Friday, July 07, 2017

7th July,2017 daily global,regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Sialkot to cultivate paddy over 3.42 lakh acres of land



The paddy crop will be cultivated on more than 3.42 lakh acres of land during Kharif season in Sialkot district. Sources in Agriculture department gave tehsil-wise details to Business Recorder on Sunday saying that paddy would be cultivated on 98464 acres in tehsil Sialkot, 84378 in tehsil Daska, 111452 in tehsil Pasrur and 48426 acres in tehsil Sambrial. In the most of the areas of the district, farmers had begun paddy cultivation in their respective fields.

The Agriculture department had initiated a well-knitted training programme regarding the paddy growers' preparation of nurseries. The programme is aimed at attaining the fixed paddy crop target in the district. The basic concept of training programme was to create awareness among the growers about the use of recommended seed and proper use of fertilizer to attain better yield of the crop in Sialkot district.

The local agriculture department had also initiated farmers training programme in 1442 villages of Sialkot, Daska, Pasrur and Sambrial tehsils of Sialkot district. As many as 29 teams were busy in imparting training to the rice growers for enhancing per acre yield through sowing of paddy nurseries, utilization of irrigation water, pesticides and fertilizer alongside the information regarding different varieties of paddy in Sialkot district, sources said.

The Agriculture department had deputed special teams for providing proper guidance and assistance about the use of inputs, and transfer of plants into fields to the rice growers in Sialkot district. The farmers were reluctant and unwilling to cultivate paddy crop in different areas of Sialkot district. The decline in paddy cultivation was the result of fast climatic changing conditions. However, Agriculture department has been making adequate efforts to motivate the growers that they should sow paddy crop to attain the set target in Sialkot district


Basmati exports ban will affect livelihood of farmers: KRBL

India's exports of the basmati rice to the European Union (EU) might come to a halt due to new regulations on chemical residues. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Anil Mittal, CMD of KRBL discussed the impact.India's exports of the basmati rice to the European Union (EU) might come to a halt due to new regulations on chemical residues.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Anil Mittal, CMD of KRBL discussed the impact.
“There is a virtual ban imposed by EU on the import of Indian pusa basmati rice,” he said.
Out of 40 lakh metric tonne of basmati rice exported from India every year, about 3 lakh tonne of pusa rice is exported to EU countries.Because of this ban, the livelihood and income of farmers, exporters and employees in the trade will get affected.
If no action is being taken immediately, Pakistan being the other basmati rice exporter to the EU, will gain all business that India would lose, he added.Ban will come in effect from January 1, 2018. The industry has already started conducting workshops to educate farmers about EU decision and to impart knowledge of good agriculture practices to minimise these residues. Industry is also requesting the government to be given one year period.The chemical used is the most useful chemical for this plant and is being used for so many years, he further mentioned.
Watch Video on


http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/companies/basmati-exports-ban-will-affect-livelihood-of-farmers-krbl-2320131.html

Invest more in research on non-rice crops: Experts

Staff Correspondent
Washington-based global food research think tank -- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) -- has called for more investment in research and development of non-rice crops in Bangladesh.
IFPRI said research is imperative to enhance per unit productivity of non-rice crops so people in Bangladesh can gradually shift from their over-dependency on rice-centric diets and go for more nutritious options like vegetables, fruits, fish and dairy products.IFPRI Country Representative Dr Akhter Ahmed along with experts representing its collaborative research organisations was addressing a press conference at a hotel in the capital yesterday.
Dr Akhter said Bangladesh needs to invest in non-rice crop research. Also, research has to be done to enhance the productions of animal protein so that consumers get a choice between rice and more nutritious alternatives.He emphasised carrying out a research to understand why crop diversification is not taking place at a faster rate. He also stressed the need for policy interventions.
Dr Akhter called for developing cold chains for perishable non-rice products and spreading nutrition knowledge among people.He said simple knowledge like not to drain out water while cooking rice and not to wash vegetables after peeling can make a big difference in helping people get healthier diets.
"If you wash vegetables after peeling and drain water while cooking rice, the water-soluble vitamins and nutrients would be drained out also," explained Akhter.Dr Inge Brouwer, who teaches nutrition at the Netherlands' Wageningen University and Research, an IFPRI partner in multi-nation Agriculture for Nutrition and Health programme, identified a lack in dietary diversity as a challenge for Bangladesh.
DR Herbert Smorenburg, representative of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, said each dollar invested in nutrition pays back a dividend of USD 16 through increased productivity and reduced health costs.
http://www.thedailystar.net/city/invest-more-research-non-rice-crops-experts-1429300

Manipur govt to distribute rice seedlings to farmers


Correspondent IMPHAL, Jul 6
Published on 6 Jul. 2017 11:38 PM IST

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh Thursday announced distribution of rice seedlings free of cost to farmers whose paddy fields were affected by flood. The chief minister further announced that 12,000 metric tons of rice available with the state consumer affairs, food and public distribution (CAF&PD) department will be distributed to the people at Rs 22.53 per kilo.Addressing a news conference at his office chamber, Singh said that the state government has taken up various relief measures and immediate steps have been taken to tackle the present flood situation of the state.

The flood has so far affected 40,000 hectares of agricultural land, according to a report of the state agriculture department. Of this total area, 14,079 hectares was in Imphal East district, 7,700 hectares in Imphal West, 9,000 hectares in Thoubal, 9,210 hectares in Bishnupur and 20 hectares in Urkhul. The official report added that 20.51 percent of agricultural area out of the targeted area of 1,95,000 hectares of the state have been affected by the flood. Asserting that transplantation of such short duration paddy seed varieties can be taken upto the month of August, the chief minister said that flood hit farmers need not panic. “Government has arranged to ensure availability of short duration paddy seed varieties which can be harvested in 100 days such as RC Maniphou-12 and Maru Taru University-1010.

These varieties will be made available to the flood affected farmers free of cost,” he said.
Either paddy seed varieties or the rice seedlings will be available at free of cost to the people, he added. Attending the news conference, state agriculture, veterinary and animal husbandry minister V Hangkhanlian said that certain measures have been taken up by the agriculture and veterinary departments.

Five Rapid Action Teams (RAT) headed by two doctors each with field assistants have already been set up by veterinary department for treatment and necessary vaccination of the animals in the flood affected areas.  The minister said, according to latest report three cows, eight dogs, 39 goats, 96 pigs, 1894 poultry animals, 1311 ducks had perished due to rain and flood. Mobile plant health camp has also been set up by the agriculture department for the farmers, he added.

http://www.nagalandpost.com/ChannelNews/Regional/RegionalNews.aspx?news=TkVXUzEwMDExNzMzMw%3D%3D

Vietnam targets exporting 4 million tonnes of rice by 2030

Vietnam aims to export 4 million tonnes of rice in 2030 under a 2017-2020 rice export development strategy with a vision to 2030 recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. 


Vietnam aims to export 4 million tonnes of rice in 2030


Per the plan, fragrant rice and specialty rice will account for 40 percent of the export volume, glutinous rice 25 percent and white rice roughly 25 percent, while special rice products such as rice fortified with micronutrients, parboiled rice and organic rice, rice bran and rice powder will gradually increase to 10 percent. By 2030, Asia is set to account for half of Vietnam’s total rice sales abroad, Africa about 25 percent, the Middle East 5 percent, Europe 4 percent, the Americas 10 percent and Oceania 4 percent. 

The strategy aims to maintain Vietnam’s shares in traditional export markets and develop new ones while increasing connectivity between manufacturing and trade via value chains, affirming Vietnamese rice’s prestige on international markets. Vietnam shipped 413,000 tonnes of rice worth 182 million USD abroad in June, raising the six-month volume and value to 2.8 million tonnes and 1.2 billion USD, up 6.3 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. China remained the top importer of rice from Vietnam.
State Institutions Must Buy Local Rice...Producers


Rice farmers have called on government to enjoin state-sponsored institutions to buy local rice in order to boost rice production, while reducing the importation of same into the country.“Government should force local institutions like the School Feeding Programmes Secretariat, military, police and prison service to give preference first to the local rice, rather than purchasing the imported rice,” Akshay Sharma, Chairman of Shinkaafa Buni, a rice farmer group told the BFT in an interview.
The country imports about 56 percent of its rice requirement from mainly Asia. Only 34 percent of rice consumed in the country is produced locally, resulting in the importation of 680,000 tonnes annually. This costs the country between US$300 to US$500 million every year.Even though the country’s domestic production has increased by 12 percent between 2010-15, domestic consumption increased by double that rate, over the same period.
The challenges with rice production has not been the absence of suitable land for the cultivation of the crop, but other debilitating factors such as high cost of credit, unbridled imports, and lack of improved rice varieties among others.However, finance institution have started moves to commit more funds to the agric sector, particularly in the cultivation of rice, given the huge potential of the sector and following the downward trend of 91 and 182 Treasury Bill rates respectively.
Last week, Dalex Finance announced a GH?5million credit facility for over 10,000 rice farmers in the northern part of the country.The fund is expected to be used to provide farming inputs such as fertilizer, improved seeds, and combined harvesters, to ensure prompt and efficient harvesting of rice.
Earlier this year, government announced its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs Programme aimed at reviving the agricultural sector with the objective of making the country food secured.Under this policy, the government will provide agricultural inputs at subsidized prices to farmers, and support them with timely, high-quality extension services. The focus is on five major crops for the first year: maize, rice, sorghum, soya bean and vegetables (tomato, onion and chilli pepper).
The yields of these crops are expected to increase by between 5 and 20 percent, raising concerns about the likelihood of a glut in the system, especially when the country loses about GHc400 million every year as a result of post-harvest losses.
 https://www.peacefmonline.com/pages/business/news/201707/319545.php
VN strives to increase rice exports by 2030
Vietnam aims to export four million tonnes of rice by 2030, pursuant to a strategy for developing the country’s rice export market in the 2017-20 period with a vision to 2030.


Rice loading at Sai Gon port. The country’s rice exports recorded 6.3 per cent in volume and 5 per cent in value in the first half of this year. 


Under the strategy, which has been approved by the Prime Minister, by 2030, exports of fragrant rice, specialty rice and Japonica rice will account for the largest proportion of the total volume of exported rice at 40 per cent, followed by glutinous rice and white rice exports at 25 per cent per each. 
Meanwhile, the proportion of high-quality, high-value, organic, highly-nutritious rice and products made from rice will be some 10 per cent.
The Asian market is expected to consume some 50 per cent of Viet Nam’s total rice exports, followed by African and Middle Eastern countries at 25 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, the European market at 6 per cent and the American and Oceania markets at nearly 14 per cent.
Viet Nam’s rice export growth has regained momentum this year following a year of slowdown, statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have revealed.
About 2.8 million tonnes of rice were shipped abroad for a turnover of US$1.2 billion in the first half of this year, up 6.3 per cent in volume and 5 per cent in value. China remained the top importer of rice from Viet Nam in the reviewed period. 
VNS

All India Rice Exporters’ Association seeks PM’s intervention to revoke EU ban on basmati rice

EU has issued a notification that residues above 0.01 ppm will not be allowed in the basmati imports after Dec 31, 2017.
The Dollar Business Bureau 
India’s widely appreciated basmati rice may face the closed doors of the EU due to the new regulations that EU has imposed on chemical residues, The All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) said on Wednesday.
A fungicide named tricyclazole which many farmers use to prevent leaf and neck blast in basmati paddy varieties was banned by EU. For sometime EU had allowed a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 1ppm (parts per million) on the basmati rice that was exported to EU. However, it has issued a notification that residues above 0.01 ppm will not be allowed in the basmati imports after Dec 31, 2017. 
Speaking to the media, AIREA President, Vijay Setia said it would not only impact their businesses but also affect the price realisation of about 1.5 million basmati rice growing farmers in India. Presently US and Japan allow basmati rice imports having residues of up to 3ppm  and 10ppm respectively. 
The Rice Exporters’ Association President added that while many farmers do not use the chemical much, asking them to change their practices may take around 2 years and if the new rules by the EU are not withdrawn, the Indian farmers could stand to lose their business to Pakistan. 
Incidentally, basmati rice grown in Pakistan do not need the use of the chemical fungicide that Indian farmers use and hence stand to gain from the ban on the Indian exports. 
India exports 4 million tonnes of basmati rice every year which s valued around Rs 22,000 crore. The country exports 350,000 tonnes of basmati to EU which is valued around Rs 1700 crore. The AIREA has appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene and has also engaged in discussions with the Commerce Ministry to find a way out of the issue. 
In a statement to the media,  AIREA said, ‘Pakistan being the other Basmati rice exporter to the EU would gain all the business that India would lose... the effect of this virtual ban would thus be ruinous.’ According to a PTI release, an Indian government delegation is scheduled to visit Brussels on July 12 in order to discuss the new regulations
https://www.thedollarbusiness.com/news/all-india-rice-exporters-association-seeks-pms-intervention-to-revoke-eu-ban-on-basmati-rice/50733

Asia rice-prices fall on weak demand, Bangladesh steps up imports

06 JULY, 2017

By My Pham and Ruma Paul

HANOI/DHAKA, July 6 (Reuters) - Rice prices in the world's top three exporters of the staple fell this week on weak demand, traders said on Thursday.

In Thailand, benchmark 5-percent broken rice was quoted at $420-$430 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, down from $432-$440 a tonne last week.

Weak overseas demand and a falling baht have led traders to quote lower prices to attract buyers, traders said.

"Prices have gone down because the baht has weakened," a trader in Bangkok said.

The mass exodus of migrant workers since June 23 following the introduction of new labour regulations by the Thai military government has also hit the Thai rice industry with labour shortages.

"The shortage of workers at warehouses and at the docks has led to delay in the loading of shipment and this has hurt exporters' confidence in their ability to fulfil shipments," said another Bangkok-based rice trader.

More than half of the labour force in the Thai rice industry are migrant workers from neighbouring Cambodia and about three quarters of this workforce have left the country, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

The Thai government has since delayed parts of the new labour law, but many migrant workers have yet to return.

"Thai exporters hesitate to take new order because of the labour shortage and many potential international buyers are thinking twice about buying Thai rice because of this uncertainty," Chookiat said.

The labour shortage could raise the cost of production of Thai off-season crop, he said, which is expected to arrive from around August to September.

In Vietnam, the benchmark 5-percent broken rice dropped to $405-$410 a tonne this week, FOB Saigon, down from $410-$415 last week. There were also concerns over the quality and production of the grain in the harvest period.

"Farmers said the production and quality of rice this time was not as good as usual due to earlier rainfall," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding the exact impact had yet to be estimated.

Vietnam's new harvest season has begun since late-June, traders said.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world's second- and third-biggest rice exporters.

India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices eased by $2 per tonne to $419 to $422 on faltering demand from buyers in Africa.

"Demand from African countries was weak at higher levels. They are postponing purchases expecting price correction," said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

"Even demand from Bangladesh is weak. It is not buying as much as industry was anticipating."

India raised the minimum purchase price of common grade paddy rice by 5.4 percent to 1,550 rupees ($24.03) per 100 kg for the year starting July 1.

But Bangladesh said it was still stepping up imports due to depleted stocks and record local prices following flash floods.

A Bangladeshi delegation is now in Thailand to finalise imports of rice in a government-to-government deal, officials said.

"We don't have any other option but to speed up imports," said a senior food ministry official. "This time we won't be able to achieve our local procurement target. We are going for state-to-state deals even if it is costlier, as importing via tenders is a lengthy process."

Bangladesh is buying 200,000 tonnes of Vietnamese white rice at $430 a tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470 a tonne in a state-to-state deal - at rates much higher than in the previous three tenders.

It is also in talks with India, and private traders have started importing rice from the neighbour after the government cut import duties late last month.

Meanwhile, Philippines' state grains buyer on Thursday also issued an international tender to buy 250,000 tonnes of 25 percent broken long grain white rice, rushing to boost thinning government stockpile.

(Reporting by My Pham in HANOI, Panu Wongcha-um in BANGKOK, Ruma Paul in DHAKA, Rajendra Jadhav in MUMBAI; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath) ((my.pham@thomsonreuters.com; +844 3825 9623; Reuters Messaging: my.pham.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))
http://www.zawya.com/mena/en/story/Asia_riceprices_fall_on_weak_demand_Bangladesh_steps_up_imports-TR20170706nL3N1JX2O1X2/
Coal undermines Indonesia’s food production: report
6 July 2017 / Fidelis E. Satriastanti

Much of Indonesia’s cultivable land falls within mining and exploration concessions.


·         Analyzing government spatial planning maps, researchers for the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Mining Advocacy Network found that 19 percent of Indonesia's rice-growing land falls within exploration or mining concessions for coal.
·         The study calculated that coal mining already costs the country 1.7 million tons of potential rice production, and another 6 million tons of current production are under threat.
·         Loss of agricultural productivity is due to land-use change and contamination of water used for irrigation.
Indonesia’s goal of achieving food self-sufficiency, especially for rice, might be in doubt as the country converts agricultural land into coal mining sites, a recent study found.
The report, launched in May by the environment NGOs Waterkeeper Alliance and the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), examines the impacts of coal concessions on Indonesia’s rice production at a time when the country is already likely to suffer reduced yields due to climate change.
The study concluded that around 1.7 million tons of rice per year has already been lost to coal mining and another 6 million tons per year of existing rice production is at risk if rice-growing areas that fall within exploration concessions are mined for coal.
If mining proceeds in coal concessions that fall within areas identified as suitable for new rice production, an additional 11 million tons of rice per year would be lost, says the report.
Activists send a message in the middle of Ponowareng village rice fields to show their opposition to a coal-fired power plant in Batang, Central Java. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace.
Merah Johansyah, coordinator of the Mining Advocacy Network, said the amount of rice already determined to be lost due to mining is equivalent to the country’s annual rice imports.
“If things were managed properly, we wouldn’t need to import rice anymore,” said Johansyah at the report launch in Jakarta.
Analyzing government spatial planning maps, the researchers found that coal concessions cover 19 percent of the 44 million hectares (170,000 square miles) of rice-growing land in Indonesia — 1.6 million hectares within operating mining concessions and 6.5 million hectares within coal exploration concessions.
“This is only rice, we have yet to report on other crops,” said Johansyah, who called for a moratorium on mining in agricultural land.
A farmer named Azis stands near his small fish pond, polluted by coal dust and chemicals in Santan Ilir village in Indonesian Borneo. Photo by Ardiles Rante/Greenpeace.

The impacts of mining

Coal mining, the report contends, depletes and contaminates water resources, leaving previously cultivable land unsuitable for growing food.
Mines reduce available ground- and surface water and pollute these vital resources with acidic drainage and heavy metals. Villagers living near coal mines reported having no option but to use mine pit water for washing, bathing, irrigation of crops and fish farming, and told researchers their rice yields were consequently reduced by 50 percent and fish production by 80 percent.
The researchers also analyzed water samples from 17 coal mining sites and surrounding waterways. All but two were found to have concentrations of aluminum, iron, manganese and/or pH balances likely to have an impact on crop production and fish farming.
For example, water samples taken from the largest mining site in East Kalimantan were found to have aluminum concentrations that exceeded by 21 times, and iron by 119 times, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum recommended concentrations for freshwater aquatic life.
Budi Haryanto, an environmental health expert at the University of Indonesia, said the minerals tested for — iron, aluminum and manganese —are required by the human body, but can be harmful above certain levels. “They found that these minerals exceeded standards,” he said, adding that coal contains additional damaging substances beyond those examined in the report.
According to the study, aluminum toxicity has been linked to neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimer disease.
High concentration of aluminum in water can also be deadly for fish.
A farmer protests rice farm land which will be used for the Batang coal-fired power plant project. Photo by Wijaya S./Greenpeace.
In plants, aluminum toxicity can reduce root systems, induces a variety of nutrient-deficiency symptoms and decreases yields. Iron toxicity causes similar problems, potentially resulting in poor plant growth and severe yield reductions at concentrations above 10 parts per million (ppm). For aquatic life, iron has been found to be harmful at concentrations as low as 1ppm.
“It turns out that there are no standards for heavy metals contamination in water used for agriculture, Johansyah said.
On the contrary, he added, Indonesian law allows abandoned mining sites to be used for housing, tourism, water and cultivation.  “The regulation allows it and there’s no water quality monitoring as there are no standards,” he said. “There are regulations on water standards for agriculture but they do not give specific numbers.”
Haryanto emphasized that the factors examined in the report represent just a small fraction of the health and environmental dangers coal can cause.
“It means that you need to push it farther [from humans]. That’s how it should be regulated. There should not be water pollution or river pollution,” he said. “They [mine pits] should be buried, not turned into housing or containing water or parks.”
https://news.mongabay.com/2017/07/coal-undermines-indonesias-food-production-report/

Government issues tender for 250,000 tons of imported rice


July 07, 2017

THE STATE grains buyer issued on Thursday an international tender to buy 250,000 tons of 25% broken long grain white rice, rushing to boost thinning government stockpile.

The Philippines has shifted away from buying rice under government-to-government deals in a bid to ensure competitiveness and transparency. -- AFP
Bids must be submitted by July 25, when the sealed offers will be opened, the National Food Authority (NFA) said.The Philippines -- one of the world’s biggest rice importers -- usually buys from major suppliers Vietnam and Thailand.

However, this time the tender is also open to private suppliers from other countries including Pakistan and top supplier India.

State inventories have shrunk to the least in more than three years, just enough to cover five days of national requirement. But local retail prices remain largely stable, thanks to still abundant stocks held by the private sector.

The NFA is mandated to maintain a 15-day buffer stock at any given time and a minimum of 30 days during the lean harvest season from July to September.

The entire 250,000-ton shipment should arrive between August and September, the agency said. -- Reuters
Government issues tender for 250,000 tons of imported rice
Posted on July 07, 2017 THE STATE grains buyer issued on Thursday an international tender to buy 250,000 tons of 25% broken long grain white rice, rushing to boost thinning government stockpile. The Philippines has shifted away from buying rice under government-to-government deals in a bid to ensure competitiveness and transparency.
Slower June inflation leaves policy space Coconut oil exports up over 70% amid recovery from El NiƱo; prices rise Singapore home prices extend decline on curbs Cost of getting on the UK property ladder surges to record Fuel prices higher this week, except LPG Bids must be submitted by July 25, when the sealed offers will be opened, the National Food Authority (NFA) said. The Philippines -- one of the world’s biggest rice importers -- usually buys from major suppliers Vietnam and Thailand.
However, this time the tender is also open to private suppliers from other countries including Pakistan and top supplier India. State inventories have shrunk to the least in more than three years, just enough to cover five days of national requirement. But local retail prices remain largely stable, thanks to still abundant stocks held by the private sector. The NFA is mandated to maintain a 15-day buffer stock at any given time and a minimum of 30 days during the lean harvest season from July to September. The entire 250,000-ton shipment should arrive between August and September, the agency said. – Reuters
http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=government-issues-tender-for-250000-tons-of-imported-rice&id=147915

Bangladesh rice prices falling on supply glut after duty cut

Rice prices have started dropping in Bangladesh as traders are importing huge consignments on low duty announced in the wake of sudden price hikes and concerns over shrinking stock.
The import in the first four days of July was 60,000 tonnes, which is nearly half of the total import made last fiscal year.On Thursday, wholesale prices of local rice dropped by Tk 1 to Tk 1.5 per kilogram. Imported rice prices were down by Tk 2 to Tk 2.5 a kg. The fall, however, is yet to have much effect on the retail prices. But the government’s trading arm, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), claims coarse rice prices have dropped by Tk 2 to Tk 3 per kg and the fine varieties by Tk 1 to Tk 2.

Nizam Uddin, General Secretary of the Rice Traders' Association in the capital's largest wholesale rice market Badamtoli-Babubazar, said the prices are slipping back to a comforting level following the duty cut.
The government announced the cut in duty on rice import from 28 percent to 10 percent before the Eid-ul-Fitr to rein in the prices and to encourage the private importers.
Traders said prices have also dropped in northern district Dinajpur, one of the largest producers of the staple in Bangladesh.
All the consignments that came in until Wednesday were private imports.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam says the prices will decline more in a blow to the mill owners and hoarders who had stockpiled to create an artificial crisis in the market, taking advantage of the floods in Sunamganj. 
He expects the market to get normal within a month after the government's consignments arrive.
The government has floated new tenders to procure 100,000 tonnes of rice. It has also given the green light for a purchase of another 250,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam under a government-to-government deal.
Monir Hossain, a trader at Babubazar, said huge consignments are coming from India every day after the duty cut.
The price of coarse rice dropped by Tk 200 to Tk 250 per sack of 50 kg. Fine variety rice price also fell by Tk 100 to Tk 150 per sack.
Before the Eid, coarse rice varieties -- Swarna and Paijam -- were on sale at Tk 48-50 per kg and other low-quality coarse rice at Tk 46 in the kitchen markets of Shewrhaparha, Mohakhali, Rampura, Karwan Bazar, and Hatirpool.
Traders retailed Miniket and Najirshail at Tk 56-62 a kg.
On Thursday, at Shewrhaparha and Hatirpool, coarse rice was being sold at Tk 45 to Tk 48 per kg while thin grains were priced at Tk 57 to Tk 60.
She wrhaparha rice retailer Shyamal Kundu said, "The Eid mood is still in the air. Fewer people are coming to the market than usual. Sale hasn't picked up yet.
"I haven't brought new (imported) rice...I can't count losses by selling rice from old consignments at lower prices. That's why I have stuck to the previous prices," he said.
http://bdnews24.com/economy/2017/07/07/bangladesh-rice-prices-falling-on-supply-glut-after-duty-cut

Season-based tariffs likely to replace rice-import cap

WHILE the Philippines is set to give up its privilege to regulate the entry of imported rice through the quantitative restriction (QR) scheme, Manila will still use its flexibility under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose higher tariff rates on a seasonal basis to protect local farmers from import surge, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Thursday.
“One idea is that [we slap] low tariff rates during the lean months and high tariff rates during harvest season. Under that, maybe [we can impose] 35 percent during the lean months and 50 percent during harvest season,” Dominguez told Palace reporters.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo R. Serrano said rice is not included in the commodities that have bound rates under the WTO multilateral trading system. This, Serrano said, means that the Philippines can slap any duty on rice, depending on what Congress will pass.
In a news briefing on Thursday, Dominguez said economic managers are still deciding on the tariff rate to be slapped on rice imports, following the expiry of the country’s rice-import cap. However, what is certain is that it will be between 35 percent and 50 percent, Dominguez said. “I think what’s being discussed is something like 35 percent or 50 percent. [It’s] around that range,” Dominguez said.
The finance chief added economic managers are “thinking about a number of things” to ensure they cover all possible options on resolving the matter. Dominguez said they are open to the idea of a season-based tariff rate for rice imports.
Dominguez said this might be the best way to balance the interest of local farmers and consumers. “[As much as] we have to protect the local farmers from [the] dumping of foods, we also have to protect the consumers and hope the prices [of rice] will be moderate,” the finance chief said.
Fact is, Dominguez added, prices of local rice are higher than those of imported rice, especially if the staple is produced by a fellow Asean nation. In a 2015 study commissioned by the Department of Agriculture (DA), it was found out Thailand and Vietnam have the lowest production cost of a kilo of rice.
Thailand spent P9.12 to produce a kilo of rice, while Vietnam recorded the lowest cost at P6.69. On the other hand, the Philippines needed P10.03 to produce a kilo of rice. In an earlier interview with the BusinessMirror, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the Committee on Tariff and Related Matters (CTRM) is just awaiting the recommendation of the DA on the tariff rate to be slapped on rice imports. “We are still awaiting the recommendation of the DA chief [because] that should come from him, [so] for now, it stays at 35 percent,” Lopez said.
Lopez added the CTRM will only get to discuss the tariff rate to be imposed on rice imports in their next meeting. Dominguez said the CTRM is scheduled to convene “in the next couple of weeks”.
The Philippines’s waiver on the special treatment for rice lapsed last Friday. However, Manila in April informed the WTO it was not able to convert its QR on rice into tariff, citing delays in the amendment of Republic Act (RA) 8178, or the Agricultural Tarrification Act.
Amending RA 8178, according to agriculture officials, is necessary in order to convert the QR on rice into tariff because under the law, rice is the only agriculture commodity with an import cap and it did not specify a termination date for it. Without the amendment, the Philippines has to enforce reduced rates on agricultural goods covered by the Philippines’s tariff commitments to the WTO.
President Duterte in May issued Executive Order 23, extending for another three years concessionary rates for certain agricultural imports.
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/season-based-tariffs-likely-to-replace-rice-import-cap/

Govt steps up for rice imports

Reuters . Hanoi/ Dhaka | Update: 00:27, Jul 07, 2017
Rice prices in the world’s top three exporters of the staple fell this week on weak demand, traders said on Thursday. In Thailand, benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 was quoted at $420-$430 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, down from $432-$440 a tonne last week.Weak overseas demand and a falling baht have led traders to quote lower prices to attract buyers, traders said.“Prices have gone down because the baht has weakened,” a trader in Bangkok said.

The mass exodus of migrant workers since 23 June following the introduction of new labour regulations by the Thai military government has also hit the Thai rice industry with labour shortages.“The shortage of workers at warehouses and at the docks has led to delay in the loading of shipment and this has hurt exporters’ confidence in their ability to fulfil shipments,” said another Bangkok-based rice trader.
More than half of the labour force in the Thai rice industry are migrant workers from neighbouring Cambodia and about three quarters of this workforce have left the country, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
The Thai government has since delayed parts of the new labour law, but many migrant workers have yet to return.
“Thai exporters hesitate to take new order because of the labour shortage and many potential international buyers are thinking twice about buying Thai rice because of this uncertainty,” Chookiat said.
The labour shortage could raise the cost of production of Thai off-season crop, he said, which is expected to arrive from around August to September.
In Vietnam, the benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 dropped to $405-$410 a tonne this week, FOB Saigon, down from $410-$415 last week. There were also concerns over the quality and production of the grain in the harvest period.
“Farmers said the production and quality of rice this time was not as good as usual due to earlier rainfall,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding the exact impact had yet to be estimated.
Vietnam’s new harvest season has begun since late-June, traders said.
Thailand and Vietnam are the world’s second- and third-biggest rice exporters.
India’s 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices RI-INBKN5-P1 eased by $2 per tonne to $419 to $422 on faltering demand from buyers in Africa.
“Demand from African countries was weak at higher levels. They are postponing purchases expecting price correction,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
“Even demand from Bangladesh is weak. It is not buying as much as industry was anticipating.”
India raised the minimum purchase price of common grade paddy rice by 5.4 percent to 1,550 rupees ($24.03) per 100 kg for the year starting July 1.
But Bangladesh said it was still stepping up imports due to depleted stocks and record local prices following flash floods.
A Bangladeshi delegation is now in Thailand to finalise imports of rice in a government-to-government deal, officials said.
“We don’t have any other option but to speed up imports,” said a senior food ministry official. “This time we won’t be able to achieve our local procurement target. We are going for state-to-state deals even if it is costlier, as importing via tenders is a lengthy process.”
Bangladesh is buying 200,000 tonnes of Vietnamese white rice at $430 a tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470 a tonne in a state-to-state deal - at rates much higher than in the previous three tenders.
It is also in talks with India, and private traders have started importing rice from the neighbour after the government cut import duties late last month.
Meanwhile, Philippines’ state grains buyer on Thursday also issued an international tender to buy 250,000 tonnes of 25 percent broken long grain white rice, rushing to boost thinning government stockpile.
http://en.prothom-alo.com/economy/news/153023/Govt-steps-up-for-rice-imports
High cost, market risk, poor distribution among hurdles
FE Report
Researchers have identified a number of bottlenecks for the farmers' reluctance to diversify production of non-rice crops, which include high production cost, market risk, relative price (rice price versus non-rice crop price), poor distribution system and insufficient cold storage facilities.They noted that Bangladesh has been experiencing a significant food system transformation due to rapid urbanization and income growth. Although the country has significant achievement in food production and health index, it still has high rate of malnutrition, obesity and diet-related diabetes.
These were revealed during a press briefing organized by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Bangladesh with support from CGIAR Research Programme on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and Wageningen University and Research Centre of the Netherlands at a city hotel.
IFPRI's Policy Research and Strategy Support Programme (PRSSP), CGIAR and Wageningen University and Research organized a workshop and country consultation in the capital this week with the key government and food system actors to develop a programme on food system research.
IFPRI Bangladesh country representative Akhter Ahmed, Wageningen University and Research associate professor Inge D Brouwer and coordinator of food security, value chains and impact analysis Prof Ruerd Ruben and senior manager of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Herbert Smorenburg spoke at the press conference.
The research programme is a six-year one, spanning from January 2017 to 2022. Under it research will be conducted in four countries - Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Nigeria - at a cost of US$ 25 million.The programme will focus on reversing the traditional approach, starting from consumers to other components in the supply chain system. It will have three major components - agriculture, nutrition and health.
During the workshop the participants noted that Bangladesh is at the threshold of significant dietary transformation. The government agencies concerned, businesses and civil society groups have the opportunity to come together and create a plan to support this changing food system to produce and supply diverse nutritious and safe food for healthy lives.
Akhter Ahmed said dietary diversity is a key for promoting food systems for healthier diets. IFPRI research shows that agricultural diversity and nutrition knowledge improve dietary diversity.He said production cost is higher for non-rice crops, and it is true that high productivity can reduce cost. Vietnam has doubled the yield of rice than that of Bangladesh. Average milk production of a local cow in Bangladesh is 1.0-1.5 litres per day, while it is 10-11 litres in the developed countries.
So investment in research is required to increase per acre non-rice crop production, he added.Dissemination of nutrition knowledge is highly expensive in Bangladesh, which should be reduced to improve the country's nutrition situation.
Investment was high in research on staple crops in the past. But now the time has come that investment should be made in research on how to produce more non-rice crops, Mr Akhter added.
Ms Brouwer said dietary diversity is a problem in Bangladesh due to over dependence on rice. Adulteration should be controlled and quality of food should be strictly maintained, she added.
DOST awards Rice winners in Davao

Thursday, July 06, 2017 By BOMIE LANE S. CASTILLLO
 THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) proclaimed the three winners of the 2017 Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (Rice) in Davao Region last Wednesday, June 5, at NCCC Mall Activity Center, that will compete in the National Invention Contest and Exhibits (Nice) next year. Rice is a regional competition that started in 2011, encouraging both public and private sector inventors and researchers to showcase their inventive capabilities, ingenuity, and creativity.
The competition was divided into two categories: the Adult Creative Research (Likha Award) and Student Creative Research (Sibol Award) for High School and College. Representing Davao Region for the Adult Creative Research category is the owner of the Hydrophilia Technologies Incorporated, Aezer Cajegas, for his research on Alcasol Pure Antibacterial and Antifungal Disinfectant. "I am happy that my invention won for this year's Rice because this is really helpful for our farmers in treating banana diseases. This disinfectant is 100 percent organic which will not produce any foul odor and cannot irritate human's skin," Cajegas said.
 He added that his invention has laboratory results and is being used as a trial product in a banana plantation in some parts of Mindanao that have contributed to his championship in the regional level. Cajegas also won as the third placer in Nice last year for his invention on hydrophiliate technology. For College Student Creative Research category, Charles Abella, Carlo Lagura, and Bernard Ranola from University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep) will be representing the region for their research on TAMLA: A Mobile App fro Crime Scene Fingerprint Matching with Latent Search Capability. "Our invention is for crime laboratory application which will be helpful in the community through fast identification processes during crime scenes," Lagura said. Lagura also said they will be doing further research regarding their invention as a preparation for NICE next year. Philippine Science High School-Southern Mindanao Campus students, Felix Arthur Diosos and Coleen A. Quirim, will be the representatives of Davao Region for the High School Student Creative Research category for the Pectin-carboxymethylcellulose Biocapsule for Potential Colon Targeted Oral Drug Delivery. The solo and school winners received P10,000 prize and gift certificates.
 DOST-Davao Region will also be covering plane tickets and accommodations for their national competition next year. DOST-Davao Region Assistant Director Elsie Mae A. Solidum, in an interview, said Rice 2017 was an exciting batch of young and professional inventors, highlighting the importance of producing new ideas and inventions that are not only useful to the society but also possess commercial viability.
 "Through competitions like this, the Science and Technology sector in the country hopes to gain more support from the government especially in terms of funding the department," Solidum said. Ads by Kiosked Tags:  SCIENCETECHNOLOGYDEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGYDOSTNATIONAL INVENTION CONTEST AND EXHIBITS Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 07, 2017. Latest issues of SunStar Davao also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial. VIDEO : Safety tips sa pagpalit og rice Safety tips sa pagpalit og riceNews All Videos   Promoted Stories Itching This Part of Your Body Is a Sign Of Alzheimer's (memoryrepairprotocol.com) NBA Player J.J. Redick Lands a Brooklyn Penthouse for $4.25 Million (Mansion Global) If you Love Virtual Worlds, You Must Try This One! (secondlife) 1 Million People Have Switched To This New Way To Read (Blinkist Magazine) Recommended by VIEW COMMENTS MORE FROM DAVAO LOCAL NEWS Soldier killed, 13 wounded in Monkayo clash Biz training for 40 Davao bombing survivors start Lingap one-stop shop opens July 7 Proposed archives dep't creation approved on 1st reading DOST awards Rice winners in Davao Davao official: There are more zoning code violators Tax incentives for parking spaces pushed in
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2017/07/06/dost-awards-rice-winners-davao-551484
Nagoya University scientists develop compound that hastens flowering
Chemical speeds up plants' biological clock by about three weeks
NAGOYA, Japan -- Japanese researchers have developed a compound that can speed up the flowering of plants, a finding that could be used to allow agriculture even in colder regions where it is currently not possible.Using the compound developed by Nakamichi and his team could prove a cost-effective method of reducing the time it takes for crops to bear fruit.
The researchers found they could make plants flower about three weeks earlier than usual by drastically pushing forward the plants' biological clock, which reacts to light levels and season.
The team led by Norihito Nakamichi, designated associate professor of plant physiology at Nagoya University, sought out a compound that alters the internal clock of Arabidopsis thaliana, a common weed that is often used in plant experiments. Among about 35,000 compounds, the researchers identified one kind that can shorten the approximately 24-hour cycle to about 20 hours.
Although it usually takes about 60 or so days until the flowering stage, the plants needed less than 40 days to reach that stage. The team found that the function of florigen genes responsible for controlling flowering in plants had been increased fivefold.
The reduction in the time until plants bear fruit could lead to an increase in yield stability in colder regions before the temperature drops and enhance productivity in more cultivated areas.

Improved crop varieties that can be harvested before the onset of the colder season have gone a long way toward ramping up agricultural output.The development of early flowering rice varieties has made rice production possible in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island, where winters can be severe.
The conventional method uses a gene mutation that occurs naturally, so that development takes a long time.But the new method can expedite the flowering time simply by applying the compound to the surface of the plant's leaves, which lowers the cost.Harvesting can be difficult when plants flower and produce fruit in winter
http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Science/Nagoya-University-scientists-develop-compound-that-hastens-flowering

Nagoya University scientists develop compound that hastens flowering
Chemical speeds up plants' biological clock by about three weeks
NAGOYA, Japan -- Japanese researchers have developed a compound that can speed up the flowering of plants, a finding that could be used to allow agriculture even in colder regions where it is currently not possible.Using the compound developed by Nakamichi and his team could prove a cost-effective method of reducing the time it takes for crops to bear fruit.
The researchers found they could make plants flower about three weeks earlier than usual by drastically pushing forward the plants' biological clock, which reacts to light levels and season.
The team led by Norihito Nakamichi, designated associate professor of plant physiology at Nagoya University, sought out a compound that alters the internal clock of Arabidopsis thaliana, a common weed that is often used in plant experiments. Among about 35,000 compounds, the researchers identified one kind that can shorten the approximately 24-hour cycle to about 20 hours.
Although it usually takes about 60 or so days until the flowering stage, the plants needed less than 40 days to reach that stage. The team found that the function of florigen genes responsible for controlling flowering in plants had been increased fivefold.The reduction in the time until plants bear fruit could lead to an increase in yield stability in colder regions before the temperature drops and enhance productivity in more cultivated areas.
Improved crop varieties that can be harvested before the onset of the colder season have gone a long way toward ramping up agricultural output. The development of early flowering rice varieties has made rice production possible in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island, where winters can be severe.
The conventional method uses a gene mutation that occurs naturally, so that development takes a long time.But the new method can expedite the flowering time simply by applying the compound to the surface of the plant's leaves, which lowers the cost.Harvesting can be difficult when plants flower and produce fruit in winter.
http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Science/Nagoya-University-scientists-develop-compound-that-hastens-flowering

Season-based tariffs likely to replace rice-import cap


WHILE the Philippines is set to give up its privilege to regulate the entry of imported rice through the quantitative restriction (QR) scheme, Manila will still use its flexibility under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose higher tariff rates on a seasonal basis to protect local farmers from import surge, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Thursday.
“One idea is that [we slap] low tariff rates during the lean months and high tariff rates during harvest season. Under that, maybe [we can impose] 35 percent during the lean months and 50 percent during harvest season,” Dominguez told Palace reporters.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo R. Serrano said rice is not included in the commodities that have bound rates under the WTO multilateral trading system. This, Serrano said, means that the Philippines can slap any duty on rice, depending on what Congress will pass.
In a news briefing on Thursday, Dominguez said economic managers are still deciding on the tariff rate to be slapped on rice imports, following the expiry of the country’s rice-import cap. However, what is certain is that it will be between 35 percent and 50 percent, Dominguez said. “I think what’s being discussed is something like 35 percent or 50 percent. [It’s] around that range,” Dominguez said.
The finance chief added economic managers are “thinking about a number of things” to ensure they cover all possible options on resolving the matter. Dominguez said they are open to the idea of a season-based tariff rate for rice imports.
Dominguez said this might be the best way to balance the interest of local farmers and consumers. “[As much as] we have to protect the local farmers from [the] dumping of foods, we also have to protect the consumers and hope the prices [of rice] will be moderate,” the finance chief said.
Fact is, Dominguez added, prices of local rice are higher than those of imported rice, especially if the staple is produced by a fellow Asean nation. In a 2015 study commissioned by the Department of Agriculture (DA), it was found out Thailand and Vietnam have the lowest production cost of a kilo of rice.
Thailand spent P9.12 to produce a kilo of rice, while Vietnam recorded the lowest cost at P6.69. On the other hand, the Philippines needed P10.03 to produce a kilo of rice. In an earlier interview with the BusinessMirror, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the Committee on Tariff and Related Matters (CTRM) is just awaiting the recommendation of the DA on the tariff rate to be slapped on rice imports. “We are still awaiting the recommendation of the DA chief [because] that should come from him, [so] for now, it stays at 35 percent,” Lopez said.
Lopez added the CTRM will only get to discuss the tariff rate to be imposed on rice imports in their next meeting. Dominguez said the CTRM is scheduled to convene “in the next couple of weeks”.
The Philippines’s waiver on the special treatment for rice lapsed last Friday. However, Manila in April informed the WTO it was not able to convert its QR on rice into tariff, citing delays in the amendment of Republic Act (RA) 8178, or the Agricultural Tarrification Act.
Amending RA 8178, according to agriculture officials, is necessary in order to convert the QR on rice into tariff because under the law, rice is the only agriculture commodity with an import cap and it did not specify a termination date for it. Without the amendment, the Philippines has to enforce reduced rates on agricultural goods covered by the Philippines’s tariff commitments to the WTO.
President Duterte in May issued Executive Order 23, extending for another three years concessionary rates for certain agricultural imports.
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/season-based-tariffs-likely-to-replace-rice-import-cap/
EPA Staff Experiences Rice Country Firsthand 
 CROWLEY, LA -- Last week USA Rice and the Louisiana Rice Growers Association (LARGA) hosted six staff members from across the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs to experience rice growing and milling firsthand here in Louisiana. 

USA Rice arranged a similar tour of the Mid-South in 2006 and it served to educate EPA staff and as a bridge building exercise between the regulatory agency and the rice industry.  With changes in staff at EPA over the years, USA Rice decided it was time to bring new personnel out to inform them of key pesticide issues facing rice growers across the Mid-South.

"For all of the EPA staff that attended the tour, rice touches their portfolio in some way," said Dr. Steve Linscombe of the LSU Ag Center and member of the USA Rice Regulatory Affairs and Food Safety Committee.  "Whether it's having a rice pesticide in their portfolio or doing analysis on the uniqueness of rice compared to other row crops, each participant was able to learn something about rice that will help them better assess rice pesticides."  

Stops on the tour included a production rice farm to learn about common pests and diseases, a crawfish operation to see the relationship between crawfish and rice production, a rice mill to hear about issues with stored grain pests, a flying service that covers Louisiana rice country to discuss aerial application, and a second rice farm to observe a tail water recovery system in action.  

"They also had plenty of opportunity to interact with all parts of the rice industry at two field days and several grower dinners," said Paul Johnson, a rice farmer and current LARGA vice chair.  "We made sure they got their share of gumbo and jambalaya to go along with all the knowledge they took home.  And we would like to thank the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and all those who joined us last week for the tour and opened up their homes and businesses to our EPA guests."
Rice millers will be arrested if they fail to clear CMR dues soon, says Pulla Rao
NELLORE,JULY 07, 2017 01:00 IST
Reality check: Civil Supplies Minister Prathipati Pulla Rao making a surprise visit to a rice mill on Podalakur-Sagnam road in Nellore district.   | Photo Credit: K_ RAVIKUMAR
23 owners owed 70 crore in Nellore district
Taking a tough stance, Minister for Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Prathipati Pulla Rao has warned that the defaulting rice mill owners with regard to the procurement of custom milled rice (CMR) will be arrested if they do not clear the dues reaching nearly 103 crore within the next 15 days or one month.
He held a surprise check at the Sri Srinivasa Raw and Boiled Rice Mill on the Podalakuru – Sangam Road, about 30 km from Nellore city. He turned angry when the officials reported that the miller concerned did not turn up despite intimation.
Accompanied by AP Civil Supplies Corporation Managing Director Ram Gopal and other officials, the Minister went round the mill premises, which was mostly empty and there was no sign of the CMR paddy being still stored.
“Under the CMR scheme, the government supplies paddy to the miller who has to supply rice in return. This miller has not made the return supply so far and he owed 8.5 crore for the past two years. This is a serious offence and we will initiate criminal proceedings,” said Mr. Pulla Rao.
Stating that considerable time was given to such defiant millers on humanitarian grounds and due to political pressures, Mr. Pulla Rao said that this kind of attitude would not be tolerated and the government would take stringent action to protect sanctity of the programmes like CMR intended for farmers’ welfare.
When the Minister enquired about the whereabouts and antecedents of the millers, the local residents of Podalakur said that the owner would not be available locally and that he had other businesses in Nellore surroundings.
Warning
Mr. Pulla Rao said that some millers were found to have become defiant and headstrong to the extent that they were ignoring warnings from the government regarding recoveries. “These millers happily sold out farmers’ rice and used that money to either buy property or make investments. This will not be tolerated,” he added.
About 23 millers owed 70 crore in CMR dues in Nellore district, the highest in the State. The overall dues in AP came to 103 crore
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/rice-millers-will-be-arrested-if-they-fail-to-clear-cmr-dues-soon-says-pulla-rao/article19226988.ece

Global Rice Bran Oil Market 2017 : 3F Industries, Sethia Oils, Kasisuri, Jinrun, Surin Bran Oil
Press release from: Worldwide Industry
Rice Bran Oil
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http://www.openpr.com/news/611843/Global-Rice-Bran-Oil-Market-2017-3F-Industries-Sethia-Oils-Kasisuri-Jinrun-Surin-Bran-Oil.html

Global Baby Rice Flour Market 2017 Industry Analysis to Grow at CAGR over Period 2022

The Baby Rice Flour Market Report gives the overall description about the market across the world. The report includes the approximate values about the market size which is made in terms of value and volume. The Baby Rice Flour Market report includes the segmentation and sub-segmentation. Regionally, the hold of the market and its growth factors are also included. The revenue share made by each region is included along with the information regarding which segment contributes the maximum share in the global market.
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Discoverer of Haridhan no more

Haripada Kapali
Our Correspondent, Jhenidah
Haripada Kapali, a farmer who discovered a high yielding rice variety outside of a formal research station and shot to fame, died yesterday at his village home in Jhenidah's Ahsannagar at the age of 96.
Family members said the agrarian farmer who was suffering from old-age complications breathed his last around 1:15am.
The rice he developed, taking the breeding line from a highly productive rice variety of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), got popularised among farmers in Jhenidah and was named after him -- Haridhan.
He left behind his wife Sumita Rani and his adopted son Rupkumar and a host of admirers and well wishers to mourn his death. He was cremated at Aliarpur in Chuadanga yesterday afternoon.
Local agriculture officials, farmers, and people in the community mourned the death of Haripada Kapali.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, BRRI Director General Dr Bhagya Rani Banik paid tributes to Haripada, and said he had perseverance and was very hard-working. She lauded Haripada's zeal in making something good out of a popular BRRI variety.
In 1994, while weeding out a plot of BR-11, a popular rice variety of BRRI, Haripada came across a bunch of paddy which was different from the other paddy plants. That bunch was healthier, taller, and looked more promising to him.
Developed and released by BRRI back in 1980, BR-11, also known as Mukta by then, had turned out to be the country's best bred Aman rice variety.
He took special care of the newly-found bunch and facilitated its growth in a natural way. At first he thought this would not yield good crops. But finally, this separate paddy gave better production than the already planted ones. Haripada collected this paddy separately and stored it in a safe place. Next year he made separate seeds, prepared seedbeds and sowed the 2/3 grammes  of seeds in another plot. He compared that with BR-11 and found better vigour in the segregated ones. 
When Haripada got a better yield from the new variety, his peers from neighbouring farm plots rushed to him and showed interest in cultivating Haridhan.Haripada Kapali comes from a poor family of Enayetpur village in Jhenidah sadar upazila. He was the only son of Ishwar Kundu. His father died when Hari was eight. He immediately started cultivating the ancestral land to support his family.
When he was seventeen or eighteen years old, he married Sunita Rani, daughter of Raban Biswas of the same upazila, and relocated himself to his father-in-law's house in Ashannagar. He turned over a new leaf here. He involved himself whole-heartedly in farming on lands, some of which he inherited from his father-in-law and some of which he bought.
http://www.thedailystar.net/city/inventor-haripada-kapali-discoverer-haridhan-no-more-1429342

DOST AWARDS RICE WINNERS IN DAVAO
Time to read 1 minute Share 4 0 Print a- a+ Read so far 70% DOST awards Rice winners in Davao Thursday, July 06, 2017 By BOMIE LANE S. CASTILLLO THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) proclaimed the three winners of the 2017 Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (Rice) in Davao Region last Wednesday, June 5, at NCCC Mall Activity Center, that will compete in the National Invention Contest and Exhibits (Nice) next year.
Rice is a regional competition that started in 2011, encouraging both public and private sector inventors and researchers to showcase their inventive capabilities, ingenuity, and creativity. The competition was divided into two categories: the Adult Creative Research (Likha Award) and Student Creative Research (Sibol Award) for High School and College. Representing Davao Region for the Adult Creative Research category is the owner of the Hydrophilia Technologies Incorporated, Aezer Cajegas, for his research on Alcasol Pure Antibacterial and Antifungal Disinfectant. "I am happy that my invention won for this year's Rice because this is really helpful for our farmers in treating banana diseases.
This disinfectant is 100 percent organic which will not produce any foul odor and cannot irritate human's skin," Cajegas said. He added that his invention has laboratory results and is being used as a trial product in a banana plantation in some parts of Mindanao that have contributed to his championship in the regional level.
 Cajegas also won as the third placer in Nice last year for his invention on hydrophiliate technology. For College Student Creative Research category, Charles Abella, Carlo Lagura, and Bernard Ranola from University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep) will be representing the region for their research on TAMLA: A Mobile App fro Crime Scene Fingerprint Matching with Latent Search Capability. "Our invention is for crime laboratory application which will be helpful in the community through fast identification processes during crime scenes," Lagura said. Lagura also said they will be doing further research regarding their invention as a preparation for NICE next year. Philippine Science High School-Southern Mindanao Campus students, Felix Arthur Diosos and Coleen A.
Quirim, will be the representatives of Davao Region for the High School Student Creative Research category for the Pectin-carboxymethylcellulose Biocapsule for Potential Colon Targeted Oral Drug Delivery. The solo and school winners received P10,000 prize and gift certificates. DOST-Davao Region will also be covering plane tickets and accommodations for their national competition next year. DOST-Davao Region Assistant Director Elsie Mae A.
 Solidum, in an interview, said Rice 2017 was an exciting batch of young and professional inventors, highlighting the importance of producing new ideas and inventions that are not only useful to the society but also possess commercial viability. "Through competitions like this, the Science and Technology sector in the country hopes to gain more support from the government especially in terms of funding the department," Solidum said.
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2017/07/06/dost-awards-rice-winners-davao-551484

Using Nitrogen-15 in Agricultural Research: Improving Crop Productivity in Panama

A seminar focusing on the use of Nitrogen-15 (15N) in agricultural research has taken place at the Agricultural Research Institute of Panama (IDIAP) from 12 to 16 June 2017. The course, led by Dr Plinio Barbosa de Camargo of the University of Sao Paulo’s Centre for Nuclear Studies in Agriculture (CENA), Brazil, brought together eight postgraduate students working on soil and water management at the University of Panama, together with the national counterpart Dr Jose Villarreal. The seminar was supported by an IAEA technical cooperation project[1] dedicated to enhancing rice crop yields in Panama, and was focused on explaining the main applications of isotope 15N in agrarian research. Rice is a staple food crop in Panama, and the national government is seeking to achieve food security for the population.
Nitrogen-15, a stable isotope of nitrogen and an essential plant nutrient, is used to determine the fertilizer use efficiency of crops. It is also used to quantify the amount of nitrogen that crops can acquire from the atmosphere through a process known as biological nitrogen fixation. This helps to reduce the application of purchased nitrogen for crop and livestock production, and can result in very significant cost-savings in agriculture. Nitrogen-15 is also used to assess integrated soil-water management practices to optimize crop productivity. It can be applied to various vital crops including rice and sugar cane.
The seminar participants also had an opportunity to visit the sugar cane plantations of the sugar mill La Estrella, one of the most important in Panama. Here, they learned about plot design, forms of 15N application, and sampling of leaves and soil for the development of experiments using this important isotope.
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[1] Enhancing Rice Crop Yield by Improving Water and Nutrient Management through the Application of Nuclear and Isotopic Techniques
https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/using-nitrogen-15-in-agricultural-research-improving-crop-productivity-in-panama

Rate adjustments may be possible with new Provisia rice technology

Provisia herbicide may offer some flexibility in the rates that can be applied, LSU AgCenter weed scientist says
Forrest Laws | Jul 06, 2017
Rice can behave quite a bit differently in a field setting than it does in small plots that are three rows wide and two feet long.That’s how Eric Webster, weed scientist with the LSU AgCenter, began his discussion of reports of crop injury in some of the seed increase and demonstration plots of the new Provisia rice system in Louisiana and Arkansas this season.
“Sometimes if you get a little bit of wind burn in a plot or you get insect movement into it, it can be difficult to tell what’s going on,” Dr. Webster told rice growers and industry representatives attending the LSU Rice Research Station Field Day in Crowley, La.
“A lot of times you don’t really know what a new product or a new herbicide is going to do until it gets in the hands of the growers, and you start seeing what’s happening in the field,” noted Dr. Webster, who has been working with the new Provisia rice almost since the day Steve Linscombe, the rice breeder at the LSU AgCenter, began placing it in those small plots.”
Dr. Webster has applied 15.5 ounces of Provisia, formerly known as quizalofop or Assure, in test plots at the Rice Research Station in Crowley and at its South Farm south of Crowley. He has also applied 31 ounces per acre, which is, in effect, a 2X rate of the grass herbicide, which he used for a number of years to control red rice in soybeans.
Applying a 2X rate
“What we did on the South Farm on a large area – two 15-acre blocks plus another 15-acre block in the crawfish area – was actually put 31 ounces out in one application,” he said. “And where we saw the main issues was where we were overlapping. So we went from a 31-ounce rate to a 62-ounce rate, and we were putting out quite a bit of Provisia on that rice.”
Dr. Webster said he also believes the rice has been stressed due to weather conditions this year. “We’ve had a lot of days just like this,” referring to the cloudy, overcast skies that dominated during the field day on June 28.
“If you think back to the days when we first got Whip herbicide, we always had trouble with injury when we got three or four days of cloudy weather, and even more so if that was coupled with a fertilizer application,” he said. “So a lot of times with Whip we would back off the rates a little bit.”
He reminded growers that when they were applying Assure to control Johnsongrass and red rice in soybeans, they frequently were applying lower rates of the herbicide – between eight and 12 ounces per acre – rather than the 15.5-ounce recommended rate for Provisia.“What I like about this 10-ounce rate,” he said pointing to a plot that had received two 10-ounce applications of Provisia. “If you look across this plot you can see a height difference between the applications.
Third application if needed
“Provisia is extremely active on most grasses, especially the weedy rice. I like it because it gives us a third application. If you think back to the Newpath days when we first got Clearfield rice we had two applications of Newpath and that was it. So the first year we started seeing airplane skips, or place under power lines or in the corners where the sprayer couldn’t get. We needed that third application.”
Two years later in 2004, he said, “we got Beyond, which was sort of a cleanup application. The way I look at these three 10-ounce shots is, if you need it, you have that third application. Or you may be in a situation, and I think the label will say this, you can use that third application in your ratoon crop.
“If we had it, we could spread that out and, basically, buy ourselves an insurance policy for later in the season.”
Worry over basmati exports

Our Special Correspondent
New Delhi, July 5: Basmati rice export worth Rs 1,700 crore is in jeopardy on account of a EU directive on fungicide residue, traders fear as they seek government intervention.The European Commission recently brought down the maximum residue limit (MRL) for tricyclazole, a fungicide used by farmers in basmati rice, to 0.01 mg per kg from next year. This has been done for all countries.
"A virtual ban is being imposed by the EU on the widely used fungicide in India by reducing the import tolerance level a 100-fold from 1 ppm (parts per million) to 0.01 ppm. The move, which is to come into effect from January 1, 2018, will adversely impact the current kharif crop. We want the EU to give us at least two years more to settle the matter," said Vijay Setia, president of the All India Rice Exporters' Association.
According to Setia, it is not possible to bring down the pesticide level all of a sudden to nearly zero. At least, two crop cycles are required to bring about the change. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence that it is harmful for human health, he said, adding that farmers are being educated to use the fungicide in a judicious manner.
The move could benefit Pakistan, which exports a "super" variety of aromatic rice and does not use tricyclazole
Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of Kohinoor Foods, said, "Our business worth over Rs 1,700 crore will shift to Pakistan, which also exports aromatic rice to the EU. The new norms are unjust and one-sided and not in the interest of farmers."The Indian team is scheduled to visit Brussels on July 12 to discuss the matter. The association has made representations to the commerce and the agriculture ministries and sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mostly, two basmati varieties - PB1 and 1401 - are exported to the EU. Till now, rice with tricyclazole MRL at 0.03 mg per kg was accepted in the EU. In the US, the MRL for the fungicide is 3ppm, while in Japan it is 10ppm."We have been exporting rice to the EU for 20 years. We also consume it in the country and export it to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the US. There have been no health issues connected with the fungicide so far," Arora said.India shipped 3.5 lakh tonnes of basmati rice worth Rs 1,744 crore to the EU in 2016-17.

Basmati rice exporters cry foul over EU regulations on chemical residues

India’s exports of the Basmati rice to the European Union might come to a halt due to new regulations on chemical residues
Currently, the US and Japan allow Basmati imports with residues of up to 3 ppm and 10 ppm, respectively. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
New Delhi: India’s exports of the aromatic Basmati rice to the European Union might come to a halt due to new regulations on chemical residues, the All India Rice Exporters Association said on Wednesday.
The bone of contention is a fungicide named Tricyclazole developed by Dow Agri Sciences which farmers use to prevent leaf and neck blast in Basmati paddy varieties. While the European Union (EU) has so far allowed a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 1 ppm (parts per million), after 31 December 2017 it has mandated that imports having an MRL above 0.01 ppm will not be allowed.
 “This will not only impact our businesses but also affect price realisation of about 1.5 million farmers growing Basmati in India,” the association’s president Vijay Setia said.
Currently, the US and Japan allow Basmati imports with residues of up to 3 ppm and 10 ppm, respectively. The fungicide Tricyclazole is commonly used by farmers in India to prevent blast in Basmati varieties like PB1 and Pusa 1410.
“While there is a problem that farmers do not judiciously use the chemical, changing practices requires as much as two years,” Setia said, adding, “if the new rules are not withdrawn we will lose our business to Pakistan.”
Basmati varieties grown in Pakistan do not require use of the fungicide and stand to gain from the de-facto ban on Indian exports.
India exports over 4 million tonnes of Basmati rice every year valued at over Rs22,000 crore. Exports to the EU currently are at 350,000 tonnes per year, valued at over Rs1,700 crore.Bottom of Form
The rice exporters association has written to the Prime Minister to intervene and engaged with the commerce and agriculture ministries on the issue.“Pakistan being the other Basmati rice exporter to the EU would gain all the business that India would lose... the effect of this virtual ban would thus be ruinous,” the statement added.
According to a Press Trust of India report, an Indian government delegation is scheduled to visit Brussels in Belgium on 12 July to discuss the new regulations
http://www.livemint.com/Politics/VXCkHqyag57gCNuiYOd8HJ/Basmati-rice-exporters-cry-foul-over-EU-regulations-on-chemi.html

Floods in southern Japan force hundreds to flee; 2 dead

PTI
TOKYO, JULY 6:  
Troops were working on Thursday to rescue families left stranded by flooding in southern Japan. Two people were reported dead and 11 others were unaccounted for in flooding that wrecked homes, roads and rice terraces.Heavy rain warnings were in effect for much of the southern island of Kyushu after Typhoon Nanmadol swept across Japan earlier in the week.
Authorities in Fukuoka, on the southern island of Kyushu said four people suffered slight injuries. The national broadcaster NHK reported one man had died in neighboring Oita prefecture, but details were not immediately available.
The other man, a 93-year-old, was likely swept away by flooding, police said. His body was found Wednesday washed up in Asakita in Hiroshima prefecture, which is on the main island of Honshu.
One man managed a narrow escape when a landslide crushed his home on a steep mountain slope, NHK reported.Television footage showed rice fields and homes flooded after a river swollen by the rains overflowed its banks, dragging vehicles into the riverbed and destroying dozens of buildings as well as roads and bridges.
Soldiers could be seen gingerly walking through flood waters, carrying an elderly man to safety, and evacuating families using inflatable boats.Rivers also flooded in nearby Oita, Ryutaro Fukui, a crisis management official in the city of Hita, told public broadcaster NHK.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency said Fukuoka and Oita were experiencing unprecedented amounts of rain.Tens of thousands of people were instructed to evacuate though only a fraction of those advised to leave actually did, according to the Fukuoda disaster management agency’s website.It said 1,800 people had sought refuge in schools and other public facilities in Fukuoka as of early Thursday.
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/world/floods-in-southern-japan-force-hundreds-to-flee-2-dead/article9750931.ece

2017 rice numbers down 20 percent

“Today’s report on the surface is better than we expected — area is down from last year, which we knew, and the numbers are only two percent less than the March Prospective Plantings. But this is not the whole or most important story,” Keith Glover of Producers Rice Mill and chair of the USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee, said. “We need to focus on the estimate of harvested rice area in Arkansas this year. Normally, the spread between planted and harvested area for the state is 5,000 to 6,000 acres. For 2017, the gap is 60,000 acres. This reflects the negative impact of this spring’s flooding, and the harvested number is a more accurate measure of the crop in Arkansas right now.”
In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first survey-based estimate of grain acreage for the 2017 crop, all rice planted acres is set at 2.56 million, 19 percent less than the 2016 figure, and two percent less than reported in the March Prospective Plantings.“Today’s report on the surface is better than we expected — area is down from last year, which we knew, and the numbers are only two percent less than the March Prospective Plantings. But this is not the whole or most important story,” Keith Glover of Producers Rice Mill and chair of the USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee, said. “We need to focus on the estimate of harvested rice area in Arkansas this year. Normally, the spread between planted and harvested area for the state is 5,000 to 6,000 acres. For 2017, the gap is 60,000 acres. This reflects the negative impact of this spring’s flooding, and the harvested number is a more accurate measure of the crop in Arkansas right now.”
The estimate for harvested area in Arkansas is down 27 percent from the 2016 level.
Rice area in all states fell from what was reported in Prospective Plantings except for area in Texas. Area in California, the state with the second largest rice area, fell eight percent to 499,000 acres because of a wet spring.
This year’s planted rice area is the lowest since 2013, with the bulk of the reduction occurring in long grain area, which is expected to fall 23 percent to 1.88 million acres. Reduced Arkansas long grain area led the decline, and area dropped in each state. Medium grain area, at 637,000 acres, was off as well, but only by four percent because an increase in area in Arkansas offset a nearly 10-percent drop in California.
“Our producers and marketers are facing a tough beginning as we look towards the 2017/18 year. Prices are weak and overseas demand is not as strong we need, so we have our work cut out for us,” Glover said.USDA will use today’s area numbers in publishing the first 2017/2018 supply and demand estimate for U.S. rice in the World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate published on July 12
http://www.stuttgartdailyleader.com/news/20170705/2017-rice-numbers-down-20-percent

Asia Rice-Prices fall on weak demand, Bangladesh steps up imports



JULY 6, 2017 / 3:22 PM / A DAY AGO
HANOI/DHAKA, July 6 (Reuters) - Rice prices in the world's top three exporters of the staple fell this week on weak demand, traders said on Thursday.In Thailand, benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 was quoted at $420-$430 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, down from $432-$440 a tonne last week.
Weak overseas demand and a falling baht have led traders to quote lower prices to attract buyers, traders said."Prices have gone down because the baht has weakened," a trader in Bangkok said.The mass exodus of migrant workers since June 23 following the introduction of new labour regulations by the Thai military government has also hit the Thai rice industry with labour shortages.
"The shortage of workers at warehouses and at the docks has led to delay in the loading of shipment and this has hurt exporters' confidence in their ability to fulfil shipments," said another Bangkok-based rice trader.More than half of the labour force in the Thai rice industry are migrant workers from neighbouring Cambodia and about three quarters of this workforce have left the country, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.The Thai government has since delayed parts of the new labour law, but many migrant workers have yet to return."Thai exporters hesitate to take new order because of the labour shortage and many potential international buyers are thinking twice about buying Thai rice because of this uncertainty," Chookiat said.
The labour shortage could raise the cost of production of Thai off-season crop, he said, which is expected to arrive from around August to September.In Vietnam, the benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 dropped to $405-$410 a tonne this week, FOB Saigon, down from $410-$415 last week. There were also concerns over the quality and production of the grain in the harvest period."Farmers said the production and quality of rice this time was not as good as usual due to earlier rainfall," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding the exact impact had yet to be estimated.Vietnam's new harvest season has begun since late-June, traders said.Thailand and Vietnam are the world's second- and third-biggest rice exporters.
India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices RI-INBKN5-P1 eased by $2 per tonne to $419 to $422 on faltering demand from buyers in Africa."Demand from African countries was weak at higher levels. They are postponing purchases expecting price correction," said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh."Even demand from Bangladesh is weak. It is not buying as much as industry was anticipating."India raised the minimum purchase price of common grade paddy rice by 5.4 percent to 1,550 rupees ($24.03) per 100 kg for the year starting July 1.But Bangladesh said it was still stepping up imports due to depleted stocks and record local prices following flash floods.A Bangladeshi delegation is now in Thailand to finalise imports of rice in a government-to-government deal, officials said."We don't have any other option but to speed up imports," said a senior food ministry official. "This time we won't be able to achieve our local procurement target.
We are going for state-to-state deals even if it is costlier, as importing via tenders is a lengthy process."Bangladesh is buying 200,000 tonnes of Vietnamese white rice at $430 a tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470 a tonne in a state-to-state deal - at rates much higher than in the previous three tenders.It is also in talks with India, and private traders have started importing rice from the neighbour after the government cut import duties late last month.Meanwhile, Philippines' state grains buyer on Thursday also issued an international tender to buy 250,000 tonnes of 25 percent broken long grain white rice, rushing to boost thinning government stockpile.

Swathes of south China under water, heat strikes northstrikes north   

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Rescuers evacuate people during a flood in Xinshao county, Hunan province. REUTERS/Stringer
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Torrential rain lashed parts of central and south China on Monday, with floods damaging crops,forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes and killing at least 33, while the north wilted in a heat wave and drought-like conditions.Water levels in more than 60 rivers in southern China have risen above warning levels, the flood control authority said.
Thirty-three people are confirmed dead and 15 missing as of Monday morning after heavy rain and flooding engulfed provinces central and southern provinces including Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Sichuan and Guizhou, China's civil affairs ministry said.The annual rainy season, which arrived in the second half of June, has hit southern Hunan province the most. Weather forecasters predict the relentless downpours could start to ease in coming days.Xiangjiang, a major tributary of the Yangtze river, has exceeded its record flood level in the Hunan capital of Changsha.
Floods in the city have swamped houses, uprooted trees, damaged cars and submerged roads.Across Hunan, the flooding has forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate, damaged crops and destroyed houses, causing a total direct economic loss of 8.26 billion yuan ($1.22 billion), the provincial civil affairs office said.In Guangxi, 16 people have been confirmed dead and 10 are missing after a flood hit the southwestern region after a storm, the official Xinhua news agency cited authorities as saying.Southern provinces produce some of China's major crops.
Guangxi is China's top sugarcane-growing region, while Hunan is its third-largest hog-farming province. Rice is grown south of the Yangtze.China will take steps to ensure sugar reserves are safe during the rainy season, the Sugar Reserve Management Centre said.China Southern Power Grid reported an extensive blackout in Guangxi. Electricity to half of the affected area was restored by Monday morning.The state post bureau warned of courier delays in parts of the central, southern and southwestern provinces.
By contrast, stifling heat has settled over Beijing, Hebei, Henan and other northern provinces since last week, with temperatures forecast to reach 40 degrees Celsius in some areas on Monday, the meteorological bureau said.Cities in Shaanxi province issued alerts, saying temperatures could exceed 35C in coming three days.Many residents in the province have ordered food to be delivered rather than cook at home in the heat, a Shaanxi newspaper reported.In Beijing, many residents stayed indoors over the weekend due to the heat.
In the Inner Mongolia region, more than 200 firefighters are battling a grassland fire that has crossed over to northern China from Mongolia, Xinhua reported.The blaze has spread quickly in the heat, dry conditions and strong winds.The heat wave is expected to ease by mid-week.(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Lusha Zhang; Additional reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-flood-idUSKBN19O07X

Rice price exceeds 6,000 KPW and continues to rise

Seol Song Ah  |  2017-07-06 14:18
Rice prices have been steadily rising recently in North Korea and have exceeded 6,000 KPW per kilo, leaving many residents concerned. This time of year is usually when grain storage drops, and the situation has worsened due to declining trade with China. People were previously relieved by the fact that prices did not rise steeply following the implementation of sanctions against North Korea, but now they’ve finally caught up. 
According to a source in North Pyongan Province, rice (1 kg) is selling at 6,000 KPW (0.74 USD) in Chaeha market in Sinuiju (North Pyongan Province). Until only two weeks ago, the price was around 5,000 KPW, but has steadily risen since then.According to sources in other regions, rice prices have risen ubiquitously, and the grain is being traded at 5900 KPW in Hyesan Market, Ryanggang Province, 5800 KPW in Pyongyang, and 5700 KPW in Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province.
Sources have noted that the reductions in rice storage and China's active implementation of sanctions are likely the primary reasons behind the steep rise."The rice harvested last year is almost all gone, and the rice that was continuously imported from China is now blocked. Until earlier this month, rice was constantly brought in through smuggling, but this has also been cut," said a source in South Pyongan Province.
"The illegal methods of import and export, including the use of false packaging, has become almost impossible because the Chinese authorities have strengthened regulations. Without the approval of the Chinese government, we cannot even import wheat flour from China.”
Residents, who are sensing that the rise in prices is foretelling of future difficulties, are reducing spending. As a result of the reduced consumer sentiment, general market business has also declined."Residents with private plots can harvest potatoes to be consumed during the spring poverty period, but those who make a living through daily labor like transporting luggage with bikes are deeply concerned about food. Meanwhile, the executives and donju (newly-affluent middle class) are maintaining their standards of living regardless of the price rises," she added.

The fact that there does not seem to be a solution that will lead to price stabilization is causing a rise in general anxiety.
"People are expressing their concerns, saying, 'Even China has abandoned us,' and 'This year's farming is doomed because of the drought.' Unless the North Korean authorities cooperate with international society to put an end to sanctions in the near future, discontent toward the regime may reach boiling point sooner or later," the North Pyongan Province source said.
http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?num=14602&cataId=nk01500

NFA issues tender to import 250,000 tons of rice

ABS-CBN News
Jul 06 2017 01:28 PM
MANILA - The state grains buyer issued on Thursday an international tender to buy 250,000 tons of 25 percent broken long grain white rice, rushing to boost thinning government stockpile.Bids must be submitted on or before July 25, when the sealed offers will be opened, the National Food Authority (NFA) said.The Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice importers, usually buys from major suppliers Vietnam and Thailand.

However, this time the tender is also open to private suppliers from other countries including Pakistan and top supplier India.Manila has shifted away from buying rice under government-to government deals to ensure competitiveness and transparency following accusations that some NFA officials were making money from such deals, which the agency has denied.

State inventories have shrunk to the least in more than three years, just enough to cover five days of national requirement. But local retail prices remain largely stable, thanks to still abundant stocks held by the private sector.The NFA is mandated to maintain a 15-day buffer stock at any given time and a minimum of 30 days during the lean harvest season from July to September.The entire 250,000-tonne shipment should arrive between August and September, the agency said.

NFA to spend P5.63 billion for 250,000 MT of imported rice

THE National Food Authority (NFA) is spending P5.638 billion to import 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice to prop up its dwindling buffer stock during the lean months, when rice harvest goes down significantly.
On July 6 the NFA published the terms of reference (TOR) for the purchase and supply of maximum 250,000 MT of 25-percent brokens well-milled long grain white rice of omnibus origin under a government-to-private (G2P) procurement scheme.
“The Approved Budget of the Contract [ABC] is estimated at P5.63 billion for the 250,000 MT. Bases of the computation were the prevailing FOB price, expense rates of freight, insurance and other incidental/dispersal costs and foreign-exchange rate at $1=P50,” the TOR read.
Under the TOR, the NFA said prospective bidders will bid for the imported volume on a lot basis.
“Prospective bidders may bid for any of the lots, provided that the bid must be the minimum/maximum of the imported rice allocated per lot but the maximum quantity to be awarded per supplier must not be higher than 50,000 MT,” it read.
“The opening of the bids and award of the contract to the bidder with the lowest calculated responsive bid shall be on a per lot basis. Rice must be shipped in break bulk,” it added.
The NFA said it will hold a prebid conference on July 13 and that the proper bidding is scheduled on July 25.
The government’s purchase of rice through the G2P scheme is covered by Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which provides that the lowest bidder would be named as supplier.
The NFA has broken down the 250,000 MT into eight lots with corresponding funding allocation, volume quantity and designate port of discharge.
The NFA said the ABC per lot would be the ceiling for the acceptable bid, thus, any bid higher than the allotted ABC per lot will not be accepted.
Two lots have allocations of 50,000 MT while the remaining six were allotted 25,000 MT. Each 50,000-MT lot has an ABC of P1.127 billion, while each 25,000-MT lot has a maximum bid cost of P563.85 million.
The NFA also divided the delivery of the 250,000 MT into two periods: August and September. The NFA said 120,000 MT of rice should arrive within August, while the remaining 130,000 MT should arrive by September.
“Early shipment shall be allowed, provided arrival dates of all vessels are within the required arrival period of the disports,” the NFA said.
“However, the buyer [NFA] may reschedule arrival period as it may deem necessary without additional cost to the buyer in accordance with the provisions of this terms of reference, provided that the other party is duly notified thereof,” the TOR read.
The NFA has desginated eight designated ports with corresponding quantity: San Fernando, La Union (20,000 MT); Batangas City (30,000 MT);  Tabaco City (25,000 MT); Cebu City (25,000 MT); Cagayan de Oro City (25,000 MT); Davao City (25,000 MT); General Santos City (10,000 MT); and Manila (100,000 MT).
NFA Spokesman Marietta Ablaza said the food agency is confident that winning suppliers for the 250,000 MT of rice will comply within the scheduled date of arrival.
“If they will not follow the provision they will be penalized. I think they will do everything to follow the arrival schedule because these are businessmen, they don’t want to be fined,” Ablaza told reporters in an interview on Thursday.
She said the arrival of rice imports per lot will vary as it will depend on the winning supplier.
“The nearest would be Vietnam while the farthest would be India. It doesn’t matter who wins the bidding but what is important is that it enters the country during the prescribed arrival period,” Ablaza said.
She added that the NFA Council decided to schedule the import arrivals before the end of September so as not to affect the price of palay when the harvest season begins in October. The lean season for palay in the Philippines is from July to September.
Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) senior research fellow Roehlano Briones said the importation will not affect the price of palay as the expected volume will just beef up the NFA’s inventory.
However, Briones noted that prices could move due to speculation.
“The importation will not affect the market unless there is perception that the NFA has a lot of stock and they do not want to unload it,” he told the BusinessMirror.
Briones said the move of the NFA to shift to a G2P scheme would give the government elbow room to get a better deal.
“Of course, this is good because you are not in a hurry, there’s no immediate need or emergency. It’s better because it’s more transparent than G2G [government to government] and you would know more the better price,” he said.
Briones also said the price of rice in the world market will not go up, as the volume being imported by the Philippiunes is “too small”. 
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/nfa-to-spend-p5-63-billion-for-250000-mt-of-imported-rice/

Thai rice exports may miss target due to new foreign workers law

in Breaking NewsBusinessEditor's Choice | July 05, 2017
By Thai PBS

Thai rice exports for the second half of the year may miss the target due to acute shortage of labour at the seaports as a direct result of the new foreign workers law, Chukiat Opaswong, honorary president of Rice Exporters Association, said on Wednesday (July 5).
“Rice exports which were doing well were, out of a sudden, hit with labour shortage, causing delay in delivery,” said Mr Chukiat.

Claiming that the number of stevedores at the seaports went missing between 30-40% due to the new foreign workers law, he said it normally took 7-10 days for rice to be loaded on a freighter, but now it took about a month by average due to few stevedores.He said rice exporters were committed to ship 900,000 tonnes of rice abroad each month in order to meet the 10 million tonnes export target for this year.  Due to the delay in delivery, he estimated that at most 700,000-800,000 tonnes would have been exported each month.

On top of that, Mr Chukiat noted that the strong baht and the volatility of the baht currency also impacted on rice exports for the second half of the year in a way that it would make Thai rice less competitive compared to rice from its competitors such as Vietnam.For every one baht increase due to the strengthening of the currency, the export price of Thai rice will increase US$8-9 per tonne.

However, he was optimistic that export price of Thai rice would not drop below US$300 per tonne and was expected to hover between US$400-420 per tonne.To ease the impacts caused by the law to business operators, the government invoked Section 44 to put on hold the enforcement of the law by six months to allow employers and migrant workers to apply for proper registration

Winter-spring crop yields over 19 million tonnes of rice

VNA THURSDAY, JULY 06, 2017 - 16:24:00 PRINT
Vietnamese farmers harvest rice (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s rice output during the winter-spring crop was estimated at 19.1 million tonnes, a year-on-year decrease of 1.5 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Northern localities cultivated rice in an area of more than 1.1 million hectares during the crop, down 1 percent from the same time last year. Rice farming land was reduced 10,600 hectares in red river delta region due to land accumulation and change in purpose of land use.

Rice output in the northern region was estimated at 7.11 million tonnes, declining 2 percent year-on-year. The productivity fall was spurred by widespread diseases, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, total rice farming land for this crop in the southern region was 1.93 million hectares. The region produced nearly 12 million tonnes during the winter-spring crop, dwindling 149,700 tonnes against last year crop. Saline intrusion, diseases and unseasonal rain affected the rice productivity.

Farmers across the country have planted 2.07 million hectares of the summer-autumn crop. The cultivation is blessed by favourable weather conditions.

Some localities in the Mekong Delta region are getting in the harvest of the early summer-autumn crop with 463,700 hectares, accounting for 25 percent of the total farming land. Rice yield is forecast at 604 kilogrammes per hectare.-VNA

Development orientation for rice exports
Wednesday, 2017-07-05 11:28:54
Loading and unloading rice for exports at Saigon port in Ho Chi Minh City
NDO – In the first six months of 2017, Vietnam exported around 2.8 million tonnes of rice, earning US$1.2 billion, an annual increase of 6.3% in volume and 4.9% in value.
In order to maintain this growth in the last six months of the year, observation of market orientations is very important for exporters.
The rice exports output and turnover in the first half of the year showed a sharp growth when compared to the same period last year. However, looking back at the first months, it is very easy to realise the precariousness of the rice export market. In the first four months, the country exported only 1.86 million tonnes, worth US$834 million, up 7.7% in volume and 6.9% in value over the same period in 2016. The cause for this situation was the decrease of imported rice in many of Vietnam’s traditional markets such as Ghana, Malaysia and the Philippines. Notably, the country’s rice export prices have been low in the first months, resulting in the decline of turnover through exports. In June, global rice prices inched up, while Vietnamese rice prices were still lower than several exporters, leading to more importers buying Vietnamese rice. It can be seen that the growth during this period was mainly based on the exported output. According to the statistics of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), in April the country’s average rice export price decreased by nearly US$20 per tonne and US$11.83 per tonne compared to the same period last year.
In early May, the price of Vietnam’s 5% broken white rice was offered at only US$350 - US$354 per tonne, while rice prices in Thailand and India were at US$390 and US$388 per tonne, respectively. It was not until June that the prices of Vietnam’s exported rice increased, at US$390 per tonne of 5% broken white rice, the highest price since December 2014.
Many rice export enterprises said that despite lower selling prices, the high rice export volume helped the industry gain high growth. However, this fact demonstrates Vietnam’s slow reaction to changes in the rice export market. At this time, the rice stockpile in Thailand has basically been settled, while Bangladesh needs to import a large volume of rice to offset the damaged rice due to floods, therefore, it is possible that the market will be vibrant. However, due to not grasping the market situation in a timely fashion, Vietnamese managers could not adjust the price of exported rice in time, causing losses for exporters. Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh from the Economics University under the Hanoi National University emphasised that in fact, Vietnamese rice exporters are encountering heavier competitive pressure because of the increase of the number of exporting countries and the decrease of importing countries. In order to improve the rice export turnover, Vietnam needs to focus on the export price – one of the long-standing weaknesses of the country’s rice industry.
Maintaining momentum for growth
According to international rice experts, the price of rice in the world market will increase by around US$20 per tonne, in the coming months, thanks to a higher demand. The VFA also reported that since May 2017, the demand for concentrated rice export contracts has increased with rice export volumes possibly reaching 880,00 tonnes, including around 770,000 tonnnes which are expected to be delivered by August. The rice export market is recovering sharply after the slowdown earlier this year, making many domestic enterprises actively stockpile rice and wait for a higher price. In addition, the higher price of rice exports has helped increase the prices of various kinds of high quality rice in the Mekong River Delta. Compared to early May, the prices of long grain dried rice, raw rice and 5% broken white rice, saw increases of VND250, VND550 and VND550 per kilogramme, respectively.
According to VFA’s President Huynh The Nang, in order to maintain or increase this price level, in addition to reacting quickly to fluctuations in the world rice market, relevant agencies should thoroughly grasp the situation of rice production in the country in order to manage the procurement and exports in favour of both farmers and enterprises. However, farmers are still worried. Farmer Pham Minh Duoc from Thanh Loi commune, Vinh Thanh disctrict, Can Tho city, said that the price of rice has increased in recent times because enterprises needed to buy urgently to ensure new export shipments. As soon as they can take the initiative in market and export volume, it is very likely that the price of rice will level off and even rapidly decrease. This is also the worry of many farmers who need the attention of enterprises and policy makers.
Regarding the export market, rice expert Nguyen Dinh Bich noted that in the first six months of this year, China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese rice with 46.5% of the market share. It can be seen that this is a market with a lot of potential but also contains numerous risks, particularly after the country announced the list of Vietnamese enterprises which were allowed to export rice, as well as setting strict requirements on food hygiene and traceability. Therefore, the diversification of the market must be always the best ‘direction’ for Vietnam’s rice exports. In addition, it is essential to seek more commercial contracts as well as enhance the exports of high quality and high price rice instead of low-grade and low price rice.
Vietnam is expected to export over five million tonnes of rice in 2017. With the positive signs in the rice export market in recent months, along with the expected price increase in the coming months, the country’s rice export industry can reach the set target. However, the last months will witness rapid changes in the export growth of many industries. Relevant agencies and enteprises should closely grasp the situation within the rice market, as well as the strategies and policies of rice exporters and importers around the world, in order to set out reasonable and timely orientations for Vietnam’s rice exports in the second half of the year.
http://en.nhandan.org.vn/business/item/5323502-development-orientation-for-rice-exports.html


Kharif sowing in 11.63L ha so far

Thursday, 06 July 2017 | Staff Reporter | Naya Raipur | in Raipur
Chhattisgarh has set a sowing target of 45 lakh hectares during the ongoing Kharif season.Sowing had already been completed in 11.63 lakh hectares, officials informed in a meeting chaired by Additional Chief Secretary
and Agriculture Production Commissioner Ajay Singh here.Paddy will be sown in 37.50 lakh hectares and maize will be sown in 2.25 lakh hectares.Similarly, Tuar will be sown in 1.05 lakh hectares while soyabean  will be sown in 1.4 lakh hectares.
Besides, pulses and oil seeds, area under cultivation has been fixed for vegetables.
Officials informed that plan has been made for distribution of 48 lakh quintal standards seeds in the State. Out of which, 6.72 lakh quintal seeds of paddy will be distributed. 
Similarly, 6,735 quintal maize, 6425 quintal Tuar, 48,100 quintal Soyabean seeds will be distributed and the same have been stored.
Under the Saur Sujala Yojana that was launched last year in November the State Government is also targetting to install around 11,300 solar powered irrigation pumps in the first phase out of which 8,741 have already been distributed to farmers, officials informed.
During the second and third phase of the scheme installation of around 20,000 solar pumps in each phase has been targetted  , they informed.
CREDA will also develop an elaborate water distribution network for its solar community irrigation projects in 29 locations of the State, officials informed.
The key districts where the solar community irrigation projects had been focussed are— Gariaband, Dhamtari, Kabirdham, Mahasamund, Raigarh, Janjgir-Champa, Jashpur and Sukma.
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has fixed thermal power generation target of 1619 million units (MU) in May 2017 for the power plants owned by Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company Ltd (CSPGCL), according to the latest CEA data.
The CSPGCL generates power from its DSPM TPS, Korba II, Korba III, Korba West TPS, Marwa TPS.
CEA had fixed monthly power generation target of 1590 Million Units (MU) for April 2017 for five power stations of CSPGCL.
Chhattisgarh will procure additional power from renewable energy sources to the tune of approximately 700 MW by FY 2018, officials informed.
With this the average power purchase cost for Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd (CSPDCL) based on the above power availability will increase from 2.58 Rs/kWh in FY 2015-16 to 3.12 Rs/kWh in FY 2018, they informed.
The rates have been derived based on cost of power at existing rates and considering  no escalation in power purchase cost since it is passing through for the distribution company.
The State-owned Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd (CSPDCL) in January last year had also announced that it will be purchasing 50 MW of electricity from bio-mass power producers in the State.
The company would sign a 20-year agreement with
the power producers, officials stated.
Chhattisgarh is among the leading States for implementing bio-mass powerprojects such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, according to Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Chhattisgarh had biomass projects generating a total of 249 MW of poweras on March 31, 2015.
The Chhattisgarh Government has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NABARD with the latter agreeing to provide loan worth nearly Rs 715 crore for completion of three incomplete major irrigation schemes under Prime Minister Agriculture Irrigation Scheme.
These schemes include— Kelo Major Irrigation Project, Kharang Canal Lining Project and Maniyari Canal Lining, which are to be completed by year 2019 to meet the target.
The completion of these projects will expand irrigation facility in 47,685 hectares, officials informed.
Officials of Water Resources Department informed on the occasion that Central Government has included 99 important schemes in Prime Minister Agriculture Irrigation Scheme, which includes three big projects of Chhattisgarh.
All these three projects are on the verge of completion. 99% of the works under these projects has been completed, remaining construction works will also be completed soon.
Chhattisgarh is also among 13 States which had been mentioned in the Economic Survey report 2015-16 as a success story on use of drip irrigation by farmers on their lands.
The results from an impact evaluation of National Mission on Micro Irrigation of the Union Ministry of Agriculture conducted in 64 districts of 13 states mainly — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – are revealing on the benefits of drip irrigation, according to the survey report.
The Chhattisgarh Government decided to follow the Gujarat model of ‘Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation’ practices in the State in 2015-16.
It is worth mentioning here that many villages in Gujarat have adopted 100 per cent Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation systems to water crops.
In June 2009, more than 93,000 farmers in Gujarat have adopted Drip Irrigation for their total 1.51 lakh hectare land.
Drip Irrigation system and inter-linking of 21 rivers of Gujarat for conservation of water has made it possible for record Sugarcane cultivation in that State.
https://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions//kharif-sowing-in-1163l-ha-so-far.html

Delayed rains slow down sowing in Vid

Ramu Bhagwat| TNN | Jul 6, 2017, 02.07 AM IST
Nagpur: The late arrival of monsoon and its subsequent slow pace has slowed down sowing operations for kharif crop season in Vidarbha. The six districts of Nagpur division were affected more by the delayed rains and by June-end less than 10% of the sowing could be done. In western Vidarbha's Amravati division situation was relatively better with sowing completed in 48% of the estimated area under cultivation.

Most of Vidarbha is reeling under deficient or rains that are not scattered uniformly leaving farming operations in a disarray, said official sources. With good showers received in last week of June, sowing was indeed taken up with enthusiasm but the immediate dry period later dampened farmers' sentiments who put operations on hold awaiting regular rains, said a senior officer of agriculture department here.

Of the 19.10 lakh hectares estimated area for cultivation in Nagpur division, sowing could be done only in 1.70 lakh hectares. In Amravati division, the average cultivation area is 32.75 lakh hectares, of which sowing has been completed in 15.63 lakh hectares till June 29 .

Rains have been scanty in eastern Vidarbha where paddy is the main crop grown on 7.35 lakh hectares and this crop needs heavy rains to progress. So paddy farming has been majorly hit with nurseries ready in barely 3,500 hectares.
The irregular rains have also lead to uncertainly among farmers and no clear pattern of any shift in crops was discernible. Among the two major crops, farmers juggle between cotton and soyabean looking at the quantum of rains and their arrival.
By June end in Nagpur division cotton was sowed in 1.22 lakh hectares of the 3.95 lakh ha it is normally taken up in. Soya sowing is completed only in around 25,000ha. Indicating that the farmers could be more inclined towards cotton this time. Tur sowing was done in 22,000ha of the expected 1.89 lakh ha, said officials.
In Amravati division cotton has been sowed already in 5.25 lakh ha of the expected area of 10.87 lakh ha. Soya sowing has been completed in 5.57 lakh ha of the average area of 12.9 lakh ha for this crop. Tur a major crop in Amravati division could see a setback this time due to poor prices it got last season. Till now it has been sowed in 2.17 lakh ha of the normal 4.6 lakh ha it covers.

Nagpur among 12 winners of environment contest
TNN | Jul 6, 2017, 02.05 AM IST
Nagpur: In some good news for the city, Nagpur has been declared as one of the 12 winners of the '47 cities Sheher Green Karo' contest that was organized by the Earth Day Network India.

To commemorate the 47th Earth Day on 22 April, 2017, the Earth Day Network had launched a nationwide contest with an aim of encouraging citizens to take the lead for a cleaner and greener India.While launching this contest, the network had selected 47 cities of the country where environment conservation work was being done. When Nagpur was selected, environment NGO Green Vigil Foundation decided to represent the city in the contest.

The NGO highlighted various environment conservation works done in the city. "We mentioned mainly three aspects of environmental issues — lake and river conservation, power saving campaign and action against illegal tree felling," said founder of Green Vigil Kaustav Chatterjee.
The NGO highlighted that Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) was one of the first civic bodies to set-up artificial tanks for immersion of idols during the festival of ganesh visarjan. "NMC and our organsiation take joint initiative every year to urge citizens to turn off their lights for one hour on Purnima Day. We also mentioned that Nagpurians were very serious about illegal tree felling and local media organizations and civic authorities take efforts to sensitize citizens on this issue," Chatterjee said.
The jury scrutinized the entries and declared Nagpur as one of the 12 green cities of 2017. Green Vigil Foundation was awarded for 'working in association with NMC for wide outreach to citizens on multiple environmental issues.'The other winning cities are — Amritsar, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nashik, Rajkot and Thiruvananthapuram.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/delayed-rains-slow-down-sowing-in-vid/articleshow/59463750.cms

Court to rule August 25 on rice-pledging case against Boonsong

July 06, 2017 01:00
By The Nation

THE VERDICT in a criminal case against former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, stemming from the previous government’s alleged rice-pledging scheme, will be delivered on August 25, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders has announced.

Boonsong and 27 others have been charged with malfeasance or condoning irregularity in the alleged bogus government-to-government deals to sell 6.2 million tonnes of rice, worth more than Bt20 billion, to China.Other defendants include former state officials and executives of private companies.
The case was brought to court by the Attorney General’s Office.The court yesterday scheduled a reading of its verdict in the case at 9am on August 25. It also instructed both the prosecution and the defence to submit their written closing statements by August 15.Boonsong, who came to the court yesterday, said he had explained everything he was supposed to explain and was confident that the court would heed his arguments.“I believe that justice will be served,” he said.Boonsong, his former deputy Poom Sarapol, and three former senior Commerce Ministry permanent officials have been held responsible for allegedly faking rice deals during the tenure of the Yingluck Shinawatra government. That government executed the country’s biggest ever rice-pledging scheme, which resulted in an estimated loss to the state of over Bt500 billion.
The Yingluck government implemented a massive rice-pledging scheme to buy an unlimited quantity of rice from farmers at Bt15,000 per tonne, compared to the then-prevailing market price of Bt7,000 to 8,000 per tonne.
Bogus rice deals were then used to show that the government was able to export a significant amount of rice to reduce its financial burden. It was later found, however, that the deals were in fact domestic rice transactions carried out by Siam Indica and other private firms.
A huge number of people, including many of her admirers, are expected to turn out to show their support for Yingluck on the last day of her trial. 
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions has scheduled two more hearings in the case – the first for tomorrow and the final hearing on July 21.
Yingluck, as head of the previous government, has been charged with negligence for the massive corruption involving her administration’s project. She could face a lengthy jail term if found guilty.She also faces an executive order for her to pay civil compensation of Bt35 billion for causing losses to the state as a result of her government’s policy.Army commander-in-chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart said on Tuesday that public order would be maintained by sending troops in addition to the police officers who are normally in charge of security at the court. 
“If they want to hold any activities or protest, they need to seek permission from the agencies concerned,” the Army chief said. “But if they just want to show up to give moral support, they should know how to behave to avoid any conflict,” he added.
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30320009
Paddy growers in a quandary

Paddy growers in a quandary

KHAMMAM,JULY 06, 2017 00:45 IST
UPDATED: JULY 06, 2017 00:47 IST
Farmers engaged in sowing operations at Dummugudem of Bhadradri Kothagudem district.   | Photo Credit: G_N_RAO

Seeds supplied by PACSs ‘fail’ to sprout
Paddy growers in several villages of Bonakal mandal have suffered a setback at the threshold of Kharif sowing after the paddy seeds of a particular variety supplied to them by the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACSs) allegedly failed to sprout during the pre-germination process.
This has spurred outcry from paddy farmers and various farmers’ organisations in the mandal.Farmers belonging to Tutikuntla, Brahmanapalli, Ravinuthala and a few other villages have purchased seeds of the BPT 5204 variety at subsidised rate from the PACSs concerned more than a week ago. When the farmers subjected the paddy seeds to pre-germination treatment, the seeds reportedly failed to sprout, leaving the paddy growers in a quandary.
Taken aback by the sudden impediment, some of the aggrieved farmers apprised the Agriculture Department officials of their precarious position seeking their urgent intervention to help them resume their pre-sowing operations.
Remedial measures
Local leaders of the farmers’ wings of the CPI and the CPI (M) have mounted pressure on the authorities to initiate immediate steps to supply quality seed to the aggrieved farmers as a “remedial measure” to mitigate their woes.
The authorities have made arrangements to ensure provision of paddy seeds of requisite quantity from other stocks to the aggrieved farmers or return the money to those who insist so, sources said.
Farmers in the mandal are bearing the brunt of the unabated sale of substandard seeds of paddy and maize, alleged CPI Bonakal mandal secretary Thota Ramanjaneyulu.
Around 25 kg of paddy seeds purchased by farmers of Tutikuntla, Govindapuram, Ravinuthala and Brahmanapalli villages from the local PACSs have failed to germinate, he charged pointing out that over 200 chilli farmers suffered huge losses due to the spurious chilli seed menace last year.
“The oft-repeated claims of the persons at the helm of affairs about transforming Telangana into the seed bowl of the country stands belied,” he alleged wondering how could the paddy seeds authorised by the State nodal agency concerned fail to “germinate.”
Samples of the paddy seeds of the BPT 5204 variety from the particular seed lot had been sent to the designated State laboratory for the physical purity analysis and other relevant tests, Joint Director of Agriculture, Khammam, Jhansi Lakshmi Kumari, told The Hindu.
Quality paddy seeds which meets the stipulated germination rate are being supplied to farmers at a subsidised price through the PACSs, said Kotilingam, District Manager, Telangana State Seeds Development Corporation.
He stressed the need for creating proper awareness among farmers on the scientific methods of pre-germination treatment and seed bed preparation

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- JUL 06, 2017

7 MIN READ
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-July 6
 
Nagpur, July 6 (Reuters) – Gram and Tuar prices firmed up again in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
and Marketing Committee (APMC) auction on increased demand from local millers amid weak arrival
from producing region. Fresh hike in Madhya Pradesh pulses and reported demand from South-based
millers also helped to push up prices. 
About 100 of gram and 200 bags of tuar were available for auctions, according to sources. 
 
    FOODGRAINS & PULSES
     
   GRAM
   * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.
   
   TUAR
      
   * Tuar varieties quoted static here on subdued demand from local traders amid ample 
     stock in ready position.
 
   * Major wheat varieties reported higher in open market on renewed buying support from 
     local traders amid thin supply from producing regions. 
                                               
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 3,900-4,100, Tuar dal (clean) – 5,700-5,800, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 8,200-9,200, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,800-7,200, Gram – 5,600-5,800, Gram Super best 
    – 7,800-8,500
 
   * Rice and other commodities moved in a narrow range in 
     scattered deals and settled at last levels in thin trading activity. 
       
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
    
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close   
     Gram Auction                  4,400-5,080         4,400-5,000
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                3,450-3,800         3,450-3,730
     Moong Auction                n.a.                3,900-4,200
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Wheat Mill quality Auction        1,550-1,650        1,550-1,645
     Gram Super Best Bold            7,500-8,000        7,500-8,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            6,600-7,000        6,600-7,000
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            5,100-5,200        5,100-5,200
     Desi gram Raw                5,400-5,500         5,400-5,500
     Gram Yellow                 7,100-8,100        7,100-8,100
     Gram Kabuli                12,300-13,400        12,300-13,400
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        5,400-5,600        5,400-5,600
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        5,200-5,400        5,200-5,400
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Tuar Gavarani New             3,500-3,700        3,500-3,700
     Tuar Karnataka             3,900-4,100        3,900-4,100
     Masoor dal best            5,000-5,200        5,000-5,200
     Masoor dal medium            4,600-4,900        4,700-4,900
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        7,000-7,500         7,000-7,500
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,300-6,600        6,300-6,600
     Moong dal Chilka            5,200-6,000        5,200-6,000
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            6,600-7,600        6,600-7,600
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 8,000-9,000       8,000-9,000 
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    7,000-7,500        7,000-7,500    
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        4,900-5,200        4,900-5,200     
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,100-5,500        5,100-5,500
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          2,950-3,150         2,950-3,150
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            2,900-3,000        2,900-3,000
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)           3,500-3,700           3,500-3,700
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    4,100-4,600        4,100-4,600   
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,950-2,050        1,950-2,050
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,750-1,850        1,700-1,800   
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,150-2,350           2,100-2,300         
     Wheat Lokwan new (100 INR/KG)    1,900-2,100        1,800-2,000
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,400        2,100-2,300    
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   1,900-2,100        1,800-2,000
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,000-3,600        3,100-3,500    
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,700        2,200-2,600           
     Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG)        2,800-3,200        2,800-3,200
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,500-4,000        3,500-4,000    
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,200        3,000-3,200    
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,500-2,800        2,500-2,800
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)       2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400   
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,600-2,800        2,600-2,800   
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,500        2,400-2,500   
     Rice HMT New (100 INR/KG)        3,600-4,000        3,600-4,000
     Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG)           4,500-5,000        4,500-5,000    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        4,100-4,300        4,100-4,300    
     Rice Shriram New(100 INR/KG)           4,800-5,200        4,800-5,200
     Rice Shriram best 100 INR/KG)    6,500-6,800        6,500-6,800 
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    5,800-6,200        5,800-6,200   
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    10,000-14,000        10,000-14,000     
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    6,000-8,000        6,000-8,000    
     Rice Chinnor New(100 INR/KG)        4,600-4,800        4,600-4,800
     Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG)    5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000    
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    5,400-5,600        5,400-5,600   
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,200        1,900-2,200    
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,800-1,900        1,800-1,900
 
WEATHER (NAGPUR)  
Maximum temp. 32.2 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 24.8 degree Celsius 
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Generally cloudy sky with One or two spells of rains or thunder-showers likely. 
Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 31 and 24 degree Celsius respectively.
 
Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but
included in market prices)
Sri Lanka rice call enters phase II with four countries shortlisted
July 07, 2017 (LBO) –  Sri Lanka has decided to take a closer look at four international rice suppliers to meet its market needs, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement. “A team of technical officials including officials and food technologists from Sri Lanka are to visit these countries and test rice samples,” Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen was quoted as saying. “We have decided to test rice samples of Indonesia, Myanmar and Pakistan.
” A team of technical officials including officials and food technologists from Sri Lanka are to visit these countries and test rice samples after which the final supplier will be decided from Colombo. The island is looking to bring 100,000 MT par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba from the chosen supplier. This will be Government to Government procurement –a speedy way to get rice for our domestic market, the statement added. The minister also said that talks are ongoing regarding importing another 100,000 MT rice, from India.
India’s largest selling rice brand is now a zero-tax product

India Gate rice is exempt from paying the 5% GST rate on branded rice because KRBL Ltd did not get the brand name registered under Trade Marks Act 1999
Sounak Mitra
 India Gate rivals Daawat and Kohinoor have been critical of the country’s largest rice brand not paying the 5% GST rate applicable on branded rice.New Delhi: India Gate, the country’s largest selling rice brand, is exempt from paying goods and services tax (GST) because the company did not get the brand name registered under the Trade Marks Act 1999.
“This is to further clarify, declare and certify that ‘India Gate, Indian Farm, Lotus and Unity’ brands are owned by KRBL Ltd but since they are not registered in Class 30 under ‘Trade Marks Act, 1999’ hence ‘NIL’ GST rate is applicable on it,” KRBL Ltd, which sells India Gate packaged rice, said in an internal communication dated 3 July. Branded rice was either exempt from tax or carried a 5% value-added tax, depending on the state where it was sold, before GST was implemented. Following the implementation of the indirect tax on 1 July, such products have become dearer in many states. KRBL’s largest competitors, including the Indian unit of McCormick and Co., which sells Kohinoor packaged rice in India, have to pay GST, making their products more expensive.
KRBL’s rivals have been critical of the country’s largest rice brand not paying the 5% GST that is applicable on branded staples. They have also raised doubts about whether the definition of “registered brand name” has been interpreted correctly by the company to claim the GST exempt status. A KRBL spokesman said the company is following government norms. A spokesperson for McCormick in India declined comment. LT Foods Ltd, seller of the Daawat brand of rice, also declined comment. The finance ministry on 5 July clarified that “registered brand name” is a brand name or a trade name “which is registered under the Trade Marks Act, 1999” and should be on “the Register of Trade Marks and remain in force”.
That KRBL does not have the brand registered wasn’t for lack of trying. The company has applied for trademark registration of the India Gate brand of rice and other staples multiple times since 1999 before the Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks, according to the Intellectual Property India website. Its applications were either objected to, opposed or refused. Vikram Roller Flour Mills Ltd was the last to hold the trade mark registration of India Gate brand. The registration was valid till November 2013, according to the website. It couldn’t be immediately ascertained whether it still owns the brand. Calls to the company’s landline weren’t answered. Vikram Roller still sells wheat flour under the India Gate brand.
According to a 2 July statement by the finance ministry, GST on staples such as rice, wheat and cereals is zero. Abhishek Rastogi, a partner at law firm Khaitan & Co., said it is possible for a company to sell the product under a brand name and still claim zero GST. “If the name is not registered under the Trade Marks Act 1999 and not listed with the Trade Marks Registry, the brand will not attract 5% GST,” Rastogi said.
 That seems to be KRBL’s understanding as well. Interestingly, on 30 June, KRBL filed an application with the registrar of Trade Marks seeking cancellation of the name KRBL Ltd from the Trade Marks Registry. In its application, it said that the company was “not using the trademark KRBL Limited in relation to rice”. The company registered the trademark of KRBL Ltd on 24 July 2000 and this is valid till 24 July 2020. Shares of KRBL have gained 3.81% on the BSE since the GST was implemented on 1 July.
The exchange’s benchmark Sensex rose 1.45% in the same period. KRBL claims that its flagship India Gate brand dominates the branded rice market in India with a 29.5% share in terms of value, according to a company presentation to investors in December 2016. The company reported net profit of Rs399 crore on revenue of Rs3,159 crore in the year ended 31 March. About 48% of the company’s revenue comes from India and the rest from exports. West Asian countries account for about 44% of KRBL’s revenue.

Basmati brands seek parity in GST
CHANDIGARH: Seeking all rice brands to be brought under the 5 per cent GST, the registered basmati brands are terming the levy as discriminatory in the current version. The companies claim that distributors and retailers will prefer unregistered brands to evade GST.  The opposition to GST is also sparked as top basmati brands like Dawaat and India Gate fall in exempted list while several small players have come under the ambit of the tax. Under GST rice brands that are registered under Mark Act 1999 have come under 5 per cent GST while unregistered brands have been extended exemption.  In a letter to the union finance minister Arun Jaitely, owners of Amritsar based leading rice brand 'Lal Qila' of Amar Singh Chawal Wala has said that the tax is contrary to 'One Nation One tax'. "It would promote registered companies to float unregistered companies to evade tax," Arvinder Pal Singh, director, Amar Singh Chawal Wala told ET. He maintained that no trader in India is r ..
NFA opens bidding for supply of 250,000 MT
The National Food Authority is finally pushing through with the procurement of 250,000 metric tons of milled rice, this time opening the process to anyone interested—from here or abroad—instead of the usual foreign suppliers. The decision comes after months of uncertainty amid disagreements within the NFA Council, the agency’s governing body, on when, from where and through whom to source the buffer stock for domestic emergency—whether man-made or natural.
 In a notice to prospective suppliers, the NFA invited “all interested bidders, whether foreign or local,” as long as they complied with conditions of eligibility as spelled out in the implementing rules of the Government Procurement Reform Act or Republic Act No. 9184. The agency has earmarked about P5.64 billion for the entire package, which would be divided into at least five lots with maximum volume of 50,000 tons each. In previous years, NFA auctions for rice were done through a government-to-government importation regime —to which state-run suppliers from Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia were invited to participate.
Last month, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, who chairs the NFA’s governing body, said the NFA would continue to import milled rice, but only from private-sector suppliers, amid efforts to check opportunities for corruption in grains procurement.
http://business.inquirer.net/232653/nfa-opens-bidding-supply-250000-mt-rice#ixzz4m7tXxxZR




Hundreds Show Support for Former Thai PM as Rice Scheme Trial Nears an End
Ousted former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court for a trial on criminal negligence, which looks into her role in a debt-ridden rice subsidy scheme during her administration, in Bangkok, Thailand July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom REUTERS
 By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Aukkarapon Niyomyat
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrived at a Bangkok court to shouts of encouragement from her supporters on Friday, two weeks before the final stages of a case about her involvement in a ruinously expensive state rice subsidy scheme.
Yingluck, whose government was ousted in a 2014 military coup, faces up to 10 years in prison if she is found guilty of negligence over her role in the scheme, which proved popular with rural voters but was a disaster for state coffers.
The former prime minister and opposition say the trial is politically motivated and is aimed at undermining the populist movement that has won every election since 2001. The movement is opposed by Thailand's powerful military and conservative elite.
Around 500 supporters showed up outside the court on Friday, police said, the largest turnout in many months. One wrote "Love the prime minister" on his hand, while others shouted: "fight, fight". Yingluck has denied the charges against her.

The military has said it will deploy troops to maintain security on July 21, when a final hearing in the case is expected.
Yingluck's critics see the rice case as a litmus test of the junta's sincerity in tackling corruption in politics, one of its promises after it seized power in 2014.
Closing statements in the case will be delivered within 30 days of the final hearing, court officials said.
"I'm confident in the witnesses we've presented," Yingluck told crowds outside the court.
"The encouragement I've been given is still good ... this is a strong characteristic of the Thai people," she said.
STREET PROTESTS
Successive Thai governments have supported farmers since the 1980s, but none of the schemes has proved as popular with rural voters as the rice programs pioneered by Yingluck's brother, ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Yingluck's government went a step further, promising to buy rice from farmers at some 50 percent above the market price.
The scheme helped her to sail to victory in a 2011 general election, making her the country's first female prime minister.
However, public losses from the scheme fueled street protests against Yingluck that eventually saw her removed from power just weeks before the 2014 coup.
The scheme also saw Thailand lose its crown as the world's top rice exporter as other countries, notably Vietnam and India, filled the void when Thailand held back rice stocks it had bought from farmers.
The military government has managed to sell off most of about 18 million tonnes of rice accumulated during the rice scheme, some of it for industrial purposes, according to the commerce ministry.
Yingluck said on Friday she was not sure when she would deliver her closing statement.
(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Paul Tait)
https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-07-07/hundreds-show-support-for-former-thai-pm-as-rice-scheme-trial-nears-an-end
Vietnam to promote high-quality rice
6 Jul 2017 at 20:44 5,522 viewed0 comments
WRITER: REUTERS
A man gets a sample for quality checking at a rice-processing factory in Vietnam's southern Mekong delta on Thursday. (Reuters photo)
HANOI - Vietnam has outlined plans to boost revenues from rice exports over the next decade by focusing on a higher quality product and selling more outside Asia.
The world's third-biggest rice producer wants to boost production of higher-quality 5% and 10% broken rice and decrease output of 15% broken rice, according to a paper published on the government's website.By doing so it aims to increase its rice exports to US$2.3 billion-$2.5 billion annually between 2021 and 2030, from an expected $2.2billion to $2.3 billion a year over 2017-20.
Vietnam is facing rising competition from rice exporters Thailand and India. Under its long-term plan, Hanoi expects the volume of its exports will actually fall from 2021, to around 4 million tonnes annually -- from 4.5 million to 5 million tonnes a year until 2020 -- as it sells less lower-grade rice.
By 2030, it aims to sell 50% of its rice exports in Asian countries, down from 60% in 2020. Africa will account for 25% of its exports by then, up from 22%, with the Americas accounting for 10%, up from 8%, and sales to Europe increasing to 6% from 5%.
Vietnam aims to keep China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia as the main buyers in Asia while increasing exports to South Korea and Japan.The bulk of Vietnam's current exports are 5% broken rice but Hanoi wants to increase the proportion further, although it did not give details.Last year, the country's total rice exports fell by 27% to 4.8 million tonnes as it faced rising competition from Asian rivals, as well as policy changes in China and a fall in domestic production due to drought and high water salinity.Exports rebounded 14% in the first half of this year to an estimated 2.96 million tonnes.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/1282210/vietnam-to-promote-high-quality-rice

Kalasin rice model plans gain support

6 Jul 2017 at 07:27
NEWSPAPER SECTION: NEWS | WRITER: WASSANA NANUAM
Kalasin has been targeted in a state plan to turn it into muang khao, or the province of rice, a new special economic zone aimed to boost rice production and help improve farm revenues.The proposal, which intends to make the northeastern province a model for better rice farming and marketing, has gained support from a steering committee on agriculture, national resource and security reform, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.
"The committee agrees to have Kalasin officials conduct a feasibility study for the muang khao special economic zone," defence spokesman Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said after the committee met yesterday.
The idea is to promote large-scale rice farming in Kalasin, which is well known for its rice varieties, and subsequently develop a robust industry, he said.
Farmers will take part in rice sale management by forming cooperatives, according to the plan.
The Prawit-led panel is among six steering committees appointed by the cabinet to step up national reform plans for a range of issues from economy and public health to culture and the much-hyped national reconciliation of political rivals.
His committee agreed to push ahead the Kalasin model, suggested by the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA).
NRSA members voted late last year in favour of two economic reform proposals concerning rice management.
The first is the plan for Kalasin, and the second is aimed at strengthening provincial rice cooperatives.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1281659/kalasin-rice-model-plans-gain-support

Foreign staff crisis threatens rice target

Exports delayed as port stocks back up
NEWSPAPER SECTION: BUSINESS | WRITER: PHUSADEE ARUNMAS
Labourers work in a rice warehouse in Ayutthaya province. SUNTHORN PONGPAO
The crackdown on foreign workers may cause Thai rice exports to drop below the target of 10 million tonnes this year, with many migrants who work in the industry leaving the country.
According to Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, shipments of Thai rice to other countries have been hit hard by a workforce shortfall following the announcement of the royal decree on the management of employment of migrant workers.
"We're now drastically short of workers who handle discharging goods at the ports, leaving a number of shipments stranded at the ports, which is causing delays," he said. "The issue, if unaddressed, may eventually affect the country's rice shipments which are otherwise in a good condition."
There are usually 30,000-40,000 foreign workers employed in Thailand's rice industry at any one time.Mr Chookiat said with a workforce shortfall, it is now taking about a month to discharge goods into the ships at the port, up from a previous average of seven to 10 days.He said Thai rice exports are further at risk from foreign exchange volatility.He said the baht strengthening will weaken Thai rice's competitiveness, citing every one-baht appreciation will raise the price of Thai white rice by US$8-9 per tonne.
Charoen Laothammatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the government's decision to invoke the powerful Section 44 of the interim charter to delay enforcement of the new controversial labour regulation law for 180 days will help address the labour issue only in the short term.
He called on the government to help facilitate the foreign workers' registration process, cut the registration fee and tackle other obstacles affecting Thailand's export competitiveness.The foreign workers' registration fee is 30,000-40,000 baht per person.The association said as of June 20 Thailand shipped 5.33 million tonnes of rice, up 15.6% from the same period last year, reclaiming its position as the world's leading rice exporter after losing this rank to India two years ago.
The association expects a combined 5.5 million tonnes were shipped in the first half this year and remains confident Thailand could ship 10 million tonnes this year thanks to growing demand from China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry has filed an appeal against an order by the Administrative Court demanding a suspension of auctions for 2.7 million tonnes of inedible rice.
Foreign Trade Department director-general Duangporn Rodphaya said the court's order may have a negative psychological impact on the rice trading industry.
"The department filed the appeal on Tuesday to explain details and steps of the previous 27 rice auctions that all complied with relevant laws and transparency," Ms Duangporn said.
The Administrative Court issued the order on June 30 for the department to suspend the auctions for 2.7 million tonnes of inedible rice stocks after TPK Ethanol Co filed a complaint with the court, saying the ministry unfairly banned the company from participating in the auctions in April this year.
According to the department's report, TPK Ethanol was disqualified because it had breached a contract with the department 20 years ago in the cassava price pledging scheme.The case was concluded with the Supreme Court ordered the firm pay a fine to the department.Because of its tainted history, the department would not allow the firm to join the rice bid
http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1281731/foreign-staff-crisis-threatens-rice-target

Court sets date to rule on 'fake' China rice sale

NEWSPAPER SECTION: NEWS | WRITER: POST REPORTERS
The Supreme Court has set Aug 25 as the date it will rule on a rice-trading case that emerged under the former government of Yingluck Shinawatra involving former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and 27 other individuals and juristic entities.
The date was set Wednesday after the court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders finished examining a final batch of witnesses for the defendants, who were allegedly involved in bogus government-to-government (G2G) rice sales to China.
The suspects are accused of operating a fake G2G scheme worth 20 billion baht and selling state rice stockpiles cheaply to private Chinese firms by exploiting G2G privileges. These firms reportedly profited by re-selling the rice to a major local rice trader at higher prices.
Apart from Mr Boonsong, the defendants include former deputy commerce minister Poom Sarapol; Maj Veeravuth Watjanapukka; Mr Boonsong's former secretary, Suthee Cheumthaisong; and rice-trading tycoon Apichart "Sia Piang" Chansakulporn, an executive of Siam Indica Co.
They stand accused of colluding to commit offences and abusing their authority. In doing this they allegedly violated two laws -- the act on offences relating to the submission of contract bids to state agencies, and the organic act on counter-corruption.
Mr Boonsong's lawyer also introduced Su Chaoming, who works for a Chinese private law firm, as a witness at Wednesday's hearing.
Mr Su was hired to examine rice contracts between the Yingluck government and Guangdong Stationery & Sporting Goods Import & Export Corp and Hainan Grain & Oil Industrial Trading Co.
He said the Chinese government in 2003 changed the law so that all private companies have the same right to seek a quota to buy agricultural products from overseas, which is allocated by the central government.
The new law also allows them to sign contracts with foreign firms independently. Mr Su said this means the two companies named in this dispute were within their rights to deal with the Thai government directly, and report it to their local Chinese government later. Mr Su said he did not know if they had received quotas from either side.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1281667/court-sets-date-to-rule-on-fake-china-rice-sale
Sri Lanka considers four suppliers to buy 100000 MT rice
Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 09:47 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
July 06, Colombo: Following a first round of assessment, Sri Lanka has decided to take a closer look at four international rice suppliers to meet its urgent market needs, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said today.
On the directions of President Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka plans to purchase 100,000 metric tons of rice to meet its needs and has decided to test rice samples of Indonesia, Myanmar and Pakistan.
Minister Bathiudeen during a discussion held on Thursday with his officials on the progress of rice procurement from abroad, said a team of technical officials including officials and food technologists from Sri Lanka are to visit these countries and test rice samples after which the government will decide on the final supplier from Colombo.
Sri Lanka is looking to buy 100,000 MT par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba from the chosen supplier."This will be Government to Government procurement - a speedy way to get rice for our domestic market," the Minister said. "If necessary we are open for private sectors support in the supplier countries as well," he added.
He disclosed that Sri Lanka is also talking for another 100,000 MT rice, from India, the details of which have to be finalized.The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under the minister will be the focal point for the effortMinister Bathiudeen last month held discussions with the envoys of Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan on finding a supplier of rice to Sri Lanka
http://www.colombopage.com/archive_17A/Jul06_1499357852CH.php

NFA to spend P5.63 billion for 250,000 MT of imported rice

THE National Food Authority (NFA) is spending P5.638 billion to import 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice to prop up its dwindling buffer stock during the lean months, when rice harvest goes down significantly.
On July 6 the NFA published the terms of reference (TOR) for the purchase and supply of maximum 250,000 MT of 25-percent brokens well-milled long grain white rice of omnibus origin under a government-to-private (G2P) procurement scheme.
“The Approved Budget of the Contract [ABC] is estimated at P5.63 billion for the 250,000 MT. Bases of the computation were the prevailing FOB price, expense rates of freight, insurance and other incidental/dispersal costs and foreign-exchange rate at $1=P50,” the TOR read.
Under the TOR, the NFA said prospective bidders will bid for the imported volume on a lot basis.
“Prospective bidders may bid for any of the lots, provided that the bid must be the minimum/maximum of the imported rice allocated per lot but the maximum quantity to be awarded per supplier must not be higher than 50,000 MT,” it read.
“The opening of the bids and award of the contract to the bidder with the lowest calculated responsive bid shall be on a per lot basis. Rice must be shipped in break bulk,” it added.
The NFA said it will hold a prebid conference on July 13 and that the proper bidding is scheduled on July 25.
The government’s purchase of rice through the G2P scheme is covered by Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which provides that the lowest bidder would be named as supplier.
The NFA has broken down the 250,000 MT into eight lots with corresponding funding allocation, volume quantity and designate port of discharge.
The NFA said the ABC per lot would be the ceiling for the acceptable bid, thus, any bid higher than the allotted ABC per lot will not be accepted.
Two lots have allocations of 50,000 MT while the remaining six were allotted 25,000 MT. Each 50,000-MT lot has an ABC of P1.127 billion, while each 25,000-MT lot has a maximum bid cost of P563.85 million.
The NFA also divided the delivery of the 250,000 MT into two periods: August and September. The NFA said 120,000 MT of rice should arrive within August, while the remaining 130,000 MT should arrive by September.
“Early shipment shall be allowed, provided arrival dates of all vessels are within the required arrival period of the disports,” the NFA said.
“However, the buyer [NFA] may reschedule arrival period as it may deem necessary without additional cost to the buyer in accordance with the provisions of this terms of reference, provided that the other party is duly notified thereof,” the TOR read.
The NFA has desginated eight designated ports with corresponding quantity: San Fernando, La Union (20,000 MT); Batangas City (30,000 MT);  Tabaco City (25,000 MT); Cebu City (25,000 MT); Cagayan de Oro City (25,000 MT); Davao City (25,000 MT); General Santos City (10,000 MT); and Manila (100,000 MT).
NFA Spokesman Marietta Ablaza said the food agency is confident that winning suppliers for the 250,000 MT of rice will comply within the scheduled date of arrival.
“If they will not follow the provision they will be penalized. I think they will do everything to follow the arrival schedule because these are businessmen, they don’t want to be fined,” Ablaza told reporters in an interview on Thursday.
She said the arrival of rice imports per lot will vary as it will depend on the winning supplier.
“The nearest would be Vietnam while the farthest would be India. It doesn’t matter who wins the bidding but what is important is that it enters the country during the prescribed arrival period,” Ablaza said.
She added that the NFA Council decided to schedule the import arrivals before the end of September so as not to affect the price of palay when the harvest season begins in October. The lean season for palay in the Philippines is from July to September.
Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) senior research fellow Roehlano Briones said the importation will not affect the price of palay as the expected volume will just beef up the NFA’s inventory.
However, Briones noted that prices could move due to speculation.
“The importation will not affect the market unless there is perception that the NFA has a lot of stock and they do not want to unload it,” he told the BusinessMirror.
Briones said the move of the NFA to shift to a G2P scheme would give the government elbow room to get a better deal.
“Of course, this is good because you are not in a hurry, there’s no immediate need or emergency. It’s better because it’s more transparent than G2G [government to government] and you would know more the better price,” he said.
Briones also said the price of rice in the world market will not go up, as the volume being imported by the Philippiunes is “too small”. 
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/nfa-to-spend-p5-63-billion-for-250000-mt-of-imported-rice/