Monday, January 15, 2018

15th January,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Indonesia: Do not exceed price ceilings, ministry tells rice stakeholders

The government has required retailers, distributors and suppliers of rice to sell the commodity at no higher than the set price ceilings, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Friday, stressing that the ministry would punish those found in violation of the policy."I invite all retailers, distributors and suppliers to take part in maintaining the price of premium and medium-quality rice at the [price] ceilings,” Enggartiasto said during a press conference in Jakarta on Friday.
He said the policy would apply to all stakeholders in the rice industry, and the Trade Ministry would monitor its implementation in the field, inclunding by watching suppliers and distributors who keep their rice in warehouses."So, if you come across suppliers who don't distribute their rice, please statement them to me. I will find out who they are,” he said, adding that his ministry had teamed up with the National Police to enforce the law against violators of the new policy.
The ministry’s price ceilings for rice were introduced in August 2017 to stand at between Rp 12,800 (89 US cents) per kilogram and Rp 13,600 per kilogram for premium-quality rice and between Rp 9,450 and Rp 10,250 per kg for medium-quality rice.
In markets, however, prices have exceeded the ceilings.
Enggartiasto as well required all relevant firms to statement the location of their respective warehouses, adding that unreported warehouses would be considered illegal by the ministry.

Matco Foods looks to raise Rs758m through IPO
 KARACHI:  Matco Foods Limited, one of the basmati rice exporters in Pakistan, is targeting to raise close to Rs758 million through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that would be held towards the end of the current month. It intends to issue 25% of its shares to public and high net-worth individuals. Through the IPO, the company is going to issue approximately 29 million shares at a floor price of Rs26 per share. The company is going to invest the capital in its two rice glucose plants at Port Qasim in Karachi. Glucose is the main ingredient for pharmaceutical, confectionery and juice industries.

 The company is going to offer an issue size of 29,143,000 ordinary shares representing 25% of the total post-IPO paid-up capital of the company, Matco Foods Pvt Limited Director Faizan Ali Ghori told a group of journalists visiting the newly-installed plant with the help of a Chinese company. The transaction size of the IPO is going to be Rs757,718,000. The issue is being made through the book-building process on January 23 and 24. Successful bidders will be allowed to make bids for an allocation of 75% shares while the remaining 25% shall be offered to retail investors. In case the retail portion remains unsubscribed, its share will be allotted to the successful bidders on pro rata basis, he said. The company will utilise the proceeds raised from the IPO to finance the expansion of its rice glucose/syrup and rice protein plant. Matco exports 75% of its production, since it prefers international markets where glucose is priced at $11,000 per ton against a price range of just $400-500 per ton in the local market, said Ghori. “There are only two rice glucose factories in Pakistan. The organised sector of consumer goods is growing here and this phenomenon has a great impact on our product so we want to take advantage through value addition,” he added. At present, domestic demand of glucose in Pakistan is being met 90% by corn glucose, which contains gluten. Meanwhile, Pakistan has a good chance to grab the Indian share of Basmati rice in global markets. The European Union (EU) has made stringent policies against hazardous pesticides used to grow rice crop by Indian farmers, and this could go in Pakistan’s favour. The EU has stopped accepting more than 0.01mg per kg of a pesticide called tricyclazole, from the January 2018. Up till now, the EU was accepting 0.03mg per kg from different countries, including India. “India could overcome the crisis in three years so we have this time period to grab the international market through value-added and quality service.”
Milled-rice output seen hitting 12 MMT
By  Jasper Y. Arcalas
 January 14, 2018
 In Photo: A farmer piles up grain harvested from a rice field in Nueva Ecija. The United States Department of Agriculture projected that Philippine milled-rice output this year would increase by more than 2 percent. FILE PHOTO
Philippine milled-rice production could reach a record high of nearly 12 million metric tons (MMT) this year, as the continued implementation of the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice will encourage more farmers to plant the staple.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the projected milled-rice output this year is 2.69 percent higher than the 11.686 MMT estimated production in 2017.
“The USDA estimates 2017/18 Philippines rice production at a record 12 million tons [milled basis], up 800,000 metric tons, or 7 percent from last month, and up 2 percent from last year,” the Washington-based agency said in its report, titled “World Agricultural Production,” which was published recently.
“The QR on rice imports remains in effect, incentivizing producers to stay in rice,” it added.
The USDA also said the use of high-yielding varieties and favorable weather conditions would help boost milled-rice output this year.
“Additionally, there were noticeably fewer typhoons with the potential to damage rice passing through the major production areas compared to previous years,” it added.
The USDA said the total rice area harvested this year would reach 4.8 million hectares, 1.69 percent higher than last year’s 4.72 million hectares. The country’s national average palay yield will slightly increase to 3.96 MT per hectare from the estimated 3.93 MT per hectare yield in 2017.
“Harvested area is estimated at 4.8 million hectares, tied with the previous record in 2013/14. Estimated harvested area and production were both raised based on estimates from the Philippines Statistics Agency [PSA],” the USDA said.
Because of the expected hike in output this year, the USDA trimmed down its projection for Philippine rice imports to 1.3 MMT, from 1.7 MMT.
However, the figure is still 18.18 percent higher than the 1.1 MMT estimated total import volume last year.
The USDA estimated that the country’s beginning rice stock this year is at 1.996 MMT. It pegged the country’s total rice requirement for 2018 at 12.9 MMT, while total rice stock could reach 15.266 MMT.
The Department of Agriculture said it is targeting to harvest 20.341 MMT of paddy from 4.84 million hectares this year. At this production level, the DA noted that the Philippines would be 96-percent
self-sufficient in rice.
At a milling recovery rate of 65 percent, milled-rice output this year could reach 13.22 MMT, based on the BusinessMirror’s computation.
In a report, the PSA estimated that the country’s paddy output for 2017 likely reached 19.4 MMT, 10.11 percent higher than the 18.15 MMT produced in 2016.
“Probable palay production for the October-to-December period may surpass the 2016 level by 6.26 percent.
The anticipated increment in output may be attributed to increase in yield resulting from sustained use of high-yielding varieties coupled with sufficient water supply during the early stages of crop development,” the PSA said.
Indonesia to import rice from Việt Nam 

Workers load rice onto a ship docked at Sài Gòn Port. — VNA/VNS Photo Đình Huệ
Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Indonesia will import 500,000 tonnes of rice from Việt Nam and Thailand to contain rice price hikes and declining supply in the local market.
The imported rice will be of premium quality, not grown in Indonesia; so it will not affect local farmers and rice production, said Indonesian Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita. The country’s current rice stocks were estimated at some 950,000 tonnes, most of which is low-grade rice to be distributed as aid for low-income people.
Meanwhile, rice stocks for commercial purposes were only 11,000 tonnes. Previously, Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla had called on the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) to consider importing rice to bring down domestic prices.
According to the National Strategic Food Prices Information Centre (PIHPSN), medium-quality rice is currently fetched at 14,100 IDR or US$1 per kg.
Rice prices vary among regions. West Papua reported the highest price of 14,250 IDR per kg, while the lowest price of over 9,700 IDR per kg was found in West Nusa Tanggara. — VNS

Unreliable data prompted govt to import rice: Analyst

News Desk
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Mon, January 15, 2018 | 01:02 pm
 Workers unload rice from a delivery truck on Aug. 8, 2017 at the Cipinang Rice Central Market in East Jakarta. A senior analyst has questioned the reliability of the government's data on rice, theorizing that inaccurate rice data had led to its sudden decision to import rice last Thursday. (Antara/Muhammad Adimaja) 
The head of research at the Centre of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia has questioned the validity of the government's rice data. Unreliable rice data has forced the government to import the commodity to ease prices, although the Agriculture Ministry claimed that the country's rice production was adequate.
“One of the problems is the limited funds for carrying out ice stocks surveys,” CORE research head Mohammad Faisal said in Jakarta, as reported by on Monday.
The government announced last week that it would import 500,000 tons of rice in late January, although the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) had said earlier that 2.8 million tons of rice was produced last year against an annual demand of only 2.6 million tons. Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman claimed further that rice production had reached 3 million tons.
Faisal said the government needed to look to other ASEAN countries on monitoring food commodities, by obtaining data from both state-owned enterprises and private companies.
He said several ASEAN countries also required commodity distributors to submit monthly reports, so governments had alternative data on food distribution.
Faisal said that the government currently relied on data solely from the National Logistics Agency (Bulog), which controlled only10 percent of the rice distribution. He said the government had no data on the other 90 percent of the rice distribution.
He believed that the government had to make an urgent decision to import rice, because it had referred to inaccurate data on rice supply and demand. (bbn
AI is here to stay and here's what you need to know

Arridhana Ciptadi
Machine learning scientist at Amazon USA
Jakarta | Thu, October 26, 2017 | 08:34 am
 We are at the beginning of the next wave of an industrial revolution. This time, the wave is being driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). (Shutterstock/File)
We are at the beginning of the next wave of an industrial revolution. This time, the wave is being driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Look around, AI is already present in many parts of our lives. Do you have any pressing questions? Google can answer them better than anybody you know. Want to know the latest stories? Facebook and Instagram give you personalized streams of information that are more relevant for you compared to what is on television. In large part, the rise of these big technology companies is due to the successful application of AI, and what we have seen is just the beginning of this new age.
So, what is AI? In short, AI is a capability that allows a computer or machine to reason and perform tasks that typically require human intelligence.
While currently, we are still very far from a sci-fi-like AI that can emulate every single aspect of human intelligence, there are some domains where AI has clearly made immense progress. For example, areas like semantic search, natural language understanding, visual perception, and personal recommendation have been greatly affected by AI, and all of the big technology companies are racing against each other to deploy more AI capabilities to various aspects of their operations.
To put it simply, proper use of AI allows these tech companies to create new experiences and operate more efficiently. Consider this: the top five tech companies in the United States (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon) generate US$ $550 billion in annual revenue with only 660,000 employees. This means, each employee generates approximately $833,000 in revenue per year, which is 15 times higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of the US.
This big gap in productivity will only increase as these companies apply more and more AI in their operations. Just as the previous industrial revolution brought great benefits to those who master the technology, the increasing application of AI will have a tremendous impact on the economy, society and social order.
Some of us might be skeptical about the potential impact of AI. After all, AI has a history of overpromising and under delivering. So, what caused this seemingly rapid progress and why should we expect it to continue? The big advances in AI today come from machine learning, a field that studies how we can train a computer to perform certain tasks by using a large amount of data.
Three things — that are different today compared to the past —drive the success of machine learning.
The first is better algorithms. Researchers have come up with better machine learning models and better ways to train these models from data.
Next, is the big increase in computing power. We have a lot more powerful machines today that allow us to train more complex machine learning models.
The last aspect is the availability of a vast amount of data. Every day there is more and more data being collected, and data is the key to training a useful machine learning model. Some companies are even willing to provide their services free of charge to users as a means to collect valuable data.
AI can be used to create better products, gain meaningful insight from data and automate existing operations. As the technology develops, AI will disrupt more and more industries.
Certainly, there are limitations on the kinds of jobs that can be automated with today’s AI, but here is a good rule of thumb: tasks that can be solved with two to three seconds of thought can most likely be automated either now or within the next two years.
It is just a question of investing the time and resources to build specialized AI for those tasks. We will soon start seeing more and more automation in labor-intensive jobs, especially those that require the application of repetitive skills.
Menial jobs are not going to be the only ones affected by AI. For one, the medical field is an area that is also ripe for disruption. A number of research projects demonstrate that we can train a computer to detect certain diseases in medical images as well as the best doctors. This is certainly something that can have tremendous value to society, as this technology can be a step toward bringing quality medical services to the masses.
AI will also greatly affect numerous other industries, such as manufacturing, logistics, automotive and even agriculture. It is safe to say that AI will become an increasingly larger part of our lives.
As a developing country, Indonesia should start thinking about how to position itself in this era of technological revolution. Recall the three components that drive the success of AI today: algorithms, computing power and data. It is fair to say that Indonesia is still lagging behind in all those areas.
We lack experts in this domain and also the computing infrastructure. Data can be one area that we can build upon, provided that we start thinking carefully about collecting the right kinds of data.
Overall, we need to think strategically about how we can invest more resources in these three areas, so that our country will not be just a consumer, but also a master and contributor in AI.
Expertise in AI will create a comparative advantage for those countries that have it, but it can also serve as a great equalizer among countries that master it. Let’s make sure that we will be able to stand equally among the experts.
The writer is a machine learning scientist at Amazon USA and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has published multiple papers in top conferences on machine learning and computer vision. The views expressed are his own.
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Peak rice harvest in February, says minister
News Desk
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Mon, January 15, 2018 | 11:26 am
 Taking part in a paddy harvest event in Ciamis, West Java, on Oct. 9. are (right to left) Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo, West Java Deputy Governor Dedy Mizwar, Ciamis Regent Iing Syamarifin and Bank Mandiri president director Kartika Wirjoatmodjo. (Antara/Adeng Bustomi)
Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman has said a peak rice harvest would occur in February, hoping that the country would see a substantial increase in rice stocks next month.
The government has just announced that it would import 500,000 tons of premium-grade rice from Thailand and Vietnam late this month to ease the increasing price of the commodity.
“October to December last year was the planting season, so we will see a peak harvest next month,” said Amran after visiting the Economic Coordinating Ministry over the weekend.
Previously, the minister said Indonesia produced 3 million tons of rice last year, while the local demand of the commodity was only 2.6 million tons.
Speaking about the increasing rice prices, an official previously said many farmers were reluctant to sell their unhusked rice at regular prices, particularly for those who produced high-quality rice that could be made into premium-quality rice.
Amran added that the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) had only absorbed 58 percent of the total local production last year, which is far from the minister’s initial target of 90 percent. He hoped that Bulog would absorb the local farmers’ rice production in order to boost food security in the country.
Meanwhile, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukito said after the meeting that the imported rice was classified as premium-grade rice with a broken rice rate of 5 percent. (fny/bbn)

Move over paddy purchase resented
By Express News Service  |   Published: 15th January 2018 04:35 AM  | 
Last Updated: 15th January 2018 07:02 AM  | 
JEYPORE: Resentment is brewing among farmers of Koraput after the district civil supply officials allowed some rice millers to participate in paddy procurement in neighbouring Malkangiri. They alleged that at a time when farmers are resorting to distress sale of paddy due to closure of mandis following dispute over delivery of custom milled rice (CMR), the district administration’s move has irked them.
Instead of procuring paddy in the home district, rice millers have been allowed to purchase the produce from Malkangiri.
As a result, the paddy procurement in Koraput will be delayed. While only seven lakh quintals have been procured so far, more than 10 lakh quintals are yet to be purchased from farmers.
 Sources said the Odisha State Civil Supply Corporation (OSCSC) had recently stopped paddy procurement for kharif marketing season abruptly over the dispute. This year, the district administration had targeted to procure 14 lakh quintals of paddy from the registered farmers through 46 mandis. Initially, 43 millers, who have delivered their CMR by September, were allowed to participate in the procurement process. They were asked to procure paddy in the ratio of 1:6 over their security deposits with the Civil Supply department.
Later, 47 millers, who had failed to deliver their CMR target by September, approached the department and sought more time. Following this, the Corporation allowed the millers to deliver their rice by December and participate in the procurement process. However, the millers were asked to procure paddy in the ratio of 1:1 ratio over their security deposits with the department.
Later, the department also restricted 24 millers from participation in the procurement as they failed to deliver 10 per cent of CMR against their paddy. After purchasing around 7 quintals of paddy, their targets were achieved and the corporation closed the mandis. Though the managing director of the corporation had recently visited Koraput to review the situation, the mandis are yet to be opened.
Sources said after the millers of Malkangiri decided not to take part in procurement process in their own district, Koraput millers have been allowed to purchase paddy which triggered anger among the farmers.
Farmers alleged that the civil supply department officials are conducting  procurement according to their wishes and opposed the move of sending millers to Malkangiri district. Farmer leaders here on Sunday demanded reopening of mandis in Koraput by Monday to check distress sale.

2017: Rice import from Thailand drops to 23,192mt
January 14, 2018

Benin Rep imports rose to 1.647mmt
Against the backdrop of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy of zero allocation of dollars for the importation of 41 items, including rice; import of rice from Thailand to Nigeria dropped from 1.23 million metric tonnes in 2014 to 23,192 metric tonnes as at November 2017. According to data on the Thai Rice Exporters Association website, the value of these exports also dropped to 324 million Thai baht (from 8.2 billion Thai bhat).
Curiously though, Nigeria’s neighbours, Republic of Benin, recorded an astronomical increase in rice imports from Thailand, from 805,765 metric tonnes in 2015 to 1,647,387 million metric tonnes as at November 2017 — leading to suspicion that the drop in Nigeria’s import may not have to do with the claim by the Federal Government that the country now produces enough rice for domestic consumption, but the zero dollar allocation that has placed the burden of sourcing foreign exchange for the importation of the effected 41 items on the importer.
Though no government official could confirm, Sunday Telegraph notes that the staple may have been smuggled to Nigeria through land borders. The Comptroller General of Customs, Hammid Ali (rtd) had in 2006 announced a ban on the importation of rice from the nation’s land border, even as government has also disclosed that it would further place the staple on import prohibition list this year.
He argued that the move would encourage patronage of locally made goods, but it led to immediate increase in the price of the staple. “I have directed a zero-tolerance to rice imports through the land borders irrespective of volume with immediate effect. Importers who have already initiated import processes will have a grace period ending Friday March 25, 2016 to clear their consignments,” Hameed Alli, said in 2016.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had last week told journalist in Lagos that in line with a directive given by President Muhammdu Buhari, it has donated a total of 421 trailer loads of rice totaling 252,666 units of 50kg bags valued at N3, 789,990,000 in the last 22 months to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in four states of the country.
This was announced by NCS in Lagos at a media briefing by its Spokesman, Mr. Joseph Attah, on the activities of the agency in the year 2017. Attah, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs, disclosed that the sustained customs anti smuggling efforts have kept customs warehouses filled with seizures despite the various donations made by the agency to the IDPs.
He said: ‘’Despite tonnes of rice and other relief items already transferred to the IDPs, Some NCS warehouses are still filled with rice.
This only shows that the sustained onslaught against unrepentant rice smugglers continues to yield positive results.
‘’The ones in the warehouses now are either awaiting court condemnation or forfeiture to the Federal Government or have been already allocated to governments of the affected states who pay the Army Corp of Transport and Logistics for their transportation to the IDPs ‘’Eventually , the seized rice and other perishable items presently in the warehouses will be given to fellow Nigerians affected by the unfortunate insurgency in the North -East.”
He further disclosed that while the agency collected over N56 billion as duty from imported rice in 2014; it could only collect slightly above N500 million duty from rice in 2017, meaning that aside the locally produced rice, most the rice eaten in the country this year were smuggled.
On June 23, 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that it would no longer provide foreign exchange for 41 items including rice, cement and tooth picks.
The CBN also stepped up the anchors borrowers programme to create a linkage between companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of key agricultural commodities.
The programme provides inputs to farmers to improve production and the farmers supplies produce to the processing company at harvest in exchange for the cash equivalent.
Last year, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said the country’s rice imports from Thailand had dropped to 20,000 metric tones from 644,000 metric tonnes it was importing by September 2015 Thailand used to be one of the three major exporters of parboiled rice to Nigeria until a policy by government banned the export in 2015, to stimulate local production of the food staple.
The minister said the figures were released by Thai Rice Exporters Association, which complained that customs curbs in smuggling had led to reduction in rice importation.
He also said some Thai investors had indicated interest in establishing rice milling plants in Nigeria. The step is one of the ways to end Nigeria’s dependence on imported rice and ensure self-sufficiency in rice production by next year. The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at an other forum said Nigeria is inching towards achieving its 7 million targets in rice production by 2018.
Mohammed said attaining that target would leave the country with a surplus of 700,000 metric tones as the current local demand for rice is 6.3 million metric tonnes.
He premised his optimism on the inauguration of two private owned rice mills in the country this year. The mills include the WACOT Mill in Argungu, Kebbi State, with an installed capacity to process 120,000 metric tonnes of parboiled rice annually, and the integrated Dangote Rice Mill, projected to produce 1,000,000 metric tonnes per annum.
“Today, in continuation of these efforts, we are happy to tell Nigerians of a giant stride made by the administration in the agriculture sector, specifically rice production: Nigeria is inching closer to achieving self-sufficiency in rice, due to the success recorded by the administration in the local production of rice. There is more good news to report,” Mohammed said.

Commerce Minister: Rice Imports Chosen to Stabilize Soaring Price
Sunday, 14 January 2018 | 11:28 WIB

Commerce Minister Enggartiasto Lukito.
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JAKARTA, NNC - Minister of Commerce Enggartiasto Lukita said government policy move to import rice will not impoverish Indonesian farmers.Moreover, he said, farmers are a consumer group. This is plus the indication of skyrocketing domestic rice prices making the import of 500 thousand tons is chosen so that the price of rice is stable again.
"We should not argue that imports will impoverish farmers. Farmers remain consumers. Soaring rice price boosts inflation rate because rice give high contribution to inflation," said Enggar in Jakarta on Saturday (1/13/2018).
Enggar added from his notes, farmers reduce their consumption of rice. "In my village, people eat aking rice [leftover dried rice]. Will we leave it like so? I enact import policy to fill the market," he added.
He said imports are not something taboo to do because basically, in trading there must be import and export.
Not to mention, Indonesia is currently experiencing a shortage of rice supply, so import becomes a temporary solution to make the price again stable.
"So, this is a temporary solution until the price is stable and stocks start to be harvested. With this import, I also give warning to all rice players never stockpile and store empty rice," he said.
"I appeal to rice merchants, bring out [rice] from the warehouses and never upgrade its price," he added.

Pelican Spiders: Researchers Discover 18 New Assassin Spider Species In Madagascar
The creatures may be around the same size as a grain of rice, but are able to stealthily kill other spiders with their beak-like pincers.

Lorenzo Tanos
Pelican spiders are well-known for their many unusual qualities. Named as such for their uncanny resemblance to pelicans, these arachnids are tiny creatures that are just about as small as a grain of rice, but capable of taking out other spiders with quiet, venomous precision. As such, they are oftentimes alternately known as “assassin spiders.” And while they may seem to be among the most unique arachnids out there, new research suggests that there are close to 30 species of these spiders, making them far more diverse than originally believed.
In a study published Thursday in the journal Zookeys, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History curator of arachnids and myriapods Hannah Wood and fellow researcher Nikolaj Scharff of the University of Copenhagen detailed their findings, which suggest that Madagascar and South Africa are home to at least 26 separate species of pelican spiders, including 18 from the former country that had yet to be described prior to the publication of the study. According to Wood, there’s a chance that there may be even more species out there that have yet to be discovered and documented.
As explained by a report from Live Science, pelican spiders first existed about 165 million years ago during the Jurassic era, and are recognizable for their fanged pincers. These pincers, which are known as chelicerae, make the creatures look more like birds at certain angles, and when they aren’t hunting, the chelicerae are folded into a long appendage that connects their heads to their bodies. The spiders, however, differ from birds, as their mouths are found at the bottom of their necks, allowing them to be at an ideal range to eat whatever their pincers are able to catch.
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Citing the years she spent observing pelican spiders from Madagascar and examples of the species found in museum collections, study lead author Wood noted in the new paper that the creatures are active hunters. While spiders typically focus on spinning their own webs, pelican spiders become active at night as they stalk silk trails from other spiders, moving in a slow and a stealthy motion that usually finds them upside down. The two front legs are responsible for feeling if there are any spiders to prey on, while the six rear legs handle the walking. This is a process that could last for hours, as the creatures are known to wait long periods at the edge of another spider’s web, looking to time their attacks perfectly.
“They wander through the forest at night and they wave their first pair of legs like a pair of large antennae,” Wood explained in a statement quoted by National Geographic.
“They make these big figure-eights with them as they walk, and I think they’re searching for draglines.”
Once they find the right opportunity to strike, pelican spiders quickly impale their prey with their pincers by swinging them away from their bodies at a 90-degree angle. The spiders then hold their prey at arm’s length, waiting until enough venom is pumped into their system before they start feasting.
Although Wood’s study offered some interesting insights into pelican spiders and confirmed that there are almost 20 previously undocumented species out there in Madagascar, there are still some unanswered questions about the peculiar arachnids, specifically regarding their ability to distinguish their fellow pelican spiders from potential prey.
For instance, Wood admitted that she had never witnessed the spiders preying on their own kind, as experiments with multiple examples of the species had seen the creatures mainly “try to give each other space.” She believes there’s a chance that the animals have some sort of immunity to their own venom, or recognize the fact that their protective armor makes it hard for them to stalk each other.

Select edible oils down in mixed trade
New Delhi, Jan 13 The wholesale oils and oilseeds market depicted a mixed trend during the week as select edible oils drifted lower owing to slackened demand from vanaspati millers, while a few others edged up on scattered enquiries from retailers.
Castor oil in the non-edible oil section, slipped on reduced offtake by consuming industries.
Marketmen said besides easing demand from vanaspati millers, adequate stocks position on increased supplies from producing regions mainly led to decline in select edible oil prices but mild demand from retailers helped others to end higher.
Meanwhile, palm oil imports remained flat at 7,22,857 tonne in December because of increase in the import duty, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said.
India, the world's leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 7,23,158 tonne palm oil in December 2016.
In the national capital, groundnut mill delivery(Gujarat) oil fell by Rs 200 to Rs 9,500 per quintal.
Mustard expeller (Dadri) oil also declined by Rs 100 to Rs 7,950 per quintal.
Palmolein (RBD) and palmolein (Kandla) oils too shed Rs 50 each to Rs 6,250 and Rs 6,300 per quintal respectively.
On the other hand, soyabean refined mill delivery (Indore) and soyabean degum (Kandla) oils edged up by Rs 50 each to Rs 7,500 and Rs 7,100 per quintal respectively.
Coconut oil quoted higher at Rs 3,000-3050 instead of Rs 2,950-3,000 per tin.
In the non-edible section, castor oil dropped by Rs 200 to Rs 8,200-8,300, while linseed oil held steady at Rs 8,900 per quintal respectively. (MORE)
t adequate stocks position.
Traders said muted demand from stockists and rice mills demand against sufficient stocks position mainly weighed on rice basmati prices.
They said subdued demand from flour mills against sufficient stocks position kept pressure on wheat prices.
In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa- 1121 variety fell by Rs 100 each to Rs 7,800-7,900 and Rs 6,400-6500 per quintal respectively.
Non-basmati rice permal raw and wand also shed Rs 25 each to Rs 2,275-2,325 and Rs 2,325-2,375 per quintal respectively in line with rice basmati trend.
Wheat dara (for mills) shed Rs 5 to Rs 1,795-1,810 per quintal. Atta chakki delivery followed suit and traded lower by a similar margin to Rs 1,805-1,810 per 90 kg.
Other bold grains like, bajra and maize too slipped to Rs 1,200-1,205 and Rs 1,320-1,325 from previous levels of Rs 1,225-1,230 and Rs 1,340-1,345 per quintal respectively on reduced offtake by consuming industries.
However, barley edged up by Rs 10 to Rs 1,490-1,500 per quintal.(MORE)
losses for yet another week by plunging by up to Rs 1,400 per quintal due to fall in demand from retailers and dal mills against sufficient stocks position.
However, arhar and its dal managed to close higher on selective buying.
Marketmen said considerable drop in demand from retailers as well as dal mills against ample stocks position on increased supplies from producing regions, mainly dragged down kabuli gram other pulses prices.
In the national capital, kabuli gram small variety suffered the most by tumbling Rs 1,400 to Rs 6,000-7,000 per quintal.
Masoor small and bold also declined by Rs 50 each to Rs 3,650-3,800 and Rs 3,750-3,900 per quintal respectively. Its dal local and best quality traded lower by Rs 100 each to Rs 3,800-4,200 and Rs 3,900-4,300 per quintal respectively.
Malka local and best quality too lost Rs 200 each to Rs 4,000-4,200 and Rs 4,100-4,400 per quintal respectively.
On the other hand, arhar and its dal variety edged higher by Rs 50 and Rs 100 to Rs 4300 and Rs 6,200-8,100 per quintal respectively.(MORE)
market in the national capital today with prices falling by up to Rs 20 per quintal, pulled down by adequate stock positions amid slackened demand from stockists as well as bulk consumers.
On the other hand, prices of a few sugar mill gate, strengthened on increased offtake.
Marketmen said besides mounting stocks on persistent supplies from mills, higher output reports, mainly weighed down sugar prices.
In contrast, a few sugar mills prices enquired higher on better offtake, they added.
Sugar ready M-30 and S-30 prices traded lower by Rs 20 each to settle the week at Rs 3,400-3,630 and Rs 3,390-3,620 per quintal.
Similarly, mill delivery M-30 and S-30 prices eased by Rs 5 each to conclude the week at Rs 3,210-3,415 and Rs 3,200- 3,405 per quintal.
In the mill gate section, sugar Modi nagar dropped by Rs 15 to Rs 3,300, Asmoli and Sakoti slipped by Rs 10 each to Rs 3,370 and Rs 3,290 per quintal.
Sugar Dhanora, Dhampur, Baghpat, Nazibabad, Shamili and Ramala shaded by Rs 5 each to Rs 3,355, Rs 3,280, Rs 3,250, RS 3,210, Rs 3,295 and Rs 3,220 per quintal.
On the other hand, Sugar Dorala rose by Rs 20 to Rs 3,340, Budhana and Thanabhavan gained by Rs 15 each to Rs 3,335 and Rs 3,330, while Mawana and Simbholi edged up by Rs 10 each to Rs 3,330 and Rs 3,380 per quintal. (MORE)
us levels.
In contrast, Muzaffarnagar and Muradnagar gur markets showed a fall of up to Rs 100 per quintal in gur prices on bloated stocks on regular supplies amid scattered buying.
Marketmen said comfortable position of stocks in the market on persistent supplies from manufacturing belts amid some buying by stockists and retailers, mainly brought down the gur prices at Muzaffarnagar and Muradnagar markets.
In Delhi, gur Chakku, Pedi, Dhayya and Shakkar prices were unalatered at Rs 2,800-2,900, Rs 2,900-3,000, Rs 3,000- 3,100 and Rs 3,100-3,200 per quintal.
At Muzaffarnagar, the biggest drop of Rs 200 revealed in gur Khurpa priceses plunged by Rs 200 to Rs 2,400-2,500 per quintal, while gur Chakku prices declined by Rs 50 to Rs 2,500-2,700 per quintal.
Gur Raskat prices too fell by Rs 100 to finish the week at Rs 2,200-2,300 per quintal on weak demand for beer makers.
Meanwhile, gur Laddoo prices remained flat at Rs 2,700- 2,800 per quintal during the period.
Coming to Muradnagar, gur Pedi prices drifted lower by Rs 100 to finish the week at Rs 2,550-2,600, while gur Dhayya lost Rs 50 to settle at Rs 2,650-2,700 per quintal.(MORE)
Sufficient stocks following increased arrivals from producing belts also put pressure on the prices, traders said.
Almond California prices fell by Rs 100 to end the week at Rs 17,000-17,200 per 40 kg and its kernel traded lower by Rs 10 at Rs 605-615 per kg.
Almond gurbani and girdhi prices dropped by Rs 100 each to conclude at Rs 11,900-12,400 and Rs 4,900-5,000 per 40 kg, respectively.
Cashew kernel (No 180, 210, 240 and 230) prices were down by Rs 5 each to finish the week at Rs 1,070-1,080, Rs 970-980, Rs 905-910 and Rs 805-815 and its kernel broken (2, 4 and 8 pieces) also traded lower at Rs 655-760, Rs 630-745 and Rs 550-660 against last week's closing of Rs 660-765, Rs 640-750 and Rs 550-670 per kg, respectively.
Copra fell Rs 200 to finish at Rs 15,800-18,300 per quintal.
Coconut powder declined by Rs 100 to conclude at Rs 4,800-5,500 per 25 kg bag.
Kishmish Indian yellow and green traded lower at Rs 3,700-4,400 and Rs 6,500-8,500 against previous mark of Rs 3,800-4,400 and Rs 6,800-10,400 per 40 kg bag.
Pistachio hairati and peshwari also eased up to Rs 45 to end at Rs 1,400-1,475 and Rs 1,560-1,600 per kg. (MORE)
such as cardamom and chilli, firmed up in the national capital during the week following increased buying by stockists, triggered by rising domestic and export demand.
Besides, tight stocks positions too supported the uptrend.
However, pepper and jeera turned weak owing to lack of buying interests and lost some grounds.
Cardamom brown jhundiwali and kanchicut traded higher at Rs 740-750 and Rs 840-1,100 against previous week's closing of Rs 650-670 and Rs 770-1,020 per kg.
Cloves prices rose by Rs 25 to conclude at Rs 575-650 per kg.
Coriander, dry ginger and kalaunji prices higher by Rs 100 each to conclude at Rs 6,400-13,000, Rs 12,000-17,000 and Rs 11,500-12,000 per quintal, respectively.
Poppyseed China, U.P and MP-RAJ increased up to Rs 20 to conclude at Rs 540-570, Rs 540-560 and Rs 550-570 per kg, respectively.
Red chilli prices rose by Rs 100 to finish at Rs 6,500- 14,000 per quintal.
However, black pepper (inferior quality) declined by Rs 20 to close at Rs 450-600 per kg.
Mace-red (superior quality) fell Rs 30 to conclude at Rs 900,1,150 per kg.
Turmeric prices traded lower at Rs 8,500-11,600 as compared with Rs 8,800-11,800 per quintal.
Jeera common and jeera best quality also fell by up to Rs 700 to end at Rs 20,200-20,400 and Rs 22,900-23,400 per quintal on pick up in arrivals against subdued demand. (MORE)
Bullion: Maintaining its upward march for yet another week, gold prices advanced to hit seven week high of Rs 30,750 per ten grams at the bullion market, tracking a firm global trend amid brisk buying by local jewellers.
However, silver after moving between gains and losses, ended lower by Rs 100 to Rs 39,900 per kg.
Bullion traders said sentiment bolstered on the back of a positive global trend where gold hit their highest since September, with a slump in the US dollar helping drive bullion towards its fifth-straight weekly gain.
Globally, gold ended the week higher at USD 1,337.40 an ounce and silver at USD 17.21 an ounce in New York.
Besides, increased buying by local jewellers at the domestic markets too supported the upmove in gold prices, they said.
In the national capital, gold of 99.9 and 99.5 per cent purity commenced the week higher and day-to-day sustained buying by local jewellers along with strong global cues it surged to close at seven- week high of Rs 30,750 and Rs 30,600 per 10 grams, a level last seen on November 18 last year, showing a gain of Rs 300 each.
Sovereign, however, moved in a narrow range in scattered deals and settled at previous level of Rs 24,700 per piece of eight gram.
In volatile movements on alternate bouts of buying or selling, silver ready ended the week down by Rs 100 to Rs 39,900 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs 130 to Rs 39,120 per kg.
Silver coins, however, spurted by Rs 1,000 to Rs 74,000 for buying and Rs 75,000 for selling of 100 pieces

Pak-Saudi trade deal

JAN 13TH, 2018

Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Rana Mohammad Afzal Khan recently chaired several meetings focused on enhancing bilateral economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Reportedly signing a preferential trade agreement with Saudi Arabia also came under discussion - an agreement which has remained pending for the past several years. Additionally, it was agreed that during the next meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) discussions would be initiated on (i) setting up a display centre in Jeddah (delayed for several years); (ii) single country exhibition in Saudi Arabia; (iii) seeking a market for Pakistani skilled workers particularly in the automobile sector; (iv) exchange programme for university students and faculty; and (v) establishing a refinery in Pakistan.

Around 90 percent of all imports from Saudi Arabia consist of oil and oil products while Pakistan exports rice, meat, meat products, spices, fruits and textile products. The balance of trade is tilted heavily in favour of Saudi Arabia with around 11.7 billion dollar Saudi exports to Pakistan during July-November 2017 while Pakistan's exports to the kingdom were around 3 billion dollars according to the State Bank of Pakistan website. Given that the bulk of Pakistan's imports from Saudi Arabia are of petroleum and products this implies that, subject to international price fluctuations of oil, the volume of our imports from the kingdom are unlikely to decline; thus, the focus of any trade deal has to be on expanding Pakistan's exports to the kingdom.

Pak-Saudi ties are legendary and in the past, the kingdom had not only agreed to deferring payments for our oil imports during periods when Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves dwindled to dangerously low levels, but also provided oil at special rates. The kingdom has also been a major source of remittances for Pakistan and accounted for a little over 29 percent of total remittances received or a total of 4.07 billion dollars in fiscal year 2017. However, disturbingly remittances from the kingdom declined by 6.23 percent during the last fiscal year in comparison to the year before - a decline that is sourced to the economic challenges facing Saudi Arabia today.

Analysts however point to the Pak-Saudi ties having suffered a setback during the ongoing PML-N administration in spite of the Saudis 'gifting' around 1.5 billion dollars early 2014 with the objective of assisting Pakistan to shore up our foreign exchange reserves, meet our debt obligations and undertake mega infrastructure projects. The rupee value was strengthened as a consequence of this 'gift' to a nine-month high of 97.40 rupees from 105.40 rupees against the dollar between March 4 and 12. The setback to these close ties began in 2016 after the former Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, while conforming to the resolution passed by Parliament, stated during a briefing to the National Assembly that Pakistan will not send ground troops to Saudi Arabia or any other country. In what was seen as a sign of Saudi displeasure at this decision the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, was visibly ignored during the US-Arab Islamic summit in Riyadh in May 2017. Later, the PML-N administration approved the appointment of the recently retired Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to head the 42-country Saudi-led military coalition though there is a consensus that relations between the two countries have not reached the levels that were clearly evident during early 2014.

Be that as it may, one must underscore the fact that economic ties between the two countries have great potential for further expansion and one would hope that an agreement to that effect is reached in the next JMC.

Indonesia to import rice from Vietnam to curb price hikes

Indonesia will import 500,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam and Thailand to contain rice price hikes and declining supply in the local market, said Indonesian Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita.

Rice loading at Sai Gon Port in HCM City.
The type of imported rice will be of premium quality, not grown in Indonesia, so it will not harm local farmers and rice production, Lukita said on January 12. The country’s current rice stocks were estimated at about 950,000 tonnes, most of which is low-grade rice to be distributed as aid for low-income people. Meanwhile, the rice stocks for commercial purposes were only 11,000 tonnes. Previously, Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla had called on the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) to consider importing rice to bring down domestic prices. According to the National Strategic Food Prices Information Centre (PIHPSN), the medium-quality rice is currently fetched at 14,100 IDR, or 1 USD, per kg.  The rice prices varied among regions. West Papua reported the highest price of 14,250 IDR per kg while the lowest price of over 9,700 IDR per kg was found in West Nusa Tanggara.-VNA
Rice Starch Market Overview Till 2023 Forecast Research Report
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Major players in the market are identified through secondary research and their market revenues determined through primary and secondary research. The major players in Asia-Pacific Organic Rice marketinclude
Doguet’s Rice, Randallorganic, Sanjeevani Organics, Kahang Organic Rice, RiceSelect, Texas Best Organics, CAPITAL RICE, YINCHUAN, URMATT, Vien Phu, SUNRISE foodstuff JSC, KHAOKHO TALAYPU, BEIDAHUANG, Yanbiangaoli, Jinjian, HUICHUN FILED RICE, Dingxiang, Heilongjiang Taifeng, Heilongjiang Julong

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 On the basis of product, the Organic Rice market is primarily split into
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2. Indica(Long-Shaped Rice)
3. Polished Round-Grained Rice.
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1. Direct Edible
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1. How is the Asia-Pacific Organic Rice market evolving?
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6. What is the outlook for key Asia-Pacific Organic Rice?
7. What difference does performance characteristics of Organic Rice creates from those of established entities?
8. Which companies, organizations are involved with Asia-Pacific Organic Rice growth story?
9. Which market spaces are the most active in the development of Asia-Pacific Organic Rice market? How do the conditions for the development and deployment of differ in key regional markets?
10. What is driving and restraining factors affecting the development and commercialization?

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