Wednesday, July 31, 2019

31st July,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter


Senate to probe rice trade liberalization law’s implementation
July 31, 2019
Description: https://39byfk2z09ab1y1bzj1l5r82-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/green01-061019-696x464.jpgA farmer holds rice stalks.
THE Senate is poised to open an inquiry into the implementation of the rice trade liberalization law, particularly the establishment of a fund that aims to improve the competitiveness of farmers.
In filing Senate Resolution 39, Senator Cynthia Villar cited the need to monitor the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) embodied in Republic Act (RA) 11203, by the designated government agencies, stressing that “this law involves a very important and sensitive commodity—rice—for every Filipino.”
She added that the Senate inquiry is being mounted to also “ensure that funds are allocated for the purpose actually intended.”
Villar’s resolution recalled that the law signed by President Duterte on February 14 mandated the lifting of rice import restrictions amid government hopes this will “make the food staple more affordable to Filipinos.”
She recalled that the law was passed precisely to “liberalize the importation, exportation and trading of rice, lifting for the purpose the quantitative import restriction on rice.”
RA11203 amended Republic Act 8178, also known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, and replaced the quantitative restriction (QR) in rice imports.
The resolution recalled that “instead of limiting the amount of rice that will enter the country, rice imports will instead be charged with corresponding tariffs, the collected amount of which shall be given to farmers to strengthen their productive capacities in the amount of at least P10 billion a year, for the next six years, through the RCEF.”
The Villar resolution noted that imported rice from Southeast Asian countries is slapped a 35-percent tariff, which is the import duty rate commitment of the Philippines for rice in the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement.
For non-Asean member-states, the tariff is set at 50 percent or the tariff equivalent calculated in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on agriculture upon the expiration of the waiver relating to the special treatment for rice of the Philippines.
RA 11203 provides that the RCEF will fund programs to increase income of Filipino farmers through various forms of assistance, such as development of inbred rice seeds, provision of rice farm equipment, cheap credit with Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines and education-training on skills enhancement, adding that “the fund would be allocated and disbursed to rice -producing areas.”
The law’s implementing rules mandates that a new rice roadmap should be crafted within 180 days after its effectivity, with the Department of Agriculture (DA) as lead agency to be joined by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management “in the formulation and adoption of a new rice roadmap.”
It specified that this roadmap should be based on the following principles: sustainable investments, particularly on rice support infrastructure and post-harvest facilities; improved productivity, efficiency and profitability of small rice farmers and landless farm workers; strengthened research and development programs; preservation and enhancement of rice production capabilities; provision of accessible, targeted and technology-oriented support services that cover the entire value chain; setting up of responsible, participatory and effective governance mechanisms; and, addressing the impact of income loss due to rice tariffication.
The law indicated that this will be implemented “through a complementation of the DA’s rice sector programs which are separately funded by the General Appropriations Act, on one hand, and the RCEF programs, on the other.”
Image Credits: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Global Food and Water Security Alerts

31 JULY 2019 
Unusually dry conditions are affecting several rice producing regions in Indonesia, including the main growing region of Java. Despite continued debate about its effectiveness, cloud seeding operations are set to occur over Jakarta and Kupang in the hope of generating rain over Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara. Stockpiled rice is likely to prevent significant additional rice imports.
Fall armyworm was detected in West Sumatra in March and has since spread to 12 provinces in Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan. The Food and Agriculture Organization has warned Indonesia that the fall armyworm could ‘infest and damage or destroy fields of corn and other crops, literally overnight.’ Indonesian corn production was forecast to rise in 2019-20, but the presence of armyworms could threaten that.
Research by the US Department of Agriculture has found that monsoon rains (sudden downpours that fall in less than one hour) in the US south-west have increased in intensity by up to 11 per cent since the 1970s. If the trend continues it is possible that the rainfall conditions seen earlier in 2019 could become the norm.
The Chinese pig herd could halve by the end of 2019 compared to a year earlier. China is the world’s largest producer of pork and the meat is the most common source of protein in the country. Lower pork availability could contribute to rising food prices and greater demand for alternative meat products.

Give rice tariff law a chance, govt urged

JULY 31, 2019
GIVE RICE TARIFF LAW A CHANCE, GOVT URGED
Despite appeals from industry stakeholders, particularly farmers groups, the government should wait at least a year of implementing the Rice Tariffication Act before it pursues a review of the law, an agriculture expert said.
Description: Give rice tariff law a chance, govt urged 1
For Former Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar, who is also the current president of InangLupa Movement Inc., a review of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law would be unwise for the government to do.
Reviewing the law at least a year after it has been fully implemented will allow the government to clearly determine the impacts of the law, both to farmers and consumers, he said.
“It’s not yet implemented. I want it to achieve full implementation. Give it a chance. One year will be a good indication,” Dar told The Manila Times.
While President Duterte can order for an increase of tariff on rice imports to protect the rice industry from sudden or extreme price fluctuations, as one of the provisions of RA 11203, Dar said the government should do so in a year of the rollout of the new rice regime.
“I’m bias on the full implementation of the law. Let’s give it a chance first. Then let’s see whether the tariff would still be low or not. That’s one of the measures the President can do as adjustments. It’s part of the law,” Dar said.
His statements came after Senator Cynthia Villar said it is too early to review RA 11203, which is so far in four months of implementation. “[The issue here is] the implementation of the law, not the law itself. The law is very good,” she said.
Even Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, head of the Duterte administration’s economic team, dismissed calls for a review of the rice tariffication law, citing that prices of rice have declined with the liberalization of rice imports.
But leaders of the rice industry expressed disappointment on the initial impacts of the new rice regime to the rice sector, which include the steep drop on the farmgate prices of palay (unhusked rice), closure of a number of rice milling facilities in several major rice-producing provinces, and thus, the need to immediately impose a safeguard duty and increase the tariff on imported rice.
The Rice Liberalization Act, which was passed in February this year, removed restraints on the importation, export and trading of rice. Restraints on imports were replaced by tariffs. Under the law, the country will apply a 35 percent tariff for rice shipments from Asean member states, 40 percent for in-quota or within minimum access volume (MAV) from non-Asean, and 180 percent for out-quota and non-Asean or as calculated by the Tariff Commission.
Since the passage of RA 11203, there has been a 422-percent increase in the volume of rice imported by the Philippines, according to the Bureau of Customs. From March to July, about 1.5 million metric tons (MT) of imported rice have already entered the country.
The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Inc. (PCAFI) and Philippine Confederation of Grains Associations blamed the unimpeded rice importation for the very low prices of locally-produced palay which have reached to as low as P12 per kilo, compared to P20 per kilo and above quotation recorded in 2018.
The Philippines is seen to become the second largest rice importer in the world this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Philippine rice imports are expected to reach an all-time high of 3 million MT, just 500,000 MT short of China’s rice importation requirement.
The new law also calls for the establishment of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) which will be endowed with P10 billion a year for six years which will be utilized to provide different forms of assistance to the country’s rice farmers such as the development of inbred rice seeds, the development of rice farm equipment and skills enhancement.
According to Dar, the Department of Agriculture (DA) should also look closely on how to specifically increase farmers income under the new rice regime, citing focus on hybrid rice farming and diversification as ways to do so.
“[The] hybrid rice technology is one opportunity to increase income. The diversification after rice like planting vegetables, that’s again one opportunity we need to tap. The crop diversification indicated in the rice tariffication law is already an indication that when properly done, you can also increase income opportunities. On top of that, [there should be] value-adding,” he explained.
RA 11203 also removed the National Food Authority’s (NFA) rice importation function and repealed its regulatory powers over the grains industry. Under the liberalized rice trading scheme, the NFA will no longer be allowed to import rice as its role was confined to buffer-stocks management for emergencies and calamities through buying palay solely from local farmers.
As of June, NFA’s nationwide palay procurement reached 626,100 bags, up 140 percent from the 261,000 bags target set by the agency. NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal attributed this on the agency’s continued intensified palay procurement, which gives P3.70 incentive per kilo to local farmers for a total of P20.70 per kilo buying price for clean and dry paddy rice.https://www.manilatimes.net/give-rice-tariff-law-a-chance-govt-urged/592585/

Chinese Researchers Meet Baic Managers

#Chinese agricultural researchers met with the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation’s (BAIC) chairman and executive management on Friday.
#Tong Xiongcai, vice-president of Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, paid a courtesy call on Bishop Gregory Collie and his team at BAIC headquarters. The specialists in research on tea, vegetables and hybrid rice discussed and explored opportunities for future co-operation in agriculture.
#Bishop Collie invited the Chinese to explore the possibility of offering financial and technical assistance to Bahamians to develop projects in farming, fishing and handicraft. Mr Tong said his team will report their findings in The Bahamas to the Chinese government for further action.
#The Chinese team was given a tour of the Soldier Road Industrial Park by Bishop Collie. Three Chinese groups are in The Bahamas, calling on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, along with visits to BAMSI and ZNS to discuss opportunities for future co-operation

Save rice mills, Centre urged

Millers give memo to minister on falling paddy price
Jul 31, 2019, 7:08 AM; last updated: Jul 31, 2019, 7:08 AM (IST)
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Description: Save rice mills, Centre urged
Ashok Grover, a Jalalabad-based rice miller, said they had submitted a memorandum to Union Minister for Food Processing and Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal expressing concern over the dipping procurement price of paddy.
Our Correspondent
Ferozepur, July 30
Members of the Basmati Rice Milling Industry (MSME) have urged the Union Government to take immediate remedial steps to safeguard their interests and save the rice mill industry from the verge of closure.
Ashok Grover, a Jalalabad-based rice miller, said they had submitted a memorandum to Union Minister for Food Processing and Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal expressing concern over the dipping procurement price of paddy. While talking to The Tribune, Grover said before crop year 2007-08, basmati rice manufacturing industry was restricted in only two districts of the state. “However, with the introduction of Basmati 1121 almost one-fourth of paddy farmers switched over to that variety of basmati instead of tradition non-basmati,” he said, adding that subsequently a parallel basmati manufacturing industry mushroomed after upgrading their existing units.
All these units installed state-of-the-art imported equipment and machinery after taking loans from financial units/ banks, he said.
Sources revealed that there had been a sudden fall in the price of basmati due to which millers was suffering losses. “Rice millers who had liabilities towards banks and other lenders as well as other unsecured creditors have not been able fulfil them due to which banks/ lenders have initiated recovery measures against a majority of the mills which has created panic in the industry,” said Grover.

Sri Lanka rice prices down with competition: Harsha

Jul 30, 2019 13:46 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)

Description: https://economynext.com/newsimages/rice-2019-od.jpg

RICE TREND:  Samba rice prices in 2018 and 2019. Source: Central Bank

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's rice prices have fallen, partly helped by greater competition from revived smaller mills that were going out of business, Economic and Public Distribution Minister Harsha de Silva said.

"The selling price of popular varieties of rice like Samba have fallen from 108 a kilogram to about 95 rupees now," de Silva said.

"While it is newsworthy when food prices go up, not much attention is paid when prices go down."

De Silva said his ministry had helped revive mills that were closing down and provided competition to an oligopoly that was setting prices.

He said about 300 small rice millers were now supplying rice under a brand called 'Shakthi' which was under Sri Lanka standards.

"Though the market share is small, the intervention has helped keep prices stable," he said.

He said farmers were given prices of about 39 to 41 rupees per kilogram, and now about 41 to 43 rupees a kilogram.

De Silva said the bagged rice complied with Sri Lanka Standards. Each bag also had QR code a batch number, date and co-operative and the miller which was traceable.

"This is a paradigm shift," he said.

The rice was available and Sathosa and key super markets.

"We cannot keep up with demand," de Silva said. "We sell at Keells, we have orders from Cargills, Softlogic."

 The brand had only 1 percent of the market, but had a impact beyond its size. He said state run Paddy Marketing Board also had 6 to 7 percent of the market.

Talks were underway whether to raise guaranteed price. (Colombo/July30/2019)

Traders on losing end, will need time to get used to barter trade deal
YU WAI 31 JUL 2019
Description: Border customs officers inspect goods at the Muse 105 Mile trading zone. The Myanmar Times
Border customs officers inspect goods at the Muse 105 Mile trading zone. The Myanmar Times
Myanmar businesses who participate in barter trading with China will have to find buyers for the goods they get in exchange and this system of trade may take some time to get used to.
Myanmar Rice Federation central executive committee member U Soe Tun said it would be more convenient for Myanmar businesses to receive payments for the goods they export to China in cash. 
Now, the merchants will have to look for buyers for the goods they receive in exchange, which may not always be in demand, and risk delays and disruptions to cash flows, he said.
U Soe Tun was commenting in response to questions over an agreement for overland barter trade signed on July 25 between Mandalay Rice Development Company (MRDC) and Kunming Green Color Trade Co from China’s Yunnan province.
The agreement would see MRDC exporting up to 100,000 tonnes of rice to China while receiving chemical fertilisers, construction material, electric appliances and agricultural machinery manufactured from Yunnan province in return.
It is unclear if the terms of the agreement included details of how the Chinese goods would be valued. 
Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetables Producer and Exporter Association general secretary U Kyaw Thu also said the traders returning with Chinese goods would now have extra work looking for buyers, implying that local traders are at the losing end of the deal.

 

Description: The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times
The undertaking was the first such agreement between private companies following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Myanmar and Chinese governments on the overland barter trade in April.
Ministry of Commerce deputy permanent secretary U Khin Maung Lwin explained that the barter trade agreement is meant to solve problems arising from the informal trading arrangements at the border.
To avoid paying high tariffs imposed on Myanmar goods by the Chinese authorities, traders often resorted to smuggling goods across the border. This, in turn, led to frequent border arrests, trading suspensions and freezing of Myanmar bank accounts in China, which disrupted trade and resulted in losses.
Last year for example, an import ban on rice, sugar and maize by China caused trading of those crops to grind to a halt at the Muse border gate for at least a month.
MRDC managing director U Sai Kyaw agreed that rice traders that used to sell their produce for cash could face challenges offloading the goods they received in exchange for their crops, but vowed that his company would help the farmers and rice millers solve issues arising from the arrangement.
 “The ban made it difficult to sell rice and maize and policies often change, now with the barter system, things are more predictable,” he said, adding that 1,000 tonnes of rice has been exported out of an initial 10,000 tonnes.
U Khin Maung Lwin said the Myanmar side wants another 79 rice mills to be permitted to sell their rice to China from the current 11. – Translated

Take steps for procurement of foodgrains in Kharif: Joint Collector
GV Shyam Hans News Service   |  31 July 2019 12:22 AM
 JC Shyam Prasad Lal addressing the meeting of officials in Karimnagar on Tuesday HIGHLIGHTS District Joint Collector GV Shyam Prasad Lal on Tuesday ordered the officials concerned to take measures perfectly for procurement of grains in the Kharif season. Karimnagar: District Joint Collector GV Shyam Prasad Lal on Tuesday ordered the officials concerned to take measures perfectly for procurement of grains in the Kharif season. The JC held a review meeting with the officials of Civil Description: Take steps for procurement of foodgrains in Kharif: Joint Collector GV Shyam Supplies and Marketing department, officials of Cooperative societies and rice mill owners here at Collectorate conference hall in Karimnagar. Advertise With Us Speaking on the occasion, the JC said that in the previous Rabi season with the coordination of various departments, about 3,70,000 tonnes of food grains were procured in the district. This Kharif season about 1,80,000 quintals of grains are expected to be procured according to the estimation of the Agriculture department. The officials of Marketing department must keep ready the required materials like tarpaulins, gunny bags and weighing machines and other materials to procure grains in time. The members of the cooperative societies must take steps to procure food grains by establishing purchasing centres along with providing required facilities for the convenience of the farmers. The District Civil Supplies department officer Srinath Reddy, District Cooperative Officer Ch Manoj Kumar, District Agriculture Officer Sridhar, MEPMA PD, Pavan Kumar, Civil supplies department manager Srikanth, Assistant Officer Vasantha Lakshmi, Rice Millers Association representatives and IKP in-charge Sri Vani were present.


Millers suspend price monitoring programme

   
Description: Millers suspend price monitoring programmeGrain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe
Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has suspended its price monitoring programme and terminated contracts for 200 monitors after the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) condemned the initiative as restrictive.
The CTC recently raised fears over a possibility of some producers colluding to increase the cost of goods and services under the disguise of setting recommended price ranges.
According to an internal correspondence dated 29 July 2019 seen by Business Chronicle, GMAZ general manager Ms Lynette Veremu wrote to the association’s national executive advising of an urgent application for condonation with the CTC early this year for the setting up of GMAZ’s Costs Review Technical Committee (CRTC). 
She said the measure was done to “ensure compliance by all players in the value chain through the price monitoring programme”. 
Ms Veremu said this was done at the instigation of Government, which is also subsidising maize and wheat, and widely welcomed by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.
“This exercise is deemed by law as a restrictive measure. We later met with them at their offices and answered all their queries. 
“CTC later wrote a letter on March 5, 2019 requesting for information, which we provided them with on May 5, 2019,” said Ms Veremu.
“Regrettably, they adjudged our case as not urgent and declared the function of CRTC as per se prohibited. 
“In light of this hostile treatment we are receiving from CTC, I regret to advise that I have halted the price monitoring programme and the employment contracts for 200 price monitors are terminated.”
The CTC highlighted that some producers and/or manufacturers were publishing recommended price ranges, whose impact was negatively affecting consumers.
While the practice seems to be aimed at cushioning consumers from likely exploitation by unscrupulous retailers, CTC has said this was in violation of the Competition Act (Chapter 14:28), which gives the commission the mandate to promote and maintain fair competition in all sectors of the economy.
Ms Veremu said their CRTC’s mandate was to compute fair prices for maize meal, flour, rice and salt on behalf of the grain milling industry.
“This programme (price monitoring) was a joint effort of the GMAZ, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers and CCZ. 
“In essence, the programme was well received by all value chain players namely the millers, retailers and consumers,” she said.
Ms Veremu said for the past 10 weeks they have run the price monitoring programme, prices of maize meal, self raising flour, salt and sugar stabilised and were within the range in all major shops nationwide. This, she said, has helped food security at household level. 
“However, in the absence of price monitors, the prices of mealie-meal, flour, salt and rice are expected to increase in the market astronomically. 
“It must be noted that CTC continue to maintain a deafening silence when prices of other key commodities skyrocket but are quick to attack the GMAZ initiative that seeks to stabilise prices,” Ms Veremu said. — @okazunga

Will improve living standard of farmers: Agri Minister

Government to export 10-15 lakh tons of rice this year, he says


UNB NEWS

·     PUBLISH DATE - JULY 30, 2019, 08:06 PM
·     UNB NEWS - UNB NEWS

·     UPDATE DATE - JULY 30, 2019, 08:08 PM
Description: Will improve living standard of farmers: Agri Minister
Photo: Rafiqul Islam/UNB
Dhaka, July 30 (UNB) – Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque on Tuesday said the government took various initiatives to improve the living standard of farmers.
“The government has emphasised three issues – cutting production cost by modernising agriculture sector, increasing production and maintaining the export markets – to this end,” the minister said at a meeting in the city.
It was organised by the Agriculture Ministry at Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC). Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, secretaries and rice millers were present there.
Razzaque said his ministry is considering giving 20 percent cash incentive to encourage rice export. “The government has decided to export 10-15 lakh tons of rice this year,” he said, noting that around 4.13 crore metric tons of paddy, wheat and maize were produced.
“We’ve to maintain rice export market as part of efforts to minimise the farmers’ losses. We’ll discuss with the Finance Minister in this regard soon,” he added.
He said the government’s image has been tarnished as the farmers did not get fair prices of paddy.
“Several farmers set fire to their paddy field this year. We don’t know what the situation will be in the coming years. So, we’ve to take proper initiatives to ensure that they get fair prices,” he said.
“We’ll purchase more paddies from farmers in the next year,” the minister said.
He said the government will assist in procuring modern agriculture equipment to minimise labour cost.    
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said they do not have enough warehouses to stock paddy.  
“The Agriculture Ministry has to provide accurate information on the annual production and make a proper list of farmers,” he said.


Sri Lanka looking to counter boothaya, tsunami water on paddy

Jul 30, 2019 18:38 PM GMT+0530





ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka is looking to counter the problem where farmers cannot get a guaranteed price due to higher moisture content in paddy (rough rice) coming from mechanical harvesters, State Minister for Public Distribution and Economic Affairs Harsha de Silva said.

Amid labuor shortages Sri Lankan farmers are increasingly relying on mechanical cutters and combine harvesters generally known as <i>boothaya (devil)</i> or <i>tsunami</i> in the farming community.

Unlike in the old days when rice was dried before threshing and after, mechanical harvesters threshed the paddy on the run and combine harvesters also winnwoed paddy allowing for grain to be bagged immediately, leaving a high moisture content.

"It is true that paddy from boothaya and tsunami has a moisture content as much as 22 percent," de Silva admitted.

"When there is a high moisture content millers will not pay the guaranteed price. The guaranteed price is based on a moistrure content of 14 percent. We are addressing the problem by introducing dryers."

 He said 10 dryers would be introduced in the initial pilot project.

Since most economic problems in the world that are not solved by the community quickly are due to regulations set by the coercive power of the state that prevents solutions, de Silva was asked by a reporter why different guaranteed prices based on the moisture content are not declared.

"That is something we are looking at," de Silva said. "We want to introduce a range of prices."

Sri Lanka has set a farmgate price of 41 rupees a kilo for Samba and 39 rupees for Nadu, but some millers were paying prices as low as 36 rupees a kilo.

The rice yield of paddy depends on the water content and also the size of the seed. In sunny areas in the East the rice yields are higher and blunt one size fits all prices have no meaning, analysts say.

It may take about 1.6 kilograms of paddy to make a kilo of rice.

De Silva said a committee was also looking to see whether the guaranteed price should be raised. (Colombo/July30/2019)


To conserve water, Indian farmers fire up air pollution
Date:
July 30, 2019
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
A measure to conserve groundwater in northwestern India has led to unexpected consequences: added air pollution in an area already beset by haze and smog.
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FULL STORY

A measure to conserve groundwater in northwestern India has led to unexpected consequences: added air pollution in an area already beset by haze and smog.
A new study reveals how water-use policies require farmers to transplant rice later in the year, which in turn delays harvests and concentrates agricultural burnings of crop residues in November -- a month when breezes stagnate -- leading to increased air pollution.
The perfect storm of conditions during November has created almost 30 percent higher atmospheric concentrations of fine particulate matter, small particles that are especially concerning for human health.
The study, "Tradeoffs Between Groundwater Conservation and Air Pollution From Agricultural Fires in Northwest India," published in Nature Sustainability, is a collaboration between researchers from Cornell and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).
The scientists analyzed groundwater conservation policies and their effect on the timing of farmers' planting and harvesting crops and burning crop residues. They also connected this information with meteorological and air pollution data.
"This analysis shows that we need to think about sustainable agriculture from a systems perspective, because it's not a single objective we're managing for -- it's multidimensional, and solving one problem in isolation can exacerbate others ," said Andrew McDonald, associate professor of soil and crop sciences and a co-author of the paper. Balwinder Singh, a cropping systems simulation modeler at CIMMYT in New Delhi, India, is the paper's first author.
Northwest India suffers from two critical sustainability issues: air pollution and groundwater depletion. Almost 1.1 million Indians died from air pollution in 2015, adding up to costs equaling 3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, according to the study.
Groundwater depletion is an ongoing issue, and rice cultivation is particularly water-intensive. News reports in June shed light on water scarcity in Chennai, in the south; in the northwest, two groundwater conservation measures enacted in 2009 delayed groundwater use by farmers until later in the season. The acts ultimately prohibited transplanting rice into paddies until after June 20.
Farmers must quickly clear residues immediately following rice harvests in this area, known as India's bread basket, to prepare fields for planting wheat that grows in the winter.
Solutions could include new agronomic technologies such as the tractor-mounted Happy Seeder, a device that allows farmers to drill through heavy crop residues and plant seeds without burning. They might couple such advances with shorter-duration rice varieties that offer flexibility in planting and harvesting dates.

Story Source:
Materials provided by Cornell UniversityNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
1.     Balwinder-Singh, Andrew J. McDonald, Amit K. Srivastava, Bruno Gerard. Tradeoffs between groundwater conservation and air pollution from agricultural fires in northwest IndiaNature Sustainability, 2019; 2 (7): 580 DOI: 10.1038/s41893-019-0304-4

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Cornell University. "To conserve water, Indian farmers fire up air pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190730125338.htm>.

Where is the P4-b Budget released for farmers? — Villar
July 30, 2019 at 11:50 pm 

Senator Cynthia Villar wants the Senate to account for the P4-billion funds released by the Department of Budget and Management last December since only P1 billion went to the accounts of the farmers.
In his proposed Senate Resolution No. 39, Villar wants to seek clarification on the reported P5-million DBM release intended to help the rice farmers under the memorandum of understanding entered by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council with LBP and DBP.
Villar’s proposal also seeks an inquiry into the implementation of the law lifting the quantitative restriction on rice importation and creating the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, has made it a point to prioritize the exercise of her committee’s oversight function on the implementation of the law enacted on Feb. 14.
“This is the protection measure we have in place for our local farmers in a tariffied regime we find ourselves in following the expiration of the agreement with the World Trade Organization. We believe in this law and for the sake of our farmers, we want it to succeed,” Villar said.
The measure directs a Senate inquiry into the implementation of Republic Act 11203 or the rice tariffication law to closely monitor its implementation by the designated government agencies and to ensure that funds are allocated for the purpose actually intended.
Under RA 11203 which amends RA 8178 or the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, instead of limiting the amount of rice that will enter the country, rice imports will instead be charged with corresponding tariffs.
The collected amount shall be given to farmers to strengthen their productive capacities in the amount of at least P10 billion a year, for the next six years through a fund known as RCEF.
“The issues that have surfaced lately in the rice sector, particularly among the government agencies charged with the implementation of the RCEF law, are causes for apprehension on whether our rice sector and rice farmers are adequately made ready this early to face the regime of rice import liberalization,” Villar said.
The law allocates P5 billion annually to procure rice farm equipment through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization. Farm equipment such as tillers, tractors, seeders, threshers, rice planters, harvesters, and irrigation pumps will be given as a grant-in-kind primarily to eligible rice farmer associations and registered rice cooperatives.
“During the Senate deliberation on this law, we have identified 947 rice-producing municipalities in 55 provinces where farm equipment will be deployed over the next six years,” Villar said.
The law also allocates P3 billion to the Philippine Rice Research Institute to develop, propagate and promote inbred seeds, which is projected to increase farmers’ yield by up to 50 percent.
The Nacionalista Party senator pointed out that the Department of Agriculture’s regular program on hybrid rice remains and should not be confused with the RCEF for PhilRice.
Also under the law, P1 billion will be given to Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines for the creation of a credit facility with minimal interest rates and collateral requirements.
“We want to make sure that LBP and DBP have come up with guidelines and policies that make access to the funds by farmer beneficiaries easy and not prohibitive,” Villar said.
The law also provides that P1 billion will be used for skills training in rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm mechanization, farm machinery servicing and maintenance and knowledge and technology transfer through farm schools nationwide.
This portion will be divided among training providers such as PhilMech (10%), PhilRice (10%), Agriculture Training Institute (10%), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (70%).
Meanwhile, it was reported that PhilMech and PhilRice are also reported to be not ready yet to come out with their respective guidelines. The guidelines shoul have been issued 15 days after the Implementing Rules and Regulation publication.



Chasing mosquitoes

·       By Lynzie Lowe / llowe@appealdemocrat.com


The Colusa Mosquito Abatement District will be spraying for mosquitoes from the air August through October to combat the increase in population during these months. 
·       Courtesy Photo


The Colusa Mosquito Abatement District provides other services to the district in addition to ground fogging, including mosquito fish distribution. West side manager Brandon Berlin, pictured here, fishes some mosquito fish out of the raceway located at the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District Office. 
·       Lynzie Lowe/Sun-Herald
Description: Colusa Mosquito Abatement

The Colusa Mosquito Abatement District has a fleet of spray trucks canvasing weekly to maintain mosquito populations. 
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As August approaches and summer slowly fades to fall, rice fields are being drained and duck clubs are being flooded which means prime conditions for mosquito reproduction. 
You may see the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District flogging trucks out and about in the evening hours during the summer months but that six-man crew does a lot more than just these weekly sprays to keep those pesky mosquitoes away from your summer fun.  
“Most people think we just go out in the evening to spray but we work regular nine to five hours before that,” said David Whitesell, Colusa Mosquito Abatement District manager. “During the summer months we work 10- to 12-hour shifts to stay ahead of the mosquitoes.” 
The crew – consisting of three full-time employees and three seasonal hires –  start their morning cleaning all of the spray trucks and getting them ready for the busy night ahead. They service the eight-truck fleet of spray trucks as well as maintain all of the equipment used during flogging. 
Once the trucks are ready to go, district personnel are out daily monitoring mosquito populations to determine the best management practices to reduce mosquito populations. The types of control methods include, biological control, source reduction and chemical control. 
“A big part of our job is surveillance,” Whitesell said. “We don’t want to hit too early with the spray so we monitor areas to determine when to treat it.”   
District personnel are also responsible for conducting mosquito surveillance daily. They monitor mosquito borne diseases by trapping and collecting mosquito pools and taking blood samples from the district’s sentinel chicken flock. ​ These samples are sent to local labs to determine if any diseases or viruses are present in the area. 
As we enter peak mosquito season in the weeks ahead, the district will be ramping up control efforts once again so residence can continue to enjoy the rest of their summer free of mosquitoes. Airplane spraying will be utilized from August through October in addition to the weekly truck floggings the district has been doing since spring. 
Whitesell said mosquitos can reproduce within three to four days when conditions are hot. 
“Nothing is wetter than rice water and we are completely surrounded by it,” Whitesell said. “That with the warmer weather provide the ideal conditions for mosquitoes to spawn.” 
According to Whitesell, staying in front of the quickly growing mosquito population is very labor intensive because of the quickly changing environments they live in and the district is constantly monitoring the area to maintain these populations. 
During the cooler months of the year, the three full-time district employees spend their time preparing for the busy summer months by servicing and building machinery they will need during mosquito season. 
Because the district was having trouble finding and replacing parts to older machines, district employees decided to start making their own machinery, said Dan Kiely, Colusa Mosquito Abatement District east side manager. 
“They are also much easier to maintain because if they break down we can go uptown and grab a part and fix it ourselves,” Kiely said. “We couldn’t get parts for the old Crosley machines we use to use.” 
Whitesell said he has seen a lot of changes in the 34 years he has been employed at the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District but is very happy with the work the district is doing.
“My guys are really talented and the community has been so supportive,” Whitesell said. “And I am really proud of where we are as a district.” 

Villar seeks senate probe of rice program

JULY 31, 2019
VILLAR SEEKS SENATE PROBE OF RICE PROGRAM
SEN. Cynthia Villar has filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into the implementation of the law lifting the quantitative restrictions on rice importation and creating a program to make the rice sector more competitive through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Description: Villar seeks senate probe of rice program 1SEN. Cynthia Villar
Senate Resolution 39 directs a Senate inquiry into the implementation of RCEF by the designated government agencies to ensure that funds are allocated for their intended purposes.
Specifically, the senator wants to look into the implementation of the programs unfunded by the RCEF, which, under Republic Act (RA) 11203 or the “Rice Tariffication Law,” would be getting P10 billion annually for six years from 2019 to 2024.
Villar, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee, wants to prioritize the exercise of her committee’s oversight function on the implementation of the law that was enacted on Feb. 14, 2019. She was the primary author of RA 11203.
“This is the protection measure we have in place for our local farmers in a tariffied regime, [where] we find ourselves in following the expiration of the agreement with the World Trade Organization. We believe in this law and for the sake of our farmers, we want it to succeed,” she said.
Under RA 11203 that amended RA 8178, or the “Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996,” rice imports can freely enter the country without quantitative restrictions, but are slapped with corresponding tariffs. The collected tariffs would be allocated to undertake the RCEF for a period of six years.
“The issues that have surfaced lately in the rice sector, particularly among the government agencies charged with the implementation of the law, are causes for apprehension on whether our rice sector and rice farmers are adequately made ready this early to face the regime of rice import liberalization,” Villar said.
Under RA 11203, P10 billion from tariff collections should be invested for the following: P5 billion for the distribution of farm machines to be led by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech); P3 billion to promote the use of high-yielding rice seeds to be spearheaded by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice); P1 billion for training and capacity building of farmers to be led by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and the Technical Education and Skills Development
Authority; and P1 billion credit support by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
PHilMech, PhilRice and ATI are agencies under the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“During the Senate deliberation on this law, we have identified 947 rice-producing municipalities in 55 provinces, where farm equipment will be deployed over the next six years,” Villar said.
“We want to make sure that LBP and DBP have come up with guidelines and policies that make access to the funds by farmer beneficiaries easy and not prohibitive,” she added.
The senator said the DA’s regular program for the promotion of hybrid rice seeds should not be confused with the RCEF seed component spearhead by PhilRice.
The inquiry will also seek clarification on the reported release by the Department of Budget and Management of P5 billion in December 2018 to help rice farmers, with only P1 billion covered by an agreement for utilization by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) with LBP and DBP. ACPC is also an agency under the DA

Rice self-sufficiency must remain our goal

THE Rice Tariffication Law achieved its goal of keeping rice prices down as so much cheap rice was imported from Vietnam and Thailand. But it also deprived our Filipino rice fam­ers of their usual market, and so we may soon see the end of rice farming in our country.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the average rice prices at the farm gate had dropped to P17.85 per kilo in July, down 17 percent from a year ago. Farmers in Nueva Ecija and Isabela reported even lower prices – P12 a kilo. Rice consumers are happy but rice growers may have to shift to other crops if they are to survive as farmers.
President Duterte has come up with a short-range emergency solution, what he called a “happy compromise.” During the rice harvest season – December to January for the 2.7 million hectares of rain-fed farms and March to April for the 1.2 million hectares of irrigated farms – the government will be buying its rice reserves only from Philippine farmers.
“Buy all the stocks even if it’s expensive, before importing,” the President ordered. The rest of the year, the government may buy the cheaper imported rice for its stocks.
But this is just an emergency solution, to keep Philippine rice agriculture from disappear­ing. It would be such a shame if this country of rice-eaters has to depend totally on rice farmers in other countries who can produce it at much less cost.
The real solution to the problem is for our farmers to lower their production costs. If Viet and Thai farmers can do it, so can we. But it will take an organized and systematic govern­ment program to reach out to our farmers and provide them with high-yielding rice varieties and the constant assistance of extension workers, provide them with sufficient irrigation water, help them acquire tractors and other modern agricultural machinery, set up facilities in which to keep their harvests protected from pests, and help them organize themselves to market their products. In other words, organize the Philippine rice industry from beginning to end, from land preparation to marketing of harvests.
There is a R10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund which Congress enacted as early as November, 2018. In his last State of the Nation Address, President Duterte called for the full implementation of this law. We may need to provide an even greater fund to carry out a really comprehensive rice production program for our country, one that will not only free us from annual importations, but will also make us a rice-exporting nation.
This is a goal so many previous administrations have aspired for. It was the goal of Masa­gana 99 of then President Marcos. The International Rice Research Center was set up in Los BaƱos in 1960 and farm officials from Vietnam, Thailand, and other nearby countries came to learn of modern rice production systems that have since carried out in their countries.
We have been left behind, as various Philippine administrations have concentrated on vari­ous other goals. It is time to go back to that one old goal – to be self-sufficient in rice, our national staple food, so inseparable from our culture as Filipinos.

Senate inquiry into use of P10-B fund for farmers sought

By: Leila B. Salaverria - Reporter / @LeilasINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:31 AM July 31, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — It has only been five months since the rice tariffication measure became a law and already, Sen. Cynthia Villar has raised concerns about the funds allocated to help rice farmers.
The law, signed in February, created the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) that provides P10 billion a year for farmers to help them become more productive amid the expected influx of imported rice.
Villar said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P5 billion for the farmers last December in anticipation of the signing of the law.
But she said only P1 billion had been credited to the farmers’ account under the memorandum of understanding entered by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
The use of the remaining P4 billion was still being threshed out by the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Agriculture (DA), she said.
Where have the funds gone?
But they are eyeing the distribution of the funds to agencies involved in the implementation of the rice tariffication law, she said.

Early August Field Days: Mark Your Calendar   

August 2 - University of Arkansas Rice Field Day
Stuttgart Research Station, Foundation Seed Building 
2900 Arkansas Highway 130
Registration opens at 7 a.m.; first tour leaves at 7:30 a.m.
Contact:  Rice Research and Extension Center at (870) 673-2661

August 5 - Mississippi County Rice Irrigation Field Day
Burdette Center
912 E State Hwy 148, Luxora, AR  72358
8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Lunch provided.
Contact:  
Julie Bennett or (870) 563-3207, ext. 3

August 6 - RiceTec Field Day
RiceTec Arkansas Business Center
15329 Hwy 1, Harrisburg, AR
Registration begins at 4 p.m.; farm tours begin at 4:30 p.m.  Dinner will be served.
Contact:  Marya Langford at (870) 578-1805

August 7 - Clay County Rice Field Day
Clay County Extension Office
716 Southwest 2nd Street, Corning, AR  72422
8 a.m. - noon
Meet at the first stop located on County Road 152 East of Mark Ahrent Shop.  The caravan will return to Clay County Electric Cooperative, 3111 Hwy 67, near Corning, for lunch.
Contact:  Stewart Runsick at (870) 857-3961

August 8 - Mississippi State University Rice Field Day
Delta Research and Extension Center
Stoneville, MS
Program begins at the Capps Center at 3:30 p.m.  Social hour following the field day will be held at the Delta Council's conference room and back deck. 
Contact:  Bobby Golden at (662) 769-0274

August 8 - Pine Tree Field Day
Pine Tree Research Station
7337 Arkansas Highway 306
Colt, AR  
Registration opens at 7:30 a.m.; first rice tour at 10:15 a.m.; and lunch at 12:10 p.m.
Contact:  Shawn Clark at (870) 633-5767

August 13 - Horizon Ag Field Day
Coleman Farms
County Road 448, Jonesboro, AR  72404
Registration begins at 4:30 p.m.; tour starts at 5 p.m.  Dinner to follow.
Contact:  Dr. Tim Walker at (901) 818-3070
USA Rice Daily



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Save rice mills, Centre urged

Millers give memo to minister on falling paddy price
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·       Jul 31, 2019, 7:08 AM; last updated: Jul 31, 2019, 7:08 AM (IST
Description: Save rice mills, Centre urged
Ashok Grover, a Jalalabad-based rice miller, said they had submitted a memorandum to Union Minister for Food Processing and Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal expressing concern over the dipping procurement price of paddy.
Our Correspondent
Ferozepur, July 30
Members of the Basmati Rice Milling Industry (MSME) have urged the Union Government to take immediate remedial steps to safeguard their interests and save the rice mill industry from the verge of closure.
Ashok Grover, a Jalalabad-based rice miller, said they had submitted a memorandum to Union Minister for Food Processing and Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal expressing concern over the dipping procurement price of paddy. While talking to The Tribune, Grover said before crop year 2007-08, basmati rice manufacturing industry was restricted in only two districts of the state. “However, with the introduction of Basmati 1121 almost one-fourth of paddy farmers switched over to that variety of basmati instead of tradition non-basmati,” he said, adding that subsequently a parallel basmati manufacturing industry mushroomed after upgrading their existing units.
All these units installed state-of-the-art imported equipment and machinery after taking loans from financial units/ banks, he said.
Sources revealed that there had been a sudden fall in the price of basmati due to which millers was suffering losses. “Rice millers who had liabilities towards banks and other lenders as well as other unsecured creditors have not been able fulfil them due to which banks/ lenders have initiated recovery measures against a majority of the mills which has created panic in the industry,” said Grover.

DA open to suspending rice imports

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:12 AM July 30, 2019
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is ready to heed the call of President Duterte to stop the importation of rice during the country’s harvest season to protect the farmers, but the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is not too keen on the proposal.
On the sidelines of SL Agritech’s Masagang Ani 300 launch in Quezon City on Monday, Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan said the agency would find ways to follow the instruction of the President despite the recent deregulation of rice trade, adding that the move would bode well for local rice producers who are suffering from falling palay prices.
“Knowing the President, as a lawyer, he knows that what he’s saying has a legal basis so we’re going to find ways to make it happen … That is the order of the President so what are we going to do?” he said.
“The proposal’s intention is good. It wants to protect the farmers and so are you not going to support a move like that?” he added.
President Duterte said during the inauguration of a bypass road in Ilocos Sur last week that suspending the importation was a “happy compromise” between farmers and consumers to boost farmer income and ensure rice supply.
As of the second week of July, the average buying price of palay was at P17.87 a kilogram, down 17.31 percent from year-ago rates. The lowest recorded price was in Cavite, where a kilo of palay was sold at P12.85 a kilo or almost the same as the average cost of producing rice at P12 a kilo.
However, Socioeconomic Planning Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla said in an interview with Inquirer that restricting the importation of rice during harvest “goes against the spirit of the law,” adding that the new policy has yet to be fully implemented to resort to “something so drastic.”
 “I don’t know why that was the pronouncement of the President but I don’t think he meant it that way because the law is just starting now and all the implementing agencies are doing their part,” she said.

Customs denies undervaluation of rice imports

July 30, 2019, 12:52 PM
By Betheena Kae Unite
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) denied allegations by a group of farmers that rice importations have been undervalued, maintaining that they have been following internationally recognized system of valuation.
The Federation of Free Farmers, Inc. (FFF) in a recent statement lamented the “apparent undervaluation of rice imports following the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law or RA 11203 last March 2019.”
It can be recalled that the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Customs bureau reported a collection of P5.9 billion in tariffs from imports of 1.43-million metric tons of rice from March to July.
However, Raul Montemayor, National Manager of the FFF, said that with these figures, the importers “paid P4.24 billion less than what was due from them.”
“If we use the DOF figures and assume a P52 per dollar exchange rate, it will come out that the average landed price of the rice imports before imposing tariffs was US$227 per metric ton. On the other hand, data from international monitoring groups such as the Food and Agriculture Organization indicate that the real landed cost of these imports should have been around US$391 per ton if these were 25 percent broken rice,” Montemayor pointed out.
“In effect, importers appear to have undervalued their shipments by 42 percent and paid P4.24 billion less than what was due from them,” he added.
Montemayor also said that importers could reduce their tariff obligations by “deliberately lowering the declared value of their imports in connivance with their suppliers abroad.”
The Customs Assessment Operations and Coordinating Group, however, revealed that it was the office of the Import Assessment Service that provides reference values on rice import as guides when the veracity of the declared values are disputable.
“All ports abide with the said published data except when the commercial invoice of a rice shipment is supported by genuine and validated proof of payment such as bank telegraphic transfer of payment, sales contract and other similar legitimate instrumentalities that indicated actual sales transaction between the seller and the buyer,” the bureau said in a statement Monday.
This system, it added, is a World Trade Organization internationally recognized system of valuation where the Philippines was a signatory. It is also prescribed under Section 701 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The bureau is expected to collect P10-billion tariff collection for the year for remittance to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, which was created to help the transition of palay growers and rice farmer cooperatives to a new rice regime.

Rice import easing generates P6.5B

Gov’t collecting an average of P1.4B a month in taxes
By: Ben O. de Vera - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:14 AM July 30, 2019
In its first three months of implementation, the Rice Liberalization Act has generated P6.5 billion in import duties from private importers, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Monday.
In a statement, the DOF said the duties collected under Republic Act (RA) No. 11203 since it was implemented on March 5 averaged P1.4 billion a month as of mid July.
On top of the BOC’s collections, the government also earned P3.1 billion in duties from National Food Authority (NFA)-issued import permits, the country’s second biggest revenue agency said in a recent report to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.
As of July 15, the Port of Subic collected the biggest amount of rice import duties at P1.6 billion; the Manila International Container Port had P1.03 billion, and the Port of Manila, P998.8 million.
“At an average of P1.4 billion a month, the BOC remains on course to collect the minimum of P10 billion needed for the RCEF per year,” the DOF said, referring to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
For 2019, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) already released P5 billion for the RCEF, which will go to projects aimed at modernizing the agriculture sector while also assisting farmers through access to credit, mechanization, high-quality seeds and fertilizers, the DOF noted.
Under RA 11203, the following tariff rates apply: 35 percent if rice is imported from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean); 40 percent if within the minimum access volume (MAV) of 350,000 metric tons from countries outside Asean, and 180 percent if above the MAV and coming from a non-Asean country.

Global Weather Chaos Is Also Taking Its Toll on Asia's Crops

By Randy Thanthong-Knight
July 30, 2019, 2:00 AM GMT+5 Updated on July 30, 2019, 12:29 PM GMT+5


In a year when record heat is scorching Europe and the heaviest rain in decades has inundated parts of the U.S. Midwest, the Asia Pacific region is suffering from its own maelstrom of extreme weather.
Drought, and floods in some areas, have devastated the livelihoods of thousands of people, and damaged crops in an area that produces most of the world’s palm oil, natural rubber and rice, and more than a third of its sugar. While parts of China endured the most rain in almost 60 years, water levels on the Mekong, one of Asia’s largest river systems, have fallen to among the lowest ever, and areas of southern India are battling relentless drought.
“Over the past several years, we’ve been seeing more dryness than not in the region,” said Donald Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist at Maxar, a U.S.-based weather consultant. “These conditions will cause a decline in production of the main crops later this year and into next,” he said.
Dry conditions have wilted rice fields in Thailand and Indonesia and parched sugar cane plantations and oilseed crops in India. Here’s a snapshot of how weather is affecting output in some key areas:

China

In northern regions, lack of rain and drought have threatened some crops, though the impact is mitigated by irrigation. By contrast, some southern provinces had the heaviest rainfall since 1961 in the five weeks to early July, according to the meteorological administration, hampering early rice output and worsening pest problems. China is the top producer of wheat and rice, and second-biggest for corn, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

India

India jostles with Brazil as the biggest producer of sugar. Output this year may drop to the lowest in three years as a prolonged drought shrivels cane in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, trimming the domestic surplus and potentially curbing exports. Deficient rainfall from the annual monsoon also threatens oilseed crops, which could boost foreign purchases of edible oils, including palm oil, where the country is the largest importer. Still, Mumbai has been hit by heavy downpours, a sign of the weather’s erratic nature.

Indonesia, Malaysia

These are the world’s top palm oil producers. The next three months will be crucial to determine how output will turn out next year and dryness in areas of Borneo island will be closely watched, said Ling Ah Hong, director of plantation consultant Ganling Sdn, who’s worked in the industry for more than four decades. Rice production is threatened by dry weather on Java island, where some areas are without rain for more than 60 days.
Indonesia is also stepping up efforts to prevent a repeat of haze that blanketed much of Southeast Asia four years ago by deploying thousands of firefighters and emergency response teams in palm oil- and rubber-producing regions.

Thailand

An aircraft prepares to spray calcium oxide on a mission to generate artificial precipitation in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2015.
Thailand is the globe’s top grower of rubber, and one of the largest exporters of sugar and rice. The worst drought in years in some areas is hurting crops, and caused authorities to cut estimates for cane output and rice shipments. Cloud-seeding planes have been deployed, and pumps and trucks have been used to divert water to the affected areas in the north and northeast.

Vietnam

A heat wave and drought have hit parts of the country, hurting rice and rubber. Still, the central highlands, where most coffee is grown, have escaped major harm so far. Vietnam is the largest producer of the robusta variety.

Australia

A farmer visits a dried up freshwater dam on a farm New South Wales in Sept, 2018.
Much of the east coast is still gripped by a drought that began more than two years ago. The dry conditions are worst in Queensland, the biggest beef-producing state, but extend into much of New South Wales. The situation is much better in Western Australia, where the wheat crop had good late rain and is likely to be on a par with the bumper season last year. Even so, Australia is likely to import more wheat after the coming harvest, said Tobin Gorey, a strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
— With assistance by Shuping Niu, Pratik Parija, Yoga Rusmana, Anuradha Raghu, Mai Ngoc Chau, and Andrew Hobbs
(Updates to add Indonesia fighting fires in eighth paragraph.)
Over 370,000 tons of broken rice exported to 33 countries in more than nine months

PUBLISHED 30 JULY 2019

ZEYAR NYEIN
More than 370,000 tons of broken rice were exported to 33 countries in about nine and a half months and 48 percent of the total export went to Belgium, according to figures released by Myanmar Rice Federation. 
From October 1 to July 12 in the current 2018-2019 fiscal year, Myanmar exported 370,981.618 tons of broken rice to 33 countries earning US$99.628 million. 
In the period, most of broken rice went to Belgium, Indonesia, China, Netherlands, and UK. 
Belgium purchased 179,739 tons or broken rice worth US$48.155 million accounting for over 48 percent of the total export. Indonesia was the second largest buyer importing 57,360 tons of Myanmar's broken rice worth US$15.668 million. 
Moreover, Myanmar exported 25,000 tons of broken rice worth US$6.723 million to China, 21,400 tons worth US$5.324 million to Netherlands and 18,000 tons worth US$4.743 million to UK.  
From October 1 to July 12 this fiscal year, Myanmar earned US$562.191 million from exporting 1.858 million tons of rice and broken rice. In 2017-2018 FY, nearly 3.6 million tons of rice were exported reaching a record high in over 50 years. 

More rice mills stop operations
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - July 30, 2019 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The rice milling industry is now bearing the brunt of the liberalization of the rice industry as 40 percent of the country’s rice mills have stopped operations.
The Philippine Confederation of Grains Association (PhilConGrains), a nationwide organization of rice millers, said only 60 percent of the approximately 10,000 rice mills in the country are operating.
“There are lots of mills, including the big ones, that have stopped operating. During the last harvest season, some bought at higher prices which they milled and yet they cannot sell those right now because prices have dropped,” PhilConGrains president Joji Co told reporters on the sidelines of the Masaganang Ani 300 launch Monday.
In Isabela, for instance, six big mills had already stopped operations. Co estimates that a big mill costs as much as P100 million, while the smaller ones range between P30 million and P50 million.
“There are still more in other areas particularly in major rice producing areas like Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Mindoro and Panay Island. Right now, only 60 to 70 percent are operating,” Co said.
“In Bocaue, Bulacan, 80 to 90 percent of their rice mills are not milling but they have rice stocks which all came from importation. Milling is labor intensive, but if they buy imported, it is very easy for them,” he said.
The reduction in the milling operations has resulted in lower production of rice bran (darak) which eventually pushed prices up.
Rice bran is one of the components for feeds for poultry and hogs. Prices of rice bran have already doubled to P17 per kilo from the average P8 to P9 per kilo.
“Rice bran should be lower than palay, it doesn’t make sense if it’s higher because it’s just a by-product,” said United Broilers Raisers Association president Elias Jose Inciong.
“We are already in a difficult position. We continue to look for alternatives whenever prices of corn, our main feeds materials, go up,” he said.
PhilConGrains is also pushing for the review of the Rice Tariffication Law. It also urged the Bureau of Customs to strictly enforce tariff rates amid undervaluation issues.
 https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/07/30/1938951/more-rice-mills-stop-operations#T42pwMwXg3MGvj5h.99