Tuesday, August 06, 2019

6th August,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Villar to DA: Return P4 billion for rice fund

Description: https://39byfk2z09ab1y1bzj1l5r82-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/agri01-082018-696x457.jpgIn Photo: Photo shows farmers harvesting rice in La Union.
SEN. Cynthia Villar on Monday asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to return the P4 billion meant for programs to assist farmers after the lifting of the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice imports.
Villar, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, recalled that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P5 billion in December last year in anticipation of the enactment into law of Republic Act (RA) 11203, which mandated the creation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
In a statement, Villar noted that of the amount, only P1 billion went to RCEF’s program providing farmers access to cheap credit through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Outgoing Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol maintained that the P5 billion released by the DBM to the DA last year was not part of the RCEF.
With the appointment of William Dar as secretary of DA, Villar expressed hope that the department will now be more supportive of the full implementation of the law and that the new secretary will prioritize the return of P4 billion to RCEF.
“Even if the money has been spent as the measure has not been passed, the DA should have waited and should not have spent the money for other things. I want the DA to account for the remaining P4 billion and also to make sure that P4 billion will be immediately returned to RCEF,” Villar said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Villar added the amount is needed to jump-start the programs enumerated in the law, which was already delayed by the late approval of the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
RA 11203, which was signed by President Duterte on February 14, replaced the QR on rice imports with tariffs. The collected amount will be given to farmers to improve their competitiveness through RCEF.
“What I do not want to hear is that only P5 billion is left for RCEF this year. That is not right, it is against the law,” Villar said.
Under RCEF, P5 billion will be allocated to the Philippine Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) for the procurement of farm equipment to be distributed to 947 rice producing towns in the Philippines.
The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will get P3 billion so it could teach farmers how to produce inbred seeds, which will increase their yield by up to 50 percent from 4 metric tons per hectare to 6 MT per hectare.
The LandBank and the DBP will also be given P1 billion from the RCEF for the creation of a credit facility with minimal interest rates and collateral requirements.
The remaining P1 billion is allocated to PhilMech, PhilRice, the Agriculture Training Institute and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for the skills training of farmers 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.

Acting Agri chief: Where is farmers' P4-billion fund from rice imports?

Aug 06 2019 12:11 PM

MANILA -- New Acting Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Tuesday said he will order an audit into the whereabouts of P4 billion in funds that should have gone to programs for increasing the production of local farmers.
The amount is part of the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) that farmers should get yearly from tariff collections on imported rice.
The budget agency earlier this year released P5 billion from the RCEF to the Department of Agriculture, of which P1 billion went to loans for farmers and P4 billion remains unaccounted for, Sen. Cynthia Villar earlier said.
"Gusto kong kumuha ng feedback sa ating mga liderato later on... Iyung P4 billion, nasaan po? Sabihin na natin na and'yan, they just have to properly account," Dar told reporters.
(I want to get feedback from our leadership later on. Where is the P4 billion? Let's say that it's just there, they just have to properly account for it.)
In the next 100 days, Dar said he wants to accelerate the implementation of RCEF and educate some 3 million farmers about the program.
Dar said he also aims to double the income of farmers and fishermen in the next 5 years through industrialization, promotion of exports, infrastructure development, and higher budget and investments, among others.
"Gustong mag-iwan ng legacy ang ating Pangulo: na by the end of his term ay umangat ang kabuhayan at aangat ang quality of life ng ating magsasaka at mangingisda," he said.
(Our President wants to leave a legacy: that by the end of his term, the livelihood and quality of life of our farmers and fishermen would have improved.)
Farmers and fishermen consistently registered the highest poverty incidence among 9 sectors in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015, according to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
An agriculture worker earns around P192 daily, the agency said in another report.
Dar, a horticulturist, briefly served as agriculture chief during former President Joseph Estrada's term.
His predecessor, former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, was appointed chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

GIEWS Country Brief: Guinea-Bissau 5-August-2019

Published on 05 Aug 2019 View Original

·       Late arrival of rains delayed planting of 2019 cereal crops
·       Slightly above-average production gathered in 2018
·       Increasing cereal import requirements
·       Overall satisfactory food security situation
Late arrival of rains delayed planting of 2019 cereal crop
Description: preview Seasonal rains started late in June, delaying planting operations of maize, millet and sorghum, for harvesting from September. However, abundant rains since mid-June contributed to replenish soil moisture and favoured seed germination and plant establishment. Planting operations for rice, the major cereal crop produced in the country, are underway and will be completed by August. The harvest is expected to be completed in January.The conditions of natural pasture coverage are satisfactory and rains have filled the main water points at optimal levels across the country. Due to the abundance and diversification of biomass, the animal body condition is satisfactory. The health situation remains overall stable.
Slightly above-average production gathered in 2018
Despite some localized flooding in June 2018 and Fall Armyworm attacks on the maize crop, the 2018 national cereal production was estimated at 224 000 tonnes, about 5 percent above the five-year average. Production has been increasing steadily over the past few years due to the support from the Government and its development partners, including PADES (South Economic Development Support Project) in the south and PDCV (Rice Value Chain Development Project) in the east of the country, that contributed to increase the area cultivated with cereals.
Increasing cereal import requirements
Over 45 percent of the national cereal utilization in the country is covered by imports. Rice accounts for about 80 percent of the import requirements, followed by wheat, which accounts for about 15 percent. Despite the above-average domestic production obtained in 2018, import requirements for the 2018/19 (November/October) marketing year are forecast at 140 000 tonnes, allowing traders to replenish their food stocks.
Satisfactory food security situation
The overall food situation is satisfactory across the country. However, continued assistance is needed for the most vulnerable population. According to the March 2019 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 2 500 people (out of 1.07 million) are estimated to be in need of food assistance up to August 2019, with a decrease from 5 000 food insecure in June-August 2018.
Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Domoguen: Rice production, demand, marketing in PH still unsound

Mountain Light
August 5, 2019
ON THE second week of July, this year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the price of palay is P17.87.

In some areas, the price dropped to as low as P12.00. 

With a mild El Nino in 2018, the growing conditions for rice in the months of September-December was still generally favorable throughout the country. The second crop was harvested from mid-January and completed in July this year.

With the signing of the Rice Tariffication Law (Republic Act 11203) by President Rodrigo Duterte, the forecast for cereal imports in 2019/20 marketing year (July/June) was seen rising at a high level.

The rice tariffication law has lifted quantitative restrictions on rice importation and allowed private traders to import the commodity from abroad.

The law replaced the government’s quantitative restrictions on importation of the staple with a 35 percent tariff. Its implementation is intended in part to spur imports in order to quell domestic unrest caused by inflation.

Without quantitative restrictions, the USDA projected the country will be importing three million metric tons (MMT) of rice this year.

The agency noted sees higher imports of rice despite a significant increase in local output as domestic consumption remains to be in an upward trend. Production of milled-rice is seen rising by two percent to 12.2 million MT. Rice consumption is also projected to hit 14.45 million MT from 13.9 million MT.

The USDA said there is an improvement in area planted as rice areas are seen to reach 4.85 million hectares this year or one percent higher than a year ago.

Yield is also expected to improve to 3.99 MT per hectare per harvest from the earlier 3.96 MT.

While things are turning out slightly in favor of consumers, things have gone for the worse for the farmers.

Since the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) on March 5, the Department of Finance (DOF), citing preliminary data from the Bureau of Customs reported that the private sector has imported 1.43 MMT of rice.

The price of rice has been steadily decreasing since September last year and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol warned that the Philippines would have a rice problem if it relied on imports to meet its requirements for the staple.

For one, relying on imports at this time could discourage our farmers from producing the staple in the country’s remaining rice farms.

As of this writing, we can assume that the majority of our farmers are not ready and empowered to take on the challenges of a liberalized global market.

What the previous regimes and administrations failed to resolve is left for the current administration to overcome including the country’s free trade agreements and commitments.

For instance, one primary objective of agrarian reform during Martial Law, later dispersed into the functions of the Land Bank, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology, and local government units (LGUs) is to organize farmers into cooperatives so they can take charge of the production and marketing of their produce. Today, these functions remain in the hands of traders. They can manipulate prices at the expense of both farmers and consumers.

With the RTL in effect, farmers fear that the local market will be flooded with cheap commodities like rice from other countries.

This is bad because our farmers (the majority are smallholders) are not empowered to compete with the realities of a free trade regime. Their meager incomes are yet imperiled with reductions.

With the current rice stock we have in the country (harvest plus imports) one wonders how many tons are hoarded somewhere and what are its effects once it is downloaded because you cannot store rice too long due to pests, deterioration, and storage costs.

I wonder if our lawmakers like Senator Villar and the Makabayan Bloc, had this in mind when they proposed at the height of the limited supply of rice and high prices in the market, to impose price control on the commodity.

But the University of the Philippines Diliman Ph.D. candidate JC Punongbayan thinks that price control is unsound.

Punongbayan, as reported by Rappler, declared that “imposing a price ceiling on rice in a time of rice supply constraints is a politically attractive but patently unsound idea. By preventing rice supply from meeting rice demand, it is a surefire way to exacerbate rice shortages nationwide and worsen the plight of our people, especially the poor. It also betrays the proponents' disturbing lack of understanding of basic economic principles.”

Now the RTL, a policy crafted by our lawmakers with Senator Villar as the main author is not working.

The measure created the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) or a special rice buffer fund, with an initial P10-billion annual fund, to ensure rice production competitiveness.

The RCEF program steering committee (PSC) is chaired by Secretary Piñol. The PSC includes the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance, Land Bank of the Philippines, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as members.

In their meeting last month, Piñol told the RCEF committee members “that time is running out for the government to roll out the necessary interventions for farmers now reeling from the steep drop in the price of unhusked rice.”

“The situation could worsen if we don’t deliver our commitment. For now, there is so much unrest among farmers especially in Luzon so we cannot afford not to deliver [interventions],” according to Piñol.

Senator Villar has vowed to look into the disbursement of the P5 billion initially released by the DBM to the RCEF Program.

But noting the continued losses of rice farmers, Senator Francis Pangilinan asked the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chaired by Villar to conduct an inquiry on the impact of the law (Republic Act 11203) as a whole on rice farmers and the local rice industry.

Meanwhile, in his 4th SONA, the President again urged Congress to pass the National Land Use Act (NLUA), a request that he has made since his first Sona in 2016.

Senator Villar, whose committee failed to pass the measure in the past Congress, said that passage of the land use act will earn ire of local governments.If we do not have an NLUA how will the LGUs be regulated from converting precious rice lands into subdivisions?

Without rice lands could food security and rice self-sufficiency be ensured and sustained? Selfish interests could be making rice production, sustainability and self-sufficiency unsound?

KNCCI boss wants rice farmers protected from Pakistani imports


The chamber president's views might reignite the early '20s sour trade relations between Kenya and Pakistan

In Summary
• Kenya produces only a third of its annual rice demand and imports the deficit mainly from Pakistan
• The Asian country remains the single largest buyer of Kenyan tea
Description: KNCCI president Richard Ngatia (C) with Kirinyaga county chapter chairman Peter Waweru (L) and MCA Fredrick Bundi during the Kirinyaga Cultural Festival on Saturday
TRADE: KNCCI president Richard Ngatia (C) with Kirinyaga county chapter chairman Peter Waweru (L) and MCA Fredrick Bundi during the Kirinyaga Cultural Festival on Saturday 
Image: /Courtesy
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants the threat of Pakistani rice imports to local farmers addressed as a matter of priority.
KNCCI president Richard Ngatia said on Saturday that the imported rice was a concern for his organisation as rice was one of the country's major cash crops.
Ngatia spoke during the Kirinyaga Cultural Festival whose theme was Conserving Our Water Towers Through Culture.
He called for easier access to agricultural inputs and the cushioning of farmers from external competition.
The KNCCI official said unfavourable business conditions for both domestic and international markets should be eliminated.
To ensure business competitiveness, I propose a provision of incentives on agricultural inputs such as fertiliser,” he said.
Ngatia further noted: “Low incentives, underdeveloped agricultural value chains for less dominant cash crops and exploitation of farmers by middlemen are major drawbacks to commercial farming.”
The chamber president's views might reignite the sour trade relations between Kenya and Pakistan of the early '20s.
In 2010, the Kenya Revenue Authority was forced to release a consignment of Pakistani rice it had impounded over clearance procedures. The release averted a potential trade tussle between the two countries.
The customs officials had restricted rice imports and insisted that shipments would only be granted access after the owners provided laboratory analysis reports on key aspects such as grading.
Kenya produces only a third of its annual rice demand. The bulk of the deficit comes from Pakistan, which has for many years remained the largest buyer of Kenyan tea.
The Asian country bought tea worth Sh3.5 billion in January this year.
Ngatia urged traders to promote public participation in planning and budget making at the county level.
He asked them to pursue inter- and intra- county trade for the development of enterprises.
The KNCCI boss said his organisation has been in partnership with county governments since the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Council of Governors in 2015. A similar deal was entered into with the Kenya Investment Authority in 2016 to facilitate trade and investment in counties.
The chamber intends to establish a fund for small and medium enterprises development to support businesses through credit facilities.

Bangladesh rice output forecast lower

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Rice production in Bangladesh for the 2019-20 marketing year is forecast lower due to Aus season rice area reduction and crop damaged by flooding, according to an Aug. 2 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA said milled rice production in Bangladesh is now forecast at 35.2 million tonnes in 2019-20, down from an earlier forecast of 35.3 million. Area harvested to rice also is forecast lower, at 11.73 million hectares, down from 11.83 million.
Aus rice (planted in March/April and harvested in July/August) production is estimated lower at 2.2 million tonnes due to decreased acreage (1 million hectare) against the initial expectation (1.17 million hectares); the acreage was reduced due to shifts to other competing crops and also due to flooding, which affected 28 districts out of 64,” the USDA said. “Field sources report that farmers switched from Aus rice to jute, maize, and vegetable cultivation due to higher returns to recover the lower return from Boro (winter) rice production.”
According to the USDA, the monsoon season in Bangladesh officially started on June 17, and heavy rains began July 9. The massive rains triggered widespread flooding and landslides, the agency noted.
Imports of rice were forecast at 100,000 tonnes for 2019-20, down from 550,000 in 2018-19 and 3.2 million in 2017-18. The USDA attributed the decline to sufficient domestic supplies and uncompetitive imports due to the government’s decision to raise the import duty on rice to 55%.
Rice exports, meanwhile, were forecast at 100,000 tonnes in 2019-20, up sharply from the earlier forecast of 4,000 tonnes.

EPA Staff Explores Mid-South Rice Country 

STUTTGART, AR -- Last week USA Rice hosted eight staff members from across the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs to experience rice production in Missouri and Arkansas. 

With the need for new crop protection products ever growing, these tours bring key EPA personnel out to the farm to inform them of pesticide issues facing rice growers across the country.

The group started the week in St. Louis with a tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery to see one of the end products made with rice.  They visited rice growing regions in both Missouri and Arkansas, stopping at Rance Daniels' farm in Hornersville, Missouri, and three operations in Arkansas, in Burdette with Mike Sullivan, in England with Dow Brantley, and in Stuttgart with David and Robert Petter, to learn about how rice is grown and see firsthand pesticide application by ground sprayer and aerial application. 

The group toured two different rice mills, Riceland Foods in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and Martin Rice Company in Bernie, Missouri, to learn how rice gets from the farm to grocery store shelves.  The group also sat in on some of the Arkansas Rice Research & Promotion Board meeting in Stuttgart.  The tour ended at the University of Arkansas Rice Field Day in Stuttgart where participants heard about weed resistance issues and current research projects being done for the benefit of rice farmers. 

"Bridge building between the regulatory agency and the rice industry serves us all," said David Petter who is also chair of the USA Rice Regulatory Affairs and Food Safety Committee.  "Having EPA employees come here to see our operations and talk to farmers about the real issues we face when it comes to pests is invaluable, and we thank everyone who joined us last week and opened their farms and businesses to the group." 

Telangana: Rice millers pulled up for violation

Those involved in evasion of custom milled rice told to pay dues

By AuthorTelanganaToday  |  
Published: 6th Aug 2019  12:31 am
Hyderabad: Civil Supplies Department has focused its attention on special measures to contain evasion of custom milled rice due to the State government by the millers.
The State government has to realise 73, 000 tonnes of custom milled rice worth Rs 117.22 crore from 2010-11 to 2014-15.
Civil Supplies Commissioner Akun Sabharwal had a meeting with 89 millers who were involved in evasion of custom milled rice due to the government. He had a one-on-one talk with the millers and 32 of them came forward to clear the dues to the tune of Rs 44.55 crore. They agreed to pay Rs 11.44 crore, 25 per cent of the due in the first installment immediately.
They would be allowed to clear rest of the due in three more installments . The Department has prepared district wise list of the millers involved in the custom milled rice evasion.
The Millers however requested the commissioner to look into the issues being faced by them . The commissioner had assured them that their representations would be taken up with the Minister for Civil Supplies .
They pleaded with him that they should be permitted to clear the due by paying the market value of custom milled rice owed to the government.
Commissioner had assured them that those who would be able to clear the custom milled rice (CMR )dues for the year 2019-20, they would be eligible to get paddy for milling once again for the next year.
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Climate Change to Cause Chaos in Africa, Warn Scientists

By Henry Ridgwell
August 5, 2019 09:42 AM
LONDON - Climate change will hit many African countries more severely than previously thought, according to a new report. Researchers warn that rapid population growth means more and more people will be affected by extreme weather events across the continent in the coming years.
Farmers in the Faranah region in Guinea, West Africa work the soil in preparation for seeding. The ground is dry and baked hard — the hoes and rakes kick up clouds of dust.  
It’s the rainy season — but the skies are clear — the rain isn't falling. For rice farmers like Qulare Mohamed that could spell disaster.
He said that climate change has caused a shortage of rain and as we are not getting any rainfall and is very difficult for us to farm, we cannot plant our rice seeds because of the lack of rainfall.
The report from Britain’s Meteorological Office and Leeds University warns that climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels will bring chaos to Africa — with bouts of severe drought and flooding. Elizabeth Kendon of the Meteorological Office is co-author of the research.
“For the first time we have run a very high resolution climate model, on a par with the resolution that we typically use for weather forecasting. So this climate model is able to represent small-scale processes in the atmosphere with much greater realism. The small-scale processes are really important for how climate extremes might change over Africa,” she said.
Kendon said flash floods will become much more common across Africa.
“We found that those sort of events, which are typically say once every 30 years now, could be as frequent as once every three to four years in the future. In terms of wet extremes, heavy rainfall, we see changes across the whole of the continent. In terms of the dry extremes, particularly we find that central and Western Africa is affected,” she said.
The World Meteorological Organization warned that the month of July this year saw record heatwaves across the globe — a phenomenon that has in its words ‘rewritten climate history books.’
Scientists say people in Africa will likely be among the hardest hit by climate change over the coming decades  – with less capacity to deal with the impact.

Chinese salt-tolerant rice bears fruit in Dubai

2019-08-05 08:23:06China DailyEditor : Li Yan
Farmers harvest crops as part of a test of saltwater-tolerant rice in Dubai. (Photo/China Daily)
Description: http://i2.chinanews.com/simg/hpic/2019/08-05/pic1-31370287.jpegAgricultural scientists from China who set a rice production record in a Dubai desert are expanding their test plantings to look for even more productive strains that suit local palates.
The average annual yield9.4 metric tons per hectarehas already more than doubled that of previous rice cultivation efforts in Dubai led by India and Pakistan, according to Cheng Yunfeng, manager of Wuhan Haidao International, which is based in Hubei province and oversees the trial planting program.
Cheng said production was similar to high-yield varieties intended for conventional arable land.
The program, which ran from November to June, turned 3.6 hectares of barren desert near the outskirts of the city of Dubai into green paddy fields.
The rice with such abundant yields is known as saltwater-tolerant rice and is a variety developed in China that can cope with heavy salt concentrations and being submerged.
The original, wild crop, discovered on the coast of Guangdong province in the 1980s, has been developed into a family of saltwater-tolerant strains. Trial cultivations across China maximized desirable traits before the project expanded overseas.
"The success of our first trial in Dubai is a crucial step in promoting saltwater-tolerant rice across the Middle East and even around the globe," Cheng said.
A decadelong cooperation plan was signed in mid-July to further expand trial plantings and encourage commercial adoption across the United Arab Emirates, he said.
Trying to grow rice in rocky desert soil is a huge undertaking in itself. In Dubai, a shortage of fresh water compounded the challenge and thwarted decades of attempts to grow crops on a large scale there.
"Ground water used for irrigation in Dubai has an average salt content of 1.6 percent, almost equivalent to the water in the South China Sea," Cheng said. "That would kill tender seedlings for sure.
"To address the issue, we first used the traditional approach of diluting the water's salt content to about 0.6 percent. More importantly, we adopted a dry, direct-seeding method that reduces demand for irrigation water.
"There is no need to apply the dry-seeding approach in our planting center in Wuhan, since the city has sufficient fresh water. But in foreign lands, it's crucial to upgrade techniques to adapt to local conditions."
The bold move to switch seeding approaches meant intense manual labor was needed to complete the planting quickly.
"We transported two rice-sowing machines from China to speed up the process," Cheng said.
But Dubai also has advantages, such as warm temperatures and abundant sunlight that foster the growth of rice.
"In the past year, we have collected a certain amount of data and information that will help us determine optimal sowing seasons in the future and assess how different agricultural practices, including irrigation and use of fertilizers and pesticides, affect eventual output," Cheng said.
In future trial plantings, the
company aims to isolate productive rice strains while further enhancing their resilience and fine-tuning the texture to the palates of local residents, who prefer fluffy rice to sticky rice.
"Efficient use of scarce water sources is also on top of our agenda," he said

Drought disaster initial damage estimated 10bn baht

Published on 03 Aug 2019 View Original
BANGKOK, 3rd August 2019 (NNT) - The latest estimate from the University of Thai Chambers of Commerce (UTCC) shows the drought disaster this year has affected some 1,330 square kilometers of farmland, most of which is rice farms, with initial damage estimated at about 10 billion baht.
The University of the Thai Chambers of Commerce (UTCC) has conducted a survey on this year’s drought disaster, compiled from agricultural government agencies and private firms with 109 data samples nationwide. The survey has concluded the agricultural sector has been affected the most from the disaster, especially in the northern and northeastern region, affecting farmer’s yields and incomes.
According to data from the Department of Agricultural Extension as of 1st August 2019, 1,341 square kilometers of farmland has been affected by the drought disaster this year, most of which is rice farms at 656 square kilometers with damage estimated at 7.5 billion baht, followed by maize farms, sugar cane for factories, and tapioca, raising the overall damage estimate to 9.8 billion baht.
UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting’s (CEBF) Director, Thanawat Polvichai said today that the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has lifted the disaster affected area status in most places, leaving only one province remaining, which is expected to help alleviate the crisis thanks to the government’s water management and rainmaking operations. However, the center expects the damage to reach 18 billion baht should the crisis continue for another month.
The overall damage is expected to escalate to 37 billion baht should the drought extends to September, as the wet season rice cultivation cycle would be affected; that would lower expected Thai economic growth to 2.9 percent from 3 percent.
The Thai Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairma, and central region economic development committee chairman Jit Siratranont, agree that wet crop rice cultivation could be saved should the rain start to fall during this period, adding that the government should urgently provide farms with the necessary support and stimulate the economy in various respects, as the drought if prolonged, will affect the grassroots economy in addition to a slowdown in the export sector.
Information and Source
Reporter : Tanakorn Sangiam
Rewriter : Tarin Angskul
National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Agri Buzz: Sharp Drop In Area Under Rice, Pulses, Oilseeds And Cereals

Agri Buzz: Sharp Drop In Area Under Rice, Pulses, Oilseeds And Cereals
August 5, 2019 12:41 IST | 
Kharif acreage stands at 788.5 lakh hectares (lh) as on 2nd August 2019, down around 6.6% than 844 lh covered in the corresponding week in the previous kharif season, according to latest data released by the Agriculture Ministry. Planting of Rice is at 223.5 lh, down 12.5% over the year. Pulses acreage is down 7.55% at 105.14 lh while oilseeds acreage is also lower by 5% at 149.41 lh. Soybean acreage is down 2% at 107.29 lh. Acreage under Coarse cereals is down 6.19% at 136.17 lh. Maize area is up marginally by 0.35% at 69.27 lh. Sugarcane acreage is down 5.68% at 52.30 lh. However, cotton acreage is up 4.87% at 115.15 lh.

Gold Eases On Profit Selling, MCX Futures Linger Around Rs 37100 Per 10 Grams

Gold Eases On Profit Selling, MCX Futures Linger Around Rs 37100 Per 10 Grams
August 6, 2019 13:13 IST | capital market 
COMEX Gold eased on profit selling today after a ferocious run saw it hit seven year high near $1490 per ounce yesterday. The metal currently trades at $1473 per ounce, down marginally on the day. Meanwhile, the MCX Gold futures eased amid these moves and traders also eyed the weak demand prospects in retail markets after spot prices hit all-time high of Rs 36500 per 10 grams. Indias gold imports in July fell 55% from year ago to the lowest level in nearly three years. India imported around 39.66 tonnes of gold in July, down from 88.16 tonnes a year ago, media reports noted today. MCX Gold futures are currently trading at Rs 37099 per 10 grams, down 0.6% on the day.

KNCCI boss calls for rice import ban

 05th Aug 2019 00:00:00 GMT +0300
Description: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/images/sunday/difsirwnsb7tupa5d470d1a1e191.jpg

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Richard Ngatia (centre) Chamber Vice President Eric Ruto (right) and the Kirinyaga Chamber Chapter Chairman Waweru Njogu (left) take part in a dance in Kirinyaga East Sub-county. [Munene Kamau, Standard]
A traders' lobby has called for tight control of rice imports into the country from destinations such as Pakistan.

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), through its president Richard Ngatia said on Saturday that the imported rice is a threat to Kenyan farmers.
Speaking in Mwea town during the Kirinyaga Cultural Festival, Mr Ngatia reckoned that such a move would boost rice production in the country.
Mr Ngatia decried a poor road network in Kirinyaga, especially in  Mwea, Gichugu and Kirinyaga Central Sub-counties as a reason why agricultural output was low.
“Farmers are unable to transport their products to the market therefore limiting the potential of the agriculture sub-sector,” Ngatia said.
He called for improved agricultural value chains for less dominant cash crops such as bananas, tomatoes, French beans, beans, mangoes and maize.
Commenting about the festival, Ngatia said it is a good way for local traders to network.
The festival organised by KNCCI, Kirinyaga Chapter in conjunction with the Njukiine Ward MCA Fredrick Bundi attracted a record 7000 attendants.
Mr Bundi said next year the event will run for a whole week going by the large turn out and assured the residents more attractions will be added to make it more meaningful and relevant to people.
Plan early
This year's festival was a two-day affair.
Kirinyaga Chapter Chamber Chairman Waweru Njogu said his members will from start planning for next year’s event early given the success they have witnessed this year.
Meawhile, KNCCI has told timber merchants who import timber from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to start planting trees in order to sustain their businesses.
Ngatia said importation of timber from the foreign country was just a short term solution and observed that only tree planning will save the local timber industry.
He said that at one point the largest tropical forest in Africa, the Congo forest, would be depleted just the way Kenyan forests have been depleted
“Since we have many forest areas which have been left bare in this country due to uncontrolled and unregulated tree felling, I'm urging our brothers in the timber industry to start planting trees, ”Ngatia said.
“Importation of timber is just a short term solution. I would want the traders who are our members to embark on massive tree planting which would ensure a sustainable business since timber harvesting will be guaranteed."
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Farmers decry low farmgate prices of rice
Farmers and rice sufficiency advocates have warned of further industry setbacks if farmgate prices continue to decline amid surging rice importation Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2019 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Rice farmers are reeling from declining farmgate prices as cheap imported rice continues to flood the market five months after the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law.
Farmers and rice sufficiency advocates have warned of further industry setbacks if farmgate prices continue to decline amid surging rice importation.
“It is obvious why we have been opposing the law – the farmers’ situation did not improve even after five months of implementing RA 11203. Instead it is worsening, primarily due to depressed farmgate prices of palay that did not even reach P20 per kilo,” Cathy Estavillo, Bantay Bigas spokesperson and Amihan secretary-general, said.
“This is bankruptcy and inevitable displacement of farmers from rice lands. More small peasants will be transformed into helpless farm workers,” Estavillo said.
“Consequently, the productive rice lands will be converted into other uses, such as what is being carried out in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog, all benefiting landlords and real estate developers,” she said.
“This will be the legacy of the Duterte regime, a Philippines without rice lands or total displacement of rice farmers,” she warned.
“If the ‘rule of thumb’ shall be applied, farmgate prices should be at P23 to P29 per kilo, or P20 to P25,” Estavillo added.
She also said the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) is not enough to reverse the farmers’ plight. “To show that there is government support to affected rice farmers, they are using RCEF. RCEF is only allocated P10 billion, and only a measly 10 percent is alloted to credit,” she said.
The current industry situation, she said, is threatening the country’s food security.
“Destroying our national food security is a serious crime against the people, as it is synonymous to throwing millions of poor Filipinos into hunger or starvation and declining household income,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed a resolution seeking a Senate inquiry into the impact of the Rice Tariffication Law on farmers and the local rice industry.
“Farmers tell us that their earnings dropped further with the implementation of the law. The impact on our farmers is swift and brutal but the implementation of the provisions aimed at easing this severe effect is slow if non-existent,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said rice farmers are discouraged from toiling in the farms because their produce are purchased at lower prices, and despite the rice imports and the lower palay prices, consumers still buy at high prices. – Louise Maureen Simeon