Saturday, September 01, 2018

1st September,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter

Global warming will cause explosion in insect numbers: scientists
9:06am Aug 31, 2018
A warmer world likely means more and hungrier insects chomping on crops and less food on dinner plates, a new study suggests.Insects now consume about 10 percent of the globe’s food, but that will increase to 15 to 20 percent by the end of the century if climate change isn’t stopped, said study lead author Curtis Deutsch, a University of Washington climate scientist.
The study looked at the damage bugs like the European corn borer and the Asiatic rice borer could do as temperatures rise.
It found that many of them will increase in number at key times for crops. The hotter weather will also speed up their metabolism so they’ll eat more, the researchers report in Thursday’s journal Science.
A colony of Russian wheat aphids in a wheat leaf. (AAP)
Their predictions are based on computer simulations of bug and weather activity.
“There’s going to be a lot of crop loss, so there won’t be as much grain on the table,” said study co-author Scott Merrill, an ecology professor at the University of Vermont.
The researchers calculate additional losses of 48 million metric tons in wheat, rice and corn from hungry bugs if the temperature rises another 1.5 degrees Celsius from now.
The study estimates that in that warmer scenario, American corn, wheat and rice losses from insects will jump by a third above current levels.
Bug damage to Russia’s rice crop would jump sixfold. And nine countries — North Korea, Mongolia, Finland, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Bhutan, Armenia, the United Kingdom and Denmark — would see at least a doubling of wheat loss from bugs.This undated image made available by Frank Peairs in 2007 shows a European corn borer. (AAP)
If there are no drastic cuts in emissions from coal, oil and gas, the world will reach that 1.5 degree mark and extra insect loss around 2050 — give or take a decade or so, Deutsch said.
“In the history of agriculture, one of the most important themes is the continuing struggle between farmers and insects,” said Stanford University environmental institute director Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the study.
“Based on this study, climate change tilts the balance in the insects’ favour.”
The Russian wheat aphid is a good example because “the populations are absolutely insane ... they are born pregnant,” Merrill said. “If you increase the temperature a couple degrees you can see the population growing much faster.”
The researchers acknowledge that richer countries may be able to reduce projected losses with insecticides and other pest-fighting techniques.
The study comes as insect experts across the globe worry about declining numbers of flying insects, especially beneficial pollinators like bees and moths. But while many insects may be declining for a variety of reasons those associated with agriculture crops — especially invasive species — seem to be doing better, said University of Delaware’s Doug Tallamy, who wasn’t part of the study, which he considered too broad.
University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum, called the study distinctive.
“Problem insects are expanding their ranges with climate warming,” she said in an email. turtles are becoming a rarity in Queensland
Another study in the journal looked at how the world’s vegetation changed since the last ice age and applied that concept to current warming.
The study logged massive changes to Earth’s landscape around the globe over more than 14,000 years from the last glacier period.
The same magnitude of warming — more than 4 degrees Celsius — is projected to occur with human-caused climate change, but may be in only 100 years or so, said study co-author Jonathan Overpeck, a University of Michigan climate scientist.
“It really paints a picture that is a lot more dire,” Overpeck said, calling it “vegetation chaos.”

No limits: Philippines gears up to scrap caps on rice imports

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines is gearing up to scrap more than two-decade-old caps on rice imports in the face of raging inflation and the possible threat of trade sanctions over the policy, a revamp that could bring relief to consumers but pain to farmers.
Farmers ride on a motorcycle past a ricefield in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro in Philippines, August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
The move would also be a boon to the Philippines’ main overseas suppliers of the grain, Vietnam and Thailand, with imports seen potentially doubling to 3 million tonnes a year, making the nation the world’s No.2 buyer after China.Rice prices in the Southeast Asian country’s shops and markets climbed about 9 percent from January to July to an average 42 pesos (78 U.S. cents) per kilo amid limited supplies due to import delays.That jump has hit consumers hard in a country where rice is at the heart of people’s diets, and has helped keep inflation at its highest in over nine years.“Pulling down rice prices is crucial to poverty reduction because this staple is a major driver of inflation,” Gil Beltran, undersecretary in the department of finance, told Reuters.President Rodrigo Duterte, whose government has been suffering signs of decline in opinion polls in the wake of the high inflation, has been pushing for Congress to give the go-ahead to replace the import limits with a system of tariffs.The policy shift was approved by the lower house in early August, and head of the Senate food and agriculture committee Cynthia Villar said this week that the upper chamber would start deliberations on the issue “any day now”.

Different varieties of rice for sale is seen at a food market in Paranaque, Metro Manila in Philippines, August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Under the move, supply from Southeast Asia will be charged a 35 percent tariff and imports from elsewhere will face duty of up to 180 percent, with proceeds used to help farmers by financing projects to modernize the industry and boost its efficiency. Only about 1 percent of imports come from countries outside Southeast Asia.Even with a 35 percent tariff, imported rice would cost around 30 pesos a kilo, over 10 pesos cheaper than current prices for local grain.The government could raise up to 27 billion pesos annually, or about $500 million, from rice tariffs, according to finance department calculations.But farmer groups said in a paper presented to lawmakers in July that the step would drive down prices for their produce, hurting their business and impacting local supply chains.“The whole rice market chain will be affected as millers, traders, truckers and other service providers could be dislocated by the influx of massive volumes of rice imports that will displace local produce,” they said.Production costs are much lower in Vietnam and Thailand, which are blessed with wide plains irrigated by large river systems that allow them to churn out large rice surpluses.“Once the market gates are fully opened and without any restrictions in place, no safety nets can protect the local rice industry from the influx of massive rice imports,” said Antonio Flores, secretary general of farmer group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

GRAPHIC: Philippine rice industry -
Slideshow (8 Images)


The Philippines was allowed to keep the cap when it joined the World Trade Organization and lifted non-tariff barriers on other agricultural products in 1995. It limits private sector imports to 805,200 tonnes a year.That special treatment aimed at protecting local farmers was extended several times until 2017, but some WTO members bargained for non-rice trade concessions. Manila decided not to seek any further extension to avoid more trade-offs.“We are technically in violation of the WTO agreement, which means they can impose sanctions on us anytime,” said Roehlano Briones, a research fellow at policy think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
The price spikes have been much more pronounced in the country’s southern provinces, where residents recently scrambled for limited supplies following a crackdown on rice smuggling that had remained unchecked for years.The crisis in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, where residents formed long queues to buy limited emergency supplies, has prompted calls for the resignation of food security officials, including Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol.
Smugglers bring as much as 600,000 tonnes a year into the Philippines, based on unverified industry estimates.Pinol said in a Facebook post that while the import caps should be lifted, the country should be wary of becoming overly dependent on cargoes from abroad, especially as climate change and population growth could wreak havoc on international supply down the line.“There will be a time in the near future when the demand for food from their own people would effectively prevent (producers) from exporting,” Pinol warned.
“We would end up paying more ... or we would have the money, but there would be no rice available.”

Basmati exporters on boil as Iran importer defaults


Industry has around 1,000 crore outstanding from buyers in the Gulf nation

Indian rice exporters have a sum of nearly 1,000 crore stuck mainly because an Iranian importer has defaulted on payments due for aromatic rice exported to the Gulf country, an exporter has said.
The All India Rice Exporters’ Association (AIREA) admitted that there was a fraud by an Iranian company, but said the things are being sorted out with the both governments seized of the matter.
“The industry has around  1,000 crore outstanding from Iran,” said Gurnam Arora, Joint Managing Director of Kohinoor Foods Ltd. According to Vijay Setia, President of the AIREA, one particular Iranian importer owes a lot of money to Indian exporters. It seems that the Iranian firm has siphoned off the funds, he said.
The Iranian government has been giving the currency at a concessional rate to importers so that they can make payments towards exporters from India.
The Iranian Rial has witnessed a sharp fall of over 100 per cent against the dollar since March this year on return of US sanctions and worsening economic crisis.
“Three Indian exporters had given us a complaint which we have forwarded to the Apeda and Indian embassy in Tehran,” he added.
Rice exporters are also in touch Iranian Embassy in Delhi. When appraised him of the fraud committed by the Iranian firm, a senior official at the Embassy assured them of all help.
According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) data, Indian firms exported basmati 4,26,034 tonnes of basmati rice worth  3,089 crore during the first three months of the current financial year.

Shipments up

In 2017-18, Iran imported 8,77,422 tonnes of basmati worth  5,830 crore, according to the official data.
Iran accounts for close to 25 per cent of basmati rice exports from India and as a result, it becomes a major differentiator for basmati rice export business, said Gurnam Arora, Joint Managing Director, Kohinoor Foods Limited.

China beckons

Arora said the trade may be disturbed due to prevailing US sanctions on Iran but was confident that the rice exporters will be able to find newer markets. “If nothing else, we may have to look for other markets. China, for instance. We are planning a road show in China soon. It’s true that Chinese people prefer sticky rice, but no harm in trying to introduce them to basmati,” Arora said.
Apeda is taking a team to China in the third week of September to explore the business opportunities there.
AIREA held a meeting of its members on Thursday in which many of those who are exporting rice to Iran expressed the feeling that the sanctions will not affect their prospects much.
Apeda has already issued an advisory to all exporters saying that if any firm wants to deal with this particular Iranian company, it has to get an authentic payment commitment against by it would issue valid orders.

Next 'Focus on the Farmer' Series Starts Monday  
ARLINGTON, VA -- The USA Rice Daily is taking a break for the Labor Day holiday.  But, as we all know, social media never sleeps so be on the lookout Monday for the start of this month's USA Rice "Focus on the Farmer" Facebookseries featuring Sidney Robnett, a young rice farmer from Stuttgart, Arkansas.

Follow along with Sidney all week, and look, "like," and, most importantly, share the posts to help spread the U.S. rice story! 

China Trade Trouble Continues  

WASHINGTON, DC -- Representatives from the U.S. and China concluded two days of negotiations over trade issues last Thursday with no resolution being reached.  The meetings wrapped up on the same day the Trump Administration enacted a 25 percent tariff on an additional $16 billion of Chinese imports, bringing the total amount of tariffs levied against Chinese goods to more than $50 billion in an ongoing trade dispute. 

In response, China has added several U.S. agricultural products, such as wood pellets and fish meal, to the list of goods subject to the 25 percent retaliatory tariff originally implemented on July 6. 

U.S. rice exports are one of the commodities targeted by this initial retaliation from China, despite the fact that China does not currently accept imports of U.S. rice.  In a countermeasure, the U.S. has proposed levying a duty of 10 percent on Chinese rice and a range of other imports.  USA Rice is asking the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to raise that number to a reciprocal 25 percent to increase pressure on China to open its markets. 

The Chinese delegation, led by Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, met with a U.S. team headed by Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass.  President Trump stated on Monday that he did not expect these mid-level meetings to result in an agreement, and is prepared to continue his hardline toward China even if it means dragging out tariff disputes.  Leaders of both nations will convene at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of November, a timetable that added urgency to the talks last week. 

"The objective is to start meaningful discussions about the trade relationship between China and the United States," said Michael Rue, California rice producer and chair of the USA Rice Asia Trade Policy Subcommittee.  "At this point, that's all anyone can really say.  We don't know how detailed the negotiations were or what it will mean for rice yet, but we are all hopeful that the Administration's efforts to improve the conditions of trade with China will be successful." 

Meanwhile, Monday wrapped up six days of hearings at the USTR in Washington on the Trump Administration's latest round of proposed measures against Chinese imports.  Close to 360 business leaders, trade experts, and industry representatives testified on the potential consequences of what is to be the third round of tariffs on Chinese goods.  While there was general agreement among those testifying that measures must be taken to curtail China's unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft, most companies and trade organizations told the administration that tariffs are not a long-term solution. 

"Continuing trade disputes with China are likely complicating our long-term efforts to open the Chinese market, and hampering recent progress made after many years of effort by the U.S. rice industry," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.

USA Rice Daily

How Much Rice Can One Plant Produce?!

Published on Aug 30, 2018
Due to the size of our rice farm I've never considered how much rice can one plant produce. I always calculate in acres. I know who much a single rice field can yield but never thought about how much a single plant can yield. That was all until I received a great question from a viewer on Rice Farming TV. He asked, "How many kernels of rice does the average plant produce?" To find the answer we will simple count the rice kernels (or seeds) that a single plant is producing. Each rice plant makes a seed head that is comprised of spikelets or blooms, forming grains of rice.
Numbers of how much rice a plant produces is dependent on a variety of factors: the rice farmer, rice variety, region the rice was planted (soil type and weather patterns), and more. I just thought this was such a great question that I needed to dedicate an episode of Rice Farming TV to it. Let me know if you have any questions about rice production or farming rice in California. Please share this episode if you found it entertaining and/or educational. Don't forget to subscribe! 🔴 Recommended Playlist "Rice Farming TV | Starting at Episode 1": Please contact me with any questions or feedback. I will make an effort to respond within 24 hours.

Watch Video by clicking next link

Egypt agrees to import 1 million tonnes of rice from Việt Nam

Update: August, 31/2018 - 15:12

Egypt to import 1 million tonnes of white rice from Việt Nam. — Photo
HÀ NỘI — Egypt has agreed with Việt Nam to import one million tonnes of white rice for the next three to four months after curtailing cultivation earlier this year, head of the rice division of the Egyptian Federation of Industries Rajab Shehata said on Thursday.
According to the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Cairo, Rajab Shehata said that the visit of the President of Việt Nam to Egypt resulted in a trade co-operation agreement involving the supply of one million tonnes of white rice, with the agreement coming into force next week.
He said these quantities were in batches of three to four months, which would strengthen the strategic reserve of rice for the next year and the presence of domestic rice stocks in the markets.
The Ahram online newspaper reported that in an attempt to make the best use of water resources, Egypt this year reduced the area allowed for water-intensive rice cultivation and imposed tough new penalties on farmers who cultivate it illegally.
Traders said the policies would most likely push Egypt to import up to one million tonnes of rice next year after decades of surplus domestic production.
"Importation will be the responsibility of the government, not the private sector," Shehata said.

He did not mention the price of Vietnamese rice but said it would be cheaper than the rice imported from China.
Egypt consumes about 3.3 million tonnes of rice annually, and still expects to cover most of that amount through the local harvest, which is usually done in August and September. — VNS

India’s rice export rates dip as rupee flounders; markets eye Philippine boost

A dip in rice export prices as the rupee plunged failed to stoke fresh demand for the Indian variety this week, but potential orders from the Philippines and elsewhere could provide fresh impetus to markets in Thailand and Vietnam.
In top exporter India, rates for 5 per cent broken parboiled rice fell by $3 to $386-$390 per tonne this week. The Indian rupee has fallen over 10 per cent in 2018, hitting a record low on Thursday, increasing exporters margin from overseas sales.
“Right now, demand is weak. Even after the recent price fall, African buyers are not active in the market,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
India's rice exports in April-July edged up 1 per cent from a year ago to 4.15 million tonnes on upbeat demand from Senegal, Benin and Iran, a government body said.
In Thailand, a stronger domestic currency saw benchmark 5 per cent broken rice quoted at $393-$395, free on board (FOB) Bangkok, narrowing slightly from last week's $390-$395, traders said. “We heard nothing about any new deals but some exporters are expecting things to pick up next month from markets in this region like the Philippines and China,” a Bangkok-based trader said.
The Philippines will import an additional 1,32,000 tonnes of rice to boost stocks in southern provinces, where prices have surged in recent weeks due to limited supply, its agriculture minister said on Wednesday.
The Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice importers, usually buys from top producers Thailand and Vietnam. In Vietnam, rates for 5 per cent broken rice remained unchanged at $395-$400 a tonne, but prices are expected to pick up over the coming weeks. “The summer-autumn harvest has come to an end and we have heard about new orders from regional customers,” a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said. The government's General Statistics Office on Wednesday said farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces have started growing rice for the autumn-winter crop, but prolonged rains are slowing down sowing.
Meanwhile, rice imports from Bangladesh are expected to fall to 6,00,000 tonnes in the 2018-19 marketing year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report this month. “The high rate of import duty may deter imports and increase paddy prices indirectly, but it also may affect prices in the retail market and transfer the burden to consumers,” the report said.
Bangladesh, which had emerged as a major rice importer since 2017 after floods damaged its crops, imposed a 28 per cent tax on rice imports to support its farmers after local production revived. Bangladesh imported a record 3.9 million tonnes in 2017-18, food ministry data showed.

Rice export in five months declines by over 100,000 tons compared to same period of last year

Submitted by ttwin on Fri, 08/31/2018 - 16:19
Writer: Zeyar Nyein
Myanmar has exported over 900,000 tons of rice and broken rice over the past five months, starting from April in the mini budge year, declining by over 100,000 tons compared to the same period of last year but earning more than US$15 million, according to Myanmar Rice Federation.
From April 1 to August 17 this year, 909,376 tons of rice and broken rice were exported, earning US$315.283 million.
In the previous 2017-2018 fiscal year (from April to August 2017), 1,024,459 tons of rice and broken rice were exported, earning nearly US$300 million.
Thus, this year saw a decrease of 115,073 tons but the income has increased by over US$15 million.
Thanks to extended global rice market, Myanmar was able to export nearly 3.6 million tons of rice last fiscal year, making a record high in over 50 years.
However, an official from Myanmar Rice Federation said rice export could increase this year only if export of rice to China is good.
"Rice export via maritime trade route is just normal. It will not decrease. But I am concerned about border trade route. We cannot say exactly about rice export situation. It depends on situation in China and its minimum support price. Maritime trade route will go as it is," said Lu Maw Myint Maung, joint general secretary of Myanmar Rice Federation.
As US dollar price increases now, rice export will increase income. Under the system of letter of credit (LC), Myanmar rice exporters have to weigh up extended export within this period.
"Exporter cannot sell their rice immediately. When they load rice onto a vessel and an LC comes out, they will make a profit. However, as global rice prices decrease despite dollar appreciation, buyers will want to see loading next two or three months. So, exporters dare not risk. They will make a profit only if loading happens early," said Than Oo, secretary of Bayintnaung Rice Wholesale Centre.
In the previous years, export of rice via border routes increased, accounting for 70 percent. Sea route trade was just about 30 percent.
Last 2017-2018 fiscal year, rice export by sea increase up to 48 percent.

Arroyo open to NFA abolition after rice tariff law

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Aug 31 2018 03:51 PM

Arroyo also believes that the agency should import the staple grain "at this point in time."
"They have to import and when we tariffy importation, maybe NFA can be abolished because then it will be liberalized so it’s something that can be debated on," she told reporters at the sidelines of her visit to an Aeta community in Pampanga.
"It can stay, it can go. To me, I’m neither here nor there about the situation but right now the most important thing is we should be able to import rice and make it arrive before October," she said.
Arroyo said she will check on the status of the measure in the Senate seeking to impose taxes on rice imports since the House of Representatives has passed its version.
She said when she saw Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea during budget deliberations earlier this week, she relayed that during the administration's economic managers' discussion, "everything has been addressed except the importation of rice."
"He said exactly from the budget hearing he was going to to Malacanang to have a meeting on the importation of rice," said Arroyo.
Arroyo also said that government will relax import restrictions on fish and meat, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Calls for the abolition of the NFA have snowballed following the increase in prices of rice as well as the discovery of weevil-infested imported rice.

Rice-growing bodies support proposed ASX listing of SunRice

by Grain Central, 31 August 2018
THE Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia and the Rice Marketing Board (RMB) of NSW have voiced their support for the proposed listing of Australia’s single-desk rice market, SunRice, on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

A rice crop growing in the Riverina earlier this year. Photo: Rod Gribble
RGA has encouraged its grower members to vote in support of the proposal because it is seen as enabling SunRice to raise capital required to implement its five-year growth strategy.
RGA said this capital would help SunRice deliver a more competitive price for rice growers to ensure the crop remains a viable option within farming systems, and secure future success for the rice industry in southern NSW’s Riverina district.
RGA president, Jeremy Morton, said RGA did not believe the proposed listing would change the fundamental purpose of SunRice.
“We feel that this proposal enhances SunRice’s ability to achieve its overarching purpose of receiving, processing and marketing rice, in order to achieve long-term improvement in both the returns for growers and the profitability of the company,” Mr Morton said.
SunRice sells branded and value-added rice products on the domestic and export markets, and its growth strategy includes investment in farming systems, supply chains, infrastructure and marketing.
The RMB is responsible for obtaining the best possible monetary return for ricegrowers in accordance with NSW Government vesting and export legislation, and said it has found no reason to expect an adverse impact on vesting arrangement from the proposed listing.
RGA has asked its members to review information available to them and gain advice when needed about the proposed listing ahead of the vote on whether to support it at SunRice’s annual general meeting on 20 September.
“The RGA strongly encourages every grower member to make their vote count. In doing so, we recommend growers consider the current and future opportunities and challenges faced by the Australian rice industry.”
The Riverina rice industry has lost area to cotton in recent years due to high prices for the fibre, and increased ginning capacity.
Tree nuts and some other crops have also cribbed area from rice.
The board of SunRice announced plans to list on the ASX in May through the transfer of its B-Class shares from the National Stock Exchange.
If approved by shareholders, the ASX listing will remove current B-Class share ownership restrictions and the 5 per cent shareholding cap, and will allow anyone to invest in SunRice B Class shares up to a new maximum 10pc shareholding cap.
This will allow the company to take advantage of investor appetite for Australian branded fast-moving consumer goods and agri-stocks, while retaining its dual class structure and A- Class grower shareholder control.
For the proposal to proceed a 75pc majority vote of both A and B Class shareholders is required.
For the year ended 30 April, 2018, SunRice reported a consolidated revenue of $1.2 billion, a 6pc increase on the previous year (FY17), and a net profit after tax of $45.1 million, a 32pc increase on the previous year.
Source: RGA, RMB and SunRice

Jowar falls on reduced offtake

New Delhi, Aug 31 () Jowar prices came down by Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today after consuming industries slowed down their buying activity against sufficient stocks position. However, other grains including wheat and rice basmati held steady on scattered demand.
PTI | Aug 31, 2018, 14:41 IST
New Delhi, Aug 31 () Jowar prices came down by Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today after consuming industries slowed down their buying activity against sufficient stocks position.
However, other grains including wheat and rice basmati held steady on scattered demand.
Traders said besides easing demand from consuming industries, adequate stocks position, mainly weighed on jowar prices.
In the national capital, jowar yellow and white fell by Rs 100 each to Rs 1,700-1,750 and Rs 2,900-2,950 per quintal, respectively.
Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal):
Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,320-2,420, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,970-1,975, Atta Chakki (delivery) Rs 1,980-1,985, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 250-280, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 275-310, Roller flour mill Rs 1,070-1,090 (50 kg), Maida Rs 1,170-1,180 (50 kg) and Sooji Rs 1,200-1,210 (50 kg).
Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati rice Rs 9,900, Basmati common new Rs 7,600-7,700, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 6,700-6,800, Permal raw Rs 2,425-2,450, Permal wand Rs 2,525-2,575, Sela Rs 3,050-3,150 and rice IR-8 Rs 2,025-2,075.
Bajra Rs 1,350-1,355, Jowar yellow Rs 1,700-1,750, white Rs 2,900-2,950, Maize Rs 1,340-1,345, Barley Rs 1,560-1,570. SUN KPS ADI ADI

Gavel falls on final state rice auction

Sale of inedible grains brings clearance closer
The government is inching closer to fully unloading its hefty rice stocks after selling a combined 267,300 tonnes for animal feed and energy purposes at Thursday's final auction.
Commerce Ministry officials, police and the military carried out an inspection of state rice stocks at a warehouse in Bangkok’s Klong Sam Wa district in July 2015. SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUN
The burdensome rice stocks have taken four years to clear, amounting to 17-18 million tonnes accumulated from state-sponsored rice pledging schemes.
The government is estimated to incur a loss of at least 500 billion baht from the costly populist programme.
Manatsanith Jirawat, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said five bidders offered the highest bids for 245,000 tonnes of inedible-grade rice for industrial use and animal feed that is being stored at 18 state warehouses, making up 100% of the amount.
The combined value totalled 1.66 billion baht, with the winning bid prices averaging 6,670 baht a tonne.
In a separate auction for energy purposes, five bidders won 22,300 tonnes kept at 20 state warehouses nationwide, representing 100% of the amount put up for auction. The latter auction fetched 114.19 million baht, with maximum bidding prices averaging 4,584 baht a tonne.
Results of the final auctions will be forwarded to the panel handling the state rice sales next week, with approval by the Rice Policy and Management Committee scheduled for next month.
"The department's task of handling the rice auctions has been completed," Mrs Manatsanith said. "Since the government took control of the country's administration, the department has organised 32 rice auctions and sold 25,000 tonnes of rice stocks under government-to-government contracts to Indonesia's State Logistics Agency. In total, the department has sold 16.91 million tonnes worth 146.17 billion baht."
She said the department is about to finalise the exact amount of state rice stocks accrued by previous governments before the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) assumed management.
The State Audit Office, which was assigned by the Rice Policy and Management Committee to handle the audit of state rice stocks controlled by two key state agencies (the Public Warehouse Organisation and the Marketing Organisation for Farmers), reported on July 2, 2014 that the government controlled a total of 18.7 million tonnes.
But the audit committee set up by the NCPO to check state rice stocks later found that the supply totalled just 17.76 million tonnes -- indicating that 940,000 tonnes of rice were missing.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the department expects to conclude by September whether the stocks are actually missing or the initial estimate was incorrect.
As of Wednesday, Thailand had exported 7.45 million tonnes, up 1.7% year-on-year, with an export value of US$3.75 billion (123 billion baht), up 18.4%.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the latest rice pledging programme saw an estimated loss of at least 500 billion baht.
The previous governments spent about 700 billion baht on similar schemes that offered to buy rice at higher-than-market prices.