interest of all stakeholders in this sphere, but why, I ask, have GRDB board members remained so elusive and strikingly passive over this alarming disadvantage affecting all rice farmers? The rice millers owe us their very existence and meaningful expansion. If we cease producing, their milling operations which in the corporate realm are a super investment will come to a standstill, rot and crumble.

In my area of paddy production that is Hague, on the West Coast of Demerara, paddy quality has been exceptionally high. This good fortune has been the result of pest management, especially paddy bugs. All rice farmers followed the advice of GRDB and RPA field officers. I personally sprayed at three different intervals, and the infestation was negligible before spraying, while farmers were very vigilant in their efforts to keep the paddy bugs at bay.

When farmers go this way in order to enjoy the bounty of a very good crop, their expenditure has to be high. Yet when we take our paddy to the rice mills, the millers are poised to put our paddy samples under the microscope for a prearranged ruling on our grades. When such grades are awarded, you do not have a choice; that is it, take it or leave it. Your paddy would have been already dumped into the irretrievable hopper ‒ this is exploitation strategy number one. The other levels of clever manipulations are the laboratory electronic gadgets, the mini-paddy sheller and the bulk scale.

Rice farmers are being taken for a long ride on the factory electronic scales; a toothpick does the trick ‒ the Bureau of Standards can’t be there all the time. The same goes for the moisture test machine; it can be set and then reset again. As for the paddy sheller, the grader manipulates this mechanism with his hands, and the unprocessed paddy becomes fragile under excessive pressure. Lastly, the graders’ trained impartial judgement and better reasoning can become clouded by the coded directives of the miller.

The presence of the GRDB representative means nothing; the grader’s decision is always final. The farmer now stands defeated, which is an affront, as a consequence of a strategy on the part of persons who care about themselves only.

Statistically it is costing the average farmer $2800.00-$3200.00 to produce one 155-pound bag of paddy. And the millers pay the famers an unconscionable $2600.00 for extra ‘A’ grade and $100.00 less for each lower grade. I dare the millers and GRDB to come forth and dispute my carefully calculated figures.

I do honestly believe that there are concerted efforts by known characters to destroy the rice industry. We all survived in the past, and we shall again survive because we surely know how to survive.

Yours faithfully,

Ganga Persaud


Rice Smuggling: Nigerian govt threatens to shut borders with neighbouring countries

The Federal Government has threatened to shut some land borders if the smuggling of rice continues from neighbouring countries.Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, gave the warning on Monday while speaking to journalists on some of the Federal Government’s achievements in the agriculture sector in the last two years in Abuja.
Mr. Ogbeh said the decision had become necessary to encourage local rice farmers and to enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2018.
“We believe they are determined to sabotage the efforts that we are making to guarantee self-sufficiency in rice and to save foreign exchange which we don’t have.
“They insist on bringing in rice through the land borders, avoiding the duties and the levies we put on them and they are definitely bent on sabotaging our efforts and we are getting increasingly unhappy with them. “And I must say that very soon, if they persist, we will take very nasty measures against them.
“We will like to advise our neighbours, who believe that the ECOWAS treaty means that Nigeria is a volunteer nation for economic suicide.
“We have no such plans, destroying our own economy to make any neighbour happy.

“The ECOWAS treaty number two does not suggest that any country can be an avenue of smuggling foreign goods not produced in that country for dumping in his neighbours territory.
“If they insist, I do not think that government is far away from considering permanently closing certain borders very near us and when we do, nothing will make us change our minds on the issue, ECOWAS treaty or not,” Mr. Ogbeh warned.
The minister said that the importation of rice reduced from 580,000 tonnes in 2015 to 58,000 tonnes by 2016.
According to him, by the end of this year, we will eliminate the difference because more people are growing rice in the country.
He said the Federal Government would distribute no fewer than 200 rice mills to millers across the states of the federation to encourage fresh milling of locally produced rice in order to make them more palatable than the imported ones.
Mr. Ogbeh said the move would save about $5 million for the country daily when achieved.
According to the minister, about three months ago, there was this cry about Nigeria going to starve and we told them that there will be such thing.
“We have never produced as much grains as we did in the last two years in this country’s’ history.
“We have fed not only Nigeria, we have fed West Africa and there are still thousands of tonnes in people’s warehouses.
“Those who bought grains and stored believing that starvation was near and they will make a killing they are now begging us to take off the grains from them because they are getting stock.
“The only shortfall we have is maize because of the disease called the armyworm.
“We are dealing with that and this planting season, we are going to support farmers to make sure that we bring that disease under control.“We have done amazing things in agriculture in two years, we are still going,” Mr. Ogbeh said.The minister said the government was working toward achieving self-sufficiency in staples within the next two years excluding wheat.He said that government’s ambition was that in five to six years from now, Nigeria should be able to earn between N10 to N30 billion from exportation of agricultural produce annually to service the country’s debts and build robust foreign reserves



Walton Ph.D. Student Wins Fellowship to Study Rice, Information, Markets

May 30, 2017
Jessica Darby
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Information moves markets. That’s something every business student understands – or should.
Jessica Darby wrote her honors thesis on the relationship of rice markets and information while she was a University of Arkansas undergraduate. Now, as a doctoral candidate in the university’s Sam M. Walton College of Business, she’s studying ways that timely and accurate information flowing out of the supply chain can help rice farmers in Arkansas and around the world.
Darby researches how rice farmers get their information about markets and how they make decisions based on that information. She’s asking farmers if better sources of information, additional resources and more analytical tools can be developed to help with market decisions.
In spring 2017, Darby gained support for this research by winning a prestigious and highly competitive Adam Smith Fellowship from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The one-year fellowship for graduate students – which includes a quarterly stipend – can total up to $10,000. Fellows also are eligible to apply for conference and research support.
“I believe that working with the Mercatus Center will help me develop market-based tools and address relevant policy levers to reduce the information burden for farmers,” Darby said. “I want to articulate the power of markets in agricultural supply chains.”
Her research can also be a powerful tool in helping the farmers and the economy of Arkansas. Arkansas is the largest rice-growing state in the nation, with the crop grown on 1.3 million acres each year, mainly in eastern Arkansas counties stretching from Louisiana to Missouri.
Darby’s interest in commodities such as rice and the behavior of commodity markets was sparked by an internship as a commodity analyst with an Arkansas-based global trading and sourcing company, and a second internship with one of the largest shippers of grain on the inland river system. The latter gave her insight into the role that public information – especially United States Department of Agriculture reports – plays in decisions.
“In both roles, I was responsible for producing regional analysis to determine potential growth and necessary defense strategies to adapt to changing market and political environments,” Darby said.
Darby was introduced to free-market concepts and information’s impact on commodity trading and pricing through a Walton College supply chain class on capitalism and a class on futures and options in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. The latter class sparked an interest in working with Andrew McKenzie, a professor of agricultural economics and agri-business.
“He introduced me to Milo Hamilton’s book, When Rice Shakes the World,” Darby said. “Hamilton discusses the implications of policies on the functioning of global rice markets and argues for a ‘freer, market-oriented way for rice.’”
McKenzie directed Darby’s honors thesis on rice futures markets. The two published that research in the U of A undergraduate research journal Inquiry and then extended the research. Darby presented this extended research as a paper at the NCCC-134 Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting and Risk Management Conference. The two then co-authored an article on the topic – “Information Content of USDA Rice Reports and Price Reactions of Rice Futures” – that was published in Agribusiness: An International Journal.
“Our research shows that the USDA provides the rice futures market with important information needed by Arkansas rice mills and farmers to market their crops,” McKenzie said. “The Arkansas Farm Bureau notes that Arkansas farmers produce more than 9 billion pounds of rice each year, which generates billions of dollars to the state’s economy and accounts for approximately 25,000 jobs, crucial to rural communities.”
The impact of such research on Arkansas and its economy inspires Darby to continue to dig into the topic. “It’s important to me that my research connect to industry,” Darby said. “I have to see the practical application for both farmers and agri-businesses – especially those involved in the food supply chains here in Arkansas.”
McKenzie added that, in an era of declining federal budgets, the kind of research he and Darby have produced provides economic justification for the continued publication of USDA reports. Darby said that it also illustrates an opportunity for the private sector to provide additional valuable information.
“Our results undoubtedly show that USDA reports play a vital role in helping futures markets to discover price and that this is particularly important for the U.S. rice market, where there is a paucity of private data and forecasts to supplement government numbers,” McKenzie said. “However, our research also highlights the fact that rice futures are a thinly traded market with low liquidity and volume.”
McKenzie and Darby are currently engaged in potential research to explore factors that may be driving low trading levels, which increases uncertainty for farmers. Darby said the aim is to determine potential solutions to increase volume and open interest through both regulatory changes and private information provided by partners in the supply chain.
Darby earned a B.S.B.A. in economics from the Walton College in 2015 and a Walton M.B.A. in 2016. She says her passion for reading, research and free-market capitalism left no doubt she would enter Walton’s doctoral program right away. Winning the Adam Smith Fellowship is pushing that passion into a whole different realm, though.
“I believe that it will enable me to examine and better articulate the power of markets in global agricultural supply chains,” Darby said, “as well as the power of global agricultural supply chains in the structuring of global markets.”
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
David Speer, director of communications 
Sam M. Walton College of Business 
479-575-2539, dlspeer@uark.edu



Bangladesh rice prices break world record

Iftekhar Mahmud | Update: 22:48, May 28, 2017
Bangladeshis buy the poorest quality of rice at the highest prices in the world.According to the government, a kilogramme of a coarse variety of rice is being sold at Tk 48, setting a new record in the country's economy.Another South Asia nation, Pakistan, stood second on the chart, but its nationals buy the same variety of rice at Tk 10 less than in Bangladesh.Analysing information from three agencies, it has been observed that rice prices have consistently been rising for the last one year.According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), in the past month, the price of rice has increased by 11 per cent and prices have doubled in the past one year.Economists say this is due to wrong policies and not taking proper steps in this regard.Asked about the rise in rice prices, food minister Quamrul Islam did not make any specific comment on it.

"I've just come from Vietnam after signing an agreement for rice procurement. I am unable to comment on the price of rice in Bangladesh right now.

International rates of rice

According to a daily report published by the food ministry, Vietnam is now selling rice at the cheapest rates in the world. The price of a kilogramme of rice is Tk 33. 62 there.
In neighbouring India, the price of a kilogramme of rice is Tk 34, Tk 37.81 in Thailand, and Tk 38. 54 in Pakistan.
Outside this region, the world's largest rice producing countries -- China, Indonesia, and the United States -- do not export rice to international markets. Rather, they import rice.
In the international rice market, rice is being sold at the highest price in Bangladesh. But, it is also true that rice prices are on the rise internationally as well.
According to 'Agri Market', a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, in the past week, rice prices have risen in all countries except Vietnam. Thailand has increased rice prices by 5.77 per cent, while India has raised rice prices by 1.4 per cent, and Pakistan by 2 per cent.
According to the FAO's April report, world rice production will decline by 6 million tonnes this year compared to last year.
As much as 173.3 million tonnes of rice was produced in 2015-116 fiscal. It is expected to go down 2 million tonnes this year.
Rice prices break all record
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said rice prices rose to Tk 38 per kg in October, 2016 in Bangladesh.
During the last caretaker government regime in 2008, a kilogramme of rice price shot up to Tk 36 per kg. Then, the rice prices started falling after bumper production of rice in 2009 that brought the rice price down to Tk 26 per kg in 2012.
The rice prices continued to increase again after the Bangladesh Awami League came to power for the consecutive second term in 2014.
Although keeping the rice price within the reach was one of the main election promises of the AL in 2014, the rice price rose to Tk 30 per kg and it went up to Tk 33 in 2015.

TRC 2017 showcases Thailand’s potential in global arena for quality rice trade and production

May 29, 2017 18:34 
By The Nation 

“Thailand Rice Convention 2017” (TRC 2017) – a premier international forum for rice – is currently being held by the Foreign Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry, in collaboration with related organisations from both the public and private sectors.

Highlights of the convention include the multi-dimensional facets of innovation of Thailand’s rice industry.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the event, which ends on Tuesday, was being held under the theme “Rice Plus” as it was aimed at showcasing Thailand’s potential in the global arena for quality rice trade and production. 
Various innovative rice products are being presented, showing how far the Thai rice industry has advanced in its technological development and technological integration. 
Reaping the benefits of the technological revolution, all parties in the industry have benefited from tremendous value addition to rice, which corresponds with the government’s “Thailand 4.0” economic model striving to transform the Thai economy into a value-based economy, she said.
On Monday, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired the opening ceremony of TRC 2017 and delivered a keynote speech on “Thai Rice Trade and Its Future”, outlining government policies towards the sustainable development of the Thai rice industry. 
The convention welcomes more than 1,000 participants from over 40 nations, including producers, importers and product developers, as well as delegates from major trading partners, namely China, Japan, Malaysia, Iraq, Iran, Spain, the UK, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. 
Also attending the event are experts and academics, farmers, and media agencies. 
On this occasion, the Iraqi minister of planning and acting minister of trade, Salman Ali Hasan Al-Jumaili, and his delegation comprising executives of the Grain Board – the Iraqi government’s official body responsible for rice imports – held an important meeting with Apiradi to jointly discuss opportunities for future rice trade and bilateral cooperation. 
Similar discussions were held between the Thai minister and Tran QuocKhanh, Iraq’s deputy minister of industry and trade.
On Tuesday, international delegates will participate in post-conference field trips to sites related to rice and rice innovation, including the Royal Chitralada Project, which is considered Thailand’s first pioneering laboratory for rice development. 
Since its establishment, extensive researches have been carried out at the project to study rice cultivation, milling, the pros and cons of different types of rice barns, and the breeding of new rice varieties. 
Alternatively, participants can choose to visit Choheng Factory, a long-established producer of rice products such as glutinous rice flour, rice vermicelli, and rice noodles; or Pathawin Company – a respected producer and supplier of cosmetics to consumers both in Thailand and abroad.

Bangladesh gets lowest rice import tender

Reuters . Dhaka | Update: 20:03, May 28, 2017
 Bangladesh received a lowest offer of $406.48 a tonne CIF liner out from Singapore-based Agrocorp International in a tender that opened on Sunday to import 50,000 tonnes of white rice, officials at the state grains buyer said.Five traders competed for the tender issued by the Directorate General of Food at a time when local rice prices have reached record highs and state reserves are at 10-year lows.
Other offers in a tonne CIF liner out were: LDC $413.13, Olam $413.90, Phoenix $421.00 and Desh Trading $446.70, the officials said.
One trader said the origin of the lowest offer was not known but was likely to be from Vietnam.
A Bangldesh delegation was in Vietnam last week to finalise imports of the staple grain in a government-to-government deal, Food Ministry officials said.
Vietnamese rice prices this week hit their highest in over a year on expectations of strong demand from top importing countries such as Bangladesh and the Philippines.
The state grains buyer earlier this month said it would ship in 600,000 tonnes of rice, initially issuing two tenders for a total of 100,000 tonnes of rice, its first such tenders since 2011.
In its first tender that opened last week, it received a lowest offer of $427.85 a tonne CIF liner out from Dubai-based Sukhbir Agro Energy to import 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice.

 Rice Imports Valid Until July 23
Monday, May 29, 2017
Rice Imports Valid Until July 23
Order registrations are valid for rice imported until July 23 only, director general of Imports and Exports Regulations Bureau at the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Ali Aliabadi, said.The Iranian government bans rice imports every year during the harvest season to support local farmers and domestic production. Iranians consume 3.2 million tons of rice a year, of which almost 2.2 million tons are supplied by domestic farmers.  The two northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran are home to a majority of Iran’s paddy fields

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Rice first domesticated in China at about 10,000 years ago: study

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-30 05:45:21|Editor: Mu Xuequan 

WASHINGTON, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Rice, one of the world's most important staple foods sustaining more than half of the global population, was first domesticated in China about 10,000 years ago, a new study suggested Monday. "Such an age for the beginnings of rice cultivation and domestication would agree with the parallel beginnings of agriculture in other regions of the world during a period of profound environmental change when the Pleistocene was transitioning into the Holocene," Lu Houyuan, professor of the Institute of Geology and Geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who led the study, said.
The research, published in the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was done in collaboration with Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Relics and Archaeology and the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Questions surrounding the origin and domestication of rice have led to a lot of debate in the last decade. Rice remains have previously been recovered from the Shangshan site in the Lower Yangtze of China and recognized as the earliest examples of rice cultivation. However, the age of the rice fossils was derived through radiocarbon dating of organic matter in pottery shards, which can be contaminated with older carbon sources, Lu said.
 To constrain the age of the phytoliths, the researchers developed new ways of isolating rice phytoliths from carbon sources, such as clays and carbonate, and dated the samples directly using radiocarbon dating. It turned out that phytoliths retrieved from the early stage of the Shangshan site are about 9,400 years old. Further studies showed that approximately 36 percent of rice phytoliths at Shangshan had more than nine fish-scale decorations, less than the approximately 67 percent counted from modern domesticated rice, but larger than the approximately 17 percent found in modern wild rice.
That means that rice domestication may have begun at Shangshan at about 10,000 years ago during the beginning of the Holocene, when taking into account the distance between phytolith samples and the lowest bottom of cultural strata of the site as well as a slow rate of rice domestication, Lu said. The time coincided with the domestication of wheat in the Near East and maize in northern South America, both of which are also believed to have occurred at about 10,000 years ago, when the global climate experienced dramatic changes from cold glacial to warm interglacial.

Demand surge to lift rice price

Auction of Thai stocks helps release pressure
30 May 2017 at 07:00 1,605 viewed1 comments

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha opens Thailand Rice Convention 2017, organised by the Commerce Ministry.
World rice prices are expected to rise by US$20 (682 baht) a tonne over the next three months, driven by a sharp surge in global rice demand, according to experts.Global rice supply is now quite tight, while Thailand's previously hefty state rice stocks have eased, releasing pressure on global rice prices, Jeremy Zwinger, chief executive of the Rice Trader, said at the "World Rice Trade Outlook" seminar of Thailand Rice Convention 2017, held in Bangkok yesterday.
Purchase interest is also expected to increase on a continuous basis from China, Africa and the Philippines, he said. "We have now gone from a buyer's market to a seller's market," Mr Zwinger said. "The power is shifting back to the origin."
The Thai government now controls 4.32 million tonnes of state rice stocks and aims to dispose of it all by September this year, given rising rice demand.Of the total, the sale of 2.5 million tonnes of mostly low-quality and decaying rice fit only for industrial use will no longer dampen the price of newly harvested rice.
On May 15, the government called the second auction for 1.82 million tonnes of its remaining rice stock fit for human consumption.Results are likely due by the first week of June, Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said last week.
If the state succeeds in selling all 1.82 million tonnes, the state rice stocks will drop sharply to only 2.5 million tonnes.Of the remainder, 2 million tonnes will serve as animal feed and the rest will be used for energy production.The department is scheduled to call the auction for the 2-million-tonne portion in June. The auction for the 500,000-tonne share will be called in July.
From the May 2014 coup until May 24 of this year, a total of 12.7 million tonnes of rice have been sold via auctions, fetching 114 billion baht.Amit Gulrajani, senior vice-president for the rice division of Olam International in Singapore, said rice consumption, especially in Africa, continues to grow.Mr Gulrajani said key risks for the global rice trade this year will stem largely from droughts and flooding in Asia, as indicated by a surge in rice imports by Sri Lanka.
"We expect the world's rice market to remain in an upward trend in the second half of the year thanks to lower global rice stocks, as Thailand will no longer hold its hefty share," he said. "For the remaining months, we have to keep a close eye on the rice self-sufficiency policies of rice-importing nations, oil prices and the new harvests by rice-producing countries."
Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporter Association, said lower-than-expected rice production in Vietnam accounts in part for the lower global supply, while Thailand's good-quality rice stocks are about to be depleted.
The free-on-board Thai rice export price is now quoted at US$425 a tonne, up from $365 a tonne a couple of weeks back.
Mr Chookiat said he expects Thai rice prices to stabilise for a certain period as overall rice shipments for the country reach 10 million tonnes this year.
According to a report by the US Department of Agriculture, the world's rice trade is expected to stay at 41.3 million tonnes this year and 42.3 million tonnes in 2018, up from 40.6 million tonnes in 2016.