Friday, August 25, 2017

25th August,2017 daily global regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

China, Pakistan to enhance bilateral cooperation in agriculture sector

BEIJING: A World renowned company in the field of Hybrid rice production, Tianjin Tianlong Agricultural Science and Technology has shown keen interest in enhancing bilateral cooperation with Pakistan.
The company is engaged in new crop breed research and its industrialization, deep process technology for agricultural products and forage biotechnology research and industrialization, crop seeds production and distribution.
The company was having a good export of it’s hybrid rice to Pakistan as China Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided enormous opportunities to cooperate more, said a company’s representative.
Tianlong not only focused in seeds research, but it has also expanded the business in many fields, such as, hybrid rice seeds trading, processing technological researches for agricultural products, the feed’s biotechnology research, agricultural products import & export, but also focuses on advanced agricultural project investments.
It is the second largest exporter of hybrid rice seeds in China while already had few customers in 10 countries including Pakistan, Hongkong, Indonesia, North and South Korean, Vienan.
The Company’s representative told to a vising media’s delegation that they were also supplying agricultural machinery, rice fertilizer and mixed feed to different countries.
The hybrid rice production technology of the company was 25 years ahead than its competitors in all over the world.The delegation was informed that the company was wholly responsible for hybrid rice production in North and South China
Toxic groundwater threatens 60 million in Pakistan
 24 AUGUST 2017
Dangerously high concentrations of arsenic have been found in groundwater throughout the rich farmlands of the Indus Plain. Andrew Masterson reports.
The research, conducted by a team led by Atta Rasool of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, found that arsenic levels ranged between 12 and 448.5 micrograms per litre – well above the WHO-recommended maximum dose of 10 micrograms per litre.
The high level of arsenic in the water of the Indus Plain is a result of both natural and anthropogenic sources.
Arsenic is the twelfth most common element on Earth, and background levels vary wildly from place to place. A 2008 study estimated that naturally occurring arsenic contributed 40% of Pakistan’s total burden. Manmade sources contributed the rest.
The following year, another study, measuring arsenic levels in groundwater in the Punjab, concluded that much of surface level deposits were the result of “the contribution of air pollutants derived from coal combustion and the use of fertilizers”.
All the research – including the latest by Podgorski’s team – underlines the stark fact that Pakistan is facing a water crisis of unprecedented proportions.
In a blog post published this month, analysts at US think-tank The Wilson Centre said “the country will face absolute water scarcity (insufficient water supply to meet demand) as soon as 2025.”
Contributing factors included difficulties in controlling water quality because Pakistan’s three major rivers all rise beyond its borders. Internal migration is also placing extreme pressure on water supplies, and various factors, including climate change, are causing the water table beneath Islamabad to decrease by more than half a metre every year.
The authors refer to multiple studies that all found the “vast majority” of water samples “were considered unsafe due to contamination—either by harmful bacteria or by arsenic from industrial pollution”.
In their conclusions Podgorski and colleagues call for urgent additional testing across the Indus Plain, coupled with health intervention strategies and an urgent search for new sources of fresh water
Collection of samples from a dug well in the Gujrat district of Punjab province in Pakistan.
The largest ever assessment of water quality in Pakistan has found that as many as 60 million people are at risk because of high concentrations of arsenic in ground water on the Indus Plain.
The study, conducted by a team led by Joel Podgorski from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, measured arsenic concentrations from 1200 sites across the country, most of them hand- and motor-operated pumps.
Using the test results, Pogorski and colleagues then constructed a “hazard map”, factoring in statistical estimates of arsenic movement through groundwater. The results suggest that much of the Indus Plain contains arsenic levels above the maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The study – published in the journal Science Advances – confirms and extends the results of recent previous, smaller studies.
In February this year the journal Environment International published a paper assessing the health risks posed by consuming a diet based on arsenic-laced water in Pakistan.
The research, led by Hifza Rasheed of the University of Leeds, UK, used questionnaires to establish the average intake of water, rice and wheat per person. It found that daily water and wheat consumption were both higher than current WHO recommendations, while rice intake was below par.
The study concluded that the standard Pakistani diet represented a significantly high cumulative cancer risk – although a smaller one than those posed by standard diets in Bangladesh and India, where arsenic contamination is also present and rice consumption higher.
Another study, published in the journal Environmental Quality and Health this month, reported on arsenic concentrations on water drawn from tube wells in the Tehsil Mailsi region of the Punjab.
NFA Kalinga starts rice procurement for buffer stock
 August 24, 2017  Peter A. Balocnit
CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga, Aug. 24 (PIA) - - The National Food Authority (NFO) here is on aggressive campaign to procure sufficient buffer stock for the lean months.NFA Manager Heidy Pasion, said their procurement operation targets to procure 25,000 bags of palay in the whole season that started this month.“The more to procure leads to stabilizing price of rice in the market,” Pasion said adding their procurement teams are mobilized in their three buying stations to ensure palay are procured according to quality standards.
She called on farmers to sell their palay to NFA which buys clean and dry at P17.00 per kilo with additional incentives to cooperatives and delivery incentive. “Selling to NFA is advantageous since sellers are guaranteed calibrated weighing scale and can also avail of NFA’s drying machine,” she said.
Pasion informed they also conduct mobile procurement upon request of local government units.
She also iterated that the NFA extends immediate response during times of calamities granting local government units needing rice for affected families on credit payable within 15 days. Through a memorandum of agreement with LGUs authorizing local chief executives, NFA offers assistance to victims of disaster, she said. (JDP/PAB-PIA CAR, Kalinga)

Ministry set to revise export target to 6-6.5%

Double-digit growth in July defies rising baht
The Commerce Ministry looks set to revise its full-year export growth target to 6-6.5% from 5% after Thai exports rose at a double-digit pace for the fifth straight month in July.
Encouraging economic data showed exports climbing 10.5% to US$18.9 billion (630.5 billion baht), shrugging off the strengthening local currency as demand for Thai goods rose in line with the recovering global economy.
Exports for the first seven months totalled $132.4 billion baht, up 8.2% year-on-year, the highest rate in six years.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak is due to visit the Commerce Ministry on Monday to evaluate the state of Thai exports and potentially discuss an official revision of the 2017 export target in the wake of the latest export figures.
Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO), said the recovering global economy helped improve purchasing power for major Thai trade partners, leading to more orders even though the prices of Thai goods are rising.
She said the baht's appreciation has not affected Thai exports. The baht has risen more than 7% this year, making the currency the best performer in Asia.
"The TPSO will increase the export growth target to 6% because of some positive factors such as recovering global trade," Ms Pimchanok said. "We think Thai exports could rise by 6.5% for the year because of increasing global demand."
She said the export target revision was based on the assumption of 3.4% global trade growth, particularly in Thailand's traditional markets such as the US, Japan, China and Europe.
It was also based on the baht averaging 34-36 to the dollar for the year and global crude oil prices in a range of $45-$55 per barrel.
Ms Pimchanok said Thailand would not only enjoy rising exports but would see the export value of farm products grow, as the IMF forecast that global farm prices would rise by an average of 5-6% from 2016. It previously forecast growth of 2-3%.
She said the TPSO will still monitor internal and external factors closely, including the movement of the baht, oil prices, trade policies and interest rates, to adjust export promotions if needed to push Thai exports to hit the target.
In July, exports of agro-industrial products were the big winner after they edged up 29.5%, particularly rice, fruits and vegetables, natural rubber, tapioca products, frozen poultry and sugar.
Exports of industrial products rose 8.6%, notably autos and parts, electronic appliances and rubber products.
For the first seven months, total exports rose 8.2% to $132.4 billion, the highest growth rate in six years.
This compares with growth of 7.8% in the US, 7.5% in the EU and 8.1% in Japan. China saw exports leap 30.9%, while South Asia's rate was 18.3%.
Fortunes were reversed in the Middle East, where outbound shipments slid 5.4%.
Over the same period, Thailand saw imports rise 15.5% to $125.6 billion for a trade surplus of $6.783 billion, Ms Pimchanok said.
In July, imports posted a robust gain of 18.5% to $19.04 billion for a monthly trade deficit of $188 million.

Another 1 lakh tonnes of rice on way

Star Business Report
The government has given the go-ahead to import 1.5 lakh tonnes of food grains to boost stocks and tackle a recent price spiral.Yesterday, the cabinet committee on purchase approved three deals on food grain import, including 1 lakh tonnes of wheat and 50,000 tonnes of boiled rice.
Half of the wheat will be supplied by Switzerland-based commodity trader Aston FFI for $251 per tonne and the rest by Singapore-based Agrocorp International for $249.31 per tonne.
Besides, the committee also approved a proposal for importing 50,000 tonnes of boiled rice for $411.11 per tonne. The rice will be supplied by Dubai-based Phoenix Commodities, who was the lowest bidder.
The development comes as rice production suffered major losses due to flash floods and fungal attacks.
Flash floods in six northeastern haor districts and fungal attacks (rice blast) in 19 districts during the Boro season have led to the loss of 20 lakh tonnes of the crop, according to the food ministry.
At least 20 districts in the north and elsewhere in the country have been flooded over the past few days. As a result, the Aman crop may also be affected.Against this backdrop, a cabinet committee meeting last week decided to import 20 lakh tonnes of food grains -- 15 lakh tonnes of rice and 5 lakh tonnes of wheat -- this fiscal year.
This is an 11 lakh tonne-addition to the government's earlier projected food import volume of 9 lakh tonnes.  Over the past two months, the cabinet committee approved the proposal for floating tender to import 3.5 lakh tonnes of rice.Besides, the government is importing 2.5 lakh tonnes of rice from Vietnam on a government-to-government basis.
The food ministry also recently signed a deal with Cambodia to import up to 10 lakh tonnes of rice in the next five years. About 2.5 lakh tonnes of the staple will reach Bangladesh by October this year.
Fuel import from India
The cabinet committee on purchase yesterday approved the import of 1.64 lakh barrels of diesel from Shiliguri in India with premium of $5.5 per barrel. 
The fuel will be transported on wagons via railway to the Parbatipur depot in Bangladesh from the Shiliguri terminal, said an official of the energy ministry.
In future too, oil will be imported to Bangladesh through pipelines from Shiliguri, he added.
Meanwhile, another committee -- the cabinet committee on economic affairs -- yesterday approved a draft agreement for importing fuel to Parbatipur from the Shiliguri marketing terminal of Numaligarh Refinery through the Indo-Bangla Friendship pipeline.
The cabinet committee on purchase also approved various packages of rail line construction on the Dohazari-Cox's Bazar-Ghundhum route.  The work for three components of the route will cost Tk 6,766 crore

Exclusive: U.S. steel executives appeal directly to Trump for import restrictions

U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Air Force One as he arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., August 23, 2017.Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American steel industry executives have appealed directly to President Donald Trump for immediate import restrictions in a letter seen by Reuters, as a U.S. Commerce Department national security probe languishes and steel imports surge back to 2015 levels.Senior executives from 25 U.S. steel and steel-related companies sent the letter to Trump late on Wednesday, saying the industry was suffering the consequences of government inaction that could change with his “bold leadership” and “America First” vision.
“The need for action is urgent. Since the 232 investigation was announced in April, imports have continued to surge,” the executives said in the letter.“Immediate action must meaningfully adjust imports to restore healthy levels of capacity utilization and profitability to the domestic industry over a sustained period,” they wrote.A White House spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment on the letter.
The Commerce Department has delayed the release of its recommendations from a “Section 232” investigation into whether steel imports pose a threat to national security, a finding that could lead to Trump imposing broad quotas or tariffs on steel imports.The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), an industry trade group, reported on Wednesday that total steel imports through July this year were up 22 percent from the same period a year ago, with imports taking 28 percent of the U.S. market.
Imports captured 30 percent of the U.S. market in June, according to Commerce Department data compiled by the institute. Steel imports dipped briefly last year because of Commerce Department anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties imposed on steel products from China and some other countries.The letter followed last week’s departure of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who had been a vocal advocate for steel tariffs and other trade protections in the administration’s internal debates over trade.


The executives from companies including Nucor Corp (NUE.N) U.S. Steel (X.N), ArcelorMittal (MT.AS) and Commercial Metals Co (CMC.N) said the sustained surge of steel imports into the United States had “hollowed out” much of the domestic steel industry and was threatening its ability to meet national security needs.
“Your leadership in finding a solution to the crisis facing the steel industry is badly needed now. Only you can authorize actions that can solve this crisis and we are asking for your immediate assistance,” they wrote.
Under the Cold War-era law authorizing the steel national security probe, Trump would have 90 days to act once the Commerce Department submits its probe.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had set an internal deadline for announcing his steel recommendations at the end of June, but it was delayed for a G20 summit and bilateral talks with China in July. Trump said later that month a final decision may wait until other top priority issues on his agenda are addressed, including healthcare and taxes.
The steel executives are concerned that the Commerce report could be delayed further, pushing off a decision on quotas or tariffs until next year and allowing more foreign steel to flood the U.S. market, said Philip Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association, who also signed the letter.
“This needs to be wrapped up sooner rather than later and we wanted to help the president understand that,” Bell said.
Another signatory, AISI President Tom Gibson, told Reuters the industry was trying to keep the issue “front and center” while Trump administration officials deal with a range of other issues from North Korea to fiscal policy.
He said that domestic steel producers’ capacity utilization rate was hovering around 75 percent, as steelmakers from South Korea to Turkey target U.S. demand to soak up their excess output.“Over the long term, that is not a sustainable level,” Gibson said.

Fukushima food exports to Malaysia rise as radiation stigma fades

 KYODO NEWS - Aug 23, 2017 - 22:40 | WorldAll

Japan's Fukushima Prefecture is aiming to have exported 100 tons of rice and 15 tons of peaches to Malaysia in the year ending next March, its governor said Wednesday, evidence of fading concern over the safety of food products from the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.
"In the aftermath of the earthquake and the nuclear plant incident, the agriculture sector suffered very much. We have to deal with negative rumor. But things are slowly recovering," Gov. Masao Uchibori said at a press conference in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
"We inspect 100 percent of the rice and are working hard to bridge the gap between perception and reality."

Malaysia began importing rice from Fukushima in May, and has brought in 29 tons so far, Ajwad Abu Hassan, the managing director of Malaysia rice importer Edaran Komachi Sdn., said at the same press conference.
Ajwad said his company aims to import another 48 tons by year-end, and even greater amounts eventually.
"Fukushima produces the best quality rice in Japan. We are proud to sell this rice," said Ajwad. "We are targeting 100 metric tons a year hopefully. In fact, we are trying to increase from not only 100 metric tons but a container full every month."
A full shipping container holds about 12 tons.Akumul Abu Hassan, the managing director of another rice trading company, MHC Co. Ltd, said Malaysia currently consumes about 350 tons of Japonica rice a month imported from various parts of the world including South Korea, Vietnam and China. Only 20 to 30 tons comes from Japan, and that from other prefectures such as Akita, Niigata, Hokkaido and Hiroshima.
But Akumul said when it comes to quality, nothing beats rice from Japan."Compare to rice from Japan, that from Vietnam, 5 percent will contain broken grains. You don't find that in rice from Japan," Akumul said.Malaysia began importing Fukushima peaches a year after the disaster, and Takashi Kanno, appearing at the same press conference as a representative of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives, said "Malaysia was one of the first countries to accept and give us an opportunity."
From almost zero in 2012, Fukushima exported 1.2 tons of peaches to Malaysia in 2013, increasing to 7.3 tons last year and 9.5 tons so far this year.
Fukushima is the second-largest peach producing prefecture in Japan after Yamanashi.Uchibori said after meeting with trading companies involved in exporting peaches, the federation has set a goal of selling 15 tons a year to Malaysia, as peaches are now being sent by ship instead of by air, which will lower the cost.Fukushima Prefecture also exports broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and persimmons to Malaysia

Asia Rice -Prices fall in major exporters; Bangladesh to buy from Cambodia

HANOI, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Rice prices fell in India, Vietnam and Thailand on weak demand, traders said on Thursday, while Bangladesh is likely to spend more on importing rice as part of the government’s plan to cope with shortages.India’s 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices RI-INBKN5-P1 eased by $4 per tonne to $403 to $406 per tonne.“There wasn’t any improvement in demand this week. Buyers are delaying purchases expecting further drop in prices,” said an exporter in Andhra Pradesh.
India’s non-basmati rice exports could slow in the coming months as shipments have become too expensive on strong rupee and higher local paddy prices..Prices also dropped in Vietnam as market was quiet, traders said. The benchmark 5 percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 fell to $385-$395 a tonne this week, FOB Saigon, down from $395-$405 last week.Rice output in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta was affected as crop was submerged in flooding. Traders were however unable to estimate the loss.
Thailand’s rice prices dipped as demand has been flat in both domestic and international markets, Thai traders said.Thai benchmark 5 percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 was quoted at $375-$377 a tonne, FOB Bangkok, down from $376-$382 a tonne last week.“The weakening of the baht against the US dollar is also attributed to the drop in prices,” a trader in Bangkok said.Rice production in Thailand’s north and northeast have been delayed due to flood in July, leading to more supply towards the end of the year, which could affect prices.Rice exporters in Thailand are looking to meet fresh demand from markets like Bangladesh, while Dhaka is likely to buy from Cambodia.
Bangladesh’s food ministry said it would import 250,000 tonnes of white rice at $453 a tonne from Cambodia in a state-to-state deal, more expensive than a previous deal with Vietnam.The country is building buffer stocks to combat high domestic prices after flash floods in April wiped away around 1 million tonnes of rice.Prices have dropped only slightly in Bangladesh after it slashed the duty on imports last week to 2 percent from 10 percent, the second cut in less than two months.
"More rice from India is being imported by private traders after the second cut. This will have a good impact on the domestic market," a food ministry official said. (Reporting by Mi Nguyen in Hanoi, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

Jakarta-owned firm offers online facility to track rice prices

Stefani Ribka
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, August 25, 2017 | 01:00 pm
Customers look through the rice varieties on offer at the Cipinang Central Rice Market in East Jakarta on Aug. 7. Jakarta-owned company PT Food Station Tjipinang Jaya assures that the city has an adequate stock of rice ahead of the Idul Adha celebration on Sept. 1. (Antara/Muhammad Adimaja)
Jakartans can now track rice stock and prices online via the Cipinang Rice Central Market (PIBC) website, to ensure they are purchasing the basic commodity at fair prices, said Arief Prasetyo Adi, president director of Jakarta city administration-owned firm PT Food Station Tjipinang Jaya.
Jakarta-owned enterprise Food Station manages the Cipinang market, where sellers and traders from across the capital source their rice..
"Food Station also facilitates the price and stock stability of rice, and we created the website so the public can monitor these in real time," he told reporters Thursday.
The PIBC website provides information on the average daily price of rice varieties, from medium to premium and to specialty rice, based on data gathered across traditional and modern markets. It also provides the central market's wholesale price for the Pandanwangi, Rojolele and Setra Ramos rice varieties, as well as the wholesale price of sugar.
The website also tracks the daily stock and sources of rice at the PIBC to provide transparent information on the basic commodity.
The information is provided in a visually friendly graphical format on a customizable dashboard.
The Trade Ministry has just announced the rice price ceiling of between Rp 9,450 (70 US cents) per kilogram and Rp 10,250 per kg for medium-grade rice, depending on the province, and from Rp 12,800 per kg to rp 13,600 per kg for premium rice.
Medium-grade rice is usually white and has a 25 percent broken rice rate, while premium rice is usually semitransparent and has a 15 percent broken rate.As of Aug. 23, the market has 45,494 tons of rice, which it claims is enough to meet Jakartans' need for rice for the next 15 days, including the upcoming Idul Adha holiday on Sept. 1. The safe level of daily stock is minimum 30,000 tons. (bbn)

Rice imports jump manifold on duty cuts

Bangladesh has been importing about 7,000 tonnes of rice a day since the government slashed duty to make up for crop losses in two consecutive floods.The government and private traders have imported about 352,000 tonnes of rice in the first 51 days of the current fiscal year, which is three times the amount purchased in the entire previous year.
Private traders accounted for 76 percent of rice imports.Data from the food ministry shows the government and private traders imported 133,000 tonnes of rice in fiscal 2016-17.After losses suffered in early floods, the import duty for Bangladesh’s staple grain was brought down from 25 percent to 10 percent on Jun 20. A 3 percent regulatory duty required to import rice was also withdrawn.The amount was further slashed to 2 percent on Aug 16 amid concerns over depleting reserves and further crop losses in monsoon flooding.The government has been floating tenders besides opening the way for more private imports by cutting duty, which has led to a huge increase in rice imports from India via land routes.
Aush and Aman production suffered huge setbacks in August floods, said Food Minister Qamrul Islam.“This crisis made us decide to bolster national reserves by importing 1.5 million tonnes of rice in the current fiscal year.” Bangladesh was not under a food crisis, he reiterated. “We have enough food grains in stock, the market too has enough. We have been importing rice in a solely precautionary move to avoid any future problem,” he said.      Early floods in April damaged wetland rice fields in the northeast districts, causing production to fall by 2 million tonnes.The government had 316,000 tonnes of rice on Aug 21, compared to 719,000 tonnes a year ago, the food ministry’s data sho

Bangladesh’s trade deficit poised to rise as rice imports skyrocket

24 AUGUST 2017
DHAKA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Bangladesh’s imports surged over 37 percent to 4.50 billion U.S. dollars in the first month of the current 2017-18 fiscal year (July 2017-June 2018) as imports of rice skyrocketed amid flesh floods in parts of the country, officials said Wednesday. “Increased importation of rice in the last month pushed up the over all import bills,” said a central bank official who did not like to be named.He said imports also quickened last month, outpacing exports as domestic demand or ready-made garment items and capital machinery propelled the overall economic growth.
Driven by ready-made garments, Bangladesh’s exports in July surged over 26 percent to 3.21 billion U.S. dollars.According to the official, rice imports climbed over 200 percent to a record 69.63 million U.S. dollars in the last last month against 21.17 million U.S. dollars in the previous month.Quoting the Bangladesh Bank (BB) data, the official said the settlement of letters of credit (LCs), generally known as actual imports, stood at 4.50 billion U.S. dollars in the July compared to 3.64 billion dollars in the same period a year earlier.Overall import orders also surged by 26 percent in the July, showed the BB data.
The overall import orders, officially known as fresh opening of import letters of credit (LCs), increased to 5.06 billion dollars in July against 3.89 billion dollars in the same period of the last 2016-17 fiscal year, it showed.
Officials say rice imports jumped as after the second round of flooding the Bangladeshi government in June eased import duty on rice to 10 percent from 28 percent in a bid to stabilize the domestic market.Bangladesh last week again announced to cut import duty on rice further to 2 percent amid flash floods.
Bangladeshi Food Minister Qamrul Islam said the government decided to import 1.5 million tons of rice in the current 2017-2018 fiscal year in an effort to replenish reserves and rein in prices of the staple in the wake of the flooding.Apart from this, he said Bangladesh will import 500,000 tons of wheat in the current fiscal year.
Flash floods struck Bangladesh in March, causing huge loss of boro (winter) rice. Apart from this, rice blast disease has also affected boro rice production elsewhere in the country.Against such circumstances, prices are seen rising in the short term on a supply shortage.The situation seems to have worsened in Bangladesh in the last couple of week as fresh floods have reportedly hit 20 districts, mostly in the country’s north, leaving dozens of people dead.As rice imports skyrocket, officials said, Bangladesh trade deficit may widen further in the coming months, if the existing trend of export earnings and import payments continue

Import of rice, wheat, diesel, fertiliser gets nod

UNB . Dhaka | Update: 00:30, Aug 24, 2017
The cabinet purchase committee at a meeting on Wednesday approved a total of 21 proposals, including the import of 100,000 tonnes of wheat and 50,000 tonnes of non-bashmoti rice.
The meeting, held with finance minister AMA Muhith in the chair, gave the approval amid the growing concern over the possible food grain shortage due to the loss of crops in countrywide flooding.
The government has already withdrawn duty on rice import and also declared some banking facilities to encourage the import of food grains in the private sector.
As per the cabinet body's approval, the food ministry imports the food grains through international quotations.
Of these, Dubai-based Phoenix Global company won the contract to supply 50,000 tonnes non-bashmoti at a total cost of Tk170.61 crore as per metric tonne of rice was quoted at $ $411.11.
Of the wheat, Aston company will supply 50,000 tonnes of wheat at a cost of Tk104.16 crore as per metric tonne was quoted at $258 while another foreign company Agro Crop will supply 50,000 tonnes wheat at a total cost of Tk103.49 as per metric tonne of wheat was quoted at $249.31.
The Cabinet body approved another import proposal of the energy division to import 165,120 tonnes of diesel from India’s Shiliguri to Bangladesh's Parbatipur through rail wagon. The premium for per metric tonne diesel was set at $5.50.
The other proposals which received approval include contract for Gazipur-Airport Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project, procurement of six rail-gantry crane for Chittagong port, contract for cyclone shelter construction in Lakshmipur, contract award for construction of dual-gauge railway line from Dohazari to Cox's Bazar via Ramu, and Ramu to Gundum near Myanmar border.
The Cabinet purchase body also approved three separate proposals for the import of a total of 90,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser from three countries under government-to-government agreements.
Of these, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) will import 30,000 tonnes MOP fertiliser from Belarusian Potash Company while it will import 30,000 from Russia and the remaining 30,000 MOP fertiliser from Canadian commercial corporation.

Smuggling: Rice Millers want Customs to set up intelligence department

By Dawud Nazifi | Publish Date: Aug 24 2017 4:41PM
The Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) has called on the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to establish an intelligence department within the agency in order to effectively gather information aimed at tackling smuggling in the country.The Association’s Chairman Peter Dama, who made the call during the inaugural meeting of RIMAN in Kano expressed concern over how some Customs officials handle tip-offs on smuggling activities.
“We commend the Customs for working very hard to fight smuggling in the country. However, my only concern is how some Customs officials when given tip-offs or other information on smugglers would ask you to take them to the location where the illegal activities are taking place. “This is dangerous because if the smugglers identify the person that leaks their secret, they could harm that person. I think to avoid this danger, the Customs can set up an intelligence unit that can help them indentify locations where smuggling activities are taking place,” he added.Dama also lamented that smugglers are harming public health by importing 10 to 15 years old rice that was treated with dangerous chemicals that may cause terminal illnesses including liver cancer and kidney ailments.
Earlier in his address, Muhammad Shehu Adamu, a director at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, explained that Nigeria has recorded the rice production capacity of 15 million metric tons annually, saving the country about N300 billion which used to be spent on rice importation.
Adamu said in Kano alone, about 1.2 million metric tons of rice was grown successfully in 2016, adding that Nigeria has no reason to continue importing ‘poisonous’ rice from abroad.
The director, who also revealed the country’s plan to begin rice exports to West African countries in the next two years, also said “about 34 states in Nigeria are producing rice, with many now producing three times in a year”.
Also in his remarks, the Deputy Comptroller of Customs on Enforcement, Kano/Jigawa Area Command, Agbo A. Hyacinth disclosed that officers had seized more than 800,000 bags of smuggled rice in less than a year.Hyacinth also said that importation of rice has become difficult in the last two years because of the inability of rice importers to source foreign exchange.“You can’t source forex to import rice now and this is why you can hardly see a ship conveying rice in our ports. This is a very big achievement. If you want to import machinery, we can help you do it by easing the process,” he said

Punjab govt approves one time settlement for defaulting rice millers

August 24, 2017 07:53 PM
Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH : The Punjab Cabinet on Thursday approved a One Time Settlement (OTS) policy for defaulter rice millers of the state, paving the way for the recovery of a significant portion of the Rs 3500 crore outstanding against them, as per the current market rate, on undelivered rice.The move is expected to benefit the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 2000-2400 crore, an official spokesperson disclosed after a meeting of the cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
The defaulters would have the option to pay the entire outstanding principal amount in one go, within a period of 45 days, without having to pay any interest, or to pay in three installments with 10% interest. It was decided by the cabinet that where interest is paid, it should not be higher than the principal amount in any case.Those defaulters choosing to pay back the principal as a lump sum amount would be entitled to go back to milling from the next season, the spokesperson explained. The decision to announce the OTS was taken after detailed deliberations with all stakeholders, including the agencies and the millers, the spokesperson added.
In the case of undelivered rice, the defaulters would have to deposit the cost of the same on the existing Custom Milled Rice rates. On the other hand, for amount recoverable against other components (except rice) like bardana (gunny bags), quality cut, statutory charges, VAT etc, the option could be principal amount along with simple interest of 10% or principal amount along with 50% cash credit limit rate, as declared appropriate by the competent authority.
According to a spokesperson, there were several rice mills in the state which had failed to deliver their due quota of rice and had outstanding amounts against them, which continued to mount every year on account of compounding interest. These millers had been declared defaulters by the agencies concerned, along with legal/arbitration proceedings being initiated against them as per policy guidelines

APEC officials interested in Vietnam’s rice production, export
| 24/08/2017

Officials from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies expressed their special interest in Vietnam’s rice production and export during their fact-finding trip to the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Rice Research Institute (CLRRI) and Trung An Hi-Tech Farming JSC based in Can Tho city on August 24. 

Representatives of APEC economies has a fact-finding trip to the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Rice Research Institute and Trung An Hi-Tech Farming JSC in Can Tho city on August 24

At the CLRRI located in Ninh Kieu district, the delegates were briefed on the operation of the institute, which is the premier national institution specialising in rice research.The institute has released more than 180 new varieties of rice with 77 varieties certified nationally, CLRRI Director Tran Ngoc Thach said, adding that about 25 new solutions have been developed and transferred to farmers.It has collaborated with a number of organisations and universities worldwide such as the International Rice Research Institute, the UN Development Fund, the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, in terms of food security, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Thach said the institute aims to move towards a more efficient and climate-ready rice production system in the time to come. 
Meanwhile, Trung An High-Tech Farming JSC has 20,000 ha of paddy fields which produce 400,000 tonnes of rice meeting GAP and organic standards annually. The company’s major rice export markets include the US, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, China, Iran, Iraq, Germany, Italy, France and Australia, to name but a few. Gerald Herbert Smith, a US delegate, said that the increasing level of water and salinisation remains biggest challenges to rice production in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, especially at low-lying areas, requiring researchers and scientists to look for ways to ease their negative impacts. 
He said post-harvest loss is also a challenge to agriculture in general and rice production in particular, noting that the US and the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have engaged in joint studies and scientific collaboration in order to seek the best ways to reduce the losses. The official hailed the CLRRI’s plan to implement other production models like aquaculture apart from rice crops in the context of climate change.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Mekong Delta region has harvested 10,259 million tonnes of rice in the winter-spring rice crop in 2016-2017, up 188,375 tonnes from the same period in 2015-2016.The region cultivated more than 1.5 million ha of rice during the crop, down 22,630 ha against the previous winter-spring crop, with an average productivity of 6.7 tonnes a hectare.The ministry said in the rest of 2017, drastic measures will be taken to deal with unfavourable weather conditions and the impacts of climate change such as drought and saline intrusion.The region will plant over 1.6 million ha of rice in the 2017 summer-autumn crop, hoping to reach an estimated output of 9.45 million tonnes, up nearly 437,000 tonnes against the 2016 summer-autumn crop.Rice varieties resistant to drought and salt water such as OM 6976, OM 2517, OM 5629, among others, will be used for the crop.

Strong Value Chain to Boost Rice Production

Rice processing mill in Niger State
As Nigeria continues to bask in the euphoria of local rice production through its Agro-borrower’s programme initiated by the Federal Government to aid farmers’ rice production in the country, thus, becoming self-sufficient in the product before the next two years, stakeholders have raised the need for strong effectively connected value chain to achieve the result. Kasim Sumaina writes
Rice has become one of Nigeria’s most-consumed staples, and the country has made boosting rice production a priority.
But, lack of standard seeds and milling facilities infrastructure along the value chain leads to consumers’ preference for imported rice even as it has been reported that, there’s the need to tackle problems arising from poor vertical integration in the domestic rice value chain in the country.
Food Report
Recently, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its reports disclosed that, nearly 90 per cent of the projected global population increase is concentrated in Africa and Asia, with Nigeria, China, and India alone expected to add 900 million urban residents by 2050. The report also finds that cities provide an opportunity to boost farmer’s incomes, if they are effectively connected through strong value chains.
The international conference held recently in Abuja to present key findings from the 2017 Global Food Policy Report, the latest in an annual analysis of developments in food policy around the developing world, showed that, with rapid urbanisation dramatically shifting demographics across the developing world in recent years, this year’s report focuses on how urbanisation is changing food systems, health, and development.
The report also showed that, cities provide opportunities for rural smallholders to raise their incomes by connecting to larger urban markets and typically more wealthy urban consumers. It said, “For urban consumers, small farmers can provide an important source of diverse and nutritious foods. But, the links between these areas in the developing world are often weak or broken, hindering growth and development.
Forecasts & Prospects
Director General, IFPRI, Shenggen Fan, while presenting the 2017 Global Food Policy Report in Abuja, disclosed that, “current forecasts of global economic growth for 2017 are slightly positive: after low growth of 2.3 per cent in 2016, growth in 2017 is expected to rise to 2.7 per cent.”
He noted that the prospects of growth differ sharply across countries and regions, with emerging economies in Asia showing robust growth, while Africa, South of the Sahara experiences a slowdown. The projected slowdown, Fan stressed, threatens to reverse the gains achieved in reducing poverty and food insecurity in Africa.
In Nigeria, he said, “lower oil prices combined with the effects of currency depreciation and conflict elevate the risk of severe food insecurity. Relatedly, staple food prices in Nigeria were expected to have risen above 2015 prices and the five-year average by September 2016.”
According to him, “Food value chains encompasses all actors and activities involved in the food supply chain, and include inputs and production, storage, processing, distribution, transport, retail, and consumption. For example, value chains can bring food produced by rural smallholders to urban consumers and inputs produced in cities or towns to smallholders.
However, weak links along the value chain may disrupt this flow. A lack of inputs, such as seeds and fertilisers or physical and financial impediments to accessing inputs faced by smallholders can weaken the value chain upstream.
He added that, a lack of processing, milling, cold storage, and transportation can sever value chains midstream. “Poor transportation infrastructure can make it too costly for smallholders to sell their produce downstream to urban consumers and can contribute to greater food losses and waste. Strong value chains are important for improving livelihoods, food security and nutrition,” Fan stressed.
He stated that, despite rice becoming one of Nigeria’s most-consumed staples, and the country making boosting rice production a priority, yet 60 per cent of rice purchased in urban areas is imported due to weak links in the rice value in Nigeria and because of consumers’ concerns about locally-produced rice.
The concerns, according to the report, “include inconsistencies in quality, labeling, and taste problems that arise from poor vertical integration in the domestic rice value chain. For rice, postharvest processing (milling, parboiling, and cleaning) and marketing play key roles.
Yet, with a highly fragmented domestic value chain, the many small- and medium-sized rice Millers that process 80 per cent of Nigerian rice have varied skills and degrees of access to services and information, and little scope for upgrading varieties or technologies, it noted.
The result is wide variation in the quality of the final product in Nigeria, including unfavourable properties such as discoloration and the presence of stones, Lack of traceability along the value chain leads to inconsistencies between variety names and the final product, preventing a link between production and consumer preferences. That consumers prefer the quality, taste, and texture of imported rice over domestic rice-in large part due to the broken rice value chain-is not surprising, the report noted.
Poor Coordination
Although rural and urban areas are interdependent, they are often governed by distinct local entities. When faced with problems of achieving food security and nutrition for their constituents, policy makers may look for solutions solely within their own locales, without recognising the potential of rural -urban linkages.
For example, urban policy makers often turn to urban agriculture to address food insecurity, despite little evidence that urban agriculture alone can substantially reduce urban food insecurity or malnutrition. Rural policy makers may not consider how rural households benefit from connections to urban areas as a means of diversifying income sources, such as the potential of remittances from seasonal or permanent migrants to urban areas.
Lack of land use planning and proper regulation of land tenure will also affect development of urban and peri-urban agriculture. Urban sprawl will affect food security and natural resource availability in places where it causes significant loss of productive peri-urban agricultural land and contributes to degradation of environmental resources.
The expected increases in the urban population in the developing world will be accompanied by a tripling in the built up area of cities from 200,000 to 600,000 square kilometres between 2000 and 2030. The way in which cities are built up will have major implications for establishing connectivity and securing adequate rural -urban linkages, the report noted.
According to it, a lack of shared governance of food security and nutrition and shared management of natural resources may arise from misperceptions about rural and urban areas. Urban food insecurity and malnutrition have been overlooked in low and middle income countries hunger and malnutrition have typically been considered rural problems.
On the other hand, a disproportionate focus on urban areas can bring about an “urban bias” against agriculture and the rural economy in the allocation of development resources and prioritisation of policies to address poverty, it noted.
Policy Coordination
Working together effectively across rural, peri-urban spaces-typically governed by different local entities-requires policy coordination. Policies that cut across rural and urban areas should account for each area’s contribution in order to leverage their different strengths, the report disclosed.

It also urged urban policy makers to look beyond urban agriculture to meet their food security and nutrition needs, and coordinate with their rural counterparts to facilitate the flow of agricultural products into cities. Rural policy makers should recognize the opportunities provided by urbanisation and promote market opportunities for smallholder, traders, processors, and other actors in the food value chain, it added.
Political entities should work together to enhance linkages that span politically distinct locales as a means to facilitate sustainable production, storage, transport, and marketing of safe and nutritious food to urban consumers while reducing food loss and waste.
Establishing policy coordination in planning and regulating the use of land, water, and other resources critical to food production in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas is also important for efficiency and win-win outcomes, the report added.

Wheat softens on reduced offtake

PTI | Aug 24, 2017, 02:12 PM IST
New Delhi, Aug 24 () Wheat prices eased by Rs 10 per quintal in an otherwise steady wholesale grains market today due to reduced offtake by flour mills against sufficient stocks position.
Traders said reduced offtake by flour mills against ample stocks position mainly led to the decline in wheat prices.
In the national capital, wheat dara (for mills) declined by Rs 10 to Rs 1,755-1,760 per quintal. Atta chakki delivery followed suit and enquired lower by a similar margin to Rs 1,760-1,765 per 90 kg.
Atta flour mills and sooji too finished lower at Rs 950- 960 and sooji 1,030-1,040 from previous levels of Rs 965-970 and Rs 1,040-1,045 per 50 kg, respectively.
Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal):
Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,100-2,350, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,755-1,760, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,760-1,765, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 260-300, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 255-290, Roller flour mill Rs 950-960 (50 kg), Maida Rs 990-1,000 (50 kg)and Sooji Rs 1,030-1,040 (50 kg).
Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,800, Basmati common new Rs 6,500-6,600, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,250-5,350, Permal raw Rs 2,150-2,175, Permal wand Rs 2,200-2,225, Sela Rs 2,300-2,400 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,825-1,850, Bajra Rs 1,225-1,230, Jowar yellow Rs 1,400-1,450, white Rs 2,800-2,900, Maize Rs 1,330-1,335, Barley Rs 1,490-1,500. SUN KPS SBT

Basmati rice overtakes buffalo meat as top export commodity for India

The short-lived ban on buffalo meat's sale is partly another reason why export took a hit and basmati rice climbed to the top spot.
August 23, 2017 14:32 IST
A labourer works at a rice mill in RanibazarReuters
Basmati rice is now the top commodity that is exported from India and has replaced buffalo meat for the April-June quarter, driven by a continued rise in demand from Iran.
Iran, one of the largest importers of Indian basmati rice, generally suspends import orders during its harvesting season. However, this year, the traders did not suspend the rice import orders and continued to buy basmati from India even during their harvesting season, Business Standard reported.  
"Iranian buyers have continued their purchases even during their own rice harvesting season. That has resulted in an increase in basmati rice exports in April-June," said an Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) official.Also, the Narendra Modi-led government's order to ban buffalo meat's sale is partly another reason why the export took a hit and basmati rice climbed on to the top spot. Buffalo meat was the most exported commodity since the 2014-2015 financial year.
According to Apeda figures, India exported basmati rice worth $1.26 billion (Rs 8,168 crore) between April and June from $934 million (Rs 6,196 crore), in the same quarter last year.
A butcher swings his blade to sacrifice a buffalo (not pictured) inside an enclosed compound during the sacrificial ceremony.Reuters
Buffalo meat exports were $849 million (Rs 5,473 crore) during the quarter against $823 million (Rs 5,445 crore) in the same quarter a year ago."Indian exporters used to execute orders on documents against acceptance, which was stopped by the government because overseas buyers' re-negotiated terms after shipments reached them. So, there were corrections in the export of basmati rice over the last few years. Now, overseas buyers are purchasing commodities on spot cash," added the Apeda official

Rice Field Day is Wednesday in Biggs

08/24/17, 1:55 PM PDT |