Tuesday, September 19, 2017

19th September,2017 daily global regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Rice exports up significantly
Update: September, 16/2017 - 09:00
Workers at Trung An Hi-Tech Farming JSC pack rice for export. — VNS Photo
HCM CITY – Việt Nam has exported 3.87 million tonnes of rice worth US$1.66 billion in the first eight months of the year.According to the Việt Nam Food Association this represents increases of 17.7 per cent in volume and 16.6 per cent in value year-on-year.
Asia remained the main market, accounting for 67 per cent of the shipments, as exports to mainland China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore increased.
But exports to Hong Kong fell significantly.
Africa was the second biggest market, accounting for 15.7 per cent of the exports, with the Americas and Australia being third and fourth.
The association said high-grade white rice, fragrant rice and glutinous rice were the main export items.
Việt Nam’s 5 per cent broken white rice is currently priced higher than Thailand’s but lower than India’s due to limited supply, he said.
But the association said the price of common white rice would be reduced to compete with Thai rice to meet new demand.
Huỳnh Thế Năng, the association’s chairman, said the summer-autumn rice crop has been harvested, with output being lower than expected, and large areas of newly planted autumn-rice crop are inundated and likely to be affected.
Prices would remain high in the domestic market until the year-end due to limited supply, he added.
Market forecast
The VFA said demand for common white rice and parboiled rice would continue to increase this year mainly driven by imports by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.
Fragrant rice exports would be steady thanks to continuing demand from Africa and China and new demand from Iran and Iraq, it said.
The market for long-grained white rice, speciality rice, sticky rice, and broken rice would continue to be dominated by China, while exports of Japonica rice would continue to rise and the variety promises to become one of the country’s key exports, with its main markets being countries in Oceania and China, it said.
Exports are no longer based on demand for common white rice from traditional markets under government-to-government contracts, with enterprises actively promoting exports of speciality, high-quality, fragrant, sticky, and broken varieties, it added.
Năng said despite difficulties, rice exports would rise this year.
At a meeting it held on Wednesday the association fixed a export target of 1.8 million tonnes in the four remaining months to take the whole-year volume to 5.6 million tonnes. — VNS

Bangladesh imports 100,000 tonnes rice from Myanmar

UNB . Dhaka | Update: 19:15, Sep 18, 2017
The government has decided to import 100,000 tonnes of white rice from Myanmar, food minister Qamrul Islam said on Monday."A delegation from Myanmar had a meeting with the food ministry on Sunday where the rice import was discussed," he said while talking to UNB at his office.

The move came amid the skyrocketing prices of rice in the local market.The rice will be imported at $442 a tonne, Qamrul said.Replying to a query as to when the imported rice will be arriving, he said the rice will come within the next three months.Meanwhile, food secretary Md Kaikobad Hossain said, "We had a meeting with the Myanmar delegation on Sunday over the rice import and the decision to procure 1 lakh tonnes of white rice was taken by the minister today (Monday)."


Bangladesh gets lowest offer of $406.48 a tonne in rice import tender

·         Tribune Desk
·         Published at 03:01 PM May 29, 2017
·         Last updated at 03:12 PM May 29, 2017

Flash floods hit domestic output, pushing up rice prices to record high and bringing down state reserves at 10-year lows

Bangladesh received a lowest offer of $406.48 a tonne from Singapore-based Agrocorp International in a tender that opened on Sunday to import 50,000 tonnes of white rice, Reuters reports quoting officials at the state grains buyer.Five traders competed for the tender issued by the Directorate General of Food at a time when local rice prices have reached record highs and state reserves are at 10-year lows.Government officials last week said Bangladesh would speed up plans to import rice to build reserves and rein in prices after flash floods hit domestic output.
As part of that, a Bangladeshi delegation visited Vietnam to finalise imports of rice in a government-to-government deal, a procurement official, declining to be named, said without giving further details on the transaction.Ramped up demand from Bangladesh, the world’s fourth-biggest rice producer, could underpin prices in major exporters Vietnam, Thailand and India.“We are making frantic efforts to boost state reserves and bring down prices of rice,” said the procurement official.Local rice prices have reached record highs and state reserves are at 10-year lows in the wake of flooding in April that wiped out around 700,000 tonnes of output.
The state grains buyer earlier this month said it would ship in 600,000 tonnes of rice after the flooding, initially issuing two tenders for a total of 100,000 tonnes of rice, its first such tenders since 2011.
Meanwhile, the procurement official said the government had decided not to withdraw duty on private rice imports, looking to protect farmers.
Bangladesh produces around 34 million tonnes of rice annually but uses almost all its production to feed its population. It often requires imports to cope with shortages caused by natural calamities like floods and droughts.


Sowing of kharif crops down by 8-lakh hectares

The area covered by kharif crops has come down by nearly 8-lakh hectares (ha) to 1049.42-lakh ha compared to the previous year, according to the sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday.
Among the crops that witnessed subdued sowing till this week were arhar, soybean and groundnut apart from rice. While the area under arhar cultivation was down by 9.39-lakh ha to 43 lakh ha, soybean declined by 7.8 per cent to 105.76-lakh ha on an year-on-year basis. Urad, on other hand, witnessed 21 per cent jump to 42.65 lakh ha.
Rice, coarse cereals
Area under rice cultivation dropped to 374-lakh ha from 379.12-lakh ha last year as sowing was affected in drought-hit Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Groundnut cultivation, too, was down by 12 per cent to 41.36-lakh ha compared to last year. The drop in soyabean and groundnut acreage dragged the cumulative oilseeds cultivation by 8.8 per cent to 172-lakh ha.
The acreage under coarse cereals was also marginally down to 184.50- lakh ha against 188.40-lakh ha last year.
Kharif crops that were found to be the favourite of farmers during the season was cotton – its area increased by 19 per cent to 121.51-lakh ha and sugarcane increased by 9.44 per cent to 49.95-lakh ha. A record increase in cotton production could be expected as most farmers opt for Bt cotton other than the traditional varieties.
The area under Bt cotton is estimated at 108-lakh ha compared to last year’s 85-lakh ha

Rice prices continue to go up

·         Abu Siddique
·         Published at 11:09 PM September 17, 2017
·         Last updated at 12:13 AM September 18, 2017

 ‘The price spiral is likely to stop within the next few weeks as a good amount of rice would be available in the market through private initiative’

The prices of the staple continue their upward trajectory over the last couple of days, with no sign to abate.
According to the market insiders, unless more import initiatives are taken, the hike in rice price would be far from being tamed.
As per the on Sunday’s data provided by Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, the retail price of per kg coarse rice was ranging between Tk50 and Tk54 while it was Tk43 to Tk45 just a week ago.
Weak public reserve, tremendous damage to paddy during Boro season, recent monsoon flooding that hit Aman cultivation, plus lackluster attempt to procure rice from international market have worsened the situation all together.
Nirod Boron Saha, president, Naogaon Rice Wholesalers Association, told the Dhaka Tribune, “The price spiral is likely to stop within the next few weeks as a good amount of rice would be available in the market through private initiative.”
He also hinted that the price of the staple food could spike more by the end of the year unless a large volume of rice is imported.
Regarding the upward price spiral, Agro-economist Dr Qazi Shahabuddin said: “Rice price has already increased a lot, but the situation will worsen because of more shortage in near future as we will get less production in Aman season in December due to recent flood.”


Earlier in April, the flash flood in haor basin comprised of seven districts in the country’s north-eastern part damaged around 20,00,000 tons of Boro rice.
Later in last month, this year’s monsoon flooding damaged around 6,00,000 hectares of Aman paddy field, projecting 15,00,000 tons of less rice production.

State of rice import

Amid the ongoing Rohingya influx, Food Minister Qamrul Islam visited Myanmar recently with an aim to make an import of 10,00,000 tons of rice from there, but failed.
As of September 13, the country has imported around 6,75,000 tons of rice.
Meanwhile, the government has signed separate agreements with Vietnam and Thailand to import rice. Of them, Vietnamese rice has started to arrive.
As of today, the government food grain stock stands at 4,61,000 tons. Of them, rice accounts for 3,39,000 tons while wheat 1,22,000 tons.
The government has already launched Open Market Sale (OMS) at Tk15 a kg to exert control over the market.
The government intervention through OMS is being hailed as a good initiative to stem the price spiral.

“The more we produce rice, the poorer and poorer we get”

By: Paul Millar - POSTED ON: September 18, 2017 | BUSINESS
Economists say farmers need to reduce their reliance on the crop in order to revitalise Cambodia’s struggling agriculture industry 

At the height of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, once the cities stood empty and the fields teemed with the worn-out workforce of a nation torn apart, Pol Pot had a plan. Inspired by tales of the vast fields and limitless yields of the Khmer Empire, the man who would eventually be blamed for the deaths of almost two million of his own people dreamed of a Cambodia that would become the cornucopia of Southeast Asia. Rice production quotas were set: more than triple what they had been in peacetime. They were never met.
For millennia, rice has been the backbone of Cambodia’s all-encompassing agricultural sector. But with global rice prices falling and neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam mobilising their vast resources and workforces to boost domestic production, experts say the crop that has underpinned the nation’s rise and fall needs to give way to more profitable alternatives.
Guillaume Virag, co-founder and CEO of Project Alba, a for-profit social enterprise that partners with smallholder farmers in developing countries, said that Cambodia’s once-flourishing agriculture industry was in many ways locked in a futile struggle against the nation’s more developed neighbours as long as it remained focused on a few staple crops.
“You’re in an emergency state with agriculture,” he said. “Irrigation techniques, soil work, soil strategy is a strong issue, because people have grown rice over and over. And competition with Vietnam and Thailand, China, countries that are much more advanced in agriculture. There is a cost problem, inherently – a lot of inputs in the agricultural sector don’t come cheap, and so all together there are very few crops on which Cambodia is currently competitive on an international level.”
Farmers carry rice bales through a field in Kampong Speu province. Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy
Nowhere is this lack of competition more apparent than in the Kingdom’s staple rice crop, which continues to make up the bulk of Cambodia’s agricultural exports. Despite exporting almost 300,000 tonnes of milled rice in the first six months of this year – an increase of more than 7% relative to the same period in 2016 – poor infrastructure and high energy costs have left the market price for white rice in Cambodia consistently higher than its competitors Thailand and Vietnam. Cambodia has also failed to come close to the government’s own declared goal of one million tonnes of rice exports per year.
In spite of this, many smallholder farmers in Cambodia continue to rely on the cereal as the cornerstone of their crop production. Jun Arii, board director of the Japanese Business Association of Cambodia and a vocal proponent of agricultural diversification, said that the Kingdom’s increasing levels of rice production failed to reflect the nation’s needs.
“It’s not about expanding the production of rice or enhancing the export of rice at all,” he said. “It’s about trying to find an alternative crop for rice which will maximise the return to the farmers and – I like to go along in line from a food securities point of view – probably four million tonnes of rice production is ample sufficiency for Cambodia.” Forecasts from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation predict that favourable rainfall will push this year’s domestic rice production over ten million tonnes – just a slight increase on 2016’s output.
Estimates of the total area taken up by rice production range between two-thirds and three-quarters of the Kingdom’s cultivated land – a fact that will come as little surprise to any traveller threading highways that run through seemingly endless rice fields. In 2013, the total production area for rice in Cambodia was more than three million hectares. The next most produced crop, maize, covered just under 240,000 hectares. According to Virag of Project Alba, the government’s focus on improving poor conditions for the nation’s rice farmers was politically predictable – just last month it pumped another $80m into the sector to keep prices stable.
“If you’re in Cambodia, rice is a quick win,” he said. “If you improve anything on rice you have a social impact that’s very large. That’s why the focus is so strong on it – you have a very strong base of farmers, and the path forward is relatively simple: just bring millers into the country, invest in infrastructure, make sure you get contract farming in place to improve your seeds and you see how to move forward with massive volumes.”
For Thailand and Vietnam, comparatively advanced nations with populations that dwarf Cambodia’s 15 million, plans to intensify rice production are supported by a large labour force and infrastructure that leaves the Kingdom in the dark. Arii argued that rather than blindly following in the footsteps of its neighbours, Cambodia would do well to forge its own path in the world of agriculture.
Farmers plant rice in a field in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy
“Creating the country’s direction is rather important, instead of going to the labour-intensive, heavy industry – you can have that in Thailand or Vietnam,” he said. “So Cambodia still can find their own avenue for building a successful country.”
According to research by Cambodia’s Centre for Policy Studies, the country imports anywhere between 200 to 400 tonnes of vegetables from neighbouring countries every day – a staggering four-fifths of domestic consumption. According to Yang Saing Koma, former president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development of Agriculture, it is only by building up profitable domestic supply chains for produce that Cambodia might outflank its competitors, rather than getting bogged down in an unwinnable numbers game.
“Even if we continue to grow rice, we need to go towards high-quality premium and organic rice,” he said. “My idea is that we first focus on the replacement of imports, and secondly on the export of high-quality, unique products – organic rice, premium rice, pepper, Mondulkiri coffee. There are so many unique products that we have to develop.”
For some crops, such as the high-quality pepper cultivated in the nation’s south that has made Kampot part of the lexicon of high-end cuisine, the rewards have already been realised for many enterprising farmers. And while Virag suggested that farmers blessed with large plots of land should continue to invest in crops that could be easily mechanised to lower labour costs – such as the cereals that underpin much of the existing infrastructure – he said it was a luxury that the majority of Cambodian farmers could ill-afford.
“The average farm size in Cambodia is half a hectare, so you’re not doing the same thing,” he said. “If you have small land, you have to do higher-value crops if you want to improve your income in the long-term. Switch part of your production to vegetables, for example, or spices, fruits, to things that bring much more value per square metre.”
Cambodia’s agriculture sector will rely heavily on subsistence farming for years to come, although increasing industrialisation and automation across the region is a difficult trend to ignore. For Koma, the inevitable transformation of smallholders’ plots into larger-scale commercial operations presents a major challenge for a sector that has been historically slow to adapt to change.
A farmer harvests chillies in Cambodia. Photo: Meng Kimlong/Project Alba
“In the next ten to 15 years, we will see maybe around 20 to 25% of all Cambodian farmers remaining commercial farmers – so Cambodia will not be 70-80% farmers any more,” he said. “The number would decrease, but would be more productive, more competitive and more market-oriented. You will see the development of medium- to large-scale farming in high-value products like durian, like pepper – this kind of farming system that takes a big capital development.”
Perhaps more pressing than the spectre of automation is a common struggle facing farmers across the region: as the cities of Southeast Asia swell with the force of urban development, more and more young workers are leaving family farms and looking for a more lucrative living. Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council and chairman at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said that young Cambodians were increasingly leaving the provinces to work across the border in Thailand or in the factories surrounding Phnom Penh.
“The more we produce rice, the poorer and poorer we get,” he told Southeast Asia Globe. “I roughly calculated that to earn [the same] money as a normal worker in a garment factory, one has to grow six hectares of rice. Can you and I do that? It’s tough work. It’s not rewarding. That’s why it’s not attractive.”
Although critics within the labour movement argue that the minimum wage remains too low to meet the needs of everyday workers, the mandatory monthly salary in Cambodia’s crucial garment manufacturing sector has more than doubled in the past six years to just over $150 a month. By contrast, the average monthly wage for rice farmers is estimated to be anywhere between $50 to $100. For a nation that has been so thoroughly dominated by its agriculture industry throughout its history, Virag said, it is a striking change.
“When you see the movement of the general population, especially young folks, it’s going to be out of agriculture very strongly,” he said, noting that the prevailing estimate that 80% of households relied on farming was severely out-dated. “If you look at the numbers today, you are going to be at something like 40%.”
Farmers plant rice in a field in Cambodia’s Kandal province. Photo: Meng Kimlong/Project Alba
And with more than half of Cambodians now owning smartphones, the disconnect between the younger generation and their parents is growing more pronounced. Ultimately, Kalyan said, new entrants into the workforce could not be blamed for seeking a steady living further afield than the failing family plot.
“People are looking for opportunities – sometimes good sometimes bad, sometimes to serve the short-term purpose, but not the long-term,” he said. “But people are still poor, so they are hungry for improving their living standards. And combined with the internet age, with TV, they know what is happening in other countries, how much the salaries are. All this is difficult to stop. Instead I think we have to make Cambodia more attractive.”
Programmes such as USAid’s Cambodia Harvest and Virag’s Project Alba aim to do just that. As of 2013, more than 10,000 households had diversified their cropping with the Harvest’s assistance. And Virag said that his team has helped double the income of more than 500 smallholder farmers in Kampot and Takeo provinces by helping them to diversify their crop production, invest in drip irrigation and modern equipment and by pledging to buy the resulting crop at a fixed price.
For Kalyan, though, this change cannot be accomplished by the private sector – or foreign aid – alone.
“The main, main, main, main problem in Cambodia is, for example, if I’m a farmer and I want to shift from rice to pepper – but do I have enough support? Enough technical knowledge to shift?” he said. “It’s very difficult. So that is the role of the government and I think the government’s work on this is not sufficient.”
Farmers plant crops in fields equipped with drip irrigation technology.Photo: Meng Kimlong/Project Alba
Koma argued that while more government support in research and development, technology, quality control and certification was urgently needed, it was also imperative that small-scale farmers banded together as collectives in the face of fierce regional competition.
“Our farmers need support to be organised, because only a strong farmers’ organisation will be able to compete in the market,” he said. “Big-scale farming, it can have access to capital, low interest rates. But small-scale farmers, they have access to a small amount of capital at a very high interest rate – two or three times higher than the big-scale farmers.”
Ultimately, Kalyan said that Cambodia’s agricultural sector would not be saved by scale, but by strategy.
“Cambodia has no need to do a big production – number ten in the world, number five in the world, we can’t do it,” he said. “We have to target the niche market, not volume, because we cannot compete on volume. But we have to do something we are good at. To do this with flexibility, with innovation, and with ownership from the people. I think the people will answer.

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Septmember 18, 2017
Reuters Staff
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-September 18

Nagpur, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices declined sharply in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
and Marketing Committee (APMC) here on poor buying support from local millers amid increased
arrival from producing belts. Easy condition on NCDEX, fresh fall in Madhya Pradesh pulses and
high moisture content arrival also pulled down prices.
About 300 of gram and 200 bags of tuar were available for auctions, according to sources.

   * Gram mill quality reported down in open market here in absence of buyers amid good
     supply from producing regions.
   * Tuar varieties firmed up in open market here on good festival season demand from
     local traders amid tight supply from millers. Government move to remove pulses
     export restriction also boosted prices.  

   * Moong varieties and Batri dal reported higher in open market on good demand from
     local traders amid weak weak supply from producing belts.
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,200-4,400, Tuar dal (clean) – 6,200-6,400, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 7,700-8,700, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,000-7,400, Gram – 5,700-5,900, Gram Super best
    – 8,300-8,700

   * Wheat, rice and other foodgrain items moved in a narrow range in
     scattered deals and settled at last levels in weak trading activity.
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  
     Gram Auction                  4,800-5,600         5,000-5,820
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                3,500-4,130         3,700-4,130
     Moong Auction                n.a.                3,900-4,200
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Wheat Mill quality Auction        1,600-1,682        1,572-1,614
     Gram Super Best Bold            8,500-9,000        8,500-9,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            7,600-8,000        7,600-8,000
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            5,800-6,000        5,900-6,100
     Desi gram Raw                6,000-6,200         6,000-6,200
     Gram Kabuli                12,000-13,000        12,000-13,000
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             6,500-6,800        6,400-6,800
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,200-6,400        6,100-6,400
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        6,000-6,200        5,800-6,000
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,500-5,800        5,400-5,700
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,500-4,600        4,350-4,450
     Tuar Karnataka             4,800-5,000        4,750-4,950
     Masoor dal best            5,200-5,500        5,200-5,500
     Masoor dal medium            4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        7,200-7,800         7,000-7,500
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,500-7,000        6,500-6,800
     Moong dal Chilka            5,500-6,400        5,500-6,200
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            7,000-7,500        7,000-7,500
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 8,000-9,000       8,000-9,000
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    6,000-7,000        6,000-7,000   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        5,500-6,500        5,500-6,500    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,200-5,800        5,000-5,500
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          3,000-3,200         3,000-3,200
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            2,900-3,100        2,900-3,100
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,800-4,400        3,800-4,400  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,800-1,900        1,800-1,900  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,100-2,300           2,100-2,300        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,300-3,800        3,300-3,800   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,800        2,200-2,800          
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,300-3,400        3,300-3,400   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,800-3,200        2,800-3,200   
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,400-2,600        2,400-2,600      
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,500-2,600        2,500-2,600  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,300-2,400        2,300-2,400  
     Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG)        3,800-4,000        3,800-4,000    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,500-3,800        3,500-3,800   
     Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG)      4,800-5,200        4,800-5,200
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    4,500-4,700        4,500-4,700  
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    9,500-13,500        9,500-13,500    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,000-7,500        5,000-7,500   
     Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG)    4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    4,300-4,500        4,300-4,500  
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,100        2,000-2,100   
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,700-2,000        1,700-2,000

Maximum temp. 31.8 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 21.6 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rains or thunder-showers. Maximum and
minimum temperature would be around and 34 and 22 degree Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but
included in market prices)


As Bangla imports surge, rice becomes costly

The prices of common rice varieties in West Bengal have increased by 10-20 per cent at the miller’s end in recent weeks. Bangladesh has imported 600,000 tonnes in the last five weeks
Panic over potential foodgrain shortfall and opportunistic trading in Bangladesh have sent the price of rice soaring on both sides of the border.
Over the last three weeks, the price of common rice varieties in West Bengal increased by 10-20 per cent at the miller’s end. The price of Swarna has gone up from 22 a kg to 27 a kg, Ratna from 28 to 30 and Minikit from 32 to 35. Retail prices are 2 to 5 higher.
The buzz in the market is that prices will increase further after Durga Puja next week. Reason: The sudden rise in demand from Bangladesh, which reduced import duty from 28 per cent to 2 per cent in phases between June and August.
According to customs sources, approximately 2,300-2,400 tonnes of rice is exported to Bangladesh from West Bengal every day; taking the total to over 600,000 tonnes in the last four-five weeks. This is as much as the annual imports of Bangladeshi traders in 2014-15.
The intensity of trade can be understood from the fact that Bangladesh imported roughly 700,000 tonnes of rice in the whole of 2014-15. At least 230 trucks are crossing the Petrapole border, which hasn’t seen rice exports for nearly five years.
The rise in prices is yet to catch the attention of the West Bengal government. “We will assess the situation,” State Agriculture Minister Ashis Banerjee told BusinessLine.
Opportunistic trading

The most confusing part of the whole story is that despite such heavy imports, the price of rice continues to rise in Bangladesh. The price of Minikitrose by around 18 per cent from approximately Taka 55 a kg to Taka 65 a kg in the retail market, says Golam Mortoza, editor of Dhaka-based Sapthahik.
That is not all; Bangladesh’s media was abuzz last week with fictitious news of export restriction by India. The Sheikh Hasina government in Dhaka, however, was quick to describe the reports as “fabricated” and blame opportunistic trading for the crisis.
‘Vested quarters are trying to create an artificial food crisis’ Bangladesh’s Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed was quoted saying by ‘The Daily Star’ of Dhaka.
He is not entirely wrong; Bangladesh achieved self-sufficiency in rice production during the last five years with production reaching 34.5 million tonnes in 2015-16. Accordingly the government buying from overseas markets has also stopped.
However, private buying continued till 2015, when Bangladesh raised import duties to a steep 28 per cent to protect domestic farmers.
The situation tilted in favour of the traders due to a perceived 300,000-tonne production shortfall this year due to climatic conditions and flooding. To mitigate this, the government planned up to 600,000 tonnes.
However, Dhaka failed to implement the import plan till Sunday when it struck an agreement with Myanmar to import 100,000 tonnes of rice in three years.
Slashing the import duty sent panic waves and traders took full advantage of the sentiments.
The mismanagement on the part of Bangladesh came as a windfall opportunity to traders in Bengal. The rice industry in the State was affected for the last five years due to the drop in Bangladeshi imports.
West Bengal produced 15.9 million tonne (mt) of rice in in 2016-17 against an estimated domestic demand of 14.5 mt. Apparently, therefore, the state has enough stocks even after supplying 600,000 rice to Bangladesh. Yet prices are spiralling

Benchmarking Asean farm productivity and growth

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:02 AM September 18, 2017
Productivity is key to inclusive growth. Studies show that the Philippines lags behind its Asean neighbors in farm productivity.
In this article, two measures are compared across key Asean countries: total factor productivity, and specific crop land productivity.
The comparisons do not discuss the factors behind the numbers.
Total factor productivity (TFP) is the most informative measure of agricultural productivity.
Comparing TFP over the past 28 years, the Philippines trailed behind its Asean peers.
It ranked 5th among seven countries in the 1980s, last in the 1990s and 2000s.
Table 1. Growth in Total Factor productivity, percent a year
Crop yield comparison
Crop yield, on the other hand, measures the farm output per unit of area, i.e., tons per hectare (ha). Five Asean countries were covered: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
During 2012-2014, among nine key crops, Indonesia had five in the top two high yielders compared to four each for Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.
The Philippines had only one: Sadly, it dominated the lowest yield ranks.
Table 2. Comparison average yield, 2012-2014 average
Yield increases since 1986
Which Asean country achieved the highest absolute yield increase since 1986? The leaders were: Vietnam with six crops in the top 2, Thailand five, and Indonesia and Malaysia, three each. The Philippines had only one (pineapple).
Table 3. Comparison of absolute average yield increase from 1986-1988 to 2012-2014
Vietnam and Indonesia were ahead in average rice yields in 2012-2014. The Philippines was in the middle, ahead of Malaysia (a rice importer) and Thailand (a major rice exporter).
Maize (corn)
Malaysia, a small producer with only 9,700 ha, had the highest yield and growth. The Philippines had the lowest yield among the five countries and the fourth slowest in yield growth.
Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia had the highest yield. By contrast, the Philippines, the country with the largest coconut area, had the lowest.
Malaysia and Thailand had the highest yields. The Philippines had the lowest yield and one of the two countries with yield decline.
The Philippines belongs to the world’s top banana exporters. Surprisingly, its average yield was only third highest. This is to be expected. While Cavendish banana averages over 40 tons/ha, those of other varieties—lakatan, latundan and saba—are much lower.
Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia were the high yielders. The Philippines was last. Thailand and Vietnam are world players in cassava chips and starch exports.
Vietnam and Indonesia posted the fastest yield increases. The Philippines was last.
Vietnam and Malaysia had the highest yields. The former is the world’s largest robusta exporter; the latter is a small niche producer with only 3,700 ha. The Philippines recorded the lowest yield.
Indonesia had an incredibly high yield (with only 16,000 ha), distantly followed by the Philippines (61,000 ha). Both posted the highest yield growth.
Four Asean countries namely, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, are among the world’s top rubber producers. Vietnam and Thailand were far advanced in yields. The Philippines had the lowest.
The analysis shows that the Philippine farm yields were mostly behind those of its Asean counterparts. It is also a laggard in boosting yields since 1986.
The year 1986 is a watershed. There was the Edsa people power revolution and the start of the long-drawn CARP, the latter to distribute lands anchored on productive, small farms. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, small farms co-exist with large tree-crops estates.
The Philippines had the highest national poverty (21.6 percent) in 2015 and the highest rural poverty (30 percent) among peers.
Is high rural poverty directly correlated with low productivity? Are strategies, structures and institutions key levers? An international expert suggests an integrated program that has direct impact on crop productivity across specific value chain corridors.
Is execution our weakness?
It is food for thought for the Duterte administration


Govt plans oms grassroots

3 ministers meet rice millers, traders today to discuss price spiral; Tk 10 a kg rice programme for ultra poor put on hold

With no let-up in the spiraling rice price, the government has planned to expand Open Market Sale of subsidised foodgrains to the upazilas across the country.
The sale of rice at Tk 30 per kg was launched on Sunday at divisional and district headquarters to ease the sufferings of hard-pressed consumers when the rice price continued to go up in the retail markets.
With its food stock depleted significantly, the government has decided to postpone the distribution of Tk 10 a kg rice among 50 lakh ultra-poor, scheduled for launching today, and divert more rice into the OMS operation.
Meanwhile, three government ministers will hold a meeting with rice millers and traders in the capital today to understand the situation around the rice market amid a countrywide vigilance against suspected hoarding of rice.
In its desperate move to replenish the public food stock, the food ministry reached a primary price agreement with Myanmar for importing one lakh tonnes of rice.
The prices of coarse rice varieties have remained static at its record high -- Tk 50 to 54 a kg -- in Dhaka's retail markets.
The rice market remained volatile with the government asking the local administrations in rice-trade zones to go for occasional raids to ensure that no one hoards the staple. But rice mill owners sharply reacted to the move claiming no millers would stock rice during this pre-Aman lean season.
The millers rather attributed the price hike to domestic production shortfall, panic following fake news of India's rice export ban and the government's failure to maintain a good stock of rice in public granaries.
Abdur Rashid, president of Bangladesh Rice Mill Owners' Association, and its General Secretary Layek Ali have been asked to attend today's meeting with Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Food Minister Qamrul Islam.
Qamrul told The Daily Star that efforts were on to import more rice, and strict monitoring put in place to stop any move to hoard rice by traders.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said the OMS operation would be further extended so that people in districts and upazilas got subsidised rice.  
"It's good news that after the haor crop loss [in the last Boro season] we just had a productive Aus season. In the Aus season, we harvested 27 lakh tonnes of rice, five lakh tonnes higher from last year's," she said.
She is expecting a good harvest of monsoon rice -- Aman -- in November, but until that time, she said, all stakeholders should show restrain in keeping the rice price at tolerable level.


The Tk 10-per kg rice distribution under “Food Friendly Programme” was due since September 1.
After a delay for a while, the food ministry decided last Thursday that the programme would be launched today.
However, food officials confirmed yesterday that considering the low rice stock in hand and the need for higher allocation for the OMS programme, the government decided to put the Tk. 10-a kg programme on hold.
"Let us build up the rice stock first and then we'll go for the programme," said a policy planner seeking anonymity.
To run for three months (September to November) the Tk 10-a-kg-rice programme the government requires 4.5 lakh tonnes of foodgrains while to operate the OMS beyond the district-level for a month it needs some 50,000 to one lakh tonnes of rice.
Until yesterday, the public food stock had 3.45 lakh tonnes of rice while another 1.21 lakh tonnes were in the import pipeline.


Most of the foodgrains in the government stock at present is imported white rice (Atap) while consumers largely prefer parboiled rice (Shiddho) when they buy the staple from OMS points.
The agriculture ministry has asked the food ministry to allocate more white rice in Sylhet, Chittagong and haor regions where consumers are habituated to having Atap, and to allocate parboiled rice in other areas.
Sources said the government would distribute white rice to the 50 lakh ultra poor under Food Friendly Programme.


After an overnight hectic bargaining between the visiting delegation from Myanmar and Bangladesh's state grain agency -- Directorate General of Food -- the two countries agreed yesterday on a price deal for rice import.
Bangladesh would get one lakh tonnes of white rice at $442 per tonne. 
The Myanmar delegation, however, did not agree to give any price concession on export of parboiled rice and remained fixed at $485/tonne rate, which Bangladesh didn't accept. 
Earlier in June, Bangladesh bought two lakh tonnes of white rice from Vietnam at $430/tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470/tonne.


Local administrations in Rajshahi, Natore, Comilla, Kushtia, among other districts, have continued keeping a watch on the rice situation to check hoarding.
In Natore, four rice mills have been fined yesterday for operating without license, and stocking more rice than they require for keeping the mills operational. Two more rice mills were fined in Rajshahi.
Speaking at a press briefing in Dhaka, Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque warned against rice hoarding. He said police would take action against those found to be hoarding rice in a bid to create artificial crisis in the country. 

Bangladesh to import 100,000 tons of rice from Myanmar

·         Tribune Desk
·         Published at 03:57 PM September 18, 2017
·         Last updated at 04:14 PM September 18, 2017
Sackloads of rice in a warehouse in Mohammadpur, DhakaSyed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Each ton of rice imported from Myanmar will cost $442 or Tk35,360

The governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed a treaty to import rice. On Sunday evening, Food Secretary Md Kaikobad signed the treaty with Aung Than, vice-president of Myanmar Rice Federation. The representatives have 10 days to ratify the treaty with their respective heads of government.
The treaty was confirmed by Food Minister Advocate Kamrul Islam on Monday afternoon.  The minister told the media that Bangladesh proposed to import 1m tons of rice initially, but Myanmar only agreed to export one-tenth of the amount.
Each ton of rice imported from Myanmar will cost $442 or Tk35,360.
When asked how long it will take for the imports to start, the food minister said the proposal will have to be approved by the prime minister and several Cabinet Division committees.
“Following their approval, we will open an LC to begin the imports,” the minister told the reporters


Delta Rice Luncheon Celebrates National Rice Month 

CLEVELAND, MS -- USA Rice staff attended Delta Rice Promotion's Twenty-Seventh Annual National Rice Month Luncheon here last Friday with hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the U.S. rice industry and fellowship over a delicious meal.The meal was prepared by local restaurants and included a variety of rice dishes and desserts. People from all across Mississippi and surrounding states attend and have the chance to win door prizes and meet with various organizations such as Mississippi Farm Bureau, Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Land Bank, and Mid-Delta Health. 
USA Rice staff talked with attendees about the organization's role in the industry as well as how important rice is to waterfowl habitat, the Mississippi Delta economy, and the state. 
"This was my first year at the luncheon and it exceeded expectations," said Kane Webb, USA Rice director of field services.  "There was a huge crowd and more rice dishes than I'd ever seen in one place - they were all great, too.  The atmosphere was definitely 'All Things Rice.'  I'm already looking forward to next year here!

'Chinese experts extend help to boost rice yield’


Published: September 19, 2017
LAHORE: Chinese experts are ready to help Pakistan in increasing rice production.
This was said by Dr Wang, head of Chinese delegation during their visit to Rice Research Institute at Kala Shah Kaku on Monday. Director of the Institute Dr Muhammad Akhtar welcomed the visitors.
Both sides stressed the need for increasing liaison between the Rice Research Institute and Chinese Long Ping Hi-tech for preparing rice varieties with higher yield.
On the occasion, Punjab Agriculture Department Official Dr Muhammad Anjum Ali suggested promoting hybrid rice varieties to increase per acre yield of paddy. He said that hybrid varieties will decrease the cost of production of the rice crop and ultimately increase exports.

Dr Wang pledged to take all possible measures to provide better quality rice varieties. The delegation will also take into confidence the local farmers and seed companies
Prayut reaches out to Central residents

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha rides a tractor planting rice during his visit to the Thailand Rice Science Institute in Suphan Buri yesterday.
Prayut reaches out to Central residents
politics September 19, 2017 01:00
PM makes first visit to local politicians during trip to provinces.

FROM PLANTING RICE and meditating to lecturing citizens about elections, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha kept busy during the first day of his field visit to Suphan Buri and Ayutthaya yesterday.
The two-day trip by Prayut and his Cabinet put a focus on Thailand’s Central region, with water management at the top of the agenda during the flood season. Other issues for discussion included land-sea infrastructure connectivity, irrigation, garbage management, and rice research and development.
But the essential purpose behind the field trip was for the premier to get his feet on the ground and come face-to-face with local people from all walks of life.
The first local resident he met was the abbot from Wat Pa Lelai Worawihan, where he made merit at the start of the trip. “Whenever you get stressed, just inhale deeply and exhale 10 times,” the abbot of Suphan Buri’s sacred temple told him. “Act like a hand. You can’t have something new if you don’t let go of the old thing.”

Prayut abruptly replied: “But the old things are not finished. What else can I do? Also, I can’t breathe and count to 10. I can do as many as three and then I burst again. Still, I’ll keep trying,”
Later in the day, he compared Thai people with the frogs from Aesop’s fable “The Frogs who Desired a King”, warning them that in next general election, they should choose the right person and not a “stork” who would devour them.
“I alone can’t solve everything. You have to seek your desired men or government by yourselves,” he said. “If you want the future to be full of conflict, be my guest. But being where I am now, I won’t let that happen.”
Despite his avowed aversion to politics, Prayut met with local politicians from the Chart Thai Pattana Party during a visit to the Thailand Rice Science Institute.
Among the party’s top figures in attendance were MP-turned-soccer-manager Warawut Silpa-archa, son of the late prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa, Prapat Pothasuthon, and Korawee and Paradorn Prissanananthakul.
“Not all politicians are evil,” Prapat told Prayut. “I would only ask the government to distribute some of the budget from high-speed railway projects to help farmers. As long as people’s wellbeing is sustained, you can stay for another eight or 10 years and I won’t blame you for anything.”
Warawut added, “The election will be decided by you. We’ll just wait to play by rules.” Prayut replied, “Just don’t drag me in as a player. I’m just here as a referee to settle everything.”

At the institute, where paddy fields are available for farmers to practice techniques and develop rice breeds, the premier observed holistic rice development as well as cost-cutting production procedures. He also took a turn driving a tractor, making an impression on the field.
Because of the water supply, the Central region is well known for rice cultivation, especially of its world-class hom mali fragrant rice. But the region also suffers from flooding in the rainy season, causing damage to hundreds of rai of paddy fields each year.
Prayut also sought to create agreements between millers and farmers to expand market opportunities and support holistic practices in farming with irrigation equipment and technology

Chinese scientists to help Pakistan enhance rice production

LAHORE: Chinese scientists are ready to help Pakistan in increasing rice production, said Dr Wang, head of a delegation of Chinese scientists, during their visit to Rice Research Institute at Kala Shah Kaku, on Monday.
Director of the Institute Dr Muhammad Akhtar welcomed the visitors. Both sides stressed the need for increasing liaison between the Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku and Chinese Long Ping Hi-tech for preparing rice varieties with higher yield.
Dr Muhammad Anjum Ali, a senior official of the Punjab Agriculture Department, suggested promoting hybrid rice varieties to increase per acre yield of paddy.
He said that hybrid varieties will decrease the cost of production of the rice crop and ultimately increase exports.
The delegation will visit all rice producing areas and give recommendations its recommendations as well.
It will also visit Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. In the next few days, the members will reach Islamabad to prepare their recommendations and present them on Oct 11.
Dr Wang pledged to take every possible step for the provision of better quality rice varieties. The delegation will also take the local farmers and seed companies into confidence.

China offers help in boosting rice production

Published: September 19, 2017
LAHORE: Chinese scientists are ready to help Pakistan in increasing rice production, head of a delegation of Chinese scientists Dr Wang said during their visit to Rice Research Institute (RRI) at Kala Shah Kaku on Monday.
RRI Director Muhammad Akhtar welcomed the visitors. Both sides stressed the need for increasing liaison between the Rice Research Institute and Chinese Long Ping Hi-tech for preparing rice varieties with higher yield.
Muhammad Anjum Ali, a senior official of the Punjab Agriculture Department, suggested promoting hybrid rice varieties to increase per acre yield of paddy. He said that hybrid varieties will decrease the cost of production of the rice crop and ultimately increase exports.
The delegation will visit all the rice producing areas and give recommendations.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2017.

Chinese experts extend help to boost rice yield’


Published: September 19, 2017
LAHORE: Chinese experts are ready to help Pakistan in increasing rice production.This was said by Dr Wang, head of Chinese delegation during their visit to Rice Research Institute at Kala Shah Kaku on Monday. Director of the Institute Dr Muhammad Akhtar welcomed the visitors.
Both sides stressed the need for increasing liaison between the Rice Research Institute and Chinese Long Ping Hi-tech for preparing rice varieties with higher yield.
On the occasion, Punjab Agriculture Department Official Dr Muhammad Anjum Ali suggested promoting hybrid rice varieties to increase per acre yield of paddy. He said that hybrid varieties will decrease the cost of production of the rice crop and ultimately increase exports.
Dr Wang pledged to take all possible measures to provide better quality rice varieties. The delegation will also take into confidence the local farmers and seed companies.

Rice Milling Machinery Market by Production, Capacity Utilization Rate, Ex-Factory Price, Revenue, Cost, Gross and Gross Margin Analysis

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Chinese scientists to help Pakistan in boosting rice production
LAHORE (APP): Chinese scientists are ready to help Pakistan in increasing rice production, said Dr Wang, head of a delegation of Chinese scientists, during their visit to Rice Research Institute at Kala Shah Kak on Monday. Rice Research Institute Director Dr Muhammad Akhtar welcomed the visitors. Both sides stressed the need for increasing liaison between the Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku and Chinese Long Ping Hi-tech for preparing rice varieties with higher yield. Dr Muhammad Anjum Ali, a senior official of the Punjab Agriculture Department, suggested promoting hybrid rice varieties to increase per acre yield of paddy.
 He said that hybrid varieties will decrease the cost of production of the rice crop and ultimately increase exports. The delegation will visit all rice producing areas and give recommendations. It will also visit Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the next few days, the members will reach Islamabad to prepare their recommendations and present them on October 11.

 Yale scientists develop novel genetic analysis model


After almost a decade of research, Yale scientists in partnership with scientists from Howard University have published a new genetic analysis tool that may soon change the way we differentiate between humans and chimpanzees, our close genetic relatives.Published in July, the paper describes a computational model, model averaged site selection via Poisson random field, or MASS-PRF, that at the basic level looks at small regions of our genes and determines the likelihood that the sequence of the area will change.

Co-authors Jeffrey Townsend, a professor of biostatistics at the Yale School of Public Health, and Michael Campbell, a biology professor at Howard University, have been working on the model since 2009, according to Townsend. Their model represents a breakthrough in that it considers small portions of genes rather than whole genes, distinguishing it from existing approaches.
“Suddenly we have a telescope that can go 10 times as far,” Townsend said. “Anytime you find a small difference, it teaches you not just that something’s changed, but about the biology of that gene.”Townsend’s lab tested 58 genes common to chimps and humans, and found that certain genes involved in memory, fighting disease and reproduction were apt to change.
Zi-Ming Zhao, lead author of the paper, said that the researchers’ results indicate that even though the same list of genes could be shared by human and chimps, important novel functions of these genes might be only seen in humans. She added that Campbell’s lab at Howard University is currently working to clarify these differences using MASS-PRF.
Deciphering the differences between humans and chimps has a value beyond satisfying human curiosity, however. There are important practical applications, including animal testing, that this data can be used for.
“Understanding the evolved differences is very important, so that, say that we are developing a treatment for Parkinson’s and it’s being tested in chimpanzees, what we need to know is if the gene we’re targeting is functioning in the same way,” Townsend said.
Current research with the model includes studying species of rice to decipher the differences in genes and their functions. Genetic engineers can later use this data to create more efficiently producing rice, Zhao said.
She added that further studies of such functionally important genes in domesticated rice might have great economic benefits and help solve the poverty issues around the world.In the future, MASS-PRF can be used to help treat cancer patients, according to the researchers. The model can help clarify which cancer genes are more likely to change, and in turn dictate what drugs to use on tumors.
“You can understand which genes are being selected for in cancer and target your research in response to that,” said lab member Daniel Lee ’16. “The real story for the model will arise when we see people apply it.”
Over 200 cancer drugs are available in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Anusha Manglik | anusha.manglik@yale.edu


Plan to organise vegetable, fruit  production competitions
LAHORE (APP): For the first time, vegetable and fruit production competitions (2017-18) are being held at district and provincial level on the direction of Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. A spokesman of the Punjab Agriculture said this here on Monday. He said the purpose of these competitions was to encourage the farmers and to boost their morale. He further said the Punjab agriculture department was working on various projects to motivate growers. Cotton, rice, mango, orange, potato, guava, corn growers could participate in these competitions, he added. He disclosed that laser land leveller, tractor sprayer, hot water treatment plant, tractor trolley, potato digger, zero tillage drill, orchard sprayer, disc harrow, harrow with engine, Rabbi planter, rotavator/off set rotavator, boom sprayer, DSR drill, cotton ridger, maize shredder and others tools would be given as prize to the winners of the competitions. He said modern machinery would not help farmers to increase per acre yield of their crops but also save their time.

Rice plan focuses on value-added
19 Sep 2017 at 04:00 547 viewed3 comments

A variety of milled rice is available at Or Tor Kor market in Bangkok. SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUN
Thailand is drafting its rice strategy, aiming to create higher value from exports of rice-based products by using innovation instead of exporting a high volume of commodity-grade rice, says the Commerce Ministry.Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said the ministry has joined hands with Kasetsart University in conducting a study on a demand-driven database to be used as a major strategy for the rice industry.Initially, the strategy is expected to focus on the quality and value of goods produced from rice instead of prioritising quantity of commodity-grade rice traded at a low price."We need to change our mindset first from competing at low prices and high volumes to the higher value items," said Ms Pimchanok.As a result, the strategy will aim for smaller rice exports of around 7 million tonnes a year, compared with around 10 tonnes a year now."We can continue to export some 7 million tonnes of commodity-grade rice as we did in the past and see if we can do better with the other 3 million tonnes, which can be made into higher-value products," she said.

A variety of rice products are available at Rangsit University as part of a plan to help farmers sell rice. PONGPAT WONGYALA
To achieve the goal, Thailand's rice strategy covers a wide range of information and data, starting with scientific information about rice and how it should be grown to produce high-quality grains. Data will also include the latest changes in rice demand and supply so Thai farmers and rice-product manufacturers can estimate the market each year.Kriengkrai Kaewtrakulpong, head of the farm machines department at Kasetsart University, said the study found three rice products can create the highest added value for Thai rice. Rice snacks and rice bran oil are two, which have a combined global market value of up to US$600 billion a year.Another is rice flour, which can be used for many rice products and has a global market of more than $270 billion a year, he said.

"That's why we are encouraging other parties to join the project, particularly private firms to apply new innovations to common-grade rice to make value-added rice products," said Mr Kriengkrai.

Gene map reveals how bajra survives extreme heat, drought

Updated: Sep 19, 2017, 02.19 PM IST
The findings may boost efforts to improve this crucial staple food for millions of people in arid and semi-arid Africa and Asia in particular.

Commodity Summary


NEW DELHI: Scientists, including those from India, have decoded the genome of bajra and discovered how the crop survives high temperatures and drought, a finding that may help boost production of other cereals in light of the impending global climate change and food crisis. Rising temperatures and frequency of extreme climate events like heat waves in many parts of the world will lead to a drop in major staple crop production, researchers said.

A global team of 65 scientists from 30 research institutions decoded and sequenced the bajra (or pearl millet) genome and revealed critical coping strategies. The analysis has led to a better understanding of the ability of this dryland cereal to survive soaring temperatures of over 42 degrees Celsius and its exceptional drought tolerance.

The discovery published in the journal Nature Biotechnology may help develop climate adaptation strategies in other important food crops. This research co-led by the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Telangana, BGI- Shenzhen in China and the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), used the latest innovations in DNA sequencing and analysis.

The team identified new genetic tools like molecular markers related to drought and heat tolerance, as well as other important traits. The findings may boost efforts to improve this crucial staple food for millions of people in arid and semi-arid Africa and Asia in particular, researchers said. Pearl millet is a nutritious drylands cereal, rich in protein, fibre and essential micronutrients like iron, zinc and folate. Nutrition studies have shown that this cereal has the potential to fight iron deficiency, the most widespread micronutrient deficiency and major cause of anaemia, affecting health and development of a third of global population.

Pearl millet is grown on about 27 million hectares worldwide and is a daily food for more than 90 million people, among the most vulnerable in arid and semi-arid Africa and Asia.

It is also an important source of fodder for millions of farms. However, pearl millet yields have remained low over the last six decades, as this cereal is mainly grown in poor soil conditions without irrigation, minimal and no fertiliser and other agricultural inputs. Investment in genetic research for this crop has been inadequate and breeders had limited genetic information to develop high yielding superior varieties and hybrids that respond to farmers' constraints, researchers said.

"Most cereals like rice or maize cannot support temperatures over 30 to maximum 35 degrees Celsius when they start forming their grain, whereas pearl millet will fill its grain in air temperatures of up to 42 degrees," said Professor Rajeev Varshney from ICRISAT, who coordinated the Pearl Millet Genome Sequencing Consortium. "We have found that compared to other cereals like wheat, rice or maize, pearl millet has a more diverse repertoire of genes for natural wax proteins, which act as thermal protection for the plant," said Varshney.

Such heat resistance is crucial as climate experts forecast further heat waves in years to come. ith the new biotechnology methods, we can foresee the transfer of such heat and/or drought tolerance to other important food cereals in a near future. "This research will lead to delivery of high yields of pearl millet in farmer fields in the marginal environments in Africa and Asia," said David Bergvinson, Director General of ICRISAT.

"Identifying better genes for heat tolerance in pearl millet can also help other crops like wheat, rice and maize become more climate change ready, showing the importance of investing in so called 'orphan' or neglected crops," Bergvinson said. MHN SAR MHN