Wednesday, August 02, 2017

2nd August,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Study reveals global warming reduces protein in key crops

Rising carbon dioxide levels from global warming will drastically reduce the amount of protein in staple crops like rice and wheat, leaving vulnerable populations at risk of growth stunting and early death, experts warned on Wednesday.
Researchers say they still don’t understand how or why carbon dioxide emissions sap protein and other nutrients from plants, but the mystery is one that could have devastating consequences across the globe.
An additional 150 million people globally may be at risk of protein deficiency by 2050 because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere said the report in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The study, led by Harvard University researchers, is the first to quantify the impacts of global warming on the protein levels of crops.
It relies on data from open field experiments in which plants were exposed to high concentrations of CO2.
Global dietary information from the United Nations was used to calculate the impact on people who live dangerously close to the edge when it comes to getting enough protein. Without it, growth is stunted, diseases are more common and early mortality is far more likely.
Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of fossil-fuel burning that helps trap heat around the Earth. Without stark action, these emissions are expected to climb in the decades to come, resulting in rising seas, hotter temperatures and more extreme weather events.
A leading hypothesis was that CO2 might increase the amount of starch in plants, thereby decreasing protein and other nutrients.
But lead author Samuel Myers, a senior research scientist in Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said that experiments did not back up the theory.
“The short answer is we really have no idea,” he told foreign media agencies.
“We’ve looked into it pretty extensively.”
Protein was not the only nutrient to take a major hit.
Other research has shown that rising CO2 will cut key minerals like iron and zinc in staple crops, leading to further nutritional deficiencies worldwide.
– Africa, Asia hardest hit –
Researchers calculated that by 2050, higher CO2 concentrations will sap the protein contents of barley by 14.6 percent, rice by 7.6 percent, wheat by 7.8 percent, and potatoes by 6.4 percent.
“If CO2 levels continue to rise as projected, the populations of 18 countries may lose more than 5 percent of their dietary protein by 2050 due to a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat, and other staple crops,” said the report.
A full 76 percent of the people on Earth rely on plants for most of their daily protein, particularly in poor areas of the globe.
The hardest hit areas are expected to be Sub-Saharan Africa, where millions already don’t get enough protein in their diets, and South Asia where rice and wheat are common staples.
India alone may lose 5.3 percent of protein from a standard diet, putting a predicted 53 million people at new risk of protein deficiency.
Researchers said solutions may include cutting carbon emissions, supporting more diverse diets, enriching the nutritional content of staple crops, and breeding crops that are less sensitive to the harmful effects of CO2

Indonesia discusses potential for investment in Pakistan

August 1, 2017

A woman works at a textile factory. PHOTO: REUTERS
LAHORE: A high-level delegation from Indonesia visited the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) on Monday and discussed the investment potential in Pakistan.The three-member delegation including Indonesian Ambassador Iwan Suyudhie Amri was given a brief introduction of Punjab by PBIT CEO Jahanzeb Burana. Burana showed documentaries regarding investment opportunities in Punjab in various sectors and highlighted ways of exploiting the investment potential in the country.
He emphasised the increasing capacity of economic cooperation between the two countries and said Pakistan and Indonesia should enter into joint ventures for sustainable development and economic progress.“There is a possible chance to collaborate in the fields of textile and value-added products,” he said.
The PBIT CEO was of the view that there was a wide opportunity for Indonesia to take interest in the Special Economic Zones being developed in Punjab, adding the IT sector also offered great opportunity for investment and collaboration.
Speaking on the occasion, the Indonesian ambassador, while praising the presentation on Punjab, said they would showcase the documentaries in Indonesia as well.
He said Indonesia was a rice consuming country and Pakistan could tap the market through a proper marketing strategy as it produced the best-quality rice in a large quantity.The envoy acknowledged the Punjab government’s initiatives to make the environment investment-friendly.
“I look forward to working closely with you in the years ahead to promote even stronger economic ties between Indonesia and Pakistan.”
Amri identified capacity building, cultural restoration and revitalisation of historical and tourist places as potential areas for partnership.It was decided that before the visit of the Indonesian president, a technical visit should be planned by both sides to turn into reality prospects of mutual cooperation.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2017

NDMA launches MIRA guidelines for disaster management

ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), on Monday, launched Multi-Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) guidelines, a globally accepted tool for scientific, quick and accurate disaster assessment.
These Guidelines were prepared by the NDMA in collaboration with United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
While briefing the participants of the ceremony NDMA Member Operations, Brig Mukhtar Ahmed, said MIRA is an inter-agency needs-assessment and analysis process, from which a joint strategic plan for emergency response is developed.
MIRA Guidelines for Pakistan is a comprehensive document developed according to the international standards keeping in view the local cultural and socials requirements, he informed.
These guidelines would strengthen Pakistan’s Disaster Management System by providing a tool for scientific, quick, accurate and timely assessment of losses caused by disasters.
NDMA chairman in his keynote address observed that Pakistan was vulnerable to extreme weather events and prone to climate hazards whether natural or human induced.
To enhance coordination in disaster management activities, the NDMA has developed a National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP), various policies, guidelines, standard operating procedures and tool kits, he said.
He said that MIRA Guidelines was another addition to this bouquet and hoped that through the timely conduct of MIRA, the decision makers and other humanitarian organisations will be able to accurately assess the dynamics and realities of a post-disaster situation and can initiate a timely action.
Neil Buhne, United Nations Coordinator in Pakistan, while addressing the ceremony said that it is heartening to mention that Pakistan will follow MIRA Guidelines.
At the end Chairman NDMA extend his appreciations to all NDMA’s partners, Provincial/Regional Disaster Management Authorities, UN Agencies, members of the humanitarian community and all stakeholders who provided invaluable input and feedback to help improve these guidelines.
United Nations Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne; United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) country head; senior representative from federal ministries, divisions, departments; director generals of all Disasters Management Authorities (DMAs); representatives of non-government organisations (NGO) and International non-government organisations, participated in the launching ceremony of the MIRA Guideline.
Meanwhile, the NDMA distributes 865 tents and 600 wheat bags among the rain-hit people, so far, in various areas of the country.
As many as 220 rice bags, including 590 blankets, 250 plastic mats,450 kitchen sets, 1400 mosquito nets, 1300 jerry cans, 100 life-saving jackets and 150 gas cylinders have been distributed among the victims.


Global Baby Rice Flour Market 2017- Heinz, Gerber, Hipp, Nestle

The worldwide Baby Rice Flour Market report is an in-depth research on the current situation of the Baby Rice Flour industry. The research study of Global Baby Rice Flour Market 2017 offers a strategic assessment of Baby Rice Flour market. The industry report focuses on the growth opportunities, which will help the Baby Rice Flour industry to expand operations in the existing markets globally.
Firstly, Baby Rice Flour Market report introduces a basic overview of the Baby Rice Flour industry, which includes Baby Rice Flour definitions, applications, classifications and Baby Rice Flour industry chain structure. Worldwide Baby Rice Flour market analysis is provided for the international market including Baby Rice Flour industry competitive analysis, Baby Rice Flour market development history and major sectors development status on Baby Rice Flour industry scenario.
Global Baby Rice Flour Market 2017: Competitive Landscape and Key Vendors
1.      Heinz
2.      Gerber
3.      Hipp
4.      Nestle
5.      Beingmate
6.      Engnice
7.      Eastwes
8.      Weicky
9.      FangGuang
Baby Rice Flour Market 2017: Type Segment Analysis
Baby Rice Flour Market 2017: Applications Segment Analysis
The Baby Rice Flour market covers the geological regions including US, EU, China, and Japan. Other regions can also be added efficiently as per customers need. The report also displays the market size for each category during the forecasting period from 2017 to 2022.
Further, the report guides the client according to the various aspects of Baby Rice Flour industry like supply chain analysis, Baby Rice Flour industry rules, and policies, along with product cost, product images, the cost structure, import/export information and utilisation figures. The detailed competitive plan of Baby Rice Flour industry report will help the clients to systematically specify better business strategies for a desired business payoff.
Browse Complete Report Click Here:
At the end, report Global Baby Rice Flour Market 2017 focuses the feasibility of new investment projects is assessed, and overall research conclusions are offered on Baby Rice Flour market scenario

New urea spray technique on paddy leaves proves appropriate, useful
Our Correspondent
RAJSHAHI, July 31:  Use of 'Economy-Urea spray technique' on leaves of paddy plant has been proved authentic and useful as an appropriate technology by the researchers of Faculty of Agronomy and Agriculture Extension of Rajshahi University.  The 'Economy-Urea spray technique' was invented by agriculturist Arif Hossain Khan, Joint-Director of BADC Fertiliser Management department.The research has revealed during the current Boro season of 2016-17, even after applying 35 to 25 per cent less urea through spraying on leaves of paddy plants, there was an increase of 6 to 11 per cent of production.
Researchers have also noticed an increase of protein content in rice through using the technique.Inventor of the 'Economy-Urea spray technique' agriculturist Arif Khan informed, the success in production of paddy through using spray technique of urea might be regarded as a milestone in rice producing country of the world because no such successful method of paddy cultivation by using urea on paddy leaves through spraying method has so far been invented in any country of the world. 
In this connection, he mentioned, such a successful new technique of paddy production might be model in worldwide rice production and Bangladesh might be a pioneer in this field. He sought government patronisation to spread the urea saving technique home and abroad.
Arif Khan said, after the invention of the technique in 2012, it was applied on paddy plants on 6, 200 bighas of land through 275 farmers and officials till 2015 and the technique proved successful at the field level.  The technique would save some 5,00,000 tonnes of urea annually in case of paddy production only and thus the government would save Tk 16,500 million  while there would be an increase of 15,00,000 tonnes of rice annually whose market value is Tk 37,500 million.
Serajum Monira, an MS student of Rajshahi University who is conducting research under the supervision of Professor Dr. Aminul Haque has found that spraying nitrogen (urea) through leaves of paddy plant might be an effective and alternative method of improved rice production. She conducted the research on BRRI-28 rice during the current Boro season.  
If the new technique could be reached to the farmers, they would be able to tackle crisis like drought, water logging  and shortage of urea paddy by using spray method of urea successfully and would be able to save their crop by using a little amount of urea through spraying method, informed Professor Dr. Aminul Haque.
Arif Khan, Joint Director of BADC fertiliser department who is the inventor of the technique informed, in case spreading of urea on soil, the plant can absorb only 30 to 35 per cent of the fertiliser through root whereas more than 90 per cent of urea can be absorbed by plant when it is sprayed on leaves. 
He further said, the technique will prove also successful during the Aman paddy season when due to want of rainfall farmers failed to apply urea in their fields, they would easily apply those through spraying method on leaves of the plant and thus need of nitrogen in the tree will be covered. In this connection, he further said, the newly invented technique will require 40 to 50 per cent less urea fertiliser and thus the environment, soil and water will remain more safe and pure.,-useful

Tie-up for Indian rice farming in Ghana

After successfully cultivating desi tomatoes on its soil, Ghana is set to grow Indian rice varieties and medicinal and aromatic plants.Goodearth Global Ltd, based in Accra, Ghana, has inked an agreement with the National Research and Development Corporation (NRDC) in this regard.
Deal inked
Goodearth is owned by Hyderabad-based international commodity trader Ch Gopal. As per the agreement signed between him and H Purushotham, Chairman and Managing Director of NRDC, the rice and medicinal and aromatic plants will be grown on 3,000 acres, which the company has leased for 50 years.
Goodearth has been present in Ghana for the past five years and is expanding operations. “We have leased virgin land near the town of Ho in the Volta (river) region, which is fertile. The climate is also suitable for growing these crops. Access to the US and European markets is easier from there,” Gopal told BusinessLine.
The company plans to grow short-duration (125 days), fine-grained blast-resistant paddy variety called ‘Telangana Sona’. This variety can be grown both during rainy and winter seasons.
Though rice is a staple food for Ghana, where significant quantities are imported, especially from Thailand, Vietnam and India. This offers good scope and opportunity for growing rice in the African nation itself.
Goodearth also plans to lease another 3,000 acres for growing tomato, cassava and seeds. NRDC will provide the technical support, he said. According to Purushotham, the $2 million Indo-Ghana pilot research project for tomato production, launched in 2015 successfully demonstrated the cultivation of high-yielding tomatoes on three plots of five acres each.At a meeting in Ghana recently, both the governments expressed interest in expanding cooperation in value-added agriculture.
Millet cultivation
Ghana has also sought Indian help in boosting its rice and millet crops, Purushotham said.Millets, particularly sorghum and pearl millet have potential in North, Upper East and Upper West Ghana to increase income and food security through strengthened capacity to achieve higher and sustainable yields in sorghum and pearl production.

Rice farming can be profitable

August 01, 2017

In 2015, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), with funding support from the Department of Agriculture (DA), released a landmark six-country study of rice production in Asia.The study was entitled Benchmarking the Philippine Rice Economy Relative to Major Rice-Producing Countries in Asia. Comparative studies were done in sites representing irrigated and intensively cultivated areas in six countries: the Philippines, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The selected sites have similar climatic conditions: all are irrigated with at least two crops a year. Of the six countries, three are global exporters -- India, Thailand, and Vietnam. Three are large importers -- China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Below are yield and cost data for the six countries. All high-yield sites (see Table 1).
The Philippines is third to last after India in high-yield season (dry season crop in the Philippines). It is 34% lower than highest yielder Vietnam (5.68 tons/ha vs. 8.56 tons/ha).

The Philippines is lowest in low-yield season (wet season in the Philippines). It is 39% lower than that of Vietnam (3.84 tons/ha vs. 6.33 tons/ha).

Yield affects unit farm costs. For the high-yield season, the Philippines recorded the third highest farm cost of P11.13 per kilogram (kg) compared to Vietnam’s P5.14/kg, Thailand’s P9.07/kg, and India’s P9.27/kg. In effect, the Philippines is highly uncompetitive with rice exporters (116% higher than Vietnam, and 23% higher than Thailand).

In the low-yield season, Philippine cost is the second highest after Indonesia. It is, however, two times that of Vietnam, and 1.6 times higher than Thailand’s.

Assuming same cost per hectare for the two competitor-countries, how much must the Philippine yield increase to match Vietnam and Thailand?

For the Philippines to be competitive, it has to raise yield to 12.30 tons/ha in the dry season and 7.54 tons/ha in the wet season to compete with Vietnam. Or to 6.97 tons/ha and 6.34 tons/ha, respectively, to compete with Thailand. These are tall orders. It is unrealistic for the Philippines to compete on yield alone. It must also reduce farm costs (see Table 2).

In the Philippines, Nueva Ecija is the “gold standard” when it comes to the country’s high-yield rice production. The study reports that the high cost of producing palay in Nueva Ecija is due to the high labor requirement in manual transplanting (25 man-days) and harvesting and threshing (21 man-days). Vietnam, on the other hand, which has the lowest production cost, uses direct seeding (2 man-days) and combine harvesters (2 man-days) resulting in increased productivity and higher efficiency.

This labor differential of 42 man-days translates to a cost-disadvantage for the Philippines of about P13,000/ha per season, or P2.30 to P3. 60/kg.

The study also noted higher milling efficiency in almost all rice-exporting countries leading to fewer broken grains and higher milling recovery. This is due to rice varieties that have similar grain size.

Are there solutions in the horizon for irrigated rice in the Philippines? SL Agritech, a leading hybrid seeds provider, claims this is possible.

In Nueva Ecija, hybrid users average 8.5 tons/ha in the dry season and 7 tons/ha in the wet season. The farm cost with mechanization can be reduced to P50,000/ha. This means an average farm cost of P5.88/kg and P7.14/kg, respectively, making it cost-competitive with Vietnam and Thailand in the dry season and with Thailand in the wet season (see Table 3).

The above high-yield regime is not feasible for all irrigated areas for various economic and climatic reasons. In 2015, the Philippine high-yield season was “dry season” with yield of 4.5 tons/ha as compared to the “wet season” of 4.1 tons/ha.

Assuming a medium-term target of 10% yield increase from 4.5 to 5.0 tons/ha for the dry season, and from 4.1 to 4.5 tons/ha for the wet season by 2022 and milling recovery of 65%, production would reach 5 million (M) tons of rice in the dry season; and 5M tons of rice in the wet season. Note: As a benchmark, irrigated rice yield rose by only 7.2% between 2005 and 2015.

Assuming further a 10% increase in rain-fed production, rice supply would be three million tons more by 2022. Note: As a benchmark, rain-fed rice yield rose by only 12.5% between 2005 and 2015.

Altogether, the total rice production in 2022 would be 13M tons from irrigated and rain-fed areas. This assumes no increase nor deterioration in irrigated areas.

Currently, rice demand is about 114 kg/capita. With a population of 102.7M in 2016, total demand is about 11.7M tons. Assuming a population growth of 1.5% a year, total demand would reach 12.8M tons to feed a population of about 112M in 2022.

By 2022, the Philippines will have a small surplus of 200,000 tons. However, using a buffer stock of say 60 days, the total requirement would be around 2.1M tons. Sufficiency will not be reached at those yield assumptions and per capita demand.

Since rice demand declines with higher incomes and hoping that government achieves its poverty target of 14% in 2022 from 21.6% in 2015, it is possible to achieve sufficiency at high yields and lower per capita demand of below 100 kg. The high yield assumes adequate supply of water and good irrigation efficiency. Strategically, there is a need to consider benefit-cost trade-offs of public investments in other crops for poverty reduction (see Table 4).

Rice farmers will not continue to produce rice if it is not profitable and if options are available. Many of them still plant rice even if it is not profitable for subsistence/own consumption. For others, because it is the only crop they are used to cultivating. Crop shifts are also limited by market and investment considerations. Large investors require farm areas larger than the five hectare retention limit under the agrarian reform program.

With irrigated farm holdings averaging one hectare, it will be a challenge to continue rice farming with traditional, low-yield technologies. The pathway is mechanized consolidated farming with full inputs that will bring incomes to P110,000 per family per year. This means an average yield of over 6 tons/ha per season at an average farm price of P15/kg and farm cost of P50,000/ha with two full crops per year or 200% cropping intensity. Import substitution is reachable. Exporting commodity rice is unlikely given developments in rice-exporting countries.

One suggestion is to convert rain-fed lowland areas to irrigated by providing modern technologies, like solar powered pumps and sprinkler irrigation. This assumes water availability. This is fast to install and can save 60% of water. Farmers can have two crops of hybrid rice and one crop of high value crop (Dr. Frisco Malabanan, rice expert, personal conversation). Good to check cost-benefit analysis and effectiveness of these technologies.

The Philippines has a long way to go to disseminate modern rice technology. The Department of Agriculture will need the local government units, the private sector, and state colleges and universities to spread the profitable, poverty-reducing technologies.

This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the M.A.P.

Rolando T. Dy is the Vice-Chair of the M.A.P. AgriBusiness and Countryside Development Committee, and the Executive Director of the Center for Food and AgriBusiness of the University of Asia & the Pacific.

Global rice milling machinery sales industry trends and forecast to 2022 published by leading research firm

WhaTech Channel: Industrial Market Research
Published: 31 July 2017
Submitted by The Market Reports WhaTech Agency

The will chart the course for a more comprehensive organization and discernment of the competition situation in the Rice Milling Machinery Sales market. As this will help manufacturers and investors alike, to have a better understanding of the direction in which the Rice Milling Machinery Sales Market is headed.
Global Rice Milling Machinery Sales Market report is replete with detailed analysis from a thorough research, especially on questions that border on market size, development environment, futuristic developments, operation situation, pathways and trend of Rice Milling Machinery Sales. All these are offshoots of understanding the current situation that the industry is in, especially in 2017.
With this Rice Milling Machinery Sales Market report, one is sure to keep up with information on the dogged competition for market share and control, between elite manufacturers. It also features, price, production, and revenue.
It is where you will understand the politics and tussle of gaining control of a huge chunk of the market share. As long as you are in search of key Industry data and information that can readily be accessed, you can rest assured that this report got them covered.
Key companies profiled in this report are Satake Manufacturing, Buhler, Hunan Chenzhou, Hubei Yongxiang, Zhejiang Qili Machinery, Hunan Xiangliang, Wufeng, Jiangsu Hexi Machinery, Yamamoto and others. Report available
When taking a good look at this report, based on the product, it is evident that the report shows the rate of production, price, revenue, and market share as well as of the growth of each product type. And emphasis is laid on the end users, as well as on the applications of the product.
It is one report that hasn't shied away from taking a critical look at the current status and future outlook for the consumption/sales of these products, by the end users and applications. Not forgetting the market share control and growth rate of Rice Milling Machinery Sales Industry, per application.
All the queries about this report can be asked at:
List of Chapters:
1 Rice Milling Machinery Sales Market Overview
2 Global Rice Milling Machinery Sales Competition by Players/Suppliers, Type and Application
3 United States Rice Milling Machinery Sales (Volume, Value and Sales Price)
4 China Rice Milling Machinery Sales (Volume, Value and Sales Price)
5 Europe Rice Milling Machinery Sales (Volume, Value and Sales Price)
6 Japan Rice Milling Machinery Sales (Volume, Value and Sales Price)
7 Southeast Asia Rice Milling Machinery Sales (Volume, Value and Sales Price)
8 India Rice Milling Machinery Sales (Volume, Value and Sales Price)
9 Global Rice Milling Machinery Sales Players/Suppliers Profiles and Sales Data
10 Rice Milling Machinery Sales Manufacturing Cost Analysis
11 Industrial Chain, Sourcing Strategy and Downstream Buyers
12 Marketing Strategy Analysis, Distributors/Traders
13 Market Effect Factors Analysis
14 Global Rice Milling Machinery Sales Market Forecast (2017-2022)
15 Research Findings and Conclusion
16 Appendix

News From

The Market Reports 
Market Research Publishers and RetailersCompany profile: The Market Reports aims to provide the best industry and market reports to a seeker. We are looking forward to a place where we are the one stop destination for all the report seekers irrespective of any country, category, domain, etc. We are always open on call and email (24*7) to your queries and very clean with the business methodology. Since we are dealing with so many Publishers, we can actually give you what suits best in accordance to your requirements.
For more information:

Robotics injects new life into Japan’s ageing agricultural workforce

Hokkaido University professor Noboru Noguchi (C) overseeing tests on a tractor with advanced technology on a farm at the university campus in Sapporo.
PUBLISHED: 11:35 AM, JULY 31, 2017
UPDATED: 11:50 AM, JULY 31, 2017
TOKYO — Collaboration between farmers and robots may prove vital to allowing Japan’s ageing agricultural workforce to continue producing for crops while ensuring wisdom learned from years on the land is not lost.Not only will the use of robotics in agriculture reduce manual labour, it is hoped it will enable ageing farmers to stay on the land longer and to more efficiently get the most out of their hard won experience.
While automated farming machinery, mostly working in straight lines, is already available on the market, it requires high accuracy positioning information to do the job.Thus far, the machinery has used a combination of Global Positioning System information supplemented with corrective data sent from ground-based stations.Depending on the lay of the land, however, farming machinery occasionally strays up to 10 meters from its plotted path due to GPS systems not always providing completely accurate information.
On June 1, Japan put its second quasi-zenith satellite, Michibiki No 2, into orbit to enhance the precision of GPS in the country. Two more navigation satellites are also planned to be launched by the end of 2017 to provide accurate, round-the-clock GPS data.The quasi-zenith system ensures one of the planned four satellites will be above Japan at any one time, unlike in the 32-satellite US-owned GPS system in which satellites orbit on various paths around the earth, with a minimum of four required to be in view for the receiver to compute its location.
When the four Japanese satellites are operating, the margin of error is expected to be narrowed to as little as several centimetres.The agricultural ministry, meanwhile, adopted a set of guidelines in March for use of autonomous farming machinery, such as banning self-driving units on roads and allowing only operators to enter farmland where autonomous machines are working.The guidelines prompted leading farm equipment manufacturer Kubota Corp. to start selling advanced self-driving tractors on a trial basis on June 1.
While the guidelines cover the use of self-driving machinery under on-site supervision of humans, a team of researchers at the Graduate School of Agriculture of Hokkaido University is developing a tractor that can be controlled remotely.The team is working on a robotised system that automatically observes the surrounding environment, recognises abnormal obstacles and avoids them or halts operation if necessary.
During a recent trial, a team member manoeuvred a prototype tractor via a tablet computer. Equipped with technology allowing positioning information to be used as well as various sensors and other devices, the tractor automatically stopped when it recognised the presence of an obstacle.Professor and team leader Noboru Noguchi said a planned tractor, capable of autonomously cultivating, levelling ground and puddling rice paddies at night will become available “within a few years”.
If machines can analyse weather and soil data, it will make it possible to predict disease and pest infestations and crop yields per 50sqm field, thus enabling refined farming operations such as focused distribution of fertilisers where they are most needed, according to experts in the field.
The use of such detailed data, therefore, helps avoid wasteful use of fertilisers and agricultural chemicals, improves the efficiency of farming operations, enhances the safety of agricultural products and contributes to the protection of the environment.Beginning this autumn, the university team will conduct verification tests on a fully unmanned tractor in a 950-hectare area of land in Hokkaido, taking into consideration actual restrictions such as the use of radio waves and the road traffic law.
To put agricultural robots to work, it is important for people concerned, including researchers, engineers and farmers to allow a process of “trial and error” to play out, Prof Noguchi said.
Certainly, agricultural robots cannot take over all farming operations.Mr Shigeru Someya, a large-scale rice grower in Kashiwa, near Tokyo, said while advances in agricultural equipment have made farming operations more efficient, it has led to a situation where rice paddies tend to be no longer properly managed.
“I know that rice grows (best) while hearing human footsteps,” Mr Someya said. “Visits (to rice paddies) are indispensable.”The accumulation of huge volumes of data, and the use of artificial intelligence to analyse and learn, plus the introduction of farming robots in combination with the wisdom of farmers like Mr Someya should prove profitable for all. KYODO NEWS

US rice heading to China

 •Rupert Reid
•August 01,2017
The USA isn't one of the world's top ten rice growers, but it still produces twenty rice varieties across three million acres of land. Photo credit - Pixabay.

After long negotiations, China has agreed to the import of rice from the USA.

China is both the world's largest consumer and producer of rice. However, growing domestic demand has led to a rise in imports. Perhaps unsurprisingly, China is also the world's largest importer of the staple.The USA, meanwhile, isn't one of the world's top ten rice growers, but it still produces twenty rice varieties across three million acres of land. US rice cultivation is particularly prominent in the states of Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, and the country accounts for around two percent of annual global rice output.

It will need to compete with China's current suppliers, including Pakistan and Thailand, to win Chinese orders.Initially, the USA plans to export around four million tonnes of rice to China - just a fraction of the latter country's five billion tonnes of annual imports.Nevertheless, after ten years of negotiations, the news has been warmly received.US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, said that the Chinese market '...represents an exceptional opportunity today, with enormous potential for growth in the future.

Demand for VN rice to be stable in Q3

Demand for Vietnamese rice is expected to be stable in the third quarter of the year, Vietnam Food Association (VFA) Chairman Huynh The Nang has said.Thus, rice traders will not have to worry about finding consumption markets, he added.The chairman made the statement after Vietnamese rice enterprises won contracts to supply 175,000 tonnes (MT) of rice to the Philippines through an open tender held by the country’s National Food Authority (NFA) on July 25.

According to the association, in the bidding for 2-per cent broken rice export to the Philippines, four Vietnamese traders totalled 175,000 tonnes in the tender at different winning prices.Specifically, Southern Food Corporation 2 (Vinafood 2) won a bid for 50,000 tonnes of rice at a Free on Board (FOB) price of US$369.45 per tonne; International Joint Stock Company won 50,000 tonnes for $357 to $367 per tonne; Tan Long Group Joint Stock Company won 50,000 tonnes of rice for $354 to $359 per tonne; and Hiep Loi Joint Stock Company hit 25,000 tonnes with the best price of $370.9 per tonne.

This is the first time that private Vietnamese rice exporters were allowed to participate in such a bidding, and they proved they could meet the strict requirements put forward by the Philippines.

“Four enterprises among the total eight businesses winning the bid is a clear demonstration of the capacity of the Vietnamese rice traders,” Nang said.The chairman said that the winning contracts would partly help stabilise domestic rice prices soon.In addition to the rice export contracts to the Philippines, domestic rice exporters are also preparing to deliver goods under the previously signed contracts to Cuba, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

“Therefore, from now until the end of the third quarter of 2017, Vietnamese rice sector will not struggle with the settlement of output for farmers.”
According to VFA, demand for rice in Asia recently had positive impact on the rice exports of Viet Nam this year.There are several new emerging needs that motivate the market. For example, Bangladesh, after three rounds of bidding for 150,000 tonnes of rice and having bought 250,000 tonnes from Viet Nam, is also negotiating 200,000 tonnes with Thailand and may continue to buy more from Viet Nam.

Sri Lanka is also urgently importing 55,000 tonnes of rice from Pakistan and Myanmar, and seeking supplies from other countries, including Viet Nam. Even the Philippines, in addition to the 250,000 tonnes bidding last week, may import more to shore up its stockpiles to ensure its food security. In addition to this, the consumption demand of China and India is expected to have an impact on the Vietnamese rice exports in the future.

However, whether the Vietnamese enterprises have access to these needs depends on their price competitiveness compared with the other export competitors, as well as the summer-autumn crop harvest in August and September.Nguyen Thanh Long, managing director of Viet Rice Co Ltd, said that if domestic rice prices "turn up" too high, Vietnamese rice exporters would find it hard to compete with foreign rivals while negotiating commercial contracts.

Currently, Viet Nam’s rice export prices are equal or a little bit higher than those of Thailand. For example, Thailand’s 5-per-cent broken rice is being offered at $395 per tonne, while that of Viet Nam is $407 per tonne, which will be profitable. If Vietnamese rice prices are not adjusted according to the Thai rice prices, it is difficult to attract demand and sign new contracts in the future.

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, rice exports of the country in the first seven months of the year is estimated at 3.3 million tonnes, earning a revenue of $1.5 billion, up 15.7 per cent in volume and 13.7 per cent in value over the same period last year.The rice export price in the first half of the year averaged $444.6 per tonne, down 1.4 per cent year-on-year

Killing obesity with rice
event August 01, 2017 15:45
By The Nation
The Thai Rice Packers Association and the Thai Rice Exporters Association have now announced the winners of the video clip competition on the topic “Rice Never Fat”
The congratulations go to PSC Studio’s Sirinthorn Ratchawittayalai, the winner in the student category for the video “Don’t break up with rice”, which makes the point that as rice has been a staple in Thailand for a long time, so not eating the grain is like breaking up with a long-time partner. Pats on the back also go to the winner in the general category, the Technic Krungthep Photographers team, who also won the Popular Vote award on social media with the video “I’m not paying, you make me look fat in photos”. The hilarious video presents a fun story about how women blame everything for their weight gain without looking at their own eating behaviour.
Sopan Manathanya, president of the Thai Rice Packers Association and Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, launched the campaign to educate Thais about rice consumption. All 10 videos that made it into the finals were screened at the recent press conference and the winners were presented with prizes worth more than Bt230,000 in total. The highlight was a special talk show by fitness and food experts Sopan Manathanya, Somkiat Makcayathorn, Dr Kanawat Chantaralawan, and Pim-on Mokkhasmit who shared the benefits of rice and health tips.
Sopan said, “The health trend influences how people live their lives today. People are more careful about what they eat, and a lot of people who watch their weight mistakenly believe that rice makes them fat. In fact, according to the Ministry of Health, rice is very nutritious and lower in calories than many other types of food. This project aims to educate the public about the benefits of rice and change their perception, so that they have correct understanding about rice, using creative videos and the power of social media.”
Somkiat Makcayathorn shared the statistics of rice consumption in Thailand. “In the past 20-30 years, consumption per person per year has dropped from 180 kilograms to 90 kilograms. However, according to the Department of Hygiene, Ministry of Health, the number of Thai people who are obese increases by 15 per cent annually. We hope this project will convince consumers that rice does not cause obesity.”
Dr Kanawat added: “The easiest way is watch your weight is to consider the input and output. A woman needs about 1,200 calories per day, while a man needs about 2,000. To lose weight in a sustainable and healthy way, you should lose 0.5kg a week so that the body can adjust itself without crashing the systems. You should also get the nutrients you need, and every day, 50 per cent of your food should be carbohydrate, 30 per cent protein, and 20 percent fat. You must also consider your lifestyle and activities in order to adjust your caloric intake.”
Pim-on recommended more exercise. “to lose weight, you must exercise regularly – you can’t just make excuses that you have no time. Also, you must eat three healthy meals a day. Rice is filling and doesn’t leave you craving snacks. Many women today reduce the portion of their meals, which makes them crave snacks during the day. They end up drinking sugary drinks or eating bread, which is even more fattening than rice.”
Based on the Department of Hygiene’s calorie chart, 100 grams of rice give only 133 calories, while other types of carbohydrate such as bread gives 267 calories. Instant noodles give 400 calories, and flat noodles give 160 calories.Even clean food can give as many calories as rice. For instance, skinless chicken breast gives 173 calories, skinless fish gives 173 calories, beef gives 233 calories, and grilled pork gives 333 calories.
Remember: rice does not make you fat – what makes you fat is eating more than you burn.
To watch the videos, go to
Sri Lanka prepares MoUs to purchase 155,000 MT rice from Thailand and Myanmar

Tue, Aug 1, 2017, 11:41 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Aug 01, Colombo: Sri Lanka, having concluded international 'rice talks' successfully, on Monday began finalizing the Memorandums of Understanding to proceed with the orders to purchase rice from Thailand and Myanmar, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.
The Minister said the MoUs will be finalized soon and submitted to the two countries as soon as possible.
Altogether the country expects to get a month's supply of fresh rice tranche by the initiatives, the Minister said meeting with his top officials on Monday to get updates on rice tranche to be purchased from abroad to end the rice shortage.The purchases are made on the directions of President Maithripala Sirisena and the Cost of Living Committee of the Government.
Accordingly, a MoU is being drawn by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to import 100,000 MT of par boiled (Nadu) rice and another 25,000 MT white raw rice from Thailand. Another MoU is being drawn to import 30,000 MT of white raw rice from Myanmar. Both these MoUs are Government to Government level.Another purchase with Indian suppliers under Government to Foreign Private Sector is being worked and prices are being negotiated for a huge 100,000 MT par boiled (Nadu) rice.Meanwhile Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad Khan Sipra during his meeting with Minister Bathiudeen on 31 July has informed the Minister to wait for Pakistani Government to Government supplies till September as the current prices in Pakistan are too high for Sri Lankan market, which is around $480 per MT. By September the prices are expected to fall to $400-410 range so that Sri Lanka can start placing the orders.
On Monday, the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under Minister Bathiudeen has started pulling paddy stocks for milling.On the orders the Cost of Living Committee on 26 July, the CWE started extracting 51,000 MT of paddy lying with the Paddy Marketing Board's warehouses to mill in CWE's own mills as well as through the private millers. The total rice tranche for expected consumption after milling this paddy stock is 32,000 MT. The milled rice will be given to Lanka Sathosa to be sold to local consumers at the lowest possible price below the market prices for rice.
As a result of international MoUs and domestic paddy milling, a total of 187,000 MT of rice is now expected to flood the market immediately. With the expected Indian rice stocks of 100,000 MT, the total tranche in pipeline is a huge 287,000 MT - an excess of 87,000 MT above the country's rice consumption of 200,000 MT each month

Rice Harvest Field Report:  South Louisiana 
 LAKE CHARLES, LA -- By now, if you haven't read or heard about how the harvest began in the south part of the state, you must have been hiding under a rock, or more appropriately, an umbrella.  Consistent days of rain showers, some episodes producing much more rain fall than others, have made the start of this year's harvest more challenging than most would prefer. 

"We had rain every day for fifteen out of twenty days in mid-July," says Christian Richard, a rice farmer in Vermillion Parish.  "That kept us from getting in the fields to harvest until July 25, about a week behind what we had planned." 

This soggy theme seems to resonate across the area as Dr. Dustin Harrell with the LSU AgCenter recently reported measurable rain at the Rice Research Station for 16 days in the month of July.  

"We're seeing a mixed bag when it comes to yields," said Harrell.  "The variability of timing for some of the rains during maturity has created some low to average yields in early reporting.  It's dry right now, so everyone is cutting what they can as our rain chances increase again this Wednesday." 

Eric Unkel welcomes clear skies
Near Kinder, rice farmer Eric Unkel reported that "yields are decent, slightly up, from the bottom end we saw in the first fields harvested."  With close to 1,100 acres of a 2,600 acre crop harvested, Unkel said, "it still feels like we are trying to catch up, same as everyone, when you're dealing with consistent rain showers at harvest."

As the rice harvest continues throughout southwest Louisiana, we will close the book on July and open it for August, hoping the skies will not open up as well.

Bangladesh tenders to import 50,000 T of rice

Bangladesh’s state grain buyer has issued its seventh international tender since May, to import 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice as it grapples with dwindling stocks and high local prices.The deadline for offers is Aug. 20, with the rice to be shipped within 40 days of signing any deal, a senior official at the country’s state grains buyer said.Bangladesh, the world’s fourth-biggest rice producer, has emerged as a major importer of the grain after flash floods in April hit domestic output.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Sri Lanka exports up in May, trade deficit widens to $886mln

Aug 01, 2017 14:00 PM GMT+0530 |

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s exports rose for the third straight month in May 2017, helped by higher earnings from tea, but increased spending on imports widened the trade deficit to $886 million, the central bank said.Export earnings rose 7.8 percent to $841.2 million in May 2017 from a year ago with exports of tea up by 45.9 percent to $132 million owing to both higher prices and increased volumes, it said in a statement.

“Reflecting high tea prices in the international market, the average export price of tea increased to $5.41 per kilo in May 2017 in comparison to $4.24 per kilo in May 2016.”However, export earnings from textiles and garments declined by 4.1 percent o $359 million in May 2017 reflecting a decline in garment exports to the USA and EU markets.

“Despite exports increasing for the third consecutive month, the higher increase in import expenditure resulted in a further expansion of the trade deficit,” the central bank said.Imports rose 8.6 percent to $1.73 billion in May 2017 from a year ago,Expenditure on consumer goods imports increased by 17.5 percent to $386million in May 2017, mainly driven by higher imports of food and beverages particularly sugar and rice.

“The increasing trend in rice imports observed since January 2017 continued in May 2017 as a result of measures taken by the government to encourage rice imports to meet the shortage in the domestic supply,” the statement said.

Spending on import of intermediate goods increased by 1.6 per cent to $865 million in May 2017, largely due to higher expenditure on fuel imports. Spending on fuel imports increased by 15.3 percent owing to increases in average import prices of all fuel categories, despite lower import volumes of refined petroleum and coal.
(COLOMBO, August 01, 2017)

SKUAST-J, NABARD organise training on leaf coloured chart in rice

July 31, 2017

ARNIA: Scientists of SKUAST -J in collaboration with NABARD organised a programme on training and demonstration of leaf coloured chart in rice at Kool Kalan near Arnia. The training programme was attended by more than seventy five local farmers and farm women including ex Sarpanchs and Panchs of the area.

At the outset, Vishal Raina JAEO elaborated various schemes and programmes offered by the government for the welfare of farming community. Dr. Vivak M. Arya, Scientist and PI of the Project discussed about the importance of leaf colour chart and its usage in paddy. He advocated the adjustment of fertiliser doses with leaf colour chart for better yield. He emphasised that with the use of leaf colour chart farmers can reduce the excess usage of urea in paddy which is posing threat to ecology and environment. Dr. Arya stressed upon the farming community not to use the blanket dose of fertiliser which is causing damage to ecological integrity and soil. Pardeep Anand JAEO gave a detailed overview of the paddy husbandry. The programme ended with the vote of thanks by Subash Chander Saini Ex. Sarpanch. Farmers thanked the university scientists and officers for organising the progarmme at border belt.

Illegal import of rice through Adamawa causes concern

rice, import, foreign rice, smugglers, By Kabiru R. Anwar, Yola | Publish Date: Aug 1 2017
Adamawa Forum for Good Governance and Transparency in Trade has raised alarm over illegal smuggling of commodities along the Nigeria-Cameroon border in Adamawa State, calling on Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to wake up to its responsibility.Smuggling: Customs reads riot act to officers
Saraki: Customs boss can wear jeans, T-shirt if he ends smuggling
Adamawa Forum for Good Governance and Transparency in Trade has raised alarm over illegal smuggling of commodities along the Nigeria-Cameroon border in Adamawa State, calling on Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to wake up to its responsibility.President of the forum, Maigari Yusuf, spoke of illegal import of large quantities of rice on large boats owned by unknown persons.
In a statement, Yusuf called on Customs to half illegal import of large quantities of foreign rice through the river ports in Wuro Bokki, Ribadu and Njoboli.“If these illegal activities are not checked, the livelihood of many legitimate business persons would be at risk and the expected revenue to be generated by Adamawa Command would experience a shortfall,” Yusuf stated.

Some of the most powerful players in agriculture are nearly invisible

August 1, 2017
Photo: Michael Ciaglo, Houston Chronicle
Rice pours into the grain tank of a combine harvesting rice at Ray Stoesser's farm Wednesday, July 26, 2017 in Raywood. Stoesser helped push for a recent deal to allow U.S. rice exports to China.In Tuesday's paper, I write about a Texas rice farmer who's been trying for about a decade to open China to U.S. rice — a quest that finally bore fruit last week, with an agreement on safety standards that opens the door to exports. 
But the farmers whose endless fields you drive by on the way to Baton Rouge aren't the only ones who'll benefit from increased trade with China, because they can't send rice overseas on their own. They need middlemen — the mills, which turn rough rice into smooth, polished white grains.  
Rice milling is a multi-billion dollar industry that, like farming, has become increasingly consolidated as businesses pursue economies of scale. Although it's by no means as concentrated as livestock processing or cane sugar refining, 22 companies mill about 75 percent of America's rice production, with the top two companies — both farmer-owned cooperatives — accounting for 40 percent.
Those companies were very interested in the Chinese market, because China wants its rice imports already milled — unlike Mexico, for example, which mills a lot of the rice it buys itself. 

"It's really not a farmer's deal," says Michael Klein, vice president for communications for the USA Rice Federation, a coalition of farmers and millers. "It's all milled rice going into China. And we represent 100 percent of the mills."
 (There is no love lost between the USA Rice Federation and the much smaller, Houston-based, farmers-only US Rice Producers Association. The two organizations split after a disagreement over the 1996 Farm Bill, which removed government controls on what farmers could plant. "You can't represent the buyers and the sellers in the same tent," says Greg Yielding, the executive director of the Arkansas Rice Growers Association. "Buyers and sellers want different things.")
Anyway, the largest miller in Texas is Riviana Foods, which became the biggest at the beginning of 2017 when its Spanish parent company merged several assets together — including American Rice, which used to loom over Allen Parkway at Studemont before being demolished in 1996. It now packages brands including Minute, Success, Mahatma, Blue Ribbon, Wonder, Comet, Adolphus, and RiceSelect, legacies of its acquisitions over the years. 
Giant mills like Riviana are the ones that bear the brunt of complying with the terms of the deal with China, which spells out exactly how rice is to be processed in order to avoid contamination. Keith Gray, Riviana's vice president for supply chain, says that some of their demands seemed over the top, even by the standards of other government regulators.  
"They wanted extra stuff to monitor pests that do not exist, wanted it monitored separately from our other program," Gray says. "It's just more paperwork." 
But Riviana went through with the deal's specifications. Because just as mills have consolidated to give farmers little choice in who buys their product, mills themselves face a limited number of customers as well — and China buys more rice than any other country. 
"It's kind of like, why would I want to deal with Walmart? Because they're the biggest," Gray says, naming another buyer that makes onerous demands of the companies whose goods it sells. " It's an untouched market that everybody wants to get into."

PHL seeks more elbow room in setting rice tariffs

The Philippines could set the maximum tariff rate on rice at a range of 50 percent to 700 percent, reflecting the government’s intent to have a wide policy space in balancing the interest of farmers and consumers.
This was evident in the stance of the Executive and the Legislative branches during the meeting of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food Technical Working Group (TWG) on the amendment of Republic Act (RA) 8178, or the Agricultural Tariffication Act, on Tuesday.
Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga noted that the Philippines is under pressure to convert the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice into tariffs, as it is the lone country that continues to implement it after South Korea and Japan have tariffied their import caps.
However, Arroyo said the Philippines should invoke its independent foreign policy and should consider binding its rice tariff at 700 percent to protect local farmers.
“We have an independent foreign policy, so we should interpret our agreements and commitments to our favor. These two other countries [South Korea and Japan] are violating the World Trade Organization [WTO] formula, and they are getting a range of 500 [percent] to 700-percent and are not yet sanctioned up to now,” she added. “Why are we now going to be so strict in the interpretation of   ‘commitment’? Let’s also be liberal, that’s why I’m proposing a 700 percent bound rate,” Arroyo said.
The lawmaker added she would include her bound-tariff proposal under a bill seeking to amend RA 8178, which she authored.
The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) had recommended a much lower bound-tariff rate for rice at a range of 50 percent to 125 percent. Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano said the figures were based on the DA’s initial estimates.
“We have had calculations using the formula, and we shall provide an updated document with these calculations for the information of the committee in agriculture and food and the TWG [technical working group],” Serrano added during the meeting on August 1. “I think the numbers are ranging from 50 [percent] to around 100 [percent] to 125 percent,” Serrano said, referring to the tariff-equivalent formula provided under Annex 5 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).
Annex 5 of the AoA states that the tariff equivalent of converting any nontariff measures shall be based on the difference between the domestic price and international price (cost, insurance and freight unit value or CIF) of the commodity for 1986 to 1988.
Paragraph 10 of the Annex 5 states that the tariff equivalent coming from the formula “shall be bound in the Schedule of the Member concerned”. Bound tariffs are maximum tariff rates that a WTO member-country could impose on a certain commodity.
The authority to set bound tariffs is vested in Congress. But under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the President, upon the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority, has the power to modify the tariffs applied on Philippine imports.
During the meeting of the TWG, Serrano also urged lawmakers to prioritize the conversion of the QR into tariffs so as not to prolong the period that the Philippines is in breach of its commitment to the WTO.
“Even though the executive order [EO] of the President has removed the motivation from our negotiating partners, that doesn’t guarantee that no member of the WTO will sue because we are in breach of our obligation,” he said. “Therefore, the No. 1 priority would be tariffication, and we may have to postpone other peripheral issues for later legislation or bills.”
The Philippines is now under pressure to convert its QR on rice into ordinary customs duties after its waiver on the special treatment on rice expired on June 30.
The WTO General Council approved the waiver, which allowed Manila to keep its rice QR until June 30, on the condition that the Philippines will subject its rice imports to ordinary custom duties by July 1.
“At the expiration of this waiver, and no later than June 30, 2017, the importation of rice shall be subject to ordinary customs duties in accordance with paragraph 10 of Annex 5, Section B, of the Agreement on Agriculture,” the WTO General Council decision read.
However, in an earlier COA meeting in Geneva in March, the Philippines informed WTO members that it is facing delays in converting the QR due to the nonamendment of RA 8178, which imposed the import caps on rice indefinitely. As a sign of “goodwill” to its trading partners, Duterte signed  EO 23 last month, extending the concessions made by the Philippines in securing the waiver in 2014.
The temporary modification of most-favored nation-tariff rates is effective until June 30, 2020, or until such time a law amending certain provisions relating to rice in RA 8178 is enacted, whichever comes first.
“The EO of the President is good, because we will preserve the concessions so there would be no motivation for our negotiating partners to sue us,” Serrano said in an earlier interview.

Questioning Rice Raid
 TUESDAY, 01 AUGUST, 2017 | 20:32 WIB
TEMPO.COJakarta - FOR Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman, 'enforcing the law' in the food industry may be similar to staging a reality show. Along with the National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian and the head of business competition supervisory commission Syarkawi Raufall clad in batik shirts in the middle of the nightthey raided a rice warehouse of Indo Beras Unggul. But the dramatic raid did not yield much as the allegations against the company quickly crumbled.
Indo Beras was initially accused of taking large profits, far above that of farmers. But, in any supply chain, it is a common knowledge that traders reap largest profits. Farmers are always at the bottom of the pyramid. Therefore, the reason behind the raid that the company causes losses to farmers is not a solid one.
As long as rules have not been broken, no trader can be charged merely for taking more profits. The police should have used the pro justitia principle, not business ethics or income inequality--as basis in enforcing the laws. There has to be a clear legal ground showing as to which articles are violated. If raking in large profits is a violation, then many more companies should be targeted.
The ministry and the police also alleged that Indo Beras caused losses to consumers as the company bought subsidized rice, packed and resold it at the premium price albeit a maximum retail price set by the government. This accusation fell flat following the statement by the social welfare minister, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, that the company's rice was not the subsidized rice.
From the economic aspect, not all subsidized goods have to be subject to price control. This kind of rationale can deduce a conclusion that prices of all agricultural produce--from rice, vegetables to crops--must be regulated. After all, these are strategic goods for which the government provides assistance, such as fertilizers, seeds, irrigation, tractors, credit and many other instruments.
Exemption from price regulations for subsidized rice and other produce is in fact a necessity. It is not feasible for Indonesia, which applies an open economy, to regulate the price of rice--the main commodity--and the trade which involves millions of stakeholders--from farmers to consumers. The price control can only be imposed if the government switches to a closed economy a'la socialism or communism. As proven throughout the world, the closed economy usually fails as can be seen in Venezuela which is now on the brink of collapse.
Minister Amran's pretext that the raid was part of efforts to increase farmers' welfare also sounds absurd as in this case, farmers in fact get higher prices than the government's set-price. They do not at all suffer losses. Instead they benefit more from initiatives by companies like Indo Beras. Again, one more excuse to raid the warehouse completely failed.
If the economic and fairness excuses do not hold water, one can only attribute a political motive to the raid carried out two weeks after the cabinet meeting in which President Joko Widodo expressed his disappointment at the soaring food prices. It was as if the agricultural ministry and the food taskforce were too eager to show that they were working hard.President Jokowi should ask his ministers to stop actions that are counter-productive to the business world. He must not remain silent if the raid turned out to be prompted by business competition--a plausible suspicion given that only one of six premium rice producers were targeted.
Last but not least, one must be reminded that power must not be used at will particularly for temporary personal interest, such as avoiding a looming cabinet shakeup.
Trains the mode of choice for PDS rice smugglers

Wednesday, August, 02, 2017
By Venkatesan Parthasarathy  |  Express News Service  |   Published: 31st July 2017 07:22 AM  | 
Last Updated: 31st July 2017 07:22 AM 
RPF and civil supplies department personnel with seized PDS rice bags at Katpadi station | Express
CHENNAI: July 25 was a busy day for the Railway Protection Force (RPF), posted on a special drive, on the Chennai Central-Gummidipoondi route. By the day’s end, the team seized around 3,300 kg of rice, supplied through Tamil Nadu’s Public Distribution System (PDS), being smuggled into Andhra Pradesh. Elsewhere, a combined team of RPF and civil supplies department officials in Vellore district recovered a similar quantity of PDS rice from two trains on the Chennai-Bengaluru route.
It is not just passengers and paid freight that Railways is carrying. Trains have become a mode of choice for smugglers looking to take PDS rice beyond State borders. The incidence of smuggling has now become so significant yet common that RPF (Chennai division) is well on track to beat last year’s record haul of 1.3 lakh kg. Till July 26, 2017, 75,452 kg of rice, worth a market value of around `3.77 lakh, has been seized from local and express trains. It is an offence under Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980.
However, they admit to facing a challenge in finding a link to the larger group behind such activities because individuals involved in smuggling easily escape the flying squad, leaving behind several unclaimed bags of rice.
Explaining the modus operandi, an RPF inspector, on condition of anonymity, said several individuals are involved. The rice, packed in bags of varying quantities, is kept under seats and near toilets. “Upon seeing a patrol team, the culprits feign knowledge and leave the place. We merely recover the bags and hand them over to the civil supplies department,” the inspector added.
Civil supplies department officials said there is less manpower to contain incidents of smuggling. But the core issue, they revealed, concerns the abuse of TN’s universal PDS wherein everyone is entitled to a monthly quota.
“For commercial purposes, individuals divert PDS rice meant for domestic consumption. This is evident from bags of different quantities being found in trains,” a food supply officer told Express. He added that it was normal to see an increase in smuggling during the first and second weeks of every month when rice is distributed through the PDS network.
The officer suggested strengthening the presence of RPF or Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel at entry and exit points of stations, apart from increasing regular patrolling.
Senior divisional Security Commissioner (RPF), Chennai division, Louis Amudan, said steps are being taken to discourage smuggling through trains. “Permanent teams, consisting of four personnel, have been set up and deployed on two routes, namely Chennai-Gummidipoondi and Arakonnam-Renigunta,” he said.
RPF recovery of rice bags
2016: 4,748 bags, containing 1.36 lakh kg. Total seizure is valued at C6.80 lakh (market rate)
2017 (up to July 26): 2,657 bags, containing 75,452 kg. Total seizure is valued at C3.77 lakh (market rate)

rice import tax reduced
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 - 15:51

The government, on the instructions of the President has decided to distribute baskets of essential food items to drought affected people for the next two months.

The value of a goods pack would be nearly 5 thousand rupees.

At the same time, the Finance Ministry stated the special commodity levy of 5 rupees on imported rice has been dropped to 0.25 cents. This decision was taken when the committee on cost of living met today.

In addition, the current Cess on imported wheat flour has been dropped to 15 rupees from 25 rupees per kilogram. It has been dropped to 6 rupees from 9 rupees for kilogram of maize.

The special commodity levy on imported wet fish has been dropped by 50 rupees and all forms of current tax on maize imported for manufacturing poultry feed has abolished and a 10 rupee special trading tax.

AUGUST 1, 2017 / 4:28 PM / A DAY AGO
UPDATE 1-Bangladesh tenders to import 50,000 tonnes of rice
* Seventh tender since May after floods hit local output
* State grains buyer looks to import 1.2 mln T of rice
* Seeking imports both in government deals and tenders (Add details of import plan)
DHAKA, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Bangladesh's state grain buyer has issued its seventh international tender since May to import 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice in an effort to replenish reserves.Bangladesh, the world's fourth-biggest rice producer, has emerged as a major importer of the grain this year after flash floods in April hit domestic output. As a result, the country is facing dwindling stocks and high local prices.
The deadline for offers in the tender is Aug. 20, with the rice to be shipped within 40 days of signing any deal, a senior official at the country's state grains buyer said.The country has also been importing rice via state-to-state deals.“We’ll be issuing tenders and at the same time looking for government deals until our import target is fulfilled,” Badrul Hasan, the head of Bangladesh's state grain buyer told Reuters.The state grain buyer aims to import as much as 1.2 million tonnes this year, and has so far struck deals with Vietnam.But plans to import from India and Thailand could be suspended because of high prices and the government is already looking to Cambodia to replenish stocks.
A Bangladeshi delegation, led by Food Minister Kamrul Islam, will visit Cambodia this week to sign a memorandum to import rice, ministry officials said.Bangladesh bought 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 previous tenders.
The lowest offer in the fifth tender by the state grains buyer for 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice, which opened last Thursday, was from Olam at $419.51 a tonne, CIF liner out.The sixth tender for a similar quantity of rice will close on Aug. 8.Private traders have imported around 150,000 tonnes of rice from neighbouring India after the government cut import duties in late June.But prices of rice, a staple food for Bangladesh’s 160 million people, dropped only a little, posing a problem for the government which faces a national election due next year.

India asks European Union to allow duty free exports of all basmati rice varieties

In a move that is expected to give boost to rice exports, India has approached the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) for allowing duty-free exports of all the 29 varieties of basmati rice notified by the agriculture ministry.

By: Sandip Das | New Delhi | Published: August 1, 2017 4:48 AM
Trades sources told FE that a zero rate of import duty is granted to eight varieties of husked basmati rice, including 370, 386, 217, Ranbir, Pusa basmati and Super.
In a move that is expected to give boost to rice exports, India has approached the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) for allowing duty-free exports of all the 29 varieties of basmati rice notified by the agriculture ministry. At present, under a code of practice and regulations signed in 2004, only eight varieties of basmati rice are allowed duty-free exports from India to EU and UK while those varieties notified afterwards, especially Pusa 1121 (2008) and Pusa 1509 (2013), which constitute at least 70% of around 4 million tonne of aromatic rice exports annually, are subject to a higher level of import duties.
Trades sources told FE that a zero rate of import duty is granted to eight varieties of husked basmati rice, including 370, 386, 217, Ranbir, Pusa basmati and Super. While only 10% of India’s total basmati rice production is exported to EU including UK, the realisation from shipments is much higher than the bulk of basmati rice exports to Gulf countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait. “Currently, exports of basmati rice varieties which were notified after 2004 attract a duty of €165 per tonne, which makes it costlier against other rice,” an exporter said.
India being the top rice exporters for last many years, shipped 3.5 lakh tonne of basmati rice to EU valued at Rs 1,744 crore in 2016-17. Overall basmati rice export from India was Rs 21,605 crore for FY17. “There is ample scope of increasing shipment to EU and UK as code of practices and regulations signed more than a decade back needs to be revised,” an official said. He also said that they have received positive feedback from EU and UK authorities.
Out of the total annual value of basmati rice exports, five countries – Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait — have share of more than 68%. “EU and UK allowing more varieties of basmati under import duty free regime would boost rice exports prospects,” an official said. This follows EU’s recent decision to impose a stringent maximum residue limit (MRL) for Tricyclazole, a fungicide used by farmers against a disease which impacts basmati rice crop from December 31, 2017. The exporters in the country have launched an extensive campaign to educate the farmers in key growing states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh on the judicious use of pesticide.
“Many a times rice exports consignments were rejected because of detection of pesticides residues and our focus would be to educate the farmers against use of excessive pesticides which would lead to higher price realisation,” Vijay Setia, president, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) had said.

Pest attack threatens paddy crop in parts of Doaba

Experts said that farmers have been told not to use more than recommended quantity of ‘urea’ fertiliser in the fields as it may have a negative affect on the crop. According to agriculture officers, current wet weather is aiding growth of this pest.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Updated: August 1, 2017 4:03 am
With a ‘leaf fold or curl’ pest attack being noticed in parts of the Doaba region, the state agriculture officers have asked farmers to be alert, but not to panic as the attack is easily controllable at this initial stage. However, they have cautioned that the attack can cause serious damage if not checked right away. Dr Naresh Gulati, Block Development Officer, Jalandhar, said that he had visited several fields in different villages on Monday where the pest attack was noticed.
“It can be managed and even its further outbreak can be prevented if one uses resistant varieties…remove grassy weeds from fields and borders, reduce density of planting and balances it with fertiliser use,” said Gulati, adding that at vegetative phase, crops can generally recover from damage, but when ‘leaf folders’ infest at reproductive phase, the damage can be economically detrimental.
Setup Timeout Error: Setup took longer than 30 seconds to complete.
‘Leaf fold’ pest, which is also called caterpillar, folds a rice leaf around itself and feed inside the folded leaf. Experts said that while this pest attacks the crop between August to October, case have been seen in some areas in July itself.They added that farmers have been told not to use more than the recommended quantity of ‘urea’ fertiliser in the fields as it may have a negative affect on the crop. According to agriculture officers, the current wet weather is aiding the growth of this pest in paddy and basmati crops.

“I have seen folded leaves in my fields and reported it to agriculture department officials, who advised me not to spray anything on it as it is just the beginning and might get washed away from the leaf with heavy showers,” said a farmer, Nirmal Singh, from Talhan village.
Another farmer, Joginder Singh, of Salempur village said that experts visited his fields and advised him to on ways to counter the attack.

“High feeding damage on flag leaves can cause yield loss. It can cause ecological disruptions in natural biological control processes, thus enhancing the development of secondary pests, such as plant hoppers,” said Dr Amrik Singh, Agriculture Development Officer. According to the Agriculture Department if the pest takes hold of more than 10 per cent of the crop then insecticides can be used to fight back.

Haryana considering agriculture trading

A 30-member team from farmer producer companies was in Maharashtra to study the infrastructure in the state and the establishment of logistics for a possible supply chain

By: Nanda Kasabe | Pune | Published: August 1, 2017 4:52 AM
Puneet Singh, national director, who handles the North Indian operations of VGAI, said that although Punjab and Haryana were known for the Green Revolution, Maharashtra was very strong in agri business, trading and exports.
Farmer producer companies in Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana are considering the possibility of commencing trading in grapes, potato seeds and basmati rice soon. A 30-member team from farmer producer companies (FPCs) associated with the northern operations of the Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI) and the Haryana horticulture department was in Maharashtra to study the infrastructure of FPCs in the state and the establishment of logistics for a possible supply chain.
Puneet Singh, national director, who handles the North Indian operations of VGAI, said that although Punjab and Haryana were known for the Green Revolution, Maharashtra was very strong in agri business, trading and exports. “The North is lacking in this aspect and there is more focus on MSP crops here. Therefore, a team of FPCs decided to visit Maharashtra to study agri solutions and trading between farmer producer companies,” he said.
“The discussions have been very positive and we are looking at the possibility of dealing in grapes, pomegranates, basmati rice and potato seeds. Our FPCs have supplied potato seeds to Maharashtra on a pilot basis and we are looking at taking this forward,” Singh said.
According to Singh, Punjab and Haryana have at least 50 FPCs each, of which 8 in Punjab and 9 in Harayana are part of VGAI. Maharashtra and Karnataka are strong on this front while FPCs are in the initial stages here and there is much to learn from them, he said. Moreover, the farmer producer companies in Chandigarh have a start-up which also has retail outlets. The objective is to explore possibilities of beginning supplies of commodities that are not available in these markets from Maharashtra and vice versa. For instance, there are plans to begin the supply of potato seeds from Punjab and Haryana to Maharashtra from September and thereafter pick up winter fruit from this state to the North, Puneet Singh said. This time apart from visiting food processing facilities, the intention was to establish direct contact between farmers and producer companies to form linkages for the future, he said.
Shriram Gadhave, president, VGAI, said that the teams from Punjab and Haryana had visited Nashik, Pune and Narayangaon where tomato auction has become common. They were keen on studying the cooperation system here and are looking at replicating models from Maharashtra in their states. Puneet Singh agrees and pointed out that the Narayangaon tomato auction model could be replicated for watermelons in Punjab and Haryana. In the Narayangaon open auction, there are no agents or middlemen between the farmer and the buyer.
Tomato is the only item sold in this manner and the farmers decide the price for their produce. The initiative, begun by Gadhave, earned him much recognition and appreciation from farmers and governments who wish to replicate this model in other states. The direct auction rooted out the agents and directed the money into the pockets of tomato farmers. Around 1,200 -1500 tonne of tomatoes are sold here everyday, with the turnover touching Rs 150 crore to Rs 170 crore during peak season.
This is also part of the initiative brewing among farmer producer companies (FPCs) across the country. Several federations of these companies are trying to enter into partnerships with federations of other states. This would not only enable companies to learn from each other and share technical inputs but also market products to different states. Last year Gadhave was in Gujarat as part of efforts to tie-up with the Gujarat pro agri business consortium producer company.
“The attempt is to be able to bring some 100-120 companies under the umbrella of the federation gradually. The objective is to be able to service these companies well and strengthen their marketing and help them market both commodities and value-added products to sellers across the country”, he said. Unwilling to discuss figures and the possible quantum of trade between the states, Puneet Singh is hopeful that the effort should bear fruit and is keeping his fingers crossed. So is Shriram Gadhave.
Bangladesh inks deal with Cambodia to buy 1m tonnes of rice
Bangladesh signed an agreement with Cambodia on Wednesday, August 2, 2017, to purchase 1 million tonnes of rice within the next five years, officials say. In this AFP photo, a Cambodian worker carries a bag of rice during a campaign to stop rising rice prices at a store set up by the Phnom Penh municipality on October 17, 2011. Bangladesh signed an agreement with Cambodia on Wednesday to purchase 1 million tonnes of rice within the next five years, officials said. Bangladesh will purchase 200,000 tonnes of white rice and 50,000 parboiled rice this year, Cambodia's Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak told reporters, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladeshi Food Minister Qamrul Islam in Phnom Penh.
"We will be able to export to Bangladesh by around October after signing this deal," he added. Bangladesh, the world's fourth-biggest rice producer, has now become a major importer of the grain this year after flash floods in April hit their domestic output. As a result, the country is facing dwindling stockpiles and high local rates.This AFP photo taken on November 14, 2010 shows a Cambodian farmer driving an ox-cart loaded with rice in a field in Kampong Speu province, some 60 kms south of Phnom Penh.
"Due to the floods we have a problem this year. We came here to implement an MoU with Cambodia," said Kamrul Islam.Cambodia said this is their biggest rice export deal, and also plans to renew an MoU with Indonesia as well. "We want to push for a 1-million-tonne deal with Indonesia," said Commerce Ministry spokeswoman Soeng Sophary. Cambodia exported 288,562 tonnes of rice in the first six months this year, an increase of 7.6 percent compared with the same period last year. Though the country was drought-hit, it managed to export 542,144 tonnes of rice last year.

Bangladesh to map garment supply chain

Thomson Reuters Foundation / Khmer Times Share:    
CHENNAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Bangladesh, the second largest garment producing country in the world, will digitally map its entire garment industry in the first such initiative to bring transparency in the supply chain in an effort to stop abuses.The mapping project will collect “credible, comprehensive and accurate data” on factories across Bangladesh and disclose it in a publicly available, online map, said a manufacturers association that launched the project on Saturday.
Bangladesh’s garment sector, worth about $28 billion per year and employing 4 million people, came under scrutiny after the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza factory complex in 2013 that killed more than 1,100 workers.The death of 10 workers in a boiler explosion at a garment factory earlier this month renewed calls for more transparency and implementation of labour laws.Garments are a key foreign-exchange earner for the South Asian nation, whose low wages and duty-free access to Western markets have helped make it the world’s second largest apparel exporter after China.
“We believe [the project] will empower stakeholders across the industry, including workers, factory authority, brands, government and civil society organisations to create positive changes,” Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said in a statement.“This transparency initiative would significantly complement our ongoing efforts towards enhanced, more risk-averse supply chains,” Mr Rahman said.
Campaigners have criticised many retailers for failing to improve working conditions in their supply chains. Long hours, low pay, poor safety standards and not being allowed to form trade unions are common complaints from garment workers.Locating sub-contracting suppliers has been the biggest challenge, with many big manufacturers not transparent about the lower ends of their supply chain, campaigners add.The digital mapping project is part of efforts to change that, project head Parveen S Huda said.
“The mapping project will fuel Bangladesh’s garment industry advancements, inspire shared responsibility, responsible sourcing, collective action and build upon pre-existing improvement efforts through informed decision-making,” Ms Huda said.The map will provide a detailed industry-wide database of factories, including names, locations, numbers of workers, product type, export country, certifications and brand customers.
Verification of information will be crowd sourced from the public to ensure that information remains up-to-date and accurate. The first public map is scheduled to live in 2018 in the Dhaka region. The final version of the map showcasing all 20 Bangladeshi garment producing districts is expected to be completed by 2021.
Readymade garments, comprising knitwear and woven items, earned Bangladesh $28.15 billion in the year ended June 30. That was 7.34 percent below the target.Exporters blamed the lacklustre growth on a number of factors, including sluggish demand in the key markets, structural reforms in the garment sector, a weak euro and appreciation of local currency against the US dollar
Deal with Thailand this month to import rice
31 Jul 2017, 21:56:22 | Updated : 01 Aug 2017, 12:52:02

Talha Bin Habib
The government is set to sign an agreement with Thailand in the second week of this month (August) to import rice from the Southeast Asian country, officials said.The ministry of food (MoF) will ink the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Thailand to import the main staple aiming to keep its prices stable on the local market.The MoF has already finalised the draft of the MoU on rice import from Thailand, according to sources at the state-run Directorate General of Food. 
"We will sign an MoU with Thailand on rice import at the 4th Bangladesh-Thailand joint trade committee (JTC) meeting next month (August)," a high official of the MoF told the FF on Monday.He, however, did not disclose the amount of rice to be imported from Thailand, but hinted that the amount might be around 0.2 million tonnes.  Bangladesh commerce minister Tofail Ahmed and Thai commerce minister Apiradi Tantraporn will lead their respective sides at the JTC meeting which will kick off in Dhaka on August 09.
Bangladesh food minister Md Qamrul Islam and Thai commerce minister Apiradi Tantraporn will sign the MoU at the meeting on August 10 on behalf of their respective sides.Earlier, the Directorate General of Food under the food ministry had set a target to import 0.6 million tonnes of rice from different countries.Under the move, import of 250,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam is now under way.
Besides, a Dubai-based Phoenix Global company will supply 50,000 tonnes of rice.The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has allowed importers to import rice on three months' deferred payment (until December 31, 2017), a step that has prompted them to import more rice.      
Fine variety of rice was sold between Tk 54 and Tk 58 a kg on Monday, depending on its quality. The prices ranged from Tk 44 to Tk 55 per kg a year ago, showing a 13 per cent hike over the last one year.  Price of coarse variety increased 35.9 per cent over the last one year. A kg of coarse rice was sold between Tk 42 and Tk 45 on the day, which ranged from Tk 30 to Tk 34 just a year ago, according to the data of the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) prepared in July, 2017.
At present, the government has a stock of over 0.2 million tonnes of rice.Rice is the main staple food for Bangladesh's 160 million people. Besides, wheat consumption is also rising due to lifestyle changes.Apart from rice import, the government will finalise other agendas at an inter-ministerial meeting today (Tuesday) which will also be discussed during the upcoming JTC meeting, a high official of the commerce ministry told the FE.

UPDATE: Osinbajo arrive Kebbi to commission 120,000 metric tone per year rice mill
Author: Adeola
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has arrived Kebbi state - Osinbajo is expected to commission the new WACOT rice mill on his visit Acting President Yemi Osinbajo arrived Argungu town, Kebbi state today, August 1, for the commissioning of the 120,000 metric tones per year WACOT rice mill. The groundbreaking ceremony for the rice mill took place in February 2016 and 18 months later, the plant is ready for commissioning. The rice mill is a wholly private venture by WACOT limited, developed with the policy support Kebbi state government and the federal government. The mill, a N10 billion investment, is supported by an Outgrower Scheme comprising 6,000 rice farmers.