Wednesday, December 19, 2018

19th December,2018 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Rice prices still high

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:05 AM December 18, 2018
Although rice prices have continued to decline, a member of the country’s monetary board said it was difficult to say whether prices will go back to year-ago levels.
Monetary board member and former International Rice Research Institute executive director Bruce Tolentino said there were many variables that need to be considered.
“One answer is to apply the anticipated inflation rates for 2019 and 2020 to the price of rice moving forward from now. That should provide a fair approximation of the range,” he said.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects the country’s inflation rate in 2019 and 2020 to hit 3.18 percent and 3.04 percent, respectively.
As of the first week of December, the average price of regular-milled and well-milled rice declined to P42.17 and P45.73 a kilo, respectively, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
However, compared to prices a year ago at P38.06 and P42.24 a kilo, respectively, these are still higher by 10.80 percent and 8.74 percent.
Prices are also still higher than the suggested retail prices of P39 and P44 a kilo for local regular-milled and well-milled rice.

Nutritionists have called a kind of rice that protect against weight gain

By paradox
Description: Диетологи назвали вид риса, защищающий от набора весаBlack rice slows the growth of fat tissue.
Journal of Medicinal Food published a report on the study of South Korean scientists from Seoul University and Sejong University, have studied the properties of black rice. As a result of scientific experts came to the conclusion that the addition of germinated black rice in the diet protects against obesity against eating foods high in fat.
Biologists from South Korea have been exploring the mechanisms of development of obesity, and also are searching most effective methods of protection against this violation. The experts have conducted a number of laboratory studies, allowing to understand, whether sprouted black rice have a tangible impact on the appearance of excess weight.
The interest of scientists to this product is not accidental. Black rice is known for the large amount of protein. In addition, it includes vitamins b, E, folic acid, significant amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese. In addition, black risk is a source of anthocyanins antioxidants – substances that help people deal with diseases of the heart and brain, cancer and other serious illnesses. Also, experts indicate that the black rice compared to the usual half the sodium that contribute to the development of heart failure.
The authors of the new project experimented with mice. Animals were divided into four groups. The first group received normal feed, the second feed with a high fat content, the third and fourth groups of fatty food, in which was added sprouted black rice. In the diet of rodents from the third group black figure was 2.5% of the daily food ration of mice from the fourth group – 5%.
As a result, scientists were able to ascertain that the inclusion of black rice in saturated fats diet effectively protects against the growth of fat tissue. The effect of black rice experts connect with a high content of protein and dietary fiber. When the assimilation is a slowdown in the metabolism of sugar. Black rice in this regard can be very useful for diabetics.
“The results of the eight-week experiment showed that adding black rice in the diet significantly reduced the lipid accumulation in liver and adipose tissue,” – said experts.

China may park $2b in Pakistan reserves this month
ISLAMABAD: In a positive development, China is most likely to park $2 billion in Pakistan reserves sometime in the ongoing month of December, and, more importantly, the economic diplomacy with the UAE is also going to fetch the dividends. And in the month of January 2019, the country is most likely to attain $6 billion facility as is managed from Saudi Arabia, a senior official, privy to the development, told The News.
“UAE will also deposit $3 billion in Pakistan reserves, but in installments’ mode, and would also extend oil facility of $3 billion on deferment payment too.”
To a question the official said that China will deposit $2 billion not in installments but most likely in one-go. He further explained saying that apart from it, Pakistan authorities are also in process to finalise the purchase of 15 billion RMBs (Yuan) at commercial rate almost at the cost of over $2 billion for trade with China in local currency which will help Pakistan come out of US dollar’s pressure too.
The expected relief from China in December and from the UAE in January next year will provide mammoth solace to the PTI government. However, he said, China wants Pakistan not to highlight its assistance for strengthening the reserves.
The official said that the latest statement by Asad Umar that Pakistan is not in a hurry for the IMF bailout package indicates that impending relief from China and UAE to support the foreign reserves is on the cards.
The official, while referring to Asad Umar, the Finance Minister of Pakistan, who is also on the record saying balance of payment issue is over, said that Mr Umar was in knowledge that things are moving with China and UAE in positive trajectory and now behind-the-scene talks with both the countries have got matured indicating that China and UAE are all set to come forward to bailout Pakistan from the current economic morass.
Pakistan has already got $2 billion out of $3 billion promised by S Arabia to strengthen the foreign exchange reserves. Only $1 billion is left that Pakistan is yet to receive from S Arabia. According to State Bank of Pakistan Abid Qamar country will get remaining $1 billion from S Arabia in the month of January 2019. Apart from it, Pakistan has started availing the oil facility of $3 billion on defer payment.
However, the official said that Pakistan’s authorities are still in touch with IMF for about $6-7 billion package. Pakistan direly needs the comfort letter for the Fund for move financial ties with international financial institutions (IFIs).
It is pertinent to mention here that The News, in its edition of November 7, 2018, had published the story of this scribe quoting a cabinet member that China has indicated that it will place $2 billion in Pakistan reserves to provide Pakistan’s financial managers a sense of confidence with regard to reserves situation.
The News also broke the story while quoting Federal Commerce Minister Razzak Dawood that Beijing offered Pakistan to double its exports to China from $1.2 to $2.2 billion by end of ongoing financial year 2018-19 and in case Pakistan succeeds to do that, China will also encourage Pakistan to increase it exports by one billion dollars more.
In addition, Beijing also indicated to extend to Pakistan a special quota for export of sugar and rice which will also help Pakistan have a massive surge in exports to China. This will help reduce trade deficit with China which stands at over $14 billion. The official said that Pakistan can increase its exports by just $500 million by sending to Chinese market one million tons sugar and one million tones rice.
He said China’s imports stand at $2 trillion, but Pakistan entrepreneurs lack the ability to harness even one percent share in China’s total imports. But, unfortunately, Pakistan has not required export surplus to avail the Chinese offer to triple its exports to China.

Forecasts down for season

Grim predictions ... Crop forecasts are down for this season.
Victorian crop production is expect to more than halve this season, as thousands of hectares of wheat and canola are cut for hay.
The grim seasonal outlook was delivered in the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences December crop report.
Winter crop production in Victoria is forecast to decrease by 51 per cent in 2018-19 to 3.7million tonnes, the lowest since 2015-16.
Planted area is estimated to have fallen by 12 per cent because significant area planted to wheat and canola for grains and oilseed production was cut for hay.
Wheat and canola were savaged by the poor season, with productivity plummeting by 51 and 63 per cent respectively to see 2million tonnes of wheat and 275000 tonnes of canola produced.
With much canola cut for hay, the figures were the lowest yield since 2008-09 while the area sown for canola fell by a third and 10 per cent less land was used for wheat.
The productivity of barley almost halved in 2018-19, yielding 1.1million tonnes, despite only a small four per cent fall in the amount of land used for the crop.
Victorian winter crop prospects deteriorated in September due to lower than average September rainfall and significant frost events.
Minimum temperatures were the lowest on record in most cropping regions while above-average temperatures and insufficient rainfall in October led to reduced yields in most cropping regions.
Summer crop planting has already begun in many regions and is expected to continue until February, but will be adversely affected by the current low levels of soil moisture, which are likely to constrain planting in the absence of further rainfall during the summer crop planting window.
Australia-wide the area planted to summer crops is forecast to fall by 18 per cent in 2018-19 to 1.1million hectares driven by forecast falls in area planted to rice and cotton.
Area planted to grain sorghum is forecast to increase by eight per cent in response to favourable prices.
Summer crop production is forecast to fall by 24 per cent to 3.1million tonnes.

DA targets 2019 agri growth of up to 3.5%

DECEMBER 19, 2018
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is aiming for Philippine agricultural growth of as high as 3.5 percent in 2019 as it expects subsectors to bounce back.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he expected the crops subsector to recover from the typhoons that hit the country in the third quarter with help from the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF) of the government’s rice tariffication program.
“For crops, especially rice, we are expecting a boost from the RCEF. With” a minimum of P10 billion worth of support “every year, we” expect to meet our farmers’ need for “good-quality seeds,” he said.
The department is looking to produce 19.17 million metric tons (MT) of palay (unhusked rice) this year, a 1.19-percent decrease from the agency’s previous forecast.
“It’s not as bad as we thought it would be, actually, because our forecast was 19.4 million MT,” Piñol said.
The DA also expects corn production to grow by 5 percent to 8.18 million MT in 2019. This is higher than the 7.79 million MT—a 1.55-percent increase from the 2017 figure—the department is expecting to record this year.
Piñol also expects fisheries to start growing in 2019 after it posted a series of contractions in the first three quarters.
“We are investing about P300 million for postharvest facilities,” he said. “For livestock and poultry, we’re expecting these subsectors to grow further, especially now that we are focusing or producing more fingerlings.”
The agriculture chief also said the country’s economic managers have directed the DA to maintain agricultural growth of at least 2 percent annually, which he described as “doable.”
They asked that figure “because…it has to keep up with the population growth of 1.7 percent,” he added.
“I think 2 percent is doable and we are confident that we could hit it, given the fact that right now there are specific interventions,” Piñol said.
Bare growth
According to the official, the country’s total agriculture and fisheries volume slightly grew by 0.15 percent in the first three quarters from the figure in the same period last year.
Department data showed that the marginal increase was driven by growth in the livestock (2.15 percent) and poultry (5.45 percent) subsectors, which he credited to the surge in “hog, cattle, goat and dairy production as a result of the sustained demand for milk processing due to efficient control of diseases” and to the rise “in chicken, chicken egg, and duck egg production.”
The data also showed that the crops subsector posted a 3.64-percent decline, which was blamed on weaker palay and corn production at 5.17 percent and 14.82 percent, respectively.
The reduction “can be attributed to the damages brought by typhoons Henry, Inday, Josie and Ompong. Delayed planting [was] due to the ongoing rehabilitation of irrigation facilities and late release of irrigation water in Northern Luzon…” Piñol said.
Fisheries output also dropped, due to the downtrend in milkfish, tiger prawn, roundscad and yellowfin tuna production.
The Agriculture secretary, however, noted that coconut, sugarcane, banana, pineapple, coffee, mango, tobacco, avocado, tomato and rubber production increased.
Agriculture department vows to keep suggested rice retail price
The Department of Agriculture warned the distribution of cheap government-subsidized rice will be affected once the rice tariffication bill is enacted into law. - Business Nightly, ANC, December 18, 2018

Rice farmers want increased security for dry season farming
Description: A group of rice farmers, whose harvest was recently burnt down by Boko Haram insurgents have called for more security in the area as they prepare for dry season farming. Hundreds of hectares of rice farms were completely razed down at Koshebe village in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State on December 1 by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
 In an interview, Malam Hassan Zabalmari, the Chairman of the Farmers Association in the area, called for the deployment of additional troops and security personnel, to enable them engage in dry season activities. Zabalamari described the call as imperative to protect farmers, encourage agriculture activities and enhance food security. Zabalmari is a farming community located about 10 kilometres away from Maiduguri. A group of the farmers interviewed recalled that the insurgents attacked the farmlands on Dec. 1, ravaged the plantations and set harvested crops ablaze. One of the farmers, Alhaji Bello, said the insurgents burnt to ashes crops harvested from his 18-acre farmland.
 Bello said that he had harvested his crop and left it at the farm in preparation for final evacuation to the mill when the insurgents attacked and destroyed it. He recounted that the insurgents attacked the farms at about 5:30 pm; after the farmers left for home.  “I produced 250 bags of paddy rice in the same 18 acres of farmlands during the previous rainy season. I also recorded high yields this season. “The insurgents burnt the produce and destroyed the farm,” he said. Adamu Usman, who corroborated Bello, described the damaged as colossal, adding that over 100 rice farmers lost their produce in the attack.
 Usman added that he had cultivated rice and harvested 360 bags of the produce, lamenting that he and other farmers lost their investment in the attack. Another farmer, Sidi Ibrahim, alleged that the insurgents had intensified attacks on farmers and killed many of them during the last cropping season. “We go to the farms under military and vigilante escort. The troops escort and waited throughout the day to enable us work in the farms. After we finished work in the farms they escort us back to our homes in Zabalamari. “We are thankful to them because without their protection we could not cultivate our farmlands.
 “The insurgents attacked from the axis of the deserted Dannari village, which is a distance of about five kilomentres from Koshebe plantations,” he said. Some of the crops cultivated in the area include rice, wheat, water melon, onions and vegetables.

Indo-Iran: The next frontier
With a shared historical legacy, India and Iran carry the robust possibility of building strong diplomatic ties in an era of untoward western dominance Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury18 Dec 2018 6:56 PM Just a few weeks ago, India and Iran inked an agreement by which India will import crude oil from Iran using a rupee-based payment mechanism, 50 per cent of those payments being used for exporting items to Tehran, especially Basmati rice. Russian and Chinese shipping companies are pitching to facilitate India-Iran trade. Around one-fifth of all oil and petroleum sales from Iran are to India, pegged at USD 12 billion a year, while Iran is the largest importer of rice (especially the Basmati) from India, pegged at USD 4 billion annually. Both are now victims of US-dominated tools of trade and currency exchange, with Iran also currently facing US sanctions.
Hence, from an economic perspective, Iran is the second-largest supplier of crude oil to India, supplying more than 425,000 barrels of oil per day and, consequently, India has been one of the largest foreign investors in Iran's oil and gas industry, affected to an extent in recent times due to the US sanctions. India has recently reduced oil intake partially. History India has shared nearly a thousand years of relations (earlier with provinces of the pre-Mughal period) with erstwhile Persia, now Iran, later subverted by the British.
After the attack of Persian aggressor Nader Shah in 1739, there have been three hundred years of friendship, cordial relations and a great exchange of language, culture, art, architecture and trade between India and Iran. In fact, Iran later supported Humayun in stabilising his rule in India. Persian or Farsi has been an integral part of pre-British Indian life, art, language and culture, effectively damaged by British rule in India. In fact, Persian and Indus civilisations were highly evolved in historical times. Even Vedic references to Persian culture and language exist. Indo-Persian architecture in several monuments, especially the Taj Mahal, is a great testimony of our civilisational relations. Sufism in India has Persian roots. Guru Nanak had visited Persia and was influenced by Sufism.
 Even to this day, the Academy of Persian Language and Literature in Iran encourages literary and cultural bilateral relations. Later, forefathers of the Supreme Leader of Iran Revolution, Imam Ayatollah Khomeini, had studied in India. However, the West, especially the US, has always attempted to make Iran and India look at each other through the prism of their interests and not of these two great nations, made worse in the current digital media age with the West controlling most channels of information. Iran's Regional Stability Outlook Iran's approach to regional stability in South Asia and the Middle East calls for an advanced Indian developmental role, especially in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Iran feels that post-colonial Asia's obsession to look at regional issues through the Western prism should end and the attention should now be towards the interests of other Asian and African nations. Hence, there has been a conscious foreign policy shift by Iran towards the East, especially towards India, China and Russia. On Kashmir, Iran has earlier held that it is 'a festering wound' of the past, but is now unequivocal in condemning western interference and suggests a bilateral solution to the vexed issue. Following the 1979 revolution, relations between Iran and India strengthened momentarily. However, Iran's continued support for Pakistan and India's close relations with Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War impeded further development of Indo-Iranian ties. In the 1990s, India and Iran supported the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime. They continue to collaborate in supporting the broad-based anti-Taliban government led by Ashraf Ghani and backed by the United States. The two countries signed a defence cooperation agreement in December 2002. And that led to the improvement in ties. Iran frequently objected Pakistan's attempts to draft anti-India resolutions at international organisations such as the OIC and the Human Rights Commission. India welcomed Iran's inclusion as an observer state in the SAARC regional organisation. A growing number of Iranian students are enrolled at universities in India, most notably in Pune and Bengaluru. The clerical government in Tehran sees itself as a leader of Shiites worldwide, including India. Indian Shiites enjoy state support such as a recognised national holiday for Muharram.
Lucknow continues to be a major centre of Shiite culture and Persian study in the subcontinent. Further, India and Iran need to come closer to combat the western impact on their languages, culture, media freedom, cinema and values. Western commodification of women and derision to traditional Indian and Iranian values needs to be questioned. Strong people-to-people relations between these two nations can create an alternative narrative, approach and indigenous technology, and the two governments will be led to closer relations. In fact, Indo-Iran relations were rudimentary during the Shah dynasty before the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, largely due to the western dominion of Iran then. The situation is much different today and there is the need for a new phase of Indo-Iran relations going beyond governments, with many institutions and people-to-people ties evolving.
Indo-Iran Trade & Other Possibilities Iran today expects India to stand strong and resist the US pressure in its own long-term interests. There can be several areas of investments for India, as in transport, IT, pharma, biotech, among others. People-to-people cooperation exists immensely in cinema, culture, education, tourism, etc. On May 22, 2016, Prime minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Iran. The visit focused on bilateral connectivity and infrastructure, energy partnership and trade. Interestingly, the Modi government had welcomed the adherence of all IAEA norms by Iran earlier and the signing of the Joint Declaration of Iran and the other major nations, which was later deserted by the Trump-led US.
. Chabahar Port A highway between Zaranj and Delaram is being built with financial support from India. India's BRO is laying the 213 km Zaranj-Delaram road. It is a part of India's USD 750 million aid package. The Chabahar Port in Iran has also been jointly financed by Iran and India. India alone plans to invest USD 20 billion towards the development of Chabahar Port, and it is expected to be fully operational within the next decade. India is helping develop Chabahar Port, which will give it access to the oil and gas resources of Iran and the Central Asian states. By doing so, India hopes to compete with the Chinese, who are building Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan.
 Iran plans to use Chabahar for trans-shipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia while keeping the port of Bandar Abbas as a major hub primarily for trade with Russia and Europe. India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading for Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar. The Chabahar Port project is Iran's chance to end its US-sponsored economic isolation and benefit from the resurgent Indian economy. Along with Bandar Abbas, Chabahar is the Iranian entrepot on the North-South corridor. A strategic partnership between India, Iran and Russia is intended to establish a multi-modal transport link connecting Mumbai with St Petersburg, providing Europe and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia access to Asia and vice-versa.
Way Ahead Indo-Iran relations can only progress if they are delinked from Western interests in the region and are developed purely in their own economic, sociocultural and geostrategic interests. The Indian government has recently given a list of 120 items that Iran can import from India, sanctions notwithstanding. And, India cannot ignore the crude oil and gas imports from Iran, more so in an election year.
Further, the historical context and, consequent possibilities of people-to-people relations are an icing on the cake. (The author is a noted media academic and columnist and has recently visited Tehran for a week. He is the Media Dean of Pearl Academy, Delhi and Mumbai, and has been earlier the Media Dean of Symbiosis and Amity Universities. The views expressed are strictly personal)

Rice Prices

as on : 18-12-2018 12:55:13 PM

Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
Tamkuhi Road(UP)
Published on December 18, 2018

Rice prices still high

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:05 AM December 18, 2018
Although rice prices have continued to decline, a member of the country’s monetary board said it was difficult to say whether prices will go back to year-ago levels.
Monetary board member and former International Rice Research Institute executive director Bruce Tolentino said there were many variables that need to be considered.
“One answer is to apply the anticipated inflation rates for 2019 and 2020 to the price of rice moving forward from now. That should provide a fair approximation of the range,” he said.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects the country’s inflation rate in 2019 and 2020 to hit 3.18 percent and 3.04 percent, respectively.
As of the first week of December, the average price of regular-milled and well-milled rice declined to P42.17 and P45.73 a kilo, respectively, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
However, compared to prices a year ago at P38.06 and P42.24 a kilo, respectively, these are still higher by 10.80 percent and 8.74 percent.
Prices are also still higher than the suggested retail prices of P39 and P44 a kilo for local regular-milled and well-milled rice.

DA: Rice, crop supply to rebound in 2019

By CNN Philippines Staff
Updated 14:16 PM PHT Tue, December 18, 2018

The Agriculture Department expects rice harvest to improve in January to June of 2019. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 18) — The government sees a recovery in rice production in early 2019 after the agriculture sector suffered sizable damage from calamities this year, a Cabinet official said Tuesday.
In his yearend report presented in a media briefing, Agriculture Chief Manny Piñol they are looking at a possible rice harvest of around 4.7 million metric tons (MMT) in January to June 2019 from 4.46 MMT in the same period this year. 
He said the agriculture sector sufffered billions of pesos in damage from storms "Henry", "Inday", "Josie" and "Ompong." Typhoon "Ompong," in particular, caused ₱26 billion pesos worth of crop damage. 
This has resulted rice prices reaching as high as ₱65 per kilogram in some markets, prompting the government to issue a suggested retail price (SRP) of ₱37 to ₱47 per kilogram in October to stabilize prices. Rice prices were among the factors that pushed the inflation rate to a nine-year high in October.
However, some markets continue to defy the SRP. Piñol said they will take steps against National Food Authority (NFA) personnel in these areas. 
"We have issued stern and strict warnings to the NFA personnel and officials in those areas to implement the SRP or face administrative sanctions," he said. 
Meanwhile, Piñol said a major supermarket chain has taken the step to sell imported rice at an affordable price. 
"At least one commercial supermarket has already started selling imported rice at prices between ₱35 and ₱39 per kilo. And this is Robinsons. They have already started selling this in 81 branches all over greater Manila area and I think they're spreading to the provinces," he said. 
Piñol said his agency is also planning to implement a "Climate Change Policy," which means they might move the planting schedule from October when storms usually hit the country.

Laos achieves rice export target to China

| Publication date 18 December 2018 | 14:46 ICT
Description: Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Laos achieves its target for exporting rice to China this month. VIENTIANE TIMES
THE VIENTIANE TIMES/ANN: Laos has achieved its target for exporting rice to China this month after the IDP Rice Mill of Laos signed a trading agreement with China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (Cofco) in November.
Last year, the Chinese government agreed to purchase 20,000 tonnes of rice from Laos through Xuanye (Lao) Co Ltd, but up to October the country had exported just 16,800 tonnes, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The company first exported 1,000 tonnes of rice and will be exporting the remaining 2,200 tonnes by the end of this month, Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmani Pholsena informed Parliament.
The government plans to export more rice to China in the near future as well as other agricultural products.
To increase the exports to China, the government will support Lao companies and encourage them to register with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the PRC in China, she said.
Last year, Laos earned more than $31.16 million from rice exports, with the major markets being Vietnam, Thailand and China. However, the figure was lower than that for 2016, according to the ministry statistics.
This year, the government is hoping to earn more than $45.56 million from rice exports.
For other crops, the ministry’s Department of Trade Promotion is negotiating to help sugar producers export more product to China.
China is still the largest rice export market for Laos, and the second biggest trading partner of the country.
In the first eight months of this year, Lao’s exports to China comprised 38 per cent of its total exports, excluding electricity, of which Thailand gets 28 per cent and Vietnam 19 per cent.
China mainly imports wood, ore sand, rubber and rubber products, copper and copper products and fertilisers from Laos. VIENTIANE TIMES/ANN
The trade value of exported products to China in the first six months of this year reached $619 million and around $1.27 billion to Thailand, of which electricity earned the largest revenue.
The export value to China had reached $372.5 million in 2013, $672.7 in 2014, $1 billion in 2015 and $1.13 billion in 2016.
The total trade value of both countries reached $3 billion last year, according to a Laos-China Cooperation Commission report.

CRF: Kingdom’s rice exports do not impact EU farmers

Cheng Sokhorng | Publication date 18 December 2018 | 08:30 ICT
Description: Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CRF vice-president Hun Lak claims the Kingdom’s rice exports do not impact EU farmers. Heng Chivoan
The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) has urged the EU to revise its Safeguard Clause as it could prove devastating to the Kingdom’s rice industry. The EU committee has not announced its final decision.
Its move comes as the Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations-General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (Copa-Cogeca) last week urged the EU to speed up its enforcement of the safeguard clause on rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar.
The Copa-Cogeca said the Trade Promotion General Directorate submitted a proposal during a December 4 meeting to enforce the safeguard clause on rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar for a vote at the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Committee.
With no comment on the enforcement, it said the Committee intends to take action on the issue.
“The Committee delivered a ‘no opinion’ decision, which allows the [European] Commission to move forward with the adoption of the legal proposal."
“The safeguard investigation carried out by the Commission reached the same conclusions – the increasing imports of rice from Cambodia and Myanmar have caused serious difficulties for the entire EU rice sector,” said the Copa-Cogeca.
However, this has been disputed by the CRF, which previously explained to the EU committee that Cambodian rice does not impact the EU rice industry, said its vice-president Hun Lak.
“It is not the first time Italy and Spain complained about the slowdown of their rice industry, but this is not caused by us. [We supply] a different type of rice and it is the consumers’ choice of which variety they prefer,” he said.
Impact of tariffs
Customs duty will be imposed at €175 ($198) per tonne in the first year, €150 in the second year and €125 the year after, according to the first draft of the safeguard clause, issued on November.
Italian rice farmers first complained about rice imports in 2014 and argued that the imports were harming EU farmers.
“Tariffs will impact the supply chain. Our infrastructure is not yet ready to save the cost of logistics. We will face heavy competition in our rice market with neighbouring countries."
“It is unfair to us . . . our farmers also try their best to produce good quality rice to make a living and we are still a developing country,” he said.
Noting that the EU’s safeguard clause including all types of rice was an oversight, he called on the EU members to intervene in the matter. “They also support us and are willing to veto or choose not to be in the voting meeting. It is really a very sensitive issue for Cambodia,” he said.
Amru Rice CEO Song Saran said more than 75 per cent of Cambodian rice exports to the EU is fragrant rice, stressing this does not impact EU farmers.
“The majority of rice we export to EU countries is fragrant rice, which is not able to grow in their countries. I would like to request the European Commission not to include fragrant rice in the safeguard measure,” he said.

Grain import plunges 75pc on bumper rice output

 FE Report | Published:  December 18, 2018 10:49:33 

Description: Photo (Collected)
The country's food-grain imports plunged by over 75 per cent to US$ 386 million during the first quarter of this year in terms of letters of credit (LCs) opened after the bumper rice output.
LCs worth $1.56 billion were opened during July-September of 2017 as rice prices soared following loss of boro crop due to consequent floods.
People familiar with the situation told the FE that better rice production is the main reason behind the fall in its import.
"Imports plummeted this season because we produced a record rice," Abul Bashar Chowdhury, chairman of the Chittagong-based BSM Group, said.
He said this has had an impact on other food imports, including wheat, as people take the grain as substitute of rice.
The two consecutive rice seasons saw bumper rice production last year ending on June 30.
During Boro season, the largest by output, production reached 19.5 million tonnes this year against 18.2 million tonnes the year before.
The Aman had nearly 13.9 million tonnes production last year, compared with 13.5 million tonnes a year earlier.
This has happened at a time when the global grain production is estimated to go down by around 30 per cent following bad weather, according to local importers and international media reports.
They said drought in Australia, bad weather in Russia and Ukraine and heavy rainfall in Argentina impacted the global grain production this year.
Thailand, a major rice-exporting country, may also have lower production of rice following poor water supply, according to the US Department of Agriculture report.
The USDA estimates Thailand's rice production to be 20.7 million tonnes in 2018/19 (milled basis), down 2.0 per cent from the last year.
Last year, Bangladesh imported nearly 3.9 million tonnes grain-rice and wheat combined.
The government stocks of food grain stood at more than 1.1 million tonnes at the end of November, according to directorate general of foods.
The department said it may not import rice following the bumper crops.
"We usually target rice procurement locally, last year we procured rice following the production loss in the country," Md Arifur Rahman Apu, director general at the Directorate General of Food (DG food).
He hinted that they had much higher procurement during the Boro season and for this reason they would not import rice this year.
But he said like previous years, it will import wheat as this is much cheaper than the local procurement of the same.
The department aims to procure around 600,000 tonnes of wheat this year. On the other hand, the department has a target of procuring around 2.2 million tonnes of rice from local sources this year.
Earlier, the USDA had predicted total import would dip to 600,000 tonnes during 2018-19 due to higher production in Boro season and the reinstatement of import tariff.
The private and public sectors imported 3.892 million tonnes of rice during July-June of 2017-18, the highest in three decades, according to the Food Ministry data.

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- DEC 19, 2018
DECEMBER 19, 2018 / 1:13 PM
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-December 19, 2018 Nagpur, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Tuar prices showed weak tendency in Nagpur Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) on poor demand from local millers. Downward trend trend in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and high moisture content arrival also affected prices in thin trading activity. About 100 bags of tuar reported for auctions in Nagpur APMC, according to sources.

* Desi gram reported down in open market on lack of demand from local traders.

* Tuar varieties ruled steady in open market on subdued demand from local traders.

* Wheat mill quality and wheat Lokwan reported down in open market here on poor

demand from local traders amid good supply from producing belts.

* In Akola, Tuar New – 4,200-4,600, Tuar dal (clean) – 7,000-7,300, Udid Mogar (clean)

– 7,300-8,200, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,800-8,300, Gram – 4,600-4,700, Gram Super best

– 6,700-6,900 * Wheat, Rice and other foodgrain items moved in a narrow range in

scattered deals and settled at last levels in weak trading activity.

Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg

FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close

Gram Auction 3,700-4,300 3,750-4,350

Gram Pink Auction n.a. 2,100-2,600

Tuar Auction n.a. 4,000-4,300

Moong Auction n.a. 3,900-4,200

Udid Auction n.a. 4,300-4,500

Masoor Auction n.a. 2,600-2,800

Wheat Mill quality Auction 1,950-1,990 1,950-2,040

Gram Super Best Bold 7,000-7,200 7,000-7,200

Gram Super Best n.a. n.a.

Gram Medium Best 6,600-6,800 6,600-6,800

Gram Dal Medium n.a. n.a

Gram Mill Quality 4,800-4,900 4,800-4,900

Desi gram Raw 4,450-4,550 4,500-4,600

Gram Kabuli 8,300-10,000 8,300-10,000

Tuar Fataka Best-New 7,100-7,300 7,100-7,300

Tuar Fataka Medium-New 6,800-7,000 6,800-7,000

Tuar Dal Best Phod-New 6,400-6,600 6,400-6,600

Tuar Dal Medium phod-New 6,000-6,300 6,000-6,300

Tuar Gavarani New 4,550-4,650 4,600-4,700

Tuar Karnataka 4,900-5,100 4,900-5,100

Masoor dal best 5,200-5,400 5,200-5,400

Masoor dal medium 4,700-4,900 4,700-4,900

Masoor n.a. n.a.

Moong Mogar bold (New) 8,000-8,500 8,000-8,500

Moong Mogar Medium 6,000-7,000 6,000-7,000

Moong dal Chilka New 6,200-7,500 6,200-7,500

Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a.

Moong Chamki best 7,800-9,000 7,800-9,000

Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 7,800-8,500 7,800-8,500

Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 6,000-7,000 6,000-7,000

Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 4,000-4,400 4,000-4,400

Batri dal (100 INR/KG) 5,500-5,600 5,500-5,600

Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 4,800-4,900 4,900-5,000

Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 5,500-5,600 5,500-5,600

Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) 5,800-6,100 5,800-6,100

Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG) 2,200-2,300 2,200-2,300

Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG) 2,100-2,150 2,150-2,200

Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,600 2,500-2,600

Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,600 2,600-2,700

Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) 2,200-2,400 2,300-2,500

Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG) n.a. n.a.

MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,600-4,000 3,600-4,000

MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG) 2,600-3,100 2,600-3,100

Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG) 2,100-2,200 2,100-2,200

Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG) 3,200-3,800 3,200-3,800

Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG) 2,600-3,000 2,600-3,000

Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG) 2,900-3,000 2,900-3,000

Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG) 2,700-2,800 2,700-2,800

Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,600 2,500-2,600

Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG) 4,100-4,500 4,100-4,500

Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG) 3,600-4,000 3,600-4,000

Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG) 5,200-5,500 5,200-5,500

Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG) 4,800-5,000 4,800-5,000

Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 9,500-14,000 9,500-14,000

Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 4,800-7,000 4,800-7,000

Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG) 6,800-7,500 6,800-7,500

Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG) 6,500-6,700 6,500-6,700

Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG) 2,350-2,550 2,350-2,550

Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG) 2,050-2,250 2,050-2,250 WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 24.5 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 9.6 degree Celsius Rainfall : Nil FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 25 degree Celsius and 10 degree Celsius. Note: n.a.—not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices)

Rice Prices

as on : 19-12-2018 11:51:29 AM

Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.

Basmati rice exporters face Iran defaults woes; exports drop 7.2% in Q1

Exports should be against formal orders which include quality specifications and a mechanism for resolution of disputes

Dilip Kumar Jha  |  Mumbai Last Updated at August 9, 2018 02:09 IST
Description: Branded basmati sales to touch 2.9 mt
Default by Iranian importers on some Indian basmati rice brands under bilateral deals have hit our export of these products in the June quarter. The government has cautioned exporters to avoid private transactions with Iranian importers.Data from the government's Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) show our shipment of basmati declined by 7.2 per cent to 1.17 million tonnes for the April-June period, first three months of the financial year, from the same period last year.
Iran is the largest importer of India’s branded and unbranded aromatic rice (it took a third of all its export in the June quarter). Hit by trade restrictions from America, Iranian importers pay to Indian basmati exporters in rupees.

Description: chartMany such transactions are done on a private basis without involving banks and regulators. Informed sources say a number of importers dealing primarily with private basmati exporters had defaulted in making payment of around Rs 5 billion.“Usually, exporters get a certificate from Apeda and proper processes are followed. As per trade sources, several large basmati rice exporting firms have become non-performing assets with their bankers, due to non-receipt of payments against export of large volumes to importers in these brands,” said a senior Apeda official, on condition of anonymity.

According to trade sources, some Indian exporters were dealing privately with Iranian importers without opening of Letters of Credit, which guarantee the receipt of money from importers. According to the Apeda official, around a third of India’s basmati exported to Iran faces threat of default.
“We have taken up the issue with the trade ministry in Iran. But, it seems, Indian exporters would have to go only through the legal route to recover the money,” added the official.
Apeda has advised exporters not to register contracts for export of basmati or make arrangement for payment before applying to it in this regard. Exports should be against formal orders which include quality specifications and a mechanism for resolution of disputes.
“The situation might normalise in a couple of months,” said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of Kohinoor Foods, an exporter of basmati.

Belgium supports FAO’s early actions to protect the livelihoods of rice farmers in Mindanao against potential El Niño

Published on 18 Dec 2018 
The Philippines is frequently affected by natural disasters. The social and economic cost of natural disasters in the country is increasing due to population growth, change in land-use patterns, migration, unplanned urbanization, environmental degradation and global climate change. The Philippine archipelago is constantly at risk of a multitude of hazards including earthquakes (as the country sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire), volcanic eruptionsdroughtcyclonesfloods and tsunamis.
In response to the potentially adverse impacts of drought brought about by El Niño to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, the Government of Belgium, through the Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA), generously contributed to FAO to pilot an Early Warning Early Action(EWEA) initiative to protect the livelihoods of rice farmers in selected areas of Mindanao.
This project builds on the piloting of a drought EWEA system established in February 2018, in particular on two municipalities in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces in Mindanao. These two areas were selected due to their high vulnerability rates, combined with their high exposure to drought. When affected by El Niño, the Philippines alternate climatically between intense droughts and typhoons. As the climate changes, the Southern Oscillation is increasing in frequency and severity, and in turn increasing the intensity of natural disasters. Such changes are testing the traditional resilience methods of the country and being able to protect the population from these shocks is becoming increasingly challenging.
FAO aims to assist 1 500 small-scale farming families who on average cultivate 1 ha of land each through early actions for drought in order to protect their rice production by providing irrigation systems and inputs, and offering alternative livelihoods such as livestock farming and high-value commercial crops to prevent asset depletion and increase resilience.
This project will be implemented in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and concerned local government units. FAO will utilize the early warning system designed as a monitoring tool to build evidence and confidence about the development and potential impact of El Niño. The system has been set up to provide timely information in advance, ensuring enough lead time is provided to launch and implement early actions on the ground.
Thanks to this partnership, FAO is able to develop early actions together with government partner agencies and stakeholders to protect vulnerable farmers against the extreme weather conditions brought by the impending El Niño.

Adoption of GMO cowpea, rice could offer substantial boost to Ghana’s farmers and consumers, study says

Description: farmer examines his cowpea plants
Cowpea is the most widely produced grain legume in Ghana and a key food security crop. In northern Ghana, where most of Ghana’s cowpea is produced, the crop helps households overcome the annual hunger gap between planting and harvesting times. This is important for regions that have a monomodal rainfall distribution with a long lean season.
Rice is a staple food across Ghana. Some estimates suggest that rice is the most consumed cereal per capita after maize ….
This paper uses an innovative research process to quantify the potential impacts of releasing and adopting insect-resistant (IR) cowpea and nitrogen-use efficient (NUE) rice in Ghana …. Ghana’s stakeholders selected the two genetically modified (GM) technologies discussed here based on their assessment of these GM products’ regulatory advancement and their economic and political importance …. [T]he authors estimate that the benefits of adopting IR cowpea are between US$5.5 million and US$125.3 million, and between US$1.9 million and US$153 million for NUE rice.
These findings underscore the opportunity for policymakers and decision makers to invest in policies that …. foster conditions to increase farmers’ and consumers’ uptake of these technologies. Investments in effective extension practices and seed delivery might be one such policy that could merit the attention of decision makers.

Festival honours Vietnamese rice’s position

Wednesday, 2018-12-19 12:27:27

The logo of Vietnam's national rice brand

NDO – The third Vietnam Rice Festival, aiming to honour and improve the position of Vietnamese rice in the world and promote rice production and export, officially opened in the Mekong River Delta province of Long An, on December 18.
The logo of Vietnam's national rice brand was announced at the opening ceremony of the festival.
The festival features numerous activities, including a rice contest, an exhibition on Vietnamese rice exports and several important seminars.
Co-organised by the Vietnam Farmers' Union (VNFU) Central Committee, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Long An provincial People's Committee, Ho Chi Minh City Institute of Development Economics Research, Can Tho City Institute for Socio - Economic Development Studies and the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute (CLRRI), the event also aims to honour the contributions of farmers, managers and businesses to Vietnam's agricultural and rice development.
The third Vietnam Rice Festival 2018, which gathers the participation of 1,058 businesses from 612 localities in the provinces and cities of the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City and the Southeast Region, displays many types of products such as rice, machinery, equipment for agricultural development, agricultural supplies, green agricultural products, urban agriculture, high technology agriculture and other fields.
The event also is considered as an opportunity for managers, businesses, scientists and farmers to approach and update market information and advanced technologies in rice production and business from around the world.

While the Philippines is known for its agricultural lands,
the country continues to face recurring rice crises over the years
DECEMBER 19, 2018
Published 11:00 AM, December 19, 2018
Updated 11:00 AM, December 19, 2018
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's administration was mired in rice problems during his second year in office, pulling it away from his target of 100% rice self-sufficiency by the end of the year. While cause for deep concern, these issues are not entirely new to Filipinos.
Soaring prices, weevil infestations, and the depletion of reserves in several areas worried Filipinos in 2018, causing an uproar and even raising questions on the leadership of National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jason Aquino.
The situation hit a low point in April when Aquino revealed that the agency had only less than two days' worth of buffer stock. The NFA is required to maintain a 15-day stock at any given time, and a 30-day stock from July to September to prepare for calamities.
Filipinos continued to feel the brunt of the impending crisis, as prices in September reached up to P46 for well-milled rice, and P43 for regular milled rice.
It was only in October that the rice situation seemed to have eased, when Duterte finally lifted restrictions on rice imports to reduce inflation. In the previous year, he discouraged rice importation in order to protect local rice farmers. (READ: [OPINION] Solving our 'unli' rice crisis)
The Department of Agriculture also set suggested retail prices for rice to combat inflation. Rice prices have gone down week-per-week from October, and have eased to 8.1%during the first week of December.
For a country teeming with agricultural land, the Philippines continues to suffer from rice crises every few years. Here’s a look at the rice woes that previous administrations had to deal with in the past.
Marcos administration: 1965-1986
President Ferdinand Marcos opened his term with the Green Revolution which pioneered scientific research into high-yielding varieties of rice in the country.
However, things took a turn when Martial Law was declared and as millions of Filipinos faced a dwindling rice supply due to various political and environmental factors.
In the 1970s, the country was visited by strong storms that caused tremendous damage to the agriculture sector. Things worsened in 1972 when Typhoons Edeng and Gloring ravaged Luzon, causing great floods especially in the central plains. The country also suffered from a major drought the months after.
Aside from these, political tensions in Mindanao and a growing incidence of tungro, a rice-infecting pest, contributed to low rice supplies.
Local rice production also dropped to a low 17%. To address this, the government relied on heavy imports with 455,000 tons in 1972 from just 10 tons in 1968. This, however, failed to address the problem.
Rice stocks were almost gone in 1973 that they had to mix in corn grits to continue supply. A New York Times reportsaid that white rice disappeared from the markets and “block-long double lines” of people waiting for rice rations swamped Manila and other provinces.
It took 6 years before the rice supply finally stabilized.
Corazon Aquino administration: 1986-1992
Still recovering from the rice crisis in the 70s and Martial Law, former president Corazon Aquino’s government was not safe from impending rice issues.
Increases in rice prices were also felt during this time, brought about by the looming Asian financial crisis and El Niño. (READ: FAST FACTS: Rice prices in the Philippines)
A sudden spike in rice imports was seen from 1988 to 1990, around the same time El Niño affected agricultural regions such as Cagayan Valley and Southern Mindanao. According to a PAGASA study, the affected rice and corn area from the 1989-1990 drought totaled 283,562 hectares.
While Aquino failed to dismantle the NFA’s monopoly on the international trade of rice, she launched the Grains Sector Development Program (GDSP) in 1990 which sought to finance agricultural programs and overcome institutional and investment constraints that can hinder food security.
However, agreements with financial companies on the GDSP were only finalized in 2000.
Ramos administration: 1992-1998
Filipinos suffered the brunt of the 1995 rice crisis in the country which stemmed from poor government planning. Rice demand increased by 5.7% in that year, but local output was stagnant due to droughts the year before.
Despite this, Ramos took the advice of then agriculture secretary Roberto Sebastian to import only about 300,000 metric tons (MT) of rice, as compared to the 700,000 MT suggested by the NFA.
Price ceilings imposed by the National Price Coordinating Council, along with panic-buying from consumers, aggravated the shortage problem. Like Marcos, the Ramos administration resorted to heavy rice imports, which reached as much as 722,000 MT in 1997, and 2.17 million MT in 1998.
Millions of Filipinos queued for hours at NFA’s Bigasang Bayan outlets to buy cheaper rice at P10.25 per kilo, as commercial rice prices soared from P21 to P28 per kilo.
Estrada administration: 1998-2001
While there were no huge rice problems during former president Joseph Estrada’s term, his administration was the second largest importer since the Marcos era.
Under Estrada, yearly average rice importation was at 1.02 million MT – nearly double that of the yearly average importation of 520,562 MT during Ramos’ time.
In 1998 alone, rice imports reached 2.2 million MT from 722,756.50 MT in the previous year. The huge increase in imports was influenced by the effects of El Niño on palayproduction, which prompted the government to seek ways to stabilize rice prices.
Estrada, however, managed to increase average rice production growth to 12.47% and imports returned to lower levels in the next two years at about 800,000 MT.
Arroyo administration: 2001-2010
The Arroyo administration had to face the 2008 global rice supply crisis that drove international rice rates upwards.
According to the World Rice Statistics and Food and Agriculture Organization, the Philippines, despite being the 8th largest rice producer in 2008 (at 16.8 million MT), was also the world’s top rice importer (1.8 million tons) which could mean that the country was directly affected by the crisis.
By March, NFA reserves were down to up to two weeks' worth of supply, and average price for regular milled rice had gone up to about P43 per kilo by June – almost a 50% increase from the usual P25 to P30 per kilo.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) claimed that Arroyo had known about the impending rice crisis as early as February that year. It is also important to note that Arroyo, together with the NFA, signed contracts with other countries like Vietnam in 2007 to import 2.2 million MT – the highest in a decade.
The government, however, was quick to deny the existence of a rice crisis, insisting only on a “price crisis.”
These events fueled panic among Filipinos, who began stockpiling rice in homes and lined up for government-subsidized NFA rice for cheap prices at P18.25. Due to the huge number of people lining up, however, NFA had to decrease the limit of rations from 3 kilos per family to just one.
Arroyo ordered a crackdown on hoarders and rice smugglers – who allegedly bought subsidized rice and sold them at higher prices – to “ensure that cheap government rice ends up on the tables of the intended consumers – the country's poor.”
The rice crisis drove millions of Filipinos to poverty and hunger. In a study by the Asian Development Bank, the number of self-rated poor Filipinos peaked at 59% in the second quarter of 2008.
While prices stabilized a year after, heavy imports continued until the end of Arroyo’s tenure in 2010.
Benigno Aquino III administration: 2010-2016
Description: AGRICULTURE DOWN. Production of palay went up by 3.28% but the agriculture sector, as a whole, slowed down in the first quarter of 2014. AFP file photo
AGRICULTURE DOWN. Production of palay went up by 3.28% but the agriculture sector, as a whole, slowed down in the first quarter of 2014. AFP file photo
One of former president Benigno Aquino III’s promises when he started out was to achieve 100% rice self-sufficiency in the country by 2013. However, he failed to fulfill this promise.
As early as April 2011, just a year into Aquino’s term, a confidential report by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica) that was leaked to the media warned the former president of a looming rice shortage brought by changes in the international food market and weather systems.
Quelling fears, the government managed to increase rice production in the same year and slashed rice imports from 1.3 million MT to 660,000 MT. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization also saw stable production for the next two years.
It was in 2014 when rice prices began to rise, with average retail prices going beyond P40 per kilo, reminiscent of the 2008 rice crisis. Because of this, the government had to resort to more imports, adding 500,000 MT for immediate importation to the original set imports of 800,000 MT for the year. (READ: Rice self-sufficiency: A question of geography?)
Aquino also urged a crackdown against hoarders who allegedly stockpiled NFA rice for selling at higher prices. Rice smugglers were also targeted. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, rice smuggling was more prominent during Aquino’s time at 2.3 million tons from 2011-2014, as compared to 500,000 tons smuggled in 2005 to 2009 under Arroyo.
According to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, however, price spikes must not be blamed on smugglers, but on reduced imports in 2013 in line with the rice self-sufficiency program.
In 2015, the Philippines was hit by El Niño which drove prices higher again due to low production.
Rice self-sufficiency fell to 88.93% from 96% in 2013, as imports continued to boom. Aquino managed to boost this number to 95% by the end of his term in 2016. –

Seed-Co developing rice varieties

By Newsday
December 19, 2018

 Regional seed producer Seed-Co says it is working on developing rice varieties suitable for the local climatic conditions in order to scale back the country’s reliance on rice imports.
BY Staff Reporter
Naturally, the cereal requires more water than any other crop; it grows well in fertile river basins.
Zimbabwe, which is striving to become a food self-reliant nation, imports upwards of 90% of its rice requirements, with government estimates putting money spent on rice imports at $80 million annually.
“As Seed-Co, we are working on developing rice varieties; our research and development department is currently undertaking trials, and soon we should be able to report back to the market that we have a product,” regional managing director Denias Zaranyika told journalists in Harare yesterday.
“Almost all the rice that is consumed in this country is imported mostly from Asian countries, and we are looking to stop that so that we can produce it on our own and save the scarce foreign currency,” he said.
The top 10 rice-producing countries in the world account for 90% of the world’s rice consumption. These are India, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, the Philippines, Cambodia and Pakistan.Zaranyika added that the company was also working on developing potato varieties.
Over the past seven years, Seed-Co has invested over $28 million towards research and development, as the company intensifies efforts to compete on the global market.This year alone at least $6 million has been budgeted towards the same cause.
The agro company, which unbundled its regional operations and subsequently listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, reported a fair set of earnings for the half-year to September 30, 2018.
Revenue for the period rose 82% to $29 million from $15 million during the same period in the prior year, driven by a 115% jump in maize sales.During the period under review, profit from continuing operations amounted to $5,9 million from a loss position of $35 million, mainly driven by earlier than normal timing of maize seed sales as well as growth in finance income.
Net finance income doubled due to income earned on Treasury Bills held.
Other income came in 24% lower on account of lower commodity sales. Operating costs largely remained flat due to cost containment measures prior to the inflation run that ensued from October.
Margins remained steady due to better product mix. Assets declined to $191 million from $248 million during the prior comparable period due to the unbundling of regional operations under Seed Co International that listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

Vietnam Rice Festival kicks off in Long An province

SGGPWednesday, December 19, 2018 14:04
The third Vietnam Rice Festival was opened in the Mekong Delta province of Long An last night with 1,058 stalls of 621 localities and businesses registering to attend the event.
Description: Vietnam Rice Festival kicks off in Long An province
The festival was organized by Vietnam Farmers Association, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the People’s Committee of Long An province and Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute from December 18 to 24.
The organization board has built a rice path with 600 yellow ripe rice pots meaning for the prosperity and well-being of Vietnamese rice.
Deputy chairman of Long An province People’s Committee Nguyen Van Duoc said that the festival aims to honor contributions by farmers, businesses and government agencies for the development of agriculture in general and Vietnamese rice in particular.
That is also a chance to honor organizations, individuals, businesses, farmers and scientists for their valuable contributions to economic development achievements in the Mekong Delta.
Within the frameworks of the festival, there will be two seminars on rice farming adaptation to salt intrusion and drought and clean rice farming.
Right after the opening ceremony, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnamese Farmers Association organized a ceremony to unveil Vietnamese rice logo.
By staff writers – Translated by Hai Mien


IIRR celebrates foundation day with theme ‘Agrarian Change and Agrarian Crisis in Rural India’

19 December, 2018 3:22 PM IST By: Chander Mohan

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The ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR), Hyderabad celebrated its 3rd Foundation day.  Prof. Gummadi Nancharaiah, Emeritus Professor, University of Hyderabad and former Vice Chancellor, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Central University, Lucknow marked his presence as the Chief Guest and delivered foundation day lecture. He emphasized on the problem and said that the benefits of agricultural technologies not being fully reaped and utilized by the farmers belonging to lower section, tenant farmers and agricultural laborers. He suggested various measures to deal promptly with the situation.   Prof. P. Anand Kumar, Emeritus Scientist, ICAR-IIRR was the Guest of Honor for the function. 
Dr. S.R. Voleti, Director, ICAR-IIRR, in his welcome speech, briefed about the historical progress made by the institute from AICRIP to Directorate of Rice Research culminating to present upgradation to IIRR. He also discussed about receiving of Padmasri Awards by two Ex-Directors of the institute - Dr. S.V.S. Shastry and Dr. E.A. Siddique. 
The theme for the Foundation Day was “Agrarian Change and Agrarian Crisis in Rural India: A Perspective”. 
Dr. M. Sheshu Madhav, Principal Scientist (Crop Improvement); Dr. A.P. Padma Kumari, Principal Scientist (Crop Protection); Dr. B. Sailaja, Principal Scientist (Crop Production) and Dr. B. Nirmala, Senior Scientist (Social Sciences) were also conferred with “Best Research Paper Awards” by the Chief Guest and other dignitaries during the occasion.  The function was attended by the representatives of local ICAR institutes

It’s Time to Get Arsenic and Other Toxic Substances Out of Baby Food

It’s time to get arsenic and other heavy metals out of our infants’ diets
Many babies' first solid food is rice cereal. It is a childhood staple, commonly recommended by pediatricians. And it is often poisoned—at least a little bit. Studies have found that many brands contain measurable amounts of inorganic arsenic, the most toxic kind. It's not just rice: an August 2018 study by Consumer Reports tested 50 foods made for babies and toddlers, including organic and nonorganic brands such as Gerber, Earth's Best, Beech-Nut and other popular labels, and found evidence of at least one dangerous heavy metal in every product. Fifteen of the 50 contained enough contaminants to pose potential health risks to a child eating one serving or less a day.
Heavy metals can impair cognitive development in children, who are especially at risk because of their smaller size and tendency to absorb more of these substances than adults do. Inorganic arsenic in drinking water has been found to lower the IQ scores of children by five to six points. And as heavy metals accumulate in the body over time, they can raise the risk of cancer, reproductive problems, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cognitive issues. Of course, finding out your favorite brand is contaminated is not a reason to panic. Low levels of exposure for short periods are unlikely to cause devastating effects, and parents should focus on reducing the overall levels of these toxic substances in their children's total diet to limit harm.
Heavy metals occur naturally on Earth and are present in soil and water. But pesticides, mining and pollution boost their concentrations, and farming and food manufacturing processes can contribute even more. Some crops inevitably absorb more heavy metals. Rice, for example, readily takes in arsenic both because of its particular physiology and because it is often grown in fields flooded with water, which is a primary source of the metal.
Cereal makers are clearly capable of keeping baby food poison-free: roughly a third of the products Consumer Reports tested did notcontain worrisome metal levels. Companies just do not take enough safety steps. “If industry can do a better job of sourcing the raw food, that would go a long way [to reduce the danger],” says James Dickerson, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports. “And then if [manufacturers] consider contamination through internal pathways—equipment, processes and the containers they use for the food—I think we can get there.”
Some companies are already trying to investigate the sources of contamination in their products and reduce them. More should follow and be transparent about these efforts. But the best chance of real change from food companies most likely will come with regulation.
Currently there are no U.S. rules on acceptable levels of heavy metals in baby foods. In 2012, 2015 and 2017 Congress tried and failed to pass legislation imposing limits on arsenic and lead in fruit juice and rice products. The FDA proposed issuing new caps on the amount of arsenic allowed in rice cereal in 2016 and in apple juice in 2013, but neither of these proposals ever came to fruition. A March 2018 Government Accountability Office report found that the FDA has not moved quickly enough to finalize the rules or communicate the potential risk to the public. The agency needs to set safe and strict targets, supported by scientific studies, for these substances, ideally by establishing incremental benchmarks that lower the allowable levels over time.
And this is just a start. In 2018 a group of scientists and policy experts suggested a variety of interventions at every step of the pathway from farm to table. These steps would help fight the problem both in the U.S. and abroad, especially in developing countries where toxic substances in baby food can be devastating to children who already suffer from poor nutrition. For one, researchers should conduct more studies on which foods in our diet are the primary contributors of heavy metals and the best ways to reduce the contamination in each of those crops. Food manufacturers can do better and more frequent testing of their source crops as well as their factory methods. Scientists, doctors and governments can also better communicate these health risks and the best ways to avoid them to the public. For instance, cooking rice in copious amounts of water can help flush contaminants out, and parents should feed babies a variety of grain cereals rather than just rice.
There are many ways to deal with this problem. Congress, the FDA, the food industry, scientists and doctors should unite to tackle a serious threat to our most vulnerable population

Việt Nam’s rice trademark unveiled at festival

Update: December, 19/2018 - 09:00
Rice products on display at exhibition on the sidelines of the 3rd Việt Nam Rice Festival.—VNS Photo Hoàng Nguyên
LONG AN – Vit Nam’s rice brand logo was unveiled on Tuesday night during the opening ceremony of the third Vit Nam Rice Festival held in Tân An City in the Cu Long (Mekong) Delta Province of Long An.
The winning logo features an ear of rice with rice leaves shaped as the image of chim lc (legendary birds). The phrase ‘Vit Nam Rice’ is written on the green oval-shaped logo.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) last year launched a logo design contest for the Vietnamese rice trademark with the aim to promote the reputation of the country’s rice.
The contest, which received nearly 500 entries from across the country and abroad, was part of a project to develop Vit Nam’s rice brand.
According to Nguyn Quc Ton, acting director of MARD’s Agricultural Market Processing and Development, Vit Nam had filed an international trademark registration application to the Madrid system - a system built on the basis of the Madrid Protocol and the Madrid Agreement - for its rice in April 2017.
With the participation of 62 countries in the agreement, it is considered a regimen to obtain protection worldwide for Vit Nam’s rice.
After the application is viewed by all members of the Madrid system, MARD will work with relevant agencies and businesses to adopt regulations on the use of the logo on the global market.
Việt Nam’s rice brand logo was unveiled at the 3rd Việt Nam Rice Festival, held in Tân An City in Long An Province on December 18.—VNS Photo Hoàng Nguyên
According to the ministry, the introduction of the logo would have significant meaning for the rice industry.
It would promote Vietnamese rice in the global market, and encourage businesses and farmers to invest in producing higher quality rice.
As of November this year, Vit Nam had shipped around 5.63 million tonnes of rice for US$2.83 billion. The figures are expected to rise to 6.15 million tonnes and $3.15 billion by the end of the year, an increase of 5.7 per cent and 19.6 per cent respectively year-on-year.
Around 80 per cent of the grain exported was fragrant rice, which was an advantage that Vit Nam should take advantage of, according to Ton. 
Vit Nam’s rice is sold in 150 markets around the world with Asian markets accounting for more than 68 per cent of the total export volume.
The one-week festival, co-organised by the Vit Nam Farmer’s Union, MARD and Long An Province’s People’s Committee, also features a wide range of activities, including an exhibition on rice production and export achievements, machinery and materials used in the agricultural sector, and a rice quality contest.
The exhibition, which was attended by 1,100 enterprises and localities, served as a platform for farmers and businesses to promote their products and for organisers to strengthen links between farmers, businesses and other stakeholders.
In addition, two workshops on saline intrusion and drought and on promoting Vietnamese rice will be held on December 20 and 21 with input from industry experts and climate change scientists.
A special publication on Vit Nam’s rice, to be published on the occasion, aims to honour scientists, researchers, businesses and farmers who have contributed to the development of the rice industry.—VNS

Export Promotion: TDAP, REAP to work together for resolving regulatory issues
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) is making efforts to facilitate the trade bodies in resolving their regulatory issues with different Government agencies so that exporters can invariably focus on their export activities, Mr. Riaz Ahmad , Director General, TDAP RD-Central, expressed these views while chairing a meeting with Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP)’s delegation headed by Mr. Safder Hussain Mehkri.
During the meeting, matters related to defunct Quality Review Committee were discussed. It was explained that there is a dire need to conduct research for rice sector. New markets for rice exports are also needed to be explored as appreciated by Chairman. The meeting was concluded with vote of thanks from Mr. Riaz Ahmad to Chairman REAP and other senior office bearers of REAP.***