Monday, July 10, 2017

10th July,2017 daily global,regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Kota Belud IADA Optimistic Of Increasing Rice Yields

Friday, 07 July 2017 22:48
KOTA BELUD -- The Kota Belud Integrated Agriculture Development Area (IADA) is optimistic that it is capable of producing rice harvests of more than nine tonnes per hectare through the usage of Japanese technology and modern machinery.
According to IADA director, Salmah Labulla, based on a Crop Cutting Survey (CCS) conducted by the agency, it was found that a paddy plot that was cultivated using modern technology yielded more than nine kilogrammes of rice.
"CCS provides a rough estimate of one paddy lot. Following the estimate, we can predict the production for the whole paddy field area. Based on the CCS carried out yesterday, we found that the rice harvested was more than nine kilogrammes and we expect for the area to produce more than nine tonnes of rice per hectare,” she said after attending the launching ceremony for the use of Japanese machinery here today.
The event was officiated by Kadamaian assemblyman Ukoh @ Jeremmy Malajad who represented Sabah Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Musbah Jamli.
Salmah said the harvesting site was a portion of the approximately 32.3 hectares of paddy cultivation area which used machinery, new technology and expertise from Japan.
“The first phase of this harvesting programme which began in March included activities such as ploughing and the levelling of paddy fields as well as the planting of Tuaran Rice 8 (TR8) seeds provided by the Sabah Agriculture Department,” she explained.
She added the programme would be carried out in stages of two years each, with each stage involving 300 hectares of paddy cultivation area
Sri Lankan officials leave for Pakistan to pick rice varieties

Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 10:09 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
July 08, Colombo: Sri Lanka has picked three countries to supply 200,000 MT rice immediately to meet the shortfall in its domestic market and a team of four officials has left for Pakistan on Friday to test rice varieties for purchase.On July 12, the team will head to Myanmar from Islamabad to test Burmese rice varieties for the Sri Lankan market.Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said after discussions Myanmar, Pakistan and India have been chosen to purchase the rice stock.
"The team, after checking both Pakistani and Myanmar markets, will decide whether to choose Pakistan or Myanmar (or both) to purchase the 100,000 MT rice. The purchase shall be at Government to Government levels," the Minister said.The team of officials is led by Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Chinthana Lokuhetti, and two officials from the Finance Ministry and a food technologist from ITI.
More than 50 percent of this 100,000 MT rice would be par-boiled (Nadu) variety with the rest in white raw, and samba.Sri Lanka is also purchasing 100,000 MT rice from Indian private sector immediately. Tenders from Indian private suppliers are being received and the winning Indian supplier is expected to be picked by 17 July.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has also commenced Government to Government rice purchase talks with Thailand's Ministry of Commerce this week. These talks are conducted to procure 'stand-by' buffer rice stocks for any future emergencies and not for immediate use.
A Sri Lankan team of officials is scheduled to fly to Bangkok next week to meet Thai officials and decide on varieties, possibly around 100,000 MT of rice which will include par-boiled (Nadu), white raw, and samba, Minister Bathiudeen said.

Sri Lanka to import rice to combat shortages

Sri Lanka will immediately import 200,000 metric tons of rice from India, Pakistan and Myanmar confirmed the Ministry of Industry and Commerce on Friday.
The Sri Lankan government has also commenced government level talks on the possibility of purchasing rice from Thailand.
The latest announcement comes after the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on Monday said that the country was not facing any shortage in rice stocks

Sri Lanka to import rice to address rice shortage

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-07 19:38:04|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao

COLOMBO, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka will import 200,000 metric tons of rice immediately from India, Pakistan and Myanmar to address the rice shortfall in its domestic market, a statement from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said on Friday.

Due to heavy floods this year, Sri Lanka is facing a severe rice shortage. Sri Lanka will purchase 100,000 metric tons of rice from India immediately, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said, adding the rice will be purchased from private Indian importers.

The other 100,000 metric tons of rice will come from Pakistan and Myanmar. A four-member team from Sri Lanka will leave for Pakistan and Myanmar on Friday evening to pick rice varieties for the Sri Lankan market, and the purchase with Pakistan and Myanmar will be at government to government levels, Bathiudeen said.Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has also commenced government level talks on the possibility of purchasing rice from Thailand, Bathiudeen added.
Sri Lanka to immediately import rice to meet rice shortage  

(MENAFN - NewsIn.Asia) Colombo, July 7 ( -Sri Lanka will import 200,000 metric tonnes of rice immediately from Pakistan, #Myanmar and #India to meet a rice shortfall in its domestic market, a statement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said here Friday.
A four member team from #SriLanka will leave for #Pakistan on Friday evening to pick rice varieties afterwhich the team will head to #Myanmar to test Burmese rice varieties for the Sri Lankan market.
This year the failure of crops from the Yala season and the floods created a severe rice shortage in the island country.
"We have picked Myanmar, #Pakistan and #India to import rice,' Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, said.
"The Sri Lankan team, after checking both the Pakistani and #Myanmar markets, will decide whether to choose #Pakistan or #Myanmar (or both) to purchase he 100,000 metric tonnes of rice. Whether it is finally supplied by one or both countries, the purchase shall be at government to government levels," Bathiudeen said.
#SriLanka will also purchase another 100,000 metric tonnes of rice from #India immediately. Bathiudeen said the rice will be purchased from private Indian importers and tenders are currently being received for this.
An Indian supplier is expected to be picked by July 17.
Meanwhile, #SriLanka has also commenced government level talks on the possibility of purchasing rice from Thailand, Bathiudeen said.
These talks are conducted to procure rice stocks for any future emergencies and not for immediate use.
A Sri Lankan team will visit Bangkok next week to meet Thai officials and decide on varieties, possibly around 100,000 metric tonnes of rice.

Rice prices stay high despite imports coming through

PM July 10, 2017
File photo- Imported rice at a wholesaler's outlet in DhakaDhaka Tribune

Rice prices in India have risen as result of a revival in demand

After the duty on rice import was cut by 18% recently to cope with the pressures caused by crop shortfalls, prices were expected to fall in domestic markets.But the price of different varieties of rice have only changed slightly. Importers say the prices have gone up in India from where they import, leaving them unable to lower prices.
The government on June 20 cut the import duty of rice by 18% from 28% to keep rice prices affordable in the retail markets. Now the importers have to pay 10% duty.On the other hand, rice prices in India have risen as result of a revival in demand from Asian and African buyers, though markets in Thailand and Vietnam, two other major importers, have remained stable.
According to local rice importers, they were purchasing rice from India at Rs 27,300 per tonne previously, but now they have to buy at Rs 27,950- 28,275. So, after adding other expenses with the purchase price, per kilogramme coarse rice is now between Tk 39-42 when it reaches Dhaka.
Rice prices shot up in the local markets during last couple of months due to recent flash floods in the Haor areas of north-eastern region of the country. The floods damaged over 200,000 hectares of Boro paddy.

Bangladesh Rice Merchants Association Vice President Zakir Hossain Rony said: “The rice price hike in Indian market would have impact on our markets, no matter how much import duty the government cuts.“We expected the price of coarse rice to come down to Tk35 and Miniket to Tk45. But coarse rice including Miniket and Paizam were sold at Tk54 to Tk56 per kg in Dhaka last week after prices witnessed a fall by Tk2 to 5 per kg for different rice verities.”
Mamun Ur Rashid, member of Bangladesh Rice Exporters Association, said: “As India has increased price, it will definitely have an impact on our markets. But right now we are yet to calculate the volume of the possible impact.”

“I sold coarse rice at between Tk46 to Tk52 per kg which was Tk50 to Tk56 a week ago and fine rice between Tk54 and Tk60 per kg which was Tk58 to Tk65,” said Tawhidul Alom, a retailer at Dhaka’s Kolabagan.Rezaul Karim, a wholesaler at Kawran Bazar said: “We sell 50-kg sack of coarse rice at Tk2,000 to Tk2,200, Paizam at Tk2,300, Miniket at Tk2,700, Najirshal at Tk2,950 and Chinigura at Tk3,750-4,000.”

After the import duty was cut, prices came down by Tk150 to Tk200 for every 50-kg sack.
“But we have to face pressure as India has increased rice price,” he added.The private sector imported 1,33,000 tonnes of rice between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 but the government did not import any rice in that time.According to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh which tracks the prices of daily necessities, the price of coarse rice was Tk30-34 and fine rice was sold at Tk44-55 last year.

Bangladesh is set to buy 250,000 tonnes of white and parboiled rice from Vietnam to maintain immediate availability of stock in the market, as well as reserves.According to a Food Ministry proposal, the government will be importing 200,000 tonnes of white rice at $430 per tonne, though the price per tonne was $380 in the last month.The ministry is also planning on procuring 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at a cost of $470 per tonne, while the price had been less than $450 just a week ago.
EU looks at lifting import curbs on Fukushima rice, Tohoku marine products, wild vegetables: sources

The European Union may lift an import restriction on rice produced in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture. | ISTOCK
JUL 10, 2017

BRUSSELS – The European Union is considering lifting an import restriction on rice produced in meltdown-hit Fukushima Prefecture as well as on wild vegetables and marine products from Japan, sources said Sunday.
At present, the EU requires that radiation inspection certificates be submitted by exporters of some food products from 13 prefectures in the eastern half of the Japanese archipelago.
But the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has drafted import regulation reform plans that call for scrapping the requirement when it comes to rice from Fukushima, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the sources said.
The EC also proposes removing the regulation for some kinds of seafood, including shrimp, crab, octopus, yellowtail, red sea bream and bluefin tuna, from the seven prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Iwate, and certain wild vegetables from seven prefectures including Akita, Nagano and Yamagata.
Meanwhile, the radiation certificate obligation will remain in place for food imports from Yamanashi, Niigata and Shizuoka prefectures.
A formal decision on the deregulation proposal could come as early as this autumn, the sources said.
The Fukushima No. 1 power plant is run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

Amira Nature Foods Ltd (NYSE:ANFI) Cut to “Strong Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Amira Nature Foods Ltd (NYSE:ANFI) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a report released on Thursday, June 15th. According to Zacks, “Amira Nature Foods Ltd. provides packaged Indian specialty rice. The Company sells Basmati rice, premium long-grain rice under their flagship Amira brand as well as under other third party brands. It participates across the entire rice supply chain from the procurement of paddy to its storage, aging, processing into rice, packaging, distribution and marketing. Amira Nature Foods Ltd. is headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Several other equities analysts have also commented on the company. KeyCorp initiated coverage on Amira Nature Foods in a research report on Wednesday, April 19th. They set an equal weight rating on the stock. ValuEngine lowered Amira Nature Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $10.85.
Shares of Amira Nature Foods (NYSE:ANFI) traded up 1.67% during trading on Thursday, hitting $5.47. 90,883 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a 50 day moving average of $4.95 and a 200-day moving average of $5.42. Amira Nature Foods has a 1-year low of $4.50 and a 1-year high of $8.99. The company has a market cap of $198.13 million, a PE ratio of 5.97 and a beta of -0.21.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Pinnacle Associates Ltd. purchased a new position in Amira Nature Foods during the first quarter worth approximately $791,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC purchased a new position in Amira Nature Foods during the fourth quarter worth approximately $427,000. FMR LLC boosted its position in Amira Nature Foods by 1.9% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,324,162 shares of the company’s stock worth $20,444,000 after buying an additional 60,500 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its position in Amira Nature Foods by 35.8% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 78,500 shares of the company’s stock worth $307,000 after buying an additional 20,700 shares during the last quarter. Finally, KCG Holdings Inc. boosted its position in shares of Amira Nature Foods by 54.4% in the first quarter. KCG Holdings Inc. now owns 38,833 shares of the company’s stock worth $208,000 after buying an additional 13,682 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 13.10% of the company’s stock.
About Amira Nature Foods
Amira Nature Foods Ltd is primarily engaged in the business of processing and selling packaged Indian specialty rice, primarily basmati rice and other food products. The Company sells Basmati rice and other specialty rice, under its Amira brand, as well as under other third-party brands. It also sells non-basmati rice

2017-2022 North America Rice Flour Market – Rose Brand, CHO HENG, Koda Farms and Thai Flour Industry

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Despite the Myth, Sustainable Farming Methods Can Lead to High-Yield Agriculture

According to government data, the rate of increase of farm yields for many crops was higher in the pre-green revolution period when compared to later years.

A farmer removes weeds from her corn field in Kolkata, India, February 28, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri
This is the first article in a two-part series on sustainable farming methods.
The recent unrest of farmers has prompted a lot of rethinking about alternative farming policies and strategies. However the search for genuine alternatives is still hindered and distorted by the longest prevailing myth in the context of agriculture – that ecologically-destructive methods may be detestable but still are necessary to increase farm production. It is by deliberately foisting this myth that agriculture was made heavily dependent on chemical fertilisers and pesticides in the first place.
At the time when traditional highly diverse, well-acclimatised varieties evolved by several generations of millions of farmers were replaced by exotic varieties with a narrow genetic base, (the so-called green revolution) it was stated that this was necessary to increase food production. But in fact, according to the government’s own data, the rate of increase of farm yields in the pre-green revolution years (growing traditional varieties) was higher than in post-green revolution years when exotic HYVs (high-yielding varieties) necessarily requiring high doses of chemical fertilisers and pesticides were spread over hundreds of thousands of hectares very quickly.
This is clearly brought out in the table given below, based entirely on official data presented in the 12th plan document. It is clear from this table that the average annual growth rate in the pre-green revolution years was higher in the case of wheat, rice, jowar other coarse cereals (millets), pulses, oil seeds and cotton, although it was lower in the case of bajraand sugarcane.
Average annual growth rates in yields per hectare
Pre-green revolution (1951-52 to 1967-68) 
Green revolution (1968-69 to 1980-81)
Coarse cereals
Some of the reasons for this are also evident from the government’s own reports. In the case of the most important food crop – rice – when the green revolution introduced many problems, the government appointed a task force in 1979 comprising eminent farm experts to study the real situation.
These experts met at the Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack and prepared a report on the emerging problems of the green revolution. This report said, “Most of the HYVs are derivatives of T(N) 1 or IR 8 and, therefore, have the dwarfing gene of Dee-geo-woo-gen. This narrow genetic base has created alarming uniformity, causing vulnerability to diseases and pests. Most of the released varieties are not suitable for typical uplands and low lands which together constitute about 75% of the total rice area of the country. To meet these situations, we need to reorient our research programmes and strategies.”
Referring to this problem of narrow genetic base at another place again the task force says, “A cursory look at the pedigree of the different rice varieties released in India reveals that a very narrow germplasm base is involved. It is also noticed that many times the same female parent is involved in the cross combination.”
This was the reality of the new exotic varieties. What about the hurriedly displaced traditional varieties?
There is increasing evidence that several of these traditional varieties actually provided high yields while using ecologically-protective methods. This is being rediscovered today by many organic farmers who value traditional seeds.
Bharat Dogra is a freelance journalist who has been involved with several movements and initiatives.
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Filipinos now eating less rice – NFA

July 9, 2017, 10:00 PM
By Madelaine B. Miraflor
A slight reduction in the country’s daily consumption of rice has been observed after several years and the government is happy about it.National Food Authority (NFA) spokesperson Marietta Ablaza cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which showed that the country’s daily consumption requirement is now at 31,463 metric tons (MT) or 629,260 bags.
This, after the country’s average requirement had stayed at 32,720 MT or 654,600 bags for so many years.
Ablaza said this is a welcomed development since the country’s rice consumption had been outpacing the harvest for so many years. Hence, the need to import.
She also said that reduction in rice consumption may also be good for the health of Filipinos.
For its part, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is also urging the public to be more responsible with their rice consumption, affirming that eating too much rice has ill effects to human health.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health, which was cited by PhilRice, showed that excessive rice intake may adversely affect glucose metabolism and insulin production of the body thus may result in diabetes.
According to the study, carbohydrate content of one bowl of rice is equivalent to more than twice of a can of soft drink and each plate of white rice eaten in a day raises the risk of diabetes by 11 percent in the overall population.
PhilRice Executive Director Sailila Abdula said the agency is now exploring ways to improve the rice ecosystem.
“We are not just looking at production but also at the other side of rice security, which is consumption,” Abdula said.
“We are one in curtailing rice wastage because we believe that every grain our farmers produce means life to a Filipino and could help in ensuring enough supply of rice for the country,” he added.
To recall, the Department of Agriculture (DA) had recently launched the ‘Be Riceponsible Campaign,’ a nationwide initiative to promote responsible rice consumption by reducing rice wastage in households and eating healthier forms of rice such as brown rice.
As of June 22, the total rice stock inventory stood at 3.1 million MT only. This was 11.92 percent below the 3.54 million metric tons level in the same period last year.
NFA said this would be sufficient for 99 days. Stocks in the households would be enough for 47 days, while those in commercial warehouses will last for 46 days. NFA depositories are only enough for six days.
Aside from the planned importation of 250,000 MT of rice through government-to-private (G2P) scheme, Ablaza said the NFA is currently utilizing portions of the P5.1-billion subsidy it got from the government to procure palay produce from local farmers.
Ablaza said the grains agency is targeting to procure as much as 4.6 million bags of palay this year but had so far bought only 268,900 bags.

Steve Linscombe honored for years of service to LSU, rice industry

LSU Rice Research Station staff goes to great lengths to honor leader, coworker.
For more than two decades Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture, and Steve Linscombe, resident director of the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station, have greeted each other warmly at the start of the station’s annual field day.
This year was different. Dr. Linscombe, who also is the rice breeder for the LSU AgCenter and director of its Southwest Region, based in Crowley, La., walked up to Dr. Richardson and said “I want you to know I didn’t approve this.”
This was the cover of the program the Rice Research Station distributes at its annual Rice Field Day. Instead of the cover Linscombe thought he had approved, the station’s staff substituted one with a smiling photo of Linscombe standing in a rice plot, probably planted to one of the 33 varieties he developed during his 35 years of service to LSU and the rice industry.
“The last thing he wanted today was any recognition,” said Dr. Richardson, speaking at the indoor portion of the Rice Field Day. “This program was real sneaky. We hoped he wouldn’t see it, and he came walking up to the table, grabbed a copy and came over and said ‘I did not approve this.’
“The staff sneaked one in on him, and the one he approved never got published.”
LSU recognition policy
Dr. Richard said trying to find a fitting recognition for “someone who has dedicated his entire life to building one of the best rice breeding programs in the country is next to impossible.
“LSU policy is you can’t name a building for someone until they’ve been dead for two years. That created a little problem,” he said, as Dr. Linscombe responded that he would pass on the honor because of the qualification.
Instead, LSU officials plan to rename the Conference Room in the Rice Research Station Building on the Crowley Campus for Dr. Linscombe, which Dr. Richardson called a “very fitting thing.”
Dr. Rogers Leonard, associate vice president for plants, soils and water resources at the LSU AgCenter, noted Dr. Linscombe originally applied for a forage breeding position with LSU after he received his Ph.D. in agronomy from Mississippi State University. He was not chosen for that job, but later became Extension rice specialist for Louisiana.
“I can’t imagine what would have happened without him as a rice breeder,” Leonard said. “It’s been a pleasure to work with someone who expects so much from himself and his employees.”
More than 1,000 presentations
Clarence Berken, a rice producer and vice chairman of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, said Linscombe has received 14 awards in 21 years, developed 33 new rice varieties, obtained $17 million in grants and made more than 1,000 presentations around the world. Berken presented him with a certificate of recognition signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
After those comments, Dr. Linscombe assured the audience none of what he had accomplished could have been done without the assistance of the many staff members at the Rice Research Station who had served with him through the years.
“This has been a very good place to work because of the people at the station and the people I’ve worked with throughout the years,” he said. “It has been an honor to work for the LSU AgCenter and for the rice industry.
I’ll miss it. I won’t miss walking in the rice fields when it’s 100 degrees and 110 percent relative humidity for three or four or five or six hours at a time, but I’ll miss the people and the connections,” he noted.
Dr. Linscombe recognized another soon-to-be retiree, Bill Leonard, who has served as station superintendent for more than 40 years.
“We get a lot of credit for the way the rice plots and the station look on days like this, our 108th field day,” he noted. “I promise you much of that would not be possible without the dedication of Mr. Leonards.”
For more information on Dr. Linscombe’s research, visit
USe of Machines taking way job say farm workers
G JAGANNATH | Sun, 9 Jul 2017-08:00am , Chennai , DNA
However, the farm workers say that they would be forced go jobless if the machines were used for transplantation.
Farms workers in Tamil Nadu are alleging that increase in the usage of the agricultural machinery is taking away their jobs.
The Tamil Nadu government's decision to provide financial assistance to farmers opting for mechanical transplantation for paddy cultivation to increase crop yield and bring down cultivation cost is resulting in job loss for farm workers, particularly women.
To encourage farmers in six Cauvery delta districts including Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam to take up paddy cultivation using ground water sources, the government announced a Rs 56.92 crore package including financial assistance of Rs 4,000 per acre for farmers using machine transplantation of paddy.
However, the farm workers say that they would be forced go jobless if the machines were used for transplantation. The Cauvery delta district, known as "rice bowl of Tamil Nadu", is home to 15 lakh farm workers, mainly Dalits, depending on agriculture for their livelihood.
"While drought hit farm workers were pinning their hopes on the Kuruvai crop season, the government's decision to provide subsidy for using machines for paddy plantation will take away their jobs," A Lasar, state president of All India Agricultural Workers Union said. He demanded that the government provide subsidy to the farmers to engage farm workers so that it would be a win-win situation for both the farmers and the worker as well.
Dr V Ravi, Director, Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute in Aduthurai, Thanjavur said that paddy transplanters are being used due to the shortage of labour. It also helps bring down the cost of cultivation. "If we delay transplantation of saplings due to labour shortage, it will affect the crop yield," he said.
Using machines for transplantation instead of labourers have several advantages, he said, adding that the machines would help to plant seedlings during the right time period, maintain optimum plant population.
"Farmers using machines for plantation will be able to get 30 to 40 per cent more paddy yield compared to the manual plantation. The machines also help reduce the cost of cultivation in terms of savings in labour costs," he noted.
Another agronomist dismissed the union's complaint that workers would go jobless if the machines were used for sowing. "I don't think using machines will affect farm workers. Machines are not suitable for all kinds of land in terms of holding size. Hence there is enough lands available to provide jobs for workers," he said.

Govt to buy more rice from Thailand, India

Prices drop by Tk 2 a kg; private importers active again after duty cut

Photo: Star
Bangladesh is now trying to buy rice from Thailand and India under the government-to-government arrangement, weeks after striking a G2G deal to import the staple from Vietnam.
The government is also opening two more international bids this week, seeking to import 50,000 tonnes of rice and equal amount of wheat. This would be the first public sector wheat import in the last eight months.
The moves come amid high rice prices in the domestic market and further depletion of the public food reserve. The government had already a low food reserve -- below five lakh tonnes -- in June. Now, the volume has come down to 3.4 lakh tonnes, of which rice stock is only 1.54 lakh tonnes.
Apart from the regular food aid programmes, rice and wheat stored in the public granaries are also being given to flood and landslide victims as assistance.
Meanwhile, the price of per kg of coarse rice has dropped by Tk 2 from Tk 48 last week. Rice prices had posted a 47 percent increase comparing the prices in June last year.
Market sources said the prices would go down further as private traders were bringing in the staple from India after the import duty was lowered to 10 percent from 28 percent. The government is also expecting the first consignment of rice from Vietnam to reach the Chittagong port by the end of this week.
Following this year's crop loss owing to Haor flashfloods and fungal attacks (rice blast), the government struck three deals in May and June for importing 3.5 lakh tonnes of rice -- 1 lakh tonnes from two Dubai and Singapore-based suppliers and 2.5 lakh more from Vietnam under the G2G.
None of the import consignments, however, has reached the country yet.
The government is now seeking to import more rice from Thailand and India to ensure the staple's availability in the market as the flood situation is worsening and the prospect of the upcoming rice season seems uncertain.
A two-member official team comprising one official each from the food ministry and food directorate left for Bangkok on Wednesday to look into the possibility of purchasing rice from Thailand under the G2G arrangement.
“We're also expecting a team from India to visit Bangladesh soon. We'll try to buy rice from India as well," Food Minister Qamrul Islam told The Daily Star yesterday.
He, however, insisted that he would not say at this stage how much rice the government was intending to buy from the two countries.
In addition to floating international tenders seeking to buy 1.5 lakh tonnes of parboiled (Shiddo) and white (Atap) rice, the food department would also open bids for importing 50,000 tonnes of more parboiled rice this week.
Tender is also being floated to buy 50,000 tonnes of wheat from the international market to replenish the depleting food reserve. This was the first public sector wheat tender since October last year. In 2016-17, Bangladesh imported over 58 lakh tonnes of wheat. Over 80 percent of that wheat was brought in by private importers.
Early flashfloods this season completely washed away 10 lakh tonnes of rice in the northeastern areas while fungal attack blast also caused losses of Boro crops in 19 districts, said the agricultural extension department.   
A prolonged flood in the northeast and northwestern regions is also being feared to have some bearings on the productions of this year's two remaining rice crops -- Aus and Aman.

Zim imports maize worth $82m despite 'bumper harvest' – report

2017-07-08 13:02 Harare – Zimbabwe has imported maize worth $82 million in the first five months of 2017, despite boasting a bumper harvest, NewsDay reports.The report said that the latest trade data from Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) showed that the country imported maize worth $82 million. This was, however, down from the comparative period in 2016 which was $97 million.Zimbabwe also imported durum wheat and rice worth $46 million and $41 million respectively within the same period under review, the report said.The report added: "Overall imports in the first five months of the year stood at $2.1 billion while exports amounted to $1.1 billion, giving a trade deficit of $1.01 billion."

"GMB will buy maize from local farmers from the funds they have and more money will be available to purchase locally produced maize," Marapira was quoted as saying at the time.

He added: "Government stopped issuing grain import permits about four months ago and no maize imports are allowed at our borders.

Tono rice farmers fear loss of 400,000 tonnes of produce

Saturday 8th July , 2017 1:34 pm
Rice farmers at the Tono Irrigation site at Navrongo in the Upper East Region says, over four thousand metric tonnes of rice cultivated this year could go waste, if the government does not provide farmers market opportunities and combine harvester machines.
According to them, the over one thousand four hundred and fifty (1,450) hectares of rice cultivated and partly harvested are wasting away on the farms while some going bad on the farms due to lack of combine harvesters.
Speaking to Citi News after a tour of the farms, Chairman of Tono Irrigation Cooperative Farmers Union Chief James Adawina highlighted the adverse impact of the situation on farmers.
“This time we are harvesting and you can see a lot of rice sitting on the yard and we are challenged of getting market our rice.  And you know when you farm, you need to sell the produce before you can re-cultivate but now we can’t get buyers to buy our produce.”
“We also have most of our rice going bad on the farms, this season we have done 1,450 hectares of rice production but we cannot get combine harvester machines to harvest them. Our fears are that, if we start to experience heavy downpours and floods, all our produce will be destroyed.”
Mr. Adawina added that, the perennial problem of marketing of their produce and combine harvesters have been reported to the appropriate ministry and agencies but has yielded not result.
He, however, appealed to the government as a matter of urgency to buy their produce directly or facilitate get their produce sold.
“We are appealing that, if government can buy our rice or get someone buy the rice and mill to feed Second cycle and basic school students under the school feeding programme  in the three regions of the North. Our produce can feed the three Northern regions and others because on daily basis we load ten articulators to Kumasi and Accra yet we still have more than enough on the farms.
The government should stop importing rice and support farmers with the needed inputs, facilities and ready market so as to produce more rice to feed Ghana and even export.” Mr. Adawine noted.
Mr. Adawine said the situation has reduced their bargaining power with aggregate buyers who now buys a bag of rice at between GHC180.00 to GHC200.00 hitherto went for between GHC230 and GHC240.00.
He also urged the government to urgently support farmers at the area with combine harvester machines, milling machines and storage facilities to optimize the production

Govt gets lowest offer of $430 per tonne in rice
import tender Bangladesh received a lowest offer of $430 tonne CIF liner out from Phoenix in a tender that opened on Sunday to import 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice, officials at the state grains buyer said. Bangladesh is stepping up imports due to depleted stocks and record local prices following flash floods. Six traders competed for Sunday's tender, the fourth issued since May by the Directorate General of Food.
Growing demand from Bangladesh should stoke Asian prices that have already hit multi-year highs in recent months. The rice is to be shipped within 40 days of contract signing. Last week, a Bangladeshi delegation visited Thailand to finalise imports of rice in a government-to-government deal, officials said. 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 tenders. "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." The state grains buyer bought 50,000 tonnes of white rice at $406.48 a tonne and 100,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $427.85 and $445.11 a tonne in three previous 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.

Researchers have created a mobile phone you don't need to charge
*      Your future phone may never need to be charged.
*      That's the exciting implication of new research out of the University of Washington, where researchers have created a mobile phone prototype that doesn't require a battery to operate.
The astonishingly efficient prototype requires just 3.5 microwatts of juice, and it employs an innovative approach to avoid the need for a battery cell. Instead, it uses ambient power from radio signals and light — its onboard solar cell is "roughly the size of a grain of rice" — to transmit a signal back to a base station 50 feet away. The prototype itself is made of simple materials: capacitive touch buttons, a circuit board, and other "off the shelf" components. More impressive is that the team of scientists were able to create a custom base station to transmit the signal with such a small amount of power.

*      Using this setup, the researchers were able to successfully make and receive calls (via Skype) and place callers on hold. But the scientists say they want to improve the prototype by adding an e-ink display with video-streaming capabilities and encryption to make the calls more secure.
*      Vamsi Tall, who coauthored the paper, says the base station technology they developed — while it's still an early prototype — could make it possible for battery-free mobile phones to become ubiquitous.
*      “You could imagine in the future that all cell towers or Wi-Fi routers could come with our base station technology embedded in it,” Tall said. “And if every house has a Wi-Fi router in it, you could get battery-free cellphone coverage everywhere.”

Iran to import 1st rice cargo from Thailand after sanctions lifted

Iran to import 1st rice cargo from Thailand after sanctions lifted

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Iran to import 1st rice cargo from Thailand after sanctions lifted
VOICEPRESS reports citing the Trend,Iran will import first rice consignment from Thailand after 10 years, Secretary of Iran Rice Association Jamil Alizadeh Shayeq said.

He said that the deal for importing the aforementioned cargo was actually signed before sanctions, but Thailand stopped export to Iran, after the Islamic Republic failed to pay the money due to sanctions, Alizadeh Shayeq said, Tasnim news agency reported July 9.

He further said that Iran needs to import about 800,000 to 1 million tons of rice per year from abroad.
International sanctions against Iran removed in January 2016, after the country signed a historic nuclear deal with the six world powers.

In the past, Iran used to import 700,000 to 1 million tons from foreign countries, about 300,000-500,000 tons of which came from Thailand.

With the easing situation in Iran, Thailand and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding in early 2016 to resume sales of 300,000 tons of rice worth 4.3 billion baht ($120 million).

The Iranian government bans rice import annually with only a few months of break to support domestic products.

The annual consumption of rice in Iran is 3 million tons. India, Pakistan and Uruguay are main supplier of rice to Iran.