Wednesday, July 26, 2017

26th July,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Why there is a shortage of irrigation water in Sindh

A farmer works in a field in Mirpurkhas | Umair Rajput
Khuda Bux is restlessly pacing through his fields on a muggy April morning. A peasant in his sixties from Jhuddo town in Mirpurkhas district, over 110 kilometres south-east of Hyderabad city, he is worried about his cotton crop. It has started germinating and needs to be irrigated but he is not getting any canal water.
Time is running out. He takes the only option he has: using the saline water of a nearby drain. “I am trying to provide some moisture to the crop so that it survives,” Bux explains the reason for his choice.
His landlord, Aslam Kaimkhani, recently borrowed money and commissioned a tube well to draw water from the drain to irrigate 10 acres Bux has planted cotton on. But saline water can destroy the crop. He has to be very cautious, making sure water does not touch the saplings as it flows through the furrows.
Bux is so frustrated with the effort required to keep his crop alive that he would quit farming altogether if he could. “I cannot find a job as a daily-wage labourer. Neither can I find firewood to cut and sell to make ends meet,” he says. He has no option to earn his livelihood but by growing crops.
His fields are part of a farm located at the tail end of a watercourse originating from Basran-II minor which gets irrigation water from Rohri Canal. In recent years, the watercourse has rarely had water, if at all.
Kaimkhani, owner of the farm, alleges the water shortage is artificial. It is caused by irrigation department officials who give preferential access to water to either influential landowners or to those who bribe them, he says. As a result, he says, landowners at the tail end suffer.
To overcome the shortage, Pir Bux Hashmani, owner of another farm in Jhuddo, has set up his own pumping station that lifts water from Puran Dhoro, a rainwater drain. Sometimes, he pumps water from another drain that carries effluents from Mirpurkhas city.
A villager fetching groundwater in Mirpurkhas| Umair Rajput
These effluents are hazardous for crops and soil fertility, explains Dr Ahsan Siddiqui, a Hyderabad-based water technologist who is also the convener of a committee formed under Supreme Court’s orders to minimise pollution at Manchar Lake, Asia’s largest freshwater reservoir.
He has assessed a sample of effluents collected from the drain that irrigates Bux’s fields and advises against using it, citing abnormal amounts of contaminants in it. The value of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the sample, according to him, was recorded at 10,270 milligrammes per litre whereas, as per the Sindh Environmental Quality Standards, it should be less than 3,500 milligrammes per litre.
Sadori Solangi, a middle-aged woman in Jamal Dahiri village of Matiari district, approximately 50 kilometres north of Hyderabad, wakes up when she hears the call to morning prayer. She goes to her four-acre farm just behind her house to see if water from a canal has arrived in her watercourse. It is mid-April and she is already running behind schedule to sow her cotton crop. Water is nowhere in sight.
Solangi does not have the money to install a tube well to pump out groundwater — as the richer and bigger landowners in her area usually do. Her best bet is to purchase water from one of them. “I am thinking of selling a goat to arrange money for purchasing water from a neighbouring farmer.”
Habibullah, a farmer from Jhandi Mari village in Tando Allahyar district, is also worried about his cotton crop. He is using groundwater pumped from a tube well but he thinks it is not healthy for his crop. “Had canal water been available, I would have been providing fertiliser to my crop by now but, instead, I am still waiting for seeds to germinate,” he says. He fears that late maturing of his crop will lessen his yield.
Farmers all over Sindh face shortage of irrigation water – just as Sadori and Habibullah do – every summer.
The province’s irrigation system is dependent on canals that originate from Kotri, Sukkur and Guddu barrages on River Indus. These canals are divided into two main parts. One passes through areas to the east of the river or its left bank; the other consists of canals and watercourses running to the west of the river or its right bank.
A farmer sows cotton seeds at a farm in Tando Allahyar | Umair Rajput
The part on the left bank, consisting of the 356-kilometre Nara Canal and 330-kilometre Rohri Canal, gets priority in drawing water from the barrages because it irrigates a much bigger area than that irrigated by the canals on the right bank.
According to the irrigation department’s estimates, Nara and Rohri canals together irrigate approximately 5.3 million acres of land (in Ghotki, Sukkur, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Naushahro Feroze, Matiari, Umerkot, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas, Badin and Sanghar districts).
These days, they do not get all the water they should under the Water Apportionment Accord signed by the four provincial governments and the federal government in 1991. Reason: the federal authorities are being injudicious in releasing or blocking the river water.
The Indus River System Authority (Irsa), that regulates interprovincial water distribution, decided to continue drawing water from Tarbela Dam on the Indus in the months of January and February this year for hydroelectricity production, says Dr Syed Nadeem Qamar, president of the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture and the brother of Pakistan Peoples Party leader Syed Naveed Qamar.
That is why the water storage level at the dam on March 11, 2017, stood at 1,380.56 feet — the so-called ‘dead level’ where Irsa stops further discharge of water into the river. That level persisted till March 23 when it started rising — a trend that lasted about six weeks. But then it dipped again on May 7: water was at 1,388 feet that day.
When the water level was relatively high in the month of April, Irsa started withdrawing water from the Indus through Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal to facilitate farmers in Punjab, says Qamar. These developments both take place in the upper parts of the Indus and together explain why “the period between April and June is marred by chronic [shortage] of irrigation water in Sindh”. And then there is mismanagement and corruption in the handling of irrigation water.
Officials of the irrigation department often connive with politically influential landowners to skew the distribution of irrigation water. For example, cultivation of water-intensive crops like rice is prohibited in the left bank areas under West Pakistan Rice (Restriction on Cultivation) Ordinance 1959 but officials at the agriculture department report that the crop is widely cultivated in Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze, Ghotki, Nawabshah, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas districts. “We do not reflect acreage under rice cultivation in our records,” says one of them, “but it [happens] every season.”
Sugarcane and banana crops, like rice, require more water per acre than other crops do. They should not exist in the left bank districts of Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas and Badin as per law but they do.
“[The presence of] banana orchards and sugarcane fields ... is not possible [in these areas] unless landowners get unusually high and uninterrupted water flows,” says Khalid Hyder Memon, a former irrigation department secretary.
Influential landowners get these flows through direct outlets (DO) from canals. They use their connections to obtain the DOs that are allowed only under special permission from the chief minister.
To process the permission, the irrigation department is required to minutely document the irrigation needs of a landowner who applies for a DO, says a former managing director of the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority. “But the documentation process is [carried out] without any objective assessment of the implications that a DO will have on the rights of downstream users,” he says.
Farmers pump out saline water from a drain | Umair Rajput
Chief ministers in successive governments – both civil and military-led – have liberally exercised their authority to grant permission for DOs. As a result, hundreds of DOs exist across Sindh, mainly in the areas irrigated by Nara and Rohri canals.
A list of 65 DOs just in one canal division was brought to the notice of the Supreme Court while it was hearing a case on irrigation water shortage back in 2013. A cursory glance at the list suggests that the approved size of all those DOs was altered so as to draw more water than sanctioned.
The final draft of a report, titled Sindh Water Resources Development and Management Investment Programme and prepared in August 2009 collectively by Sindh’s Department of Irrigation and Power and the Asian Development Bank, mentions a survey of 107 DOs that were drawing 382 per cent more water than they were allowed to draw. One DO was drawing over 30 times of its approved quantity.
Sindh government somehow did not give an official approval to the draft report, says Fayaz Hussain Shah Rashdi, president of the Sindh Abadgar Tanzeem — an association of growers, who has a copy of it.
Getting rid of a DO seems impossible. “During [Pervez] Musharraf’s regime, approval for 100 to 150 DOs was cancelled through an ordinance. The landowners [whose lands those DOs irrigated] moved the Sindh High Court which ruled that their old water supply sources be restored before the cancellation of the DOs,” recalls former irrigation department secretary Idris Rajput. “But those old sources, interestingly, were either closed down or did not altogether exist,” he says. “So the DOs could not be cancelled.”

This was originally published in the Herald's July 2017 issue. To read moresubscribe to the Herald in print

In trade victory, US will begin exporting rice to China



July 24, 2017

Dive Brief:

  • China will import U.S. rice for the first time, according to a Thursday announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • The trade deal was announced at the end of high-level economic talks between the two countries, CNN Money reports. China is the world's largest producer of rice, but also its largest importer as the country is no longer able to sustain itself due to soil depletion, low crop yields and the effects of climate change.
  • Export bans from other Asian countries have led China to tap the U.S. as a viable source of rice importation. Although talk of trade deficits and a potential steel tariff are also at issue between the two countries, the rice agreement is considered a step toward establishing positive relations.

Dive Insight:

The deal to open market access for U.S. rice exporters is a major victory for the Trump administration. As the largest market for rice and a still-booming population, today's deal could boost U.S. exports to China in the long-run. In turn, this would help reach the President's goal of reducing the U.S. trade deficit.
Securing market access is just the first step, however. Now, rice exporters will have to convince Chinese importers to prioritize their product over other major rice producers from more proximate countries including India, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. Exporters will face the logistical challenges of greater lead times and transportation costs, which may be not be feasible to pass on to buyers.
It is a welcome challenge, however, and U.S. grain exporters and transportation providers are likely celebrating. The rail industry will welcome a potential increase in demand for carload shipments, particularly as carriers and ports invest in greater port infrastructure. Overall, the trade deal is good news for supply chains, as it also shows a rise in good faith between the economically competitive countries

Osinbajo expresses concern over political office holders’ attitude

Posted By: Dele Anofi On: July 26, 2017 
•Media cautioned on focus on executive, legislature conflicts 
•Saraki, Dogara seek robust executive, legislature relations
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday criticised the attitude of the political elite.To him, governance must be people-centred.Prof. Osinbajo said it is only a robust and proactive relationship between the Executive and Legislative arm of the government that would ensure delivery of voters’ expectations.
Senate President Bukola Saraki sought a change of public misconception of the legislature’s responsibility to nation-building while House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara regretted the reluctance of the Executive to return Legislature’s friendly gestures.
Osinbajo, Saraki and Dogara spoke at the opening of the 16th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) in Abuja.
Imploring political office holders to consider their position as a privilege but time-bound, the Acting President quoted the saying by a British theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, who warned of the anger of the ignored and the marginalised majority.
Osinbajo added that Hawking cautioned the elite to learn from the lessons of the past.
The Acting President said it was pertinent for the two arms of government to form a synergy for the good of the governed considering the anger of the poor, the ignored and marginalised majority.
He said: “To stand in their shoes, sit where they sit, to feel their pains and understand that their frequently dashed hope is that the political elite should know that the heavy burdens that they bear is ours to lighten.
“In comparison to the other parts of the world, the angst and cynicism of the populace is worse in Africa due to conflicts, corruption and weak institutions have ensured that the largest numbers of the poor and the deprived come from our continent.
“It is the failure of leadership that has resulted in our present predicaments. How do we feel when our legislative halls, called  hallowed chambers are referred to as temples of justice and executive villas as corridors of power – all suggestive of grand but isolated institutions?
“The realities of majority of our people is the mystery of the slums and the indignity of powerlessness.
“So while we describe ourselves as excellencies, distinguished and honourables, the vast majority of our people, in their polite moments, say that they see neither excellence nor much honour in their own lives…
“Responsibility that privilege and power placed on us is to do our utmost to change the current bleak narrow tips and projections for our nations, our continent and the world.”
Osinbajo added: “Poverty, hunger and disease can truly become history by pursuing those legislative and executive options that target education, food security and healthcare for all.
“Let me say that the National Assembly in Nigeria and the Executive have shown that when we work together, we can make quantum leaps in bettering the lives and livelihood of our people.”
He cited the gains of rice production in two years, whereby executive policies were given force of law by the legislature to guarantee import stoppage by 2018.
This, the acting President said, will stop Nigeria from being the second world largest importer, spending N1 billion on rice import monthly.
He said with rice importation dropping by 80 per cent and with the empowerment of over 1.43 million rice farmers in the North alone, Nigeria is guarantee self-sufficiency in rice production by the end of 2018.
He said this and the decimation of Boko Haram insurgents were made possible because the two arms of government chose to work together.
Osinbajo pleaded for the understanding of the media in their search for news, noting that the media and the social media were more interested in conflicts between the Executive and the legislature.
But, Dogara, who is also the African regional Chairman of the conference regretted that the executive hardly reciprocate legislature’s gestures of cooperation to ensure smooth-running of government for the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people.
“The legislature as the first institution of democracy must sacrifice more in this endeavour, even if the gesture is not often returned by the Executive,” he said.
Saraki said it has become imperative to change the negative perception of the people towards the legislature.
Saying that public misconception of the function and contributions of the legislature to development was worrisome, he noted: “Only few are aware of the level of intervention aimed at responding to national economic challenges, pressing poverty and rebuilding infrastructure.” 12:00 AM, July 26, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 26, 2017

Wheat imports may go up further

Star Business Report
Bangladesh's wheat imports and consumption are likely to go up further this fiscal year, driven by resilient domestic demand and lower international prices, said industry operators.
Imports are expected to hit 60 lakh tonnes at the end of the current fiscal year, posting a 5.44 percent gain year-on-year, said the US Department of Agriculture recently.
Two industry operators said import of grain may exceed 60 lakh tonnes this fiscal year because of increased consumption as a substitute to rice, the staple food.
The USDA revised upward Bangladesh's wheat consumption forecast to 73 lakh tonnes for the current fiscal year, up three lakh tonnes from its March forecast on increased consumption as an alternative to rice in flood affected areas.
“A lot will depend on rice prices. Demand for wheat will rise if rice prices remain at the current level in the domestic market,” said Abul Bashar Chowdhury, chairman of BSM Group, a Chittagong-based importer.
Price of coarse rice, which is consumed mostly by poor and lower middle-income people, dropped marginally from a record high of Tk 47.30 per kilogram in June.
Retail prices of coarse rice were Tk 42-45 per kilogram yesterday thanks to increased imports after reduction of import duty by the government to 10 percent from previous 28 percent.
Yet, prices of the grain was Tk 16 higher a kilogram than wheat flour. Locally known as ata, retail prices of wheat flour were at Tk 26-34 each kilogram in Dhaka city yesterday, according to data from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
Chowdhury said the demand for wheat goes up when the prices of rice remain higher. Import may rise by 10 percent from what came in last year, he said.
Bangladesh's wheat import hit a new high at 56.90 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2016-17, up 30 percent year-on-year, due to low prices, a shift in consumers' diet preference and flourishing bakery market.
This was the fifth consecutive year when wheat arrivals rose to meet growing domestic demand as local production meets one fifth of the annual demand.
The USDA estimated Bangladesh's wheat production to be 3 percent lower year-on-year at 12.5 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2016-17 because of a reduction in cultivation area as some farmers sought to avoid the risk of a recurrence of wheat blast.
The agency forecast wheat production at 13 lakh tonnes this fiscal year. Imports may drop if domestic production rises, said Mustafizur Rahman, deputy managing director of Bashundhara Group that also markets flour.
He expected that the overall arrival of the grain might be 65-68 lakh tonnes at the end of the current fiscal year.
Bangladesh sources a majority of the wheat from Russia and Ukraine followed by Canada, Argentina, Australia and the USA, according to market operators.
Japan develops stronger appetite for US rice
Price supports make domestic varieties harder to afford for eateries

The U.S. produces about 30% more rice than Japan.
TOKYO -- Japanese imports of American rice are sharply increasing due to higher prices for homegrown varieties used by restaurants, a result of government measures to prop up domestic rice prices by reducing supplies.
Japan caps imports of foreign rice. But demand for the cheaper, easy-to-cook foreign product is on the rise at food service companies.
Calrose, grown in the U.S. state of California, is the mainstay variety accounting for about 80% of the Japanese market for foreign rice consumed by people as a staple food. Beef bowl chain operator Yoshinoya Holdingsbegan using a blend of Calrose and Japanese-grown rice this past spring, while ramen restaurant operator Kourakuen Holdings uses Calrose for fried rice.
Less sweet than Japan-grown varieties, Calrose is said to be suited for bowl dishes where sauces are poured on the rice. And since it does not easily stick together when fried, even part-time workers can use it to make fried rice, according to Yumi Kojima, who heads the USA Rice Federation's office in Japan.
Japan limits rice imports to an annual 770,000 tons under an agreement reached in the Uruguay Round of global trade talks. Up to 100,000 tons of this can be staple food rice traded under simultaneous-buy-sell arrangements.
SBS imports tripled on the year to more than 70,000 tons in fiscal 2016, with much of the demand likely coming from the food service sector. Ahead of bidding in the fall, demand is seen increasing for fiscal 2017 as well, according to an official at a major wholesaler.
The U.S. produces an annual 10 million tons or so of rice, about 30% more than Japan, and exports 3 million tons.
California accounts for about a fifth of American production and focuses almost solely on medium-grain japonica varieties. The USA Rice Federation has been promoting Calrose in Japan since 2007.
The Japanese government has been pushing domestic producers to grow more rice for livestock as a means of supporting prices of staple food rice. Livestock feed rice production in Japan tripled to 480,000 tons a year over the five years through 2016, aided by subsidies of up to 105,000 yen ($944) per 1,000 sq. meters. As a result, prices of rice generally used by restaurants and other commercial buyers have risen to levels near that of the Koshihikari variety, which is popular among consumers and upscale restaurants

Prices of Japan-grown no-wash rice have risen 20% in a year in certain cases. "Due to the jump in prices of Japan-grown rice, inquiries for Calrose from food service companies have surged," said a manager at food trading company Okura Agri.
Asean firms win bid to supply rice to Philippines

By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 26, 2017 - 12:00am
 During the bidding conducted yesterday, state-run National Food Authority (NFA) announced that four companies from Vietnam, one from Singapore and one from Thailand submitted the lowest bids for the procurement of the 250,000 MT. JUN ELIAS, File
MANILA, Philippines - Six companies from Southeast Asia will likely supply the 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as part of the planned government to private sector (G2P) importation scheme to boost the country’s dwindling buffer stock.During the bidding conducted yesterday, state-run National Food Authority (NFA) announced that four companies from Vietnam, one from Singapore and one from Thailand submitted the lowest bids for the procurement of the 250,000 MT.There were 21 companies that actually bought bid documents but only 18 showed up during the bidding process. Of the 18, two did not drop their bids and one failed due to the lack of statement of its ongoing contract.
The rice imports (25 percent broken, well-milled, long grain white rice) were divided into eight lots: six lots of 25,000 MT each and two lots of 50,000 MT each. A bidder can bid for a maximum of 50,000 MT only.For the first lot of 50,000 MT in La Union and Batangas ports, Singaporean company Olam International Ltd. had the lowest offer of $413.89 per MT for a total of $20.6 million.
Vietnamese Tan Long Group Joint Stock Co. bid and had the lowest offer for lots 2 and 3, both in Manila at 25,000 MT each, at $414 per MT and $409 per MT, respectively.Another Vietnamese company Hiep Loi Food Joint Stock Co. submitted the lowest bid for 25,000 MT in Tabaco at a price of $425.90 per MT.
For lot 5 in Cebu and lot 6 in Cagayan de Oro, Vietnam-based Gia International Corp. had offered the lowest price at $421.64 per MT and $415.65 per MT, respectively.Thai Capital Cereals Co. Ltd., meanwhile, submitted the lowest for lot 7 in Davao and General Santos at $431.7 per MT.Lastly, Vietnam Southern Food Corp. had the lowest bid for lot 8 in Manila at $424.45 per MT.Reference price for the importation was set at $451.08 per MT based on the foreign exchange rate of $1 to P50.The total amount of all bidders reached P$104.86 million or P5.2 billion, saving the government around $8 million or P400 million.
The NFA has allotted a total of P5.6 billion for the procurement of the volume.“The savings will go back to the funds of the NFA,” NFA deputy administrator and Special Bids and Awards Committee chair Tomas Escarez said.NFA said winning bidders shall  be subjected to post-qualification evaluation on July 27 to 28. If they qualify, the notice of ward shall be issued on July 31, and a notice to proceed shall be issued on Aug. 3.Rice deliveries shall be staggered from August to September, with a total of 120,000 MT expected to arrive in August and 130,000 MT to arrive in September.
NFA said rice must be shipped in break bulk where packing shall be in 50 kilograms net each in woven polypropylene bags suitable for rice export with NFA markings, designs and specifications.
Winning bidders shall deliver the goods free of obligations and expenses of NFA up to NFA’s designated warehouses.Current NFA inventory can only last for four days compared to its mandated buffer stock.The NFA is mandated to maintain a food security reserve good for at least 15 days at any given time.This July, which marks the onset of the lean season for rice, the NFA must have at least a 30-day buffer stock to meet the requirements of victims of calamities and emergencies.Based on computations, the 250,000 MT can only cover for additional seven days.  At least 544,000 MT are needed to maintain the agency’s buffer stocking mandate

Soybeans, corn, rice, wheat building price momentum

Bobby Coats and Bert Greenwalt, agricultural economists with the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University, catch up at the Agricultural Council of Arkansas annual meeting in Little Rock.
New Rice Webinar to feature update from USDA's Nathan Childs on U.S., world rice outlook for remainder of 2017 and into 2018.
Bobby Coats | Jul 24, 2017
What to expect from the markets this week, July 24, 2017
Market “Near Term” Snap Shot
·         Rice: Bullish bias remains, but corrective price action desirable
·         Cotton: Bottoming process underway
·         Soybeans: Corrective price action likely underway before moving higher, a price move through $10.21 and holding opens the door to higher prices
·         Corn: As long as corn remains above $3.69 given global economic dynamics this market is near term more bullish than bearish
·         Wheat: Likely premature to be overly bearish wheat, soybeans, corn, and rice
·         10-year Treasury Yield: Bullish bias or lower yield
·         S. Dollar: In search of a bottom with a near term potential of 92 and increasingly likely lower to at least 87
·         Oil $WTIC: Likely assume bearish until $48 holds as support
·         Commodity Index: Will global reflation efforts be enough to keep this index from revisiting previous lows? Do not rule out a revisit to previous lows, but this index is building a base to move higher
·         S&P 500: Prices still moving higher, but a cautionary time period
·         Global Equities: Global dynamics remains supportive, but remain respective of market dynamics and volatility
·         Feeder and Live Cattle: Remain bullish
·         New Rice Webinar:
Date and Time: Thursday July 27, 2017 2:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) 
Connect with Computer or Smart Phone by Internet or Dial-in and Listen by Phone
Host: Dr. Bobby Coats, Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. E-mail:
Producer: Mary Poling, Coordinator for Interactive Communications, University of Arkansas System Division of Ag, Cooperative Extension Service, E-mail:
·         Topic: U.S. Rice Supplies Expected to Tighten in 2017/18; U.S. Prices Projected Higher (45 minutes)
Presenter: Dr. Nathan Childs, Agricultural Economist with USDA’s Economic Research Service
Description: The June NASS Acreage report indicated a 20-percent decline in U.S. harvested rice area in 2017-18 to 2.5 million acres. Assuming trend yields, the U.S. rice crop is projected to drop 15 percent from a year earlier to 191.3 million cwt, pulling total supplies down 11percent. Both domestic use and exports are projected to contract in response to the tighter supplies and resulting higher prices. Despite smaller use, U.S. stocks are expected to drop to a more normal level after three consecutive years of abnormally high ending stocks. Globally, rice trade is expected to increase, with China remaining the largest rice importer and India and Thailand remaining the largest exporters. Global rice stocks are projected to increase to the highest level since 2001-02.
·         Topic: Arkansas Rice Crop Update – (10 – 15 minutes)
Presenter: Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Associate Professor and State Rice Extension Agronomist, Crop, Soil & Environmental Science Department, University of Arkansas System-Division of Agriculture
Webinar Registration Link:
 In addition to the following “Expanded near Term Market Outlook Considerations for Week Beginning July 24, 2017.”
·         NOTE: To see slide show for charts and expanded details, click on the download button at the bottom of this article.
This week’s select summary considerations:
·         10-Year US Treasury Yield:
·         Bullish bias or lower yield
·         We enter the week with the 10 Year US Treasury Yield slightly bullish with a potentially lower yield
·         The larger trend remaining bullish or lower yield
·         Most likely Demand, Economic Weakness, Event Risk Concerns, or Other Market Concerns/Factors will likely take yields lower to 2 or below before significant move higher
·         US Dollar Index:
·         In search of a bottom with a near term potential of 92, but increasingly appears lower to 87
·         Near term some correction of downside move should be anticipated
·         Bottoming process may take longer than previously expected
·         Big Picture: The dollar has a bullish bias given global economic, social, political and military challenges, but present macro factors favor more dollar weakness than strength
·         CRB Index:
·         Will global reflation efforts be enough to keep this index from revisiting previous lows? Do not rule out a revisit to previous lows, but this index is building a base to move higher
·         Bigger Picture: Though spastic, global macro and growth forces in general remain supportive of the commodity sector
·         Between Fed off-again and on-again accommodation and/or misdirectional verbal guidance, building uncertainties surrounding fiscal, trade and regulatory policy simulative activities, the $CRB Commodity Index: a key economic indicator, has struggled
·         $WTIC Light Crude Oil:
·         Likely assume bearish until $48 holds as support
·         Complex and volatile market
·         Fundamentals are overriding OPEC verbal guidance and an array of other factors now suggest consideration of a possible price move to $41 or lower; that said being short this market has its challenges
·         Soybeans:
·         Corrective price action likely underway before moving higher
·         Global macro forces possibly price supportive, a price move through $10.21 and holding opens the door to higher prices
·         Corn:
·         As long as corn remains above $3.69 given global economic dynamics this market near term is more bullish than bearish
·         Cautionary Note: Sustained oil price weakness could possibly be problematic for corn prices
·         Long Grain Rice:
·         Bullish bias remains, but corrective price action desirable
·         This is a highly complex market with an array of factors impacting price from 2017-2018 beginning stocks; 2017 acreage, production and quality uncertainties; present underlying aggregate commodity sector dynamics; problematic global economic momentum, geopolitical uncertainties, and/or global agronomic outlook
·         Cotton:
·         Bottoming process underway
·         Wheat:
·         Global macro dynamics a key consideration in being overly bearish wheat, soybeans, corn and rice
·         SPY SPDR S&P 500 ETF:
·         Prices still moving higher, but a cautionary time period
·         Allow price action to provide guidance
·         QQQ NASDAQ Power Shares:
·         Technology continues to perform, remain cautious
·         Allow price action to provide guidance
·         EFA iShares ETF - Global Equities Excluding U.S. and Canada:
·         Trend remains up
·         A cautionary time period
·         Allow price action to provide guidance
·         EEM iShares ETF, Emerging Market Equities:
·         Trend remains up
·         A cautionary time period
·         Allow price action to provide guidance
1.      Bobby Coats is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas System. E-mail:

Farmers tasks FG yam export, rice import policies
By Abbas Jimoh | Publish Date: Jul 25 2017 6:44PM

A coalition of farmers and stakeholders in the agricultural sector under the aegis of the Voices for Food Security (VFS) Campaign has commended the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for turning yam, one of Nigeria’s major staple crops into an exportable cash crop.

A statement jointly signed by the VFS Chairman Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola and Secretary Barrister Ken Ukaoha said the development is part of the move to diversify the economy and increase the country’s agricultural export base.

It however call for caution on the implementation of the policy alongside the rice importation ban policy to avoid food shortage and antecedent food crisis.“VFS observes the importance of yam to food security and livelihood of Nigerians, particularly to the farming population, and also notes that Nigeria is the world largest producer of yam with an annual production of about 40 million metric tons, accounting for 70 percent of world yam production.
“VFS regrets that despite this position, the country has not been earning foreign exchange from the commodity, while countries like Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire that produce far less quantity of yam have been dominating the international market with yam and getting significant foreign exchange from the commodity, and perhaps sourcing their yam from Nigeria,” it said.According to the statement the government policy will stimulate increased production of yam among farmers in the medium to long term, encourage private sector participation in the yam value chain, initiate more research on yam and encourage special government interventions on the yam value chain.
It observed that smallholder farmers who constitute the bulk of yam producers in Nigeria are challenged by poor access to formal credit and lack of modern farming tools and equipment.It said: “While commending the approach, VFS however implores government to consider the concern that possible negative effect of the policy on food security may be real. This is in view of the fact that when the present promotion of yam export coincides with another policy of rice import restriction, the outcome may not be altogether palatable for the nation.
“Therefore, given the greater importance of food security over and above foreign exchange saving or sourcing at the moment, VFS hereby urges Government to either consider a proper time phasing rather than simultaneous implementation of the two mutually reinforcing policy instruments (promotion of yam export and restriction of rice imports) at the same time or the promotion of increased domestic production of both commodities to avoid shortage that could create a food security challenge.”

19 foreign firms offer to supply 250,000MT of rice

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:08 AM July 25, 2017
The number of prospective bidders for the open tender to deliver 250,000 metric tons of rice to the National Food Authority (NFA) rose to 19 on the eve of the deadline for submission of bids set for this morning.
The NFA said all those interested to compete for a total of eight contracts worth about P5.6 billion were all based in Southeast Asia.
Among them, 10 were from Vietnam, the source of most of the NFA’s milled rice imports during the past several years.
These were Vietnam Southern Food Corp. (Vinafood) II, Gentraco Corp., Gia International Corp., Vietnam Northern Food Corp. (Vinafood I), Phan Min Investment Production Trading Services Co. Ltd., Hiep Loi Food Jsc, Thuan Minh Import Export Corp., Wilman Trade Ltd., Thao Minh Chau Production Trading Co. Ltd. and Tan Long Group Joint Stock Co.
Six bidders were based in Thailand, including Ponglarp Co. Ltd., Thai Hua Co. Ltd., Capital Cereals Co. Ltd., Asia Golden Rice Co. Ltd., Thai Granlux International Inc. and Thai Capital Crops Co. Ltd.
Two of the remainder were Olam International Ltd. and Louis Dreyfus Co. and the last was Swhe Wah Yaung Agriculture Production Co. Ltd. from Myanmar.
NFA Deputy Administrator Tomas Escarez said in a statement that the entire volume was divided into eight lots—two lots of 50,000 tons each and six of 25,000 tons each.
Escarez, who chairs the NFA’s special bids and awards committee for this importation, said each supplier could bid for 50,000 tons at most.
“The volume was divided into lots to allow more private sector participation and to give a chance to small bidders to participate,” he said

Rice, papaya, oranges — 3 GMO versions of conventional crops tweaked for humanity’s benefit

Carol Curchoe | July 24, 2017 | AGDAILY
[Editor’s note: Dr. Carol Lynn Curchoe is the founder of 32ATPs, and is a scientist, teacher, consultant, advisor, and author.]
Let’s look at three examples of GM crops that were not created to increase corporate profit, but for the benefit of humanity.
The most damaging micronutrient deficiencies in the world are the consequence of low dietary intake of iron, vitamin A, iodine, and zinc. Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is prevalent among the poor whose diets are based mainly on rice. A group of European scientists spent over a decade inserting two genes from daffodil and one gene from a bacterium into rice…. The technology was licensed … by companies (AstraZeneca and Monsanto) for commercialization. The companies have since granted free licenses for “humanitarian” use.
Commercialized in 1998, the Rainbow papaya produced immediate results. Within four years, the genetic improvement had not only stopped the rapid decline of the Hawaii papaya industry, but production actually returned to levels near where they were before the papaya ringspot virus invasion.
[Scientists] have discovered that a gene from spinach can make orange trees resistant to [citrus greening]. The gene that has been found to be effective exists in slightly different forms in hundreds of plants and animals, including in our own cells — it produces a protein that attacks invading bacteria. This strain is still undergoing regulatory approval.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Seeds and grains of global change
Pakistan, China to produce new variety of rice
July 25, 2017
Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI - To discuss the research matters linked with the development of new varieties of high quality rice, a delegation of Chinese officials called on Pakistani scientists at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) – University of Karachi (UoK) on Monday.
Director General China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI) of Hangzhou - China, Prof Dr Cheng Shihua along with the six-member Chinese delegation visited the ICCBS-UOK, and had a meeting with former Federal Minister for Science & Technology and ex Chairman Higher Education Commission Pakistan, Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman and Director ICCBS Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary.
The meeting was held at the Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi.
The delegation, comprising of Prof Dr. Zhuang Jieyun, Prof Dr Wu Jianli, Prof Dr Wang Kejian, Dr Luo Ju and Zheng Youchuan, visited different research facilities setup at the ICCBS.
In the meeting, Prof Atta-ur-Rahman, Prof Iqbal Choudhary, the rice expert Dr Fida Abbasi of Hazara University, and the Chinese officials underlined the importance of conducting research for developing new high yielding, disease resistant and high quality varieties of rice. They resolved to promote further collaborative research between the scientists of two countries. They said that China has a reputation to be the largest producer of rice in the world, while Pakistan produced varieties of rice of high quality in the world.
The setup of Sino-Pakistan Hybrid Rice Research Center is linked with the objective to mutually conduct research for the development of new high yielding and high quality rice, they said and added that the rice research center has two branches, one is in ICCBS-UoK and another branch has been setup in China.
In the meeting it was discussed that Chinese scientists will train the scholars from ICCBS in the field of rice breeding and production of high quality hybrid rice seed. The officials of both the institutions agreed to enhance relations between the two institutions and to develop academic exchange in the area of research. The institution will focus on basic and applied research with priority on solving significant scientific and technical problems in rice production.
After the meeting, ICCBS arranged a seminar in which five presentations of Chinese and Pakistani scientists were presented

Pakistan, China in rice research tie-up

KARACHI: The scientists of Pakistan and China will join forces to promote collaborative research for producing high yielding and high quality rice varieties, a statement said on Monday.
“Conducting research for the developing new high yielding, disease resistant, and high quality varieties of rice is extremely important for ensuring food security,” said Prof Dr Cheng Shihua, DG China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI) of Hangzhou, China, in a sitting with Prof Atta-ur-Rahman, at Karachi University (KU).    The meeting, which was also attended by Prof Iqbal Choudhary, a rice expert, and Dr Fida Abbasi of Hazara University, was held at Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) in KU.
Prof Shihua, who is leading the delegation of Chinese scientists, said it was imperative for the researchers of both the countries to compare notes. “We are resolved to promote further collaborative research between the scientists of two countries,” he said while talking to Prof Att-ur-Rahman, the former minister for science and technology.  Giving his input, one of the visiting scientists said that China was the largest producer of rice in the world, but Pakistan produced a number of high-quality varieties of rice in the world.

Upali Cooray Former General Manager of SATHOSA

When you hear someone say it’s like white on rice, what they mean is that the situation is as close as anything can be. In other words, you’ve got it covered the way rice is covered in white.
The controversial purchase of MIG Jets by the Sri Lanka Government from the Government of Ukraine is one instance where what was said to be a government to government (G to G) contract was not so, but a third party named Belimissa holdings, a company based in U.K has played a vital role.   It is alleged funds were transferred through this third party.
A similar mal – practice is being enacted by the yahapalana government on the pretext of importing rice.
According to local media, Sri Lanka government has picked three countries to obtain 200,000 MT of rice immediately to meet the shortfall in the domestic market. The Minister of Industry and Commerce said, a four man team of officials already is in Pakistan to pick rice varieties for the domestic rice market. On July 12, the team will head to Myanmar from Islamabad to test Burmese rice varieties for the Sri Lanka market.
Yala season’s failure and the floods created this rice shortage. We have picked Myanmar, Pakistan and India and the country that did not get in was Indonesia said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen. 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. Whether it is finally supplied by one or both countries, the purchase shall be at Government to Government basis. (G to G)
G to G purchases are a usual ruse adopted by racketeers to dupe the people. The buying prices are loaded with commissions. The contract is signed by officials of the buying and selling parties but the Letter of credit is made transferable. The selling government agency then handover the transferable LC to a third party who is a private trader who is the actual shipper.
While acknowledging that there is going to be a shortage of rice, total lack of transparency in the procurement method makes it shady.
The government procurement procedures are very explicit and do not allow any body to have his own way. The Minister of Commerce is well known for having his own rules “the Kabaragoya (water monitor) becomes Thalagoya (Bengal monitor) when he determines to do something on his own way. This Sinhala proverb explains how an inedible water monitor turns to an edible Bengal monitor for someone who wants to consume the animal.
The government procurement procedure does not permit purchases even from a foreign government agency ignoring the laid down procedure. There cannot be any deviation from the clearly spelt out rules and regulations. The bidder has to furnish a bid bond to ensure maintenance of the bid. The successful bidder then has to furnish a performance bond once the offer is accepted. The shipping terms and conditions such as the specifications of the product and packing are among many other terms and conditions. These conditions have to be complied even by foreign governments’ agencies.
Leaving aside the premium grade, the number one grade specifications are as follows
Moisture  14 %
Foreign matter. 0..05. %
Admixture 2.0. %
Damaged grains 1.0. %
Broken grains  20%
Paddy seeds 10
The usual procedure is for the seller or buyer to appoint a cargo surveyor at the port of loading. In most instances the cargo surveyor is bought over by the seller and certificate of conformity is issued. These certificates issued by unscrupulous surveyors have no value. This is where the seller makes mega bucks which are shared with other connivers.  Imagine 20% broken grains in a shipment of 100000 tons which is 20000 tons.  If the seller fraudulently in connivance with the surveyor makes it 30% Viz. 30000 tons. All other specifications can be manipulated in this manner. There are two solutions for this problem. Send officers with proven integrity to the port of leading for inspecting whether the cargo is according to given specifications.  Any laymen with education can do this. It is not rocket science. The second solution is to buy the rice on what is known as DP (documents on payment). According to this method the buyer does not pay until the cargo arrives at the port of discharge. The buyer has the right to refuse accepting the cargo if it is found to be not according to specifications.
The other question is the availability of storage and scientific stock management.  The Paddy marketing Board and the Food Commissioner had adequate space for storage in the past. These stores have been used for other purposes or abandoned. I hope orders have been placed to ensure shipments of around 10000 tons per shipment to arrive once a fortnight in scattered small lots. The white raw rice is more susceptible to insect attack than Nadu rice. The quantity of rice being imported may become inconsumable in few months if kept lying in stores. Then it will be sold to a distillery or as animal feed. This vicious cycle has to be broken somehow.
One need not teach the President of Sri Lanka about rice or Paddy, as he is from a farming family in Polonnaruwa and his brother is a leading miller in the country. These millers now give emphasis to up – market rice such as Samba.,Keeri Samba and Supiri Kerri Samba. I suspect that the President’s announcement of rice imports could be a strategy to get the hoarders to release their hidden stocks. Well and good.
While the President may have made his announcement with all good intentions, the task of implementing has gone to an already stained hand. Let’s wish that the announcement to import rice is only a strategy to get the hoarders to release their stocks,
Upali Cooray
Govt’s Boro procurement suffers setback in Nilphamari
Our Correspondent

NILPHAMARI, July 24: District Controller (DC) of food Nilphamari failed to contract with the millers the targeted amount of Boro rice to be procured in the district. There was a target to procured 15415 tonnes of rice in seven Local Supply Depot (LSD) of the district but the office contracted only 6033 tonnes of rice to be procured from 156 husking and auto rice mills across the district.
The procurement is still going on very slowly and until 2,293 tonnes of rice has been procured which will continue up to August 31.Sources said, Boro procurement which started 40 days back is certain to suffer setback due to apathy of the mill owners to supply rice. While contacted Azizul Islam, one auto rice mill owner of Nilphamari Municipality who has been contracted to supply rice to the government said government procurement price of rice is Tk 34 per kg whereas existing market price of rice is above Tk 40 per kg in the prevailing market in Nilphamari. As a result of which they are sustaining huge loss in supplying rice to the government.
While contacted Abdur Rahman, another husking mill owner of Domar Upazila, said he has contracted to supply rice to the government but existing market price of paddy is Tk 1,000 per maund (40 kg) as a result of which they are suffering loss of Tk 200 per maund of rice. He said however they supplied a small amount of rice to the government. He expressed inability to supply rice to the government.

New agreement for US rice exports to China

A new agreement with strict standards allows US to export rice to China.

Curated byOliverimhof
24 July 2017
The world's largest rice consumer has become a customer for #The United States. The trade talks between US and #china is no news. However, the progress that is shown in this trade relationship is little to nothing. While it has been feared that the trade talks will be for naught, not benefitting both the countries, the current agreement for US rice export shows hope.

Historical agreement

The democratic superpower and the communist superpower was trying to establish a trade relationship that will benefit both the nations. Important delegates from the two superpowers have come together to discuss and sign a mutual benefiting trade relationship.
However, despite days of negotiation, the delegates cannot come to terms to sign any form of trade relations. The public and the media had the impression that the meeting of delegates will bear no fruits. It is anticipated that the two countries will not shake hands towards an economic relationship.
It is at the moment when all hope is lost and the public was less enthusiastic of the trade talks. The delegates of The United States and China signed their trade agreement on rice imports, allowing rice to be imported from the United States to China.

Benefits for The United States

Secretary of Agriculture #Sonny Perdue released the official statement that the United States Department of Agriculture has finalized the protocols for rice export to China. He further stated, "This is another great day for U.S.
agriculture and, in particular, for our rice growers and millers, who can now look forward to gaining access to the Chinese market. This market represents an exceptional opportunity today, with enormous potential for growth in the future." Sonny Perdue also let us know that this historical day is a cumulation of ten years worth of efforts.
This agreement will reap numerous benefits for the United States businesses, agriculturist, and exporters. Some of the benefits are:
  • Rice export agreement for the largest rice consumer in the world (China).
  • Statistics state that China is the largest importer of rice, since 2013.
  • Rice manufacturers and rice producers that follow the protocols of the agreement will be allowed to export their produce to China.
  • Reports state that China has imported 5 million tons of rice, last year.
The above mentioned are the very few of the numerous benefits of U.S.- China trade. This agreement allows The U.S. to trade in a very vast and important rice market.

USA Rice Outlines Farm Bill Priorities at Senate Ag Committee Hearing  
WASHINGTON, DC -- This morning the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry held a hearing entitled "Commodities, Credit, and Crop Insurance:  Perspectives on Risk Management Tools and Trends for the 2018 Farm Bill."  The hearing focused on the three aforementioned titles of the farm bill that comprise the farm safety net.  Jennifer James, an Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of the USA Rice Sustainability Committee, testified on behalf of the U.S. rice industry.  A total of seventeen witnesses participated in the hearing representing all major agricultural commodities, the crop insurance industry, and farm credit and financial experts.

James's testimony focused on the substantial economic and environmental benefits generated by the U.S. rice industry and how the farm safety net allows farm families like hers to operate in the down cycle, when times are tough and prices are low.

"Rice farms act as economic drivers for their communities, generating on average one million dollars per farm each year in our local economies," said James.  "Unfortunately, many of our growers have been forced to operate at or below their cost of production for the last three years."

Operating costs for rice exceed every other crop covered by the Commodity Title - and, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the 2018 crop year is forecast to have some of the highest production costs on record - nearly $1,000 per acre for rice.  For that reason, and because specialized infrastructure, field equipment, soil types, and weather preclude a shift to other crops, rice farmers are in it for the long haul but, James reiterated, need the safety net that the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program provides.

"Title 1 particularly affects my farm's ability to survive market depressions and any number of natural disasters.  We need to get it right," said James.  "It's safe to say that one of the reasons I'm still in business, along with the majority of rice farming families, is because of the 2014 Farm Bill's safety net, specifically PLC.  Ninety-nine percent of long grain rice farms and 94 percent of medium grain farms selected PLC - and it has in fact provided critical counter-cyclical assistance when needed most."

James suggested Congress could make PLC even more effective for rice farmers by updating it to reflect rising production costs and inflation, and to accelerate the delivery of assistance closer to harvest.

Another area of concern for farmers is the Actively Engaged in Farming regulations.  The strict definitions contained in the regulations impact farms not solely comprised of lineal family members and impose an arbitrary cap of three managers per operation.  USDA's final rule does not protect entities from maintaining "family farm" status in the event of the death or retirement of a family member, which has resulted in the disqualification of true family members who have an active role in the operation's survival.

"My son and his first cousins, who dream of tilling the land their great-great grandfather purchased in the late 1800s, may have to downsize because those cousins are not considered true family members since their dad, my brother, no longer farms," said James.  "I would suggest an exemption within the regulations to mitigate against unforeseen family linkage breaks in operating structure."

James noted that the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) means test should be repealed.  "The farm bill shouldn't punish growers for farming larger tracts of land or being profitable by disqualifying their operations from farm safety net programs," she said.

In response to a question from Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) on trade challenges, James noted the need for opening new markets like Cuba, challenging unfair trade practices among our rice competitors, and maintaining funding for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service export promotion programs.  When asked by Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) to shed light on why conservation programs are important to rice farmers, James touted the rice industry's track record on conservation and sustainability, and the major contributions to wildlife habitat.
In closing, James said, "Farm families take on incredible financial risks each year in the face of often distorted global markets, unpredictable weather, disease, and other challenges.  We do this because we love it and if it were up to us as farmers, we would prefer to prosper only by the prices our crops bring at the market.  But commodity markets aren't always kind.  Right now our crops are simply not bringing enough to pay our bills without the assistance of the 2014 Farm Bill safety net.  I am here to ask for this Committee's consideration in not only maintaining our Commodity Title programs, but strengthening it."
USA RICE daily

SPECIAL PODCAST: USA Rice's Betsy Ward on Trade Deal With China
Clikc the Following Link to Listen the Audio

Non-textile exports fall

Updated July 25, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Exports of non-textile products fell four per cent year-on-year to $7.99 billion in the outgoing fiscal year.The exports of these products fell des­pite the government support, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Commerce.
The share of these products also fell to 39pc in the outgoing fiscal year from 40pc in the previous year. It clearly reflects that reliance on exports of textile and clothing sectors increased over the past few years.
In the non-textile sector, cement exports dropped 26pc in value and 24pc in quantity due to declining exports to South Africa following the imposition of anti-dumping duties.
Exports of the food group registered a decline of 7pc. A break-up of the food group shows that rice exports fell 13.6pc. The decline in rice export was recorded of both basmati and others. Exports of fruits dipped 10.6pc, while proceeds of vegetable exports witnessed a decline of 12.48pc, meat and its products fell by 17.82pc.
Export earnings from fish and fish preparations increased 21pc, tobacco 35pc, wheat 512pc, spices 10pc, oil seeds and nuts 57pc, and sugar 21pc.
Exports of petroleum and coal groups edged up 18.3pc year-on-year on account of a 30pc increase in petroleum products and petroleum top naphta 3,721pc. However, exports of petroleum crude decline by 26pc and solid fuel by 100pc during the period under review.
Exports of carpets, rugs and mats dropped 19.63pc and sports goods 5.17pc. In the sports goods, the exports of football dropped by 11.77pc. Proceeds from tanned leather fell 4.73pc during the year under review. Exports of surgical goods and medical instruments decreased 5.50pc.
Footwear exports dropped 13pc in the outgoing fiscal year 2016-17. However, exports of leather footwear declined by 9.27pc during the period under review. Exports of leather manufactured products also fell 6.49pc.
Exports of pharmaceutical products witnessed a growth of 3.63pc in the outgoing fiscal year and those of plastic material surged by 14.48pc and guar and its products 19.77pc during the year under review. Exports of gems fell 23.73pc while those of furniture declined 15pc, jewellery 26pc in the outgoing fiscal year 2016-17. Exports of handicrafts rose 73pc and molasses 38pc during the period under review.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2017

Mix grains for great taste, texture

Grains and pseudograins, from left, amaranth, chia, millet, quinoa and teff (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune)
Quinoa? Amaranth? Millet? Huh? How to mix grains for great taste, texture
So you've cooked up a batch or two of quinoa. Sprinkled chia seeds on your steel-cut morning oats. Found packages of grains labeled spelt, millet, teff and kaniwa sitting next to the barley and oats at your supermarket. And savored restaurant creations starring grains of many textures, colors and flavors.
Unfortunately, your attempts at grain-mixing mashups have been more mush than masterful.
Don't give up. A little understanding of grains and a few tips from a grain-cooking pro should help you become a master at mixing them.
"Cooking with some of the lesser known grains needn't be daunting," writes Ghillie James, in her book "Amazing Grains: From Classic to Contemporary, Wholesome Recipes for Every Day" (Kyle Books, $29.95). "There are so many ways to combine the textures and flavors of different grains in everyday cooking."
James tackles more than a dozen grains in her book, from the usual suspects — barley, bulgur and rice — to their more unusual cousins such as farro, freekeh and spelt. She also includes amaranth, buckwheat, chia and quinoa, which are often called "pseudograins," "because of their similar nutrient profile and the fact that they can be used in a very similar way to cereals," she writes. "They often look like grains, too."
Sometimes these grains come in different colors. Sometimes whole grains are transformed — cracked, pearled, toasted or ground — which can influence how long they are cooked as well as their cooked texture. Whole grains can take longer to cook than, say, pearled or cracked versions. Cooked cracked grains can have a different texture than cooked whole or ground grains.
Those factors — color, flavor and cooked texture — will come into play when you mix and match.
For example, James likes to mix mild, crunchy quinoa with the nutty, slightly malty amaranth in a salad with roasted pumpkin wedges and macadamia nuts. Don't like quinoa? Try a mix of wild and basmati rice, suggests James. And in another salad, she mixes nutty, earthy buckwheat with mild quinoa before adding green beans, arugula, peaches, mozzarella and crisped prosciutto.
There is a method to mixing and matching grains, she explains. For example, by using a mix of whole and pearled grains or pseudograins, writes James, you can make a recipe lighter, as well as change the taste and texture of the dish while upping the nutrient value.
Among her favorite pairings: quinoa and buckwheat, amaranth and couscous, quinoa and whole-grain couscous. The mild quinoa and couscous stand up to the sturdier buckwheat and amaranth.
"You can add chia to pretty much everything, especially oats," James wrote in an email. She'll also add chia to cookies and flapjacks "to give extra energy" and crunch.
"Amaranth can be a bit stodgy and unsubstantial, so I tend to cook it and then stir it into other bigger grains — freekeh, buckwheat cracked wheat and bulgur to name a few," she added. "You don't need to cook lots though, just add a couple of tablespoons because a little goes a long way."
A few caveats?
Follow grain-cooking instructions. "It's a bit like baking — you need to cook grains precisely," she wrote. "You shouldn't just presume you can throw all the grains together and boil them, or you will end up with a stodgy mess!"
That's one reason to follow package directions the first time you cook an unfamiliar grain so you can discover its taste (mild, strong) and cooked texture (soft, chewy, crunchy). It's also why some recipes cook different grains separately before combining them — or add quick-cooking grains to a pot of slow-cooking grains at different times.
"I like to have plenty of flavor in recipes and I notice that people often cook way too much grain and not enough added extras," James says. "Think of the grains as the canvas and add a colorful variety of things to it. Grains will also soak up dressings and sauces, especially when warm — which is a good thing."
A perfect example and a good way to try out James' grain-mixing method? Her quick-fix, five-step everyday salad. Follow the formula to mix and match your favorite flavors and textures.
•Cook some grains (whole grain couscous, cracked or bulgur wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, wheat berries, spelt or pearl barley are her favorites).
•Add some fruit/vegetables (cucumber, scallions, radish, celery, peppers, tomato, corn, asparagus, apple, avocado, grapes, grated carrot, dried apricots, green beans, snow peas).
•Throw in some crumbled feta, drained canned tuna, cold crispy bacon, leftover roasted meat or sausages, shrimp, goat cheese, white beans or chickpeas.
•Sprinkle with some nuts and seeds (pumpkin, chia seeds, toasted almonds, pine nuts).
•Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Season well.
Twitter @judytrib
Tips on cooking
A few more pointers from Ghillie James:
•"Cooking times for grains vary depending on the brand and ... age of the grains."
•Make sure grains are not stale.
•Cooking times can vary from 10 minutes (buckwheat) to 60 minutes (rye berries), or they may require no cooking at all (chia seeds).
•Whole grains generally require longer cooking times than pearled (refined or processed) grains.
•If you like grains with bite, "keep testing so you don't overcook them."
•"I like to combine grains with pulses (beans, peas, legumes) not only for their difference in taste and texture but also for the nutrients they provide."
•Toast grains for extra flavor: Place grains (i.e. millet, bulgur wheat) in a dry skillet; heat gently, stirring, until evenly toasted. Cook as usual.
About the grains
Color: Sand-colored seeds.
Taste: Mild, nutty, slightly malty.
Texture: Some crunch, slight oatmeal-like consistency. Can get gluey, so mix with a drier grain such as oats.
Use: Boil whole for salads or sides. Or toast in a dry skillet.
Color: Oval seeds, with dark red brown markings.
Taste: Mild.
Texture: Seriously crunchy.
Use: Soups and stews as a thickener. Muffins. If not cooked, grind before using to get nutritional benefits.
Color: Cream to black.
Taste: Creamy; nutty if toasted.
Texture: Creamy when cooked longer.
Add: Cook whole for stews or salads. Add to breads or toast in a skillet.
Color: Usually white; also black or red.
Taste: Mild, slightly grassy flavor.
Texture: Slightly crunchy.
Use: In soups and stews. Works in salads. Add to fritters and burgers.
Color: Tiny brown to reddish-brown seeds.
Taste: Malty.
Texture: Crunchy.
Use: Whole grains in soup. Add to vegetables or salads. Stir into couscous or rice.
India discussing rice exports issue with EU: Commerce Secretary

The European Commission has brought down the maximum residue limit (MRL) level for fungicide Tricyclazole in basmati rice to 0.01 mg per kg from next year.
India is discussing with the European Union the concerns of domestic rice exporters that tightening norms on pesticide use will affect their shipments to the region. The European Commission has brought down the maximum residue limit (MRL) level for fungicide Tricyclazole in basmati rice to 0.01 mg per kg from next year. "We are discussing the matter with them. Some European countries also use this pesticide," Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia told reporters here today. Rice exporters body AIREA has stated that tough norms by the European Commission will hit the exports badly as trade worth over Rs 1,700 crore could shift to Pakistan.
 AIREA has said that the EU has virtually imposed a ban on import of Indian basmati rice by reducing 100-fold the import tolerance level of Tricyclazole and it is not possible to bring down the pesticide level all of a sudden to nearly zero. Two aromatic basmati rice varieties -- PB1 and 1401 -- are exported the most to the EU. The shipments of these varieties with Tricyclazole MRL at 0.03 mg per kg were accepted so far from India. At least two crop cycles are required to effect the desired change. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence that it is harmful to human health, he said, adding that meanwhile farmers are being educated to use the fungicide in a judicious manner. Agricultural and Processed Food Products and Export Development Authority (Apeda) Chairman D K Singh said that it is organising awareness programmes about use of such pesticides in rice. "We have started the awareness programme. Our target is to reach 50,000 farmers in next two months. The target is mainly rice growing areas. We are telling them about judicious use of such pesticides," he said.
2017 Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia conference ready to go in Leeton
THE Leeton economy is gearing up for a significant boost and it’s all thanks to rice.  The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) will be holding its annual conference in Leeton next week and, thanks to the many visitors expected, the shire can expect a cash injection.  Growers from all over are set to attend the event, which was last held in Leeton in 2010.  The conference rotates its venue each year, with a difference branch given the hosting duties.  In 2017 that has fallen to the Yanco branch of the RGA, who chose to hold the function in Leeton.  “You can actually choose wherever you like to hold the conference,” RGA eecutive director Graeme Kruger said. 
“The Coleambally branch held theirs in Melbourne as SunRice has offices there and the ports are there where products are exported from.  “We’re very excited to have it come back to Leeton.  “It’s great for the economy. People will be spending their money in town while here for the conference. It’s good for everyone.” With an interesting line up of guest speakers for the conference, growers can also be expected to be informed and inspired over the two days.
They will include Foodbank Australia chief executive officer Brianna Casey and Fisheries Research and Development Centre national carp control plan co-ordinator, Matt Barwick. Murray-Darling Basin Authority chief executive officer Phillip Glyde will also speak and, no doubt, will be sought after by many in attendance for a chat about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. There will also be a panel session about water trade.
 “To quote Buzz Lightyear ‘to infinity and beyond’ … that’s the direction we will be focusing on at the conference thanks to our theme ‘Building Value – Rice and Beyond’,” Mr Kruger said.  “We want growers to be inspired and informed throughout the conference. It won’t just be about rice, but all sorts of topics.” The event is heavily subsidised for RGA members, with registrations closing on Friday. It will also include the annual conference dinner, the annual general meeting and a post-conference tour of Tim and Annette Commins’ property.  We’re very excited to have it come back to Leeton.- RGA executive director Graeme Kruger
US rice not ready for entering Chinese market, despite recent deal, China says
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Wednesday that US rice needs to gain further approval from Chinese officials to enter the market, despite a recent agreement that would open up the Chinese market to US rice for the first time. After several rounds of talks, Chinese and US officials agreed last week on inspection and quarantine requirements for US rice to enter the Chinese market, but that's just the first step, according to Chinese law, a MOFCOM spokes person said in a statement online.
US rice producers and processors that intend to export rice to the Chinese market still need to register with the US government, which then recommends them to China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), according to the statement. After gaining approval from the AQSIQ, the US side still needs to conduct a fumigation process on the rice and submit pesticides and techniques used in the process to Chinese officials for inspection and confirmation, the statement added. "The three steps above are integral parts of the process," the MOFCOM spokesperson said, "so far, only one step has been completed, so US rice trade with China cannot go ahead yet.
"  The US had been pushing China to open up its domestic market to US farmers while China was importing an increasing amount of rice from other countries.  The agreement was reached last week during the China-US Comprehensive Economic Dialogue meeting in Washington D.C. and was hailed by US officials as a historic step that would greatly benefit US farmers and processors. "The agreement with China has been in the works for more than a decade and I'm pleased to see it finally come to fruition, especially knowing how greatly it will benefit our growers and industry," US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement following the agreement.
 A local media outlet in California, the second-largest rice-goring state in the US, quoted Jim Morris, an official at the California Rice Commission, as saying, "hopefully by the end of the year, we'll have rice heading to China… We anticipate the volume will start slow, and then we'll build on that." China imported 3.56 million tons of rice in 2016, increasing 5.5 percent year-on-year, according to customs data released in February. The country spent more than $1.6 billion on rice imports in the same year, up 7.7 percent from the previous year, the data showed.

PHL to buy rice from 6 foreign suppliers

The National Food Authority (NFA) on Tuesday said six Southeast Asian companies would likely secure the contract to supply 250,000 metric tons (MT) of imported rice to the Philippines.
The NFA made the pronouncement following an auction held in Quezon City. Most of the winning bidders were from Vietnam.
Four rice exporters from Vietnam secured six lots representing 175,000 MT. These include state-run Vietnam Southern Food Corp. II (Vina Food II), which offered to supply 50,000 MT for $424.45 per MT; and Hiep Loi Food Joint Stock Co., which will deliver 25,000 MT of rice for $425.9/MT.
Two other Vietnamese companies—Tan Long Group Joint Stock Co. and Gia International Corp.,— secured a total of four two lots, totaling 100,000 MT. Tan Long would supply rice at $414/MT and $409/MT, while Gia International Corp. pegged its bid at $421.64/MT and $415.65/MT.
Singapore-based Olam International Ltd. offered to supply 50,000 MT of rice at $413.89/MT, while Thailand-based Capital Cereals Co. Ltd. would deliver the remaining volume of 25,000 MT at $431.7/MT.
The NFA pegged the reference price at $451.08/MT and divided the 250,000 MT into eight lots (six lots of 25,000 MT each and two lots of 50,000 MT each) to allow more private-sector participation.
The government had set aside a budget of P5.637 billion for the purchase of imported rice. Based on the offers on Tuesday, the government would save some P394 million as the total amount reached $104.84 million, or P5.234 billion.
NFA Deputy Administrator Tomas R. Escarez said the unspent amount for the importation will go back to the food agency’s budget.
Of the 21 foreign suppliers that secured bidding documents from the NFA, Escarez said only 18 companies showed up during the auction.
Out of the 18 companies, only 16 were qualified to bid because two interested exporters did not submit their offers, while a Hong Kong-based company did not meet the agency’s qualifications.
However, the NFA gave Hong Kong-based company Singsong Ltd. three days to file a motion for reconsideration and justify their participation in the bidding.
“If we will consider their motion, then we will open their bids and evaluate it, along with the 16 others,” he said.
If the Hong Kong firm’s bid is lower than those offered by the six winning companies, Singsong would be able to secure a supply contract from the NFA.
“There is a chance that 50,000 MT out of the 250,000 MT could still change if [Singsong] will satisfy the documentary requirements and if its offer is lower,” he said.
However, Escarez added there will be no changes in the timetable set by the NFA for the evaluation and award of supply contracts.
All the winning bidders will be subjected to a postqualification evaluation on July 27 and 28. If the bidders pass the postqualification evaluation, they will be issued a notice of award on July 31.
“The awarded suppliers will then be issued a notice to proceed on August 3,” he said.
The NFA divided the delivery of the 250,000 MT of rice 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.
The NFA added its remaining rice stockpile as of July 25 is sufficient to meet the country’s requirement for four days.
The government decided to import rice under the government-to-private sector scheme to prop up the NFA’s buffer stock during the lean months of July, August and September.

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- July 26, 2017
JULY 26, 2017 / 1:45 PM

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-July 26

Nagpur, July 26 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices declined sharply in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
and Marketing Committee (APMC) here on poor buying support from local millers amid high moisture
content arrival. Downward trend on NCDEX, easy condition in Madhya Pradesh pulses and release of
stock from stockists also pushed down prices.
About 200 of gram and 100 bags of tuar were available for auctions, according to sources.

   * Desi gram reported down in open market in absence of buyers amid good supply from
     producing regions.
   * Tuar Karnataka reported higher in open market on good buying support from local

   * Rice Shriram new and Chinnor new showed weak tendency in open market here on lack of
    demand from local traders amid good supply from producing regions.
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 3,500-3,650, Tuar dal (clean) – 5,500-5,700, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 7,200-8,200, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,500-7,200, Gram – 5,000-5,100, Gram Super best
    – 7,200-8,000

   * Wheat, other varieties of 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                  4,800-4,920         4,900-5,120
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                3,200-3,370         3,400-3,550
     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        1,580-1,690         1,550-1,690
     Gram Super Best Bold            7,500-8,000        7,500-8,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            6,700-7,000        6,700-7,000
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            5,300-5,400        5,300-5,400
     Desi gram Raw                5,300-5,400         5,350-5,450
     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        5,200-5,500        5,200-5,500
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        4,800-5,100        4,800-5,100
     Tuar Gavarani New             3,950-4,050        3,950-4,050
     Tuar Karnataka             4,000-4,100        3,950-4,050
     Masoor dal best            4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Masoor dal medium            4,400-4,600        4,400-4,600
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        6,700-7,000         6,700-7,000
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,000-6,500        6,000-6,500
     Moong dal Chilka            5,200-6,000        5,200-6,000
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            6,900-7,400        6,900-7,400
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 7,500-8,500       7,500-8,500
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    6,800-7,200        6,800-7,200   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        4,400-4,900        4,400-4,900    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        4,500-4,800        4,500-4,800
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          2,850-3,050         2,850-3,050
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            2,850-3,000        2,850-2,950
     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)        1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,750-1,850        1,750-1,850  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,100-2,300           2,100-2,300        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,000-3,600        3,000-3,600   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,700        2,200-2,700          
     Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG)        2,700-3,300        2,800-3,400
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,300-3,500        3,300-3,500   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,100        3,000-3,100   
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,500-2,800        2,500-2,800
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)       2,300-2,400        2,300-2,400  
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,500-2,600        2,500-2,650  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,300-2,400        2,300-2,400  
     Rice HMT New (100 INR/KG)        3,700-4,000        3,700-4,000
     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)           4,400-4,800        4,600-5,000
     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)    10,000-13,500        10,000-13,500    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,000-7,500        5,000-7,500   
     Rice Chinnor New(100 INR/KG)        4,500-4,700        4,600-5,000
     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

Maximum temp. 33.6 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 23.5 degree Celsius
Rainfall : 11.6 mm
FORECAST: Generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rains or thunder-showers. Maximum and
minimum temperature would be around and 28 and 23 degree Celsius respectively.
Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, butincluded in market prices)

ATTN: Soyabean mandi, wholesale foodgrain market of Nagpur APMC and oil market in Vidarbha willbe closed tomorrow, Thursday, on the occasion of Nag Panchami.

Thailand Likely To Sell Out All Rice Reserves In July

BANGKOK, July 25 (Bernama) -- Eleven rice exporters of Thailand planned to buy all 160,000 tonnes of edible rice in the country's national reserves, which was put for the third rice auction this year, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.Thailand's Ministry of Commerce will re-examine the qualifications of the exporters and consider prices before submitting to the National Rice Committee for approval, the report added.

If the government agrees to sell the entire lot, it could earn 1.1 billion THB (around US$32 million).The Thai Government is also planning to hold the fourth auction of inedible rice in 2017, with an estimated volume of 2.6 million tonnes.The inedible rice has been in stock since the start of the Yingluck Shinawatra government, which offered to buy rice from farmers at higher-than-market prices.

If the auction is held early and the government decides to sell the entire amount, Thailand could fulfil its goal of selling all rice in stock right in July.The move will relieve pressure on Thai rice prices amid growing rice prices in the world market after many rice-importing and rice-producing countries were hit by bad weather, forcing them to seek supplies from Thailand.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had held talks to purchase about 400,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand to replenish their falling stocks which were caused by severe droughts and floods.

No news from rice fields means good news at the mill

No news from rice fields means good news at the mill

Harvest time is approaching for Texas rice fields (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kathleen Phillips).

Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 3:32 pm
BEAUMONT — As Texas rice farmers gear up for harvest, no news from the field means potentially good news at the mill.“We’re on the front end of the harvest, still about two weeks from the peak, and we’re not hearing of any serious problems with insects or horrendous disease problems,” said Dr. Ted Wilson, center director at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center-Beaumont. “It’s too early to know what yields will be like, but we will probably have a normal year.”
Weeds have been the biggest issue this year, but were not too bad unless a field was in an area with a lot of rainfall, Wilson said.The rice-growing region — more than 20 counties mostly along the upper Gulf Coast and nearthe Oklahoma-Arkansas border — has different soils and rainfall amounts each year, which impacts yields, he noted.“East of Houston, the rice growing area gets an average of 60 inches of rain a year and the soils are heavier, so the moisture lingers,” Wilson said. “West of Houston, the rice fields get about 37 inches a year and the soil is lighter.”

Texas rice farmers planted 158,000 to 172,000 acres, Wilson estimated, and may be able to draw improving prices stemming from the overall U.S. and world rice situation.Overall, Wilson noted, the U.S. rice crop may have decreased about 500,000 acres from 2016 levels.“Most of the drop this year is in Arkansas due to the heavy rains and flooding that happened too late for them to replant. Acreage in Texas may be down from 10-17 percent, which is largely due to suppressed prices,” Wilson said.He explained that the huge carryover of rice internationally — especially in Thailand where the government had purchased large stocks from farmers and then dumped it on the global  market — has been selling down to more manageable levels.“As a result, prices are expected to soon rebound to the levels they should be,” he said. “Barring a tropical storm developing during harvest, we should have a normal year. We have phenomenal growers in Texas.”

NFA draws cheaper bids on rice imports
July 25, 2017 at 08:20 pm

The National Food Authority on Tuesday drew lower bids on 250,000 metric tons of imported rice aimed at boosting the country’s buffer stocks.The NFA said the Philippines will likely save P400 million for the rice imports after earlier allotting P5.6 billion for the shipment. Tuesday’s auction lured bids totaling $104.8 million or P5.2 billion.
The NFA said 21 companies bought bid documents for the open tender but only 18 were present during the auction. Two did not drop their bid offers while one company from Hong Kong failed to submit contracts document.
“Singsong (H.K.) Limited will be given three days to submit the document. After we evaluate, we will open their bid offers. That is the process,” said NFA bids and awards committee chairman Tomas Escarez.
The NFA earlier said 250,000 MT of rice imports were divided into eight lots: six lots of 25,000 MT each and two lots of 50,000 MT each. A bidder can bid for a maximum of 50,000 MT only.
The NFA set the reference price for the importation at $451.08 per metric ton based on the foreign exchange rate of $1.00 to P50.
For Lot 1 (50,000 MT) which will be discharged in La Union and Batangas, Olam International Limited, the lowest bidder, offered to supply $413.80 per metric ton.
The NFA said Tan Long Group Joint Stock Company offered to supply the volume for $141 and $409 per metric ton for lots 2 and 3, respectively, which will be discharged in Manila.
Other lowest bidders for the remaining lots include Hiep Loi Food Jsc for Lot 4 (25,000 MT) at $425.90 per MT; Gia International Corp. for Lots 5 (25,000 MT) and 6 (25,000 MT) at $ 421.64 per MT; Capital Cereals Co. Ltd. for Lot 7 (15,000 MT) at $431.7 per metric ton; and Vietnam Southern Food Corp. for Lot 8 (50,000 MT) at $424.25 per metric ton.
All deliveries will be paid by NFA within 15 days from the receipt of the complete set of original documents from the supplier.
The NFA said rice deliveries should be staggered from August to September, with 120,000 MT expected to arrive in August and 130,000 MT in September.
Escarez said those who would win the bids would be subjected to post-qualification evaluation on July 27 to 28. If bidders qualify, the notice of award will be issued of July 31 followed by a notice to proceed on August 3.
“The remaining budget which will not be used for the importation will go back to the fund of the NFA,” Escarez said.
The NFA earlier said 19 companies from Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar have signified interest to supply 250,000 metric tons of rice to the Philippines.
The government auctioned the volume through an open tender and required 25 percent broken, well-milled, long grain white rice