Friday, March 01, 2019

2nd March,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Food­grain out­put in 2018-19 seen at 281 mt in Sec­ond Ad­vance Es­ti­mate

Record pro­duc­tion de­spite poor rains

In­dia is head­ing for record pro­duc­tion of rice, the main ce­real crop, in 2018-19, de­spite a dis­mal mon­soon.
The Agri­cul­ture Min­istry’s sec­ond ad­vance es­ti­mates have pegged rice pro­duc­tion at a record 115.60 mil­lion tonnes, about 2.38 per cent higher than the lat­est or fourth ad­vance es­ti­mates for
The Agri­cul­ture Min­istry’s sec­ond ad­vance es­ti­mates have pegged rice pro­duc­tion at a record 115.60 mil­lion tonnes, about 2.38 per cent higher than the lat­est or fourth ad­vance es­ti­mates for
2017-18. The bumper pro­duc­tion is on ac­count of a sub­stan­tial in­crease in pro­duc­tion dur­ing the kharif sea­son, es­ti­mated at 101.96 mil­lion tonnes.

Loans of $50M boost the rice sector last year

Cheng Sokhorng | Publication date 01 March 2019 | 11:30 ICT
Description: Content image - Phnom Penh Post
State-owned Rural Development Bank (RDB) disbursed $50 million in loans to private rice millers last year. NOYAKONG GROUP CAMBODIA VIA FACEBOOK
The state-owned Rural Development Bank (RDB) distributed $50 million in loans to private rice millers last year to sustain the paddy market for farmers, according to RDB CEO Kao Thach.
Thach told The Post on Thursday that despite many provinces in the Kingdom facing drought, the demand for loans remains high.
“Our loans have already been released to rice millers. Since we have better options compared to commercial banks, we need to look for more funds to meet the needs of the rice industry."
“Even though some areas are faced with drought, demand for loans is still high. There are still other areas with the potential for rice production,” he said.
Kao Thach said RDB will request a further $50 million from the Ministry of Economy and Finance to meet the industry’s demand.
The government’s decision to disburse loans directly through RDB sidestepped the Cambodia Rice Federation – the industry body which has lobbied the government since March 2016 to provide emergency funds to its members.
Cambodia Rice Federation vice-president Hun Lak said the amount was based on necessity as its current loan balance is insufficient for the rice industry to sustain itself.
“We still need more financial support to boost the rice industry. Based on realistic figures, the loans provided by the government are merely equivalent to approximately 10 per cent of the rice industry,” he said.
Lak said the entire industry currently spends $400 million per annum to purchase 1.5 million tonnes of paddy to yield some 600,000 tonnes just for rice exports.
Supporting the industry
In September 2016, the government transferred its share of a $27 million package to RDB so the bank could disburse loans to millers, allowing them to purchase paddy from farmers.
Another $23 million was injected by the government in August last year, bringing the total to $50 million, aimed at propping up the struggling industry.
When asked if the loan contribution keeps paddy rice prices fair for farmers, Lak said it is important to have government financial assistance and other forms of support to reduce production costs.
“We need to collect paddy rice stock and compete with the [international] market. Paddy price fluctuations are based on the flow of the international market – RDB funds alone will not be enough to sustain paddy prices,” he said.
Phuor Sokleang, marketing manager at Phour Kokky, a rice miller and exporter which has borrowed $2 million from RDB, said loans are very important to the rice industry and paddy collection.
“It is very important and helpful, not only for me but for the whole rice industry. What I’ve received is still not enough to buy paddy . . . we still need more funds,” she said.

Rice exports slump, food association seeks government help

By Cuu Long   March 1, 2019 | 04:19 pm GMT+7
People working on a rice drying yard in Western Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long.

The Vietnam Food Association has sought central bank assistance to buy surplus stock as rice exports plunge.

In the first two months of the year, Vietnam exported 788,000 tons of the grain worth worth $355 million, down 4.9 percent and 17.5 percent year-on-year, respectively, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Rice exports to China, Vietnam’s biggest buyer, went down; and in a double blow for exporters, prices also fell sharply. Currently export prices are at VND4,300 - 5,000 ($0.19 - $0.22) per kilogram depending on the variety, VND800 - 1,000 lower than a year ago. 
The ministry said importing countries were sourcing their rice from more suppliers, and the resultant competition has pushed prices down.
Besides, many countries have been seeking to increase rice production, increasing global supply, making it a buyers’ market.
At a recent conference on rice production held in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, the association called on the State Bank of Vietnam to provide credit to help businesses buy surplus rice.
This would allow farmers to sell their produce and prepare for the upcoming summer-autumn crop, it said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam is the third biggest rice exporter in the world behind India and Thailand, selling the grain to some 150 countries and territories.
In 2018, rice exports grew 5.1 percent in volume (6.1 million tons) and 16.3 percent ($3.08 billion) in value year-on-year.

Rice consumption remains stagnant

SGGPFriday, March 01, 2019 14:09
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, farmers in Mekong Delta provinces grew rice on an area of 1.6 million hectares this winter-spring rice crop with total yield of about 11 million tons, of which 3.64 million tons of rice are for domestic consumption and the remaining 7.4 million tons of rice are for export.
Description: Farmers harvest paddy in the Mekong Delta provinces. (Photo: SGGP)
Farmers harvest paddy in the Mekong Delta provinces. (Photo: SGGP)
There have been more traders and firms buying paddy after the Prime Minister’s instruction to buy paddy for temporary stockpile and the meeting to boost consumption of paddy among the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Industry and Trade, the State Bank of Vietnam and leaders of provinces in the Mekong Delta was held in Dong Thap Province. However, concern lingers as paddy prices remain extremely low.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of An Giang Province, the price of paddy stood still on February 28. Particularly, the price of fresh IR50404 rice variety bought at the field was at VND4,500-VND4,600 per kilogram and that of Jasmine variety was at VND5,100 per kilogram.
Currently, there were some traders buying paddy along Xa No Canal at a price of VND4,800-VND5,200 per kilogram for high-quality rice varieties. However, farmers in remote area found it difficult to sell paddy as there was no traders going there, said Mr. Nguyen Van Ut, a farmers in Vi Thuy District in Hau Giang Province.
Meanwhile, some traders in Vinh Long Province have bought paddy and already paid farmers but asked farmers to store paddy for them.
The current price levels of high-quality rice varieties swing from VND4,800 to VND5,200 per kilogram, nearly VND1,000 per kilogram lower than last year. Meanwhile, low-quality IR50404 rice variety fetches VND4,300-VND4,600 per kilogram. The remaining area of low-quality paddy is around 26 percent of total paddy area whereas that of high-quality accounts for up to 60 percent.
As farmers grow rice massively after flood water recede, the peak harvest of winter-spring rice crop usually occurs in February and March. Farmers in remote area are longing firms to speed up buying of paddy for them to grow the summer-autumn rice crop on time.
By Cao Phong – Translated by Thuy Doan

Authorities find ways to manage low rice prices in Mekong Delta
Last update 20:00 | 01/03/2019

The Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Mekong Delta provinces and provincial governments are introducing ways to cut rice inventories and promote rice consumption as low rice prices are weighing on farmers in the winter-spring rice crop, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.

Description: Authorities find ways to manage low rice prices in Mekong Delta, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
Farmers harvest rice in the Mekong Delta 

IR-50404 rice sells for VND4,400-4,500 per kilogram and high-quality rice for VND4,600-5,200 per kilogram, causing losses for farmers.
Tran Van Tam, a farmer in Hau Giang Province, said that at the beginning of the sowing season, rice traders offered him VND5,300 per kilogram for his IR-50404 rice, but he refused the deal as he thought the rice price would increase after the Tet holiday as it did for the 2018 winter-spring crop. However, the price of IR-50404 rice edged down VND1,000 to VND4,300 per kilogram after the holiday.
Due to the falling rice prices, the Kien Giang Province’s agriculture sector has called on enterprises that consume rice to ease the difficulties faced by farmers.
Phan Kim Loan, head of the Agriculture and Rural Development division of Tan Hiep District, Kien Giang Province, said that the division has asked firms in the province to comply with their signed contracts for purchasing rice at the beginning of the sowing season at the price of VND5,200 per kilogram.
Do Minh Nhut, deputy director of the Kien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that as no information has been disclosed, farmers are concerned about the falling prices even further, potentially resulting in firms cancelling their contracts.
The department is in the process of reviewing the signed contracts and reviewing how these firms will address the problem as low rice prices will affect their business activities, Nhut said.
According to Tran Anh Thu, vice chairman of An Giang Province, after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a plan to stock up on rice to shore up the prices of the staple food, the province saw the rice price inch up.
Thu said that the fall in rice price was temporary due to China-bound rice shipments being stalled before the Tet holiday. The suspension arose as China wanted to inspect the quality of rice imported from Vietnam.
The relevant agencies are also promoting new consumption markets, Thu said, proposing that firms purchase rice from farmers as usual if they are not dependant on the Chinese market, while others that have signed rice-purchase contracts with farmers should continue to purchase the rice at the same price as contracted. As for commercial banks, they should offer a preferential interest rate to these firms.
The An Giang government has assigned the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to work with districts’ authorities to discuss a production plan for the summer-autumn rice crop this year and encourage farmers to grow types of rice sought after by other potential markets in addition to China.
Due to the hardship, a working team from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will launch a fact-finding trip on rice harvest and consumption in the Long An and Dong Thap provinces today, February 25.

Gov’t vows help to farmers amid influx of imported rice

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:02 AM March 01, 2019
FIELDWORK Planting and growing rice is a backbreaking job but the government has assured farmers that it will extend assistance so they can compete once rice imports flood local markets. -WILLIE LOMIBAO
SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ — Saying the government will provide financial and technical assistance to local farmers, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has allayed fears that they will bear the brunt of the influx of imported rice with the rice tariffication law.
“The government is ready to provide assistance to our farmers for them to be competitive in rice production,” Piñol said during a consultation with farmers and rice traders at the Philippine Carabao Center here on Tuesday.
The consultation gathered inputs for the implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act No. 11203, or the rice tariffication law.
Piñol said the new law would allow cheap imported rice to flood the market and would force traders and rice mill owners to lower the farm prices of palay (unhusked rice).
Under the rice tariffication law that takes effect on March 5, anybody, who can get clearance from the Department of Agriculture and pay the tariff, can import rice.
In the past, rice importation was a monopoly of the National Food Authority but this agency would now be relegated to keeping stocks as a buffer in case of rice shortage.
The law also indicates that the price of imported rice may be lower by P2 to P7 per kilogram than the current price of unhusked rice.
Thus, it can be a boon for consumers who are complaining about the high cost of rice in the market, Piñol said, adding that “we need to increase rice production in a way that is comparable with the price of rice being sold by other countries.”
Piñol said the “shock wave” that the farmers experienced might be temporary as the government had allotted a fund to support their production.
P10-B fund
Under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, with P10-billion funding annually for the next six years, the government will provide assistance to farmers to enhance their competitiveness and profitability.
“This fund will be used for farm machinery and equipment to improve farm operation, for rice seed development, propagation and promotion, for expanded rice credit and extension services, among other things,” Piñol said.
He said the suggestion of various sectors to grow cash crops for easy money was a “short-sighted solution and would be a suicide for the country if rice farming was abandoned.”
“It must be understood by all that there is thinning supply of rice in the world market. The available volume that can be accessed for importation is only 3 million metric tons,” Piñol said.
He said rice-exporting countries also experienced the race between increasing population and rice production. These countries are not having additional land area for rice production, thus they “may keep their harvest in the future to feed their own population,” he said.

Read more:

China commerce ministry says regrets WTO ruling on wheat, rice subsidies

FILE PHOTO: An automated combine harvester harvests rice next to a tractor during a trial on a field in Xinghua, Jiangsu province, China October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Hallie Gu
BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Friday said it regretted a lack of support from experts after the United States won a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on China’s wheat and rice subsidies.The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that government support for the agriculture sector was allowed under WTO rules and was a common practice among countries.
China will continue to promote development of the sector in line with WTO rules and safeguard the stability of the multi-lateral trade system, it added.
Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Richard Pullin


The Trump administration, with the weight of a WTO ruling behind it, called on China on Thursday to eliminate trade-distorting wheat and rice subsidies that cost U.S. farmers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in export sales. The WTO panel report may provide impetus to negotiations to resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war.
Still pending at the WTO is a companion U.S. complaint against Chinese controls on imports of corn, wheat, and rice. Both complaints were filed in the closing months of the Obama administration after farm groups and trade officials had spent years compiling evidence of trade violations. U.S. wheat groups, for example, said China set a support price of $10 a bushel for wheat for its farmers, far higher than the world price.
“China’s excessive support limits opportunities for U.S. farmers to export their world-class products to China,” said U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer. “We expect China to quickly come into compliance with its WTO obligations.”
Countries are given “a reasonable period of time” to comply with WTO rulings. If they do not, the winner can apply retaliatory tariffs on products from the offending nation.
When it turned to the WTO in September 2016, the U.S. said Chinese subsidies for domestic wheat, corn, and rice production in 2015 were $100 billion larger than the limits China accepted when it joined the WTO. The WTO dispute settlement panel, which began work in June 2017 after fruitless U.S.-China consultations, concluded that China’s wheat and rice supports exceeded the level allowed by world trade rules. China had pledged that its supports would not exceed 8.5% of the value of the crops. The WTO panel did not rule on corn because China changed its support system after the 2015 harvest, so the U.S. complaint was moot.
Lighthizer’s office said the WTO ruling was “a significant victory for U.S. agriculture that will help American farmers compete on a more level playing field.” China has 60 days to appeal the ruling.
“U.S. farmers have been hurt by China’s overproduction and protectionist measures for too long, and it’s past time for China to start living up to its commitments,” said Vince Peterson, head of U.S. Wheat Associates, an export promoter. China’s subsidies cost U.S. wheat growers up to $700 million a year by encouraging domestic production and depressing world wheat prices, said the group.
Trade group USA Rice said the WTO ruling could encourage other nations to reform excessive support programs. “With about half of our crop exported in any given year, these steps toward leveling the international playing field have enormous consequences for us,” said USA Rice Chairman Charley Mathews, a California grower.
“Today’s ruling is a huge win at a time when such wins are sorely needed,” said House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, adding, “It’s also my hope that this ruling can help our negotiators reach a positive path forward to reopen trade with China and reclaim the markets that the trade war has cost our farmers.”
China used to be the No. 1 customer for U.S. ag exports, especially soybeans. It is forecast to be No. 5 this year due to retaliatory tariffs.
In December 2016, the U.S. followed up its complaint about China’s crop subsidies with a WTO complaint alleging China had unfairly manipulated its tariff system to limit imports of U.S. corn, wheat, and rice. Farmers lost $3.5 billion in sales, the complaint said, because of the “opaque and unpredictable management” of tariff-rate quotas, which allow a specified amount of a commodity to enter at reduced tariff rates. The end result was that China kept the volume of corn, wheat, and rice imports below the level that was supposed to be allowed to enter at the lower rates.
To read the WTO panel decision, click here.

China: Thirty-two U.S. Rice Facilities Now Approved as Suppliers

One more to go?
Feb 28, 2019
ARLINGTON, VA -- The General Administration of Customs in China announced today that all 32 U.S. rice facilities interested in exporting milled rice to China have been approved.  The announcement comes after Chinese inspectors visited several mills across the country last year, and the initial approval of seven facilities two months ago.

USA Rice worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to push for the approval of the remaining facilities that have demonstrated their ability to export to China and adhere to the requirements of the U.S.-China phytosanitary protocol.

"All U.S. facilities that wish to export milled rice to China have been approved by the Chinese government," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings.  "The next hurdle to overcome is for China's importers to receive the go-ahead from their government to actually make purchases."

Rival Rice Growers Crush U.S. Farmers Already Beset by Trade War

Jeremy Hill
March 1, 2019, 10:00 AM GMT+5 Updated on March 1, 2019, 5:13 PM GMT+5
American rice acres seen dropping after years of low prices
Booming exports from Asia at cheap prices boosts competition
 re’s another entry for the growing list of suffering U.S. agriculture industries: rice.
Just ask Richard Fontenot, a rice, soybean and crawfish farmer near Ville Platte, Louisiana. He’s considering letting some of the 3,600 acres (1,457 hectares) he plants with grain and oilseed to lie fallow this year as a result of slumping commodities prices.
“It stinks worse than you realize,” said Fontenot, explaining that he let 1,000 acres of soybeans go unharvested last year because of a lack of export demand. “It’s a reality, and we’re dealing with it.”
American rice growers, who are concentrated in southern states, are struggling to compete with increasingly fierce competition from major producers like Thailand, Vietnam and India, the world’s top shipper. Prices in the U.S. are below the cost of production, but still higher than those offered by rival suppliers, said Dwight Roberts, president of the U.S. Rice Producers Association.
Chicago rice futures on a most-active basis have trended lower since early 2014. But the pain is especially acute now as the trade war with China has eroded demand for other American commodities. Growers like Fontenot used to be able to rely on earnings from soybeans during years when rice profits were low. Now, most agriculture prices are stuck in the doldrums.
The problem for U.S. rice is at least twofold: growing stockpiles, and some lost market share in top export destinations like Mexico, said Michael Deliberto, a rice economist at Louisiana State University. As some farmers ditch the crop, the falling acres could eventually mean a rebound for prices, he said.
report released Feb. 22 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual outlook forum projects domestic rice acreage will decline this year. That will help stockpiles shrink. Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer said Wednesday that rice has been discussed in the U.S.-China trade talks, while adding that it was a “complicated” issue.
American growers ship about half of their crop and account for more than 10 percent of the annual global trade, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Competition among major Asian exporters has driven prices so low that rice from Vietnam can now be competitive with U.S. supplies to Mexico, said Roberts.
Many U.S. growers could comfortably make a profit with prices at around $14 per 100 pounds, he said. Futures in Chicago are trading near $10.50.
“I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dennis DeLaughter, senior market analyst at Vantage RM in Austin, Texas. “I’m telling my clients they should plant less rice.”

Webinar: March 2019 Farm Income Forecast, Wednesday, March 6 @ 1 p.m. EST

Date:  Wednesday, March 6, 2018
Time:  1:00 p.m.
Duration:  1 hour
Host:  Carrie Litkowski
Webinar description:
ERS releases farm income statement and balance sheet estimates and forecasts three times a year, in February, August and November.  These core statistical indicators provide guidance to policy makers, lenders, commodity organizations, farmers, and others interested in the financial status of the farm economy. ERS's farm income statistics also inform the computation of agriculture's contribution to the gross domestic product of the U.S. economy.  During this webinar, economist Carrie Litkowski provides the first forecast for 2019. 
Audio will be available through your computer speakers.
Test your computer for compatibility prior to the meeting.

Efficiency and renewables are energy’s rice and beans

Make sure leaders we elect know we value and require energy efficiency

·       MARCH 1, 2019
Leticia Colon de Mejias
The Green New Deal is capturing the attention of many Americans. Global warming is accepted by 97 percent of all scientists as scientific truth. The impacts are happening faster than we thought, but our public policy and our way of living haven’t caught up with the facts. We seem hungry for a solution – for a feasible way to reduce waste, to shift to clean and renewable energy, and create good local jobs.
But we in Connecticut already have our own effective and feasible clean energy solutions at work. With the turn of a key, the passing of a bill, we can continue a positive trajectory of making thousands of homes and buildings energy efficient, while continuing to pursue and expand renewable energy sources such as offshore wind and community solar.
Efficiency and renewable energy sources work together — like rice and beans, which when combined work together to form a complete protein, and gives you benefits neither can alone.
Most of us don’t think a lot about where our energy comes from, or how we use it. We use energy every minute — on our devices, to heat our buildings, power our cars. The vast majority of our energy – 95 percent! — still comes from non-renewable sources including oil, nuclear, and gas, meaning it is producing the pollution that is killing our planet and harming our people. We are making strides – I am sure as your drive around Connecticut you see more and more solar panels on homes. But to make a real change, we have a long way to go.
The other side of the coin is how we use energy – our demand. While new construction is more energy efficient, we still have hundreds of thousands of buildings and homes that waste a horrifying amount of energy for heating and cooling. This can be mitigated by applying building science and relatively simple energy upgrades coupled with education.
Home assessments often detect and allow us to fix health hazards such a mold, carbon monoxide or asthma triggers. They result in lowered heating and utility bills, and the homes lower their carbon emissions. These programs are proven to pay for themselves many times over with a 1 to 7 return on investment, and are delivered by an effective network of Connecticut business owners who have created 34,000 local jobs.
When homes and buildings use less energy, we pollute less and we save money, closing the affordability gap in our state. When the energy we use comes from renewable sources, we pollute dramatically less and do more to mitigate climate change and improve our resilience. Both result in improved air quality and better health, and they create a growing economy.
It is also an issue of equity. For low-income households, paying high utility bills seriously impacts families’ ability to provide food, stable shelter, and other necessities. More than 380,000 families now can’t afford electricity! When we invest in efficiency, we are helping minimize the impact of poverty on children and families.
Connecticut has several energy plans, managed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). These plans should work together to reach the shared goals of reducing energy burdens through energy efficiency and meeting our energy needs with expanded renewable energy resources. The science is there; the capacity to deliver and improve building performance is there; the jobs are there, and we can increase our efficiency programs, which had been working so well we didn’t notice them!
Recently, our successful demand-reduction weatherization program, which is funded by ratepayer payments through the EnergizeCT program, was decimated when the legislature “swept” those funds for other purposes. Our organization, Efficiency for All, is working with others to sue the state to restore these funds to their rightful and legal uses, but that will take time, and we need action now.
Efficiency is Efficient: In the past 10 years, EnergizeCT has reduced carbon emissions by 11.4 million tons – the equivalent of keeping 2.4 million cars off the road. Residents and business have decreased their energy burden, saving $3.7 billion and helping businesses remain competitive. A 15 percent reduction in energy use could mean 30,000 fewer asthma attacks for Hartford children. The list of benefits goes on and on. Energy Efficiency makes dollars and it makes sense.
What comes to mind when you think of rice and beans? Maybe it’s a staple dish of your community; maybe you know that they combine to give you a complete protein, needed to build muscle and give you energy. It’s food, essential to our lives – just as energy is essential, to our quality of life, our health, our household budgets, our ability to live.
The people of Connecticut need to make sure that the leaders we elect know we value and require energy efficiency and clean energy.
Leticia Colon de Mejias of Windsor is the founder and CEO of Energy Efficiencies Solutions and the founder of Efficiency for All, both based in Windsor.

How to stop an insect apocalypse

We might not love creepy-crawlies, but if insects were to vanish within a century, as some scientists predict, there would be dire consequences for us humans. Is it too late to save bees, bugs and butterflies?
Description: Regenbremse (picture-alliance/blickwinkel/M. Lenke)
We often pay little attention to insects unless one happens to bite, sting or generally bother us. But lately, they've become an unlikely source of nostalgia.
People have started to notice their absence, reminiscing about unwittingly swallowing tiny flies while cycling through the countryside, about car windscreens splattered with dead bug bodies at the end of a long journey or moths flocking to the light when a window was left open.
And science is backing up such anecdotal observations. A recent study published in the journal Biological Conservation says insects are hurtling down the path to extinction.
More than 40 percent of species are in decline and a third is endangered, the analysis found. Worldwide, we lose 2.5 percent of insect biomass each year, and if numbers continue to fall at their current rate, there could be no insects left in 100 years.
Description: Infographic - insects are dying
The results are "shocking," says Francisco Sanchez-Bayo, environmental scientists at the University of Sydney and co-author of the study. He predicts "catastrophic consequences."
"The word catastrophic is appropriate because the disappearance of insects brings with it the starvation of myriad vertebrates that depend on them, and therefore the collapse of entire ecosystems," he told DW.
Insects don't only play an important role in our food production, by providing a free pollination service, but are themselves food for all kind of animals. Without bugs, amphibians and birds would starve to death and fish would struggle to find enough food.
The six-legged helpers also clear away carcasses of animals that die in the wild and decompose plant waste. Without bugs, life as we know it would come to a halt.
Watch video02:09
But is it too late to stop an insect apocalypse? Read on for three main drivers of insect declines and possible solutions.
Intensive agriculture is bug-unfriendly
According to the meta analysis, the steepest declines in insect biomass have occurred in the past 30 years. Sanchez-Bayo says this is the direct result of agricultural intensification.
The Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s changed the way farmers tended their fields. Fallow practices were abandoned, monocultures were developed and artificial fertilizers were introduced as a means avoiding nutrient depletion in the soil.
Insecticides and herbicides became common features of pest and weed control, and trees and hedgerows were eliminated to generate more space.
Description: infographic - main drivers for insect losses
Though this resulted in a huge gain in yield, it also implied a loss of insect habitat and led to chemical residues contaminating nearby waters.
Sanchez-Bayo says the world needs to change the way it grows food. One way forward could be a farming method known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which combines traditional agricultural practices with modern technologies.
"IPM advocates the use of natural means of pest and weed control, rotation of crops to maximize biodiversity of beneficial insects and avoid nutrient depletion, and only uses pesticides as the last tool to control a pest or weed outbreak," Sanchez-Bayo told DW.
By way of example, he cited the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, which managed to reduce the use of insecticides in rice crops by 93 percent without losing yields.
Description: Butterfly at sunset
Monocultures provide little food for butterflies and other insects
Climate change could cause major insect wipeout
Although intensive agriculture has been identified as the main driver for insect declines in Europe, scientists say the main culprits in other parts of the world are climate change and deforestation.
Even in pristine, virgin tropics, far away from fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides, insect numbers have steadily dropped.
In Puerto Rico's Luquillo rainforest, for example, there are as many as 60 times fewer insects now than there were in the 1970s. During the same period, forest temperatures have risen 2 degrees Celcius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The number of lizards, frogs and birds that eat insects has declined synchronously.
Calculations by researcers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research highlight the correlation between global warming and insect survival.
Their projections suggest that if we experienced global warming of 3.2 degrees Celcius above preindustrial levels, as is likely on the basis of current pledges made under the Paris Climate Agreement, 49 percent of insects would lose half of their geographic range.
If we limited warming to 2 degrees Celcius above preindustrial levels, 18  percent would lose half of their range. In a 1.5 degree scenario, however, the number would drop to six percent.
Description: Infographic - climate change could cause major insect loss
Rachel Warren, lead author of the study, says it's very possible that population decreases would actually be even larger than projected because they didn't factor such things as intensive agriculture into their calculations.
"It's no question that there are many pressures on insects and if we don't achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, there will be another big pressure on them," Warren told DW.
She says it's not only important that we manage to achieve the 1.5 C degree goal, but how we achieve it.
"Land availability is a major factor for insect losses. If we use too much land to grow plants for biomass energy, that would be bad for biodiversity," she explained. "So anything we can do to reduce our energy and land demand, such as using less power and eating less red meat, is great."
Urbanization  let your garden grow wild
Big cities and concrete landscapes also play a significant role in insect numbers, and with two-thirds of the global population expected to be living in urban areas by 2050, that impact is set to grow.
Densely built neighborhoods and sealed, concrete roads strip bees and bugs of their natural habitats, while light pollution leads nocturnal insects astray.
Description: Flower meadow
Wild, native flower meadows offer vital food and micro-habitats for many insects, especially in cities
Researchers are therefore calling on governments to create more green spaces in cities by rewilding public parks and private gardens, and planting wild flowers along roadsides and on traffic islands.
study by the University of Basel in Switzerland found that nature-friendly gardens, with deadwood, compost, unmowed grassland and native flowers, can greatly increase the biodiversity of flying and soil-dwelling insects and largely compensate for the negative effects of urbanization.
The wilder and more diverse the gardens, the more insects the researchers counted, including rare millipedes that have not yet been found anywhere else in Switzerland.
Brigitte Braschler, biologist at the Universtiy of Basel and co-author of the study, has been researching insects her entire life and says that although the decline in biodiversity "is very strong", it's not too late to change the trend.
"The public is waking up to the problem and is willing to act. Certain species are already lost but I'm positive we can stop the decline or at least slow it down," Braschler told DW. 
·       Description: The amazing Picasso bug (Warren.K.Dick Photography)


The amazing Picasso bug

African art had a powerful influence on Picasso, did Picasso influence African insects? Otherwise known as the Zulu Hud Bug, this colorful shield-backed creature is often mistaken for a beetle. Its geometric design helps it blend into its surrounding and is meant to warn off predators. Full grown Picassos are only around 8 millimeters long and live in tropical Africa from Ivory Coast to Ethiopia.


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Global Scientific Review of Insect Loss

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Study about biodiversity in gardens - University of Basel

Study about insects in Puerto Rico's rainforest

Study: Climate Change and Insects


A world without insects   

·       Date 01.03.2019
·       Author Katharina Wecker
·       Related Subjects BiodiversityClimate ChangeEnvironmentInsectsData journalism
·       Keywords environmentinsectsbiodiversityclimate changebees
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Rice exports slump, food association seeks government help

By Cuu Long   March 1, 2019 | 04:19 pm GMT+7
People working on a rice drying yard in Western Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long.

The Vietnam Food Association has sought central bank assistance to buy surplus stock as rice exports plunge.

In the first two months of the year, Vietnam exported 788,000 tons of the grain worth worth $355 million, down 4.9 percent and 17.5 percent year-on-year, respectively, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Rice exports to China, Vietnam’s biggest buyer, went down; and in a double blow for exporters, prices also fell sharply. Currently export prices are at VND4,300 - 5,000 ($0.19 - $0.22) per kilogram depending on the variety, VND800 - 1,000 lower than a year ago. 
The ministry said importing countries were sourcing their rice from more suppliers, and the resultant competition has pushed prices down.
Besides, many countries have been seeking to increase rice production, increasing global supply, making it a buyers’ market.
At a recent conference on rice production held in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, the association called on the State Bank of Vietnam to provide credit to help businesses buy surplus rice.
This would allow farmers to sell their produce and prepare for the upcoming summer-autumn crop, it said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam is the third biggest rice exporter in the world behind India and Thailand, selling the grain to some 150 countries and territories.
In 2018, rice exports grew 5.1 percent in volume (6.1 million tons) and 16.3 percent ($3.08 billion) in value year-on-year.

U.S. Rice Brand Tolly Boy Wins UK Media Award for Charity Campaign 
 LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- Westmill Foods, in association with USA Rice, won the coveted British Asian Media Awards (BAM) Community/Charity Campaign of the Year for its 2018 campaign 'Spread the Joy with Tolly Boy.'  Westmill Foods is one of Europe's largest specialty food companies with a diverse consumer portfolio that includes U.S. long grain rice marketed under Westmill's Tolly Boy brand.  The company sells authentic ethnic food to Asian and Afro Caribbean restaurants as well as cash and carry, food service, and grocery stores.

"We're delighted to win this award," said Tolly Boy Brand Manager Steven Perry.  "An enormous amount of work went into this national campaign that included all of the main UK cities, and I'm thrilled all the hard work paid off." 

The campaign purchased U.S. rice in various formats, from 2 to 20 kilos, increasing U.S. rice sales in the UK and helping raise awareness about the use of U.S.-grown rice in ethnic cuisine.  During the three-month promotion, consumers were encouraged to share images of their dishes featuring U.S. rice on social media.

USA Rice also supported the 'Spread the Joy' campaign with point-of-sale items and advertising.  Through the 'Spread the Joy with Tolly Boy' campaign, Westmill Foods was able to provide more than £20,000 of support to 20 Bangladeshi and African community groups throughout the UK.

"I'd like to formally thank USA Rice for their participation in 2018," said Perry.  "Without their support we could not have staged this award-winning campaign."


U.S. Prepares Final China Trade Deal as Hawks Urge Caution

By Jenny Leonard
Andrew Mayeda
, and 
Saleha Mohsin
February 28, 2019, 11:07 PM GMT+5 Updated on March 1, 2019, 11:37 AM GMT+5
Mnuchin says sides are working on 150-page detailed agreement
U.S. is considering a Trump-Xi summit as early as mid-March
Larry Kudlow said the U.S. and China are on the cusp of an “historic” trade deal. Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard reports.
U.S. officials are preparing a final trade deal that President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping could sign in weeks, people familiar with the matter said, even as a debate continues in Washington over whether to push Beijing for more concessions.
The U.S. is eyeing a summit between the two presidents as soon as mid-March, said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the preparations are confidential. The planning has been complicated by Xi’s need to lead China’s annual National People’s Congress in early March, as well as make other foreign trips, the people said.
Donald Trump walks with Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2017.
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
A White House spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump will have the final call on the U.S. side. At a summit in Vietnam this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the U.S. president showed he’s willing to walk away if he doesn’t like the terms on the table, including with China. Talks with North Korea broke down after Trump refused to lift sanctions on the country, he said.
“Speaking of China we’re very well on our way to doing something special. But we’ll see,” Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday. “I am always prepared to walk. I’m never afraid to walk from a deal, and I would do that with China, too, if it didn’t work out.”

Economic Damage

If there is no deal and the U.S. imposes the threatened 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China, it will damage the economies of both nations. The International Monetary Fund estimates that would cut 0.2 percentage point from U.S. growth this year and 0.6 percentage point from China’s expansion.
Asian stocks edged higher Friday as the latest reading on China’s economy came in above expectations. Treasury yields held on to gains after a mixed set of economic signals in the U.S.