Friday, September 29, 2017

29th September,2017 daily global regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine


Thailand's Supreme Court has found former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of negligence in rice subsidy case, sentencing her in absentia to five years in jail.
In the scheme, Yingluck's government paid Thai rice farmers inflated prices for their crops, driving up global rice prices.The subsidy scheme did not work, costing the country eight billion U.S. dollars and leaving it with vast stockpiles of rice. #ECONOMIC NEWS

Rice prices slip in India, Thailand; big exporters woo Bangladesh

A farmer winnows rice in a field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, November 4, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files
BENGALURU (Reuters) - Rice prices dipped this week in the Asian hubs of India and Thailand, but prospects of new deals with flood-ravaged Bangladesh could reinvigorate sluggish markets for the staple grain amongst top exporters in the region.
Bangladesh, which has emerged as a major importer this year to try to shore up stocks in the country, is looking to buy more rice in government-to-government deals to combat high domestic prices, a food ministry official said.
“We can buy from India, Thailand and Vietnam,” he said, without elaborating.
The lowest offer in the tender from Bangladesh’s state grains buyer to purchase 50,000 tonnes of rice which closed on Thursday was $427.33 a tonne, on a cost, insurance and freight basis, liner out from a domestic trader.
In Thailand, benchmark 5-percent broken rice eased to $375-$385 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, from the $390-$396 level last week on lower demand from overseas amid a strong local currency.
“Since the value of the baht remains relatively strong and stable, we can’t compete with other rice exporting countries,” a Bangkok-based rice trader said.
But there continues to be some demand for Thai rice from Bangladesh, the trader also said.
“We expect Bangladesh to import a total of 500,000 tonnes due to the flooding crisis. So far, they have already imported around 250,000 tonnes,” the trader said.
Thai prices could decline further and demand is likely to witness a seasonal slowdown toward the end of the year.
India’s 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices fell by $12 per tonne from last week to the $405-$408 range on sluggish demand and as a depreciation in the rupee allowed dealers to reduce export prices.
“In dollar terms, prices have come down due to the falling rupee. Demand from African countries is weak,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Indian rupee has fallen 2.5 percent so far in September and was trading near its lowest level in 6-1/2 months. A weak rupee increases exporters’ margin.

India’s rice production from the summer-sown crop is likely to fall 2 percent year-on-year to 94.48 million tonnes.
In Vietnam, 5 percent broken rice was quoted at $385-$395 a tonne, FOB Saigon, versus the $390-$395 range last week, with traders attributing the high rates to a lack of fresh supply in a thinly traded market.
The Vietnam Food Association has raised the country’s target for rice exports in 2017 to 5.6 million tonnes, with the world’s third-biggest exporter having sold 3.8 million tonnes so far this year.

معزول خاتون تھائی وزیراعظم ینگ لک کو غیرموجودگی میں 5 برس قید

28 ستمبر 2017 (11:20)
بنکاک (ویب ڈیسک) تھائی لینڈ کی اعلیٰ عدالت نے چاول کے حوالے سے پالیسی بنانے میں ناکامی، مجرمانہ غفلت اور دیگر الزامات پر معزول خاتون وزیراعظم ینگ لک شیناوترا کو انکی غیر موجودگی میں 5 برس قید کی سزا سنا دی۔
2014ء میں ینگ لک کی حکومت بغاوت کے نتیجہ میں ختم ہوگئی تھی۔ جج نے ریمارکس دیئے متفقہ فیصلہ دیا سزا معطل نہیں ہوگی۔ وہ اگست میں ملک سے فرار ہو کر دبئی چلی گئی تھیں۔

Malaysia to continue to import rice
Malaysia will continue to depend on rice imports as the country's production of the grain is nearly 30% short from the three million metric tonnes (MT) self sufficiency level (SSL).
Agriculture and Agrobased Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the industry is expected to narrow the SSL gap from 72% presently to 80%, but the country will remain dependent on other countries for its rice supplies.

He said the industry has to cope with the rising population and demands, ageing farmers, pest attacks and harvesting process inefficiencies.
 "We do have enough facilities, but very often a lot of the crop is lost after the harvesting process. Sometimes due to pests, sometimes due to carelessness, and sometimes due to complications during the processes after harvesting the crop.
 "It cannot be avoided entirely and that is why we are doing what we can to ensure the farmers are informed on how they can reduce crop wastage," he said at the National Paddy Conference in Petaling Jaya yesterday.
Based on the three million MT SSL, a household on average consume about 100kg of rice annually. There are about 674,548ha of area planted with the world's second most important crop. Malaysia was the world's 14 biggest rice importer based on value at US$377.4 million (RM1.59 billion) or 2% of global imports in 2016 according to www.
 China was the world's largest rice importer valued at US$1.6 billion. The world's most populous nation's rice imports had risen 40.9%. India was the largest exporter of the grain valued at US$5.3 billion or 26.7% of total rice exports, followed by Thailand at US$4.4 billion (21.9%) and the US at US$1.9 billion (9.6%).

Ahmad Shabery said that 80% of rice production is sufficient for the country's population."This is because 15% to 20% of the 31.19 million population does not consume rice or only prefer certain kinds of rice, which are not available in locally," he said, adding that no one country produced all the different rice types.
 He also launched a standard operating procedure by The Malaysian Agr iculture Research and Development Institute to aid farmers to reduce loss after harvesting rice.He said Malaysia does not intend to become a net rice exporter.
 "First, it is the price. Are we able to offer competitive prices that meet the retail markets worldwide? "Secondly, we must look at the subsidy. Once we begin to export with the subsidy, the more we export, the more we lose. Exporting will do more harm than good," he said.

Bangladesh gets offers in tender to buy 50,000 tonnes rice

DHAKA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The lowest offer in the tender from Bangladesh’s state grains buyer to purchase 50,000 tonnes of rice which closed on Thursday was $427.33 a tonne, on a cost, insurance and freight basis, liner out, officials at the state grains buyer said.The offer was submitted by a domestic farm while six other traders competed for the tender, which was issued earlier this month.

Will adhere to 48-hr deadline for paddy lifting: Punjab govt

28 SEPTEMBER 2017  Last Updated at 7:56 PM
Chandigarh, Sep 28 Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today promised strict adherence by his government to the 48-hour deadline for lifting of paddy and payment to farmers for their crop in the ensuing kharif season.Addressing a meeting of rice millers, led by All India Rice Miller Association and Punjab State Rice Millers Association, the chief minister also promised revival of sick rice milling units to be taken up on priority by his government.
The chief minister said everything was in place for smooth procurement of paddy in this season, when an estimated 182 lakh tonnes of the crop was expected to come into the market, as against the previous season's target of 165 lakh tonnes, said an official release.
The mandis were witnessing 182 per cent increase in arrival of cotton crop as compare to last year, as a result of the collective efforts of the state government, PAU and farmers, backed by favourable weather conditions, said the chief minister, expressing satisfaction over the bumper production of cotton.
Reiterating his government's commitment to early redressal of the various problems faced by the beleaguered industry, Amarinder pointed out that his government had recently announced a One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme to provide an opportunity to all defaulter rice millers to clear their past dues.
Around 1,500 of the total 3,500 defaulting and sick milling units would benefit by the scheme, he said, adding that this was one of the several measures initiated to bring the industry back on the path of progress.
Responding to a demand from the rice millers, Amarinder said he would take up the issue of 'Bardana' use and transportation charges with the central government next week at his meeting with Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
On the issue of millers in surplus paddy districts being given more paddy at a rate of 140 per cent of their original entitlement, he assured that no miller would be forced to mill paddy beyond his capacity and only those willing to mill extra paddy would be considered.
The chief minister called upon the rice milling industry to collaborate with the state government in ensuring smooth procurement of paddy in the forthcoming kharif season.
Collective efforts always yield positive results, he said, recalling the success of the collaboration between the farmers and the government in tackling the recent whitefly attack on cotton crops.
With farming community and the agricultural scientists of the Government of Punjab coming together, the spread of the whitefly was successfully prevented, he added.
Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Lal Singh blamed the previous SAD-BJP government for the "mess" in the industry, saying the Akalis and BJP had "plundered" the state, leaving it under a massive debt burden of Rs 2.08 lakh crore as a result of its "ill-conceived and corrupt" policies.
Under Amarinder Singh led government, the state was witnessing a turnaround with more than 300 new rice mills already set up in just six months, said Lal Singh, promising to act as a bridge between the milling community and the government to resolve any issues of concern.

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Septmember 28, 2017
SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 / 1:17 PM /

Reuters Staff
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-September 28

Nagpur, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Gram prices declined in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing
Committee (APMC) here on lack of demand from local millers amid high moisture content arrival.
Easy condition in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and downward trend on NCDEX also affected
About 200 of gram and 100 bags of tuar were available for auctions, according to sources.

   * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.
   * Tuar gavarani and tuar Karnataka reported higher in open market on increased demand
     from local traders amid thin supply from producing regions.  

   * Moong Chamki recovered in open market on good demand from local traders amid weak
     supply from producing regions.
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,100-4,250, Tuar dal (clean) – 6,000-6,200, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 7,700-8,700, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,600-7,000, Gram – 5,500-5,650, Gram Super best
    – 7,800-8,300

   * Wheat, other varieties of 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                  4,600-5,200         4,690-5,400
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                n.a.                3,750-3,910
     Moong Auction                n.a.                3,900-4,200
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Wheat Mill quality Auction        1,580-1,664        1,550-1,650
     Gram Super Best Bold            8,000-8,500        8,000-8,500
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            7,400-7,600        7,400-7,600
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            5,700-5,800        5,700-5,800
     Desi gram Raw                5,650-5,950         5,650-5,950
     Gram Kabuli                12,500-13,200        12,500-13,200
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             6,200-6,400        6,200-6,400
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,000-6,200        6,000-6,200
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        5,600-5,800        5,600-5,800
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,000-5,400        5,000-5,400
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,100-4,200        4,050-4,150
     Tuar Karnataka             4,550-4,750        4,500-4,700
     Masoor dal best            5,200-5,400        5,200-5,400
     Masoor dal medium            4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        6,800-7,200         6,800-7,200
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,300-6,600        6,300-6,600
     Moong dal Chilka            5,500-6,200        5,500-6,200
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            7,000-7,500        6,900-7,400
     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)        5,000-5,500        5,000-5,500
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          2,900-3,100         2,900-3,100
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            2,900-3,000        2,900-3,000
     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)    1,700-1,850        1,700-1,850  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,100-2,300           2,100-2,300        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,100-3,600        3,100-3,600   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,700        2,200-2,700          
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,100-3,400        3,100-3,400   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,800-3,100        2,800-3,100   
     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)        3,700-4,100        3,700-4,100    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,400-3,700        3,400-3,700    
     Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG)      4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    4,400-4,600        4,400-4,600  
     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)    4,800-5,200        4,800-5,200   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    4,500-4,700        4,500-4,700  
     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. 34.9 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 24.8 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 35 and 25
degree Celsius respectively.

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


Thursday, 28 September 2017 |  | New Delhi1

The South West monsoon is set for a delayed retreat. Indications about the delay in the retreat were observed on August 31, when strong monsoon-friendly south-easterly winds were noted over North-West India.
The Met Department has said monsoon withdrawal process will begin from October 1 from north-western Rajasthan. The delayed withdrawal is expected to aid sowing prospects next month for winter crops such as wheat and rapeseed by improving soil moisture content. Summer crops such as rice, corn, sugarcane, soybeans and cotton no longer need downpours, though sporadic rain can aid their growth.
According to Met Department, there is a five per cent deficient rainfall this year till date (September 27).  The deficiency of monsoon was recorded six per cent till September 20 this month. As per reports, monsoon has recorded below average in six States that include Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Manipur, Delhi and Nagaland.  “The final report pertains to this year monsoon is to be finalised after September this year. The rainfall in September has reduced the deficiency up to one per cent,” said officials.
The Met Department officials said Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad and South 24 Pargana districts in West Bengal, Anugul, Balangir, Baragarh, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Jajapur, Kandhamal, Sambalpur in Odisha, RI Bhoi and West Garo Hills in Meghalaya, Phek in Nagaland, Senapati and Thoumbal in Manipur, Arwal, Nawada, Nalanda, Lakhisarai, Bhojpur, Jamui, Madhubani, Munger and Muzzaffarpur in Bihar, Unnao, Deoria, Mau, Chandauli, Ballia, Amethi, Banda in UP are among the districts which have received below rainfall this monsoon.
Due to uneven rainfall this year, the Agriculture Ministry’s data of advance estimate of production of kharif crops has estimated to be lower than last year with the only exception being sugarcane. Production of foodgrains such as rice, pulses and coarse cereals is likely at 134.7 million tonnes in 2017-18, about 2.8 per cent below last year’s record crop of 138.5 million tonnes, the Ministry estimates showed.



Rice importation not banned – Agric Minister, Ogbeh


Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has stated that the Federal Government did not ban the importation of agricultural produce including rice.
He clarified that all the federal government did was to put measures in place to checkmate the smuggling of rice into the country.
The minister stated this while speaking to newsmen in his office yesterday.
He also explained that maize was not on the nation’s import ban prohibition list but charged maize importers to work out how to grow the produce locally through integration, the way Olam farms had done with rice production.
Ogbeh said: “Olam has gone into a very large poultry business and they ordered maize because maize is not banned yet.
“We haven’t really banned anything yet, not even rice; you can bring in rice as long as it passed through the ports and you pay the tax and levies. It’s the smuggling of rice that we don’t want.
“Olam brought in the maize and farmers have been complaining. I have met with them. I know they brought in the maize because they had challenges purchasing local maize but I will tell them, next year we won’t allow you do so.
“Develop an out-growers programme like you’ve done for rice and let Nigerian farmers grow for you. Home  Business  Global Business
12:00 AM, September 28, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 28, 2017

Production loss, govt indecision caused rice price spiral: WB

Star Business Report
The recent abnormal price rise of rice is the outcome of production loss, policy indecisiveness and rumours, among several reasons, the World Bank said yesterday.A tendency to generalise the causes was noticed whereas various factors were active behind the price spiral, said Zahid Hussain, lead economist at the Dhaka office of the Washington-based multilateral lender. Two consecutive floods damaged 20 lakh tonnes of the staple food leading to the fall in production, he said during the release of the latest edition of World Bank's Bangladesh Development Update at the office.
The government's indecisiveness in procuring rice and reducing tariff destabilised the market while it did not have adequate stocks for intervention in the market, said Hussain.There was indecision at the government level about the mode of procurement, whether it will be government-to-government or through tender -- and from which country to import it from, he said.As a result, rice did not reach government silos in time, said the economist, adding that the government also suffered from indecision on decreasing taxes, due to which import halted and hundreds of trucks were stranded at land ports.
Hussain said the spread of a rumour that India has banned export of rice spurred a steady rise of the price while the price went up in India, Thailand and Vietnam. He said businessmen might have taken advantage of these uncertainties to go for speculative hoarding, which may have pushed up the price.
“It is difficult to prove the hoarding but it cannot be dismissed,” Hussain said.Price per kilogramme of coarse rice reached Tk 50 recently while fine rice Tk 70. The former's price is falling but that of fine rice is still hovering around the same level.
Rice prices were Tk 42 and Tk 68 respectively in Dhaka yesterday, according to a report of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh

Bangladesh gets offers in tender to buy 50,000 tonnes rice

SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 / 3:07 PM /

DHAKA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The lowest offer in the tender from Bangladesh’s state grains buyer to purchase 50,000 tonnes of rice which closed on Thursday was $427.33 a tonne, on a cost, insurance and freight basis, liner out, officials at the state grains buyer said.The offer was submitted by a domestic farm while six other traders competed for the tender, which was issued earlier this month.
Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Christian Schmollinger


Sri Lanka to import rice to stabilize prices
 Thursday, 28 September 2017 - 8:45

The Government has decided to import 500,000 metric tonnes of rice within the next several months.Plans are in place to sell rice, onions, and potatoes to consumers through the Sathosa outlets from today at prices lower than the prevalent prices.The decisions were made yesterday (27) at a special discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat with President Maithripala Sirisena at the chair.
Meanwhile,   the Coconut Marketing Board has initiated a programme to sell coconuts directly to consumers to assist with price control, as prices have gone up excessively.The President instructed that a committee consisting of officials from the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Agriculture should meet on a weekly basis to discuss variables relating to the sale of essential food items.
Govt. to purchase 720,000 tons of rice this year
·         Published : Sept 28, 2017 - 10:23
·         Updated : Sept 28, 2017 - 10:23
The government will buy 720,000 tons of rice harvested this year to stabilize domestic market prices amid chronic oversupply of the staple grain, the agriculture ministry said Thursday. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it will buy 350,000 tons of rice for its reserve and 370,000 tons to help maintain market prices at a certain level.

The government increased the amount of rice purchased for the supply adjustment from 299,000 tons in 2016, when rice prices fell to a 21-year low. 

As the rice surplus last year was estimated at about 300,000 tons, the government's purchase for the purpose of price stabilization this year is expected to surpass surplus production, the ministry said. 
Agriculture Minister Kim Young-rok announces the government`s rice purchase plan during a press briefing held in Sejong on Sept. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)

"Although the official rice production data hasn't been announced, this year's purchase volume for market stabilization is expected to exceed the extra amount produced," Agriculture Minister Kim Young-rok said in a press briefing. "As the government plans to buy enough rice to separate it from the market, I expect it would help stabilize rice prices."There was an excess of 300,000 tons of rice last year, as the 4.2 million-ton supply far exceeded the 3.9 million tons consumed, and the glut will likely be around 200,000 tons in 2017.

The chronic oversupply of rice comes as a growing number of South Koreans have been reducing their rice intake and diversifying their diets with alternatives like wheat, barley, beans and corn.As part of efforts to reduce the excess of rice, the government also plans to finalize its preparations to join the Food Assistance Convention this year to ship 50,000 tons of rice overseas annually.

The FAC is a 14-nation convention aimed at promoting global food security and providing humanitarian food assistance to developing countries. Members include the United States, the European Union, Canada, Japan and Australia.

Bangladesh gets offers in tender to buy 50,000 tonnes rice

DHAKA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The lowest offer in the tender from Bangladesh’s state grains buyer to purchase 50,000 tonnes of rice which closed on Thursday was $427.33 a tonne, on a cost, insurance and freight basis, liner out, officials at the state grains buyer said.The offer was submitted by a domestic farm while six other traders competed for the tender, which was issued earlier this month. USA Rice Seeks Increased Funding for Export Programs 

WASHINGTON, DC -- USA Rice joined 150 members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports this week in signing a letter to leaders of the House Committee on Agriculture, asking them to increase funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture Export programs in the upcoming Farm Bill.  
"Despite a tremendous growth in export opportunity for farmers and small businesses since the 2002 Farm Bill was enacted, the real, effective federal funding that reaches the agricultural cooperators carrying out market development work has steadily eroded, while our international competitors continue to greatly outspend us," the letter reads.
The letter was released on the heels of a Senate bill, S.1839, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Susan Collins (R-ME), that has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Companion legislation in the House (H.R. 2321) was introduced by Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME). 
The CREAATE Act seeks to expand funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) to $400 million annually and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program to $69 million annually, with the increases phased in over the timeline of the new Farm Bill.
Export market promotion and development are extremely important to the U.S. rice industry with an average of 50 percent of the crop being exported annually.  Top destinations for U.S. rice include Mexico, Japan, and Colombia, and USA Rice uses MAP and FMD funding to undertake significant promotion programs there and elsewhere.
"Increased funding for MAP and FMD programs is critical to increasing exports and developing new markets for U.S. rice," said USA Rice International Promotion Chairman Terry Harris.  "The funding for these programs has remained flat for too long.  We applaud the work of our Congressional leaders who recognize the need to increase funding in order to help promote U.S. products on the international market."

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Lazy Rice!

Basmati rice to remain costlier this year on lower output estimates

The price increase might hurt exports of this aromatic rice which remained a favourable choice for consumers in Iran, Saudi Arabia and European countries.

Dilip Kumar Jha  |  Mumbai 

·         ALSO READ


The prices of Basmati paddy and rice are likely to remain firm this year due to estimates of lower output, following erratic monsoon rain in major growing regions. Data compiled by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed the country’s cumulative rainfall this season was 5 per cent lower than the long-period average (LPA), with the northwest region recording 11 per cent less rainfall until September 20. 

According to industry sources, lower rainfall in major Basmati paddy-growing regions not only hit the overall sowing area but also standing plants in the fields. The price increase might hurt the export of this aromatic rice, a favourable choice for consumers in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and European countries.

“During the current season, there has been rainfall deficit in the key Basmati rice-producing states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana over the previous year’s monsoon season till mid-September 2017 as well as lower water reservoir levels in Uttar Pradesh. These factors can translate into lower paddy production in the current crop season, and thus the paddy prices are likely to open firm in the oncoming procurement season,” said Deepak Jotwani, assistant vice-president, Icra.

Meanwhile, India’s Basmati rice exports have witnessed a rebound in the current fiscal year, with the first quarter of 2017-18 (FY18) registering a 32 per cent growth in exports contributed by 25 per cent increase in realisations and 7 per cent increase in volumes. This comes after a three-year consecutive decline in Basmati exports till FY17 (Rs 21,605 crore). 

In the past, despite the volumes holding firm, the exports have been adversely impacted by pressure on realisations (from peak of Rs 77,988 a tonne in FY14 to Rs 54,011 a tonne in FY17), driven by lower demand in the global market as well as lower paddy prices over the procurement seasons of FY15 and FY16.

Gurnam Arora, joint managing director, Kohinoor Foods Ltd, said, “Basmati rice is likely to remain firm this year on lower output estimates.”

An Icra report said Basmati rice exports in the current financial year had been encouraging, especially driven by demand from Iran. The West Asian countries are the biggest importers and also a source of volatility in demand. 
Demand from Iran, the second-largest importer has been fairly volatile, primarily on account of import bans imposed from time to time. In Q1 FY18, Iran has been the primary contributor to growth in industry exports, contributing around 40 per cent to the total. However, from August, Iran has again discontinued importing Basmati rice from India.
The resumption of imports by Iran, which is expected around the procurement season, would be critical for the overall demand for Basmati rice.

Any delays in the same could dampen the paddy procurement in the upcoming season as well as subdue the exports outlook for H2 FY18 and FY19. This is especially important in the light of decline in volume sales from other key market - Saudi Arabia (13 per cent of total exports in Q1 FY18 as against 20 per cent in FY2017, according to the Icra report. 

On the supply side, during the last procurement season of October-December 2016, Basmati paddy prices had firmed up by 20-25 per cent across varieties, on the back of relatively lower production. 

Demand concerns in the form of Iran import ban and sluggishness from other key geographies would be overcome and export volumes in FY18 would be around 4.1 million tonnes. In addition, higher paddy prices in the last procurement season and likelihood of firm prices in the upcoming procurement season are expected to push up the average realisations in FY18. As a result, export value is expected to grow to around Rs 26,000 crore in FY18, a jump of 21 per cent over FY17, it said.

India’s Basmati rice output is estimated to have declined by over 18 per cent to 8 million tonnes for 2016-17. An Icra report said that basmati rice exports in the current fiscal have been encouraging, especially driven by demand from Iran. The Middle Eastern countries are the biggest importers; and also a source of volatility in demand. Demand from Iran, the second largest importer has been fairly volatile, primarily on account of import bans imposed from time to time. In Q1FY2018, Iran has been the primary contributor to growth in industry exports – contributing around 40 per cent to the total. However, from August 2017, Iran has again discontinued importing Basmati rice from India.

Rice researchers discover herbicide resistance in popular variety

 Kent McKenzie, director and plant breeder, California Rice Experiment Station, says researchers discovered a single recessive gene in a common rice variety that makes it resistant to the herbicide Oxyfluorfen, providing hope that one day weed control in rice systems may be easier.
Any possible new rice variety is years away, but researchers are hopeful based on what they've seen in the greenhouse and test plots

A discovery by researchers at the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs, Calif. offers hope that a possible new rice variety may someday give growers better control of weeds in the aquatic system.
Kent McKenzie, director and plant breeder with the Rice Experiment Station (RES), says the idea came about in the greenhouse when studies of the popular M206 variety showed signs of resistance to Oxyfluorfen, an herbicide with other agricultural applications, but one not labeled for use in rice.
Weed control in California rice is a challenge for growers.“It’s huge and it’s expensive,” McKenzie says.Earlier this year, a granular mixture of benzobicyclon and halosulfuron, the active ingredient components of a Gowan Company product called Butte, was registered for use in California rice. What excited growers at the time is Butte provides a new mode of action (Butte is an HPPD-inhibitor) previously not offered in California rice systems.
According to McKenzie, researchers studying Oxyfluorfen (a PPO-inhibitor) in the greenhouse discovered M206 rice plants – a common variety among California growers – were not damaged by the herbicide. Additional tests and conventional breeding procedures from early populations of resistant rice found nine plants that did not die when exposed to Oxyfluorfen.
“So at that point we got a little excited and thought maybe we have something that is resistant to this herbicide,” he said.
From there McKenzie said researchers began looking at different kinds of weeds common to California rice systems that could be controlled by Oxyfluorfen and if it can work in the field.“The advantage of this is we found it in M206 which is our most widely-grown variety,” he said. “From the plant breeding end this is very desirable because we shouldn’t have to fix a lot of things.”
Also desirable, and unlike other technologies that allow herbicides to be applied over the top of resistant crops, is this process does not involve genetic engineering.“This isn’t going to fly in rice,” he said. “The technology is there but the markets haven’t accepted it.”
Instead, genetic studies show that the trait causing the herbicide resistance is inherited as a single recessive gene through common, long-standing breeding practices.Though not a variety at this point, McKenzie says the Oxyfluorfen-resistant rice has been given the name “ROXY,” and is now patent-pending. Discussions are also under way to find a company willing to serve as the registrant for a product that could be labeled for California rice.
The search for a new mode of action to control rice weeds is critical as these weeds are developing resistance to currently labeled herbicides.“It looks promising,” McKenzie says. “We still don’t know how long it will be before we have this, but people keep asking me and I just tell them ‘I’ll have the variety by the time you have the label’.”

Government Cuts Rice Imports


Annually the government is spending K600million to import rice. The government plans to cut the import of rice despite an increase of 5 percent annually in consumption. IT will take at least five years for Papua New Guinea to start producing and exporting its own rice and for the eight million people to consume.  Agriculture Minister Benny Allen in his response to Menyamya MP Thomas Pelika said there are at least five companies that are in the process of producing rice locally – one of which is Naime Rice.

Minister Allen was taken to task by Mr Pelika during Question Time in Parliament about the Government’s plans to have rice grown locally and help with job creation for provinces like Menyamya

Corruption eating away relief for the public

12:00 AM, September 28, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:21 PM, September 28, 2017

Coarse varieties of rice were on sale for Tk 50-54 per kg in the capital's retail markets last week—Tk 10 higher than the price only a month ago.
A report titled “World Food Security and Nutrition Situation-2017”, brought out jointly by a number of UN organisations, estimates that some 25 million Bangladeshis, mostly women and children, suffer from malnutrition. This is not to say that the overall food and nutrition situation here has not improved over the years. In fact, it is quite the contrary, as evident from the fact that Bangladesh has witnessed stunted growth among children (aged under 5) go down from 45 percent to 36.1 percent between 2005 and 2016. 
Despite the progress, natural calamities like floods and landslides are having a disastrous effect on the nutrition situation, which is likely to be more severe this time around, considering the extent of damage caused by floods this year. According to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), coarse varieties of rice were on sale for Tk 50-54 per kg in the capital's retail markets last week—Tk 10 higher than the price only a month ago. 
With rice prices soaring across the country in recent months, following widespread fears of rice shortages fuelled largely by the fact that massive amounts of agricultural losses were endured, the government has rightly started to intervene in the market recently by selling the staple at a subsidised price under a nationwide Open Market Sale (OMS) programme. Although, only after wrongly delaying from intervening.
Food Ministry sources, meanwhile, said that the intervention was not possible earlier because of the shortage of rice in public granaries, while also blaming a section of rice millers for deliberately hoarding rice and hiking prices. The Anti-Corruption Commission too has “received the allegation” that traders were hoarding rice in cahoots with “some government officials”, which it has said it will “inquire into”. 
Consequently, their attempts to defraud the public also allegedly included dissemination of a confusing letter that said that India had stopped exporting rice to Bangladesh, which was later cleared to have been fake by the government. When seen from a broader perspective, this allegation is much more serious than it initially seems. At a time when the nation had barely recovered from one massive disaster (floods) and was struggling to deal with another crisis (the Rohingya influx), that special-interest groups will attempt to destabilise the rice market—endangering the national interest—for a quick buck should not be taken lightly. 
Thus, the government should carefully investigate the matter and transparently deal with its findings. However, what none of this can excuse is the government's own failure to pre-empt a situation in which it would significantly have to intervene in the market in order to stabilise the price of a commodity as essential as rice. 
One further indicator of this is the shelving of the government's rice distribution programme to the ultra-poor which it had drummed up for quite some time. The government suddenly postponed the plan as it would require 4.5 lakh tonnes of food-grains, while to operate the OMS programme beyond the district-level for a month, it would also need 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes of rice; whereas, the public food stock had 3.45 lakh tonnes of rice only and 1.21 lakh tonnes were still in the import pipeline, information from food ministry officials revealed. 
This and other similar failures have prompted even rice traders to allege that “the food ministry didn't pay any attention to a fast depleting government food stock, and [had] responded late to the urgency of replenishing the rice reserve after the Haor deluge.” And to blame the government for “the delay in reducing the high import duty on rice” and for refusing “to give better price for homegrown rice”, only to procure the staple later “from abroad at much higher prices” (Govt wasn't alert to depleting stock, September 20, The Daily Star).
One leading private rice importer said that had the government reduced duty on rice imports “right after the flash flood-induced crop loss, a situation like this would not have arisen in the first place.” And so, this is the crux of the current crisis. While it is understandable that the government has had to deal with a number of crises all at the same time, what is inexcusable is the food ministry's failure to perform its primary and specific duty. This too demands a proper investigation as much as the circulation of the fake letter does.
And, finally, there is the matter of what has been happening since then which, bar none, deserves the greatest and most urgent attention; particularly given that it is still rectifiable. And, that is, corruption in the OMS programme, including in its sale and distribution. 
One incident of this was recorded in Rajshahi's Durgapur upazila on September 20, where three dealers were alleged to have falsely shown on paper the sale of rice at the subsidised OMS rate. “Taking advantage of lax monitoring by food officials,” the dealers were alleged to have sold three tonnes of rice—the total allocation of OMS for the day—on the black market (one can only assume at a higher price for personal profit) in complete disregard for the plight of ordinary citizens and the intent of the initiative (Dealers go rogue with OMS rice, September 22, The Daily Star).
One of the monitoring officials had even admitted signing the document confirming the sale, under pressure from someone named Rustom, who also happens to have the “blessings of local leaders of the ruling party”. No doubt, there are many more cases of similar corrupt practices happening regularly that are going completely unreported.
Given the settings, while it is perhaps illogical to ask the government to address each and every case of such corruption individually, what it can do is take exemplary measures against the corrupt in cases that are brought to its notice—particularly when its own party men are involved—to show that no one should feel emboldened enough to chance their luck. Also, assigning responsible and non-partisan monitoring officials at the points of sale is as paramount as properly informing the public about where and how they can easily obtain OMS rice—that has been dismally lacking so far.
It has been a difficult year for the government with so much going on, but an even tougher one for those who have lost everything and now have nothing going for them. In some of the cases, the government did well and meant well, but in others, it made a hash of things. In some of the instances it was a handful of individuals at fault, but in others, the government's lack of action that allowed it. 
Right now, those who have nothing going for them cannot afford to have the government make a hash of things any longer, nor its lack of action to alleviate their sufferings.

Scientists succeed in increasing rice yield on saline-alkaline soil

By Zhao Yusha and Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/28 23:28:40
A field test on Thursday of  yields from an alkali-resisting  "sea rice," developed by Yuan Longping, China's "father of hybrid rice," has exceeded expectations, according to scientists involved in the study.

The Chinese scientists carried out the test on a field at a research center in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, and said that it paved the way for greater use of similar rice in China's 100 million hectares of saline-alkaline soil. 

The test center, for which Yuan is the chief scientist, was established in October 2016. In this test, the sea rice yield from saline-alkaline soil with a salinity of 3 per millage, was about 390 kilograms per 0.07 hectare, after using soil conditioner. This increased the yield by 20 percent, compared with rice yields without soil conditioner, said Wu Zhaohui, a fellow of the China National Hybrid Rice R&D Center, who joined the yield test in Qingdao.

"The results of this experiment have boosted our confidence and we'll do some more experiments before promoting the sea rice for saline-alkaline soil nationwide," Wu added.
Yuan said he plans to increase yields of sea-rice to at least 300 kilograms per 0.07 hectare, in three to five years, on condition of keeping sea water salinity to 3 to 8 per millage, reported.

Wu said that their next step is to increase the salinity of the saline-alkaline soil for more of these experiments. Sea rice is sometimes found in saline-alkaline soil at the juncture of rivers that join the sea and is reported to be resistant to pests, diseases, salt, and alkali, and does not need fertilizer. China's most advanced sea-rice breed has a yield of 400 kilograms per mu (0.07 hectares), but can only be grown in water with a salinity of less than 0.3 percent, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

When asked about whether the greater use of "sea rice" will cover the costal wetlands, Zhang Guodong, of the Qingdao sea-rice research center, told that they will mainly use inland saline-alkaline soil because, "China has 35 million mu of coastal wetlands that can only be developed according to the country's requirements."

Rice is the first choice for improving saline-alkaline soil, of which there is 950 million hectares worldwide, Yuan said, with 100 million hectares in China, 18.7 million hectares of that exploitable. He noted that previously, he had hopes that the popularization of "sea rice" would benefit human beings as much as plowed land had.

And he concluded, "I myself and my institution are also willing to help other countries develop hybrid rice to contribute to world food security and peace.

Quote of the Day

"A simple act of kindness the size of a rice grain can weigh as heavy as a mountain." 
                                                                - Feroz Bham