Wednesday, November 07, 2018

7 November,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter

Rice donations stack up

Louisiana Cooking for a Cause  
LAKE CHARLES, LA -- With the recent devastation left behind from Hurricane Michael, the Gulf Coast region of the Florida panhandle is ground zero for what will likely be a long and costly recovery period.  The rice industry knows all too well the damages and disruption storms like this cause for communities and families. 

Late last month, Louisiana Farm Bureau's Kyle McCann received information about a group planning to assist with recovery efforts who were hoping to add some rice to their donation, "maybe a pallet or so." 

Volunteer Ascension, a group made up of several Ascension Parish agencies and organizations, was making plans to travel to the Florida panhandle to provide relief and assistance to hurricane victims and recovery volunteers by providing meals.  They were reaching out to different ag groups for help in gathering cooking supplies, and rice was at the top of their list. 

Response to the request for a pallet of rice came in quickly.  Nick Bernhard, CEO of Farmers Rice Mill in Lake Charles, arranged for a pallet to be donated, and Marley Oldham, of Kennedy Rice Mill in Mer Rouge, followed suit.
With more rice already on hand than requested, it was decided that what Volunteer Ascension couldn't cook, they could donate to those in need.  "Volunteers and victims will be the recipients of some great Louisiana cooking, made with 'Certified LA Rice,'" said McCann.  

"The ag groups really came through for us," said Rhett Bourgeois with Volunteer Ascension.  "This is greatly appreciated."

Of the donation by Farmers Rice Mill, Bernhard said, "We've all been affected by a devastating storm at one time or another, and the generosity of others made recovery a little easier.  We're glad we could be on the giving end to help our neighbors to the east." 

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said, "Ascension Parish people are always ready and willing to help others in need."
The same can be said of the U.S. rice industry. 

Hot temperatures can trigger an RNA response in plants


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The stress of hotter temperatures may trigger a response in a plant's RNA, or ribonucleic acid -- part of a cell's genetic messaging system -- to help manage this change in its environment, according to a team of Penn State researchers.
In a study on rice plants, the researchers found that a sudden increase in heat led to changes in the structure of the plant's RNA, which was linked to a loss in the number of its messenger RNAs -- or mRNAs. The mRNA molecule is a particular type of RNA, which transfers DNA instructions to the ribosome in a cell during the protein-making process.
Because plants are not able to regulate their own temperatures, as humans do, or move from the heat source, this process may be one of the ways plants cope under hot temperatures and drought conditions, said Sarah M. Assmann, Waller Professor of Biology, Eberly College of Science.
While more studies would be needed, this study may serve as an important first step to help farmers produce more heat and drought-resistant crops, according to the researchers, who announced their findings today (Nov. 5) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Rice is a staple food for half the world's population and is particularly important for subsistence agriculture in some parts of the world, so it's a vital food crop," said Assmann. "With climate change -- and with the goal that we need to increase food production to feed the world's growing population -- we are always trying to understand how plants are responding to climate stress, so, potentially, in the future, we could improve crop varieties, either through breeding or other mechanisms, to get better stress tolerance and better yields."
The researchers examined more than 14,000 different RNAs to look for changes in the molecules' intricately folded structures that could signal acute heat stress, said Philip Bevilacqua, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Unlike the intertwined double strand -- or double helix -- of the DNA molecule, RNA is single-stranded.
"Because DNA has two strands, it's really locked into very few different folds, but RNA, because it is not tied up with another strand, is able to fold back on itself, so there are much more complex folds in the RNA," said Bevilacqua.
To create heat stress, the researchers subjected one group of two-week old rice seedlings to above normal temperatures -- 108 degrees Fahrenheit -- for just ten minutes and compared those plants to a control group of plants growing at 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
"We chose such a short time because the re-folding of the RNA is a fast process, whereas the downstream processes, such as protein production, are slower and we were particularly interested in how the RNA refolded," said Bevilacqua.
The researchers found that the folds in the RNA of the plants suffering from heat stress were looser than those in the control group. The unfolding of the mRNA, then, correlated with a loss in the abundance of mRNA, suggesting that mRNA unfolding promotes its degradation, a method that cells use to regulate which genes express and when.
"One of the main things we discovered is that there's a correlation between the RNAs that tend to unfold at their ends and a reduction in the abundance of those RNAs and since the RNAs code for proteins you can loosely infer that would then result in a reduction of the encoded proteins, including enzymes and all the myriad functions that proteins perform," said Assmann.
According to Bevilacqua, this process offers hints on next steps in future research into more heat and drought resistant crops.
"So, if loss of structure results in loss of abundance and if that loss of abundance is not optimal, then you could imagine that we could change the sequences of the ends of the RNA, making them more stable, and, therefore, stabilize the production of those proteins."
Zhao Su, lead author on the paper, said the study also uncovered new insights into gene regulation.
"This exciting study reveals a new layer of gene regulation that was previously not appreciated," Su said. "In particular, we showed that mRNAs encoding one specific type of regulatory proteins, transcription factors, are especially targeted for degradation by unfolding under high temperatures."
According to both Bevilacqua and Assmann, studies, such as this RNA analysis, which is one of the first to analyze the RNA process in the plant itself, or in vivo, could not happen without the interdisciplinary teamwork of their labs. Bevilacqua's and Assmann's labs have been collaborating for about ten years, according to Assmann.
"What I really think is interesting about this study in particular is that it incorporates all of the different skill sets and all the different talents of our labs," said Assmann. "This is what makes science exciting."
Assmann, Bevilacqua and Su worked with Yin Tang, a graduate student in bioinformatics and genomics; Laura Ritchey, a graduate student in chemistry; David Tack, a postdoctoral scholar in computational biology; and Mengmeng Zhu, a postdoctoral scholar in plant biology.
The National Science Foundation's Plant Genome Research Program supported the work.  
[ Matt Swayne ]

Social scientists' methods don't always translate well between cultures

November 5, 2018, Arizona State University
Description: culture
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
There is a problem with the set of tools social scientists use to study human behavior.
Trusted questionnaires and visual aids, they're finding, don't always accurately assess people across diverse settings. That's because they were originally made to test college students and other educated groups in select pockets around the globe.
"In trying to understand how people think and act, social scientists use methods that have been refined over decades to work well for a very unique set of humans, who have had years of regular practice working with them," says Daniel Hruschka, lead author of the study and professor at Arizona State University's School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
His team found this out the hard way when it tried to investigate the link between social closeness and generosity in rural Bangladesh.
"If you dip a kitchen thermometer in a lava pit and the thermometer explodes, you know right away that the measurement was a complete failure," he says. "The problem is that, in our field, our failures aren't often as obvious as a thermometer exploding."
The team saw something was off, and once they realized that their methods were causing problems, they took the opportunity to redesign the "thermometer." Over the course of four field seasons, they created new tools that not only work at their research site, but hold promise for many other cross-cultural applications.
The details of those efforts by Hruschka and his colleagues, along with their call for a revolution in social and behavioral science, will appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on November 5, 2018.
From local problem to global solution
Hruschka's team is interested in examining whether people give up more to benefit friends and relatives, which researchers call "social discounting." In order to study this in Bangladesh, they asked participants to do a typical exercise: create an imaginary list of 100 people—ranging from closest friend to most distant acquaintance—and then decide how much of a commodity (in this case, rice) they would give up to benefit people on that list.
But these instructions only confused participants. Attempts to represent different degrees of social closeness by means other than numbers—like overlapping circles, overlapping stick figures or baskets placed left-to-right—were also unsuccessful.
The researchers' breakthrough came when they arranged baskets to lead away from participants in a line. This setup made more sense to respondents, who used the baskets and photos of adults from their village to rank how close they were with each. The interviewing researcher then used the photos to ask participants about how much rice they would give up to benefit others of various closeness levels.
With this new methodology, the team reached a surprising finding that may have been missed with traditional approaches. Contrary to results from over 50 studies on college students from around the world, social closeness has no impact on generosity in rural Bangladesh. Since that first finding, the team found a similar result in rural Indonesia. Now, they're working to figure out why an assumed "universal" behavior actually varies greatly across cultures.
The researchers used the new methods to assess U.S. college students, who had previously done similar exercises using classic methods. The results were unchanged, showing the previously established strong link between closeness and generosity in this demographic. This confirmed that the new methods are accurate and work equally well in different global settings.
"We're calling on researchers to develop more culturally sensitive methods for interacting with the full breadth of humanity," Hruschka says. "Such efforts will require a combination of engagement, listening to participants and teaming up with local researchers who are willing to question standard practices."
"Tools that work in a wide range of contexts," he adds, "will be crucial in finding new insights into human thought and behavior around the world."
More information: Daniel J. Hruschka el al., "Learning from failures of protocol in cross-cultural research," PNAS (2018).

Building Blocks: Rice from Catalonia’s Ebro Delta

NOVEMBER 6, 2018
Description: rice CataloniaThe Delta de l’Ebre is a magical part of southern Catalonia’s Tarragona region. A flat swampy area where the Ebro River meets the sea, the delta contains within its confines a natural park rich in fauna and flora as well as 20,500 hectares of rice fields; the ecosystem allows both to coexist in harmony. The area is perhaps at its most magical when the water rises up to cover the plots, creating what the rice producer Teresa Margalef calls a “land of mirrors.”
Until the arrival of the Arabs to the Iberian Peninsula in 711, rice in Spain (and Europe) was a non-cultivated grass with Asian origins; wheat was the crop of choice. The Moors, experts in its cultivation, started to implement their planting and harvesting techniques in the swampy areas in the south and east of the peninsula.
But despite this initial expansion, rice’s cultivation was abandoned for centuries after the expulsion of the Jews and the Moors in the 15th century, and at certain points forbidden due to the fact that the stagnant waters of rice fields were breeding grounds for mosquitos, which were known for spreading malaria. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century, when canalization became more widespread in an attempt to exert more control over waterways and reduce the mosquito population, that rice began to make a real comeback in different parts of Spain, including in the Delta de l’Ebre.
Currently, rice is the main economic activity of the Delta – it produces around 154,000 tons per year, which accounts for 19 percent of Spain’s rice production. The country is the second largest producer of rice in Europe, after Italy (although it lags far behind the major producers in Asia). In Delta de l’Ebre, around 70 percent of the production is in the hands of large cooperatives, like Nomen, Bayo, and Segadors del Delta, while the rest is spread out over a few independent producers, like EcoCastells, Mas Tramontano, and Molí de Rafelet.
To learn more about the rice grown in the Delta, we talked with Teresa Margalef, the third generation to run Molí de Rafelet, a family company that has been growing rice in the Ebro Delta since 1910. She and her brother Rafael Margalef decided to rescue an old rice mill of the family’s that had fallen into a state of disrepair; the wooden and stone beauty now produces some of the most prized rice in the region.
Teresa explains that the growing and harvesting cycle starts in April, when the rice fields are filled with water released from the canals. The rice seeds, having already been soaked for two days, are then planted in the fields, which at this point are covered by around 5 centimeters of river water (back in the day this was done by hand, but now it’s done by machines). The water circulates from the river to the channels around each plot in a constant but almost imperceptible stream – it never stops flowing.
“It is the kind of rice that when we are milling it, my brother and I can immediately recognize it just by the smell.”
In June and July, the rice fields start to become green; in August and September, the rice matures. Although the exact harvest time depends on that year’s conditions and the variety of rice, it is usually held sometime in October. After being collected, the rice is typically dried in an industrial drier, but at Molí de Rafelet they dry the rice directly in the fields, like their grandparents did.
After it’s sufficiently dry, the husk is removed, and it’s time for the grain to be polished (assuming the aim is produce white as opposed to brown rice). Most producers use an industrial water polisher, yet at Molí de Rafelet’s old mill, the grains are fed between two cones made of emery stone – a process not unlike filing your nails. While it results in a more irregular color, this type of polishing keeps the original flavor more intact.
Molí de Rafelet specializes in growing unique local varieties like bomba, marisma, carnaroli and their very special Gran Reserva. This particular variety, an older type of rice that was saved from extinction by a relative who collected its seeds, doesn’t have an official name, but continues to be planted and replanted generation after generation. “It is the kind of rice that when we are milling it, my brother and I can immediately recognize it just by the smell,” Teresa says. Produced in small quantities and always the first variety to sell out, Teresa describes it as “a wonderful kind of rice that is never overcooked and ends big and full of flavor.”
Description: rice Catalonia
Like grapes, rice also has a terroir, and the same variety changes a lot depending of where it is cultivated – the soil, minerals, weather and more can affect the flavor, texture and also the cooking time. That’s why it’s important to know where your rice is coming from. Many customers (us included) looking for the best-quality rice buy from Molí de Rafelet, and their fantastic rice is also used in numerous restaurants, from famous Michelin-starred spots to smaller, family-run joints.
Now, after the harvest, when the rice is being milled and packaged, the water levels rise as tractors press the soil down to prepare the land for the next crop. The channels are closed, and the Ebro Delta goes into its dry period, waiting for the start of the cycle in spring, when once again it will be transformed into a land of mirrors.
Rice obviously plays a central role in the Spanish and Catalan cuisines, so there’s no shortage of places to purchase it in Barcelona. If you’re specifically looking for rice from the Delta de l’Ebre, we recommend visiting the beautiful Casa Gispert in El Born. In business since 1851, this store stocks Molí de Rafelet rice. Also in El Born, the wonderful Casa Perris, formerly known as Casa Torras, is a specialty shop that sells some 20 types of rice. Finally, Queviures Murria in L’Eixample is a stunning historic grocery store and deli that sells rice from the Ebro Delta.


Description: 11_6_China WineTraditional Chinese vessels like these were most often used to store wine. Almost a gallon of pungent clear yellow fluid was discovered in an ancient bronze pot.GETTY IMAGES
Archaeologists have dug up a 2,000-year old bronze pot that might just be hiding some ancient wine, Chinese state news agency Xinhua has reported.
The team discovered almost a gallon of clear yellow fluid in the pot from a large Western Han Dynasty (202 B.C. to 8 B.C.) tomb in the country’s Henan Province.
Pouring the fluid into a measuring jug Tuesday revealed the heady aroma of alcohol, the team reported. “It smells like wine," Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in the city of Luoyang, told Xinhua.
Rice and sorghum rice wine played an important role in ceremonies and sacrifice rituals at the time, he said.
Further tests will reveal the true nature of the liquid, Shi added. As well as wine, the 2,300-square-foot tomb yielded numerous clay pots painted with color and bronze artifacts, as well as human remains, Shi said.
This isn’t the first time archaeologists have uncovered ancient rice wine in China. In March, reports emerged that scientists had discovered just over a cup of the stuff in a tomb near Xianyang, once capital of the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. to 206 B.C.)  Found in one of several burial sites spanning three periods in China’s ancient history, the wine’s bronze vessel may date back to the Warring States period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.), Chinese outlet GBtimes previously reported.
“The liquor was milky white when we found it, and was a little muddy,” Zhang Yanglizheng from the Research Institute of Shaanxi said at the time, according to Science News. “Later tests showed that it was composed of high concentration amino acid substances and also small amounts of protein and fatty acids, which made it similar to yellow rice wine we drink nowadays.”
Description: 11_6_China WineTraditional Chinese vessels like these were most often used to store wine. Almost a gallon of pungent clear yellow fluid was discovered in an ancient bronze pot.GETTY IMAGES
New archaeological evidence is transforming scientists’ understanding of ancient China, researchers recently reported. The remains of a 4,300 year-old-pyramid, for example, indicates the ancient northern city of Shimao may have been part of the “political and economic heartland” of the region we now call China. Previously, the researchers stated, archaeologists had focused on the Central Plain region.
In other archaeological news, groups of researchers exploring Egypt have found some 800 tombsa sphinx statue and the remains of a large building with an adjoining religious room.

Chinese president, other world leaders visit Pakistani pavilion at CIIE

–Prime Minister Imran Khan shares his govt’s environment-friendly policy
–Commerce secretary briefs dignitaries of Pakistan’s important trade sectors
ISLAMABAD: President Xi Jinping on Monday visited Pakistani pavilion titled “Emerging Pakistan” at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) where he was welcomed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to Radio Pakistan, the Chinese president was accompanied by other world leaders, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who remained at the stall for some time and discussed the trade potential with Pakistani officials.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan explained the new government’s environment-friendly policy and initiatives taken by the country in this regard.
He spoke of the one billion trees project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and also shared how the government planned to plant ten billion trees during the next five years.
Seconding the premier, Commerce Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha said Pakistan has one of the smallest carbon footprints (sixth largest population with only 0.4 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions), still, it is playing an important role and making efforts to deal with climate change.
He also briefed the dignitaries about the theme of the pavilion, which represented five important trade sectors of Pakistan.
Dagha said that textiles and apparels employ 38 per cent of the industrial workforce with an 8.5 per cent share in GDP and make up for more than 70 per cent of Pakistan’s exports.
“The fastest growth has been in the garments sector that provides jobs to female workers,” he said and added that Pakistan has the privilege of not only having world-renowned sportspersons, but also has the distinction of competing in quality and winning the contracts for the supply of sports goods for top brands and prestigious events.
“The last two FIFA World Cups, including the one held in Russia this year, were played with Pakistan-made footballs,” Dagha said.
He added that with the marvelous archeological sites of the world’s oldest civilisation in the south and the meeting point of the three majestic mountain ranges known as “the roof of the world” in the north, the tourism sector in Pakistan also offers unlimited opportunities for hospitality sector investors.
“The new government is improving the policy framework to attract more investments in the manufacturing sector to increase our capacity to export.”
He also told the dignitaries that while Pakistan is exporting aromatic basmati rice, the most delicious mangoes and juiciest of mandarins to more than 70 countries; storage, processing and preservation are the areas where joint ventures can bring rapid gains.
President Xi took great interest in the briefing and appreciated PM Khan’s efforts to improve the environment. He also extended his country’s support for the initiative and congratulated the premier on his successful visit to China.
Organisers say more than 3,000 foreign companies from 130 countries including the United States (US) and Europe are present at the expo.
PM Imran Khan is on maiden visit to China on the invitation of Chinese leadership. He was the keynote speaker at the CIIE inaugural session earlier in the day.
Addressing the opening ceremony at the National Exhibition and Convention Center Shanghai, PM Khan said Pakistan was a leading exporter of sports goods, medical instruments and IT products.
He said with a promising 100 million human resource, under the age of 35, the country has a rich potential, and was an attractive place for foreign investors

EC upholds Italy rice appeal agst Myanmar-Cambodia

Tariffs et to be re-imposed agst 2 Asian countries

06 November 201810:21NEWS
Description:  (foto: ANSA) (ANSA) - Brussels, November 6 - The European Commission on Tuesday upheld an appeal from Italian rice producers saying they had been damaged by zero-tariff imports from Myanmar and Cambodia.
    Tariffs may soon be reintroduced against these two countries, it said.
    An EC probe into the matter began in March.
    The C will now propose to the EU-28 a vote on restoring tariffs on the two Asian countries.
Vietnam, Thailand skip Philippines' 203,000 T rice tender
NOVEMBER 6, 2018 / 10:16 AM

MANILA, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Major rice exporters Thailand and Vietnam did not submit offers at a Philippines import tender for the supply of 203,000 tonnes of the grain, citing stricter terms, Philippine officials said on Tuesday.

The tender by one of the world’s top rice importers was held to meet unfilled orders after a tender on Oct. 18 for 250,000 tonnes of rice by Manila’s state-owned National Food Authority (NFA) secured only 47,000 tonnes due to high offer prices.

Thailand and Vietnam were the only government suppliers accredited for Tuesday’s re-tender. NFA officials said both submitted letters saying they would not participate due to the stricter terms set out by the Philippines food authority.

NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez said import terms had been made more stringent to address concerns that arose from previous rice purchases, including health and safety issues, which would raise the cost for suppliers.

“I can’t say if there will be another bidding,” Mercedes Yacapin, head of the tender panel, told reporters, adding the decision will be left to the NFA Council, which is made up of the country’s economic managers.

President Rodrigo Duterte last month scrapped a 20-year-old government cap on rice imports to help curtail soaring prices of the Philippine diet staple by increasing supply.

The Philippines is on a rice buying spree this year, with import approvals by the NFA hitting 2.4 million tonnes, just below the record 2.45 million tonnes bought in 2010 when rising global food prices stoked shortage fears.

The NFA is set to hold another import tender for 500,000 tonnes of rice o n Nov. 20. (Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; editing by Richard Pullin)

Vietnam, Thailand withdraw from bidding to supply 203,000 MT rice to PH 

By CNN Philippines Staff
Updated 22:59 PM PHT Tue, November 6, 2018

Both Thailand and Vietnam refused to participate in the bidding to supply the country with 203,000 metric tons of rice, citing the National Food Auhtority's (NFA) terms of reference of importation. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — Both Thailand and Vietnam refused to participate in the bidding to supply the country with 203,000 metric tons of rice, citing the National Food Authority's (NFA) terms of reference of importation.  
According to a letter read by Maria Mercedes Yacapin, Chair of the NFA Committee on Government-to-Government Procurement, Thailand cannot adhere to the terms of reference provided to them on October 31.  
The terms of reference, which enumerates the conditions to be followed by bidders, included reassignments of discharge ports, fumigation conditions and fines for short deliveries.  
"Having considered the NFA's condition, we are concerned that the terms of reference even with some amendments as stated in your letter remains difficult for us in terms if compliance," the letter said. 
Thailand's foreign trade department also argued that they have already abided by the terms of reference set on May 16 this year.  
Vietnam echoed Thailand's sentiments saying they may not be able to comply with the regulations under the terms of reference.  
Vietnam and Thailand, produce an average of 5-8 tons per hectare at P5 to P9 per kilogram, while local farmers produce only 3 to 6 tons at higher costs of ₱11 to ₱14 per kilogram. Authorities have resorted to importing rice from these two countries to lower costs in the market.  
However, Yacapin contends that Thailand and Vietnam's withdrawal is not a cause for alarm since they are expecting rice prices to stabilize due to the implemented suggested retail price (SRP). The SRP sets prices of rice at ₱37 to ₱47 per kilogram.  
She added that they are also expecting 47,000 metric tons of rice to arrive on November 30 from last month's bidding.
In an interview with CNN Philippines News Night, National Food  Authority (NFA) spokesperson Gerry Imperial said the countries refused to participate because of the shortness of the delivery period for the staple. He said the first 250,000 metric tons import of rice is expected to be delivered to the markets by the end of December.
Imperial added rice supply will still be sufficient even without the supply of the said countries.
"Yes, there is enough supply, and kasalukuyan tayong umaani. Although tumama si 'Ompong' at 'Rosita' sa northern part of Luzon, di naman naapektuhan ang isa sa rice granary natin na Region IV and other rice-producing provinces in Central Luzon," Imperial said.
[Translation:Yes, there is enough supply, and we're currently harvesting. Although typhoons Ompong and Rosita hit parts of Northern Luzon, they have not affected one of our rice granary which is Region IV, and other rice-producing provinces in Central Luzon.]

PH to hold another bidding for rice imports

MANILA — The government will conduct another bidding for the procurement of the 500,000 metric tons (MT) of rice on Nov. 20, to augment the country’s buffer stock and bring prices further down.
This, after the National Food Authority (NFA) on Tuesday failed to secure offers for the supply of 203,000 MT of rice under a government-to-government (G to G) tender with Thailand and Vietnam, due to some provisions of the terms of reference for the importation. The two countries did not elaborate.
But NFA Assistant Administrator Maria Mercedes Yacapin, chair of the NFA Committee on G to G Procurement, said she is not worried about the agency’s failure to secure offers, noting the country has adequate rice inventory levels.
“We are still able to inject in the market about 15 percent in market participation which is a good batting average,” she told reporters. “And there is ongoing harvest, the NFA is able to procure palay with additional incentive of PHP3 per kilo so that is helping in the procurement process.”
Yacapin said the suggested retail price (SRP) for rice has been implemented in the market which helps temper inflation.
“In fact, we have been seeing prices in the market go down,” she added. “In fact, supermarkets also are having their own low rice prices.”
Meanwhile, the 203,000 MT of rice for bidding Tuesday was the balance from the 250,000 MT offered for bidding last Oct. 18 under the open tender scheme.
With majority of the bid offers exceeding the NFA’s approved budget of USD 428.18/MT, only 47,000 MT was awarded to three suppliers who offered prices lower than the approved budget.
“We always improve upon a certain condition. We just clarify the terms,” Yacapin said, referring to provisions of the terms of reference for the G to G importation of rice. (Leslie Gatpolintan/PNA)
NFA rice import rebid fails to attract offers
November 6, 2018 | 11:01 pm
Description: rice import PHILSTAR
THE AUCTION Tuesday for the 203,000 metric tons (MT) of rice by the National Food Authority (NFA) under a government-to-government (G2G) agreement failed to attract offers from Thailand and Vietnam.
In an interview after the auction, NFA Spokesperson Angel G. Imperial said only Thailand and Vietnam are allowed to make G2G offers because they signed executive agreements with the Philippine government.
Mr. Imperial said Thailand and Vietnam notified the NFA of their non-participation, but did not provide an explanation beyond saying that they could not meet the posted auction terms.
According to Mr. Imperial, NFA officials believe the delivery schedule could be too demanding, and do not think Thailand and Vietnam were deterred by the reference price of $447.88 per MT which was only announced during the bidding itself.
“They wrote to say that they could not meet the terms of reference. The problem was not the price, and we think they did not believe they could deliver on the dates required,” Mr. Imperial said.
The 203,000 MT represents the unawarded portion of a previous auction for 250,000 MT. In the first auction, only 47,000 MT was awarded to private suppliers because the reference price and the offer prices were too far apart.
The government is authorized to import 750,000 MT of rice in total for 2018, divided into three equal batches, the first of which was originally set to arrive late in the year.
Mr. Imperial said the next step is for the administrator to report the results of the auction to the NFA Council, “which will decide on a course of action.”
The remaining 500,000 MT that has yet to be subject to auction is scheduled for prebidding on Nov. 7.
The governments of Cambodia and Myanmar are also interested on the auction, but have not indicated their plans, according to Mr. Imperial.
In a briefing, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the failure to attract bids was due to Thailand and Vietnam being unable to commit to a delivery date of Dec. 15.
“They are now negotiating to take Dec. 15 out of the contract, and they prefer a deadline of end-December with deliveries to start by Dec. 15,” Mr. Piñol said.
The NFA’s Officer-in-Charge Administrator Tomas R. Escarez said that the NFA wants to have one shipment per port, rather than have only one ship to deliver to all ports.
He added that there are some issues with fumigation of the shipments, which have been resolved.
According to Mr. Escarez, the rebidding may take place either on Wednesday or Thursday next week. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio

VFA encourages local food traders to participate in Philippine rice tender of 500,000 tons
By Trung Chanh
Tuesday,  Nov 6, 2018,19:17 (GMT+7)
Farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang gather rice in the field. The Philippines will continue importing 500,000 tons of 25% broken rice under government-to-private contracts - PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH
CAN THO – Nguyen Trung Kien, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), has issued Document 421/CV/HHLTVN announcing the Philippines’ tender to import rice to encourage local food traders to participate.
The National Food Authority (NFA) of the Philippines has issued an invitation to a tender, expected to take place on November 20, for importing an additional 500,000 tons of 25% broken rice under government-to-private (G2P) contracts, according to VFA in an announcement to local food traders.
According to the VFA announcement, the Philippines imposes no restrictions on the origin of the rice or the types of enterprises permitted to attend the tender. This means both private and State enterprises are eligible to join the tender, and the deadline for putting their names down to join it is November 20.
The importer will divide the volume of 500,000 tons of 25% broken rice into nine tender packages and will receive the rice at 14 seaports.
The reference price set by the Philippines is US$447.88 per ton, higher than the reference price of US$431.2 per ton for the 250,000 tons of rice requested at a tender held last month. The payment will be made 30 days after the buyer receives the original legal documents.
Rice traders can take part in all nine tender packages, but they must have completed at least one rice export contract in the past five years at an equivalent value to the tender package they have chosen.
Last month, the Philippines opened a tender to import 250,000 tons of 25% broken rice under G2P contracts, but it purchased only 47,000 tons, including 29,000 tons from Vietnam and 18,000 tons from Thailand. The volume was lower than the Philippines’ target as suppliers offered prices higher than the projected price of the Philippines.
It will import 203,000 tons to reach its 250,000-ton target under government-to-government (G2G) contracts.
In May, NFA held a tender to import 250,000 tons of rice under G2P contracts, but Vietnamese traders failed to sell any rice to the Philippines, while Thailand offered better prices and won the tender.
However, Vietnam secured a deal on May 4 to supply 130,000 tons of rice to the Philippines at a bidding session, under G2G contracts.

Farmers asked to maintain quality of Thai rice

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BANGKOK, 6th November 2018 (NNT) – The Thai Rice Growers Association has implored rice producers to maintain the quality of their crop in a bid to keep paddy prices high. 

Chairman of the Thai Rice Growers Association, Suthep Kongmak said that Hom Mali or jasmine rice farmers have been earning more this year compared to previous years, thanks to a reduced supply and high demand in domestic and global markets.

The prices of Hom Mali rice today range from 12,000 baht to 18,000 baht per ton.

Despite the high retail and wholesale prices, the chairman said producers should focus on keeping the quality of their paddy at a high level while asking them not to grow more because it would only lead to increased supply and a price drop.

In the meantime, Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade (DIT) Wichai Pochanakit said in-season paddy is being sold at 16,000 - 17,000 baht a ton this year, and in some areas, the price rises to 18,000 baht, the highest in rice producing history.

Between November and December, Wichai expects 5 million tons of Hom Mali rice to enter the market. Due to the ongoing drought in the northeastern region, rice production in Roi Et, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sisaket, Surin, Buriram, Khon Kaen, and Chaiyaphum has dropped by 20% this year.