Saturday, February 09, 2019

9th February,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter


Executive Q&A: Betsy Ward, President & CEO USA Rice Federation
by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net)  4 hours ago 13 views 
In late December 2018, Congress and President Donald Trump completed work on the $867 billion federal Farm Bill, putting in place the five-year framework for the nation’s agricultural policy. The five-year federal agricultural policy and spending measure includes a provision that legalizes industrial hemp and does not include work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, a contentious point of debate that bottled up the bill for months.
Among the highlights touted by federal officials are improving risk management programs; protecting crop insurance; funding trade development; and investing in the future with funding for agri research and beginning farmer programs.
In early January 2019, Betsy Ward, president and CEO of USA Rice Federation, was in Stuttgart for a half-day conference to help rice farmers understand the new federal policy as well as to hear from other state and national speakers. Talk Business & Politics CEO Roby Brock visited with Ward at the Stuttgart conference to learn more about some of the lesser-known aspects included in the Farm Bill.
Roby Brock: The Farm Bill has an interesting marketing provision in it that will allow farmers in Arkansas to do something in Cuba that they haven’t been able to do before. Tell me more about that.
Betsy Ward: Overall, we’re really pleased with the Farm Bill. We worked a long time to basically maintain the provisions that we had on the 2014 Farm Bill, which worked very well for rice. But one of the tweaks that they made was there’s a program that’s funded through the Farm Bill, called the export promotion programs that are managed by USDA. They tweaked it to allow some funding to be used to promote in Cuba, which is kind of interesting since we haven’t really been doing much in Cuba under the Trump administration.
Brock: At the same time, there still is the credit restriction that has been in place, which has hampered efforts to try to do deals with Cuba on top of the fact that there’s still U.S. policy against it. How does all of that work together?
Ward: You’re right. They need cash. They [Cubans] don’t have a lot of money and so the inability of our banks to basically loan money, to give credit to Cubans really restricts their ability to buy a lot of U.S. ag products. They want to buy our rice and corn and chicken and all those things, but the ability to at least go down and promote our products is a step in the right direction. We’d like to see, obviously, more overall opening and Congressman Rick Crawford has been a real champion of that here in Arkansas. We appreciate all he’s done.
Brock: At the time of our talk, we’re in the middle of a federal government shutdown. We also continue with a trade war with China in which both countries are placing tariffs on one another’s products. Eventually, something will change on both fronts. When that does, what opportunities might we see for Arkansas rice producers in China as a result of previous efforts?
Ward: So we’ve been working on market access to China for over 10 years. The issue had been the lack of something called a signatory protocol, which we negotiated an agreement with China last July. It was signed. Probably within a few days of it being signed was when the Trump administration announced the tariffs on steel and aluminum and then other products from China, so the Chinese stopped the forward progress that we were making on rice. There has been a renewed effort. There’s a delegation trying to relieve some of the pressure on agriculture, soybeans in particular, but also rice, is at the top of the list. So we are fairly optimistic that the Chinese will allow rice imports now, and so we’re just looking for the first offer to come. They basically announced between Christmas and New Year’s that they were open for business for rice. Now, they need to actually buy something. But this is potentially a huge market for all of us.
Brock: How big?
Ward: Well, what’s big in China, what’s big in the United States are two different things, but they import a lot of rice. It’s kind of surprising. They grow more rice than any other country in the world, but they also stockpile a lot of rice for food security reasons, so they’ve been importing tremendous amounts. We think even if it’s a couple hundred thousand metric tons, that will be a shot in the arm for the industry. That’s our hope, is a few hundred thousand metric tons to begin with, and then we’ll see.

NFA: Rice buffer stock enough for 78 days

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:16 AM February 09, 2019
The country’s rice buffer stock as of January remains sufficient and is expected to last for more than two months, according to a monitoring report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Rice inventory from the National Food Authority (NFA), households, and commercial warehouses reached 2.5 million metric tons (MT), up 11.4 percent from its level a year ago but 6.23 percent less than the available stocks the month prior. With a daily rice requirement of 32,000 MT, this is equivalent to 78 days’ worth of stocks.
Nearly half of the total, or about 1.25 million MT, were stored in households, while 1.21 million MT were in commercial warehouses. Around 97,000 MT of rice, mostly imported, were in NFA depositories.
Rice stocks level in the household and NFA depositories declined by 18.4 percent and 4.14 percent from the previous month’s levels, respectively, while stocks in commercial warehouses increased by 10.65 percent.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said they were expecting harvest this first semester to be bountiful given favorable weather conditions, while the expected enactment of the Rice Tariffication Bill was seen to amp up national supply. The bill would allow rice imports to flow freely into the country while giving ample protection for local farmers.
As of the fourth week of January, PSA data showed retail prices of regular-milled and well-milled rice registered slight decreases, while the average farm-gate price of palay continued to decline for the fourth consecutive week.
Industry groups are expecting the farm-gate price of palay to decline further with the onset of the harvest season and the entry of imported rice.
Imports commissioned by the NFA last year continued to arrive in the country. As of Feb. 4, nearly 80 percent of the imports have already come in while the remaining volume should arrive before the end of the first quarter.
More imports are expected to flood the market following the directive of President Duterte to ease the restrictions on importing agricultural commodities, including rice.
Nonetheless, NFA said it has been assisting local rice farmers with its aggressive procurement activities. For January, it was able to procure 146,319 bags of palay—way above its previous year’s level of 320 bags.
Both the Department of Agriculture and the NFA see no shortfall happening in the country’s rice supply anytime soon.

https://business.inquirer.net/264763/nfa-rice-buffer-stock-enough-for-78-days#ixzz5f1sJ2xBU 

NFA: Rice buffer stock enough for 78 days

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:16 AM February 09, 2019
The country’s rice buffer stock as of January remains sufficient and is expected to last for more than two months, according to a monitoring report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Rice inventory from the National Food Authority (NFA), households, and commercial warehouses reached 2.5 million metric tons (MT), up 11.4 percent from its level a year ago but 6.23 percent less than the available stocks the month prior. With a daily rice requirement of 32,000 MT, this is equivalent to 78 days’ worth of stocks.
Nearly half of the total, or about 1.25 million MT, were stored in households, while 1.21 million MT were in commercial warehouses. Around 97,000 MT of rice, mostly imported, were in NFA depositories.
Rice stocks level in the household and NFA depositories declined by 18.4 percent and 4.14 percent from the previous month’s levels, respectively, while stocks in commercial warehouses increased by 10.65 percent.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said they were expecting harvest this first semester to be bountiful given favorable weather conditions, while the expected enactment of the Rice Tariffication Bill was seen to amp up national supply. The bill would allow rice imports to flow freely into the country while giving ample protection for local farmers.
As of the fourth week of January, PSA data showed retail prices of regular-milled and well-milled rice registered slight decreases, while the average farm-gate price of palay continued to decline for the fourth consecutive week.
Industry groups are expecting the farm-gate price of palay to decline further with the onset of the harvest season and the entry of imported rice.
Imports commissioned by the NFA last year continued to arrive in the country. As of Feb. 4, nearly 80 percent of the imports have already come in while the remaining volume should arrive before the end of the first quarter.
More imports are expected to flood the market following the directive of President Duterte to ease the restrictions on importing agricultural commodities, including rice.
Nonetheless, NFA said it has been assisting local rice farmers with its aggressive procurement activities. For January, it was able to procure 146,319 bags of palay—way above its previous year’s level of 320 bags.
Both the Department of Agriculture and the NFA see no shortfall happening in the country’s rice supply anytime soon.
Egypt eyes cultivating rice in Gabon
 Gabon’s Foreign Minister Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo (L) with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) on the sidelines of the preparatory meetings of the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on February 8, 2019- Press photo
Fri, Feb. 8, 2019Description: Gabon’s Foreign Minister Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo (L) with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) on the sidelines of  the preparatory meetings of the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on February 8, 2019- Press photo
CAIRO – 8 February 2019: Egypt eyed planting rice, one of the basic commodities for 90 million population, in Gabon after the Egyptian government shrank the cultivated areas of rice due to water shortage it faces.

In his meeting with Gabon’s Foreign Minister Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo on the sidelines of the preparatory meetings of the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed the possibility of allocated joint lands in Gabon to cultivate rice, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement.

Egypt has turned into rice importer following the governmental measures reducing the rice-cultivated areas; on May 21, 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified amendments to the Agriculture Law No. 53 of 1966, per which the government will determine the areas to cultivate certain water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane.

The cultivated areas will be shrunk in the coming seasons as a result of water scarcity, given that one feddan of rice consumes 7,000 cubic meters of water. Egypt needs at least 105 billion cubic meters of water annually to cover the needs of more than 90 million citizens. However, it currently has only 60 billion cubic meters, of which 55.5 billion cubic meters come from the Nile and less than 5 billion cubic meters come from non-renewable subterranean water in the desert.

During the Friday meeting, the both foreign ministers also tackled the bilateral cooperation in woood industry as Egypt aims to establish a wood factory in the Egyptian Economic Zones (EZones) in Suez governorate, the statement added.

Shoukry also extended his congratulations to Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo for assuming the post of Gabon’s Foreign Ministry in January, the statement said.
Local rice millers lament smuggling of foreign rice into Nigeria
by  Tunde Ososanya - Rice smuggling into Nigeria has become a source of concern for local rice millers and farmers in the country - Local rice millers say massive rice smuggling into the country is threatening their confidence and ability - The rice millers lamented that this is happening in spite of the fact that the importation of the product by land is prohibited Babatunde Ajibola, head, media and communications, Elephant Group Plc, on Friday in Lagos said that massive rice smuggling into the country is threatening the confidence and ability of local rice millers and farmers. Ajibola said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the outcome of rice stakeholders meeting in Lagos on Thursday, February 7. Legit.ng gathers that he noted that a visit to major rice markets, such as Iddo, Daleko, Ketu, Mile 12, Alaba and Sango-Ota, revealed that the various brands on display were imported with few or no local ones.

Olupohunda He said: “This unprecedented flooding of the nation’s major markets with smuggled imported rice is of great concern to investors in rice, Agro companies and farmers in spite of government’s ban on the products. “We highlighted at the stakeholders meeting we just-concluded now, that almost all the varieties of rice in the market presently are foreign and they come through the land borders. “This is happening in spite of the fact that the importation of the product by land is prohibited. “Smuggling of foreign rice into the country has become a big business which calls for a serious attention. “The influx of smuggled rice has rendered local rice milling companies and farmers inactive as the local rice produced are not patronised due to difference in their prices.
“This of course, does not encourage local production or help in boosting investors’ confidence in the rice industry.” Ajibola noted that rice smuggling into the country would soon translate into massive job loss for Nigerians working in the local rice production companies. He called on the federal government to put a stop to the massive smuggling of rice into country if its quest to encourage local production was anything to go by. Ajibola said that millers and farmers had invested heavily on the local production of rice in line with the government 's agricultural plan. He said the federal government’s plan to boost local production of rice by placing ban on the importation of foreign rice might not work as local rice would not be able to compete with foreign rice. Ajibola said that while smugglers were smiling to the bank, major Nigerian key players in the local rice business were gnashing their teeth and slipping into debt. He said that smuggled rice also posed serious health hazard for consumers as some had expired and did not undergo adequate quality standards check to certify them good for consumption. Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the federal government said Nigeria was no longer importing rice needed to be consumed by Nigerians across the country. Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Policy Development (N-PoD) summit, on Tuesday, February 5, a special assistant to the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, development finance, Nduka Eluhaiwe, said the president Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had ensured an end to rice importation. The event themed: “Interrogating the Change Agenda: Challenges and Lessons Learnt” was organised by the office of the special assistant to the president on policy development and analysis. NAIJ.com (naija.ng) -> Legit.ng We have updated to serve you better Customs Seize N1bn Worth of Codeine: Importation of Fairly-Used Bags, Shoes Banned | Legit: https://www.legit.ng/1220675-local-rice-millers-lament-smuggling-foreign-rice-nigeria.html


Smuggling Of Foreign Rice Threatening Our Confidence, Says Local Rice Millers

Babatunde Ajibola, Head, Media and Communications, Elephant Group Plc, on Friday in Lagos said that massive rice smuggling into the country was threatening the confidence and ability of local rice millers and farmers.
 On Feb 8, 2019
Description: RiceBabatunde Ajibola, Head, Media and Communications, Elephant Group Plc, on Friday in Lagos said that massive rice smuggling into the country was threatening the confidence and ability of local rice millers and farmers.
Ajibola said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on the outcome of rice stakeholders meeting on Thursday in Lagos.
He noted that a visit to major rice markets, such as Iddo, Daleko, Ketu, Mile 12, Alaba and Sango-Ota, revealed that the various brands on display were imported with few or no local ones.
He said: “This unprecedented flooding of the nation’s major markets with smuggled imported rice is of great concern to investors in rice, Agro companies and farmers in spite of government’s ban on the products.
“We highlighted at the stakeholders meeting we just-concluded now, that almost all the varieties of rice in the market presently are foreign and they come through the land borders.
“This is happening in spite of the fact that the importation of the product by land is prohibited.
“Smuggling of foreign rice into the country has become a big business which calls for a serious attention.
“The influx of smuggled rice has rendered local rice milling companies and farmers inactive as the local rice produced are not patronised due to difference in their prices.
“This of course, does not encourage local production or help in boosting investors’ confidence in the rice industry.”
Ajibola noted that rice smuggling into the country would soon translate into massive job loss for Nigerians working in the local rice production companies.
He called on the Federal Government to put a stop to the massive smuggling of rice into country if its quest to encourage local production was anything to by.
Ajibola said that millers and farmers had invested heavily on the local production of rice in line with the government agricultural plan.
He said the Federal Government’s plan to boost local production of rice by placing ban on the importation of foreign rice might not work as local rice would not be able to compete with foreign rice.
Ajibola said that while smugglers were smiling to the bank, major Nigerian key players in the local rice business were gnashing their teeth and slipping into debt.
He said that smuggled rice also posed serious health hazard for consumers as some had expired and did not undergo adequate quality standards check to certify them good for consumption.

Massive rice smuggling’ threatening local production — Group

Description: Bags of rice
Bags of rice
Babatunde Ajibola, head media and communications, Elephant Group Plc, on Friday in Lagos said that massive rice smuggling into the country was threatening the confidence and ability of local rice millers and farmers.
Mr Ajibola said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the outcome of rice stakeholders meeting on Thursday in Lagos.
He noted that a visit to major rice markets, such as Iddo, Daleko, Ketu, Mile 12, Alaba and Sango-Ota, revealed that the various brands on display were imported with few or no local ones.
“This unprecedented flooding of the nation’s major markets with smuggled imported rice is of great concern to investors in rice, Agro companies and farmers in spite of government’s ban on the products.
“We highlighted at the stakeholders meeting we just-concluded now, that almost all the varieties of rice in the market presently are foreign and they come through the land borders.
“This is happening in spite of the fact that the importation of the product by land is prohibited.
“Smuggling of foreign rice into the country has become a big business which calls for a serious attention,” he told NAN.
“The influx of smuggled rice has rendered local rice milling companies and farmers inactive as the local rice produced are not patronised due to difference in their prices.
“This of course, does not encourage local production or help in boosting investors’ confidence in the rice industry.”
Mr Ajibola noted that rice smuggling into the country would soon translate into massive job loss for Nigerians working in the local rice production companies.
He called on the Federal Government to put a stop to the massive smuggling of rice into country if its quest to encourage local production was anything to by.
Mr Ajibola said that millers and farmers had invested heavily on the local production of rice in line with the government agricultural plan.
He said the Federal Government’s plan to boost local production of rice by placing ban on the importation of foreign rice might not work as local rice would not be able to compete with foreign rice.
Mr Ajibola said that while smugglers were smiling to the bank, major Nigerian key players in the local rice business were gnashing their teeth and slipping into debt.
He said that smuggled rice also posed serious health hazard for consumers as some had expired and did not undergo adequate quality standards check to certify them good for consumption.

PDS scam: FIR against top cops for destroying evidence

| TNN | Updated: Feb 9, 2019, 12:22 IST
RAIPUR: In a double twist in the multi-crore PDS scam, state Economic Offences Wing (EOW) registered an FIR against DGP Mukesh Gupta and SP Rajnesh Singh late Thursday night for alleged illegal phone tapping and interception of messages, criminal conspiracy and forgery. On Friday, the EOW officer, whose statement led to the FIR, moved high court to claim he was pressurized to implicate them.

HC refused to entertain the petition of EOW inspector R K Dubey at this stage, saying that "it will open the flood gates”. “If such a course is adopted, then both executive and judicial function will come in conflict,” the court said.

Both IPS officers were with EOW in the erstwhile BJP administration — Gupta, in fact, headed it — and are now being investigated by the same wing.

“All telephone interceptions were lawful and with the approval of home department in every case,” said Gupta. It was under Gupta that the scam was exposed. He was transferred to police HQ by the Congress government, and Singh, of 1997 batch, was shifted as SP of Narayanpur district. Ever since it came to light in 2015, the Congress — which was in opposition then — has been describing it as the “mother of all scams”, claiming that it’s worth over Rs 36,000 crore. The FIR was registered after EOW’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) found that certain documents had been “tampered” with whiteners, say sources. “Subsequent probe led to revelation of alleged fabrication of documents, criminal conspiracy and many other omissions and commissions, including issues related to unlawful interception of messages,” EOW SP Kalyan Elesela told TOI.

During the SIT probe, investigators noticed over-writing in many official documents, and some seemed to have been fabricated through back-dating, said EOW sources. When some clerks were questioned, they said they were ordered to do so by senior officials of EOW.
After Congress came to power, DGP Mukesh Gupta — under whose tenure the NAN scam was exposed — was shifted to PHQ. The Bhupesh Baghel government set up an SIT in January 2019 as it felt the probe wasn’t conducted properly during the BJP regime and that many influential persons, who were allegedly involved in the scam, were deliberately left out.
One of the key issues was that the earlier probe had investigated only six pages of a diary — seized in a raid on state civil supplies corporation office — which contained 107 pages with names of alleged beneficiaries of the scam. It’s alleged that names of many politicians and bureaucrats figure in the diary.
The anti-corruption bureau had named 27 accused in the PDS scam — popularly known as NAN scam from Nagarik Aapoorti Nigam — and filed two chargesheets. Among them are two IAS officers. According to ACB, the corporation allowed rice millers to supply poor quality PDS rice to the BJP-led state government in lieu of commission, which was then distributed among some government officials. During the raids, ACB seized around Rs 4 crore in cash from the drawers of bureaucrats.

 

 


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/67906127.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Can dried fruits benefit blood sugar management?
By
 -
February 8, 2019
Description: dried fruits
Researchers investigated the benefits of dried fruits and how they affect blood sugar spikes when compared to other carbohydrates.
Fruits are widely recommended for achieving stability in health mainly due to their high anti-oxidative effects. Fruits are rich in vitamins and essential minerals important for ensuring adequate support for growth, repair, detoxification, and immune support needed for stability and longevity.
Food such as rice, white bread, most cereals, potatoes, pasta, beans, lentils, oat grains and barley are all rich in carbohydrates. When these carbohydrates are digested in the body, the body processes them as glucose. Fruits also contain carbohydrates but when they are digested, the end product is fructose. Both glucose and fructose are different forms of sugar absorbed in the blood.
Carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels faster than other food sources
The rate at which the different forms of sugar is released into the blood determines the rate at which the blood sugar rises. This forms the basis of most sugar-related disease conditions including diabetes, obesity, Cushing’s disease, insulin-resistant conditions, and other metabolic imbalances. This response, termed the glycemic index response, is a way to explain how different sources of carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that some carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index raise the blood sugar faster than other food sources. Food such as potatoes, white bread, and rice may raise the blood sugar faster than oat, beans, barley or pasta because these are digested more slowly resulting in gradual increase in blood sugar and less demand on insulin. Fresh fruits have also been found not to raise the blood sugar as much as other carbohydrates.
In a recent study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes, researchers in Toronto conducted a randomized, multiple cross-over trial involving 10 healthy men and women to investigate how dried fruits can influence the rate at which blood sugar rises when compared with other carbohydrates.
The participants each underwent 15 separate study meals. The meals consisted of three white bread meals (control group) and 12 dried fruit test meals. The test meals included each of four dried fruits – dates, apricots, raisins, and sultanas. Some participants received the white bread with dried fruits while some received only the dried fruits.
Dried fruits were associated with lower blood-sugar spikes
This study found that the individuals who ate white bread with dried fruits had a lower rate in blood sugar spikes (lower glycemic response), and lower after-meal blood sugar spike (postprandial glycemic response). This was thought to be due to the ability of fructose (the sugar in dried fruits) to displace sucrose (the sugar in white bread) in the digestive pathway unlike those that received white bread alone who showed higher blood sugar spike. Those that had the dried fruits alone had a much lower blood-sugar spike (lower glycemic index).
This study is in support of previous studies that demonstrated the efficacy of dried fruits in reducing rate of blood sugar surge and the insulin level following a meal compared to the blood sugar surge in those who ate other carbohydrate meals alone.
This study demonstrated that dried fruits reduces the blood sugar response when taken in combination white bread and may be a very promising benefit for those living with diabetes and insulin resistance conditions due to their ability to lower blood-sugar spikes.
Dried fruits were found to prevent a surge in the blood sugar even when consumed with other carbohydrates and it was also found to be very beneficial in the control of post-meal blood sugar spikes.
Longer trials needed to confirm if dried fruits can be used in diabetes management
In conclusion, the researchers determined that dried fruits have a strong component for the regulation of blood sugar and they do not raise the blood sugar as much as other carbohydrates. They can also displace the glycemic effect of other carbohydrates when taken together. Therefore, the use of dried fruits should be employed in the management of those living with diabetes or prediabetic state.
However, the researchers suggested the need for a longer-term trial to confirm if dried fruits can offer a sustainable improvement in blood sugar control and management of diabetes and prediabetic state.
Written by Ijeoma C. Izundu, MBBS
References:
1.    Viguiliouk E, Jenkins A, Blanco Mejia S, Sievenpiper J, Kendall C. Effect of dried fruit on postprandial glycemia: a randomized acute-feeding trial. Nutrition & Diabetes. 2018;8(1).
2.    Study finds four dried fruits have lower glycemic index (GI) than white bread [internet]. EurekAlert!. 2019 [cited  10 Decemember 2018]. Available from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-12/smh-sff121018.php




USA Rice Members Update and Educate on Capitol Hill 

WASHINGTON, DC -- USA Rice's Government Affairs Conference wrapped up here after four days of meetings in and around the nation's capital.  About 150 members from all six rice-producing states took part in more than 90 meetings with Senators, Representatives, their staffs, and members of the Trump Administration. 

Of particular interest was Farm Bill implementation, trade issues, and rice pretenders.

"It's not a secret that all the conflict in Washington is impacting government results, but the last Congress did get a Farm Bill through, and we opened every meeting by thanking the Members who voted for it and the staff on the Agriculture Committees for what was a very heavy lift," said Charley Mathews, Jr., a California rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice.  "But we are also looking at a large freshman class, many of whom are on the ag committees but don't have a lot of experience in the sector, at least not with rice.  So there was a lot of education going on as well, which is very important as we move to the Farm Bill implementation phase."

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Rep. Collin Peterson
gets a laugh
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USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward said the rice pretender issue struck chords with several Members.

"The Standard of Identity issue goes beyond rice and processed vegetables mislabeling themselves as rice," she said.  "The dairy industry and the meat industry are all facing similar issues so many Members were familiar with the notion of mislabeled foods creating consumer confusion.  There was a lot of interest in clearing things up for American consumers."

And with about 50 percent of the annual U.S. rice crop exported each year, there is rarely a USA Rice - government meeting that doesn't at least touch on the topic of trade.

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Rep. Mike Conaway
tells Farm Bill tales
"Our champions are well-aware of our goals here - expanded existing markets such as Mexico, Japan, and Iraq, and finding new opportunities in promising markets such as China," said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international.  "In addition to updating Members on developments in these and other markets, we also had the opportunity to push for increased funding for USDA programs that promote U.S. ag products overseas on which we and many commodities rely."

At the wrap-up meeting on Wednesday afternoon, USA Rice Vice President Government Affairs Ben Mosley thanked USA Rice members for taking time away from their farms and businesses to come to Washington and advocate on behalf of industry issues they face each and every day.  "We also appreciate Members of Congress and their staffs for meeting with our members this week," he added.

#RiceOnTheHill:  USA Rice members meet with Rep. Clay Higgins




Thank You for Your Service 

WASHINGTON, DC -- This week during the annual Government Affairs Conference, USA Rice presented Skylar Sowder and Trevor White with the USA Rice Congressional Staff Award in appreciation for their contributions to the U.S. rice industry.
  
Sowder is the legislative assistant for Senator John Boozman (R-AR) handling agriculture and related issues.  Prior to joining Boozman's staff, she worked on the House Agriculture Committee for both former chairmen, Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Mike Conaway (R-TX).  White is on the House Agriculture Committee staff, working for Conaway on commodity support programs and crop insurance. 
 
"We couldn't think of more deserving individuals to receive these awards this year," said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs.  "Skylar and Trevor are true champions for the rice industry and we are very happy to honor them for the work they do."

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WASDE Report Released   

WASHINGTON, DC -- This month's outlook for 2018/19 U.S. rice is for larger supplies, higher use, and increased ending stocks.  2018/19 all rice production is 224.2 million cwt, up nearly 6 million cwt from the previous estimate and up 26 percent from last year with long-grain accounting for most of the increase.  The all rice average yield is estimated at 7,692 pounds per acre, up 170 pounds from the prior estimate and the second highest on record.  Long grain production is raised to 164.0 million cwt and medium and shortgrain production is raised to 60.3 million.  All rice domestic and residual usage is increased by 2 million cwt to 135 million on higher than expected usage for August-November as implied by the NASS Rice Stocks report.  Projected U.S. all rice exports are increased by one million cwt to 100 million, with the increase for long grain on reduced competition expected from Brazil with a smaller crop.  Projected 2018/19 all rice ending stocks are increased 2.9 million cwt to 47.1, up 60 percent from last year.  The projected 2018/19 all rice season-average farm price range is unchanged at $11.60 to $12.60 per cwt.

Global 2018/19 rice supplies are increased by 5.1 million tons to 657.9 million, mostly on higher production for China.  Based on National Bureau of Statistics data, China's 2018/19 rice production is raised nearly five million tons to 148.5 million and is virtually unchanged from last year.  World 2018/19 consumption is increased 700,000 tons to 490.3 million on higher expected use in China, Nepal, and the Philippines more than offsetting reduced use in Brazil and Nigeria.  Global 2018/19 trade is lowered marginally to 47.7 million tons as reduced exports by Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma are not completely offset by higher Chinese exports.  Because of greater supplies and competitive export prices, China's exports are raised to the highest level since 2002/03.  Nevertheless, China remains the largest global rice importer at 4.5 million tons.  World ending stocks are projected to increase to a record-large 167.6 million tons, led by China, which accounts for 69 percent of global stocks.

Go 
here to read the full report. 
USA Rice Daily
Farmers urged to adopt ‘lucrative’ long grain rice
Description: https://drflkq9jqzld5.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/styles/mystyle/public/main/articles/2019/02/08/rwanda.jpgRwanda Agriculture Board urged rice farmers to adopt long grain rice to get the market of their harvest. Sam Ngendahimana. Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) has urged rice farmers to adopt long grain rice due to its high demand and the high price it fetches. That was said Tuesday by RAB General Director Patrick Karangwa while addressing an issue raised by farmers that they do not have market for their harvest, especially in Nyagatare. He advised them to adopt and grow the long grain rice to meet its high demand and to increase their benefit as that variety is now at a high price.  “We have 37 rice varieties. Of those, 29 are long grain, while only eight are short grain known as Kigoli but still short grain rice occupies 60 per cent of rice grown in Rwanda.  Farmers tend to prefer growing kigoli for its higher yield.
However, long grain rice is lighter and has higher market preference.  We have stepped up efforts to streamline rice seed systems and extension,” he said “Kigoli is not a bad variety as some think. It is also delicious. But its preference has been higher in the countryside, while long grain is most preferred in towns and restaurants”. He noted that there is no lack of good varieties in Rwanda. It is just which ones are being used by farmers mostly. “We have many varieties but now that it’s obvious that our consumers like long grain rice, we have to meet their demand,” he noted. Karangwa also said that MINICOM has now set prices that help address the problem; long grain price is assigned a higher price. Farmers are now expected to grow more the long grain rice. Long grain for Rwf290 and short grain Rwf270.
David Claudian Mushabe, The Mayor of Nyagatare District, said that they are aware of that problem and are working with concerned organs to address it. “There are three cooperatives that still have no market. More than a half of their harvest is still in stores. We know the problem and we are working on it. Besides, we are also encouraging farmers to adopt the long grain rice to meet the demand as it is the one most popular in Rwanda,” he noted. Appolinaire Gahiza the President of Rwanda Rice Farmers Federation (FUCORIRWA) said farmers like the short variety because of its higher yield and resistance to disease. “RAB has many varieties but may not match with our climate and could cause losses. That is the main reason for not growing other varieties.  Meanwhile, we keep on sensitizing farmers to grow what consumers want,” he emphasised.

Rice stocks climb at start of 2019

PHILSTAR
THE COUNTRY’S rice stocks totalled 2.55 million metric tons (MT) as of Jan. 1, up by 11.40% from the previous year’s level of 2.29 million MT, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Friday. Description: NFA rice
PSA’s Rice and Corn Stocks Inventory report showed that rice stocks increased in commercial warehouses but went down in households and warehouses of the National Food Authority (NFA).
Inventories in commercial warehouses increased by 40.59% to 1.21 million MT as of Jan. 1 from 857,280 MT the previous year.
Meanwhile, household stocks decreased by 5.88% to 1.25 million MT as of the start of the year from 1.33 million MT a year ago. NFA stocks also declined to 97,910 MT from 100,860 MT last year.
Household stocks contributed 48.91% to the total inventory of the staple at of Jan. 1, while commercial stocks comprised 47.25% and NFA warehouses, 3.84%.
Meanwhile, the PSA reported that the average farmgate price of palay was logged at P19.73 per kilogram (/kg) in the fourth week of January, down 0.30% from P19.79/kg a week ago.
Average wholesale price of well-milled rice was at P41.50/kg in the fourth week, lower by 0.17%. Average retail price of well-milled rice, on the other hand, was at P45/kg in the fourth week, down 0.27% from the previous week.
On the other hand, the average wholesale price of regular milled rice was at P38.25/kg, declining by 0.21% from the prior week, while average retail price was at P41.16/kg, down 0.60%, according to the PSA.
CORN STOCKS
As for the country’s corn stocks inventory, the total as of Jan. 1 was at 676,130 MT, down 28.95% from 951,600 MT at the start of 2018.
Commercial warehouses’ stocks decreased by 36.03% to 560,520 MT as of Jan. 1 from 876,180 MT the previous year. Household stocks, meanwhile, increased by 54.17% to 115,610 MT from 74,990 MT year-on-year.
Meanwhile, NFA held zero stocks of corn as of Jan. 1.
PSA data showed that the average farmgate price of yellow corngrain fell by 0.57% to P13.90/kg in the fourth week of January from P13.98/kg the previous week. Its average wholesale price, meanwhile, rose 0.05% to P20.31/kg from P20.30/kg.
The average retail price of yellow corngrain also went up 0.28% to P25.18/kg in the fourth week of January from P25.11/kg a week ago.
White corngrain’s average farmgate price, meanwhile, remained at P13.98/kg in the fourth week of January. Its average wholesale price also remained at P20.80/kg, while average retail price was steady at P28.12/kg. — RJNI


Rice exports see solid demand due to competitive US prices

Demand from the mills is said to be quiet, but exports are going strong, with US prices deemed competitive in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin.
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Published
 
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Wheat

Winter Wheat markets were mixed again last week after a good rally on Friday pulled Chicago SRW and Minneapolis Spring markets higher, but left HRW with slight losses. Futures rallied on Friday on news that Ethiopia had tendered for 450,000 tons of world Wheat and that US Wheat would be considered and would be price competitive. Traders were waiting for demand news or at least some signs of improved demand. The only demand news released by USDA was the weekly export sales report from December 20, and this news was too old to affect prices. USDA said it would catch up with the weekly reports by the end of the month. The China meetings last week in Washington apparently ended on a positive note, and there is hope for some demand from that country as well as others as US Wheat remains competitively priced. They were also keeping an eye on the weather as extreme and record cold that invaded the US Midwest last week. The SRW crop could be at risk, especially in areas ill little or no snow cover. Some early estimates said that up to 20% of that crop could have been lost or damaged.  There are no reports of damage so far from the Great Plains. USDA said that the January reports will be released with the February reports on February 8. The Wheat Seedings report could easily show that not all of the Winter Wheat got planted in the Midwest and Great Plains due to wet conditions in the Fall planting period. The price action has been positive and implies that higher prices are possible in the short to medium term. However, prices are working in a range for now.
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Weekly Chicago Soft Red Winter Wheat Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly Chicago Hard Red Winter Wheat Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly Minneapolis Hard Red Spring Wheat Futures © Jack Scoville

Corn

Corn was higher on Friday, but a little lower for the week as the market. Oats were also lower for the week. The first weekly export sales report since the government shutdown was released and it showed strong demand. The report was from December 20 and was considered too old to do much for prices. USDA will catch up on the rest of the weekly reports by late this month. USDA will issue the January reports along with the February reports on Friday. The Corn data for last year is expected to show reduced production. Demand could be a little weaker as well, especially with the current weakness in the ethanol market. It remains dry and hot in central and northern Brazil, but the weather patterns are starting to change and feature at least some showers in important Winter Corn growing areas. The Soybeans harvest is expanding in Mato Grosso and Parana, and farmers will be ready to plant the winter Corn once the Soybeans are out. The harvest pace and planting pace have been ahead of normal there and also in Parana. The Corn market still finds increased selling interest when prices try to get close to the 390 March area, and has been able to find support near 370 March. Trends are currently sideways on the daily charts and sideways on the weekly charts.
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Weekly Corn Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly Oats Futures © Jack Scoville

Soybeans and soybean meal

Soybeans and Soybean Meal were lower last week as movement was seen in the US-China trade dispute. There was apparently good progress made at the talks, and word was leaked that any deal now would include a commitment from China to buy another five million tons of US Soybeans. There was talk that China had already bought at least one million tons. This news allowed Soybeans to rally for most of Friday, but late selling took the market well off the highs and futures closed near the lows of the day.
 Trends are sideways on the weekly charts for these markets, and the fundamentals of big supplies might keep rallies in check. US Soybean Meal supplies should be increasing as crushers look to produce Soybean Oil due to higher prices in that product, and Soybean Meal trends are starting to turn down. There are plenty of Soybeans to sell from the US and South America. USDA released its first weekly export sales report since the shutdown and announced part of the sale of about 5.0 million tons to China that were made in the last month. It will catch up with the weekly reports by late this month. It will release the January reports along with the February reports on Friday. Soybeans remain a weather market. South American weather remains too wet in Argentina and southern Brazil and too dry in western Parana and parts of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. These weather trends are finally starting to change, but it is too late to help most Soybeans in Brazil. There have been reports of losses in the early harvest areas of western Parana and Mato Grosso. Private Brazil production estimates range from about 110 million tons to about 115 million tons.

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Weekly Chicago Soybeans Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly Chicago Soybean Meal Futures © Jack Scoville

Rice

Rice was a little higher Friday and slightly lower for the week in very quiet trading. Weekly charts show that futures are near strong resistance areas, and the quiet tone in the cash market is reflecting the lack of farmer interest in selling. Demand from the mills is said to be quiet, but export demand should be solid as US prices are competitive into Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. Basis levels remain generally firm in Arkansas, but are weak in Texas. The Arkansas market needs a little Rice and is not getting much offer from the producers. Basis levels have shown some weakness near the Gulf coast due to light demand. Producers do not seem interested in further sales at this time, and prices are too cheap for them right now. South American weather has not been good for growing Rice, and internal prices there have not interested producers. Ideas are that production will be less in Mercosur again this year. The weather is a problem in the US as it has been too wet near the Gulf Coast for producers to begin fieldwork.
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Weekly Chicago Rice Futures © Jack Scoville

Palm oil and vegetable oils

World vegetable oils prices were mostly a little lower on reports and ideas that demand is improving. Only Palm Oil managed to close with slight gains on ideas of stronger demand. Exports from Malaysia have improved, and production should be starting a seasonal decline. Malaysian export taxes are 0%, and Indian import taxes are currently very low and allow for imports at profitable prices. Trading interest in Palm Oil will be limited this week due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Daily charts show and weekly charts show futures mostly in up trends, especially for Palm Oil and Soybean Oil. Canola is the weaker market as the Canadian Dollar has been strong and due to worries about Chinese demand. Soybean Oil closed slightly lower despite Palm Oil strength and better demand ideas. Domestic and export demand is thought to be stronger due to biofuels demand as Soy bean Oil is cheaper into some areas than Palm Oil.
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Weekly Malaysian Palm Oil Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly Chicago Soybean Oil Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly Canola Futures © Jack Scoville

Cotton

Cotton was a little lower last week and trends are sideways on the daily and the weekly charts. Weak overall demand continues to impact the US market, but word of smaller supplies is providing the support. USDA showed good export demand on its first weekly export sales report since the shutdown, but the data was deemed too old to offer any support to prices. USDA will catch up with the weekly data by late this month and will release the January data along with the February data at the end of this week. Ideas are that Cotton production can be reduced as some of the crop was left in the fields well into the Winter season. US producers report that there is still a lot of Cotton out in the fields to be harvested, and the quality of the fiber is going down. At least some of the unharvested crop might have to be abandoned. World production and supplies are going still lower due to bad weather in the growing season for major producers around the world, including India, Pakistan, and Australia. India and Pakistan are expected to import more Cotton this year to cover the short domestic production. China had problems with its growing weather, too, and has been forced to import a lot of Cotton this year. Demand for US Cotton has been disappointing. China has not bought any US Cotton this year and has been active in other markets, especially India. The US has had disputes this year with other major importers such as Turkey, and this could impact demand for the US. US prices are down and China might start to look at the US crop, but there have been worries about the quality of the US crop due to some extreme growing conditions in Texas and the Southeast over the Summer and Fall. Ideas are that the quality worries have kept some importers of US Cotton away from the market.

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Weekly US Cotton Futures © Jack Scoville

Frozen concentrated orange juice and citrus

FCOJ was higher on Friday, and higher for the week in reversal trading. Trends are now sideways on the weekly charts.  A reversal higher often happens at this time of year. The market has absorbed speculative long liquidation and producer selling through the Winter as no freeze has developed. Longer range forecasts show that there is little chance for a freeze to develop this month, and then it will be getting to be too late for a freeze to be seen in the state of Florida. The Oranges harvest is active in Florida as the weather is warm and mostly dry. The fruit is abundant, but arrivals to packinghouses and processors are reported behind last year. Florida producers are seeing small sized to good sized fruit, and work in groves maintenance is active. Irrigation is being used in all areas. Packing houses are open to process fruit for the fresh market, and all processors are open in the state to take packing house eliminations and fresh fruit. Mostly good conditions are reported in Brazil, and some beneficial rains should be seen this week.
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Weekly FCOJ Futures © Jack Scoville

Coffee

Futures were lower on Friday and lower for the week in both New York and London. New York failed once again to turn trends up, but prices still held the recent trading range. Weekly chart trends are sideways in London. Brazil should be getting past the gut slot of its harvest, and the strong export pace from the country should start to turn down. Brazil had a big production year for the current crop, but the next crop should be less as it is the off year for production. Ideas are that the current production of 62 or 63 or more million bags can become about 52 million bags next year. El Nino is fading, but remains in the forecast, and Coffee areas in Brazil could be affected by drought that could hurt production even more. Many areas are dry now, but showers are in the forecast for this week. Vietnam is active in its harvest. Selling will be less this week due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Production in Vietnam is estimated less than 30 million bags due to uneven weather during the growing season.
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Weekly New York Arabica Coffee Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly London Robusta Coffee Futures © Jack Scoville

Sugar  

Both markets moved lower on Friday, but a littler higher for the week. The weekly charts in both markets show mixed trends and the market appears to be searching for a direction at this time. Petroleum futures appear to have made some short term lows at this time, and petroleum futures strength seems to be helping change the tone in Sugar. Brazil has been using a majority of its Sugarcane harvest to produce ethanol this year instead of Sugar. Unica reported that In the season from April 1 through Jan. 16, the mills crushed 562.7 million tons of cane, down 3.6% from the same period a year earlier. Sugar production fell nearly 27% to 26.4 million tons, and ethanol output rose almost 20% to 30.2 billion liters. The production mix for the season through Jan. 16 was 35.5% sugar to 64.5% ethanol. A year earlier, the mix was 46.9% sugar and 53.1% ethanol. There are doubts on just how much production will be seen this year in India. Northwest India had been experiencing hot and dry weather that could cut yields. It has not announced a reduction in its export goal of 5.0 million tons this year, but it appears that the country will not export nearly that much. Some industry sources told wire services that exports could be only half of the target. The government is now exploring ethanol use for the surplus. Dry conditions continue in northern Brazil and there are frequent rains in Rio Grande do Sul. Very good conditions are reported in Thailand, but the next production could be less as farmers might switch to other crops due to low prices for Sugarcane. Thailand has crushed 45.1 million tons of Sugarcane this year, from 34.6 million last year. It has produced 4.5 million tons of Sugar, from 3.4 million tons last year.
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Weekly New York World Raw Sugar Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly London White Sugar Futures © Jack Scoville

Cocoa

Futures closed lower for the week in New York and lower in London as the new main crop harvest continues in West Africa. Trends are down. The outlook for strong production in the coming year is still around, and ports are said to have plenty of Cocoa on offer. The main crop harvest is active in West Africa. Harmattan winds and hot and dry conditions have moved into West Africa. The winds have stayed to the north of primary production areas so far this season. These conditions can take moisture out of the soil very rapidly and cause some very significant stress on the trees. Conditions appear good in East Africa and Asia. Demand is said to be improving as offers from the new harvest start to increase.
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Weekly New York Cocoa Futures © Jack Scoville
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Weekly London Cocoa Futures © Jack Scoville
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
Jack Scoville is a futures market analyst specializing in grains, softs, rice, oilseeds, and tropical products such as coffee and sugar. In addition to writing daily market commentaries in both English and Spanish, he offers brokerage services to an international clientele of agricultural producers, processors, exporters, and other professional traders. He is regularly quoted by major wire services including Dow Jones, AP, and Reuters. His comments are sourced by newspapers around the world and on various radio and television programs.

Duterte to sign rice tariffication bill despite opposition

February 7, 2019
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is slated to sign the bill lifting restrictions on rice importations despite opposition from industry stakeholders, Malacañang said on Thursday, February 7.

The President met Wednesday, February 6 with rice industry stakeholders, who urged that certain provisions of the bill be vetoed.

They raised concern that the measure would affect the farmers' livelihood and availaility of rice for poor consumers.

"Well, the long and short of it is that those he (Duterte) met last night were against [the rice tariffication bill]," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

"But according to the President, the policy would be to the greater good. Yun ang ibibigay niya. So kahit na kumontra sila, mukhang itutuloy niya (That's what he wants. So despite the opposition, he would push through with the signing)," he added.

In October last year, the President certified the rice tariffication bill as urgent to address the urgent need to improve rice supply in the country, prevent artificial rice shortage, reduce the prices of rice in the market, and curtail the prevalence of corruption and cartel domination in the rice industry.

A month after the certification of the measure as urgent, the bicameral conference committee ratified the report on the proposed measure aimed at lifting quantitative restrictions on rice importation and allowing private traders to import commodity from countries of their choice.

Under the bill, a 25-percent duty will be imposed on rice imports from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member-states, while a 50-percent rate will apply to imports from non-members of the regional bloc.

The measure would also create the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or a special rice buffer fund with an initial P10-billion annual fund, in a bid to ensure rice production competitiveness.

Asked as to when Duterte would sign the rice tarrification bill, Panelo merely said: "It would be forthcoming." (SunStar Philippines)
Egypt eyes cultivating rice in Gabon Saturday February 9, 2019
Gabon’s Foreign Minister Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo (L) with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) on the sidelines of the preparatory meetings of the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on February 8, 2019- Press photo


Fri, Feb. 8, 2019
CAIRO – 8 February 2019: Egypt eyed planting rice, one of the basic commodities for 90 million population, in Gabon after the Egyptian government shrank the cultivated areas of rice due to water shortage it faces.

In his meeting with Gabon’s Foreign Minister Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo on the sidelines of the preparatory meetings of the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed the possibility of allocated joint lands in Gabon to cultivate rice, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement.

Egypt has turned into rice importer following the governmental measures reducing the rice-cultivated areas; on May 21, 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified amendments to the Agriculture Law No. 53 of 1966, per which the government will determine the areas to cultivate certain water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane.

The cultivated areas will be shrunk in the coming seasons as a result of water scarcity, given that one feddan of rice consumes 7,000 cubic meters of water. Egypt needs at least 105 billion cubic meters of water annually to cover the needs of more than 90 million citizens. However, it currently has only 60 billion cubic meters, of which 55.5 billion cubic meters come from the Nile and less than 5 billion cubic meters come from non-renewable subterranean water in the desert.

During the Friday meeting, the both foreign ministers also tackled the bilateral cooperation in woood industry as Egypt aims to establish a wood factory in the Egyptian Economic Zones (EZones) in Suez governorate, the statement added.

Shoukry also extended his congratulations to Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo for assuming the post of Gabon’s Foreign Ministry in January, the statement said.

Cambodian Rice Federation says Cambodian rice exports continues despite EU imposed tariffs

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00:0005:28
EU has imposed tariffs on rice imports from Cambodia (Meng Phalla)
Cambodian Rice Federation has claimed that the decision to tax on Cambodian rice imported into the European Union has not blocked Cambodia's rice exports, just demanding Cambodia to strengthen its competitiveness by reducing costs and expand the market.
By
Meng Phalla
Published on
Friday, February 8, 2019 - 16:40
File size
10.02 MB
Duration
5 min 28 sec

Paddy procurement apace in Bengal; hits 35% of target

Shobha Roy  Kolkata | Updated on February 08, 2019 Published on February 08, 2019
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A file photo of women harvesting paddy crop at a field in Birbhum district of West Bengal   -  PTI

State plans to buy 52 lakh tonnes

The West Bengal government has completed a third of its targeted procurement of 52 lakh tonne (lt) of paddy in the current (2018-19) marketing season.
According to Pradip Kumar Mazumdar, Chief Advisor, Agriculture, the State has procured close to 18 lt paddy so far this season. The procurement season typically runs from November to October. However, given the pace of procurement, the State government is confident of achieving its target by March.
West Bengal procured around 25 lt of paddy in 2017-18.

MSP above market rate

The minimum support price (MSP) announced by the Centre for paddy during the current marketing season is 1,750 a quintal. However, the market prices are ruling at 1,450-1,500.
“Our initial target was to procure 52 ltthis season. But given that the market prices are ruling low, we could go for a higher procurement,” Mazumdar told BusinessLine.
The State is also offering an additional 20 a quintal for farmers who are selling their produce at Kisan Mandis.
“We are procuring directly through cooperatives and SHGs. Farmers can also sell their produce at Kisan Mandis. Since these are slightly farther away and entail transportation cost, we are giving them an additional 20 a quintal,” he said.

Funds allocation

The State has allocated close to 8,500 crore for paddy procurement this season.
According to a rice mill owner in Hooghly district, the plan of offering an additional 20 a quintal for farmers selling at Kisan Mandis has been a “runaway success.”
“Earlier, only 20 per cent of the farmers were selling at the mandis while the rest preferred selling to cooperatives. But this year, we are seeing nearly 80 per cent of farmers selling at mandis,” the mill owner said. The MSP, which is nearly 300 a quintal higher than the market prices, has been cited as one of the key reasons behind such positive response from farmers. This apart, farmers selling at mandis or cooperatives have been receiving instant payment through account payee cheques.
“Initially, we were making payments through RTGS, but there were some concerns that the payment may get delayed so we started making spot payments, Mazumdar said.

Storage, an issue

West Bengal produces 22-25 million tonne of paddy every year across the three seasons, that include aus, aman and boro. While the State could procure higher quantities, storage and disposal have been issues.
“We have been seeking support from the Food Corporation of India to send the procured paddy to deficit States such as Sikkim and Assam. However, FCI has been reluctant to receive the stocks,” he added.
According to the rice mill owner, the paddy procured has to be converted to rice before sending them to government godowns. However, due to the high level of procurement, mills are unable to keep pace in converting them to rice. So there is a huge backlog of stock with mills.
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/paddy-procurement-apace-in-bengal-hits-35-of-target/article26217911.ece