Thursday, March 05, 2020

5th March,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter



Rice prices to peak mid-year
Global consumers beefing up stockpiles Description: A farmer harvests rice in the fields in drought-stricken Pathum Thani province.(Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A farmer harvests rice in the fields in drought-stricken Pathum Thani province.(Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Rice prices are expected to rise until the middle of the year as global consumers are beefing up their stockpiles, with China unlikely to rev up its rice exports for food security in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, said global rice demand has surged since the deadly virus outbreak, leading rice prices to increase by US$30-50 since early in the year. "People, particularly in the US, Europe and Asia, are staying home, while China, which controls a massive rice stock of up to 120 million tonnes, has halted exports after shipping 3 million tonnes priced about $100 per tonne lower than Thai grains last year," he said. Before the virus outbreak, it was estimated China would boost its rice shipments to 3.5-4 million tonnes this year. "Buyers from several countries are now more interested in Thai rice, with some importers willing to buy unlimited amounts to boost their stocks," said the veteran. "The free-on-board prices of white rice 5% have risen to $440-450 per tonne from $400 at the beginning of the year."
"The past few years traders had a difficult time selling Thai rice, given its relatively higher prices than grains of other countries," he said. "Once China started halting its shipments, the baht weakened, and Indonesia looked likely to resume its rice purchases, prospects brightened." Mr Chookiat predicts rice prices will gradually increase until the middle of the year, or longer if the epidemic is prolonged. In a separate development, the National Rice Policy Committee yesterday approved a rice insurance scheme for the 2020 season worth 2.91 billion baht, aiming to cover 44.7 million rai of farmland. Narumon Pinyosinwat, the Government House spokeswoman, said the rice insurance scheme will be offered for two types -- a basic insurance programme (tier 1) and a voluntary programme (tier 2). The tier 1 rice insurance will be for customers of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) and farmers in low-risk areas, charging an insurance premium of 97 baht a rai and 58 baht per rai, respectively. The government and BAAC will contribute subsidies for both cases. Insurance premiums for general farmers in at-risk areas will be charged at 210 baht per rai, with the government subsidising 73.77 baht per rai. Under the scheme, farmers will receive compensation of 1,260 baht per rai for rice damaged by natural disasters. They can further secure 630 baht per rai for damage caused by plant diseases and epidemics. The tier 2 scheme will apply to BAAC customers who want to buy additional insurance and general farmers. The premium rates will charge 24 baht per rai for farmers in low-risk areas, 48 baht per rai in medium-risk areas and 101 baht per rai in high-risk areas. Farmers will receive compensation worth 240 baht per rai for natural disasters and 120 baht per rai for losses caused by plant diseases and epidemics. The government will not offer any subsidies for the tier 2 scheme.


Rice export prices surge amid high demand
Prices of rice exports have been surging in recent time due to high demand from some markets such as Malaysia, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the Philippines, and Indonesia, according to the Vietnam Food Association. Description: Rice export prices surge amid high demand hinh anh 1
Hanoi (VNA) – Prices of rice exports have been surging in recent time due to high demand from some markets such as Malaysia, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the Philippines, and Indonesia, according to the Vietnam Food Association. Malaysia has agreed to purchase 90,000 tonnes of the grain from Vietnam and will import more in the coming time and the RoK has given a quota of 55,112 tonnes of the food for Vietnam this year. Meanwhile, the Philippines has been importing a large amount of rice from Vietnam since December 2019. It was the world’s biggest importer of the goods in 2019 and is forecast to maintain this top position in 2020 with the purchase of 2.6 million tonne. A working delegation from the Philippines’ Ministry of Agriculture is scheduled to visit Vietnamese rice processing facilities in preparation for further import from Vietnam. Indonesia aims to import about 1 million tonnes of rice this year, up 700,000 tonnes compared to 2019. Mainland China used to be Vietnam’s biggest rice market for many years, but in 2019, exports to the country declined sharply by 64.2 percent, due to the impact of the acute respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)./.
China calls for expansion of rice production amid measures to contain coronavirus
·       MARCH 3, 2020 / 3:42 PM /

BEIJING, March 3 (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday that regions with good growing conditions should restore double-cropping of rice as part of its efforts to ensure food security amid ongoing measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.A lockdown on movement of people in the virus epicentre of Hubei province has raised concerns about spring planting of key food crops such as rice.A central government group charged with managing the response to the virus said in a statement posted on the government’s website that regions should try to expand the planted acreage of early crop rice.
Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton, editing by Louise Heavens

Rice prices eyed to further decrease to P34

By: Krissy Aguilar - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
INQUIRER.net / 01:58 PM March 04, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — The government is expecting rice prices to further dip at P34 per kilo this year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Wednesday.
NEDA Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla said she is hoping for rice prices to decrease more than the six-year low recorded last month at P36.53 per kilo.
“We are hoping that the retail prices of rice will still go down,” Sombilla said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
“It depends on how all of these things will work out. But we are hoping it will still go down to P34, P35,” she added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier reported a 12.3 percent decrease to P36.53 a kilo in January from P41.36 in December last year.
“The lowest one that we saw was in 2013 which was P33.70, eto na ngayon ang pinakamababa after six years, seven years (this is now the lowest we have after six years, seven years). Hopefully, pababa pa rin tayo (it will continue to decrease),” Sombilla said.
But Sombilla noted several factors may affect the target rice price of P34 like the world market’s trends or possible crisis on country’s rice importers like Vietnam and Thailand.
“There are so many factors that will get into that, including how the world market will also be evolving in the coming months,” he said.
“Hindi naman naapektuhan maliban kung merong magiging crisis sa (It won’t be affected unless there would be a crisis in) Vietnam, Thailand where major of our imports are coming from, which I don’t see in the near future,” she added

Rice tariff law a year later: Prices down but farmers lose

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:28 AM March 04, 2020
Description: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2020/03/News26365-620x374.jpg
STILL ON SURVIVAL MODE A year since the implementation of the rice tariffication law, the picture is not as rosy as economic managers have painted it to be. Rice prices have gone down, but farmers are barely surviving. A state-run think tank said they lost P8.22 billion between April and September last year, while a study found that the losses they incurred exceeded by P34 billion the gains that the law gave consumers. —WILLIE LOMIBAO/CONTRIBUTOR
MANILA, Philippines — Rosadilla Limbres has been planting rice for three decades in Bukidnon province, but she finds the last three years the hardest.
She and her husband used to cultivate a 3-hectare farm in Barangay Kibawe, where palay (unhusked rice) with high moisture content now sells for as low as P15 a kilogram, down from P20 in the past years.
During the last harvest, however, Limbres, 64, was forced to till just 1 hectare after her husband died from an illness.
“I cannot sustain 3  hectares anymore,” she said. “We just plant enough for our food and let the remaining 2 hectares be. We cannot gamble another planting season and spend again for fertilizers and laborers and inputs. It’s not going to be worth it.”
The story of Limbres highlights the plight of rice farmers  a year after the Duterte administration implemented the rice tariffication law (RTL), which opened the floodgates to imports of the grain.
Deregulation of imports was envisioned to bring about a more food-secure Philippines. Rice would become more affordable and farmers would no longer cough up unnecessary expenses to increase yield and raise their income.

Barely surviving

But the picture is not as rosy as economic managers have painted it to be. While rice prices have gone down, farmers are barely surviving.
Between April and September last year, rice farmers lost P8.22 billion, according to the state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
A study by the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) found farmers in a worse situation.  Losses they incurred exceeded  by P34 billion the gains that the rice tarrification law gave consumers, according to the group.
“The results of the first year of RTL implementation are totally the opposite of what its proponents were promising,” said Raul Montemayor, FFF national manager.
“[They said] RTL was a ‘no brainer’ because the gains of consumers in terms of lower rice prices would surely outweigh the losses of farmers from lower farm-gate prices. Official data now indicate that they were overly optimistic, if not mistaken, in their projections,” Montemayor said.
Much has changed in the rice industry since the new policy was enacted.
Prices for both palay and rice went down, as the country’s rice imports recorded its highest volume yet.

World’s biggest importer

For 2019, the Philippines earned the dubious distinction of being the world’s biggest rice importer. It brought from other countries a total of 3 million metric tons (MT), or 7 percent of the entire globally traded stocks, dethroning China, which imported 2.5 million MT. Assistant Agriculture Secretary Andrew Villacorta said the influx of imported rice had given the country a surplus of 2 MT to 2.5 MT, enough buffer for 80 to 100 days.
With so much supply, palay prices have yet to recover. Philippine Statistics Authority data show that as of the third week of February, the average farm-gate price of palay was P16.06 a kilo, lower than the P17.23 between 2015 and 2017.
In some provinces, the average price  was P11.78. Prices of fertilizers and other inputs, in contrast, continued to go up.

‘Transition challenges’

Despite the bleak figures, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said at the World Rice Congress in November last year that these were “temporary transition challenges” and that the government was responding with decisiveness.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar also remained hopeful. At a press conference in February, he reiterated that “the rice tariffication law is one of the game changers where the growth of the agriculture sector can come from.”
Indeed, the Duterte administration has channeled hundreds of billions of pesos into the local rice industry to help farmers transition to the tariff regime.
Under the new rice law, the government is mandated to subsidize the sector with P10 billion in the rice competitiveness enhancement fund (RCEF). The amount was for the purchase of machinery and equipment (P5 billion), seed subsidy (P3 billion), provision of credit (P1 billion) and extension services (P1 billion)—initiatives that are aimed at lowering the cost of producing rice and making farmers competitive.
The National Food Authority has spent roughly P14 billion to procure palay at P20 a kilo, while the country’s top 33 rice-producing provinces have committed P5 billion for their own procurement program. The Department of Agriculture (DA) has set aside P7 billion for its own rice programs and an additional P2.5 billion for rice-related loans, while Land Bank of the Philippines lent P236 billion to the agriculture sector in 2019, mostly loans to rice cooperatives and organizations.
The administration also shelled out P3 billion for unconditional cash transfers to 600,000 small-scale farmers.
Crop diversification
The DA is beginning to prepare its crop diversification program in which farmers would be assisted in shifting to planting other crops that command higher prices. The program will begin next year.
The question, however, is whether these funds have reached their intended beneficiaries.
Except for credit, RCEF components had yet to be completed as of Feb. 18. The completion rates for the distribution of seeds and extension services during the period were 87.85 percent and 87.90 percent, respectively, while mechanization has yet to begin.
No machinery yet
Dar admitted that farmers had not yet received any machinery and equipment promised them, a year after the tariffication law was implemented, citing budget delays.
There are  1,212 rice-producing municipalities or at least 60,000 farmers who await these interventions, which do not cover producers not on the country’s farmers registry.
Despite the shortcomings, PIDS still considers RTL a “propoor” policy, noting that it has cut rice spending across all income brackets—except for those who produce the staple.
On the whole, the Department of Finance reported that rice prices had gone down to its lowest levels in six years, enabling consumers to buy more of the staple.
PIDS senior researcher Roehlano Briones said consumers were expected to benefit P197 billion yearly in the first five years since the law’s implementation in March 2019.
The biggest gain of P367 billion  would be felt by Filipinos in the top income group, while  P87 billion  would benefit the bottom income group.
The flipside is that palay prices have sunk to their lowest levels in eight years.
The administration is aware that the new policy would displace farmers who would not be able to survive the new market landscape. They would mostly include smallholder producers in far-flung areas who live below the poverty line.
Lands sold
Those who do not have enough buffer to sustain losses have already sold their lands, most of which have been converted to factories, poultry farms and residential developments.
Others have migrated to the city to become “habal-habal” drivers, fast-food and factory workers, and household helpers.
Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said rice prices might begin to stabilize only by 2022, the last year of President Duterte’s term.
Until then, Filipino farmers may have to be more patient if they can still afford to do so.
“Farmers know how to sacrifice. We are so used to it, so good at it, but don’t push us to our limit,’’ said  Joe Pangalilingan, a farmer in Nueva Ecija province.
“At this rate, we would not be able to feed our families anymore. There is not enough government help,” he said. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1236530/rice-tariff-law-a-year-later-prices-down-but-farmers-lose#ixzz6FnxaOXyw
Rice prices may go down to P34/kilo, says NEDA
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - March 4, 2020 - 5:30pm
MANILA, Philippines — The price of rice may go down to as low as P34 per kilo this year due to the implementation of the rice tariffication law, the National Economic and Development Authority said Wednesday.

NEDA Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla said the price of the staple has decreased to P36 per kilo, lower than the government's target of P37 and the lowest in six years. The prevailing price of rice in December was P41.63 per kilo.

"It exceeded (the target) and we hope that it will still go a little bit lower so that more people will benefit (from the lower prices)," Sombilla said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

"It depends on how all of these things will work out. But we are hoping it will still go down to P34, P35,” she added.

The rice tariffication law lifted quantitative rice import restrictions and permitted private firms to import rice as part of the administration's efforts to ensure food security. But some groups said the law is disadvantageous to farmers because it forces them to sell their produce at lower prices.

Sombillo noted that several factors may influence rice prices, including a possible crisis in countries where the Philippines import rice like Thailand and Vietnam. She, however, clarified that she does not see such crisis happening in the near future.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the rice tariffication law has also caused the lowering of the price of well-milled rice from P49 per kilo to P40 per kilo. 
Agriculture Secretary William Dar claimed rice is no longer a factor in inflation or  the rate of increase in the prices of goods and services. 
"There are other factors now, no longer rice. So this is such a significant thing to highlight, that after one year (of the implementation of rice tariffication law), there is enough rice from two sources: local production and bringing what is necessary from the outside," Dar said. 

Rice prices to fall further on second year of tariffs: NEDA

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News
Mar 04 2020 03:08 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2020 03:54 PM
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Description: https://sa.kapamilya.com/absnews/abscbnnews/media/2019/business/11/06/carabao-nueva-ecija.jpg Farmers harvest and collect palay in Nueva Ecija, north of Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file
MANILA -- Rice prices are expected to drop further this year, the second year of a new tariff-based regime that seeks to lower the price of the staple grain.
The cost of rice could go down to P34 to P35 per kilo by the end of the 2020 from the current P36, National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Mercy Sombilla.
The current P36 per kilo price exceeded the government's target of P37 and is the lowest since 2014, Sombilla said. It is also 12.3 percent lower than P41.63 per kilo recorded in December last year, Sombilla said.
"It’s now even dropping at a lower price. It exceeded pa and we hope that it will still go a little bit lower para mas marami pang makinabang (so that more people will benefit from it)," she told reporters in Malacañang.
Sombilla said the government was counting on the P10-billion fund for farm implements to further boost production and lower prices.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the fund, which has been in full effect since October of last year, benefited 491,756 farmers.
"The whole objective of improving productivity, competitiveness and profitability will always be our guiding objectives in the implementation of the rice competitiveness enhancement fund," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 signed a law replacing import quotas on rice with tariffs to bring down the cost of the staple.

DA denies rice farmers lost P68B due to Rice Tariffication Law

Published March 4, 2020 3:40pm
By VIRGIL LOPEZ, GMA News
The Department of Agriculture on Wednesday refuted claims that rice farmers lost P68 billion in 2019 following the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Hindi naman sila nalugi ng P68 billion,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar told reporters in Malacañang, even though he could not immediately provide a counterpart figure from the government.
‘Yung P68 billion ang daming factors na i-consider mo para we should be talking apples to apples.”
According to the non-government Federation of Free Farmers (FFF), the average retail price of regular milled rice (RMR) declined by P2.61 per kilo in 2019 from 2018, while the price for well-milled rice (WMR) went down by P1.99 per kilo. 
If the decline in the per kilogram of prices of RMR and WMR is multiplied by rice consumption volume of 9.466 million metric tons, it will result in P34.16 billion savings or gains for rice consumers.
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On the other hand, the average farmgate price of palay declined by P3.62 to P16.78 per kilo from P20.40 per kilo in 2018.
If the palay price difference of P3.62 is multiplied by the palay production volume of 18.814 million metric tons, it will result in P68 billion in losses to farmers, the group claimed.
The Rice Tariffication Law removed most government controls on rice imports in order to enhance the competitiveness of the industry and make the staple more affordable and accessible.
Safety nets were included in the law, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February last year, including a comprehensive assistance program for farmers worth P10 billion a year for the next six years.
As of February 20 this year, the government has released P1.4 billion to 279,666 farmers affected by the falling prices of palay or unmilled rice, Dar said.
“The interventions of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund will indeed really help the farmers’ lower production but at the same time increasing their farm incomes,” added National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla.
“And hopefully also for them to diversify into other sources of income, higher value products that could really increase further their farm incomes.” — BM, GMA News

Minister Thohir ensures rice stocks to suffice until Eid al-Fitr

Description: Minister Thohir ensures rice stocks to suffice until Eid al-Fitr
State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir while visiting the Bulog rice warehouse in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta, Wednesday (4/3/2020). Antara/Aji Cakti/ak
The figure is expected to remain stable, but we cannot say exactly how many since it had not occurred
Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-owned enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir has ensured that the stocks of rice are safe to fulfill the demand until the Eid al-Fitr festivities amid the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

"The rice stocks are safe and quite adequate," Thohir remarked here on Wednesday.

The rice stocks currently reach almost 1.65 million tons for all of Indonesia, the minister revealed.

Speaking in connection with the exact quantity of rice stock when the harvest period sets in, the SOEs minister expressed optimism that the figure would be stable.

"The figure is expected to remain stable, but we cannot say exactly how many since it had not occurred," Thohir stated during a visit to the Bulog Rice warehouse in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta.

SOEs Minister Thohir conducted a direct inspection of the state logistics board (Bulog's) warehouse on Wednesday (Mar 4) to check and ensure the food stock amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The minister checked the stock and quality of rice stored in the Bulog warehouse.

President Director of Bulog Budi Waseso and his officer accompanied Thohir while checking the stock and quality of rice at Bulog's warehouse.
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Rice export prices surge amid high demand

Update: 17:44 | 04/03/2020
Prices of rice exports have been surging in recent time due to high demand from some markets such as Malaysia, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the Philippines, and Indonesia, according to the Vietnam Food Association. Malaysia has agreed to purchase 90,000 tonnes of the grain from Vietnam and will import more in the coming time and the RoK has given a quota of 55,112 tonnes of the food for Vietnam this year.
Description: rice export prices surge amid high demand
Rice for export. (Photo: baodautu.vn)
Meanwhile, the Philippines has been importing a large amount of rice from Vietnam since December 2019. It was the world’s biggest importer of the goods in 2019 and is forecast to maintain this top position in 2020 with the purchase of 2.6 million tonne.
A working delegation from the Philippines’ Ministry of Agriculture is scheduled to visit Vietnamese rice processing facilities in preparation for further import from Vietnam.
Indonesia aims to import about 1 million tonnes of rice this year, up 700,000 tonnes compared to 2019.
Mainland China used to be Vietnam’s biggest rice market for many years, but in 2019, exports to the country declined sharply by 64.2 percent, due to the impact of the acute respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

Cambodia’s rice exports surge in first two months

VNAWednesday, March 04, 2020 07:59
Cambodian rice exports to international markets grew by more than 21 percent in the first two months of this year despite global concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Description: Cambodian rice exports to international markets grew by more than 21 percent in the first two months of this year (Photo: www.phnompenhpost.com)
Cambodian rice exports to international markets grew by more than 21 percent in the first two months of this year (Photo: www.phnompenhpost.com)
The Phnom Penh Post newspaper quoted Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhorn as saying that in the period under review, Cambodia shipped 136,499 tonnes of rice abroad, a year-on-year increase of 21.34 percent.
China is the leading market for the grain from Cambodia, with a market share of 37.43 percent, followed by the European market at 30.31 percent, ASEAN countries at 18.48 percent and other destinations at 13.78 percent.
Secretary-General of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) Lun Yeng said that rice exports are rising in all export destinations.
He noted tariffs on exports to European markets decreased from EUR 175 (about US$195) per tonne in 2019 to EUR 150 per tonne in 2020, which likely led to the increase.
He voiced his belief that the Cambodian rice is becoming more popular in China. However, transport via waterway has reduced significantly, which may impede delivery of goods.
Chan Sokheang, CEO of Signature of Asia Co., a local rice exporter to several countries around the world, said Cambodia’s rice exports in early 2020 were positive and will continue to grow, adding that the COVID-19 outbreak will not impact rice exports from the country.
According to a CRF report, in 2019, Cambodia exported 620,106 tonnes of rice, down 0.97 percent from 626,225 tonnes in 2018.

Vietnam's rice exports in spotlight despite decrease in acrerage

08:51 | 04/03/2020
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In February, Vietnam's rice exports increased by 32.6 per cent compared to the same time last year, despite troubles from the COVID-19 epidemic and natural catastrophes.
Description: vietnams rice exports in spotlight despite decrease in acrerage
Despite the reduction of acreage, the yield of rice exports has been increased
According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in February, Vietnam's rice exports reached 890,000 tonnes in February, up 27 per cent against 2019. This resulted in an export revenue of $410 million, up 32.6 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year. This is positive, despite the export revenue of other agricultural produce such as fish, cashew, pepper, and other vegetables experienced a marked drop.
The export price of rice ranks second-highest among rice exporting countries, only behind that in Thailand. For example, the price of 5 per cent broken rice of Vietnam is around $380 per tonne, a 10 per cent increase compared to the $345 at the end of January. This is a peak price since 2019. Generally, the export price of rice ascended steeply by $40 per tonne and accounted for 10 per cent of total exports in 2019.
It is believed that the surge in the export price of rice in February is due to major imports from the Philippines. This country has bought rice from Vietnam to meet the consumption demand because of reduction of agricultural land and growing population.
Up to now, the two largest export markets for Vietnamese rice were the Philippines and Malaysia. In 2019, the top five rice export markets for Vietnam were the Philippines, Côte d'Ivoire, China, Malaysia, and Ghana.
According to Do Ha Nam, chairman of the Vietnam Food Association, domestic rice exports were not affected much by the COVID-19 because Vietnam has discovered new markets to ensure stability.
Despite the rise in export revenue, Vietnamese rice farmers have had to deal with natural catastrophes like prolonged rains, hail, and sleet in the north, as well as droughts and saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta region.
During the early harvest, according to statistics from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, rice was cultivated on a total area of 2.67 million hectares, accounting for 98.3 per cent of last year. Precisely, that numbers in the north and the south were over 760,000 and more than 1.9 million ha, respectively, accounting for 103.6 and 96.3 per cent of the figures from last year.
In particular, the Mekong Delta contributes about 1.54 million ha, which is 3.3 per cent less than last year. In the north, especially in the Mekong Delta, the cultivation area declined by 53,400ha compared to the same time last year.
Generally, the Mekong Delta, the Central Highlands, and the southern provinces have ended the early rice harvest season with bumper crops. The harvest in the north was also better than last year.

Milled rice exports rising substantially

Sok Chan / Khmer Times 
Despite the devastating global economic effects of Novel Coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – exports of Cambodian milled rice to the European Union saw a 126 percent increase while the Chinese market rose 33 percent in the first two months of the year, according to a report from the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries..
The CRF said that the EU and Chinese markets are the biggest for Cambodian rice. CRF’s Secretary General Lun Yeng told Khmer Times that Cambodia exported 22,753 tonnes of milled rice to the EU from January to February, compared with only 10,080 tonnes in the first two months of 2019.
Lun said the rise of rice exports to the EU is because the tariff on them dropped from $175 to $150 this year. He added the CRF has conducted various campaign on sustainable rice cultivation, fair trade rice and organic rice.
“We have also conducted news conferences in the EU, which markets our rice,” Lun added. He said that in the future exports of brown rice will also increase.
Lun noted the market for Cambodian rice in China was rising significantly. The 33 percent increase mentioned by the CRF amounted to 36,085 tonnes in the first two months, from 27,186 tonnes compared with the same period last year.
Rice millers at work. Exports have soared. KT/Chor Sokunthea
He said that although the Novel Coronavirus is hurting China’s economy badly, exports to there are going well. “What we were concerned about was shipments but now we have confirmed they are in place to carry our rice to China,” Lun added.
“Currently, we see fewer ships docking at Sihnoukville port. The port authority also informed us that big vessels are being cancelled because there is no merchandise or raw materials to service, but we use Phnom Penh Port to load products to Vietnam,” Lun added.
Chan Pich, general manager of export company Signatures of Asia, told Khmer Times that his team witnessed the increase for the first two months of this year.
Chan added that the challenge for exporters is that there is the EU-banned pesticide tricyclazole in the brown and parboiled rice. He said mostly this kind of chemical substance is used in September, October and November.
“We exported 1,500 tonnes of parboiled rice, 1,500 tonnes of Jasmine rice and 200 tonnes oforganic rice to the EU,” said Chan.
According to the CRF and Ministry of Agriculture, from in January and February, Cambodia exported about 136,499 tonnes of milled rice, up about  22 percent compared with the same period last year. For the first two monthsof the year, other Asean countries took 18 percent of rice exports and other markets took 14 percent.
Kann Kunthy, vice-president of Amru Rice (Cambodia), told Khmer Times that his company experienced growth in milled rice exports. Amru exported 3,000 tonnes in January, 10,000 in February and expects to export another 10,000 this month, but the challenge remains transportation.
“The growth will be until May and June, but July will be stagnant because of the traditional drought.From September to December there will be a resumption of increased exports.” Kann expects that this year overall rice exports will be much more than last year.
11:00 04/03/2020

Cambodia’s rice exports surge in first two months

Cambodian rice exports to international markets grew by more than 21 percent in the first two months of this year despite global concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Phnom Penh Post newspaper quoted Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhorn as saying that in the period under review, Cambodia shipped 136,499 tonnes of rice abroad, a year-on-year increase of 21.34 percent.
Description: http://en.dangcongsan.vn/DATA/3/2020/03/bta_kk040320gcp-10_59_42_395.jpg
Cambodian rice exports to international markets grew by more than 21 percent in the first two months of this year (Photo: www.phnompenhpost.com)
China is the leading market for the grain from Cambodia, with a market share of 37.43 percent, followed by the European market at 30.31 percent, ASEAN countries at 18.48 percent and other destinations at 13.78 percent.
Secretary-General of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) Lun Yeng said that rice exports are rising in all export destinations.
He noted tariffs on exports to European markets decreased from 175 EUR (about 195 USD) per tonne in 2019 to 150 EUR per tonne in 2020, which likely led to the increase.
He voiced his belief that the Cambodian rice is becoming more popular in China. However, transport via waterway has reduced significantly, which may impede delivery of goods.
Chan Sokheang, CEO of Signature of Asia Co., a local rice exporter to several countries around the world, said Cambodia’s rice exports in early 2020 were positive and will continue to grow, adding that the COVID-19 outbreak will not impact rice exports from the country.
According to a CRF report, in 2019, Cambodia exported 620,106 tonnes of rice, down 0.97 percent from 626,225 tonnes in 2018./.

Thailand predicts rice prices to rise until mid-year

Rice prices will rise until the middle of the year as consumers around the world are beefing up their stockpiles, while China will not increase their exports for food security to deal with the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) forecast.
Description: Thailand predicts rice prices to rise until mid-year hinh anh 1

Bangkok (VNA) – Rice prices will rise until the middle of the year as consumers around the world are beefing up their stockpiles, while China will not increase their exports for food security to deal with the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) forecast.

TREA Honourary President Chookiat Ophaswongse said that global rice demand has surged since the virus outbreak, causing rice prices to increase by 30-50 USD per tonne since early 2020.

Meanwhile, China, which controls a massive rice stock of up to 120 million tonnes, has halted exports after shipping 3 million tonnes priced about 100 USD per tonne lower than Thai grains last year, he said.

Before the virus outbreak, it was estimated China would boost its rice shipments to 3.5-4 million tonnes this year.

According to Chookiat, buyers from several countries are now more interested in Thai rice, with some importers willing to buy unlimited amounts to boost their stocks. The free-on-board prices of 5 percent white rice have risen to 440-450 USD per tonne from 400 USD at the beginning of the year.

He predicts rice prices will gradually increase until the middle of the year, or longer if the epidemic is prolonged.

In 2019, Thailand exported 7.58 million tonnes of rice, earning 131 billion THB (4.15 billion USD), down 32 percent in volume and 25 percent in value year-on-year. TREA set a goal of pocketing 4.2 billion USD from shipping 7.5 million tonnes of rice abroad this year, the lowest target since 2013./.
About $360m earned from export of rice, broken rice in over four months
PUBLISHED 4 MARCH 2020

ZEYAR NYEIN
 Over 1.2 million tons of rice and broken rice worth about US$360 million have been exported over the past four and a half months of this fiscal, according to Myanmar Rice Federation. 
From October 1 to February 14 in the current 2019-2020 fiscal year, 1.242 million tons of rice and broken rice worth US$357.637 million were exported. 
In the period, over 868,000 tons of rice worth over US$260 million were exported to 59 countries. Meanwhile, over 373,000 tons of broken rice worth over US$96 million were exported to 52 countries. 
Myanmar exports rice through the border and maritime trade. Myanmar’s rice goes to China through the Muse border gate and to EU ad African markets through a maritime trade route. 
The export value of rice and broken rice via border trade route reached over US$44  million accounting for 13 percent of total rice export value.  

Tanzanian gov't says ban on rice imports still in force

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-04 22:23:20|Editor: xuxin
DAR ES SALAAM, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities said on Wednesday a ban imposed on the importation of rice and other food crops has not been lifted.
"The ban on rice imports and other food crops is still in force," Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe said at a meeting on boosting rice production in the capital, Dodoma.
The government will continue to make sure that there are no imports of rice in the country to protect local farmers from a competitive market suffocated by cheap imports, he said.
"Tanzania is currently producing one million tonnes of rice annually and our strategy should focus on producing three to four million tonnes of rice annually," Bashe told the meeting.
He said strategies to boost production of rice in the country should entail heavy investment in irrigation farming and production of high quality seeds.
Rice is the second most cultivated food and commercial crop in Tanzania after maize, with a cultivated area of about 681,000 hectares, which represents 18 percent of the cultivated land.
However, yields are generally very low, at between one and one and a half tonnes per hectare, due to the use of mostly traditional farming methods.

USA Rice Looks to Reshape Washington's Food Aid Dialog 

WASHINGTON, DC - USA Rice spent most of February working to reinvigorate the agriculture and food aid conversation in the Nation's capital, starting out by hosting a meeting of Washington's coalition of organizations that support U.S. commodity-based food aid.  The groups share a common interest of maintaining and strengthening what is referred to as "in-kind" food aid, overseas donations of U.S.-grown and produced commodities, primarily through U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs.

Front-and-center were discussions around President Trump's recently released FY2021 budget request and the upcoming Congressional appropriations cycle where food aid programs are frequently under threat of budget cuts.  The Administration's proposed budget called for the broad elimination of international food aid for the fourth straight time, but Congress is unlikely to take the bait, ultimately protecting the fate of the programs, for now.

While food aid shipments make up a small portion of total U.S. rice sales, USA Rice is a vocal leader within the coalition helping define the group's goals and objectives, including strengthening ties with those private voluntary organizations (PVOs) that are chiefly responsible for implementing USAID and USDA's aid programs.  USA Rice plans to continue working to educate and share information with those organizations that work overseas on both the cost effectiveness and nutritional benefits of rice.

Increases in transportation and oversight costs have caused a decrease in overall in-kind food aid shipments over the last couple of decades, however recent investments by the industry in rice fortification research and technology have ensured that U.S. exporters intend to be part of the food aid distribution process in the long term.  Fortified rice is increasingly specified by agencies participating in USDA's McGovern-Dole School Feeding Programs as a delivery mechanism for vital nutrients through a familiar staple.

During the USA Rice Government Affairs Conference here last week, rice industry members met with USDA and USAID to review 2020 priorities.  USAID reported plans to publish a fact sheet outlining nutritional and cost benefits of fortified rice to help educate food aid implementers.  There also was a discussion about bags used to ship rice and a packaging redesign to help protect the nutritional value of fortified rice.

"While commodity-based food assistance continues to face an uphill battle, the coalition meeting confirms that there's still a unified industry effort to protect the role U.S. farmers play in addressing global hunger," said USA Rice Food Aid Subcommittee Chair Bobby Hanks.  "We're confident our meetings with government agencies and our fellow commodity groups last week will help secure the important partnership between U.S. farmers, the private voluntary organizations, and the USDA and USAID that fund these food aid and development programs."

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USA  rice DAILY

There’s science to making great fried rice

Chefs make the dish often without realizing the physics behind it


Science underlies what chefs in Chinese restaurants do to cook rice quickly and completely — without burning.
SERGE_BERTASIUS/ISTOCK /GETTY IMAGES PLUS
To make fried rice like a pro, use science. That’s what two physicists now advise.
Chefs typically toss the frying food into the air from deep, rounded pans or woks before catching it again. Launching rice and its fixings allows a chef to cook it over really hot flames without burning. At times, temperatures in a pan can reach 1,200° Celsius (2,192° Fahrenheit). This helps create the tastiest stir-fried fare. Now, Hungtang Ko and David L. Hu have analyzed videos of five chefs cooking up fried rice in Chinese restaurants. By doing this, Ko and Hu uncovered the repeated motions used to toss that rice. Both Ko and Hu work at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
The scientists found that the chefs relied on a specific pattern of motion. And they repeated those motions about three times a second. Ko and Hu described those movements February 12 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Each repetition included sliding a wok back and forth at the same time it was rocked to and fro. The chefs used the rim of the stovetop as a fulcrum on which to balance their pan as they rocked it.
Cooking fried rice like a pro requires tossing it in the air to avoid burning. Physicists analyzed details of chefs’ movements. They now report that sliding and rocking motions repeat about three times a second, launching the food from a wok. Blue lines track the edges of the pan, with the left side moving clockwise and the right side counterclockwise. The red line notes the motion of the wok’s center.
Cooks use similarly complex patterns of movement to cook up other foods. They will tilt and rotate batter in a pan, for instance, to get smooth, flat crepes
Ko and Hu used a computer to simulate the trajectories of rice that would occur in a wok moved in various ways. Along the way, the scientists hit on some key culinary tips. The rocking and sliding motions shouldn’t be totally in sync. If they are, the rice won’t mix well and could burn. Also, the wok’s movements should repeat rapidly. Moving the wok even faster could launch the rice higher. That might allow cooking at higher temperatures, they say, and perhaps a quicker meal.
But faster shaking may be hard on a cook. Chefs at Chinese restaurants can struggle with shoulder pain, studies have shown. Rapidly shaking their heavy woks could be part of the problem. One solution, Ho and Ku suggest, might be a stir-frying robot. It could be built based on their newfound results, they say, to take the weight off chefs’ shoulders.

DA’s battlecry
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In his Feb. 25 visit to Nueva Ecija, Dr. William Dar, secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) encourages farmers to enlist to the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA). Farmers were also urged to join or form farmer-cooperatives so they can easily avail of the government provisions under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). Through RSBSA enlistment and farmer-cooperatives membership, farmers espouse DA’s battlecry, ”Masaganang ani, mataas na kita.” Under RCEF, high-quality inbred seeds and other modern technologies are provided to help farmers reduce production cost and increase rice yield.
Phil Rice
Growing rice businesses expected soon
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The Ugat-Uhay Farmers’ Association from Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija is one of the farmers’ organizations engaged during the Phase I of the RiceBIS Program. They are currently gearing up for their mushroom production business.

More than 3,000 rice farmers across the country are set to engage in group marketing and agripreneurship with the intensified groundwork of the Rice Business Innovation Systems (RiceBIS) Community of DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute.

“As we gear up for the program’s Phase II, we will establish more partnerships with farmers’ organizations from eight new sites for production and agroenterprise development. We intend to engage at least 400 rice farmers per new site,” said Dr. Aurora C. Corales, RiceBIS program lead.

Twenty-one farmer organizations in eight sites are already involved in production of mushroom, brown rice, and special rice, and rice brew. Organization members were trained on production and processing, organization building and management, and agripreneurship.

In dry seasons, RiceBIS farmers achieved an overall yield increase of 1.24t/ha. Average farmers’ postharvest losses in RiceBIS communities were also reduced from 16.41% in 2018 wet season  to 14.81% in 2019 wet season.

According to Corales, the program promotes the use of yield-enhancing technologies to help farmers increase their yield by 1t/ha in irrigated areas and 0.5t/ha in rainfed areas. Cost-reducing technologies like combine harvesters also cut down farm production cost by 30% and lowered postharvest losses by 12%.
“Producing rice is more profitable with guaranteed  market. In RiceBIS, we encourage farmers to engage themselves in profitable rice and rice-based enterprises by teaching them how to market their products in groups and how to develop enterprises and add value to their products,” Corales said.
RiceBIS also partners with the Agricultural Training Institute, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, DA- Regional offices, and the local government units per site to achieve their objectives for their farmer-beneficiaries. The program is also in line with the goal of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund programs of making local farmers more competitive.
Phil Rice



Pangasinan farmers improve yield with RCEF seeds 

Description: RCEF-anniversary-1
Farmers in Brgy. Lelemaan in Manaoag, Pangasinan looks forward to abundant yield as rice growers who had received high-quality inbred seeds from Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) expect to harvest 7t/ha or approximately 140 cav/ha.During the ceremonial harvesting in time for the first year anniversary of the Rice Tariffication Law on March 5, Rogel Comesario estimated the significant increase from his previous gain of 110-120 cav/ha.
Comesario planted NSIC Rc 22, which he availed from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)- Seed Program of Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice).
“I am grateful that I’m a recipient of this government project because it greatly improved my yield,” said Comesario on the sidelines of the harvest festival yesterday led by Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Through the RCEF program, Comesario enlisted in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA). This allowed him to receive 4 bags of high-quality inbred seeds, which he planted on a 2-ha irrigated farm.Comesario encourages his fellow farmers to enlist in RSBSA to avail the same benefits, which also include farm machineries, training and scholarships, and credit.

Furthermore, Comesario said that the price of palay has stabilized in their locality.

“Currently, the buying price of palay is higher. The dry palay is priced at P21-P22 while the fresh palay is at P16.50,” he said.

A higher command of the buying price of palay is a good complement with an increased yield through the use of RCEF seeds, according to Comesario, which corresponds to the Department of Agriculture’s initiative of “Masagang Ani, Mataas na Kita.”

Just after harvesting, Comesario again received seed assistance from the program together with about 600 farmers in Urdaneta City. More farmers in the area will benefit from the program in the coming days.

As of February 24, more than 1.3 million of certified inbred seeds have been distributed to more than 512,000 farmers in 713 cities or municipalities in 57 provinces nationwide.These high-quality seeds have covered 652,917 ha.PhilRice executive director John De Leon encouraged farmers to foster the seeds distributed by the agriculture agencies of the government.
“Let us altogether cultivate the seeds we receive to have an increased income and yield,” De Leon said.
USA Rice Daily
Protective rice-based technology
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Farmers in Brgy. Batitang, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija can now produce vegetables all year-round, alongside rice farming, as they received three units of protective net houses and rain shelters. Turned-over on Feb. 18, the units will be maintained by 50 farmers who will participate in a hands-on training come first week of March. The project was funded by the Korea Program on International Agriculture in partnership with Philippine Rice Research Institute and local government unit of Zaragoza.
USA Rice Daily
Training a must to help rice farmers

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TESDA Sec. Lapeña met with PhilRice officials and RSTC participants to discuss their upcoming activities and plans for RCEF extension.
Guimba, Nueva Ecija—Sec. Isidro S. Lapeña of Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) emphasized the need for training extension workers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Extension Program.“Our role is important because when we extend the knowledge we learned from training, we are basically lifting farmers from poverty. If we are able to do that, everything else will follow,” Lapeña said.
During his recent talk with the participants of Rice Specialists’ Training Course (RSTC) led by the Technology Management and Services Division of DA-PhilRice, Lapeña said that with the training, extensionists can hone farmers’ skills and help them reduce their farm expenses.
“As farmers are focused on their activities, we need to reach out to them. TESDA targets to establish provincial training centers within the year to ensure that all areas will receive the proper training support. I’m glad that TESDA and the Department of Agriculture are one in helping farmers become competitive,” he said.
Before the RSTC trainees met Lapeña, they introduced proper nutrient management and new high-yielding varieties to more than a hundred farmers from the town’s four barangays participating in the Farmers’ Field School.
As of February, PhilRice had produced 30 RSTC graduates and 112 farmer-graduates from Llanera and Rizal, Nueva Ecija.
Two RSTC batches are ongoing in Nueva Ecija and Agusan with 26 and 17 participants, respectively. Two more batches of RSTC are also scheduled in PhilRice Central Experiment Station and in PhilRice Isabela, on May to October. Training of trainers, led by PhilRice, is also being conducted in 11 batches with more than 200 participants.
After the RSTC, the graduates are expected to primarily support RCEF extension program by leading the conduct of trainings and other knowledge sharing and learning activities. They can a
lso help provide technical assistance to farm schools by serving as resource persons. But for this particular TESDA batch, their task is mainly to conduct trainings for farmers, because of the role of their office as stipulated in RA 11203.
PhilRice leads the RSTC to help enhance farmers’ skills especially on rice production. Other training activities, which are part of the RCEF Rice Extension Support Program, are implemented in partnership with the Agricultural Training Institute, Philippine Center for Postharvest Mechanization, and TESEDA.
Philrice

P100-B worth of aid given to farmers in transition to rice tariffication — Villar

By: Cathrine Gonzales - Reporter / @cgonzalesINQ
INQUIRER.net / 07:10 PM March 04, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Cynthia Villar on Wednesday announced that over P100 billion worth of funds were released by the government to aid farmers during the transition to rice tariffication, a year after the Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law was enacted.
In a statement, Villar said this was on top of the P10 billion released by the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund.
“Last year, farmers started to receive the benefits of the law through seed distribution, credit and extension programs. Soon, farm pieces of machinery will be distributed to rice-producing towns under the law’s mechanization program,” she said.
“Improving farmer’s competitiveness is not something that we can do overnight. These programs were rolled out to provide a ready market for local rice and deter unscrupulous traders from taking advantage of our farmers in the initial phase of its implementation,” Villar added.
Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February last year, the Rice Tariffication Law provides that for the year 2019 to 2024, P5 billion will be allocated for the procurement of rice farm equipment that will be given to 947 rice-producing towns in the country.
P3 billion will be allotted for the distribution and production of inbred seeds, while P1 billion each will go to cheap credit with two-percent interest per year and for training programs