Friday, June 23, 2017

23rd June 2017 daily rice news global regional local updates

Once upon a time
Deepak Rikhye
June 23, 2017 | 02:17 AM

Terrace cultivation
Terraced rice fields in Yunnan Province, China, give incredible evidence of the history of rice. Researchers have been struggling for years to establish where and when rice was first cultivated.
They initially thought of Japan and Korea; in recent times, however, Sarah Zhang, for The Atlantic, has written that new studies suggest the cultivation of rice from its “wild form” possibly began in southern China. Stephen Chen, for the South China Morning Post, writes that archaeologists in the early 2000s discovered 18 pre-historical villages in the area of Shangchan, along the Yangtze River, with evidence that people cultivated and ate rice.
Silo type constructions of hard material, comprising plastered clay, were used for granaries which were made for storing rice.
These researchers did not mention that the Indus Valley Civilisation, used similar granaries, ages ago. That is understandable as the research is in China by Chinese professors and intellectuals. The presence of agricultural tools, similar to ancient ploughs, was observed in Shangshan.
However, a question persisted among the Chinese researchers: were those early settlers collecting wild rice or had they already begun to cultivate and domesticate rice? Chen explains the difference.
While acidic soils decompose and destroy the organic matter of rice, including its grains and stems, rice plants produce microscopic bits of silica called phytoliths that form distinctive patterns in rice leaves. Compared to wild varieties, domesticated rice has prominent phytolith patterns. By counting the “fish scales” in patterns, researchers can identify the difference between cultivated and wild rice, since cultivated rice has more than nine scales. According to a press release, rice, Oryza sativa, is one of the world’s important staple foods, as it sustains more than half the world’s population. This has led to considerable discussion over the last decade.
Professor Lu Houyuan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences suggests that rice domestication may have begun at Shangshan on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River in China during the beginning of the Holocene, some 9,000 to 11,500 years ago. The research was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, US.
Rice remains mainly from phytoliths found at the Shangshan site in the lower Yangtze may represent the first instance of rice cultivation.
However, further research on dates is required to determine an actual calendar of the history of rice. Professor Houyuan tells Chen, “We have a high confidence it is not wild rice. It is not the same rice we consume today either. It is a half-domesticated species.” Excavations will continue because the researchers strongly believe the site was surrounded by luxuriant expanses of paddy fields.
However, although Chinese rice could be the earliest found till date, it does not mean that China was the only place where rice was developed. Researchers argue that another strain known as indica had also been cultivated, in an area between India and Indochina. Genetic studies show a third variety, which is resistant to drought, known as aus rice and aus was developed in the regions of India and Bangladesh, from wild strains.
If rice was grown in China 9,000 years ago, there are no first prizes but the age of this commodity is indeed remarkable. It is also thought provoking that if rice has continued from the Holocene era it has endured many different conditions within the environment.
The fact that the odyssey of rice has moved through thousands of years is on its own mind-boggling. If one reflects on the relevance of rice cultivation in India, a difference arises — the Chinese lived harmoniously with one another for a long time. They were not as fragmented as the Indian sub-continent was.
There is evidence that the Chinese, during those pristine times, created foot-pumps to pump water from the Yellow River towards the paddy fields. They pumped in the water with their feet — that was the miraculous mechanical power used in those rice fields.
China adhered a lot to a “policy of secrecy” and this traditional policy has been integral to their virtues. So a design of those fascinating foot-pumps is safely preserved in records at Chinese universities.
12:00 AM, June 23, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:59 PM, June 22, 2017

Kushtia bans noncompliant rice millers for two years

Kushtia's local food administration has decided not to buy rice from the noncompliant rice millers for next two years after they failed to deliver the staple food to the government in violation of contracts.
Over 200 disobedient rice millers have been served notices while the local food office has blacklisted 416 more mills with whom the government would not sign any deal to buy rice for the next two years.
Kushtia District Food Controller Tanver Rahman confirmed to The Daily Star about the decision. He added that other defiant millers would also be served notices. 
Kushtia is home to one of the country's biggest wholesale rice markets in Bangladesh where coarse rice is being sold at Tk 42-44 per kilogramme.
During the ongoing rice procurement season, from May 2 to June 30, the government wanted to buy rice from the millers at Tk 34 a kg. The millers were reluctant to supply the commodity to the government at less than the market price, according to a number of millers. 
As a result, most rice millers did not sign the contract with the government in the first place in the hope of higher profits.
The millers who signed the contracts also refused to sell the staple as promised as they got better prices in the open market trade.
Coarse rice price went by 46.88 percent year-on-year yesterday, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
Kushtia is one of the largest rice producing hubs in Bangladesh where about 868 mills process and produce rice.
Of the total, 609 mill owners are enlisted with the local food office to supply rice to the government.
This year only 193 mill owners in the district signed deals to supply 4,898 tonnes of rice. The government's procurement target was 13,301 tonnes.
But only two mill owners supplied 135 tonnes of rice to the district food godown till last week.
The situation this year is in stark contrast to that of the past whe n mill owners would eagerly wait for the procurement drive to start so they could supply the staple food.
On June 1, the local food office received a letter from the regional food controller with instructions to serve mill owners notices banning them from selling rice to the government for the next two years.
With a very low stock of rice and prices rising, the government is walking a tightrope when it comes to procuring rice from the domestic market and is now in the process of importing the item from Vietnam and other countries.



Wheat consumption falls in Ramazan

KARACHI: The consumption of wheat has fallen to nearly 110,000 tonnes during Ramazan in Karachi compared to the monthly average of 150,000 tonnes in summer. flour miller said the decline was mainly due to the use of alternative foods by people in Ramazan and the closure of hotels and restaurants. Moreover, people also focus on rice during the holy month.Consumption in winter stands normally higher as 180,000 tonnes of wheat are ground every month to make flour (atta). Sindh’s overall consumption of wheat reaches 360,000 tonnes in winter and 300,000 tonnes in summer.
The per-person consumption of flour in Pakistan is 124 kilograms a year, said Chaudhry Nasir Abdullah, the chairman of Pakistan Flour Mills Association’s Sindh chapter.
However, Pakistanis are eating costly flour due to higher support price of wheat at Rs1,350 per 40kg, he said: “The support price of wheat should be Rs800 per 40kg. This will make its exports feasible and bring down prices as well.”
Demand for chickpeas, sugar and rice registers increase
Despite surplus wheat crop in Pakistan, exports to Afghanistan have become negligible due to high prices here. Afghanistan was buying cheap wheat from various neighbouring countries, Mr Abdullah said.
Wheat prices in Pakistan are almost double at $350 a tonne compared to global prices of $160-180 a tonne.
However, despite lower prices on the world market, Pakistan’s wheat imports remained nil during July-April 2016-17, as they were a year earlier. The government has imposed 60 per cent import duty and 5pc income tax to discourage imports and benefit growers.
With an increase of around 10pc in international wheat prices during July-April, wheat exports went up to 575 tonnes fetching $172,000 during the period compared to 450 tonnes ($158,000) a year ago.
Prices of various flour varieties have been unchanged for the last one and a half months due to slack demand. A 100kg bag of wheat sells for Rs3,125 in the open market. The Sindh government has last year’s carryover stock of around 700,000 tonnes.
Unlike wheat, the consumption of chickpeas (chana) went up to nearly 200,000 tonnes during Shaban and Ramazan from 66,000 tonnes a month. Chickpeas are used for making besan, or gram flour.
The chairman of Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association, Anis Majeed, said that taking the wholesale price of grams at Rs80 per kg, the amount spent on the Shaban and Ramazan consumption comes to around Rs16 billion compared to normal monthly consumption of Rs5.28bn.
Gram is the largest Rabi pulse crop, accounting for 76pc of total production of pulses in the country. Its production increased 25.5pc year-on-year to 359,000 tonnes during 2016-17. However, keeping in view the consumption of grams at around 750,000 tonnes, a considerable amount of the commodity is being imported.
The consumption of Kabuli chana (white gram) swelled to nearly 50,000 tonnes during Shaban and Ramazan from 15,000 tonnes during normal months. Taking the price of Kabuli chana at Rs150 per kg, the overall sales come to around Rs7.5bn.
The monthly consumption of sugar, which normally stands at 400,000 tonnes, surged to 1.2 million tonnes Shaban and Ramazan as it is heavily used in making juices and squashes. Based on Rs53 per kg wholesale price, its sales in Ramazan and Shaban come to Rs63.6bn as compared to Rs21bn in normal months.
Mr Majeed said the demand for rice usually goes up by 10-20pc in the 15 days leading to Eidul Fitr due to a rise in iftar parties. Moreover, people buy more rice for making various dishes on Eid.
Karachi Fresh Fruits and Merchants Welfare Association’s President Zahid Awan said that depending on crop availability the demand for fruit in the first 10 days of Ramazan rose by 100pc as compared to normal days. Demand was 150pc higher last year.
From 11th to 20th Ramazan, demand for fruit goes down to 70pc while in last 10 days ahead of Eid the demand reaches its normal as buyers shift their spending towards Eid-related items, he said.
He said the wholesale rate of Sindhri and Chaunsa mangoes is Rs70 per kg each, but retailers are selling them for Rs120-140 per kg.
The wholesale rate of banana is Rs80-100 per dozen compared to the retail price of Rs100-120.
The price of melon is Rs40-45 per kg in the wholesale market, but retailers sell them at Rs60-80. The wholesale price of garma is Rs55-60 per kg compared to retail price of Rs80-100.
A retailer said the consumption of milk and yogurt surged by at least 50pc during Ramazan than normal days.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2017

The curious case of rice price hike

Photo: Star
A minister was telling me the other day that if people don't mind spending Tk. 300 on a cheese burger, why can't they afford a little more for rice? His comment obviously came in reference to the current high price of the staple in the retail market. Supporting his comment, someone asked, isn't this government providing the ultra-poor with food doles — giving them cushion against the high rice price in the market?
Obviously, they had essentially failed to take into account the overwhelming majority of people who are either poor, or belong to the lower middle-income bracket — who neither fall into the relatively small category of ultra-poor, nor the marginal category of burger-eaters. They are not taken care of. Any rapid and unusual surge of rice price (as is happening now) would definitely dent their wallets and dent it deep.
We'll deal with the rice-skipping, burger-munching minority of urban youths later. Let's talk about the ultra-poor first. In fact, today's abnormal hike in rice price is apparently connected to a government initiative of providing the ultra-poor with rice at Tk. 10 per kg. 
In the latter half of last year, the government started enlisting five million ultra-poor with an aim of feeding them with 7.5 lakh tonnes of rice in the subsequent five months at a rate (Tk. 10 per kg) that is a fourth of the market price. This programme has been running since September 2016 along with the government's hundred other social safety net programmes, many of which are also related to food aid.
While the government was in a frenzy doling out low-cost rice to the ultra-poor, it nearly exhausted its safe level of rice stock in the public granaries. Its food department completely failed to prepare for what was coming and did next to nothing to replenish the dried up rice stock. The stock fell below a nadir at 1.85 lakh tonnes, a 10-year low in this country. 
Independent think tanks, farm and food sector experts and economists forewarned the government not to allow such depletion of rice in its stock. But for whatever reason (only the government can explain), it allowed the freefall of rice stock. This weakened the government's position and made it difficult for any sort of market intervention, at which point profit-mongering rice traders started to benefit.
Things got further complicated when unusually early flash-floods washed away, according to the most conservative estimate, 10 lakh tonnes of rice in the northeastern back-swamps — where winter Boro rice is the only major cereal that grows in a crop year. On top of that, we lost more Boro rice in fungal attack (rice blast) in as many as 19 districts. Up until now, the Department of Agricultural Extension has not come up with any concrete estimation on fungi-induced crop losses. 
No matter how slow the government apparatuses move in making trustworthy loss assessments, rice millers and private traders were smart enough to recognise a looming supply shortage in the market. As they started to push the price up, it still didn't occur to the concerned government departments that they should intervene to ensure higher availability of rice. 
The food department rather missed a chance to replenish the rice stock, completely failed to procure paddy directly from the farmers early into the Boro harvesting season and then made a late entry into the market, that too, with non-lucrative price offers. The result was obvious. Why should rice millers — who can easily fetch Tk. 39-40 for each kilogram of rice in the open market — sell rice to the government at Tk. 34 a kg? 
After the state-run agency, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, showed through market analysis how prices of the coarse varieties of rice jumped 47 percent in June, comparing it to the corresponding period of 2016, the government thought of buying rice from the international market. It struck at least three deals to ship in 3.5 lakh tonnes of rice; but it is unlikely to reach before early July. The government also took a long time in deciding that it should decrease a high tariff (28 percent) on rice import.
In fact, such high tariffs on rice import deterred the private sector from importing rice in a crop-loss year — which is rather unusual. One can now easily and very legitimately raise the question: Who pushed up the rice price? Why did we allow rice stock to deplete in the first place? Why didn't we replenish the stock while going full throttle with newer rice dole schemes? Why did we fail in procuring rice from the farmers early in the season? And, why did it take us so long to lower the duty on rice import?
In a country with more than 160 million people, the ultra-poor and burger-eaters are definitely a minority. I beg to differ with the notion that one should not worry about high rice prices — where burger-eaters can take care of themselves (even with the finance minister slapping a 15 percent VAT on top of the 10 percent supplementary duty on fast food) and the government takes care of the ultra-poor — because of a simple reason. There are still millions of others in this country whose quality of life is compromised when coarse rice price jumps from Tk. 30 per kg to Tk. 48. As they are now pushed up against the wall, what they will essentially have to do is consume less rice which is the only major source of energy for many and/or cut down their expenditure on other food items such as vegetables, fruits, etc.
The writer is Assignment Editor at The Daily Star. 


Andhra Pradesh, south India's rice bowl, banks on Telangana for the grain

Jun 22, 2017, 06.00 AM IST
Representative image
VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh, known for being south India's rice bowl, is now depending on Telangana for rice. Two successive seasons have been so bad in terms of rice production that AP millers and traders are now procuring paddy and rice from the neighbouring state to market demand.
Though the millers claim that a major portion of paddy grown in Andhra Pradesh is exported due to its high quality, local traders and farmers talk about pitiable rice production that has led to this dependence on Telangana.
 This is mostly because the cultivable area in Telangana has increased considerably during the last rabi season, while it has alarmingly gone down in Andhra Pradesh. The farmers in Telangana have cultivated paddy in 8.65 lakh ha this time against their average area of 5.33 lakh ha. In Andhra Pradesh, the cultivable area has gone down to 5.67 lakh ha from 8 lakh ha. In the last season, Telangana had produced 60 lakh tonnes of paddy , while it was just 39 lakh tonnes in Andhra Pradesh. The fall in cultivable area in Andhra Pradesh and its increase in Telangana is attributed to the availability of water and the average rainfall.
 The rabi season's rainfall in Telangana was 1,004mm, while it was just 629mm in Andhra Pradesh, which resulted in the steep fall in paddy production. The Krishna delta had no crop for two consecutive seasons, while it was only the Godavari delta that had seen a partial cultivation of paddy. The varieties produced in Godavari delta are procured by the State Civil Supplies Department for its public distribution system (PDS), while the higher varieties are procured for the open market in the state."There were no rains and there was no water for Krishna delta. We could not get the 140tmcft of assured water from Nagarajunasagar after bifurcation, leading to the crisis," said farmers' leader and former member of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) MVS Nagi Reddy.
The Telangana government had not released even a drop of water either to the right canal that provides irrigation water to parts of Guntur and Prakasam districts, or to the left canal that irrigates parts of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh.

"The production of paddy in AP is low due to the prevailing drought conditions and non-availability of water. The prices for whatever quantity is produced have gone up. That is the reason why we are procuring paddy from Telangana, where a quintal of the grain is available for just Rs 800 to 900, while it is Rs 1,800 to RS 2,500 in Andhra Pradesh," said rice miller Chennuri Rambabu.

Bernas says quality of imported rice guaranteed

 June 21, 2017, Wednesday
KUALA LUMPUR:  Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) assured that rice imported in the country undergoes stringent tests and inspection at various stages before being distributed to wholesalers and factories for packing.
Bernas in a statement today said as the sole importer of rice in Malaysia, rice imported from other countries goes through a series of tests by Quality Surveyors (QC) appointed, before going through the shipping process.
“When the consignment arrives at the port in Malaysia, the rice will undergo a quality control inspection and test. Once the rice arrives at the warehouse, Bernas appointed QC will conduct tests from samplings gathered to ensure the quality of rice imported,” said the statement from Bernas.
The statement said once the tests are done and the rice analysed, a certificate of quality and specification will be issued as an endorsement from Bernas for reference by wholesalers and factories.
Monitoring and enforcement of food safety are constantly carried out to ensure that food available in the market is safe said Bernas.Social media has gone abuzz with reports that fake rice (plastic rice) was sold widely in the country. – Bernama
SEA demands placement of oilseeds in zero per cent slab by GST Council

Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) demanded that the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council place oilseeds in the nil slab, as they are essential commodities, akin to rice, wheat and sugar.

It has proposed to impose five per cent GST on oilseeds and oils, while oilcakes and oil meals (including rice bran and rice bran extension) were placed in the nil category, and blended oil and margarine were placed in the 18 per cent slab.

This was stated by Atul Chaturvedi, the association’s president, recently. He added, “Five per cent value-added tax (VAT) was levied on blended oil, a mixture of two oils. It should be placed in the five per cent GST slab, instead of the 18 per cent slab.”

GST will be rolled out on July 1, 2017, but over the last couple of months, the GST Council held a number of meetings to consider representations by various segments in the food and beverage industry.

“Our sustained efforts and personal meetings with Santosh Kumar Gangwar, minister of state for finance and senior officials in the ministry of finance have yielded positive results,” Chaturvedi said.

“The GST Council has agreed to reduce the rate of GST rate levied on blended oil to five per cent. Akshay Modi must be complimented for taking the lead and getting the GST on blended oil reduced to five per cent,” he added.

“We are still pursuing them to impose no GST on oilseeds and reduce the rate of GST on margarine,” stated Chaturvedi, who is also chief executive officer (agro), Adani Wilmar Ltd.

He added that the farmers’ agitation and the subsequent firing by the police, which resulted in the deaths of farmers in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district, had brought the plight of the Indian farming community in focus.

“Practically all newspapers and television channels are falling over each other in giving suggestions to end the misery of our peasants and doubling their incomes,” Chaturvedi stated.

“I am sure our government is also busy burning the midnight oil to find the solutions to the ills plaguing our agriculture. Without joining the debate, let us hope the agitation and the suicides of our debt-ridden farmers does not go in vain and a lasting solution to this agrarian crisis is found,” he added.

Monsoon dilemma
“The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast that this year, the monsoon would be 98 per cent of the normal. However, so far, the rainfall has been erratic, and it is still hot in north-western India and several parts of central India,” Chaturvedi said.

“IMD, during the current year, has highlighted the peculiar progress of the monsoon, which can have far-reaching consequences for our oilseed crops,” he added.

“They have observed that because of this peculiar movement, the monsoon seems to be travelling directly from the south to the north, bypassing the central part of India,” Chaturvedi said.

“The monsoon is not developing in a normal way, and it is likely that the monsoon advance may bypass the important soybean-producing regions like Madhya Pradesh and Eastern Maharashtra, and they may not get adequate rains in June. This may delay sowing operations,” he added.

Fears of farmer shifting
“After two years of drought, the current year had witnessed oilseed production rebounding. However, the increase in production has not brought any cheer to our farmers, as the prices have collapsed below the minimum support price (MSP) levels,” Chaturvedi said.

“Probably, for the first time in decades, soybean, rapeseed and groundnut have moved below the MSP. The current price level is the lowest in the last five years, and the farmers are discouraged to sow the oilseeds in the kharif season,” he added.

“With a view to ensuring that the farmers do not lose interest in oilseed cultivation, the association has strongly pleaded to the Central government to raise the import duty on crude oil to 20 per cent and refined oil to 35 per cent as a short-term measure to support the price,” Chaturvedi said.

“In the meanwhile, to cool down the farmers agitation in the various states, the MSP of pulses, oilseed and cotton for the kharif season has been revised substantially. Groundnut prices have increased by Rs 230 to Rs 4,450; those of soybean have increased by Rs 275 to Rs 3,050, and those of sunflower seeds by Rs 150 to Rs 4,100 per quintal,” he added.

“Currently, the oilseeds are being sold below the MSP, and there is hardly any market intervention operation (MIO) to support these price levels. While we appreciate the government’s decision to raise the MSP to support the farmers, there is a urgent need to strengthen the procurement system, otherwise it will not benefit the farmers,” Chaturvedi said.

Sharp rise in import of refined oil
“The import of edible oil during May 2017 jumped by 30 per cent compared to May 2016 and overall import for the period between November 2016 to May 2017 is more or less the same for the last year,” Chaturvedi said.

“On the one hand, we had a record oilseed crop, and on the other hand, we are forced to import a larger quantity of vegetable oils. The main reason is that the farmer is reluctant to sell his produce below the MSP and holding back the seeds at his end,” he added.

“The industry is unable to pay a higher price to the farmers due to the large-scale import of edible oil at a lower duty and the disparity in processing. The government must regulate the inflow of refined edible oil imports through tariff measures to enable the market forces to pay a remunerative price to the farmers,” Chaturvedi said.

Options trading in commodities
“The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) deserves kudos for allowing the commodity exchanges to launch options trading in commodities.  The combination of futures and options will provide market participants the benefit of price discovery of futures and a simpler risk management tool,” Chaturvedi said.

Vegetable fats in chocolate
“The association, for nearly two decades, was pursuing the concerned authorities to permit the use of vegetable fats in the manufacture of chocolates,” Chaturvedi said.

“Recently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a notification, permitting addition of vegetable fats (from sal, kokum, mango kernel, palm oil, mahua oil, dhupa, phulwara, dharambe, etc.) upto five per cent of the finished product,” he added.

“This will give a boost to the production of vegetable oils and fats manufactured from tree-borne oilseeds (TBOs), help the industry by way of a larger basket of raw materials and the tribals by way of an opportunity to collect a larger quantity of TBOs from the forests,” Chaturvedi said.

“M H Agrawal and Ashish Saraf, chairman and co-chairman, SEA Minor Oilseed Development Council, respectively, and B V Mehta, executive director, SEA, must be complimented for following up this matter tirelessly over the years,” he added.

Forthcoming events
The Feed and Feed Ingredients Conclave - 2017 is taking place at Hotel Conrad, Pune on July 15 and 16, 2017. SEA, jointly with the Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers’ Association of India (CLFMA) and the All India Cotton Seed Crushers’ Association (AICOSCA), are organising the event, which will focus on the future outlook for feed industry vis-a-vis demand for and supply of oilmeals, maize and other feed ingredients.

The fourth International Conference on Rice Bran Oil 2017 (ICRBO), organised by the International Association of Rice Bran Oil (IARBO) - formed by China, India, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam - is taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 24 and 25, 2017. It features a line-up of speakers, whose topics will be concerned with rice bran oil and value-added products. It will provide an opportunity to those who are involved in the rice bran oil business to participate and to develop their international contacts.

How smuggling affects Kebbi paddy rice market fortunes

By Vincent A. Yusuf who was in Kebbi | Publish Date: Jun 22 2017 2:00AM
For some, Kebbi State is the rice capital of Nigeria. Home to hundreds of thousands of rice farmers with over 500,000 hectares of rice farmlands, the story of rice in the state is, however multidimensional.
A first time visitor to any of the state’s large paddy rice markets will be overwhelmed by the quantum of rice piled for sale as merchants, millers all over the country troop to the area.
As diverse as the farmers and the buyers are, so are the issues in their minds different. For the farmers, the issues of cost of quality seed, fertiliser and market for their produce remain paramount while the buyer fears smuggling activity which triggers downward movement of prices.
Suru paddy rice market is one of the markets that witness a beehive of activities. Daily Trust interacted with rice farmers and buyers who shared the stories of their successes and the fear that the market’s future may depend on the answer to the key question: will the gains recorded in the last two years be sustained?
Driving over the main road, about 500 metres to the market, is a herculean task as one manoeuvers his way through the thousands of 80kg bags of paddy rice, large crowd and articulated trucks loading rice.
Standing in the midst of such bags of rice sweating was Malam Aminu Mohammed, a 32-year-old man and father of three. He told Daily Trust that he generated about N400,000  as profit during the wet season alone.
However, for the dry season in which he harvested 60 bags, he expressed dismay over what he called the fallen price of paddy rice, which is now selling between N7,500 to N9,000. That wasn’t the case few months ago when he sold the same 70kg bags at N14,000 each.
Asked why he thinks the prices plummeted. He pointed at “news of large quantity of foreign rice smuggled into the country last month,” which sparked protest from farmers across the country.
But Adamu Salisu, who said he is a farmer and a merchant, thinks the buyers sometimes raised alarm over massive importation, which might jeopardize the future of markets - the result is that such development affects the markets which the buyers take advantage of.
In Bunzu market, you could see rice everywhere. Although most farmers are happy with how much they are making now, compared to past years, some are worried that smuggling will erode the gains made in the past 15 months.
But Danjuma Bukar Alero believes that beside the smuggling which is their biggest threat, the big millers in the country do influence prices in the markets - a situation he wants the government to intervene in, in order to protect the smallholder farmers.
Although the markets are huge, they are not organised to aid collection of statistics and/or taxes on paddy rice trading.
The markets are also fast expanding and the quantum of product is increasing by the day as more and more farmers are heeding the call to go back to farm.
With two large-scale mills (Labana rice in Birnin Kebbi and WACOT rice, which is about to commence operations in Argungu) and pockets of medium and small mills all over, the farmers should not be worried about the future of their market, but as it is now, even those milling locally are worried because they might go out of business if government does not tighten the noose further on smuggling.
Mohammed Sahabi Augie is the Kebbi State Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN). He told Daily Trust that the state is recording annual increase in the quantum of production especially in the last rain-fed and dry seasons.
This, he said, was also possible because of the FG Anchor Borrowers’ programme. He however thinks the market needs to be reorganised-something Governor Abubakar Bagudu said the state was working on.
Mohammed Sanusi Umar, the Director of Kebbi State Agriculture and Rural Development Programme, said the state government pays strategic attention to wheat and rice production and as such is working on a more organised system that will benefit both the farmers and the processors.

Bangladesh issues tender to import 50,000T of rice

DHAKA: Bangladesh´s state grains buyer on Wednesday issued its fourth international tender since May, looking to import 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice as it grapples with depleted stocks and record local prices.
The deadline for offers is July 9, with the rice to be shipped within 40 days of signing any deal, a senior official at the country´s state grains buyer said, declining to be identified. The step comes as the government is set to slash tax on rice imports after flash floods hit local output, plunging state reserves to 10-year lows.
Growing demand from Bangladesh will help stoke Asian prices that have already hit multi-year highs in recent months. Separately, Ataur Rahman, additional secretary at the food ministry, told Reuters last week, that the country would import 200,000 tonnes of white rice at $430 a tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470 a tonne from Vietnam in a government-to-government deal.
Those rates are sharply higher than what it has been paying through previous tenders. Bangladesh is buying 50,000 tonnes of white rice at $406.48 a tonne and 100,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $427.85 and $445.11 a tonne through tenders.
The government is also in talks with Thailand and India to import rice to replenish reserves. Meanwhile, Bangladesh´s central bank has ordered banks to allow traders to import rice without any deposit against letters of credit

Ghana imports 'repackaged' rice from UAE – Researcher

Some importers buy rice from Ghana and take it to Dubai where they repackage it and export it back to the West African country, Dr Michael Osei, a crop improvement scientist and lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, has revealed.

Speaking on the possibility of plastic rice flooding the Ghanaian market in an interview on Accra-based Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday June 21, Dr Osei said: “I don’t think there any regulatory bodies and even if there are regulatory bodies, I don’t think they are working – that if I decide to bring rice into this country, I need to go through a process and I will be certified, probably given a licence to be able to import a certain brand of rice, and I cannot import any other brand of rice except the ones for which I have been granted the licence.

“Currently when you go to the market, you could find hundreds of brands and that is quite dangerous. We don’t know who is bringing these ones and we don’t know what sort of certification or licence they have been provided to bring these ones.

“So, basically, it is a failure along the supply chain. Fraudsters perpetrate their crimes through vulnerability in the food supply chain, so we need to have end-to-end visibility and supply chain transparency that is very critical. We need to be able to trace and track products’ pedigrees and history but can we be confident and say that we can track brand A from its source to Ghana?”

He added: “Two years ago, myself and my colleagues, we did a paper and we realised that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) [exports] rice to Ghana.

“In this country [UAE] they don’t produce one grain of rice, so what they basically do is they import the rice from Ghana and then bag, repackage and export back to Ghana. So if rice is coming from UAE, can we trace it back to where it was produced?”

Wheat softens on reduced offtake by flour mills

Jun 22, 2017, 03.10 PM IST
New Delhi, Jun 22 () Wheat prices declined by Rs 10 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today following reduced offtake by flour mills against ample stocks position.
Bajra and barley also moved down on muted demand from consuming industries.
Traders said besides reduced offtake by flour mills, adequate stocks position mainly weighed on wheat prices.
In the national capital, wheat dara (for mills) fell by Rs 10 to Rs 1,740-1,745 per quintal. Atta chakki delivery followed suit and traded lower by a similar margin to Rs 1,745-1,750 per 90 kg. Sooji also eased to Rs 1,020-1,030 against last close of Rs 1,040-1,050 per 50 kg.
Other bold grains like, bajra and barley too fell by Rs 30 and Rs 50 to Rs 1,200-1,210 and Rs 1,460-1,480 per quintal respectively.
Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal):
Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,100-2,345, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,740-1,745, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,745-1,750, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 255-290, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 255-290, Roller flour mill Rs 950-960 (50 kg), Maida Rs 960-970 (50 kg) and Sooji Rs 1,020-1,030 (50 kg).
Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,800, Basmati common new Rs 6,700-7,000, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,700-5,800, Permal raw Rs 2,225-2,250, Permal wand Rs 2,275-2,300, Sela Rs 2,500-2,600 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,850-1,900, Bajra Rs 1,200-1,210, Jowar yellow Rs 1,450-1,500, white Rs 2,900-3,100, Maize Rs 1,270-1,280, Barley Rs 1,460-1,480. SUN KPS SBT

Tale of two rice crops playing out in Louisiana

Farmers hoping Tropical Storm Cindy doesn't bring a repeat of 2016 flooding in Louisiana rice areas.
It is almost a tale of two rice crops – one in south Louisiana that seems to be doing well for now and one in north Louisiana that is struggling.
Dustin Harrell, Extension rice specialist, LSU AgCenter, said much of the south Louisiana crop was planted on or around Valentine’s Day this year, a historically early date for planting rice, even in the southern part of the state.
The crop in the northern part of the state was delayed because of heavy rains during the traditional planting window. Since then, it has stayed wet in north Louisiana, frustrating efforts to apply nitrogen on dry ground for the crop.
“Some of our growers are reaching the point where they will have to give up on the recommended practices for applying nitrogen,” said Dr. Harrell, speaking at the Northeast Research Station Field Day in St. Joseph on Tuesday (June 20). “That means they will have to spoon feed the nitrogen to the crop.”
He said farmers in south Louisiana could be harvesting their first crop rice during the first week in July, while growers in the north still have quite a ways to go.
The big question when he spoke at the Northeast Research Station Field Day was what impact Tropical Storm Cindy, which was then forming in the Gulf of Mexico, would have on both crops when it made landfall, possibly in southwest Louisiana and traveled to the northeast across the state and into the Mid-South.
For more on the Northeast Research Station Field Day, visit

* Bangladesh demand pushes Vietnamese, Indian prices
* Thai prices too high for buyers
By Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Ruma Paul

BANGKOK/DHAKA, June 22 (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Indianrice prices rose this week following strong demand fromBangladesh, though Thailand's high prices were starting to put
off buyers, traders said on Thursday.Bangladesh has emerged as a major importer of the staple
grain this year as it grapples with depleted stocks and recordlocal prices following flash floods.
The country could import as much as 1 million tonnes thisyear to replenish reserves, Badrul Hasan, the head of the stategrain buyer, told Reuters.The South Asian country is set to slash import duty on riceto 10 percent from 28 percent while the central bank has ordered
banks to allow private traders to import rice without anydeposit against letters of credit.
Expectations of demand, especially from Bangladesh, havepushed Vietnamese prices higher since early May. Vietnam's 5percent broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> rose to $400-$420 a tonne
this week, free-on-board (FOB) Saigon, from $410 last week."Prices are too high to trade now," said a trader in Ho ChiMinh City, adding that prices were expected to jump further ontalk of more demand from Bangladesh.Bangladesh is buying 200,000 tonnes of Vietnamese white rice
at $430 a tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470 atonne in a government-to-government deal - much higher ratesthan in previous tenders.The country is also in talks with neighbouring India, theworld's biggest rice exporter, whose 5 percent broken parboiled
rice <RI-INBKN5-P1> rose $2 per tonne to $424-$427.Traders are speculating Bangladesh will increase importsdue to the crop damage. It will help Indian exporters due to
comparatively lower freight charges," said an exporter based inKakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Bangladesh's state grains buyer on Wednesday issued itsfourth international tender since May, looking to import another50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice.However, Thai traders said demand from abroad has started todwindle as high prices have forced buyers to turn to rivals.
Thai benchmark 5 percent broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> was quotedat $450-$460 a tonne, FOB Bangkok, up from $450-$457 last week."There are no buyers now. They've turned to buy from othercountries because our prices are too high," a trader in Bangkoksaid.
Thai rice prices have been rising steadily since March, whentraders started loading ships, and touched levels unseen sinceAugust 2013 this month.Prices have remained stable due to the appreciation of thebaht against the U.S. dollar and a lower supply ahead of an
off-season harvest."Prices have gone up a little because the baht has
strengthened," another trader in Bangkok said.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world's second and thirdbiggest rice exporters.(Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok, Ruma Paul inDhaka, My Pham in Hanoi, and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; editing
by David Clarke)

Special report: FAO/WFP crop and food security assessment mission to Sri Lanka 22 June 2017

Published on 22 Jun 2017 
Rice drying in Sri Lanka, March 2017. The country’s staple food production dropped by almost 40 percent from the last year's output.
Sri Lanka’s food production hit by extreme drought followed by floods
Rice production to drop by nearly 40 percent in 2017 - assisting farmers is critical to halt growing food insecurity
22 June 2017, Rome - A severe drought followed by heavy rainfalls in Sri Lanka has hit large swaths of cropping areas, threatening the food security of some 900,000 people, according to a report published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
According to the joint Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission, drought conditions in 2016 and early 2017 led to widespread crop failures, in particular for rice paddy - the country's staple food. Total paddy production in 2017 is forecast at 2.7 million tonnes, almost 40 percent less than the last year's output and 35 percent lower than the average of the previous five years.
Other crops, including various pulses, chillies and onion, which rely mainly on rainwater, were also heavily damaged by the dry weather.
The situation was exacerbated by subsequent heavy rainfalls in May. Floods and landslides in the south-western parts of the country caused deaths, large population displacements and damage to infrastructure. The rains did not ease the water supply constraints in the drought-impacted north-central and eastern parts of the country.
Now, nearly 225,000 households (or about 900,000 people) face food insecurity. The most vulnerable groups are struggling to earn an income after losing their own crops and have fewer employment opportunities. In ten districts, a previous joint assessment showed that about one third of the drought-affected population had its regular income reduced by more than half, compared to the income generated from the 2015-2016 Maha season.
The situation may further deteriorate if the next cropping season fails. Due to a critical shortage of seeds and a lack of water for irrigation, the second 2017 paddy harvest - known as Yala, due to be harvested in August and September - is forecast at 1.2 million tonnes, 24 percent below last year's level.
Increasing food insecurity
Most families surveyed would usually grow their own food, but with the bad main harvest, many are now forced to buy food from local markets, where food prices have risen sharply. Rice prices reached an all-time high in January 2017 reducing the ability of families to access nutritious food.
Many of those affected have been forced to eat less. Interviews with households and market vendors showed that people were buying cheaper food whenever possible. Many reported a reduction in the purchase of meat and fish.
Urgent assistance required
To cover immediate needs, FAO and WFP call for the urgent provision of seeds as well as planting and irrigation equipment for the next Maha planting season from September to December, as well as support for irrigation systems. The poorest and most vulnerable families should also quickly receive targeted cash assistance in order to ensure adequate food intake and to prevent families from incurring unsustainably high debt or adopting other coping mechanisms that affect them negatively over the longer term.
Recognising the increasing frequency of natural disasters affecting the agricultural sector and the impact on food security, it is also recommended to introduce longer-term measures to increase farmers' and households' resilience to natural disasters and climate change, such as promotion of drought tolerant crops and varieties and livelihood diversification.
Irina Utkina

FAO Media Relations (Rome)

(+39) 06 570 52542
Sadhana Mohan


Palay production in MY 2016-2017 seen increasing 6% to 18.52 MMT

The Philippines’s palay production in marketing year (MY) 2016-2017 would reach 18.524 million metric tons (MMT), 6.09 percent higher than the 17.460 MMT estimated output in MY 2015-2016, according to the latest Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) report.
The Gain report, prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Manila, said latest output forecast in the current market year is 1.48 percent more than the USDA FAS’s earlier projection of 18.254 MMT.
The Gain report noted that the hike in palay production could be attributed to the expansion of area harvested during the market year ending June 30. “MY 2016-2017 rice production and area harvested where modestly raised, consistent with estimates from the Philippine Statistics Authority [PSA] in its April 2017 Rice and Corn Situation and Outlook report,” the report published recently read.
The Gain report estimated that the rice area harvested in MY 2016-2017 expanded by 4.02 percent to 4.705 million hectares, from 4.523 million hectares recorded area in MY 2015-2016. The Gain report’s earlier forecast of rice area harvested in MY 2016-2017 was pegged at 4.6 million hectares.
The FAS in Manila also revised its milled-rice output forecast from 11.5 MMT to 11.67 MMT. The revised milled-rice production is 6.09 percent more than the 11 MMT estimated output in the previous market year, according to the Gain report. The Gain report also estimated that Manila’s ending rice stock by June 30 would reach 1.58 MMT, 12.7 percent lower than the 1.810 MMT estimated ending staple stock in MY 2015-2016.
In its April round of palay-production forecast, the PSA projected that output in the second quarter to reach 4.128 MMT, 11.38 percent higher than the 3.714 MMT recorded output in the same period last year.
The PSA added that harvest area in the April-to-June period would expand by 11.86 percent to 948,610 hectares, from 848,030 has recorded a year ago.
“All regions may possibly have increments in production, except Central Luzon. Probable growths in production are expected due to increments in harvest areas resulting from availability of irrigation water/sufficient rainfall during planting period and availability of seeds from Department of Agriculture [DA]-Regional Field Offices and local government units [LGUs],” the PSA said. “In Cagayan Valley and Mimaropa, the possible increments are attributed to movement of harvest to April 2017 due to intermittent rains in late-March 2017,” the PSA added.
However, the PSA noted that the average yield in the second quarter would contract to 4.35 MT per hectare, from 4.38 MT per hectare level a year ago.
The DA also projected that palay production in the April-to-June period would reach the 4 MMT level on the back of better planting conditions, particularly favorable weather patterns.
The forecasts of the DA and PSA came after local rice farmers hiked their palay output in the first quarter by 12.38 percent to 4.42 million, from 3.93 MMT recorded a year ago.

1st rice consignment to arrive from Vietnam in 15 days

UNB . Dhaka | Update: 16:36, Jun 22, 2017
The first consignment of rice from Vietnam is scheduled to arrive in Chittagong within 15 days, said newly appointed ambassador of Vietnam to Dhaka Tran Van Khoa.

The Vietnamese ambassador said this when he met prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her parliament office on Thursday.
PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.

He said the Vietnamese ambassador expressed satisfaction over the extension of MoU on rice trade with Bangladesh as the first consignment of rice is scheduled to arrive in Chittagong in 15 days.

In this context, Sheikh Hasina said, “We want to keep extra food grains in stock to meet any eventuality.”

Pointing out Vietnam’s socioeconomic development, the prime minister said the Southeast Asian nation achieved remarkable successes after the war. “Vietnam is an example to us and we follow it. We had to fight for independence like Vietnam.”

After Bangladesh’s independence, Hasina said, Bangabandhu got only three and a half years and started rebuilding the war-ravaged country.

The prime minister put emphasis on strengthening connectivity and economic cooperation between Bangladesh and Southeast Asian nations. “Bangladesh and Vietnam could share their experiences in different fields like trade and culture,” she said.

Describing poverty as the common problem for the developing countries, Hasina called for working together to eliminate the curse of poverty.

“If we work together, we can achieve success in this regard,” she said.

Ambassador Van Khoa conveyed the best wishes of Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Bangladesh prime minister.

He also handed over a book to Hasina depicting the life of Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh also carrying the unforgettable memories of the War of Liberation.

The Vietnamese ambassador also highly praised Sheikh Hasina’s able leadership. “There has been impressive achievement in many sectors under your leadership.”

Van Khoa highly appreciated the achievement of 7.24 per cent GDP growth by Bangladesh in the outgoing fiscal year.
Appreciating the continuous efforts of Bangladesh in combating terrorism and fighting the adverse impacts of climate change, the Ambassador said, “We’ve many commonalities and we can learn from each other.”

The envoy also emphasised the exchange of visits by high-level delegations and said his task would be to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries alongside continuing cooperation in various sectors.
Prime minister’s principal secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury and senior PMO secretary Suraiya Begum were present on the occasion
NRT Focus: Chinese Demand Safe Rice

Food safety is becoming a serious problem in China as the country's pollution worsens year by year. Now the urban middle class is taking a closer look at what they put in their rice bowls.

Food safety is a growing concern for many of China's middle-class urbanites. One family in Guangzhou insists on eating organic rice. The cost is nearly 5 times that of non-organic options, but the family prefers peace of mind over price. "I have been looking for safe foods, so I was happy to find it," says homemaker Lin Xintao. The rice is grown in a village that's a 3-hour drive from the city. Liu Shangwen contracts farmers to produce rice through organic methods. Liu quit his job at a foreign consulting firm 5 years ago to start an organic food business. At first, most farmers didn't want to deal with him because organic farming is time consuming and costly. But Liu didn't back down. He used the internet to educate consumers in the city about how his rice is produced. "A video will actually show how our rice is grown. This medium allows me to connect with consumers," says Liu. Liu used social media to generate interest in the business and to raise funds. He now supplies over 800 families. Now he is recruiting more farmers to meet growing demand. Liu and employees from his company recently met with farmers to explain some of the benefits. "Organic farming is good for the soil. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides cause the soil to become hard," one of his employees explains. To avoid using pesticides, farmers use their hands to remove the river snails that feast on the rice plants. "When we used pesticides, the skin on our hands and feet peeled. Our lives are better now," says one of the farmers. When Liu first started, only 7 farmers agreed to work with him. Today, there are over 50. Liu also held a workshop for children from the city. The aim was to explain how rice is made to people living far from the fields. The children try the different kinds of rice. Liu hopes such efforts will make children more interested in their rice and help cultivate future clients. "I want to improve the environment, and create better farming villages, to have people in the city eat food that is healthy. It is simple, but this is my dream," says Liu. A new farming method aimed at improving food as well as lives, is gradually catching on.
Rice exports to Russia shoots up 700 percent

 Rice is processed for exports at a factory in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam exported more than 14,700 tonnes of rice to Russia in the first five months of this year (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam exported more than 14,700 tonnes of rice worth 5.56 million USD in the first five months of this year to Russia, a year-on-year increase of 707 percent in volume and 662.6 percent in value, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs. In the period, the country raked in 1.1 billion USD from shipping nearly 2.4 million tonnes of rice abroad, up 1.1 percent in quantity and 0.2 percent in revenue from the same time last year. The country saw a robust growth in the rice shipment to China - its largest rice consumption market.
Nearly 1.1 million tonnes of rice were sold in the country at 488 million USD, up 33.6 percent in volume and 31 percent in value. The amount accounted for 46 percent of the country’s total rice exports. Expansion in Vietnamese rice exports was also seen in the Philippines and some European countries like Ukraine, Belgium and France. However, the country’s rice shipments experienced steep fall from 40-99 percent in Hong Kong (China), Taiwan (China), Indonesia, Poland and Turkey. The price of Vietnamese export rice has hit a three-year high thanks to the rising import demands and the restricted supply source.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the demand for Vietnam’s 5 percent broken rice, has been rising, hitting 390 USD per tonne in the early days of June, against 360 USD per tonne to 380 USD per tonne in late May. This is the highest price since December 2014, the ministry said, attributing it to the rising global demand for rice imports, especially in the Asian region. The export price rise has also caused the paddy price in the domestic market to soar. A tonne of 5 percent broken rice in the domestic market stood between 7.65 million VND (340 USD) and 7.75 million VND in early June, up 550,000 VND (24 USD) per tonne against last month. The global rice market has been heating up after top importing countries, such as Bangladesh and the Philippines, announced to import roughly 950,000 tonnes of rice recently. Experts have forecast that the global rice price will increase by roughly 20 USD per tonne in the next three months. They have advised rice exporting enterprises to not sell the crop in a hurry, hoping that the price of 5 percent broken rice would increase to at least 400 USD per tonne.-VNA

U.S. Paddy Allowed Unhindered Access into Colombia 
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- On June 6, 2017, the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) published "Official Resolution #6705 of 2017" which removed a previous resolution that restricted imported U.S. paddy rice to the port of Barranquilla.  The previous resolution also implemented phytosanitary measures for the transportation of U.S. paddy rice and for the management of residues (such as husks) after being milled in Colombia.  These mitigation procedures and restrictions to one port in Colombia are now null and void.

This resolution follows on the heels of a June 1, 2017 resolution which removed the phytosanitary pest Tilletia horrida from Colombia's official pest list.  ICA conducted a study that found that tilletia horrida is already present in various locations in Colombia.  The study, which collected 54 samples from farms and mills, found tilletia horrida in 92 percent of the collected samples.

"This is excellent and long-awaited news," said USA Rice Chairman Brian King.  "By removing the restrictions on U.S. paddy rice and allowing it to enter any maritime port, U.S. rice will be more competitive in the Colombian market."

In June of last year, USA Rice led a trade mission of 10 people to Colombia to meet with ICA and stress the importance of concluding the study in a timely manner and improving access for U.S. rice.  Within three months of the visit, ICA agreed to reduce the mandatory minimum grain moisture content of U.S. rough rice, one of the required mitigation procedures. 

"USA Rice has been working with APHIS and FAS since 2012 to remove these restrictions on U.S. paddy," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  "We are thrilled to see that everyone's hard work has finally paid off."

Last year, the U.S. exported 140,000 MT of rice valued at $58 million and more than 40 percent was paddy rice.  Colombia, our 51st largest market prior to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, has become one of the top fifteen U.S. export markets for the past four years

Local Rice: How FG’s Improved Efforts Will Subsidize Price
Iheoma Hendy June 21, 2017

Improved efforts are underway by the Federal Government to reduce the price of fertiliser which will consequently subsidise the price of local rice.
During a TV interview, on the 2017 Budget in Abuja, Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma disclosed that the Federal Government was collaborating with the Morocco Government in this regard.
“The imported rice is coming in; most of them are subsidised and undercutting the locally produced rice, which has higher quality.
“The problem is bringing down the price of our rice; we are trying to support rice production by bringing down the price of fertiliser because the price of inputs determines the price of output.
“We are trying to see how we can bring down the prices of farm inputs so as to cut down the prices of local rice in the country.
“We have an agreement with Morocco to import phosphate from the country to blend and support fertiliser production. The Federal Government is working toward strengthening all the value chains to boost productivity and improve yield. “The whole value-chain, first of all, you have to start from the seed. One of the things that the Federal Government is doing is to support the development of seeds because high-quality seeds will engender improved production.
“We are also working on fertiliser; what the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has done is undertaking soil analyses of all soil in the 36 states.
“And they have been able to ascertain the blend of fertiliser that is most suitable for a particular kind of soil.
“The farmers will now be advised on what type of fertiliser to use so that they won’t apply fertiliser without specifications on crops as this often leads to low yield. So, we have that as part of the value chain.
“Then, we are giving support in terms of evacuating farm produce to the market by constructing and maintaining rural roads. Most of the crops get spoilt as a result of not evacuating them to market in good time.
“We are working on every stage of all the chain. The Federal Government is working with the state governments to achieve the objectives of this mission,” the Minister said.
Read Also: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Drops To 16.25%
More so, Udoma said that the Federal Government was assisting farmers in the area of soft loans so as to enable them to increase their production and aid the nation’s efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
“In addition, the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gives loans to farmers at low, single-digit interest rate. In this manner, the government is intervening in various links of the chain to support agricultural production,” he said.
Recently, rice farmers in Kano State attributed the high cost of locally-produced rice to the increasing cost of production of the commodity in the country.
The price of 50kg locally-produced rice ranges between N20,000 and N22,000 while that of imported rice is between N12,000 and N15,000, according to Liman Muhammed, the spokesperson of the Medium and Small Scale Rice Millers Association in the state.
“For locally-produced rice, the cost of production is high. Our people are used to the imported rice but with government’s intervention, we are seeing good quality rice.
“Most imported rice have spent more than 10 years in the storage and are not good enough but the local rice has more nutritional value.
“The number of people consuming local rice is increasing and if everybody along the rice value chain is empowered, the cost of production will reduce,” Muhammed said.
See Also: How FG Is Boosting The Campaign For Made-In-Nigeria Products
While commending the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme for empowering rice farmers and millers across the country, Muhammed further called on government at all levels to provide necessary inputs to rice farmers to boost production in the country.