40,000 MT of rice from India to reach SL

  • 40,000 MT of rice from India to reach SL COLOMBO (News 1st); The Ministry of Trade said that another 40,000 MT of rice imported via the Indian Line of Credit will reach Sri Lanka on Monday (11). The secretary to the Ministry of Trades, Bhadrani Jayawardena stated that the stock will be sold through Sathosa outlets as soon as it is received. 1kg of Nadu and Kekulu rice is sold at Rs.110/- and 1kg of Samba is sold at Rs.130/- through Sathosa. Meanwhile, the Association of Importers of Essential Commodities said that all essential commodities required by the people during the New Year season have been distributed throughout the island. The spokesman of the Association of Importers of Essential Commodities, Nihal Seneviratne said that there could be a slight shortage of milk powder. He also said that the prices of essential commodities will be reduced in the future.
  • Exports of basmati rice fall over drop in acreage, loss of markets

  • Basmati Rice Amid the euphoria of India clocking the highest ever  of over $50 billion in FY22, basmati rice, one of the country’s oldest anchors in farm exports, seems to have fallen off the radar screen. For the third consecutive year, basmati rice exports saw a fall over the previous year in value terms, according to provisional figures. In 2021-22, India exported basmati rice worth $3.53 billion, the lowest since 2019-20.
    What has brought about this fall and could there be a way to resurrect this vital farm export from India? Though India is still the world’s largest exporter of basmati rice and its long-aromatic grain, smooth texture, and special qualities have made it one of the most signature food items of the country, the continued fall in export should merit a deeper introspection. Experts said the reasons were multiple, including the loss of some traditional markets like Iran, fungicide problems in the European Union, and a drop in acreage due to equal or even better returns from competing rice varieties. “There is a rise in domestic demand for basmati rice while in some areas due to increase in minimum support price, the basmati acreage has been overtaken by non-basmati rice, which is contributing to the fall in exports,” M Angamuthu, chairman, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, said. In a paper presented last year, S Chandrasekaran, leading trade policy analyst and author of the book Basmati Rice: The Natural History Geographical Indications, wrote the price difference between basmati rice and common rice in 1940 was 569 per cent, based on British India documents. Between 1995-96 and 2020-21, the price difference between the minimum support price of fine paddy and basmati rice has fallen from 153 per cent to 20 per cent. “If the price difference of traditional Basmati rice and fine paddy varieties had been maintained to an appropriate level, the farmers may not have adopted evolved Basmati rice varieties. Now Minimum Support Price of Fine Paddy varieties are inching to find equilibrium with Basmati paddy price. This could be the point of no return in view of niche status, if it converges,” Chandrasekaran wrote. Sources say in the past two-three years around 20 per cent area has shifted from basmati rice to non-basmati rice in the main producing states of Punjab, Haryana, and the foothills of the Himalayas due to reduced price differentials. “Another reason for this slowdown in exports has been the stopping of purchases by Iran (one of the big markets for Indian basmati) due to US sanctions, which is a straightaway annual loss of almost 1.2 million tonnes,” Chandrasekaran said. He said basmati sales to the EU, which used to be 500,000 tonnes a year, had dropped to 150,000-200,000 tonnes due to rising problems related to high levels of fungicide. PUSA-1121 (which is one of the most common basmati rice varieties produced in India) does not qualify for duty rebate from the EU. Much of this market is slowly shifting to Pakistan, India’s primary rival in the global basmati trade. “In the past two years, the overall global markets were down and basmati rice, being a premium product purchased by niche consumers, will find fewer takers than mass items do,” Chandrasekaran said.
  • Sri Lanka economic crisis pushes price of food items to ‘unbearable levels’, rice now selling at over Rs 200 per kg

  • Reeling under severe economic crisis, the Sri Lankan government is now forced to restrict the import of a host of essential commodities, including food items Sri Lanka economic crisis pushes price of food items to 'unbearable levels', rice now selling at over Rs 200 per kg Colombo: Sri Lanka is already under an unprecedented economic crisis and amid this people being burdened further as prices of food essentials are soaring high. Buying rice has become dearer in the island nation as the price of the foodgrain has risen to "unbearable levels" in the island nation. A report by Colombo Page mentioned consumers in Sri Lanka saying that the minimum price of a kilogram of rice in the general market has now surged Rs 200-240. Reeling under severe economic crisis, the Sri Lankan government is now forced to restrict the import of a host of essential commodities, including food items which has pushed the price of essentials such as milk powder and rice exceptionally high. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade says that rice is being sold at concessionary prices by wholesale network Lanka Sathosa outlets, it was learned from several CWE outlets that imported rice was not meeting the mounting demand. The report further said that Sathosa outlets in many parts of the country are in short supply of essential consumer items including rice, dried chillies and other items. In Sri Lanka, consumers have been demanding the government to take steps to reduce prices by importing rice or setting a control price. Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis, with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation. The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the crash of the tourism sector. Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import food and fuel. The country is facing long power cuts. The country is also witnessing protests over the government's handling of the worst economic crisis in decades. Yesterday, a protest was held outside the US Embassy in Colombo against the Sri Lankan government.  
  • India’s agri exports cross $50 bn in Covid-hit year; rice is top forex earner

  • According to the DGCI&S data, the export of wheat touched an all-time high at $2,118 million in 2021-22, growing 273% from the previous fiscal’s $567 million. agricultural reforms, Essential Commodities Act, farmers, agriculture sector India’s agricultural exports increased by about 20% to cross $50 billion for the year 2021-22, despite logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of high freight rates, and container shortages, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which works under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has scripted history by exporting agricultural and processed food products to the tune of $25.6 billion, which is 51% of India’s total agriculture exports of $50 billion, the ministry said. It has also surpassed its own export target of $23.7 billion for the financial year 2021-22 by registering shipments of $25.6 billion. Major exporting destinations were Bangladesh, UAE, Vietnam, USA, Nepal, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, and Egypt. “The rise in export of agricultural and processed food products has been largely due to the various initiatives taken by Centre through APEDA such as organising B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets through product-specific and general marketing campaigns with the active involvement of Indian Embassies,” the ministry said. As per the ministry statement, the government organised more than 300 outreach programmes in collaboration with state governments for enhancing the exports of agricultural produce. “We have also created a products matrix for 50 agricultural products which have good scope for expanding our exports portfolios,” said Dr. M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA. As per the provisional figures released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), the agricultural exports have grown by 19.92% during 2021-22 to touch $50.21 billion. The growth rate is over and above the growth of 17.66% at $41.87 billion achieved in 2020-21. The cereal sector in APEDA exports contributes more than 52% share in 2021-22. Livestock products and other processed foods contribute 17 and 15% to APEDA export respectively in 2021-22.
    Source: Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    According to the DGCI&S data, the export of rice was the top forex earner at $9,654 million during 2021-22, growing 9.35% from the previous year when it was $8,829 million. The export of wheat touched an all-time high at $2,118 million in 2021-22, growing 273% from the previous fiscal’s $567 million, while other cereals registered a growth of 53% by fetching $1,083 million in 2021-22 compared to the previous financial year when it was $705 million. Export of pulses reported a growth of 34% touching $358 million in 2021-22 from $265 million in 2020-21. Dairy products grew by 96% standing at $634 million in 2021-22 from $323 million in 2020-21, while buffalo meat registered a growth of just 4% as export of bovine meat increased from $3,171 million in 2020-21 to $3,303 million in 2021-22. Export of poultry products rose to $71 million in 2021-22 from $58 million in the previous year and sheep/goat meat export was up by 34% to $60 million in 2021-22 from $44 million in the previous year. Fruits and vegetables exports were up by 12% to touch $1,676 million in 2021-22 against $1,492 million in 2020-21, while processed fruits and vegetable exports were up by 7% to reach $1,202 million in 2021-22 against $1,120 million in the previous year. Exports of other processed food items grew by 34% during 2021-22 to touch $1,164 million against $866 million in 2020-21. The cashew exports also grew by 7% to $452 million in 2021-22 from $420 million in the previous year. Floriculture products reported a rise of 33% when they touched $103 million in 2021-22 from $77 million in 2020-21.
  • Rice Market Update: Uncertainty Remains Key Factor

  • The true nature of long grain plantings continue to be debated in the U.S., with the USDA showing flat to last year, and the industry being confident of a 10-15% cut. Time will tell, but futures prices are showing a suspected cut in acreage, and paddy prices would support the same. Uncertainty of both the market and weather continue to hover over farmers. Meterorologists at Colorado State University are predicting an “above average” 2022 hurricane season that begins June 1. Nineteen storms are forecast for the Atlantic basin. Above-average sea surface temperatures and the lack of El Nino developing that would suppress hurricane activity by increasing vertical wind shear is the contributing factor.

    Prices for long grain milled are priced at or just above $650 pmt, whereas prices in South America are at least $100 pmt below that. South America is in the peak of their harvest season, with several questions swirling around the drought situation in Brazil. We know that Uruguay has crested the high point, and is on the downhill slope of the last 20% of their crop. Argentina is just ahead of them. Brazil and Paraguay are the big swings that will be coming to light in the next few weeks.

    In Asia, prices have held steady despite the inflationary rise that so many other commodities have seen. For more than a quarter now, prices in Thailand and Vietnam have oscillated around $400 pmt, while India and Pakistan have been around $360 pmt. This can in large part be attributed to India, who hasn’t slowed exports over the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been responsible for its third record crop in as many years.

    India’s farm subsidies, which many speculate have led to their record crop, has blunted the inflationary impacts of rice world-wide. With rice being the most basic food calorie for human consumption that prevents hunger for the poorest nations, this can be viewed as a positive in the global environment. However, India’s rice subsidy violations have put a burden on many rice producers around the globe; these violations were front-and-center this week with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    India has been called out by the U.S. rice industry and others to stop creating an unfair playing field with their rice subsidy program. It is making rice from the United States and other origins uncompetitive on a global scale, and can have severe detrimental impacts on food security world-wide in the future.

    Prices on the ground show Texas in the lead at $17/cwt. Louisiana is strong at $15.25/cwt, while prices in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri are fluctuation between $14.75-$15.75 based on variety and qualities.

    The weekly USDA Export Sales report shows net sales of 8,300 MT this week, a marketing-year low, down 51% from the previous week and 81% from the prior 4-week average. Increases primarily for Mexico (13,700 MT), Haiti (7,300 MT), Jordan (4,000 MT), the Dominican Republic (2,000 MT), and Honduras (1,500 MT), were offset by reductions primarily for Colombia (22,000 MT).

    Exports of 80,300 MT were up noticeably from the previous week and up 98% from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to Mexico (32,700 MT), Colombia (22,300 MT), Haiti (15,300 MT), El Salvador (4,100 MT), and Canada (2,000 MT).In the futures market, May 22 prices are down just over 1% this week to $16.010. May 23 contracts are about flat from last week, now at $16.615. Average Daily Volume registers at 411, down 23% from last week, while open interest is flat at 9,701.

  • Sri Lanka crisis: India begins shipment of rice to crisis-hit island nation

  • The rice is being offered under a credit line of $1 billion to Sri Lanka announced by India recently towards the purchase of food, medicine and other essential commodities. Of this credit line, $150 million is earmarked for rice supplies to Sri Lanka.

    India begins shipment of rice to crisis-hit Sri Lanka India has commenced shipment of around 40,000 tonne of rice to Sri Lanka to help ease shortage of essential food commodities in the country facing an acute fiscal challenge and economic turmoil. According to B V Krishna Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association, India will provide 0.3 million tonne (mt) of rice to Sri Lanka over the next six months. “All the rice shipments to Sri Lanka will be carried out through ports such as Kakinada, Tuticorin, Chennai and other posts in the southern region,” Rao told FE. The rice is being offered under a credit line of $1 billion to Sri Lanka announced by India recently towards the purchase of food, medicine and other essential commodities. Of this credit line, $150 million is earmarked for rice supplies to Sri Lanka. “As of now, supply of around 40,000 tonne of rice to Sri Lanka has been finalised under the credit line. The first consignment of rice under this framework is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka in the coming days,” according to a statement by the High Commission of India, Colombo. Trade sources said India can ship rice to Sri Lanka within days while for other countries it would at least take a few weeks to export rice. This rice shipment from India is expected to bring down the price of grain in the island nation ahead of Sinhalese New Year, which will be celebrated on April 14. India is also expected to supply other agricultural commodities such as sugar and wheat to Sri Lanka in the coming months. According to a senior official, this assistance in terms of rice shipment is seen as ‘humanitarian measure to help the Sri Lankan people during a difficult time’. Sri Lanka has become a net importer of rice as its production sharply fell after it banned all chemical fertilisers in May 2021 for making the island nation’s agriculture sector to 100% organic cultivation. Following reports of a drop in production of various agricultural commodities because of the banning of fertiliser use, the Sri Lankan government partially lifted a ban on imports of fertiliser and allowed the private sector to import it. India has been the world’s largest rice exporter in the last decade — export earnings stood at a record $8.7 billion in 2020-21 and crossed $9.6 billion in 2021-22. India exported agricultural commodities such as onion, wheat, pulses, basmati rice and processed fruit products worth of $150 million to Sri Lanka in 2020-21.
  • Rice exporters face twin challenges after record 17-mt shipment

  • The number of vessels docked at Kakinada port, a major rice loading point on the eastern coast, fell to three from 10 last year (file image)

    Higher freight, return of Thailand to international market weigh on supplies from India

    Exporters of Indian non-basmati rice, after shipping close to 17 million tonnes in 2021-22, are facing the twin challenges of higher freight cost and the return of Thailand, a major supplier, to the international market in the current financial year. This may lead to a decline of 10-15 per cent in shipments, exporters said. As per the latest official data available till end-February for the financial year 2021-22, non-basmati shipments grew by around 40 per cent to 15.61 million tonnes, from 11.17 million tonnes a year ago. In dollar terms, non-basmati rice shipments were up 35.2 per cent at $5.551 billion in April-February 2021-22 against $4.105 billion a year ago. “We will be touching close to 17 million tonnes for fiscal 2021-22, a new record over the previous year’s 13 million tonnes,” said BV Krishna Rao, President, The Rice Exporters Association. The export data for March comes with a lag. The target for the year was 16 million tonnesr. On the outlook for the new financial year, Rao said high freight costs remain a concern and supplies from Thailand have resumed, posing a challenge to Indian exporters.

    Govt needs to help

    “Last year, Thailand did not have a good crop due to bad weather. But this year, they have made a comeback and are giving a good fight,” Rao said, adding that Indian shipments will be lower this year by 10-15 per cent. “We are unlikely to maintain 17 million tonnes unless the Government helps other countries buy more rice, like it did for Sri Lanka,” Rao added. Freight rates have moved up from last year as fuel costs have surged, triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Rao said the higher vessel rates have forced buyers, mainly in Africa, to adopt a wait-and-watch approach. Freight rates have gone up from around $90 per tonne to around $140, while rice prices are largely stable. “The buyer is not keen on paying the extra $50 and would wait for vessel prices to come down,” Rao said. This is reflected in the decline in the number of vessels docked at the Kakinada port, one of the major rice loading points on the eastern coast. “Usually, at least 10 vessels in Kakinada were being loaded last year around this time. Now there are only three.” Trade sources said Indian rice shipments are already slowing, going by the numbers in February, when non-basmati shipments fell 1.4 per cent to 1.618 million tonnes (1.641 million tonnes a year ago). Free-on-board (FOB) parboiled rice from Indian ports is quoted at $365 per tonne ($370-380) . White rice prices are hovering at $335-340 per tonne, at around last year’s levels. Broken rice prices have moved up from $270 per tonne FOB to $315-320. “Only broken rice prices have moved up as it is witnessing good demand due to high corn prices,” Rao said. The demand for brokens, which is used for feed ingredients, is from China, Indonesia and Africa among other regions.
  • In Rohtak, basmati fetches record price

  • In Rohtak, basmati fetches record price The price of 1121 variety of basmati rice has witnessed a considerable jump in the open market in Haryana, fetching up to Rs 1,061 per quintal more compared to last time. On Monday, a rice grower from Sheria village in Jhajjar district sold his produce for Rs 4,561 per quintal at the grain market here even as private traders had bought it for maximum Rs 3,500 last year. “We sow 1121 variety of basmati rice over 20 acres every year and store about 150 quintal for subsequent sale. Even we hadn’t expected this much gain,” said an ecstatic Naveen, the rice grower. Bhartiya Vyapar Mandal vice-president Harsh Girdhar cited several reasons for the high rates, including decrease in 1121 basmati sowing area, new markets in Iraq and Iran and global grain crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He said rice growers had been storing some portion of their produce to sell it during off-season when it fetched higher returns. “The area under PR variety of rice, procured by the government on the MSP, rising considerably last year was another factor behind the hike in the price.”    
  • Mwea scheme rice farmers vow not to pay Warma charges

  • Rice farmers from Mwea Irrigation scheme have vowed not to pay the Sh15,000 levies imposed by the Water Resource Management Authority terming it exploitative.

    The farmers argue that the new regulations which were gazetted this year will increase the levies from the current Sh3,000 repair and maintenance fee paid to National Irrigation Authority to Sh15,000 Warma. If the new regulations will be fully implemented, the Authority is set to collect Sh450 million from the 30,000 acres under irrigation at the expansive Mwea Irrigation scheme. Led by their Chairman Morris Mutugi, the farmers have vowed not to pay a single cent to the authority, saying the regulations were published in the Kenya gazette secretly without proper public participation “The irrigation authority has failed on its mandate to ensure farmers have adequate water for irrigation as well as environmental conservation and has resulted in harassing farmers who fail to pay water levies,” he said. Currently, Mutugi said, farmers are grappling with a lack of adequate water for irrigation due to the drought that the country is facing.  “Where will farmers get such a huge amount of money, with the high cost of fertilizers, pesticides and other costs of production, this is exploitation,” he said. Local leaders led by Mwea MP Kabinga Wachira have castigated the authority for continued burdening of farmers with punitive charges.
  • IBIS Rice programme set to recruit more farmers

  • The Sansom Mlup Prey Organisation (SMP) announced it is recruiting farmers to join its IBIS Rice programme. Members will carry out organic rice cultivation and wildlife rescue in four provinces – Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Preah Vihear. SMP executive director Keo Socheat said the enrolment of new members to the programme is free of charge, and there is no limit to the number of members, provided they qualify. This project aims to improve the lives of people living in protected areas and encourage them to participate in conservation activities, he said. “Membership is free, and we provide them with good quality rice. We have selection committees in each village that will assess the candidates. The farmers can grow the rice wherever they want – unless they encroach on forest land,” he added. Socheat said that nearly 1,500 families are currently on the programme. As a general rule, when people grow organic rice – which contributes to the rescue of wildlife – his NGO will offer 20 to 30 per cent above the market price, and sometimes up to 60 per cent. The NGO said on March 28 that if farmers are interested in increasing their income by growing wildlife-friendly rice – and live near the targeted wildlife sanctuaries – they should contact the project coordinator in their area to find out more details. Applications close at the end of April. The programme will be available to those who live in or near Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary and Veun Sai-Siem Pang National Park in Ratanakkiri; Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri; Siem Pang and Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary in Stung Treng; and Kulen Promtep, Prey Preah Roka and Chhaeb wildlife sanctuaries in Preah Vihear. The NGO said that in addition to receiving high market prices, by participating in this project, farmers are protecting forests and wildlife, as well as preventing climate change. They also get access to new farming techniques. Lin Sambath, a field worker at the NGO, said that he inspects the rice at each stage of growth until it is delivered to the mill. The quality inspection of the rice is based on size, colour, cracking and hardness, and includes peeling, seeding and moisture inspection processes. Sambath said he quit his job at an oil company to work with this NGO because of the value of its four main principles – The use of non-chemical fertilizers, protecting the forest, refraining from cutting down trees and trading in illegal timber, and the protection of wild animals. “I expect that most new members will be with the project for a long time. The IBIS rice programme offers a real chance at a better life, and gave a lot of farming families the chance to send their children on to higher education. I hope that the next generations will see the forests and the wildlife and will recognise and understand the work that went into preserving them,” he said.
  • Inflation pulls down demand for cooking oil, Basmati, chicken

  • Rising prices and inflationary pressure have pulled down demand for branded basmati ricecooking oil and chicken by up to 15% in March compared to the same time last year. Russia's invasion of Ukraine that started in last week of February has seen global commodity prices surging as supply chain was disrupted. Global prices of basmati rice had gone up by $200 per tonne since the war started. "The impact of global price rise is also being felt in the domestic market. This has tapered the demand in the Indian market. It is down by 15 per cent. We are seeing that people are shifting to regional rice varieties, which are comparatively lesser priced than basmati," said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director, Kohinoor Foods that sells basmati rice under the Kohinoor brand name. Even prices of regional varieties of rice have seen a price hike as export demand is robust.  
  • Cambodia to play key role in meeting global rice demand

  • A recent study published by nature.com showed that global demand for rice is expected to increase 30 percent by 2050, however, with a “limited scope available for other main rice-producing countries such as China and India”, it will become incumbent on the countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam to close the future deficit. “At present, the region accounts for 26 percent and 40 percent of global rice production and exports, respectively, being a major rice supplier for other world regions such as Africa and the Middle East,” it said. Over the past decades, countries in Southeast Asia were able to increase rice yields. However, there are concerns about whether future quotas can be met, as noted by a research analyst within the publication. “There is now evidence of yield stagnation in four of the six major rice-producing countries in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam)”. Aligning with reports that “the harvestable rice area has remained stable [within the aforementioned countries] or even declined slightly in some countries recently and is under growing threat of conversion for residential and industrial uses”. So, in the absence of land expansion, what can be done to make better use of the available land? A publication titled the ‘Use of Legume Cover Crops to Improve Soil Fertility, Rice Yield and Profits’, co-produced by the DALRM, GDA & CIRAD, details the story of Heng Hour, owner of a family-run rice farm in Boh Village, Rovieng District, who transitioned to Regenerative Farming practices to increase his yields. “We started farming rice in 1979. In the past, the soil was rich and the yield was high. From year to year, the yield decreased due to the loss of the soil fertility, higher weed pressure and diseases.” Heng explained that access to greater water controls helped his yield, but the remaining issue of soil fertility meant that “rice production was still not economically viable”. In November 2019, Hour was invited to a village meeting organised by the agronomists of the Conservation Agriculture Service Center and SmartAgro, a startup specialised in cover crops and bio-products. They presented the use of ‘legume cover crops’ to improve soil health in the community. According to organicgrowersschool.com, a ‘cover crop’ is a crop you “grow for the soil, instead of for your plate”, a practice dating as far back as the Roman Empire. Cover crops add “organic matter to the soil, and add nitrogen in a slow-release way that plants can handle, leading to less nitrogen volatilisation”. After implementing the legume cover crop strategy, Heng saw his yield grow by approximately 1 tonne per hectare compared with the previous year, noting a drastic increase in quality with over 60 percent of his yield being sold under the class one standard. “After the ploughing of the cover crops, I noticed the good smell of the decomposition of the cover crops. I observed many big earthworms and the soil was loose and soft when we walked into the field. After transplanting, the plants grew fast, the rice leaves were dark green, and I observed that the grains were well filled.” The cover crop practice is just one of many ‘Regenerative Farming’ methods that could be used to bolster rice yield and quality without dependence on high concentrations of chemicals. Regenerative Farming is a practice that actually rejuvenates Earth’s ecosystems, as opposed to just sustaining them.
  • Food grains heading to rice mills in the midst of uncertainty

    In the face of uncertainty over procurement of paddy cultivated in the ongoing rabi by the government, farmers have already started moving the harvested crop to private rice mills and selling it well below the minimum support price of ₹1,960 a quintal for fine variety that was more easily marketable. The movement of stocks was only in the case of early crop, which was sown immediately after the season began, while the harvest of late sowings will take another week, sources said.  They added that the millers came forward to purchase the fine variety at over ₹2,000 a quintal initially but the rates dropped to less than ₹1,900 in the last couple of days. At some places, it was even ₹1,750 a quintal.

    Drop in prices

    The drop in prices was attributed to stepped up arrivals at mills which resulted in farmers waiting for their turn for two or three days to dispose of the stocks. The initial arrival of crops that were harvested a fortnight ago which were in smaller quantities fetched good prices for farmers. On the other hand, the Food Corporation of India has refused to accept custom milled rice of 2020-21 rabi season after March 31 though the State government wanted the deadline to be extended by two months.

    Union Minister of State for Tourism G. Kishan Reddy said that the State government was yet to meet its target of 2020-21 rabi despite several reminders. The Centre will keep its commitment to the State for 2020-21 rabi but not the corresponding season which has triggered the stand-off with the State.

  • Rice Market Update: USDA Planting Report is Purely Prospective, Far from Actual

  • Prices remain firm as planting gets underway. The initial USDA Prospective Plantings report just published this week has a much rosier picture than the industry is currently projecting. The table below shows that the total long grain production is expected to be 99% of last year’s total. The industry is predicting a 10-15% decline, or acres looking much closer to 1.65 million acres. This lower acreage number would appear to be baked into paddy prices right now, which are holding firm across all regions despite scant offshore demand. Louisiana is the only region that is expected to gain acres with any significance, and the rest are expected to taper. The actual USDA acreage report is released on June 30 along with an updated rice stocks report. Looking at Medium Grain, the big drop will be coming from drought-plagued California. The USDA is projecting a 315,000 acre medium grain crop from the west coast, but recent water allocations coming out of GCID, the State’s largest water district, are dismal. Initial signals are showing that acreage could fall well below even a 270,000 acre level. Medium grain across the rest of the states will hold relatively constant. It will be interesting to watch planting progress as the weeks tick by and the actual numbers come to light. As far as planting goes, Louisiana has crested the 60% planted now, approaching as high as 70%. Texas is now approximately nearly 50% planted as well, though rain has slowed progress there a bit last week. They are itching to get started in Arkansas, and we expect to have first plantings by this time next week. The March rice stocks report was released this week, showing rough rice stocks in all positions down by 8% from this time last year. To break things out, long grain rough is down by 11%, and long grain milled almost 6% down, medium rough about equal, and medium grain milled rice stocks down nearly 40%. In Asia, Thai prices firmed slightly up to $415pmt, and Viet prices softened just a bit to come down to $415pmt. This is largely based on currency fluctuations and strong demand coming out of China and the usual suspects like the Philippines. India is still holding at steady at $365pmt, and Pakistan is coming in just below at $360pmt. The weekly USDA Export Sales report shows net sales of 17,000 MT for this week, down 80% from the previous week and 71% from the prior 4-week average. Increases were primarily for Guatemala (5,500 MT), Honduras (3,500 MT, including decreases of 400 MT), Mexico (3,300 MT), Canada (2,600 MT), and Saudi Arabia (800 MT). Exports of 27,500 MT were down 49% from the previous week and from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to Guatemala (11,000 MT), Honduras (6,000 MT), Canada (3,300 MT), Mexico (2,700 MT), and Jordan (1,600 MT).
  • India invokes peace clause for 3rd time as rice subsidies exceed cap

  • India has for the third time invoked the peace clause for exceeding the 10% ceiling on support it offered its rice farmers. The country informed the WTO that the value of its rice production in 2020-21 was $45.56 billion while it gave subsidies worth $6.9 billion, which comes out to 15.14% as against the permitted 10%. The peace clause protects India's food procurement programmes against action from WTO members in case the subsidy ceilings are breached. New Delhi had first invoked the clause in 2020 when it became the first country to do so. New Delhi told the WTO on Friday the stocks under the programme are acquired and released to meet the domestic food security needs of India's poor and vulnerable population, and not to impede commercial trade or food security of others.
  • Cuba & Chile to buy Basmati Rice from Haryana

  • Latin American countries Cuba and Chile have expressed interest to purchase Basmati rice from Haryana. For this, a delegation of Cuba will visit Haryana next month. While giving this information on Saturday, a spokesperson of the Foreign Cooperation Department said the chairman of HAFED  Kailash Bhagat, managing director A Sreenivas and adviser to the department of foreign cooperation Pawan Choudhary held a meeting with Ambassador of Cuba to India, Alejandro Simancas Marin and Ambassador of Chile, Juan Angulo to discuss mutual cooperation with Haryana in various fields. During the meeting, Cuba and Chile have expressed interest to procure Basmati rice from Haryana. In addition, opportunities for cooperation in information technology, pharma and aviation will also be explored by Cuba. Therefore, a delegation from Cuba will visit Haryana next month. The export graph of the state will increase with the purchase of Basmati rice from Haryana by Cuba and Chile and the trade and bilateral relations of Haryana with these countries will also get strengthened, the spokesperson said. He said  the Ambassadors of Cuba and Chile also appreciated the thinking and vision of the Chief Minister Manohar Lal and said the initiative taken by the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for Heart to Heart Connect relationship is unique and commendable in itself. The Ambassador of Chile,  Juan Angulo said,”We are already working closely with the Government of India and we are glad that Haryana has contacted us. Certainly Cuba will take forward its relations with Haryana,”. The spokesperson said that the Haryana Government is continuously making consistent efforts to promote bilateral relations with other countries. In this episode, Haryana-Africa Conclave Series-1 was organized with African countries and a meeting was also held with the delegation of Latin America and Caribbean countries on March 27, 2022 at Surajkund, Faridabad, in which delegations from 11 countries had participated.
  • Asia rice: India rates unchanged, Vietnam prices fall on rising supplies

  • BENGALURU/BANGKOK/HANOI/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Export prices of rice in India were unchanged this week amid prospects of increased supplies and an appreciation in the rupee, while an increase in stocks weighed on rates in Vietnam. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $367 to $370 per tonne this week, unchanged from the last week. “Since the government has extended subsidised food grain distribution by six months, local supplies will rise and prices will remain under pressure,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $400-$415 per tonne on Thursday, down from $415-$420 per tonne a week ago. “Domestic supplies are rising thanks to output from the winter-spring harvest,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that quality has been affected due to prolonged rain during the harvest time. Preliminary shipping data showed 72,000 tonnes of rice were scheduled to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port during the first week of April, with most of the grains were heading to the Philippines and Africa. Vietnam’s rice exports in the first quarter are estimated to have increased 24% from a year earlier to 1.475 million tonnes, raising revenue by 10.5% to $715 million. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices narrowed to $408-$410 per tonne this week, from $408-$412 quoted a week ago. Overseas demand for Thai rice has been muted due to insufficient ships and high freight rates, traders said. Prices, however, remained high on domestic demand for broken rice used for animal feed due to logistic problems with imports, a Bangkok-based rice trader said. The supply situation remains unchanged with the new harvest entering the market this week, traders said. In Bangladesh, domestic prices of rice rose for the week, despite good crop and reserves, as inflation in February hit the highest since October 2020.
  • FCI won’t procure parboiled rice, States can do so: Centre

  • The Centre, however, clarified that the States could procure parboiled rice for consumption within the State. Image for representational purpose only. (File Photo) HYDERABAD: Dashing all hopes of the State government, the Centre has once again made it clear that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would not procure parboiled rice from any State, including Telangana. The Centre, however, clarified that the States could procure parboiled rice for consumption within the State. In a written reply to BJP MP Dushyant Singh on procuring surplus parboiled rice during Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said that after meeting State’s requirement for Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS), only the excess/surplus stocks procured by the State government/its agencies were handed over to the FCI in central pool in the form of raw or parboiled rice to meet the overall consumption requirement of the country as per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Central government and Decentralised Procurement (DCP) States. “Due to burgeoning stock level of parboiled rice in the central pool, the States were informed that FCI will not be in a position to accept parboiled rice during Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22. However, a State can procure parboiled rice for consumption within that State. In the last few years, procurement of parboiled rice in the deficit parboiled consuming States like Jharkhand, Kerala and Tamil Nadu has increased resulting in lesser movement of parboiled rice from surplus to deficit States,” the Minister said. Ethanol policy In its action plan for Rabi Marketing Season 2022-23, the FCI suggested the State govt to adopt a good ethanol policy as broken rice is suitable for the production of ethanol. The FCI also asked the State to enhance its storage capacities like Punjab and Haryana. 
  • Despite rising recognition, Pokkali farmers seek help

  • Pokkali rice from central Kerala, a grain variety that has a geographical indication (GI) tag in 2007, has now become a part of India’s postal stamps.
    Express News Service
    KOCHI: Pokkali rice from central Kerala, a grain variety that has a geographical indication (GI) tag in 2007, has now become a part of India’s postal stamps. In an event organised by Kadamakudy Nellulpathaka Padasekhara Samithi in Kochi, the stamp was released to the public in the presence of Vypeen MLA K N Unnikrishnan, District Collector Jafar Malik and Post Master General of Central Kochi Mariamma Thomas.  The move will help popularise pokkali, a unique rice variety that can grow in saline waters, said K A Thomas, secretary of Kadamakudy Nellulpathaka Padasekhara Samithi. He said the organisation will submit a memorandum to the MLA and the collector detailing the struggles and demands of paddy farmers.  “Pokkali rice is grown without any fertilisers or pesticides — be it organic or chemical. That is what makes pokkali rice unique and highly nutritious. But now, pokkali farmers are struggling to stay afloat. Moreover, the number of paddy fields and farmers producing pokkali has also come down drastically,” said Thomas. The base price set by Supplyco for the rice is Rs 28 per kg. “It is to be noted that many organic varieties are sold at over Rs 100 per kilo. It’s difficult for the farmers to survive when our crops are so underpriced,” Thomas said.   The reduction in the price of prawn varieties, which are farmed in waterlogged pokkali fields after harvest, has made things worse for these farmers. “In 1995, we used to earn nearly Rs 300 per one kilo white shrimps. Now, we get only around Rs 200 even for the highest quality prawns. Pokkali farmers used to depend on prawn farming to survive. But right now, neither of them is fetching us enough money. If we spend around Rs 45,000 for farming pokkali, we earn only around Rs 25,000,” he said. To survive, the organisation has demanded the government revise the base price to Rs 120 per kg. Demands Increase the base price of pokkali rice to I120 Help farmers with basic cultivation needs Help to remove silt from farms Adding pokkali to super-speciality rice category  A governemnt master plan to help the prawn and pokkali farmers
  • Rice Exports to Sri Lanka Good Business for Myanmar

  • COLOMBO (IDN) — A recent statement by a Myanmar official has indicated that Sri Lanka has been buying rice from the country at a price higher than what others are paying for it. This has raised eyebrows in Sri Lanka that has prided itself for being self-sufficient in rice, its staple diet, for decades. In a statement attributed to the secretary of the Bayintnaung Rice Wholesale Depot, U Than Oo, Myanmar’s national daily Global New Light of Myanmar has said that in the past year Myanmar has been exporting rice to Sri Lanka and it has been a very profitable business. “Sri Lanka is a neighbour of ours and it is easy to export rice from Myanmar by sea. We sell rice to other countries at USD 340-350 per tonne, but to Sri Lanka we have been able to sell at USD 440-450 a tonne,” U Than was quoted as saying.  While Myanmar has been fetching over $ 100 per tonne above the price paid by other countries, he has also said that the Sri Lankan authorities have not imposed any restrictions on the import of Myanmar rice. “While Sri Lanka imposes no restrictions, Europe and China have been imposing various tariffs and other restrictions to protect their markets,” says U Than. “So, it is somewhat complex to export rice to these countries.” Sri Lanka has signed a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar on January 7 to import 100,000 tonnes of white rice and 50,000 tonnes of brown rice this year and the next. Due to this agreement Sri Lanka would be spending $ 15 million extra on rice imports. According to a Sri Lankan commerce ministry statement, while Myanmar has quoted $ 465 per metric tonne, the Sri Lankan counterparts have been able to negotiate the price down to $445 per metric tonne. Agricultural industry observers here predict that the rice harvest this year (due for harvest in April) could be down by about 30 percent. Today the rice prices in the market have skyrocketed creating social tension in the country. After the fertilizer subsidies to farmers were lifted (after the organic farming policy was announced) and the guaranteed price for paddy was increased to Rs 75 per kilogram, it has made any price controls of rice in the market place impossible. Government has announced that due to domestic market necessities, Sri Lanka would need to import up to 600,000 tons of rice this year. This would be the biggest rice imports to the country for 5 years. The government has also allocated Rs 40 billion ($ 13.8 million) to compensate farmers for harvest losses due to the switch to the organic farming policy. Due to the import of processed rice, United Rice Producers Society (URPS) says that it is threatening the closure of up to 500 small and medium sized rice mills in the country. “Only 75 percent of more than 800 rice mills in our country are in operation right now,” says Kusumitha Muditha, president of URPS. After a long period of self-sufficiency in rice, on November 15 last year when rice imports began to flow in, it has created this situation, he added. It is estimated that only 2.8 percent of farming land in the country use non-chemical fertilizer. After the announcement of the organic farming policy (in April 2021) some businesses have used household waste to make so-called “organic-compost fertilizer” to sell to farmers, which agricultural sources are worried is a fraud misleading farmer. Most of this is compost of food waste and is not helpful to realize Sri Lanka’s organic farming dream. The Central Bank has estimated that the leadership given to the Sri Lankan economy by agricultural activity has been now reduced by 7 percentage points and it has given rise to an agricultural industry that cannot satisfy farmers or consumers. It has come to a situation that seeds and fertilizer necessary for farmers are hard to obtain. Most of the farmers in Sri Lanka do not own the land on which they farm. Out of the productive land in Sri Lanka, government owns 82 percent.  Many of the farm leases of farmers have expired or lapsed. There are fears that if the traditional methods of survival of the farmers are tampered with, Sri Lanka would need to depend on rice imports into the foreseeable future. The farm costs have gone up including labour and hire of farm equipment. It has also made the farmer a permanent debtor. The Peoples Bank that was set up to assist farmers has now distanced itself from the farm sector, while the government has shied away from assisting the farmer. Today it is estimated that 22.2 percent of Sri Lanka’s food needs are covered by imports. To address this Sri Lanka has imported rice from Myanmar without any checks on its standards and suitability (for Sri Lankan cuisine). Within the Sri Lankan rice production industry there has been a shift in power structures with very few people controlling farming and especially trading. This has had a serious impact on the consumer according to the National Audit Office. They attribute this to the dire straits of the rice farming sector in the country. They have also pointed out that the ownership of rice mills in Sri Lanka has been slashed from 2000 people two decades ago to 800 today. 'Economynext' news noted recently that the government has given the nod to the State Trading Corporation to import limited quantities of rice from Myanmar to help stabilize the price of rice in the local market, which has been pushed up by a milling oligarchy, after Sri Lanka banned rice imports earlier and imposed an import tax. [IDN-InDepthNews – 31 March 2022] * Deshan Maduranga is a media and communication student at the Sri Palee campus of the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Image: Myanmar inks G-to-G agreement to export rice to Sri Lanka. Credit: MMR IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.    
  • To fertilize or not to fertilize: A delicate balance between chalky rice grains and excessive protein content

  • Newswise: To fertilize or not to fertilize: A delicate balance between chalky rice grains and excessive protein content Newswise — March 30, 2022 - There’s a widespread problem in rice growing that you’ve probably never heard of. Rice plants that face elevated temperatures can produce “chalky grains” that are easily crushed during the milling process. This leads to lost profits because the price is lower for chalky grains than undamaged grains. Nitrogen fertilizer can reduce the production of chalky grains. However, too much nitrogen can cause an increase in rice protein levels. Too much protein affects the quality of rice in an undesirable way because of its lower viscosity when cooked. This means that applying nitrogen fertilizer is a delicate balance between preventing chalky grains and keeping protein at an acceptable level. Hiroshi Nakano, a researcher at the Kyushu Okinawa Agricultural Research Center, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization in Japan, and collaborators are researching one potential solution. This study was recently published in the Agronomy Journal, a publication of the American Society of Agronomy. Farmers can use the tools to predict the chalky grain percentage and protein content in the field. This will allow them to assess how much nitrogen fertilizer they need in real-time. “Our goal is to facilitate the stable production of rice in a changing climate,” Nakano says. “It is important to establish an ideal nitrogen application rate using growth diagnosis. In this study, we identified useful factors to regulate white-back grains (one type of chalky grain) and protein content.” He adds that in Southwestern Japan, rice seedlings are transplanted from mid to late June. The rice grains develop through processes that occur in July, August, and October. There are slight differences in weather and growth each year. This means the exact needs for nitrogen are not always the same. The result is the nitrogen application needs to be adjusted based on growth conditions. “Our mission is to develop ways to protect rice from global climate change,” Nakano says. “In Japan, rice production areas account for approximately 36% of all farming land. In recent years, rice plants have been exposed to higher air temperatures during the ripening stage. This can result in white-back grains.” In their study, the researchers tested two types of measurements using two devices. One looked at the concentration of nitrogen in the leaves of the rice plants. The other measure how much of a plant can uptake nitrogen. The team also determined the best times to take these measurements. Their findings point to the usefulness of the readings for allowing farmers to make real-time adjustments to nitrogen application at an important time during rice production. Heading is the stage of rice growth before flowering. Timing the measurements at the correct time in the plants’ development helped reduce the amount of some chalky grains and regulate the grain protein content. “We recommend that farmers conduct the growth diagnosis by using handheld meters,” Nakano says. “These meters are not expensive, and getting this information will allow them to harvest rice grains with high quality.” However, it can be difficult for farmers to get enough data if they have lots of rice fields. The researchers hope to develop a way to take these measurements using an unmanned aerial vehicle. Nakano adds that being able to help farmers enhance their rice yields while maintaining high quality is important for solving food security issues. A growing global population and rising temperatures are causing these food security issues. “This research is broadly important as the global average temperature is predicted to increase due to global warming,” Nakano says. “The occurrence of white-back grains increases when rice plants ripen under high air temperatures. Rice is a staple food of approximately 50% of the global population. Therefore, this issue is important for farmers but also for consumers.” Support for this research was provided by Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization Biooriented Technology Research Advancement Institution.
  • Southeast Asia must close yield gap to remain major rice bowl

  • Rice growing in field At least 40% of global rice exports come from Southeast Asia, making the region a major rice bowl. The region helps feed other parts of the world, such as Africa and the Middle East. Projections show that global rice demand is set to increase 30% by 2050. With the continuing rice trade and limited scope available for other main rice-producing countries like China and India to generate a rice surplus, Southeast Asia faces a challenge in stepping up to ensure adequate global rice supply. But crop yields stagnate, land allotted for agriculture does not increase, and climate change remains a looming threat, raising concerns about the capacity of the region to remain a large net exporter. In a recent study published in Nature Food, an international team of researchers, including those from the major rice-producing nations in Southeast Asia, estimated the difference between yield potential and average farmer yield across six countries — Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The initiative was led by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and included researchers from Huazhong Agricultural University in China, the International Fertilizer Association in France, the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development in Vietnam, Field Crops Research Institute in Vietnam, Thailand’s Rice Department, Thailand Rice Science Institute, Mawlamyine University in Myanmar, IRRI-Myanmar Office, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, IRRI-Cambodia Office, the General Directorate of Agriculture in Cambodia and the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development. Results from the project are available via the Global Yield Gap Atlas, a collaboration between the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Wageningen University designed to estimate the difference between actual and potential yields for major food crops worldwide. “Over the past decades, through renewed efforts, countries in Southeast Asia were able to increase rice yields, and the region as a whole has continued to produce a large amount of rice that exceeded regional demand, allowing a rice surplus to be exported to other countries,” said lead author Shen Yuan, a postdoctoral research associate at Huazhong Agricultural University. “The issue is whether the region will be able to retain its title as a major global rice supplier in the context of increasing global and regional rice demand, yield stagnation and limited room for cropland expansion.” Through a data-intensive approach, the researchers determined that the region has the potential to increase production on existing cropland and remain a major global rice supplier, but changes in production and management techniques will be key, and producers could stress natural resources in the process. Researchers found that the average yield gap represents nearly half of the yield potential estimated for the region, but it is not the same for every country. Yield gaps are larger in Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand but comparably smaller in Indonesia and Vietnam.
    Patricio Grassini
    Patricio Grassini
    “We used an approach that consists of a combination of crop modeling, spatial analysis and use of detailed databases on weather, soil and cropping system data,” said Patricio Grassini, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture at Nebraska. “The regional extent of the study together with the level of detail in relation to spatial and temporal variation in yield gaps and specificity in terms of cropping systems is unique, providing a basis for prioritizing agricultural research and development and investments at regional, national and sub-national levels.” According to the study, the region needs to close the existing yield gap substantially to reduce the need for rice imports, allowing for an aggregated rice surplus of 54 million tons available for exports. “Our analysis shows that Southeast Asia will not be able to produce a large rice surplus in the future without acceleration of current rates of yield gains,” Grassini said. “Failure to increase yield on existing cropland areas will drastically reduce the rice exports to other regions and the capacity of many countries in the region to achieve or sustain rice self-sufficiency. It will also put additional pressure on land and water resources, risking further encroachment into natural ecosystems such as forests and wetlands.” Researchers suggest a number of interventions needed to close the gap, including improvement of crop management practices, such as the use of fertilizer and irrigation, nutrients, water and pest management, as well as mitigation of production risks in lowland rainfed environments. “The challenge is how to increase yield while minimizing the negative environmental impact associated with intensive rice production,” said IRRI Senor Scientist Alice Laborte. “For example, tailoring nutrient management to each environment will help increase yield and farmer profits while reducing nutrient losses. Likewise, integrated pest management is a knowledge-intensive but valuable approach if applied correctly and holistically to reduce yield losses to weeds, pests and diseases while minimizing excessive use of pesticides and associated risks to the environment and people. “Closing the rice yield gaps requires the concerted effort of policymakers, researchers and extension services to facilitate farmers’ access to technologies, information and markets. Continued investment in rice research is crucial.” The study received support from Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The project also received complementary funding from the Global Water for Food Institute, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy 2030 Incubation Phase.
  • China sells rice at auction

  • BEIJING: China sold 9,727 tonnes of rice, or 0.53% of the total offer, at an auction of its state reserves on March 22, the National Grain Trade Center said in a statement on Monday. The average selling price of the rice was 2,644 yuan ($415.34) per tonne, according to the trade centre.  
  • With maize prices soaring, export demand zooms for Indian broken rice as feed

  • According to exporters, shipments of maize have slowed down due to the Russia-Ukraine conflictBuyers in Vietnam, China and Indonesia switch to the foodgrain, but its rates rising sharply 

    With maize (corn) prices soaring on demand from West, South and South-East Asia, buyers abroad are switching over to 100 per cent broken rice for animal feed in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and China.  “There is a huge demand for maize from Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia besides the Gulf. But prices have surged and availability is low since the new crop will arrive only after next month,” said Bimal Bengani, Managing Director of Kolkata-based Bengani Export Pvt Ltd.  “Shipments of maize have slowed down after prices soared due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Instead, buyers from Vietnam and Indonesia are now seeking broken rice,” said M Madan Prakash, President, Agri Commodities Exporters Association (ACEA). 

    Only small orders taken

    “Exporters are accepting only small immediate orders that can be shipped in containers. From Kandla in Gujarat, maize is now going to Oman and other Gulf countries, as they are keen on maintaining the feed quality,” said Mukesh Singh, Co-founder of Mumbai-based MuBala Agro Commodities Ltd. A major reason for domestic maize prices increasing is that the kharif crop has almost got exhausted. Singh said maize is currently quoted at ₹2,200-500 a quintal against the minimum support price of ₹1,870. Demand for maize has increased as supplies from Ukraine, which contributes 16 per cent of global exports, have been cut off with shipments from the Black Sea coming to a total halt after Russian troops entered eastern Ukraine on February 24.

    Lukewarm demand

    “Prices of maize delivered in Chennai for exports are ₹2,350,” said ACEA’s Prakash. In Gujarat, agricultural produce marketing committee yards such as Dahod, the modal, or rate at which most trades took place, was ₹2,300 on Monday. According to the International Grains Council (IGC), Argentina quoted $329 a tonne last weekend, while Brazil offered maize at $364 and the US at $363 (f.o.b) free on board. Currently, benchmark corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade are ruling at $7.44 a bushel ($292.83 a tonne). “We shipped 250 tonnes of maize to Hong Kong some time back, but after that demand has been lukewarm,” Prakash said.  “There are still some varieties of maize being shipped to Vietnam and Indonesia. A lot of maize is going to Bangladesh by road,” said VR Sagar, Director, Bulk Logix. Bengani and Singh concurred with his views. “Some exporters are expecting prices to increase to $420-430 and are holding off,” Sagar said. 

    Exports feasibility

    Maize is one of the agricultural products whose exports have been good this fiscal, increasing by over 30 per cent in the first 10 months. According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the export of other cereals, in which maize plays a major part, was 3.16 million tonnes (mt) valued at $1.74 billion during April-January this fiscal against 2.37 mt valued at $527 million in the year-ago period. MuBala’s Singh said maize exports were feasible as long as prices were around ₹1,700-800 a quintal in the domestic market. Until December, Bangladesh was the top buyer purchasing 1.25 mt, while Vietnam purchased 0.95 mt. “In view of the high prices, there is good demand for 100 per cent broken non-sortex rice that is commanding a higher price,” said Prakash. The non-sortex rice will have yellow and black coloured grains.

    Chinese purchase

    “Even broken rice prices are now quoted near maize prices as there is a shortage,” said Sagar. Broken rice are commanding ₹2,100 a quintal and more. An exporter from Bengaluru said 100 per cent broken rice prices were at par with 25 per cent broken white rice. As per IGC data, 25 per cent broken rice price last weekend were $349 a tonne.  According to APEDA data, China, which began importing Indian rice in the last fiscal after over three decades, bought 1.1 mt of rice during the April-December period of the current fiscal and Vietnam 0.6 mt. In October, the US Department of Agriculture said broken rice accounted for 97 per cent of India’s rice exports to China during January-August last year.  “Broken rice has always been going to China and Vietnam over the last couple of years. This year, there is a shortage now,” Sagar said. “Exports of broken rice could also be a problem in view of the surge in price. We could manage when prices ruled at around ₹1,600-700,” he said, adding that the issue now was the grain’s availability.  China began buying broken rice from India to use it as feed after corn prices surged last fiscal. Also, Beijing is required to build feed inventories as part of its plans to increase the production of pigs. Singh said it takes time to accumulate broken rice quantity for exports as they are done in bulk.   A Delhi-based trade consultant said most of the broken rice was heading from the east coast ports such as Kakinada and Kolkata to Vietnam and Indonesia.  “Maize prices will begin to decline once the arrival of the rabi crop beings,” Bengani said.  “Rice prices will begin tapering off once Rabi arrivals begin. This will  happen around mid-May,” said Sagar. 

    Freight advantage

    Delhi-based exporter Rajesh Paharia Jain said India has freight advantage to export to China, the Netherlands and South Korea, which had been buying from Ukraine before the conflict intensified. “It is a win-win situation for India after the Russian-Ukraine crisis. As India has a freight advantage of $70-80 a tonne and Chinese demand is up, it would be favourable to India. India maize export share to China might improve,” he said, adding that the coarse cereal exports might increase by 5-7 per cent in 2022-23.
  • Broken rice: Centre can tap global demand

  • Hyderabad: The union government’s stubborn attitude in refusing to procure the Yasangi paddy harvest from Telangana can only mean two things – that it stands completely exposed in understanding the global market needs or it is guilty of wilful rejection of the State’s genuine pleas. There has been a growing demand for broken rice in the international market in the recent past, which shot up manifold on account of the Russia-Ukraine conflict due to severe shortage of maize that Ukraine produces and supplies to the world. Subsequently, many countries including China, Indonesia and Vietnam have completely switched over to broken rice for animal feed. According to the latest report of the International Grains Council as well as Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the export price of maize presently is around Rs 2,200-Rs 2,500 per quintal against the MSP of Rs 1,870 per quintal. Given the shortage of maize, the price of broken rice has surged to Rs 2,100 per quintal in the international market. Interestingly, China and Vietnam are the largest importers of broken rice from India. According to APEDA data, China started importing Indian rice in the last financial year. A report of the US Department of Agriculture says broken rice accounted for about 97 per cent of India’s rice exports to China during January-August last year. If the BJP government had done its homework on international market needs instead of having a face-off with the Telangana government, the issue of procurement of Yasangi paddy crop would have been resolved by now. Telangana presents a golden opportunity for import of broken rice since one of the issues is that the Yasangi paddy crop, when milled, leaves substantial residue of broken rice. Paddy was cultivated in about 38.5 lakh acres in Telangana during the Yasangi (Rabi) season which in turn is expected result in a yield of 70 lakh tonnes of paddy. Setting aside the age-old practice of paddy procurement, the Centre has been insisting that the Telangana government get the paddy milled into raw rice before procurement. The State government explained that this could result in broken rice due to severe climatic conditions prevailing in the State during summer. The Telangana government suggested that the Centre purchase the paddy and get it milled as per its requirements rather than insisting on supplying only raw rice. The State government also pointed out that the Centre was expected to pay MSP for paddy and not raw rice or broken rice. The present scenario presents a win-win situation for both the Centre and the State, but will the BJP government seize the opportunity or will it stick to its narrow political agenda is the million dollar question.  
  • Japanese rice overcomes price barrier to log record exports

  • Exports to Singapore and Hong Kong up about 30% in 2021 TOKYO -- Despite the high asking price, Japan's rice exports rose by double digits to a new record in 2021 as demand for Japanese food boomed amid coronavirus-era travel restrictions. A Japanese yakitori restaurant at a Singapore shopping mall has created buzz for its takeout bento meals. They use Japanese-grown rice supplied by Osaka-based farm machinery manufacturer Kubota. The bentos caught on in Singapore as more consumers avoided eating out during the pandemic. "Demand for takeout is strong," a Kubota export manager said. "Japanese rice is made for bento, since it doesn't harden or easily lose flavor even when it's cold." Japan's rice exports, excluding for foreign aid, increased 15% to 22,833 tons in 2021. Sales of commercial Japanese rice to conveyor-belt sushi eateries and Japanese restaurants increased, particularly in Asian countries reopening their economies. Exports to Singapore soared 35%. Kubota overall exported 5,206 tons to Singapore, Hong Kong and other markets, up 30% or so. High-end Japanese rice has been a focus of exporting since the early 2000s, targeting wealthy consumers and gift purchases. About 90% of the global rice trade involves long-grain varieties. For Hong Kong, the top importer of Japanese rice, approximately 70% of the rice is long-grain and about 30% is medium- or short-grain. Japanese rice is estimated to languish at 3% or so of Hong Kong's market. Among medium- or short-grain rice, products from California and China are mainstream. Rice exports grew for 14 straight years from 2007. Prices in 2021 were less than half of 2007 levels but still around 20% above those for California-grown rice. Price is the biggest barrier to Japan increasing its presence in the export market for rice. Cooking it the Japanese way comes next. A Hong Kong curry chain that uses Japanese-grown rice from Kubota found that it did not taste the same every time. After receiving an inquiry from the chain, Kubota manager Takushi Suminaka found that staffers were putting rice and water into rice cookers by eye. Kubota and another Japanese company co-developed equipment to automatically wash and cook the rice. Kubota offered it to the chain with the rice itself. The chain won rave reviews from customers after installing the equipment. "The rice itself has flavor and is tasty," a guest said.
  • China provides 2,000 tons of rice as emergency food aid to Sri Lanka

  • COLOMBO, March 26 (Xinhua) -- China decides to provide 2,000 tons of rice as emergency food aid to Sri Lanka, said the Chinese embassy here in a press release on Friday. The donation, which was valued at about 2.5 million U.S. dollars (including freight cost), was made at the request of the Sri Lankan government upon its current difficulty of food shortage in the island country, according to the embassy. As the continuously raging COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatically changing international situation have further worsened the global food shortage and shipping capacity, the technical teams from both countries will work closely to finalize the production and shipment arrangements, and deliver the aid to Sri Lanka at an early date, said the embassy. Noting that this year marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact, the Chinese embassy said the two countries have traditionally helped each other and shared weal and woe. China will continue to support Sri Lanka's social and economic development within its capacity, the Chinese embassy added.
  • Sri Lanka Facing Worst Economic Crisis; Price of Rice Goes up to Rs 500 per kg

  • Srilanka is facing an economic crisis that has led to food scarcity and inflation in prices in the country.
    People Waiting In Queue To Buy Groceries
    In the middle of its worst economic crisis in decades, Sri Lanka has been hit by a critical shortage of basic necessities such as medicine, food fuel, cooking gas, etc. People are queuing for hours for petrol and diesel. Citizens are facing daily power outages caused by the lack of fuel to power the powerplants, and the warm season has depleted hydroelectric power capacity. The Central Bank has permitted the national currency to move more freely earlier in the month which has caused inflation in prices. Food and beverage prices in Sri Lanka have skyrocketed due to inflation. People are waiting in queue for hours to buy groceries. The price of rice in Sri Lanka has risen to 500 Sri Lankan rupees per kg. In Sri Lanka, 400 grams of milk powder costs Rs 790. In the last three days, the cost of milk powder has risen by Rs 250.

    Food Scarcity Is Driving People To Flee

    The financial downturn in Sri Lanka is causing a big impact on the coastline areas of southern India, particularly Tamil Nadu as Tamil refugees are fleeing from the northern part of the island country. On Tuesday, two groups of 16 Sri Lankan Tamilian citizens from the Manna and Jaffna parts arrived in Tamil Nadu. As per the reports, Tamil Nadu intelligence officers have learned that roughly 2,000 refugees are expected to arrive in the upcoming days.

    What Has Led To The Crisis?

    The economy of Sri Lanka is highly dependent on tourism activities and trade. The pandemic has been utterly devastating, with the government assessing a $14 billion loss over the course of the past two years. According to the central bank, the economy will contract by 1.5 percent between July and September 2021. Sri Lanka, which has been depleting reserves and massive debts to pay, is in desperate need of foreign currency, with a $7 billion debt obligation for 2022. Sri Lanka's foreign currency reserves are shrinking, in part due to the non-building projects funded by Chinese loans.  
  • Southeast Asia must close yield gap to remain a major rice bowl

  • Southeast Asia must close yield gap to remain a major rice bowl t least 40% of global rice exports come from Southeast Asia, making the region a major rice bowl. The region helps feed other parts of the world such as Africa and the Middle East. Projections show that global  demand is set to increase by 30% by 2050. With the continuing rice trade and limited scope available for other main rice-producing countries like China and India to generate a rice surplus, Southeast Asia faces a challenge in stepping up to ensure adequate global rice supply. But  stagnate, land allotted for agriculture does not increase, and  remains a looming threat, raising concerns about the capacity of the region to remain a large net exporter. In a recent study published in Nature Food, an international team of researchers, including those from the major rice-producing nations in Southeast Asia, estimated the difference between yield potential and average farmer yield across the six countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The initiative was led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the U.S. and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and multi-institutional collaborators. Results from the project are available via the Global Yield Gap Atlas (www.yieldgap.org), a collaboration between the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Wageningen University designed to estimate the difference between actual and potential yields for major food crops worldwide. "Over the past decades, through renewed efforts, countries in Southeast Asia were able to increase , and the region as a whole has continued to produce a large amount of rice that exceeded regional demand, allowing a rice surplus to be exported to other countries," said lead author Dr. Shen Yuan, a postdoctoral research associate at Huazhong Agricultural University in China. "The issue is whether the region will be able to retain its title as a major global rice supplier in the context of increasing global and regional rice demand, yield stagnation and limited room for cropland expansion."
     Through a data-intensive approach, the researchers determined that the region has the potential to increase production on existing cropland and remain a major global rice supplier—but changes in production and  will be key, and producers could stress natural resources in the process. Researchers found that the average yield gap represents nearly half of the yield potential estimated for the region, but it is not the same for every country. Yield gaps are larger in Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand, but comparably smaller in Indonesia and Vietnam. "We used an approach that consists of a combination of crop modeling, spatial analysis, and use of detailed databases on weather, soil, and cropping system data," said Dr. Patricio Grassini, associate professor at the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "The regional extent of the study together with the level of detail in relation to spatial and temporal variation in yield gaps and specificity in terms of cropping systems is unique, providing a basis for prioritizing agricultural research and development and investments at regional, national and sub-national levels" According to the study, the region needs to close the existing yield gap substantially to reduce the need for rice imports, allowing for an aggregated rice surplus of 54 million tons available for exports. "Our analysis shows that Southeast Asia will not be able to produce a large rice surplus in the future without acceleration of current rates of yield gains," Grassini said. "Failure to increase yield on existing cropland areas will drastically reduce the rice exports to other regions and the capacity of many countries in the region to achieve or sustain rice self-sufficiency. It will also put additional pressure on land and water resources, risking further encroachment into natural ecosystems such as forests and wetlands." Researchers suggest a number of interventions needed to close the gap, including improvement of crop management practices, such as the use of fertilizer and irrigation, nutrients, water, and , as well as mitigation of production risks in lowland rainfed environments. "The challenge is how to increase yield while minimizing the negative environmental impact associated with intensive rice production. For example, tailoring nutrient management to each environment will help increase yield and farmer profits while reducing nutrient losses. Likewise, integrated pest management is a knowledge-intensive but valuable approach if applied correctly and holistically to reduce yield losses to weeds, pests and diseases while minimizing excessive use of pesticides and associated risks to the environment and people," said IRRI Senior Scientist Alice Laborte. "Closing the rice yield gaps requires the concerted effort of policymakers, researchers, and extension services to facilitate farmers' access to technologies, information, and markets. Continued investment in rice research is crucial," she added.
  • Rice and maize yields boosted up to 10 per cent by CRISPR gene editing

  • It is possible to significantly boost the yield of rice and maize using CRISPR gene editing, trials in farm fields show Maize or sweetcorn Turning off a particular gene in maize and rice could enhance grain yields by 10 per cent and 8 per cent respectively, according to a new study. By exploring similar genes in other cereal grains, global crop production could be boosted. Maize and rice are staple foods around the world, and each has a distinct history of cultivation for large-scale consumption. It is believed that maize originated in Mexico, while rice came from China. Despite the independent evolution of these species, plant biologists have noted that they possess some very similar traits. This is known as convergent evolution. To investigate these resemblances, Xiaohong Yang at China Agricultural University in Beijing and her colleagues mapped the genomes of maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays) and rice (Oryza sativa). They found 490 pairs of genes that seemed to serve analogous functions in both grains. From these pairs, the researchers identified two genes – known as KRN2 in maize and OsKRN2 in rice – that affected their grain yield. By using CRISPR gene editing to switch off these genes, they could increase grain yield by 10 per cent in maize and 8 per cent in rice. These figures came from real-world tests in farm fields. “These are excellent results,” says Yang, who hopes to continue exploring the 490 gene pairs to further improve rice and maize production. “These are two species that are the most important in terms of the economy,” says co-author Alisdair Fernie at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany. “They have such different domestication histories with different centres of origin, and very different habitats to a large extent. The fact that convergent evolution happened with so many genes is fascinating.”
    A better understanding of the genetic evolution of maize and rice could also lead to what are known as de novo domestication events, says Fernie, which is when domesticated genes are inserted into non-domesticated species to make new crops. Wild crops are generally more resilient against extreme weather and pathogens, but typically have a low yield. “With CRISPR and gene editing, we could just take a handful of these domestication genes, such as KRN2, and introduce them back into their wild species relative,” he says. “The idea is that you could make high-yielding but resilient crops, which will be critical for us in the future.”  
  • Indonesia targets lower rice, corn output in 2023 – agri minister

  • Indonesia’s agriculture minister, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, told a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday: Indonesia set its 2023 production target for unhusked rice at 56.08 million tonnes. The corn production target was set at 23.21 million tonnes. Next year’s target is lower than the 2022 target at 57.5 million tonnes for unhusked rice and 26 million tonnes for corn. In the January-April period of 2022, Indonesia’s statistics bureau estimated unhusked rice output of 25.40 million tonnes, up 7.7% from the same period a year earlier.
  • Adani Wilmar plans acquisition of brands and processing units in mass rice segment

  • Country's largest commodity company Adani Wilmar is betting big on staples and scouting for acquisition of regional rice brands and processing units in several states of the country, a top company official said. The company will launch branded daily-use rice under the fortune brand beginning with West Bengal from early April. Staple is just 11 per cent of the company's topline. Adani Wilmar had acquired a sick rice processing unit in West Bengal to mark the journey in the segment which is 30-35 million tonne per annum in size.
     "We are targeting to grow fast in the daily-use rice segment which is 30-35 million tonne per annum apart from public distribution foodgrain. We are scouting for acquisitions of brands and rice processing units in several states for fast growth. We have done first from West Bengal taking over a sick unit," Adani Wilmar MD & CEO, Angshu Mallick told PTI.
    Acquisitions allow quicker rollout and rapid growth. Greenfield will take at least two years to begin operation, he said. "We are already into Basmati but it is only 10 per cent of rice consumption so we cannot ignore regional local rice used for daily consumption which is a huge untapped market," Mallick said. "We will launch packaged local rice based on regional preference. In Bengal, we will launch Baskati and miniket rice which is common here. Sona masuri in Uttar Pradesh and Kolam rice in South India," he added. The company which hit the capital market recently had earmarked Rs 450-500 crore for acquisition and atta and rice is major focus area in the staples segment.
    Adani is scouting for more rice units and brands in North India and South India. "We will ideally have one unit each in states first and then gradually scale up. We will procure paddy from farmers, mandis and brokers," Mallick said. Adani Wilmar has 22 own factories in total and has sourcing arrangement products from 28 more plants across the country.
    Staple contributes 11 per cent to Adani Wilmar's topline while the rest is from edible oil and industry essentials. "We are aiming at 30 per cent growth in the food segment and 6-7 per cent in edible oil in volume terms," Mallick said. The company was also looking at inorganic space to expand its food basket.
    The company reported a 66 per cent rise in its Q3 consolidated net profit at Rs 211 crore as compared to Rs 127 crore in the year-ago quarter. The company's revenue from operations rose over 40 per cent to Rs 14,379 crore from Rs 10,229 crore in the same quarter last year.
  • Grain market review: Rice on the rise

  • Rice LONDON, ENGLAND – Rice is, perhaps, the grain least likely to be affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, strength in prices across the grains and oilseeds index, because of the major role of both countries in the wheat market and that of Ukraine in sunflowers, has crossed over to rice, pushing prices up, although ample supplies have held back the increase. Speaking to the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22, Michael Scannell, one of the European Commission’s top farm sector officials, explained that the war in Ukraine “adds further to the very substantial increase in input costs over the past year.” “The rice sector has not been immune, but it is not as vulnerable as certain other sectors,” he said. Russia has exported rice to the European Union in the past year, but the level of shipments has latterly fallen to low levels, coming to below 16,000 tonnes in 2021. Scannell also explained that high wheat prices could create demand for lower quality or broken rice for certain parts of the food processing sector. The International Grains Council (IGC) said in its March 17 Grains Market Report that rice prices had firmed by 1% over the previous month “amid broad-based gains in grains and oilseeds values.” “Although the Russia-Ukraine conflict had little direct impact on demand, market sentiment was underpinned by expectations that rising wheat and maize prices could support future rice consumption, including of 100% broken in feed mixes,” the IGC said. “In Thailand, 5% broken gained $4, to $409 fob Bangkok, with Vietnamese 5% $26 higher, at $418 fob Ho Chi Minh, as support from local government purchasing more than offset pressure from winter/spring crop harvesting. “Amid ample supplies, Indian 5% broken was little changed at $349, albeit with gains registered for 100% broken.” The London, England-based Council also looked separately at the individual grains and oilseed sectors in Ukraine and Russia, including rice. “Largely cultivated in Krasnodar, production in rice in Russia is relatively meager compared to global volumes, averaging about 700,000 tonnes per annum in recent years,” the IGC said. “Domestic consumption has also been broadly steady, with rice not a staple in Russian diets. “While exports are modest, Russia produces japonica (medium-grain) rice, with Turkey and CIS countries typically the largest buyers, although volumes have trended lower, likely on increased competition from Chinese supplies.” With only nominal production, consumption and export volumes, rice occupies a very minor role within the grains economy of Ukraine, the IGC said. In its Rice Price Update of March 4, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said prices had risen by an overall 1.1% in February, reaching an eight-month high, although still 11.6% below the levels of a year earlier. “Although Indica prices also edged up by 0.9%, aromatic quotations registered the sharpest increase last month,” the FAO said. “They rose 2.5% above their January levels, influenced by currency movements, purchases by the Islamic Republic of Iran and expectations of a pick-up in buying interest from other Near East Asian destinations. “By contrast, a relapse in demand caused glutinous prices to shed 1.4% of their value, while Japonica quotations tended to move little. Although developments in the Black Sea region toward the end of the month raised questions about their potential impacts on the rice sector, including through the energy, transport and agricultural input fronts, a well-supplied global rice market and generally lackluster trading activities limited upward pressure on Asian Indica quotations during February.”

  • JAKARTA, March 22 (Reuters) - Indonesia's agriculture minister, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, told a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday: * Indonesia set its 2023 production target for unhusked rice at 56.08 million tonnes * The corn production target was set at 23.21 million tonnes * Next year's target is lower than the 2022 target at 57.5 million tonnes for unhusked rice and 26 million tonnes for corn. * In the January-April period of 2022, Indonesia's statistics bureau estimated unhusked rice output of 25.40 million tonnes, up 7.7% from the same period a year earlier. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; Editing by Martin Petty)
  • Rice exports tipped to hit 8m tonnes

  • Thailand's rice exports are expected to exceed 8 million tonnes this year, driven by the weakness of the baht and rising demand in the global market, according to veteran trader Chookiat Ophaswongse. Mr Chookiat, an honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said Thai rice shipments reached 1.5 million tonnes in the first two months of this year, compared with 900,000 tonnes in the same period of 2021. "If Thailand can ship an average of 700,000 tonnes a month, the total export volume will likely be at least 8 million tonnes this year, well over the 7 million tonnes the association forecast," he said. "Export values are estimated at 130 billion baht, up from 110 billion last year."
    Mr Chookiat said Thai rice export prices are now competitive as the baht weakens, partially because of the ongoing war. Thai rice prices are now close to those of Vietnamese grains, he said.
  • China pledges to purchase more rice

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to increase the country’s imports of milled rice from Cambodia and indicated its willingness to purchase other agricultural products from the Kingdom after a free trade agreement (FTA) came into force. He made the commitment during a telephone conference on bilateral, regional and global issues with Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 18. Xi said that, alongside milled rice, China will import other agricultural products such as bananas, mangoes and longans to help alleviate poverty in Cambodia, and urged the Kingdom to offer more of such goods for export. “Cambodia needs to make better use of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP] agreement in the region, and the free trade agreement between China and Cambodia, to push bilateral trade to a new level. “The Chinese side will increase the import of high quality Cambodian agricultural products, and establish cooperation that benefits more people in Cambodia,” Xi said. Hun Sen noted in the conference that bilateral trade between the two countries has been growing rapidly and that major construction projects under the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in Cambodia have been “running smoothly”. He said that such projects have “clearly demonstrated the achievements of the comprehensive strategic partnership between Cambodia and China”, adding that the building of a “common destiny” between the two countries has “made it clear” that they have developed strong ties. The prime minister added that Cambodia is pleased to use the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year as an opportunity to “bolster cooperation” in areas such as cultural exchange, economy, trade and agriculture. He said he anticipated that these exchanges would “serve to deepen and enhance the joint realisation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and raise the comprehensive strategic partnership between Cambodia and China to a new level”. Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) president Song Saran told The Post that China’s commitment will be an “important tool” in boosting Cambodia's milled rice exports to the Asian giant. “The rice federation is pleased and applauds the positive things that the two leaders have discussed over the phone concerning our rice sector, both now and in the past,” he said. “This shows the strong ties our Cambodian rice sector has to the economic sector at large.” The growth of milled rice exports from Cambodia to China in the first two months increased by more than 56 per cent compared to the same period in 2021, according to Saran. At just over 120,000 tonnes, so far, Cambodia has achieved more than 22 per cent of the 2022 export quota of 400,000 tonnes as stated in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Chinese government. He said he expected that the MoU “will be achieved by December 2022”. Along with the high number of orders from the Chinese private sector, Saran said that “this [rate of export] indicates that the Chinese side is willing to promote our milled rice to the Chinese market, and that the Chinese people are more aware of the quality and quality standards of Cambodian milled rice”. According to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, the bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and China reached nearly $8 billion in 2021, up 38.36 per cent compared to 2020.
  • Thailand expected to exceed rice export target of 7mn tonnes this year

  • BANGKOK: Thailand expects to export more than 7 million tonnes of rice this year, exceeding its initial target, an exporters association said on Monday. Rice exports are expected to be boosted by competitive prices due to the weak Thai baht, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association. Thailand, currently the world’s third-largest rice exporter after India and Vietnam, is expected to export about 2 million tonnes of rice in the first quarter of 2022, he said. “If we can keep this up, we could possibly reach 8 million tonnes of rice exports this year,” Chookiat said. Asia rice: Vietnam prices hit 3-month peak on firm demand The country has shipped a higher volume to markets in the Middle East such as Iraq, and observed consistent demand from African markets, he said. Asian markets are also turning to Thai rice over Vietnamese because of competitive prices, Chookiat said. Thailand’s 5% broken rice was trading at around $410 to $428 per tonne last week, similar to Vietnam’s rice of the same grade at $415-$420.
  • Basmati Rice – A Grain that Stands Out Amongst Others

  • Basmati Rice Rice is a staple food for more than half the world’s population and makes up 20% of the global calorific value intake. Most world cuisines include rice as a main ingredient and different regions grow different varieties of rice according to local cooking preferences and environmental circumstances. While Basmati rice is commonly cooked in households local to where it is grown in the Indian subcontinent, its taste appeals to palates around the world far beyond where the grain originates from. Basmati rice is popular due to its following qualities:
    • Its long grains
    • Its distinctive texture
    • Its rich fragrance
    • Its nutritious content
    There are many brands that are associated with Basmati rice and Amira Basmati Rice is one of the leading names in the industry. The company, which is chaired by Karan A. Chanana, provides Basmati rice in the international market across regions in The Middle East, North America, and Europe. What makes Amira Basmati Rice unique? Basmati Rice from Amira is only sourced from traditional rice-growing regions in the Indian subcontinent at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, where the environmental conditions are optimal to cultivate Basmati rice of the highest quality. Amira Basmati rice is aged for up to a year before it enters the next stage of production. This allows its flavour and aroma to mature and flourish before the rice is prepared at a state-of-the art treatment plant that preserves its nutritional content before it is packaged and distributed for consumption. Amira selects Basmati rice for its long grains, rich aroma, exquisite taste and firm texture. The grains expand and stay separate when cooked, which creates a light and enticing appearance at the dinner table. It is the perfect basis for a traditional biryani or a contemporary pilaf and makes a versatile and nutritious accompaniment to almost any meal. Karan A. Chanana, Chairman of Amira Nature Foods Ltd has previously expressed his view that Basmati rice is a food staple that is inherent in culinary culture and a primary source of sustenance shared by people across many continents and all levels of society. Karan A. Chanana has a wealth of knowledge about the rice industry and has been interviewed by several mainstream media outlets in the past. With so many varieties to choose from and a rich history in the sourcing and provision of the finest Basmati rice, it is no wonder that Amira previously earned a trusted reputation amongst culinary connoisseurs all over the globe.
  • Pakistan’s rice production

  • With harvest complete and better than expected yields, the 2021-22 rice production estimate is increased from 8.2m to a record 8.9m tonnes, according to the US Department of Agriculture
  • Don’t blame us for quality of rice, say ration shop workers

  • Cooperative department recently  declared that shop supervisors are responsible for poor quality of rice supplied in ration outlets. Stocks of various varieties of turmeric piled up at the Nizamabad Agriculture Market Yard (NAMC), where prices of the crop have begun going up COIMBATORE: Ration shop employees said that the cooperative department must ensure the quality of rice and should not make supervisors responsible for it. Cooperative department recently  declared that shop supervisors are responsible for poor quality of rice supplied in ration outlets. President of Tamil Nadu Government Fair Price Shop Employees Association, G Rajendran, said, “State Registrar of Cooperative Department said the supervisors must check  the goods that are being delivered to the outlet from the civil supplies department and ensure quality rice is distributed to the card holders. However, supervisors cannot return the items if they find them to be of poor quality.”
    “Tamil Nadu civil supplies corporation procures paddy from farmers and they allot it to ration shops as per requirement after their staff assess its  quality. If the goods are unloaded at the outlets and found to be of low quality,  supervisors should get permission from Tahsildar of Civil supplies to return them, which takes time and may delay distribution. So, making supervisors responsible for good quality rice distributed in the outlets  is not correct,” he added
  • Việt Nam’s rice exports signal a favourable year in 2022

  • Farmers in the southern province of Hậu Giang harvest paddy. Experts are optimistic about rice exports as rice consumption is expected to exceed the rice output. — VNA/VNS Photo
    HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese rice exports have been increasing significantly in the first months of 2022, signalling a favourable year for the country’s produce. Data from the General Department of Customs showed Việt Nam exported 974,556 tonnes of rice worth nearly US$469.26 million in the first two months of the year, up 48.6 per cent and 30.6 per cent against the same period last year, respectively. Việt Nam's largest rice export market during the period was the Philippines, with the exports to the country rising by 110 per cent in volume and 82 per cent in value. It was followed by China with 81,880 tonnes. Among the exports, Lộc Trời Agricultural Products Joint Stock Company, a subsidiary of Lộc Trời Group, recently completed its first delivery this year with more than 4,500 tonnes of rice worth more than $3 million to its long-term partners in Italy, France, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Kuwait. In the early days of 2022, Trung An High-Tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company also exported more than 11,000 tonnes of rice to Korea. Phạm Thái Bình, general director of the Trung An company, expected the rice export market in 2022 to be more favourable than in 2021 thanks to increasing demand following the recovery of the supply chains. In addition, global uncertainties, including the recent armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, would also cause people in many countries to pay more attention to food reserves, Bình forecast. Experts forecast both rice output and consumption in the global market would increase this year. They even said that in the next one or two weeks, rice export market will be busier. Besides, export prices are also expected to rise again when importers step up their purchases.  Specifically, according to the January 2022 report of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released recently, global rice output in the 2021-22 crop is forecast to hit 509.9 million tonnes, an increase of more than 2.6 million tonnes compared to the previous crop. Meanwhile, global rice consumption in the 2021-22 period is projected at 510.3 million tonnes, up nearly 7.8 million tonnes compared to the previous year. Quality in focus Instead of volume, Vietnamese rice exporters have been focusing more on quality to better access the European market to capitalise on the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).  According to the General Department of Customs, though the country’s rice export volume to the EU last year inched up only 0.8 per cent against the previous year to 53,910 tonnes, the produce’s export value surged 21.6 per cent to $38.07 million. The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Department attributed the high value to the success of Vietnamese rice exporters in taking advantage of the EVFTA. The export price of Vietnamese rice gained the strongest increase of 20.3 per cent to $781 per tonne on average among the top ten rice suppliers for the EU in the first nine months of 2021. The price hike was thanks to an increase in exports of Vietnamese high-quality and speciality rice varieties such as fragrant rice, ST24 and ST25. Experts said Việt Nam's rice exports this year will continue to better exploit the advantages from the EVFTA to boost shipments to the European market. The EU currently accounts for only a small ratio of Việt Nam's total rice exports with 1 per cent in volume and 1.3 per cent in turnover. According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), Việt Nam's rice exports in 2022 to the EU market will be more than 60,000 tonnes because the bloc’s rice importers have had a better assessment about the quality of Vietnamese rice. Besides, Vietnamese rice has already gained a number of traditional customers in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland. Việt Nam expects to export an estimated 100,000 tonnes of broken rice to the EU each year when the bloc fully liberalises broken rice imports. According to experts, under the EVFTA, enterprises with large and high standard cultivation areas such as Lộc Trời, Tân Long and Trung An will be the largest beneficiaries. The VFA said the country this year will further focus on improving rice quality while keeping the produce’s volume unchanged against last year at 6-6.3 million tonnes VNS
  • Angimex inks rice export contract with Sierra Leone

  • Angimex, a member of Louis Holdings Group has inked a rice contract export with the Republic of Sierra Leone. The MoU inked will see Angimex export 3 million tons of rice to Sierra Leone under a three-year rice export contract. This kind of international rice export contract exerts a substantial influence, helping Angimex access new markets and customer groups in the future. “Thanks to the strict quality control system, Angimex has been and will be able to provide the highest quality rice products to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of the market. The enterprise’s professional services will surely satisfy the diverse needs of customers. With the goodwill for the sake of mutual development, Angimex strongly believes in the good and long-term success in the cooperation between Angimex and our partners in the upcoming time. We look forward to accompanying our partners to create the best and sustainable values,” said Mr. Do Thanh Nhan, Chairman of An Giang Import-Export Joint Stock Company.
    Scope of deal
    Within the scope of cooperation, Angimex will transfer the sample rice field to the enterprises of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The sample rice field is Angimex’s first successful factor to ensure high-quality rice input. The expansion of the large sample rice field is one of the solutions to increase the value of rice for export, according to the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). When farming on the large sample rice field, farmers will simultaneously sow each high-yield and high-quality rice variety in the same field. Therefore, this combination of high-quality rice production and rice field expansion brings practical benefits to farmers, including changing production mindset and improving economic efficiency. Aiming at improving the quality of rice seeds in the future, the agricultural services of Angimex give an emphasis on providing farmers with in-depth knowledge and cost-saving methods during varietal selection, cultivation, and harvest. Angimex’s experts with rich experience in the field of agriculture will train farmers to master cultivation techniques and answer the farmers’ questions during the farming process.
  • Kazakhstan eager to import rice

  • Will host trade summit exclusively for Pakistani companies in Almaty photo file ISLAMABAD: Kazakhstan is interested in importing rice directly from Pakistan, said the Central Asian republic Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin. In a meeting with Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Friday, the Kazakhstan envoy said that his country was buying the commodity from Russia. He pointed out that Kazakhstan was hosting a trade summit exclusively for Pakistan in Almaty in May 2022 to give Pakistani companies an opportunity to showcase their products before the Kazakh business community. “Over 60 Pakistani companies from various sectors of the economy will participate in the exhibition,” he said, adding that the firms specialising in agricultural machinery, agricultural products, sports goods, surgical instruments, handicrafts and confectionery would display their products. He expressed keen interest in enhancing bilateral ties with Pakistan and recalled that during the 10th session of Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan, both nations agreed to increase the turnover of agricultural products. The meeting took place in November 2021. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam emphasised that Pakistan was producing surplus rice and potato, which could be exported to Kazakhstan. “Pakistan looks forward to strengthening its relationship with Kazakhstan and taking it to the next level,” he remarked. “Although Pakistan’s trade with Kazakhstan is the highest among all Central Asian countries, it is still below the true potential.” Imam highlighted that Pakistan and Kazakhstan needed to take advantage of the opportunities at hand and ensure maximum cooperation. He was of the view that deepening bilateral cooperation could benefit both sides immensely. The two dignitaries discussed the memorandum of understanding signed between the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research on cooperation in the field of agriculture. Imam stressed the need for enhancing cooperation in livestock breeding and plant cultivation, trade in agricultural products, quarantine and plant protection, veterinary medicines and agricultural research. “Collaboration in scientific research can prove to be the cornerstone in trade relations between the two countries,” he said. “Pakistan’s food security faces a number of challenges but with the right policy interventions, the agriculture sector can be transformed.” Local agriculture has been depending on the traditional farming techniques but it is time that the country begins to look at the future and goes for modernisation, the minister said. Both sides agreed to hold an online meeting in April 2022 between the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to further enhance cooperation.
  • Rice Market Update: Uncertainties Continues to Grow

  • As has been the case for several weeks now, the cash market throughout most of the delta was a bit stagnant this week, showing little signs of activity. It seems that most growers are more preoccupied with planting than marketing as the global grain complex becomes increasingly unstable. It seems clear that Putin severely underestimated the resolve of the Ukrainian people. Unfortunately, as a result, violence continues to escalate, and global grain security continues to deteriorate. Knowing input costs are soaring, and that they’ll probably continue to do so, growers around the world are forced to consider or even reconsider what and how to plant. In Asia, rice prices jumped a couple of weeks ago with all the other grains, further reflecting the global inflation at hand. However, since then, prices appear to have stabilized, at least in Thailand and Vietnam. Meanwhile, Pakistan is undergoing a small price correction as demand for whole kernel thins. Fortunately, the slowing of head rice demand is being partially offset by the growing needs for brokens in China. The US rice industry is just two weeks away from the USDA publishing its initial acre projections. Although the USDA is expected to overestimate California’s acreage, the agency should call for lower rice acres throughout the delta if their view is in line with the industry’s. According to the latest exports sales data, US rice sales have averaged roughly 68,000 MT/week over the past month, up from 42,000 in the four weeks prior. It will be interesting to see how US rice exports react to El Salvador’s new policy regarding the suspension of rice tariffs for a year. The El Salvadorian government suspended tariffs on multiple products in an attempt stifle the dangerous rate of inflation the country is currently experiencing (6.7%). Keep in mind that this policy is not US specific and may result in more non-US rice entering the market, not to mention, the fact that other Central American countries struggling with a similar battle may consider the same action. This may be first taste of what a fulfilled CAFTA-DR agreement looks like in this region. Fortunately, the US may find temporary market solace nearby, as South America rice acres come under pressure due to ongoing drought conditions and exorbitant fertilizer costs, inhibiting their ability to expand their market share in Central America.
  • Bukidnon farmers to get rice processing system

  • FARMERS in Maramag, Bukidnon are expected to benefit from the P60-million rice processing system to be established by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and local government units (LGUs) in the province. In a statement, PhilMech said it has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the local government of Maramag, Bukidnon, Central Mindanao University (CMU) and the National Food Authority (NFA) for the establishment and operation of a rice processing system (RPS) under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program. The RPS will be equipped with one unit of multistage rice mill and two units of recirculating dryers worth a total of P60 million. This is the first MoA executed for the distribution of drying and milling facilities under the RCEF-Mechanization program. "The provision of the RPS for farmers of Maramag, Bukidnon represents the next level of intervention of the RCEF-Mechanization Program because it can help address the issue of lack of accessible drying and milling facilities for small farmers," PhilMech said. The lack of mechanical drying facilities by farmers forces them to sell the palay (unmilled rice) at lower prices. "The milling facilities will also allow farmers to mill their palay and market these directly to consumers or wholesalers, allowing them to earn more," PhilMech added. Meanwhile, PhilMech encouraged LGUs or progressive farmers' cooperatives and associations to build warehouses as counterparts for the provision of free drying and milling facilities by PHilMech under the RCEF-Mechanization program. Under Republic Act 11203, or the "Rice Tariffication Law" that created the RCEF, funds cannot be allocated for the provision of land and warehouses. For its part, CMU will manage and operate the facilities while the NFA has an existing area, facilities and structure within the university's property in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon of which a portion will be used to host the RPS.
  • Utility stores jack up rice, basin prices ahead of Ramazan

  • Utility stores jack up rice, basin prices ahead of Ramazan ISLAMABAD – Prices of basin and rice, the two commodities most used in Ramazan, have been increased massively at the utility stores as the holy month of fast is set to begin in early April. The price of basin has been jacked up by Rs30 to Rs190 per kilogram, according to a notification issued by the Utility Stores Corporation. The price of rice has been increased by Rs25 per kg. The new price will come into effect immediately, said the notification.  
  • Tailwater recovery system could aid in row rice water conservation

  • One major problem farmers have battled for years is the lack of water. It’s becoming harder and harder to find water for irrigation as the climate changes and the demand for crops grows along with the global population. Half the country’s rice is grown in Arkansas, and in Northeast Arkansas where rice is grown, the water table cannot sustain the amount of use into the future, according to a report by The 2020 Arkansas Groundwater Protection and Management Report.   Based on 2015 water use data, less than half of the amount of water drawn from the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer – 44.2% – is sustainable. Users of the aquifer pulled about 7.6 billion gallons per day out in 2015. Likewise, only about half, 55% of the Sparta/Memphis aquifer withdrawal rate of 160 million gallons per day is sustainable, the report adds. One tactic producers are trying to maximize is the development of farming practices that use less water. Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station researchers can now grow rice with about half the irrigation water used in levee rice systems. Chris Henry, associate professor and water management engineer for the experiment station, has patented a tailwater recovery system for furrow-irrigated rice, also known as “row rice,” after nearly a decade of research at the Division of Agriculture’s Rice Research and Extension Center near Stuttgart. Row rice irrigation is challenging because it requires more frequent cycles than other row crops and timing is more critical because rice has a shallower root system, Henry said. “We’re trying to make row rice easier to manage. This system does that,” Henry said. “A continuous-flow system returns the water to the top of the field constantly, ensuring water is always available and simplifying irrigation management.” The efficiency is high because the system captures the tailwater and returns it to the top. The irrigation water doesn’t leave the field like a conventional row rice field. Henry’s novel tailwater recovery system makes furrow-irrigated rice competitive in water conservation with a zero-grade flooded field. Growing rice in zero-grade fields is more restrictive because it requires land with no elevation change. Zero-grade fields also present challenges in growing rotation crops. According to the B.R. Wells Arkansas Rice Research Studies 2020 publication, most of the state’s rice is grown in flooded fields through a method known as Multiple Inlet Rice Irrigation (MIRI) or conventional levee and gate systems. Traditional flooding, still the dominant rice production method, uses an average of 30 acre-inches of irrigation water a season. Henry’s novel tailwater recovery system can produce as much rice with less than 19 acre-inches of irrigation. An acre-inch is equivalent to one inch of water depth over an acre of land or 27,154 gallons per acre. Throughout his research since 2013, Henry said he has not used over 19 acre-inches of irrigation water with the tailwater recovery system. He has used as little as 12 acre-inches. Furrow-irrigated rice has gained momentum over the past seven years. In 2015, less than 1% of Arkansas rice land used furrow irrigation. By 2019, it had grown to 10.5% and in 2020 it was about 17%, according to Jarrod Hardke, rice extension agronomist with the Division of Agriculture. Henry said water conservation is an increasingly important issue as fresh groundwater becomes less abundant. Average seasonal irrigation demands range widely for different soil types and field designs, Hardke said. So, at 27,154 gallons per acre-inch, a farmer would need 814,620 gallons of water per acre to sufficiently water rice grown on a silt loam soil to achieve the average required irrigation of 30 acre-inches in a flooded field with levees, Hardke said. A zero-grade flooded field — one with no elevation difference to require an infield levee — averages about 18-acre inches of irrigation water, he said. “We are doing as good or better than a zero-grade flooded field,” Henry said. “It makes row rice field management like zero-grade but offers you the benefit of rows that can be used in subsequent seasons. You can potentially plant several weeks sooner than a conventional levee rice field because the tillage prep work to convert the beds to flooded levees is not necessary.” The system can reduce a farmer’s need for capital equipment, tractors, tillage equipment, and the labor to prepare fields, Henry added. “It can also allow more options for ground operations of fertilizer and pesticide applications providing the farmer with more options for rice management,” Henry said. The novel tailwater system has the most potential in rice but is also helpful in improving irrigation efficiency of our other crops such as soybeans, corn and cotton because it can recover tailwater for use during an irrigation event, Henry added. In addition to less irrigation water, Henry’s patented continuous-flow system in row rice provides more consistent ground saturation, which may produce less nitrous oxide than other irrigation methods, Henry said. The saturation can also reduce pigweed pressure, he added. Before Henry’s technical development, furrow-irrigated rice growers were warned of a possible 8% yield reduction in row rice production depending on field conditions and management capabilities. Henry said some recent experience and results suggest that his system may be closing that yield gap typically experienced by farmers and noted in published studies. Instead of a large water reservoir, or “pit,” common with conventional furrow-irrigation methods, the tailwater recovery uses a low-energy, high-flow-low-head, variable-speed pump at the lowest elevation of the field to return the water to the top of the field. Henry’s “pitless” tailwater recovery system recycles about 90% of the water in the system. The method also provides options for “fertigation,” or fertilizing with irrigation water. Henry continues to test slow-release nitrogen application methods in row rice, which may allow one application of nitrogen at the beginning of the season with potash and phosphate. Henry said it could be a time-saver for the farmer at no additional cost. Because it is still a new method in row rice, more work is needed to fully understand the tailwater recovery system, Hardke said. In addition to water use, research remains on fertilizer application and weed and pest control using the system. Arkansas rice farmers harvested 1.4 million acres in 2021 with a value of about $1.297 billion, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • New, possibly arboreal rice rat species discovered in Ecuador

  • Summary: Three expeditions led an international research to the Cordillera de Kutukú, an isolated mountain range in Ecuador, to find just one specimen of the previously unknown species. The find in the Amazonian side of the Andes underlines the valuable biological role of this mountainous region.

    "In total, the expeditions to the Kutukú region in southeastern Ecuador involved 1,200 trap nights, but only one specimen of the new species Mindomys kutuku was found," says Dr. Claudia Koch, curator of herpetology at the LIB, Museum Koenig Bonn, explaining the effort that went into locating the rare animal. From the collected specimen, the dry skin, skeleton and tissue were preserved for the collections. Preservation will allow future research to detect environmental changes, learn more about the ecology of the animals and plants -- and securely document the new species description, which was published in late February in the journal Evolutionary Systematics. The rice rat genus Mindomys was previously considered monotypic and included only the type species Mindomys hammondi. This species is known from only a few specimens, all of which were collected in the foothill forests of the Andes in northwestern Ecuador.

    Using computed tomography images obtained for the new species at LIB and for the holotype (specimen from which a species was described) of M. hammondi at the Natural History Museum in London, the researchers Jorge Brito of the Instituto Nacional de la Biodiversidad (INABIO), Claudia Koch, Nicolás Tinoco from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) and Ulyses Pardiñas from the Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución del Sur (IDEAus-CONICET) were able to compare the skulls of the two species in great detail in a 3D model and distinguish between the two species. The adult male of M. kutuku measures just under 35 cm from snout to tip of tail, of which the tail makes up about 20 cm. It has a dark reddish-brown dorsal coloration and a pale yellow ventral fur. Since the only specimen found was captured with the help of a ground trap set, it could not be observed in its habitat. Thus, as with its sister species M. hammondi, which was described in 1913, virtually nothing is known about the natural history of the new species. The scientists suspect that both of them could be arboreal species. A tail that is significantly longer than the body length and also covered with long hairs could be two features that indicate an arboreal lifestyle. However, aboreality is the least studied way of life within the New World mice and a reliable study of the anatomical aspects typical of this way of life is still lacking. Previously, Mindomys records were restricted to the western Andean foothills of Ecuador. The Kutukú material now shows that the genus also occurs on the Amazonian side of the Andes and underscores the valuable biological importance of the isolated mountain ranges in eastern Ecuador.
  • Rice Seeds Not Exempt from 17% Sales Tax: FBR Clarifies to NA Committee

  • FBR has clarified to the National Assembly Standing Committee of Defence Production that rice seeds are not exempt from 17 percent sales tax. The exemption was removed after the introduction of Supplementary Finance Bill 2022 on 16 January 2022. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had imposed a standard rate of 17 percent sales tax on all kinds of seeds, including rice, on 16 January 2022. Previously, The FBR has been directed by the Chairman Committee, Chaudhary Iftikhar Nazir, to clarify whether rice seed is exempt from sales tax under Sr. No. 19 of Table 1 of the Sixth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990.
    The clarification received at the Parliament House revealed that rice seed had been removed from sales tax exemptions after the passage of the Finance (Supplementary) Act, 2022.
    Apropos, it was apprised that Sr. No. 19 of Table 1 of the Sixth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990 has been substituted through the Finance (Supplementary) Act, 2022. Resultantly, rice seed, like other seeds, is no longer exempt from sales tax.
    In light of these details and under Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT) Heading Number 1006.1010, the rice seed is not exempt from sales tax under Serial Number 19 of Table-1 of the Sixth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990, as per the FBR’s clarification.
  • World Bank says Ukraine war may prompt grain shortages in poor countries

  • WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) - The World Bank on Wednesday said a number of developing countries face near-term wheat supply shortages due to their high dependence on Ukrainian wheat exports that have been disrupted by Russia's invasion.

    Ears of wheat are seen in a field in Kyiv region

    The World Bank said in its latest Trade Watch report that Gambia, Lebanon, Moldova, Djibouti, Libya, Tunisia and Pakistan are the most exposed to the disruptions of wheat exports from Ukraine, which make up roughly 40% or more of their wheat imports.


    "These importers will have trouble quickly switching to alternative sources, possibly leading to supply shortages in the short run," the World Bank said.

    The grain supply situation has been worsened by Russia's imposition of export curbs on wheat and other cereal grains to countries outside of fellow Eurasian Economic Union members Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

    Russia was the top wheat exporter in 2018 and Ukraine the fifth largest, according to World Bank data. The two countries together make up about a quarter of world exports.


    Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine do not specifically target Russian grain exports, but sanctions that prohibit dollar and euro transactions with top Russian banks make trade finance more difficult.

    Aside from the direct supply shortages to Ukraine's biggest grain customers, higher market prices for wheat will affect middle-income countries across the globe, the World Bank report said.

    The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization's Cereal Price Index in February was up 14.8% from a year earlier, and the World Bank said wheat futures prices had surged 60% since the start of the conflict.

    "Moreover, disruptions to exports of wheat will affect markets for corn and rice, which are wheat substitutes, benefiting net exporters and harming net importers of those products," the bank added.

    Disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine also could challenge a strong global trade recovery in 2021, with goods and services trade now exceeding pre-pandemic levels, the World Bank said.

    Overall trade in 2021 surged by 26% over 2020 levels and by 17% over 2019 levels, with trade values exceeding 2019 levels in all regions, except for transportation equipment, the World Bank said.

  • Australia donates rice mills to Battambang farmers

  • To celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Australia, Australia donated agricultural machines to farmers in Battambang to boost the farming capacity of the province. Australia organized a presentation on agricultural techniques on the use of cultivators and other agricultural techniques and equipment. The demonstration was held at Don Bosco School in Sangkat O’Mal, Battambang City on March 14. The demonstration was attended by the Deputy Ambassador at the Australian Embassy, Andreas Zurbrugg, and Battambang’s Provincial Agriculture officers. Deputy Ambassador Zurbrugg confirmed that this year is a special year for bilateral relations between Australia and Cambodia, it is the 70th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Deputy Ambassador added that launch of agricultural assistance cooperation is an important point because Australia is economically dependent on agriculture. He said that Australia can provide assistance to Cambodia through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project, which has provided prior assistance to Cambodia through the establishment of the Rice Research and Development Institute in Cambodia. Deputy Ambassador Zurbrugg hopes that this good cooperation will continue with the relevant ministries and that the machines presented to farmers will assist farmers in increasing agricultural productivity.
  • Monoculture Rice Production Outperformed by Traditional Techniques

  • Monoculture Rice Production Outperformed by Traditional Techniques that Integrate Aquatic Animals (Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2022) Adding animal diversity to rice paddy farms reduces weed pressure, increases food production, and makes fertilizer use more efficient, according to a study published late last month in the journal eLife. As chemical-dependent, industrialized agriculture has spread across the world, local farmers are increasingly pressured into eschewing traditional agricultural practices in favor of monocultures in an attempt to meet the demands of global markets. This one-size-fits-all approach oversimplifies the interdependency within ecosystems, failing to incorporate the complexity of nature that many traditional and organic practices embrace. As the present study shows, research and investment into systems that promote natural diversity can provide insights that allow these approaches to leapfrog the chemical-dependent, monoculture paradigm of industrial agriculture. Rice paddy fields are intentionally flooded, and crops are often grown in shallow water. In industrialized fields, monocultures of rice are planted out, and fertilizers and weed killers are applied at regular intervals. However, many traditional rice farmers around the world integrate aquatic animals into their paddies. In the present experiment, researchers conducted a 4-year long evaluation comparing the benefits of monoculture production against co-cultures of rice and aquatic animals. Co-culturing animals and rice differs slightly from traditional practices that incorporates the additional direct feeding of aquatic animals for market (in traditional practices, animals generally are not provided supplemental feed). To compare the different systems, researchers established field plots with rice-carp, rice-crab, and rice-turtle co-cultures (these animals are widely eaten in rice-growing regions), as well as a rice monoculture. A mesocosm (an enclosed environment that examines natural processes under controlled conditions) experiment was also established with the same systems to evaluate nutrient efficiency. Animals in the diverse fields were introduced one week after rice transplant, provided with supplemental feed in the form of spent soybean residue (a waste product after soybean oil is extracted), and remained in the fields until rice harvest. When compared to monoculture rice production, rice yield was on average 8% higher in the rice-turtle system, 9% higher in the rice-carp co-culture, and 12% higher for rice-crabs. Animal yields were 2.66, 0.85, and 0.56 metric tons per hectare for the rice-turtle, rice-carp, and rice-crab systems, respectively. Prior research conducted by the authors found that rice-turtle, rice-carp, and rice-crab systems increased total economic output by 710%, 205%, and 78%, respectively, over a monoculture rice system. The diversified animal system also significantly lowered weed pressure on the farms in comparison to the monoculture fields. Weeds and other food (e.g., algae, plankton) from the paddy environment ended up comprising a significant portion of the aquatic animals’ food; for carp, crab, and turtle systems, 50%, 35%, and 16%, respectively. The researchers used no herbicide in any of the experimental plots, and there is evidence from the diverse plots that no herbicide use would be needed based on the weed pressure alleviated. Diverse animal paddies also displayed faster rates of organic matter decomposition, indicating improved nutrient cycling. In the mesocosm experiments, feed that was not consumed by animals made its way into the crop, accounting for upwards of 30% of rice biomass. Compared to the monoculture fields, by the end of the experiment soil nitrogen content was higher in animal fields. In aquatic rice cultures, the introduction of animals represented a multifunctional boon – reducing weed pressure, increasing nutrient recycling and availability, and subsequently yields. This process provided significant benefits to farmers, who received a higher price for their work. The authors note, “Although costs of the cocultures are higher than the costs of monoculture because of the feed input and increased labor required for the management of two species, net income was still higher for cocultures than for monocultures because of the higher prices of the products and the reduced use of fertilizers and pesticides.” The forced simplicity of monoculture farming in a diverse and complex environment is ultimately unsustainable. It is common sense that clearing land of all flora and fauna and replacing it solely with human-focused crops leads to biodiversity decline and the loss of pollinators and other beneficial species, but scientific research has backed up these judgements. Agricultural soils under monocultures are not nearly as healthy as those that embrace diversity. Soil organic matter and nutrient cycling, critical for sustainable crop growth, is lower in monoculture systems by two to three fold, according to recent research. The solution is as simple as the problem that was created. Adding back in plant diversity and moving from monoculture to multi-cropping systems produces higher biomass and seed yields, and reduces pest pressure and the need for pesticide use. Organic agriculture provides the closest approximation to the sustainable food system the future requires. While organic has not yet eliminate monocultures, it requires farmers to maintain or improve soil health, which has the effect of encouraging practices that embrace natural diversity and complexity. Organic laws and rulemaking also support the concept of continuous improvement, incentivizing the development of safer and more sustainable practices once they become available. Naysayers of diverse organic systems point to yield gaps and cost, but fail to recognize the research and development gap between conventional and organic. As this study reveals, analysis of an enhanced traditional cropping system displays yield gains over an industrialized approach. With further research and development into traditional and organic cropping systems, the next agricultural revolution has the potential to be significantly more sustainable than the current paradigm. For more information on the benefits of organic see Beyond Pesticides Why Organic webpage. All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.
  • The New Rice Variety Set To Increase Crop Production

  • A new rice grain variety is set to revolutionize crop production, increasing by almost double per acre. The hybrid variety which is high yielding, early maturing and disease resistant is capable of yielding up to 54 bags of paddy rice as compared to a maximum of 30 bags of the basmati crop. The variety is also not susceptible to lodging as compared to other varieties since it matures while its tillers are relatively short from the ground. According to the head of the rice production programme in the Country Dr. Mary Mutembei, the country is headed to self-sufficiency in rice production once farmers adopt the farming of the new variety. Within the African continent, the project activities are visible and supported in Kenya and Tanzania with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is coordinating the full implementation of the programme in the wake of the increasing rice consumption in many African countries. According to the AATF’s Director of Programme and Commercialization Emmanuel Okogbenin, the reliance by Kenya on imported rice grain from Pakistan is headed for a stop once local farmers adopt the new variety. Speaking during a field day at Mwea East, Kirinyaga County where some farmers have produced the crop on trial basis, the official said the grain quality was the same as that farmed in Pakistan. He said rice consumers were interested in grain quality and quantity, traits found in the new hybrid variety. “This being the market force, I do not see why Kenyan farmers who are well-known for the aromatic pishori for many years should not be able to venture into the new variety which is not only high yielding but aromatic as well,” Okogebenin said. He said due to both quantity and quality of the grain produced from the variety, farmers should adopt it for profitability purposes regardless of the seed cost. The seed from the variety is not recyclable and once planted and harvested, this brings to an end its life cycle, according to Okogebenin. “In this regard, I am urging farmers to buy their certified seed for this variety from authorised dealers and should not under any circumstance recycle the seed from a past crop as this will only give back a minimal disease and pest-invested  harvest,” he said. A farmer in the area James Kinyua who was among the pioneer to plant the new crop on trial basis said he was overwhelmed by the production as compared to other varieties. He said you only needed to flood the field for seven days then you leave it dry for a whole month yet production was the highest. Many farmers from the area have promised to go for the variety this coming season and have already embarked on early land preparations. A Regional Breeding Lead – East and Southern Africa Seed Systems and Product Management Lead – Africa International Rice Research Institute Africa Regional Office Dr Ajay Panchibhai was also in attendance to the field day which farmers termed as the beginning of a positive revolution to rice production in the county.  
  • Cambodia achieves more than 100,000 tons of rice exports in January, February

  • Cambodia recorded an increase in this year’s rice exports for January and February compared to the same period in the previous year. This is according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries released to local news in March 14. According to the statement from the Ministry, in the first two months of 2022, Cambodia exported 103,058 tons of rice, including all kinds of fragrant rice. This is an increase of 26,836 tons compared to the previous year’s exports for 76,222 tons. Rice exports in February 2022 amounted to 50,022 tons which is an increase of 8,073 tons or 19.24 percent compared to February 2021’s export of 41,949 tons. China is the main market for Cambodian rice export. On January and February of this year Cambodia exported 56,385 tons of rice. Cambodia also exports rice to 20 EU countries with a total volume of 26,507 tons and to three ASEAN destinations with a total 9,370 tons of rice export. The country’s exports to other 16 countries have seen a drop in volume with only 10,796 tons of rice exported, which is a decrease of 19.23 percent. Agricultural exports from Cambodia have seen a slight increase as the country begins to recover from the Covid-19 slump.
  • Rice Processing Cost: Consumers To Pay More As Millers Groan

  • Rice millers in the country are currently battling the rising cost of diesel, petrol and erratic electricity supply.   The situation has pushed the...  A rice mill in Kano

    Rice millers in the country are currently battling the rising cost of diesel, petrol and erratic electricity supply.  

    The situation has pushed the cost of processing rice at the mills to an unprecedented level, and this may translate to an increase in the final product in the market. 

    Findings in the market showed that a 50kg of milled rice, which some months ago sold between N25,000 and N28,000, now goes up to N32,000 for some of the popular brands, as at the time of this report.

    For weeks now, power supply across the country has been epileptic and some small scale millers who mostly operate during the day are now forced to stay awake anytime of the night to use electricity anytime it comes.

    Major millers who rely heavily on diesel to run their factories also face exceptional increase as the product has now reached a record high of N600 per litre. In some places, reports showed it goes for up to N650.  

    They said cost of production had increased, leading many of them to suspend production.  

    Alhaji Ali Sarkin Noma, owner of Ganzaki Rice Mill in Jalingo, told Daily Trust on Sunday that a litre of diesel now sold at N600, as against N400 few weeks ago.  

    He said there was also the scarcity of diesel and poor power supply from the national grid.  

    Sarkin Noma explained that consumers of locally processed rice would pay more because of the increase of diesel and paddy rice.

    According to him, they purchase paddy rice from markets across the state and transport fares are up.

    He said a 50kg bag of locally processed rice was sold at N23,500 before the increase of diesel, and now, millers have no option than to increase their prices in order to remain in business.

    Musa Garba, another miller, also told Daily Trust on Sunday that he reduced his production level from 600 bags of paddy rice to about 100 bags daily because of high cost of diesel and poor power supply.

    He said consumers of locally processed rice would pay more if the current trend of high cost of diesel was not addressed.

    A large-scale irrigation farmer, Yahaya Mafindi, said many rice farms had dried because farmers could not afford to buy both diesel and petrol to water their rice farms.

    Yahaya Mafindi stated that rice millers got supply of paddy rice from irrigation farmers this time and many farmers are unable to fully cultivate their farm, which means there will be less paddy rice for the millers.

    Meanwhile, findings revealed that a liter of petrol is now sold at N300 while diesel is sold at N600 in Jalingo.

    In Kano State, it was gathered that all the three categories of rice mills operating in the state are virtually affected by the ongoing fuel scarcity. The mega, medium and small scale mills in the state are all complaining about the current fuel scarcity.

    According to the proprietor of Premier Rice Company, Ilyasu Nazifi, an engineer, many rice mills are running on diesel, which is currently selling at N500 per litre, which he said had made production very expensive. He explained that the fuel hike in price and its scarcity had affected not only production but other logistic aspects of the rice value chain.

    He further revealed that the price of rice had not changed as rice has been one of the main stabled commodities in the country. He, however expressesed worry that rice mills would be left with no option than to increase the price should the hike and scarcity persist longer than necessary.

    He called on the authorities concerned to arrest the situation before it gets out of hand and result in an increase in the price of milled rice.

    It was also revealed that most rice mills across the state are really finding it very difficult to keep the business going due to issues surrounding the current fuel scarcity.

    Malam Hannafi Alhassan, an operator of a small rice mill in Mariri Kumbotso Local Government of Kano State, said he had to increase the processing charges per bag of paddy to N3,000 from N2,500 due to the hike in the prices of diesel and petrol, as well as its scarcity. 

    Another small-scale rice mill operator Habu Baffa Kiru said he had stopped milling for the mean time pending the availability of diesel, as he claimed he could not afford to continue milling with the current price of diesel.    

    The situation is not different in Katsina State as the situation resulted into lean revenue for the millers in recent months.  

    Alhaji Mustapha Mu’azu Maiauduga, the manager of Beto Rice in Malumfashi, said that unlike before, people were less patronizing their packaged rice ostensibly because of the price.  

    “The assumption of every Nigerian is that when rice is locally produced and milled, its price has to come down, but unfortunately we cannot sell a 50kg of milled rice less than N22,000 due to surge in the cost of production. Diesel is now over N400 a litre and there is no consistent electricity supply to operate our machines,” he said.

    Another rice miller in Funtua, Abdulrazaq Isma’ilm said because of high cost of production they had since resolved to operate as service providers. 

    “We now don’t mill rice for sale directly here; rather, we mill for individual consumers and rice sellers who bring in their paddy. This, in our consideration, is more profitable to us as we only charge N2,500 per bag of paddy rice. We have regular customers across Faskari, Kankara, Funtua, Bakori and Danja local government areas,” he said.

    On whether they operate on diesel or electricity, Abdulrazaq said for the business to be sustained one would be on electricity, otherwise cost of diesel would force the business to fold up.’

    Daily Trust on Sunday observed that people from far and near now prefer to go for local rice sections of Dandume, Funtua or Bakori to make choice of the stable instead of going for the packaged one which now costs above N22,000 per 50kg.

    Rice millers in Kaduna State are also expressing worry over what they described as high cost of production due to poor and epileptic power supply, as well as the scarcity and high cost of petrol and diesel.

    Our correspondent reports that small-scale processors who rely on firewood for the parboiling process of paddy rice say a ban on tree felling in Kaduna State has equally impacted on production cost which has resulted in the high price of rice in the market.

    Imam Saidu, who operates a local rice mill in Kaduna, described the situation as sad, saying that rice, one of the major staple foods in Nigeria, is now becoming unaffordable for low income earners. 

    He said the rice sector, like other agricultural sectors, was debased by security and infrastructural challenges, as well as economic challenges.

    “Our farmers are unable to produce the required paddy rice because of the insecurity in most parts of the rice producing states. Now, with the little we are able get from farmers, the cost of processing the rice is now high because our machines work on diesel since the government’s power is inefficient and unreliable, especially at the moment,” he said.

    Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that epileptic power supply, coupled with scarcity and high cost of petrol and diesel, has surged the price of rice in the market. Our correspondent gathered that a bag of 50kg of rice which sold at N22,000 late January is now sold at N27,000. 

    Also speaking in Kaduna, Alhaji Idris Sarkin Alhazan Rigachikun, a local miller said, “We used to process and bag each 50kg of rice at N2,200, but we now do it at N3,000. There is no electricity, so we have fallen back on the generating set, and you know the present situation in Nigeria.”




  • Prices rise across major hubs on higher demand for rice

  • Prices of rice exported from top Asian hubs jumped this week on solid demand, while Vietnamese traders also flagged high shipping costs due to the Ukraine crisis. Thailand's 5% broken rice prices rose to $415-$428 per tonne, on average a peak since late June, from $400-$403 a week ago. As corn and wheat prices rise, animal feed makers were looking to use more broken rice, pushing up prices across the board, Bangkok-based traders said. Another trader said he recently received interest from buyers in Europe, the United States, Iraq and Iran for different grades of Thai white rice. Demand from Hong Kong has also increased, the trader said, with concerns over plans for a city-wide lockdown sparking panic buying by residents. Thailand exported 459,752 tonnes of rice worth $234 million in January, up 8.92% from the same period last year, the commerce ministry said. Rates for top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety rose to $371-$378 per tonne from last week's $370-$376, also a peak since mid-June. "Consumers are trying to build stockpile due to the rally in wheat and corn prices. Demand is improving for rice," said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices rose to their highest since December at $410-$415 per tonne on Thursday, versus $400 last week, amid higher demand, traders said, with the Ukraine-Russia conflict prompting buyers to place more orders from elsewhere in Asia. Another trader said shipping costs had surged since the Ukraine-Russia conflict began, with international freight costs rising 50% and domestic freight costs climbing 70%-80%. "We're concerned costs will keep rising if the conflict continues," the trader said. Traders said farmers in the Mekong Delta had harvested 20%-25% of the winter-spring crop. Domestic rice prices in Bangladesh remain high despite good crops and reserves, traders said, adding that the global market was seeing a hike due the Ukraine-Russia conflict. "It is very much unlikely that local prices will come down soon," a trader said.
  • Rice Exports Surge By 11.61 Per Cent In Seven Months

  • ISLAMABAD  – Rice exports from the country during first 07 months of current financial year increased by 11.16% as compared to exports of the corresponding period of last year. During the period from July-January, 2021-22, over 2.179 million tons of rice valuing $1.286 billion was exported as against the exports of 2.179 million tons valuing $1.157 billion of same period last year. According the trade data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the exports of Basmati rice also increased by 28.58% in last 07 months as 414,190 metric tons of Basmati rice valuing $362.183 million was exported as against the exports of 293,761 metric tons worth $281.675 million of same period last year. Meanwhile, country earned $924.668 million by exporting about 2.138 million tons of rice other than Basmati as against the exports of 1.886 million tons worth $875.959 million of same period last year. On year on year basis, the exports of rice also witnessed significant growth of 13.30% as 434,382 metric tons of rice valuing $220.078 million was exported in January, 2022 as compared to exports of 329,999 metric tons worth $194.245 million of same period last year. The exports of Basmati rice also grew by 08.97% in month of January, 2022 as 62,734 metric tons of above mentioned commodity valuing $58.086 million was exported as against the exports of 60,609 metric tons costing $53.305 million of same month of last year. It is worth mentioning here that food group exports from the country during first 07 months of current financial year increased by 20.87% as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year as different food commodities worth $2.952 billion were exported as against the exports of $2.444 billion of same period last year. The exports of food group from the country witnessed about 14.31% growth on year on year basis in January, 2022 as compared to same month of last year. During the period under review, the exports of all major food items recorded positive growth as exports of rice grew by 11.16%, fish and fish preparations 5.08%, fruits 11.60%, vegetables 11.36%, spices 22.94%, meat and meat preparations 1.68% respectively. Meanwhile, food group imports into the country also recorded increase of about 21.32% during July-January, 2021-22 as food commodities costing $5.629 billion were imported as against the import of $4.639 billion of same period last year. The food group imports into the country on year on basis also recorded about 13.05% growth in January, 2022 as against the imports of January, 2021. During month of January, 2022, different food commodities valuing $830.844 million were imported as compared to import of $734.953 million of same month last year. In last 07 months imports of soyabean oil increased by 34.70%, palm oil 55.75%, sugar 49.84%, pulses 14.94%, tea imports into the country grew by 5.48% as corresponding period of last year.
  • Biryani plate becomes dearer as rice prices go up

  • The mouth-watering biryani is being packed in a plastic tub at an outlet. (Right) A rice shop in Jodia Bazaar.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star KARACHI: The retail prices of various varieties of rice have been increased by up to Rs40 per kilo almost a month before Ramazan. Traders claim that the prices have been raised due to rise in exports and high transportation cost. The retail price of medium quality basmati is now Rs200 as compared to Rs160 per kg while normal basmati is selling at Rs150-160 instead of Rs120-130 per kg. Premium basmati is now priced at Rs250 per kg. A biryani shop owner said he had to pass on the impact of price hike of at least Rs10 per plate to customers as he was compelled to procure basmati Sella rice at Rs20-30 per kg higher rate from wholesale markets. He said he sold a biryani plate at Rs130. “Some other outlet owners are selling at Rs140 per plate depending on the area.” In bigger food shops, premium basmati rice biryani (double plate) is being sold at Rs300-330 and single plate at Rs170-200. While it is not easy for a buyer to judge the quality of rice in biryani, traders and biryani restaurants take full advantage of this ignorance by mixing various varieties. General secretary of the Karachi Retail Grocers Group (KRGG) Farid Qureishi said that price jump in basmati and other varieties of rice was not a matter of concern for the rich who continued to buy expensive commodities without any problem in higher quantities for monthly consumption. He said, however, the lower and middle income groups, who are hit hard by rising food inflation and utility bills, had been limiting their buying as per their requirement. A member of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), Anis Majeed, said that despite a drop in transportation cost after Rs10 reduction cut in fuel rates on March 1, rice prices had been soaring owing to previous massive hikes in transportation cost because of diesel and petrol rates. He said exports were in full swing, thus putting pressure on local prices despite the fact that exports were made at a very low wholesale rates. Rupee devaluation against the dollar is certainly benefiting exports. Pakistan’s rice production is over seven million tonnes per annum in which exports have been hovering between 3.5 and four million tonnes while the rest is consumed domestically. Export destinations are Europe, Gulf countries, Australia, US, China, African countries, the Far East, etc. According to figures of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, basmati exports rose by 41pc and 414,190 tonnes of rice were exported in seven months of fiscal year 2022 from 293,761 tonnes in the same period of the last fiscal year. In terms of value, it is a jump of 28per cent, i.e., $362 million from $282 million. Other varieties of exports grew by 13pc, 2.138m tonnes from 1.886mn tonnes, while it went up by 5.56pc in terms of value, $924mn from $876mn, in seven months of fiscal year 2021. Mr Anis said due to massive hike in freight rates and lack of availability of shipping containers, rice exporters had chartered two to three bulk vessels destined for African countries in the last three months to load rice cargo in these vessels. Each vessel had carried 35,000-40,000 tonnes of rice. Besides, demand from China for Pakistani rice also remained high. In financial year 2021, export of other varieties had plunged to 3.062 million tonnes fetching $1.465 billion as compared to 3.3 million tonnes valuing $1.39bn in FY20. Basmati exports earned $575 million from 629,069 tonnes in FY21 from 865,949 tonnes earning $783mn in FY20. Rice exports in FY21 remained subdued due to low price offered by India for non basmati and higher freight charges from October 2020 amid Covid-19 pandemic. However Chinese buying of Pakistani non basmati rice kept the exports moving.
  • Berbice rice millers project further reduction in paddy prices

  • Prices currently being paid by millers for paddy are likely to fall further before any possibility of stability due to internal and external shocks. Berbice rice millers who held a virtual meeting with the Private Sector Com-mission (PSC) on Wednesday requested that the body seek an audience with government to find a reso-lution to the challenges faced. “From tomorrow we might have to change to $60,000 (per tonne) and if these challenges are not addressed we will have to drop as low as $55,000 per tonne of paddy… we are buying paddy today at $65,000 which is not dried, which is not processed on the scale,” was the per-spective offered to Stabroek News by Rayaadul Hakh, who operates in Regions 5 & 6. Hakh declared that the increased cost of production was due to global issues. He point-ed out that apart from the freight cost and government commissions, millers have other production associated expenses.  
  • ‘Formulate organic food policy to regulate outlets in State’

  • An exhibition of traditional paddy strains under way at Bishop Heber College in Tiruchi on Friday.

    Organic rice farming can be profitable if marketed well, says expert

    The importance of promoting organically-farmed traditional paddy varieties was the focus of a conference organised by the Department of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Bishop Heber College in collaboration with Consumer Research, Education, Action, Training and Empowerment (CREATE) and its affiliated programme Save Our Rice Campaign Tamil Nadu on Friday. The event included an exhibition of traditional paddy strains. “For the past 15 years, we have conducted the National Paddy Festival, and distributed traditional rice seeds to farmers. As a result, they have started shifting over to organic rice farming. But they face a major problem with marketing their produce. Only when they can sell their crop can farmers sustain organic cultivation. We are taking some steps to rectify this situation from this year,” P. Duraisingham, chairman of Madurai-based CREATE, told The Hindu. “Since it is World Consumer Day on Saturday, we have invited consumer group heads from 40 districts to brief them about the medicinal value and nutritional benefits of heritage paddy,” he added. The lack of certification was a major drawback in organic paddy farming today, said Mr. Duraisingham, who is also a member of Bureau of Indian Standards. “We would like the State government to formulate an organic food policy to regulate the outlets. From the consumer’s perspective, the price of organically grown rice is exorbitant. This too has to be standardised, because some farmers and middlemen are creating a false impression about the high cost of organic cultivation,” he said. In her address, Usha Soolapani, national convenor of ‘Save Our Rice Campaign’, said, “Along with wheat, maize and potato, rice is among the four crops that ensure global food security. Paddy is a part of Asian culture, and India is a major producer of rice. But even though farmers are growing more than three times of what we need, they are still losing money when they invest in rice cultivation. This is why they are moving away to more remunerative crops such as banana, coconut and areca.
    R. Ponnambalam, CREATE managing trustee, Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Save Our Rice Campaign national coordinator and Bakkiyalakshmi, Assistant Professor of Biotechnology, Bon Secours College, Thanjavur also spoke.
  • Kazakhstan’s south to reduce rice and oil crops acreage

  • Kazakhstan’s south to reduce rice and oil crops acreage NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM 1st Vice Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Aidarbek Saparov forecasted a reduction in rice and oil plants acreage in the country’s south, Kazinform reports. Besides, in Turkestan region the land sown under cotton grew by 5,000 ha due to high cotton cost price up to KZT 350,000 per a tonne that is KZT 220,000 more as compared to 2020,» he told the Government meeting. It is planned to sow 89,000 ha with rice that is 6,500 tonnes less. It is supposed to reduce oil crops acreage by 61,700 ha, while flax, safflower, mustard and sunflower crop areas will increase.  
  • ASIA RICE Prices rise across major hubs on higher demand for rice

  • March 10 (Reuters) - Prices of rice exported from top Asian hubs jumped this week on solid demand, while Vietnamese traders also flagged high shipping costs due to the Ukraine crisis.

    Thailand's 5% broken rice prices rose to $415-$428 per tonne, on average a peak since late June, from $400-$403 a week ago.

    As corn and wheat prices rise, animal feed makers were looking to use more broken rice, pushing up prices across the board, Bangkok-based traders said.

    Another trader said he recently received interest from buyers in Europe, the United States, Iraq and Iran for different grades of Thai white rice.

    Demand from Hong Kong has also increased, the trader said, with concerns over plans for a city-wide lockdown sparking panic buying by residents. 

    Thailand exported 459,752 tonnes of rice worth $234 million in January, up 8.92% from the same period last year, the commerce ministry said.

    Rates for top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety rose to $371-$378 per tonne from last week's $370-$376, also a peak since mid-June.

    "Consumers are trying to build stockpile due to the rally in wheat and corn prices. Demand is improving for rice," said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices rose to their highest since December at $410-$415 per tonne on Thursday, versus $400 last week, amid higher demand, traders said, with the Ukraine-Russia conflict prompting buyers to place more orders from elsewhere in Asia.

    Another trader said shipping costs had surged since the Ukraine-Russia conflict began, with international freight costs rising 50% and domestic freight costs climbing 70%-80%.

    "We're concerned costs will keep rising if the conflict continues," the trader said.

    Traders said farmers in the Mekong Delta had harvested 20%-25% of the winter-spring crop.

    Domestic rice prices in Bangladesh remain high despite good crops and reserves, traders said, adding that the global market was seeing a hike due the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

    "It is very much unlikely that local prices will come down soon," a trader said.

  • Rice shortage hits Migori millers as irrigation agency scales down

  • A move by the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) to reduce operations at the lower Kuja rice irrigation scheme has grounded operations of millers. Already, rice millers are bearing the brunt of the unending stalemate between farmers and the scheme management with several acres of land lying fallow over compensation delays. The two parties have been embroiled in legal battles for years since the implementation of the first phase of the irrigation project in Nyatike. Locals accuse politicians from the region of orchestrating the current stalemate at the expense of the residents who have immensely benefited from the project. “It is hurting that some of our politicians are orchestrating the withdrawal of funds for the project to make political comebacks in 2022,” Edwin Ochieng, a resident of Sagama village said. NIA regional coordinator Joel Tanui, during a recent crisis meeting, said unwillingness by the farmers to cooperate has negatively impacted the scheme’s improvement. “NIA was only tasked with providing an infrastructural framework as part of the production, leaving farmers to take care of the remaining expenses. Locals are at liberty to choose between development and legal wrangles," he said. Millers who had invested in the region as rice production in Nyatike boomed, are now at the centre of the conflict, with some fearing they might be forced to shut down their operations if the crisis is not solved any time soon. Tom Omondi, a manager at Nyakweri rice mill, said they have stock to last them two weeks, after which they are likely to fold up. “Farmers who used to supply our mill with paddy rice have since gone down after operations at the rice farms were scaled down by the irrigation authorities citing high operation costs,” he said. The miller added that at times he’s forced to source paddy rice from as far as Ahero in Kisumu county since the diminishing supplies cannot meet their milling demands of five tonnes per day. The entire irrigation project was to cover 19,000 hectares of land and not even a quarter of the project has been implemented due to unsettled court cases regarding compensation. Currently, there are over 20 court cases seeking to have the residents compensated, with sources noting that NIA had considered pulling out from supporting the project which has cushioned the semi-arid area from pangs of drought. A November 13, 2020 investigation report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights revealed that the project had adverse and far-reaching environmental and social effects on locals.
  • Myanmar to produce value-added products from rice husk, rice bran

  • YANGON (Xinhua): The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has been working on the manufacturing of value-added products from rice husk and rice bran, according to state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar on Tuesday (March 8). The project on manufacturing value-added products from by-products of rice will be implemented in collaboration with rice mill owners, the newspaper quoted the federation as saying. The federation will utilise rice husks for electricity generation and rice brans for rice bran oil production. The value-added production projects will benefit sectors including edible oil, renewable electricity generation and feed manufacturing, it said. Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation, founded by the federation, has been carrying out power generation pilot projects by operating rice husk power plants in Kyaiklat and Myaungmya townships, and rice bran oil production pilot projects using solvent extraction and physical refining technology. "The rice industry's annual production value reached nearly 7,000 billion kyats (US$3.94 billion). The federation is working on boosting the value of domestic products and increasing investment and trade," MRF President U Ye Min Aung said. Such domestic manufacturing and job creation will help the implementation of the country's economic objectives, he added.
  • Chasing climate-ready glutinous rice for food security in Thailand and Laos

  • Chasing climate-ready glutinous rice for food security in Thailand and Laos

    food security in thailand, glutinous rice varieties

    Professor Apichart Vanavichit, Director of the Rice Science Center offers insight into how the next generation of glutinous rice varieties are critical to food security in Thailand and Laos

    Rice can be broadly classified based on cooking properties as glutinous and non-glutinous. Cooked glutinous rice is sticky, translucent, and chewy with a sweet aftertaste, while non-glutinous rice is fluffier, and less sticky and sweet. Furthermore, Glutinous rice contains more amylopectin, whereas non-glutinous rice contains more amylose.

    Origin of glutinous rice

    There are three groups of glutinous rice-based on grain sizes, small (japonica), medium (upland), and long slender (indica) grains. The origin of glutinous rice has become a hot topic for discussion by evolutionists who speculate that glutinous rice has two roots. Glutinous rice has been grown in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), especially in Laos, for 4,000 – 6,000 years, and at least 2,000 years in Yunnan, China, by Tai ethnic groups. In particular, ethnic groups in Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos helped conserve upland rice diversity. Furthermore, Laos has contributed the most remarkable genetic diversity in glutinous rice to the International Rice Genebank at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

    The key to food security

    Laos and Thailand are the only countries that consume glutinous rice as primary stable food. Laos consumes glutinous rice at 171 kg per year, the highest per capita consumption globally. In Thailand, glutinous rice is vital for household consumption in the north and northeast at 125-155 kg per capita per year. Thai farmers typically grow side-by-side, glutinous rice for household consumption and Hommali rice for cash. The current consumption of glutinous rice in Thailand has been on the rise recently due to the popularity of the northeastern cuisines in restaurants and street foods among Thais and tourists. From 2021 to 2026, the demand for glutinous rice is increasing healthily.

    Sticky rice is not just sticky

    Glutinous rice provides high amylopectin for the food and beverage industries. China is the major importer of glutinous rice from Thailand and Vietnam, mainly for alcohol production. Unlike such industrial utilisation, glutinous rice cooking is a delicacy that starts from rice cooking. Glutinous rice cannot be appropriately done in an ordinary automatic rice cooker but depends on traditional streaming practices in a unique bamboo basket. Different glutinous rice varieties are varied considerably on cooking qualities such as degrees of stickiness, chewiness, hardness, and fragrance.glutinous rice varieties, food security Thailand

    Cultivation of glutinous rice in Thailand

    Thailand is the world’s top glutinous rice producer on 3.17 Mha, generating about 7-7.5 MT and exporting about 7% annually. RD6, the most popular glutinous rice in Thailand and Laos, is widely grown in the northeast of Thailand. RD6 and Thai Hommali Rice (KDML105 and RD15) are the three most cultivated rice varieties occupying lowland rain-fed areas, constituting about 70% in northeastern Thailand. Fluctuations in rainfall distribution and poor soil fertility are critical constraints in the northeastern lowland rain-fed. Originated from gamma radiation of KDML105, RD6 is as susceptible to most biotic and abiotic stresses similar to the progenitor. Resilience to infertile soil, mild drought, salinity, and acid sulfate soil benefit high-quality Thai Hommali Rice and RD6 (Bureau of Rice Research and Development, Thailand Rice Department, 2010). Nonetheless, RD6 has still been the most popular glutinous rice in Thailand and Laos because of its soft-sticky and perfume quality of cooked rice.

    New waxy rice development

    Grain yield of glutinous RD6 and Thai Hom Mali Rice is as low as 2.32 t/ha due to their genetic makeups, soil infertility, and the lack of irrigation system in the main northeast area in Thailand. Traditional Thai RD6 and Lao TDK1 are tall, photoperiod sensitive, and susceptible to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses. RD6 has superior cooking quality with a strong aroma. Still, it is very vulnerable to blast and bacterial blight diseases, easily lodged, and intolerant to flood and drought, significant production constraints in the lowland rain-fed regions. To be accepted by farmers and consumers, new rice strains are improved to resist biotic and abiotic stresses and hold similar cooked rice quality as RD6 for prolonged softness, stickiness, chewiness, and fragrance. Because cooking glutinous rice is time-consuming, preservation is convenient for farmers and workers to consume the leftover later. Therefore, prolonged soft-stickiness is a critical characteristic of cooked glutinous rice to prevent staleness. This cooked rice quality is the hallmark for the genetic improvement of glutinous rice for household consumption in Thailand. By comprehensive gene pyramiding developed by the research team at the Innovative Plant Biotechnology and Precision Agriculture (APBT), newly improved RD6 varieties are designed to resist flash flooding, bacterial leaf blight, leaf blast, brown planthopper and gall-midge. In particular, focusing on canopy architecture such as reducing plant stature, sturdy stem, and early flowering is essential for the next generation of glutinous rice varieties. New outstanding glutinous rice varieties targeting the northeast area are released for farmers. The first famous glutinous rice is Thanyasirin, a photoperiod sensitive variety with superior cooking quality similar to RD6 but withstanding lodging. It is outstanding in its resistance to a broad spectrum of blast strains. The next variety, Nan 59, is a semi-dwarf photoperiod sensitive variety with the same cooking quality as RD6 and additional characteristics such as resistance to blast and bacterial leaf blight. Nan 59 has been the favourite variety because of its high yielding in a sustainable low production cost. The newest generation named Hom Naga is outstanding for early flowering with good cooking quality, tolerance to flash flooding and drought, and resistance to blast and bacterial blight. Now farmers can grow Hom Naga two times yearly. With assistance from the breeding team in Thailand, improving TDK1 for resistance to flash flooding, bacterial leaf blight, leaf blast, brown planthopper, and grain yield has been accomplished by the close collaboration between Thailand and Laos. The new high-yielding TDK8 was released for farmers in Laos. It is aromatic, has good cooking quality with short stature, early maturing (130-135 days), and most of all, resistance to lodging and leaf blast disease. These varieties have helped Thai and Lao farmers improve grain yields at low inputs that allow more for their households, earn more income through higher yields than traditional varieties, and are more able to withstand the impacts of climate change.

    Cost-benefit of new varieties

    The selection of many tailor-made RD6 varieties, such as Thanya Sirin and Nan 59, guided farmers and stakeholder communities in a farmers’ participatory program. Such a tactic induced farmers to voluntarily adopt new glutinous rice varieties and perform good farmers’ safe seed practices for sustainability and benefit-sharing among farmers, breeders and rice millers. For the popular Thanya Sirin, the economic benefits are mainly to farmers, in terms of increasing their revenue from yield enhancement both for consumption and sales and reducing production costs. The present value of net benefits in 2018 was 150 million baht. The benefit-cost ratio was seven times over the expense, for one baht of research investment, seven-baht return. In conclusion, the investment in glutinous rice breeding is economically worth it and has already generated high benefits for society. glutinous rice varieties, food security thailand Acknowledgement These projects have been supported by the Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture (ISA), Cluster and Program Management Office (CPMO), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) (Grant number P-18-52711) and NSRF via the Program Management Unit for Human Resources and Institutional Development, Research, and Innovation (Grant No. B16F630088).

  • HANOI, March 8 (Reuters) - Vietnam will exempt import tax on 300,000 tonnes of rice from Cambodia this year, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. Though Vietnam is one of the world's largest rice exporters, Cambodian grains are also consumed in the country and used by some Vietnamese traders to meet their rice export contracts. (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty)
  • Prey Veng’s dry season rice production sees increase compared to previous year

  • The Prey Veng Provincial Department of Agriculture reported that the production of dry season rice crops has seen an increase compared to the same period of last year. The Department reported that the as of February 22, the production of this year’s dry season rice covers a total area of 118,582 hectares, which is equivalent to 158.11 percent of the initial goal of 75,000 hectares to be cultivated. Farmers have so far harvested a total of 51,751 hectares of the rice fields, which is equivalent to 43.64 percent of the total rice fields cultivated. The total yield of the harvest is 250,545 tons with an average of 4.84 tons of yield per hectare. Unofficial rice exports for January 1 to February 20 totalled to 294,694 tons which is valued at more than $61 million, This week a total of more than 53 tons of rice were exported, which is worth more than $11 million. The province also cultivated other agricultural products such as corn, watermelon and pepper. Prey Veng farmers cultivated 1,281 hectares of land for the other agricultural products, which is equivalent to more than 162.15 percent of the initial plan.  
  • Rice could keep Asia’s food inflation risks from getting worse

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has delivered a global-scale disruption that is set to cascade through food supply chains and worsen hunger, but Asia’s love for rice could limit the fallout. Rice is more popular with many Asian consumers than wheat, which has seen supplies cut off from one of the world’s breadbaskets, said Jules Hugot, an economist at the Asian Development Bank. Rice prices have been relatively stable, and it’s easy to swap one staple for the other, he said. “These are sources of starch and there’s substitution between them,” Hugot said in an interview, though adding there’s spillover from the rally. Wheat has jumped to an all-time high, while rice is near the highest since May 2020. Russia and Ukraine together account for a quarter of the global trade of wheat, used in everything from bread to noodles and livestock feed. The conflict shuttered ports in Ukraine while trade with Russia has been stifled by sanctions. The elevated prices are accelerating food inflation across the world and raising concerns for countries reliant on foreign supply. Asian buyers should be able to find alternatives for trade flows disrupted by the war, Hugot said, citing the examples of wheat from Kazakhstan and palm oil from Southeast Asia to replace Black Sea shipments of sunflower oil. “It is possible to diversify as these are homogeneous goods,” he said. Food inflation is relatively contained in Asia, thanks to the popularity of rice and falling pork prices as China expands the world’s biggest hog herd. Supply chains have also become more resilient following the pandemic and nations are pursing diversification as a strategy to bolster food security, Hugot said. Less clear is how long the disruptions will last. There are already expectations the invasion will deter Ukrainian spring planting of crops like corn and sunflower, extending the supply shock on the global market. It’s also putting fresh pressure on skyrocketing fertilizer prices. India relies heavily on imports, and disruptions to trade flows from Russia — an important global producer for all major fertilizers — is bound to have a significant impact on the South Asian nation, Hugot said. Rising costs for farmers could spur a scaling back of fertilizer use, triggering lower crop yields and pushing up food prices even higher. Developing nations such as India will feel the strain as food tends to make up a higher share of spending and the consumer price index, said Hugot.
  • Odisha government to work on export plan for aromatic rice

  • The State government is exploring the possibility of exporting rice of traditional aromatic varieties beyond basmati to further enhance the income of the farmers. PDS rice BHUBANESWAR:  The State government is exploring the possibility of exporting rice of traditional aromatic varieties beyond basmati to further enhance the income of the farmers. The Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department has been asked to constitute a resource team and frame a realistic work plan for giving a boost to rice export. Chairing a high-level meeting with different stakeholders for promoting export of rice from the State, Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra asked the Agriculture department to identify agro-climatic zones more suitable for cultivation of non-basmati aromatic varieties of paddy in cluster approach. The government has decided to send a team to Andhra Pradesh for gaining firsthand knowledge on the actual practices adopted there in export of aromatic varieties of rice. The Chief Secretary directed the department to frame a realistic work plan with the suggestions from technical sessions of the seminar, and inputs from the resource team so that those could be carried forward. “The State government is committed to enhance farmers’ income by boosting the rice export and the State will provide all possible support for the purpose,” Mahapatra added. Principal Advisor to Chief Minister Asit Tripathy said the rice aggregators in the State need to be mobilised, trained and given handholding support for export-oriented operations.  
  • LWF Myanmar: innovative techniques for rice farmers

  • Farmers remove weeds in a Laos rice field. In most Asian countries, rice is both a main staple and a principal livelihood. Photo: Thomas Lohnes

    Producing more with less labor and less water

    (LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is promoting long-term resilience in Myanmar by teaching farmers in the Kayin State new rice planting techniques that produces more rice with less labor and less water.   This innovative method, called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has helped rice farmers increase production, improve the quality of seedlings and implement more sustainable practices. Despite the current conflict in Myanmar, farmers in less affected areas continue to strive towards creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. According to the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 14,4 Million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with 6,2 million requiring urgent lifesaving support. LWF has been in these communities for years, supporting long-term community-based empowerment as well as humanitarian support through shelters and Non-food Items (NFIs) “LWF continues to work with the resilient local communities to implement projects that bring hope for a better future despite times of uncertainty,” says Susan Muis, LWF Regional Program Coordinator for Asia. “Although the challenges of conflict persist, in places where the situation is less dire, such as Kayin, farmers strive to uphold a commitment to improve their livelihoods and mitigate the effects of climate change.”

    Two times the rice with less water

    Since 2019, the LWF has provided training on SRI for local farmers in Myanmar. Over 50 families have participated in the training. The technique is a climate-resilient agricultural practice that helps produce higher yields using organic methods including salt water, and cow manure. It requires a smaller investment than traditional rice production methods. The SRI technique uses less water than traditional rice planting. Rice seedlings are planted sooner, while they are young small plants and need less nutrients. Each seedling can yield two times more rice than the previously used techniques    Local crops are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and insect infestation, affecting the living conditions of families who rely entirely on farming. Severe rainfall from the mountains floods the paddies, often located in lower altitudes, destroying the sprouting rice. In contrast, at the end of the rainy season paddies dry out due to the lack of moisture in the soil, decreasing the rice yield.  
    With the SRI method the rice plants are stronger, more resistant to flood, draught, heavy winds, pests, and diseases. Yields are also higher.
    — U Saw Htein LINN, local SRI farmer
    “I was quite interested in the new method because I enjoy experimenting with technologies" says U Saw Htein Linn, one of the first farmers to train and adopt the technique.  “I also joined a Facebook group called network of SRI friends to share experiences and knowledge.”  He adds, “with the SRI method the rice plants are stronger, more resistant to flood, draught, heavy winds, pests, and diseases. Yields are also higher. 10 baskets of paddy from the traditional method would yield 3.5 baskets of milled rice, SRI yields 4.” SRI has allowed farmers to gain more independence in rice seed selection. Linn states, “in the past we would collect paddy from the harvest and replant the next year. It would last 5 to 6 years as seed quality decreased with each season. We would then go to the department of agriculture to buy new seeds. With SRI the quality of seeds is consistent in addition to selling for food, I now also sell my high-quality paddy as seeds. People are purchasing their paddy from me and don’t need to travel to the city.” Daw San San Chit, Linn’s wife shares that the improvement of the quality of their yields and living condition has allowed them to give back to the community and those most in need. “Our family has donated to the vulnerable elderly, orphans and the monastery. The profit has been enough that we can afford to purchase and donate food to our community. We are taking better care of our children and will continue to apply the SRI.”
  • Thai rice exports still untouched by Russia-Ukraine war, says association

  • The Thai Rice Exporters Association said recently that the Russia-Ukraine war has not shaken rice exports yet, though rising oil prices may affect the situation in the long run.

    Chookiat Ophaswongse, the association’s honorary president, said Thailand exported some 6,000 tonnes of rice to Russia and about 2,000 tonnes to Ukraine last year.
    However, he said, the situation may change because wheat exports from Russia have been banned, which may result in pushing up the price of rice and other grains. This may impact orders from potential buyers. Chookiat added that the sea route from Thailand to key markets in Europe, especially France, and Africa have not been affected because it does not pass Russia or Ukraine. However, the cost of shipping may spike if the price of oil rises above US$100 per barrel. Then, he said, countries may choose to purchase rice from countries that are closer and cheaper than Thailand. Yet, he said, Thailand may still achieve the goal of exporting 7 million tonnes of rice this year thanks to the Middle East, where each country exports at least 1 million tonnes of rice every year. Though the Middle East market had slowed down, it began picking up again from the end of 2021. Meanwhile, Pitak Udomwichaiwat, director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade (DFT), said the department is adjusting its publicity strategy for rice in line with the current situation. It is planning to launch online campaigns to raise awareness about Thai rice and boost its popularity. DFT plans to focus on strengthening trade ties with China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Apart from holding virtual meetings with potential buyers, the department will also look for ways to deal with Vietnam – Thailand’s No 1 competitor in rice exports. He added that Thailand’s export sector should do well this year because the container shortage problem is easing, though the cost of shipping is still high. Plus, he said, the price of Thai rice is still competitive thanks to the exchange rate and will remain so if the currency does not get stronger. DFT is planning to join international exhibitions and is eyeing the Saudi Arabian market. It has asked Thai diplomats to survey the demand and develop links with key rice exporters in Saudi Arabia. Pitak said once the Covid-19 situation eases, DFT will take Thai exporters to negotiate deals. As for government-to-government deals, DFT is waiting to sign a memorandum of understanding with Iraq even though the private sector is already exporting rice to the country.
  • Ghana introduces new rice variety at Nyariga District

  • Ghana introduces new rice variety at Nyariga District
    Two new varieties of rice have been introduced in Bongo District in Ghana. (CSIR-SARI) developed and released the varieties as part of the implementation of Integrated Pest Management Using Rice Varieties and Good Agronomic Practices. The two new early maturing and climate smart rice varieties  dubbed AGRA and Banse Rice have been introduced to rice farmers at Nyariga, a community in the District. Apart from the AGRA and Banse Rice varieties which are high yielding and pest tolerant, the farmers were also introduced to best agronomic practices including seed selection, transplanting, fertiliser application, pest control and harvesting among others. The project being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Modernising Agriculture in Ghana with financial support from Global Affairs Canada is being piloted in five regions across the country.
    Importation of rice
    The beneficiary regions are Upper East, Volta, Bono, Ashanti and Eastern. Dr Samuel Mahama, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, CSIR at the Head Office, noted that the project aimed to address issues of pest infestation, low yields and quality of rice and boost local production to help cut down importation. According to statistics from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana spends close to $1 billion on the importation of rice annually and between 2017 to 2020, the government spent GH₵6.874 billion to import only rice into the country. Dr Mahama said the successes of the project which would be scaled up to benefit more farmers was part of efforts to complement government’s campaign for the consumption of locally produced rice to increase the revenue of farmers and develop the economy. Dr Issah Sugri, Senior Research Scientist, CSIR-SARI, Manga Station, noted that due to climate change impact and erratic rainfall pattern, farmers needed to be supported to venture into early maturing and high yielding varieties coupled with best agronomic practices to increase production. Dr Sugri stated that AGRA and Banse rice matured between 95 to 120 days and 80 to 90 days respectively. He added that farmers could engage in multiple cropping within a year to meet the increasing demand for varieties, particularly the AGRA.
  • Thai rice prices forecast to rise 5% in Q2

  • Thai rice prices are expected to increase by 5% in the second quarter, pushed up by the war in Ukraine's effect on surging global commodity prices, says veteran trader Chookiat Ophaswongse. Mr Chookiat, an honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said there was growing concern about a wheat shortage as Russia and Ukraine are the main producers of the crop, while rising oil prices are likely to drive up overall commodity prices. "Thai rice is expected to see just a 5% increase in prices in the second quarter because there are relatively high rice stocks in India, while rice production is expected to increase this year both in Vietnam and Thailand," said Mr Chookiat. The 5% white rice price in the domestic market is now quoted at 12 baht per kilogramme, down from 16 baht per kg in the same period last year. The free-on-board price of 5% Thai white rice is quoted at US$400 a tonne, higher than Indian white rice, which stands at $355 a tonne, and Vietnam's similar grains at $390 per tonne. For the 2021/2022 harvest season, the association expects Thailand's rice production to increase to 30-32 million tonnes of paddy rice, or 20 million of milled rice, up from 27-28 million tonnes of paddy rice, or 17 million tonnes of milled rice, in the 2020/2021 season. Widespread drought is unlikely this year, said the association, as happened two years ago. Given the ample water supply, second-crop rice production is also expected to increase. He said the war is unlikely to affect Thailand's overall rice exports because shipments to Russia and Ukraine stood at only 6,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes, respectively, last year. "It is fortunate export markets in the Middle East, such as Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, will be back this year," Mr Chookiat said. "These countries are net rice importers with a combined million tonnes each year." Thailand shipped 6.11 million tonnes of rice last year, up 6.68% from 5.73 million tonnes in 2020, with exports valued at 108 billion baht, down by 7.14% from 116 billion baht in 2020. The 2021 shipments comprised 2.35 million tonnes of white rice (up 18.9%), 1.4 million tonnes of Thai hom mali rice (down 1.7%), 1.4 million tonnes of parboiled rice (up 1.6%), 550,574 tonnes of aromatic rice (down 4.1%), and 310,878 tonnes of glutinous rice (up 12.4%). The association projects exports rising 14.8% this year to 7 million tonnes, driven by ample water supply. Higher demand is likely thanks to a global economic recovery and a favourable exchange rate.
  • Cambodia’s rice exports not impacted by Russia-Ukraine crisis

  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict will have no significant influence on Cambodia’s rice exports, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF). Concerns have been raised about potential supply chain disruptions as a result of the war or sanctions levied against Moscow and Russian entities. However, CRF Secretary-General Lun Yeng said that neither the Eastern European country was a major buyer of Cambodian milled-rice, and hinted that the ongoing conflict and associated events would be highly unlikely to substantially disrupt the routes used to move the staple grain around the world. According to the CRF, Cambodia shipped just 17,512 tonnes of rice to Russia in the five years from 2017-2021, or 0.55 percent of the total 3.19 million tonnes exported globally. Last year, alone Russia bought 2,223 tonnes – worth about $1.96 million. In January and February this year, Cambodia shipped 200 tonnes of milled rice to Russia worth $200,640 or 0.19 percent of the global total export volume for the two months. Meanwhile, milled-rice exports to Ukraine over 2017-2021 clocked in at just 572 tonnes, CRF statistics showed. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that Cambodia exported a total 103,058 tonnes of milled rice to international markets in January-February, increasing by 26,836 tonnes or 35.21 percent year-on-year, from 76,222 tonnes. China was the largest buyer of Cambodian milled rice over the two months, accounting for 56,385 tonnes, up by 49.84 percent year-on-year, followed by 20 European countries with 26,507 tonnes, up 39.54 per cent. VNA  
  • U.S. Army Corps works with tribe to improve wild rice

  • WATERSMEET — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers researchers are working with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and other Native American tribes to help improve wild rice productivity, the corps said. The work of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, located in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is supporting two six-year USACE Detroit District Planning Assistance to States studies. Wild rice, or “manoomin” in the Anishinaabe or Ojibwe language, is found in fringe and riparian wetlands along lakes and rivers in the Great Lakes region. It is culturally significant and an important food source for Great Lakes region Native American tribes, the corps said. Wild rice is also a vital part of traditional religious ceremonies for these tribes. The Native American tribes harvest wild rice using traditional methods. Called “knocking the rice,” harvesters gently guide a canoe through the rice while using “knockers” to carefully knock or brush ripe rice into the canoe, taking great care not to damage the plants, according to the corps. This centuries-old method helps sustain wild rice stands. Knowledge of wild rice has been handed down through oral tradition, the corps said. ERDC researchers found the Native American tribes to be an invaluable repository of wild rice ecological and cultural information.
    In addition to its cultural significance, wild rice is also important to the region’s ecology, the corps said. Wild rice is an annual plant that lacks a rhizome, and its seeds germinate following a prolonged submergence in cold temperatures. In ecosystems where it is found, wild rice functions as an aquatic habitat and food resource. Wild rice, the corps noted, is also sensitive to ecosystem changes. Large stands of wild rice indicate a healthy, functioning ecosystem. However, over the last few decades, wild rice production has significantly declined. Many factors, including precipitation, water quality, water temperature, vegetation competition, soil properties and hydrology, impact wild rice production. “Current ERDC research focuses on 12 lakes in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” said Jacob Berkowitz, research soil scientist in the ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory, in a news release. “There are varying levels of wild rice productivity across these research lakes.” ERDC research at the lakes, according to the corps, focuses on three components, each important to sustaining wild rice production: nutrient concentrations in the water column and in sediment porewater, soil physicochemical properties and hydrology. “The ERDC continues to work collaboratively with the Native American tribes of the upper Great Lakes region to identify ecological threats to wild rice,” Berkowitz said. “Researchers are developing monitoring and mapping tools to help the tribes improve wild rice management.” The benefits of these updated management practices include improving water quality, reducing flood risks and ensuring the future sustainability of wild rice in the region, the corps said.
  • Rice harvesting commences in Region Two

  • paddy price not yet fixed by millers

    A harvester in a rice field Several millers on the Essequibo Coast are still clueless about what will be the price for a bag of paddy for the current crop given the situation with the war in Ukraine. Millers explained that they cannot decide the price since that is usually influenced by the global commodities market.
    While some millers in Region Two are accepting paddy, others are still unsure as to how many tonnes they should purchase for this crop.  When this newspaper spoke to millers, they said that they are looking forward to the crop, but given the war and the current stock, this crop may be different for farmers.
  • Asia rice: Vietnamese rates gain as China routes reopen post Covid curbs

  • BENGALURU/BANGKOK/HANOI/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Prices of rice exported from Vietnam rose this week, as trade routes to China reopened with some traders betting on additional demand from buyers looking for alternate sources due to the Ukraine crisis. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $400 per tonne on Thursday, versus $395-$400 a week ago. “Shipments to China are expected to increase as China is reopening borders with Vietnam after coronavirus curbs,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said. “The ongoing Ukrainian war might prompt buyers to import more rice from Asia, including Vietnam,” the trader added. A Bangkok-based trader said the situation in Ukraine “might have increased freight rates slightly.” Prices of Thailand’s 5% broken rice widened slightly to $403-$400 per tonne from $400 last week, also taking cues from currency fluctuations with the baht valued at 32.60 against the US dollar on Thursday. But another trader said the crisis has not impacted Thai rice exports because neither Russia nor Ukraine were among its main trading partners. Ukraine’s military recently suspended commercial shipping at its ports, threatening grain and oilseed exports. Demand for rice from top exporter India improved, but prices of its 5% broken parboiled variety were unchanged at $370-$376 per tonne as the rupee weakened, translating into higher margins for traders from overseas sales. “Demand for broken rice has improved as prices of corn are rising. Some buyers are looking for alternatives to corn,” said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. Indian farmers may harvest a record 127.93 million tonnes versus 124.37 million tonnes the year before. Meanwhile, domestic rice prices stayed high in Bangladesh, despite good reserves, officials said.Freight rates have increased slightly due to the Ukraine crisis, prompting higher import costs for grains, a trader said.
  • ASIA RICE Vietnamese rates gain as China routes reopen post COVID curbs

  • March 3 (Reuters) - Prices of rice exported from Vietnam rose this week, as trade routes to China reopened with some traders betting on additional demand from buyers looking for alternate sources due to the Ukraine crisis.

    Vietnam's 5% broken rice were offered at $400 per tonne on Thursday, versus $395-$400 a week ago.

    "Shipments to China are expected to increase as China is reopening borders with Vietnam after coronavirus curbs," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    "The ongoing Ukrainian war might prompt buyers to import more rice from Asia, including Vietnam," the trader added.

    A Bangkok-based trader said the situation in Ukraine "might have increased freight rates slightly."

    Prices of Thailand's 5% broken rice widened slightly to $403-$400 per tonne from $400 last week, also taking cues from currency fluctuations with the baht valued at 32.60 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday.

    But another trader said the crisis has not impacted Thai rice exports because neither Russia nor Ukraine were among its main trading partners.

    Ukraine's military recently suspended commercial shipping at its ports, threatening grain and oilseed exports.

    Demand for rice from top exporter India improved, but prices of its 5% broken parboiled variety were unchanged at $370-$376 per tonne as the rupee weakened, translating into higher margins for traders from overseas sales.

    "Demand for broken rice has improved as prices of corn are rising. Some buyers are looking for alternatives to corn," said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

    Indian farmers may harvest a record 127.93 million tonnes versus 124.37 million tonnes the year before.

    Meanwhile, domestic rice prices stayed high in Bangladesh, despite good reserves, officials said.

    Freight rates have increased slightly due to the Ukraine crisis, prompting higher import costs for grains, a trader said.

  • Vietnamese rice, spices, fruit gain firm foothold in international markets

  • HANOI (Vietnam News/Asia News Network): Vietnamese rice, spices, and fruit have been increasing their presence in demanding markets worldwide as local businesses are taking advantage of free trade agreements. According to statistics of the General Department of Customs, in January, rice export reached 505,741 tonnes worth US$246.02 million, sharp increases of 45.4 per cent and 28.2 per cent against last year, respectively. The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) forecast that Vietnam would ensure its 2022 overseas rice shipments at between 6-6.2 million tonnes, similar to the amount recorded in 2020 and 2021, for a revenue of over $3.2 billion. Rice exports this year are likely to maintain a good rank, as the local rice industry is increasingly improving in quality and large domestic enterprises such as Lộc Trời, Tân Long, Intimex, and Trung An have sealed large orders of high value. In addition to the traditional key export earner, investment in new products such as spices is also very promising. The Vietnamese high-quality spices producer Dh Foods Joint Stock Company has signed a cooperation agreement with the US-based Heritage Beverage Company to export its products to this market. Accordingly, Heritage Beverage will become the exclusive distributor of Dh Foods' speciality spices in the US. About 10 containers of Vietnamese products are expected to leave for the US this year starting from the third quarter. Dh Foods General Director Nguyễn Trung Dũng hoped that Heritage Beverage will help his company conquer the share of the Asian food market in the US, which is valued at up to $40 billion and serves about 30 million people of Asian origin, including three million people from Vietnam. It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of supermarkets in this country have Asian food stalls. Currently, Vietnam's spices exporters are better at meeting the strict requirements of foreign partners, capable of providing value-added, good quality and safe products for many leading importers and premium distribution channels in many regions of the world. Contributing more than $3.5 billion to Vietnam's total export turnover in 2021, the fruit and vegetable industry also successfully delivered a series of new orders from the outset of 2022. Notably, the Westerfarm limited company and Vietnam Golden Gate Joint Stock Company exported three tonnes of mangoes to the Netherlands. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Minh Hoan affirmed that this year’s agro-forestry-fishery exports will reach or even exceed $50 billion, growing by 3-4 per cent.
  • Kenya introduces new hybrid rice in Mwea

  •   A new hybrid rice has been introduced in Mwea, Kenya. Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin, the director in charge of programs and commercialization at the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), made the announcement and said the new rice variety is more yielding and early maturing. The move is set to replace the demand for imported rice in the country. According to Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin, the new breed of rice according to scientists is more favorable to the Kenyan masses and is cheap when compared with the imported rice. African Agriculture Technology Foundation (ATTF) has been collaborating with Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization in Mwea in the development of the hybrid rice. Already 400 acres have been supplied with the rice and true to the expert’s words’ the crop is already growing faster than the traditional rice.
    Rice consumption in Kenya
    “It is heart breaking for Kenya and the entire Africa to continue importing food while they have the ability to produce their own at a local level. Our objective is to achieve prosperity for the farmers through technology as will be evidenced through the hybrid rice. There is a greater need for the adoption of the technology in order to increase rice production in Kenya and in Africa as a whole,” Okogbenin said. Okogbenin said the level of rice consumption in Kenya stands at 650,000 tons as compared to the production, which is at 150,000 tons. As a result, the deficit is met by the importation of 500,000 tons of rice yearly. The crop scientist further observed consumption of rice has increased by 13% while productivity grew by only 3% and hence the need to jump start rice production in the country.                              
  • Two Basmati rice varieties help boost export.

  • Two Basmati rice varieties help boost exports, farmers’ income

    Both the varieties, developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa, Delhi, fetch farmers like Singh financial benefits in the range of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per acre, after taking into account cost of cultivation as well as lease rental for the land.

    basmati-rice Pritam Singh, who farms on 110 acres, including some land taken on lease, at Urlana Khurd village of Haryana’s Panipat district, has just sold his harvest of Basmati rice varieties — PB 1121 and PB 1509 — at the local mandi at Rs 3,800 and Rs 3,500 a quintal, respectively. Both the varieties, developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa, Delhi, fetch farmers like Singh financial benefits in the range of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per acre, after taking into account cost of cultivation as well as lease rental for the land. “Since the introduction of high-yielding varieties like PB1121 and PB1509, the production as well as quality in terms of size of the Basmati rice grain increased thus bringing economic benefits to us,” Singh told FE. Singh said prior to the introduction of these two varieties, the yield of traditional varieties was in the range of 12 –13 quintal per acre, while the PB1121 and PB1509 varieties have an average yield of 24 quintal and 26 quintal per acre, respectively. While the high-yielding and larger-grained PB1121 variety was certified as Basmati rice in 2008, the PB1509, which takes fewer weeks for maturity, was released in 2013. Two Basmati rice varieties developed by IARI have contributed 70% of the total value of cumulative exports of long-grain aromatic rice from India worth Rs 2.38 lakh crore between 2010 and 2019, thus bringing benefit to farmers. India exported on an average 3.74 million tonne (mt) of Basmati rice annually during the stated period, of total production of around 5 mt. According to an analysis by IARI of the economic value accrued because of Basmati rice, Rs 1.66 lakh crore worth of export earnings between 2010 and 2019 was from the shipment of PB1121 and PB1509 rice varieties, while domestic sales were to the tune of Rs 51,501 crore in the same period. After deducting the cost of production, the IARI assessment has stated that Rs 1.34 lakh crore has been accrued as earnings to estimated 10 lakh farmers in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, who grow two varieties of aromatic and long grained rice. “Improved Basmati varieties have brought prosperity to millions of Basmati farmers by improving their standards of living, better education for children and best health care for family members,” Ashok Kumar Singh, director, IARI, told FE. During 2010-2019, annually, Basmati rice was grown in 18.34 lakh hectares on an average, out of which PB11121 and PB1509 was grown in 67% and 10% of the area, respectively. The rest of the varieties grown by farmers include PB1, PB6 and PB1718, which are also developed by IARI. ajor export destinations of India’s Basmati rice include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and the UAE, besides some European countries. India exported Basmati rice worth Rs 29,849 crore ($4018 million) in 2020-21. Recently, IARI has released improved varieties PB1847, PB1885 and PB1886; these are improved varieties with inbuilt resistance to bacterial blight and blast diseases. “These varieties would reduce the use of pesticides significantly in basmati cultivation,” Ranjith Kumar Ellur, scientist, rice section, division of genetics, IARI, said.
  • The rice industry aims to improve water efficiency by 75 per cent by 2026

  • A man in a Fluro yellow shirt stands in front of a rice crop Rice is one of Australia's thirstiest crops, but the industry has now set itself the ambitious target of improving water efficiency by 75 per cent by 2026.  

    AgriFutures managing director John Harvey says the target – 1.5 tonnes of rice grown for each megalitre of water used – is part of a roadmap to “transform” the industry to ensure its survival.

    "Our end goal is to ensure rice remains a competitive and profitable option for all rice growers," Mr Harvey said. 

    Australian rice growers already use 50 per cent less water than the global average, but the recent drought proved water availability will continue to be the largest challenge facing the industry. 

    The 2019–20 rice crop was one of the smallest ever recorded with growers only able to access zero to 6 per cent of their water allocation. 

    "We grow a lot of rice when there's lots of water like there is this year. We'll probably grow over 600,000 paddy tonnes. But then we have years where we only grow 45,000 paddy tonnes," Mr Harvey said.

    How will the target be achieved? 

    The 2021 SunRice Grower of the Year, Darrell Fiddler, manages De Bortoli Wine’s broadacre operations at Griffith.

    He is already "knocking on the door" of achieving the target having improved his water efficiency by around 40 per cent. 

    "When we first started growing rice we were at that 12.5 to 13 megalitres [of water used per hectare]. This year's crop will come in at about 7.5ML/ha," Mr Fiddler said. 

    A group of people facing a rice crop
    The rice industry gathered at a field day to view SunRice Grower of the Year Darrell Fiddler's crops. (ABC Riverina: Olivia Calver)

    Traditionally rice is grown partially submerged in water throughout the season, however a technique that delays the application of permanent water has gained traction in the industry. 

    Mr Fiddler was an early adopter of "delayed ponding" and credits it as having one of the biggest impacts on his water efficiency. 

    Aerobic-grown rice the next step

    He is now looking at the next step, growing rice aerobically, without any water ponding, as part of a trial with Deakin University. 

    A crucial component of the trial is using automation to control irrigation flushes. 

    A man in a blue hat and shirt holds some green rice in front of a crop
    Peter Snell says new cold-tolerant varieties will be more suited to delayed ponding and aerobic-grown rice. (ABC Riverina: Olivia Calver)

    Cold-tolerant varieties that survive without the water 'blanket'

    New rice varieties are also key to achieving the water efficiency target. 

    NSW Department of Primary Industries rice breeder Peter Snell said permanent water provided a type of blanket for rice, protecting it from damaging cold weather.

    Therefore, a focus has been on breeding cold-tolerant rice varieties, which can handle the delayed or absent application of permanent water. 

    This includes a new variety, V071, which is being grown throughout the Riverina for the first time this year. 

    "We're very reliant on deep water to protect developing panicles and one of the big things for aerobic or growing rice on beds is getting cold tolerance."

  • Experts Discuss Study Findings to Boost Rice Yields

  • RESEARCH in agriculture has been described as a solid basis for increasing food production, including rice, whose consumption has increased significantly in recent years.

    This was stated by the Kilimanjaro Regional Administrative Secretary, Willy Machumu, during a meeting to present and discuss the technical manual for contributing water use efficiency at irrigation schemes, which was held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro recently.

    "All development issues are being implemented with great success after a thorough study, so this study you present today I believe will be the best foundation for increasing productivity in rice production in the country," he said in a statement read on his behalf by Mr Arnold Msuya from the Kilimanjaro Regional Secretariat.

    "I am very impressed and optimistic that the study would improve food production and improve paddy agriculture by helpingto create strategic plans for rain harvesting and preservation of water as well as its proper utilisation," he said.

    He appealed to the participants and the agricultural experts in general to use the results of the study effectively to increase rice production in the country.

    "I am optimistic that irrigation paddy fields will be improved and later on increase rice production, especially when put in mind that irrigation paddy fields accounts for 26 percent of the rice production area than the rain fed one," he noted.

    Earlier during a presentation through video from Japan, the Programme Director with the Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Dr Nakashima Kazuo, said the demand for rice was continuously increasing due to increasing population growth and the spread of rice eating culture.

    "Under these circumstances, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries instructed JIRCAS to conduct a study on improving water efficiency in irrigation schemes in Africa", he said.

    He said the study was aimed at increasing paddy production especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where rice production falls short of consumption, leading to an increase in the region's rice importations from Asia and North America.

    He said it was due to that factor that Japan started its support for rice cultivation in Tanzania in 1974, whereby their experts conducted activities which were aimed at establishing techniques of irrigated rice cultivation in Lower Moshi district.

    Speaking on behalf of the Head of the National Irrigation Commission, the Kilimanjaro Regional Irrigation Officer Eng Said Hussein Ibrahim, said the study involved Kilimanjaro Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), Arusha Technical College (ATC), National irrigation Commission, Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute Ministry of Agriculture and JIRCAS.

    KATC Head, Eng Nicodemus Shauritanga, thanked JIRCAS for its collaboration in the study, whereby he said KATC's mentors who participated in the project would now be competent in research works due to the experiences they gained in the project.

  • Rice Prices In Iran Double In One Year Amid General Inflation

  • A rice field in Iran. Undated   The price of Iranian rice, the main food staple in the country, has increased over 95 percent in one year, a government reporting agency has said.
    According to the latest report released by Statistical Center of Iran (SCI)on Monday, the price for one kilogram of Iranian rice in the month of Bahman (ended on February 20) increased by about 20 percent compared with the previous month, and 95 percent compared with a year ago. The report said the price reached 760,000 rials (about $3), showing a 95.3-percent rise compared to the same period last year. The price reported by SCI is way lower than the actual price in the market, which is nearly 1,000,000 rials (about $4), which means the real increase in the price of rice is closer to 200 percent. With only a few weeks left until the new Iranian year on March 20, prices of essential food items are still rising at alarming levels, local media report. Food prices have been rising much faster than the general inflation rate -- hovering around 40 percent -- with government figures showing above 60-percent inflation at retail level in 2021, compared with 2020. Sugar and different types of rice are usually items with highest price increases followed by different kinds of meat, chicken and eggs as well as cooking oil.
  • Ukraine war: Amritsar rice exporter in a fix as stock stuck midway

  • Punjab millers’ Assn seeks Centre’s intervention Ukraine war: Amritsar rice exporter in a fix as stock stuck midway Amritsar, February 26 Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than two dozen containers of rice stock of a local exporter have been stuck midway. This development is expected to cost him crores of rupees. Containers of basmati rice were recently despatched to Ukraine by Arvinderpal Singh, a prominent basmati rice exporter. Some containers were despatched on the day the war broke out while others are en route to Ukraine. Arvinderpal said six containers had landed at a Ukrainian port on the day when the war broke out. “Due to the current situation, about half a dozen en route containers have now been diverted to other countries.” He fears a loss worth crores of rupees. Meanwhile, the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association has sought the Centre’s immediate intervention into the matter to protect their interests.
  • S.Korea’s rice paddies log highest fall in area in 2021

  • SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's area of rice paddies logged the highest yearly fall in 2021 amid the lower rice consumption in the Asian country, statistical office data showed Friday. The cultivated rice paddies totaled 780,440 hectares in 2021, down 5.3 percent from the previous year, according to Statistics Korea. It marked the fastest reduction since data began to be compiled in 1975. The biggest fall was attributed to the chronic supply glut and the sliding consumption of rice, caused by the change in eating habits. The country's per-capita rice consumption shrank 1.4 percent from a year earlier to hit a record low of 56.9 kilograms in 2021, while the total rice output jumped 10.7 percent to 3.88 million tons. The area of dry fields rose 3.4 percent over the year to 766,277 hectares in 2021, marking the fastest increase amid the higher price for vegetables in the country. According to the official data, the total arable land in South Korea came to 1,546,717 hectares in 2021, down 1.2 percent from the prior year. It has been on the decline for the ninth straight year since 2013.
  • Asia rice: Thai rates slip on weak baht; India’s demand

  • BENGALURU/HANOI/ BANGKOK/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Rice export prices in Thailand fell to an over 1-1/2 month low this week due to a weaker baht, while an uptick in overseas buying boosted rates in leading exporter India. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $400 per tonne this week, down from $410-$420 a week ago. The baht weakened to 32.68 against the US dollar on Thursday, or by nearly 1.6% from a week ago and 1.3% from Wednesday, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Prices eased in line with the baht weakening, which is an effect of Russia’s invasion,” a Bangkok-based trader said, adding that domestic rice prices still remained stable. India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $370 to $376 per tonne this week, up from the last week’s $368 to $374. “Despite the depreciation in rupee, exports prices are moving higher. Demand is good from African and Asian buyers,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Indian farmers are likely to harvest a record 127.93 million tonnes of rice against 124.37 million tonnes produced the year before. In neighbouring Bangladesh, domestic rice prices stayed elevated despite good crops and reserves, officials said. The country’s rice stock at government warehouses surged to 1.7 million tonnes this month, according to the data from the food ministry. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $395-$400 per tonne, compared with $400 per tonne a week ago. “Importers are buying moderately, waiting for prices to fall when the winter-spring harvest peaks,” said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City. “Exports will increase from next month, with the key markets being the Philippines and Africa,” the trader said. Preliminary shipping data showed 219,000 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port in February, with most of the rice heading to the Philippines.
  • 100% adoption eyed for high-yield rice seed

  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT units (LGUs) are being counted on to ensure 100% adoption of high-yield rice seed this year, funded by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program.

    In Zambales, the total area planted to traditional seed has been steadily dropping from 16% in 2018, to 5% in 2019 and 0.06% in 2021, according to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

    “RCEF greatly contributed to the increase of high-quality seed utilization in our province. We commit to achieve 100% high-quality seed utilization this 2022,” Crisostomo R. Rabaca, provincial agriculturist of Zambales, said in a statement.

    The RCEF seed program is a six-year initiative to help farmers compete with foreign rice imports, with 42 provinces involved in the rollout of high-yield seed.

    PhilRice Executive Director John C. de Leon said the institute is working closely with LGUs, other agencies, seed growers’ cooperatives and associations, and legislators.

    “For the second year in a row, our rice farmers (achieved) record production of 19.96 million metric tons of palay (unmilled rice),” he said.

    The seed program’s impact on overall rice production for the dry and wet seasons in 2021 was estimated at between 15% and 23%, while its impact on production at targeted provinces was about 38% to 59%, PhilRice said.

    In the dry season, 1.65 million bags of seed were distributed to more than 600,000 farmers. During the wet season, 1.76 million bags were distributed to more than 700,000 farmers.

    The total area planted with RCEF-issued seed was 466,578 hectares in the dry season and 572,203 hectares in the wet season.

    The RCEF is a component of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, which sets aside P10 billion a year to increase the productivity of rice farmers.

  • Growing Rice With Aquatic Animals Boosts Production

  • Growing Rice With Aquatic Animals Boosts Production And Reduces Chemical Use

    A local carp living with rice plants in a co-culture experiment; it removes weeds and pests as well as promotes nitrogen recycling and the plants taking up nutrients CREDIT: Lufeng Zhao (CC BY 4.0) Growing rice alongside aquatic animals can reduce the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides, as well as increase farmers’ yields, shows a study published in eLife. The results suggest a way to help reduce the environmental harms associated with rice production, with potential economic benefits for rice farmers. Modern farms often grow one type of crop and require large amounts of fertilisers and pesticides. This has helped increase crop production, but at the cost of increased environmental degradation. Some farmers are experimenting with growing a mixture of crops and animals to reduce the need for agricultural chemicals by taking advantage of beneficial interactions between plants and animals. “One example includes farmers experimenting with growing aquatic animals in rice paddies,” says co-first author Liang Guo, Postdoctoral Fellow at the College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. “Learning more about how these animals contribute to rice paddy ecosystems could help with producing rice in a more sustainable way.” Guo and colleagues conducted three experiments, each lasting for four years, to compare the growth of rice alongside carp, mitten crabs, or softshell turtles with rice grown alone. They found that the aquatic animals reduced weeds, increased the decomposition of organic matter, and improved rice yields compared to the rice that was grown alone. “We also saw that nitrogen levels in the soil remained steady in the rice paddies with aquatic animals, reducing the need for using nitrogen-based fertilisers,” says co-first author Lufeng Zhao, a PhD student at the College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University.
    The team next examined what the animals ate in the rice paddies. They found that 16–50% of their diet was made up of plant and other materials they scavenged, rather than their feed. They also found that the rice plants used around 13–35% of the nitrogen from leftover feed that was not eaten by the animals. Growing rice with aquatic animals resulted in yields that were between around 8.7% and 12.1% higher than yields of rice grown alone. Additionally, farmers were able to grow between 0.5 and 2.5 tonnes of crabs, carp, or turtles per hectare alongside their rice. “These results enhance our understanding of the roles of animals in agricultural ecosystems, and support the view that growing crops alongside animals has a number of benefits,” concludes Xin Chen, Professor of Ecology at the College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, and co-senior author of the study alongside Dr Liangliang Hu and Professor Jianjun Tang. “In terms of rice production, adding aquatic animals to paddies may increase farmers’ profits as they can sell both the animals and the rice, spend less on fertiliser and pesticides, and charge more for sustainably grown products.”
  • Farm exports boom in new year

  • High quality rice is being prepared for export. Photo nld.com.vn
    HCM CITY – Farm exports to difficult markets like Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the EU have been prolific in the first two months of this year, raising hopes for a successful year. Phạm Thái Bình, general director of Trung An Hi-tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company in Cần Thơ City, said his company has fulfilled five orders for nearly 1,000 tonnes of fragrant rice from Germany, Malaysia and Qatar. " It is expected that this year rice exports will be very successful thanks to many import markets around the world beginning to reopen after the Covid-19 epidemic was brought under control and trade agreements were signed." Lộc Trời Agriculture Products JSC, a subsidiary of Lộc Trời Group, has exported more than 4,500 tonnes of fragrant, white, brown, and glutinous rice varieties worth US$3 million to Europe, the US, the Middle East, and Asia.  Nguyễn Văn Thứ, director of GC Food Company in Đồng Nai Province, said his firm shipped a container of aloe vera and coconut jelly on February 7. His company’s exports have increased by 30 per cent in the first two months of 2022 and it has many more export orders to markets like Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, he said. It targets exports of VNĐ350 billion (US$15.2 million) this year, up 67 per cent from 2021. "The Việt Nam - EU Free Trade Agreement has creates very favourable conditions for the export of agricultural products." General secretary of the Việt Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association, Đặng Phúc Nguyên, said in January exports of vegetables and fruits to key markets such as Japan, Korea, Russia, Australia, the Netherlands and the US grew by 12-69 per cent. Vietnamese firms are familiar with the quality and other requirements in these markets, which has helped increase exports significantly, he added. With the forecast being that in 2022 the Covid-19 epidemic will be full controlled and the global economy will recover, GC Food has invested in modern production lines to double its total capacity to 35,000 tonnes of products a year, Thứ added. – VNS.  
  • Rice produced by multi-stakeholder partnership shipped abroad

  • Loc Troi Group, a leading provider of agricultural services and products in Vietnam, shipped more than 4,500 tonnes of rice worth over 3 million USD to markets in Europe, Americas and Asia in early 2022.

    Rice produced by multi-stakeholder partnership shipped abroad hinh anh 1
    Hanoi (VNA) – Loc Troi Group, a leading provider of agricultural services and products in Vietnam, shipped more than 4,500 tonnes of rice worth over 3 million USD to markets in Europe, Americas and Asia in early 2022. The products, which met all requirements set by each market, were produced with the partnership between farming households and the company. The cooperation is part of the Loc Troi agricultural ecosystem comprising cooperatives and 1,200 staffers working with rice farmers, which helps raise efficiency, save costs and benefit farming households who engage in the process./. 
  • Scientists discover how to grow ‘seawater rice’, China plans to feed 8 crore people

  • Chinese scientists are betting that land once dismissed as barren can be turned into productive grain-producing plots  (Photo: AFP) Chinese scientists have developed salt-tolerant strains of rice in a bid to ensure food security as sea levels rise from climate change. Jinghai district in northern China is hardly a rice-growing paradise. Located along the coast of the Bohai Sea, over half of the region’s land is made of salty, alkaline soil where crops can’t survive. Yet, last autumn, Jinghai produced 100 hectares of rice. The secret to the bountiful harvest is new salt-tolerant rice strains developed by Chinese scientists in the hope of ensuring food security that’s been threatened by rising sea levels, increasing grain demand and supply chain disruptions. Known as “seawater rice" because it’s grown in salty soil near the sea, the strains were created by over-expressing a gene from selected wild rice that’s more resistant to saline and alkali. Test fields in Tianjin—the municipality that encompasses Jinghai—recorded a yield of 4.6 metric tons per acre last year, higher than the national average for production of standard rice varieties.  The breakthrough comes as China searches for ways to secure domestic food and energy supplies as global warming and geopolitical tensions make imports less reliable. The nation has one-fifth of the world’s population, and that many mouths to feed, with less than 10% of the Earth’s arable land. Meanwhile, grain consumption is rising quickly as the country grows more wealthy.  “Seeds are the ‘chips’ of agriculture," said Wan Jili, a manager at Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center, drawing a parallel between the crucial role semiconductors play in the development of new technologies and their role in the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. Seawater rice could help improve China’s grain production in the face of an “extremely complicated situation regarding climate change and global food security," she said. China has been studying salt-tolerant rice since at least the 1950s. But the term “seawater rice" only started to gain mainstream attention in recent years after the late Yuan Longping, once the nation’s top agricultural scientist, began researching the idea in 2012.  Yuan, known as the “father of hybrid rice," is considered a national hero for boosting grain harvests and saving millions from hunger thanks to his work on high-yielding hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s. In 2016, he selected six locations across the country with different soil conditions that were turned into testing fields for salt-tolerant rice. The following year, China established the research center in Qingdao where Wan works. The institute’s goal is to harvest 30 million tons of rice using 6.7 million hectares of barren land. “We could feed 80 million more people" with salt-tolerant rice, Yuan said in a documentary broadcast in 2020. “Agricultural researchers like us should shoulder the responsibility to safeguard food security," he told a local newspaper in 2018. Climate change has made the task more urgent. China’s coastal waters have risen faster than the global average over the last 40 years, a worrying trend given the country’s deep reliance on its long and low eastern coast for grain production. Successfully growing salt-tolerant rice on a large scale would allow the country to utilize more of the increasingly salty land in the area. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels around the world could rise as much as 59 centimeters by the end of the century if the planet warms by 2 degrees Celsius. Oceans surrounding the U.S. will swell faster within the next three decades than they did in the past century, according to a report this week led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. President Xi Jinping has stressed in several recent meetings with top government officials that ensuring the supply of primary goods is a “major strategic issue" given climate and geopolitical pressures. “The food of the Chinese people must be made by and remain in the hands of the Chinese," he said at a gathering of the Politburo Standing Committee meeting in December. Chinese scientists are betting that land once dismissed as barren can be turned into productive grain-producing plots. About 100 million hectares of land in the country, about the size of Egypt, is high in saline and alkaline. Meanwhile arable land has decreased 6% from 2009 to 2019 because of urbanization, pollution and overuse of fertilizers. To make use of salty soil, farmers traditionally dilute their fields with large amounts of fresh water. The approach is still commonly used in some coastal regions. But the method requires vast amounts of water and often doesn’t improve yields enough to make sense economically. “China is looking at another method now, to develop grain varieties that can withstand the soil’s saltiness," said Zhang Zhaoxin, a researcher with China’s agricultural ministry. While seawater rice has mostly been planted on trial fields so far, Zhang said he believes commercial cultivation will soon take off with the government’s support. The research team in Qingdao said last October that it can meet the goal of growing 6.7 million hectares of seawater rice within ten years. In 2021, the group was put in charge of 400,000 hectares of land to expand production of seawater rice. “If China can be more self-sufficient in staple foods, it would be a contribution to the world's food security too," said Zhang. “The less China imports, the more other countries will have."  
  • Pakistan has potential of $4.5b rice exports

  • Pakistan has the potential of $4.5 billion rice exports, but currently, the exports stand at $2.1 billion, WealthPK reported. By taking pragmatic steps, Pakistan can improve its production and exports, according to Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research. The minister said in a statement that Pakistan’s total production of rice this season is 9 million tons. Pakistan’s domestic consumption of rice was 3.5 million tons in FY 2020-21. He said that with a total stock of 2.5 million tons from the previous year, Pakistan now has an export potential of 8 million tons. Globally, Pakistan is the fourth largest rice exporter and the 11th largest rice producer, WealthPK reported. Rice yields are 2.56 tons per hectare in Pakistan, but the world average is 4.7 tonnes per hectare, which shows there is a lot of room for improvement. During pre and post-harvesting, a large amount of rice is lost, WealthPK reported. Post-harvesting accounts for direct loss of rice physically and quality-wise that reduces the economic value of crop or makes it unsuitable for human consumption. Due to over-exposure to fluctuating temperature, a huge quantity of rice is cracked during threshing, causing rice breakage during processing (milling) and reducing its quality. Journal of Agricultural Research and Technology states that due to mismanagement, pest attack, and spoilage, almost 25 percent of rice is lost after harvest in developing countries. Different stages of rice crops and how it is wasted are described below, WealthPK reported. Technological innovation is an important factor in boosting agricultural output and reducing wastage. Developing countries like Pakistan lag in the latest/up-to-date technologies. Weak transportation and crop management system are important factors that increase the probability of rice wastages. Almost 95 percent of farmers own less than 12.5 acres of land.
  • Rice profits up around 15 pct

  • Rice profits up around 15 pct Major rice producers and exporters saw their after-tax profits last year increase around 15 percent against the previous year thanks to stronger domestic and overseas sales with higher export prices.

    Loc Troi Group JSC reaped the biggest-ever revenues of over VND10.2 trillion ($443.4 million) and after-tax profits of more than VND420 billion, up 36 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

    Vietnam National Seed Group JSC (Vinaseed) made revenues of over VND1.93 trillion and after-tax profits of more than VND225 billion, posting respective year-on-year rises of 18 percent and 16 percent.

    Both net revenues and after-tax profits of Trung An Hi-tech Farming JSC increased 15 percent to VND3.12 trillion and over VND100 billion.

    Vietnam exported over 6.2 million tons of rice totaling nearly $3.3 billion last year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    The average export price of Vietnamese rice rose 5.5 percent against 2020 to $526.8 per ton in 2021, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Loc Troi exported over 80,000 tons of rice worth over VND1 trillion, quadrupling in both volume and value against 2020. Vinaseed exported 60 tons of premium fragrant rice to the U.K. for the first time.

    Domestic sales also increased last year, partly due to social distancing measures imposed to curb Covid-19. Hoa Sen Rice told VnExpress its sales surged 45 percent in 2021.

    The Vietnam Food Association predicted Vietnam, which exported 505,700 tons of rice worth $246 million in January, would export over 6 million tons of rice this year. However, a sharp increase in prices of agricultural materials, especially fertilizers, will increase input costs and lowers farmer incomes.


  • Rice exports go up 11.16pc

  • ISLAMABAD: Rice exports from the country increased by 11.16 per cent to 2.179 million tonnes in the first seven months of current financial year (7MFY22) from 2.179m tonnes in the same period last year, trade data shared by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Friday. During July-January 2021-22, over 2.179m tonnes of rice valuing $1.286 billion was exported as against the exports of 2.179m tonnes valuing $1.157bn in 7MFY21. Exports of Basmati rice also increased by 28.58pc in 7MFY22. A total 414,190 tonnes of Basmati rice valuing $362.183m was exported in the period against exports of 293,761 tonnes worth $281.675m in 7MFY21. The country earned $924.668m by exporting about 2.138m tonnes of rice other then Basmati in 7MFY22 as against the exports of 1.886m tonnes worth $875.959m of same period last year. On year-on-year basis, rice exports witnessed significant growth of 13.30pc as 434,382 tonnes of rice valuing $220.078m was exported in January as compared the exports of 329,999 tonnes worth $194.245m of same period last year. The exports of Basmati rice also grew by 08.97pc in month of January as 62,734 tonnes of above mentioned commodity valuing $58.086m exported as against the exports of 60,609 tonnes costing $53.305m of same month of last year. It is worth mentioning here that food group exports from the country during 7MFY22 increased by 20.87pc as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year. Commodities worth $2.952bn were exported in the period as against the exports of $2.444bn in 7MFY21. The exports of food group from the country witnessed about 14.31pc growth on year on year basis in January as compared to same month last year. During the period under review, exports of all major food items recorded positive growth as exports of rice grew by 11.16pc, fish and fish preparation 5.08pc, fruits 11.60pc, vegetables 11.36pc spices 22.94pc, meat and meat preparation 1.68pc, respectively. Meanwhile, food group imports into the country also recorded an increase of about 21.32pc during July-Jan FY22 as food commodities costing $5.629bn imported as against the import of $4.639bn of same period last year. The food group imports into the country on year on basis also recorded about 13.05pc growth in January as against the imports in the same month in 2021. During month of January different food commodities valuing $830.844m imported as compared the import of $734.953m of same period last year. In 7MFY22 imports of soyabean oil increased by 34.70pc, palm oil 55.75pc, sugar 49.84pc, pulses 14.94pc, tea imports into the country grew by 5.48pc as corresponding period of last year.  
  • $2.3m of Rice Exported in 10 Months

  • $2.3m of Rice Exported in 10 Months Atotal of 1,731 tons of rice worth $2.3 million were exported from Iran to 27 countries during the current Iranian year’s first 10 months (March 21, 2021-Jan. 20), according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration. “Canada with 314 tons worth $429,060, Iraq with 368 tons worth $403,013, Germany with 245 tons worth $350,215, Turkey with 216 tons worth $289,403, Australia with 168 tons worth $246,271, the UAE with 133 tons worth $189,364 and the UK with 77 tons worth $106,545 were the seven biggest export destinations for Iranian rice,” Rouhollah Latifi was quoted as saying by ISNA. Other countries that purchased rice from Iran include Austria, Jordan, Estonia, Slovakia, Afghanistan, Italy, South Africa, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Romania, Switzerland, Finland, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Kuwait, Georgia, Malaysia, Norway and the Netherlands. Latifi noted that 50 tons of rice husks worth $25,729 were exported to Pakistan during the same period.  
  • Asia rice: Vietnam rates rise as activity picks up, India market subdued

  • SINGAPORE: Prices of rice exported from Vietnam rose to a two-month high this week as market activity picked up again following the holidays, while low demand kept Indian rates near a one-month low. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $400 per tonne on Thursday, the highest since mid-December and up from $395 a week ago. “Prices have edged up slightly as trading activity is resuming following the Lunar New Year Holiday and demand is seen picking up,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that traders were buying moderate amounts from farmers ahead of the upcoming winter-spring harvest. Some traders said they will be joining a tender issued by South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp to purchase an estimated 72,200 tonnes of rice. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was unchanged at $368-$374 per tonne, holding near the lowest in more than a month as demand was muted from key buyers. “White rice buyers are shifting to Myanmar and Pakistan because of lower prices,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm. Indian farmers are likely to harvest a record 127.93 million tonnes, compared with 124.37 million tonnes the year before. Meanwhile, rain-fed rice output in neighbouring Bangladesh is expected to rise to 15 million tonnes this year, as farmers raised acreage to cash in on higher prices and favourable weather, according to the country’s Agriculture Ministry. But despite the good crops and reserves, Bangladesh has been battling high domestic prices of the staple. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $410-$420 per tonne, up from $407-$415 last week, mainly due to a change in the exchange rate, traders said, with the baht having gained 1.7% versus the dollar from Feb. 11 till Thursday. But a Bangkok-based trader said prices could soon weaken as the off-season harvest begins.
  • China issues 2022 minimum purchase prices for some rice products

  • The total volume of rice purchased at the minimum purchase price for 2022 will be limited to 50mln tonnes A worker falls asleep among heaps of rice sacks at a wholesale market in Jakarta May 3, 2008. Image used for illustrative purposes.
    BEIJING- China's state planner on Friday issued the minimum purchase prices for some rice products for 2022. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) set the minimum purchase prices for early indica, late indica and japonica rice at 124 yuan, 129 yuan and 131 yuan per 50kg respectively.
    That works out at a minimum purchase price of 2,480 yuan ($392.14), 2,580 yuan and 2,620 yuan per tonne respectively. The prices are also higher than those set for 2021, signalling increasing support for production of the crop. 
    The total volume of rice purchased at the minimum purchase price for 2022 will be limited to 50 million tonnes, with 20 million tonnes for indica rice and 30 million tonnes for japonica rice, the NDRC said. China had called for an increase in rice production at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic amid concerns over food security in the world's most populous country. A government working group said that regions with good growing conditions should restore double-cropping of rice and that planted acreage of early crop rice should be expanded. ($1 = 6.3243 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Emily Chow and Beijing newsroom Editing by David Goodman) ((emily.chow@thomsonreuters.com; +862120830020; Reuters Messaging: emily.chow.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))  
  • No rice price hike during Ramadan, predicts food secretary

  • No rice price hike during Ramadan, predicts food secretary Food Secretary Dr Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum on Wednesday assured that the prices of rice would not increase during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan. She gave the assurance while talking to reporters at her Secretariat office. "I can assure you (journalists) that the prices of rice would not increase during Ramadan this year because the food-friendly programme of the government will start in March," Dr Nazmanara said. "As many as five million families would get 30 kg rice each under the programme. So there is no chance of rice price hike during the month of fasting," she added. Asked what would be the government initiative in case rice prices increase inevitably during Ramadan in line with the present high rate of the main staple, she said, "If we (government) see that situation, we would increase the number of open market sale (OMS) outlets." She asserted that the government always shows liberal attitudes as regards the food issues and it (the government) would start selling rice at increased volumes at subsidised rate in the open market. "And if necessary, the government is ready to import rice considering the interest of the consumers," she said. She, however, straightaway ruled out the possibility of rice import right now by the government. The country has now over two million tonnes of food stock in the public silos, she said. If the government takes move to import rice, the critics might through into question the government's claim of the present sufficient food stock in the country, she added. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had earlier suggested that the government import rice though they expressed satisfaction at the country's overall food production, she said. "We (the government) don't want to import (rice)-- if we can fulfill our requirement within our means then it will be easier for us to establish that we are self-sufficient," she added. Even though there is a stock of over two million tonnes of food, millers are ready to sell rice to the government, she continued. "So prices of the coarse varieties of rice would not increase further; rather those would come down after arrival of the newly-harvested Boro, " she said. She expressed optimism that if any untoward situation dose not happen newly-harvested Boro rice would hit the market in April next that will help prevent further price escalation of rice. Admitting the present price spiral of different varieties of rice, she said it would be brought under control through increased supply (of rice). Prices of different varieties of rice in the market are now high. Coarse varieties of rice were selling at around Tk50 per kg while fine varieties at between Tk60 and Tk 65 a kg in the city's retail markets on Wednesday. talhabinhabib@yahoo.com
  • Pakistan’s rice exports to China increased 133% in 2021

  • Pakistan’s export of rice to China (HS Code 1006) crossed $400 million in 2021, up 133 percent year on year, and in the first five months of the last year once Pakistan remained the largest rice supplier to China. China Economic Net (CEN) reported this on Tuesday quoting official data from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC). Commercial Counselor of the Pakistan Embassy Beijing Badar uz Zaman previously said that in the next few years, his target is to achieve one million tons of rice. He desires that Pakistan will become the largest player in this market. This year China imported about 973,000 tons of rice worth $437 million from Pakistan. The seven new Pakistan rice exporters have been added to the approved list which has risen to 53 last year, and China relaxed import restrictions on Pakistani rice which helped rice export to China. Commercial Counselor Badar uz Zaman told CEN that Pakistan has become the third-largest exporter of rice to China, added that they are using traditional and especially social media platforms to provide awareness about Pakistani rice in this market. “We are also in discussion with the Chinese government for the technology transfer of sea rice because huge saline land along the coastal districts can be used for rice cultivation. The Chinese have been successful in their experiments to use the saline land and we can learn this from China,” Badar added. This year semi or wholly milled rice (Commodity Code 10063020) crossed about $249 millio, increased 85% as compared to last year, which followed by broken rice (Commodity Code 10064020) reached $125 million, up 201% year on year. Badar further said that the number of Pakistani restaurants isincreasing in China that helped Pakistani Basmati rice improve exports here, and Middle Eastern restaurants like Lebanese and Turkish restaurants also use Basmati rice. Previously there was no presence of Basmati rice because Chinese normally like the other varieties of rice, but now the Chinesebuying power is being increased, and the tendency to use expensive products and special aromatic basmati rice will create a pull from the Chinese market. Miss Xie working as a manager in a Pakistani restaurant is amazed that more Chinese customers are coming to eat Basmati rice because it’s different from Chinese rice and it has a special fragrance. The grains remain separate after cooking. Asif Jalil, owner of Little Lahore a famous restaurant in China told CEN that Thai Jasmine rice is very popular here because they created the demand in the Chinese market and now, they are capturing & enjoying the market, he added Pakistan still needs to work hard to grab the whole market because the Chinese market is too big. “The quantity of Pakistani rice exported to China, at this moment does not represent the demand from the local consumers. It only tells that we let some of the consumers try Pakistani rice. When this export grows over a certain period, then basically, we will be able to see the number of returning consumers to rightly quantify the growth in demand for Pakistani rice,” he added. Pakistani rice exporters expressed that the shipping cost is too high due to COVID-19 and the price of rice in the domestic market goes up while the end-users are still buying on old rates. If they get subsidies or some incentives from the Chinese side, that would help increase much more exports of Pakistani rice to China. They also said that 1121 Basmati Rice has very high quality in Pakistan but the price of this type of rice is the same as Indian traders are getting in the Chinese market, while quality has a huge difference, adding that the Pakistani government needs much more effort to increase further exports of rice because China is a very big market. They also mentioned that right now IRRI-6, IRRI-9, semi or wholly milled rice and broken rice are the main varieties of rice that are exported to China while Basmati and other top varieties still need to work hard to capture the Chinese market. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFSR) Fakhar Imam said that last year Pakistan has the best rice production of around 9 million tons, which has helped Pakistan earn $4.75 billion from rice exports, and he expected that 2022 will break all record of rice production and exports. It is also worth mentioning that the latest color sorter machines (technology) and seeds given by China to Pakistan to facilitate the sowing and improvement of rice grains helped increase rice exports to China and also around the world.  
  • State goes slow on paddy purchase, milled rice delivery

  • BHUBANESWAR: Even as the farmers are crying foul over delay in procurement of paddy leading to lapse of tokens, the Odisha government is lagging behind in both purchase of paddy under minimum support price system and delivery of custom milled rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI). In the ongoing kharif marketing season (KMS), the State government agencies have procured 36.33 lakh tonne of paddy under the decentralised procurement system as against 43.98 lakh tonne during the same period last year. 
    In the delivery of custom milled rice (CMR), the State is way behind last year’s achievement. As per FCI procurement data, the State has so far delivered 12,313 tonne of custom milled rice to the Central agency against the last year’s figure of 4.56 lakh tonne. However, the progress in milling rice for distribution under different food security schemes is comparatively better than last year. The Odisha State Civil Supply Corporation (OSCSC), the government agency mandated for paddy procurement and supply of rice under public distribution, has received over 2.87 lakh tonne of rice against 2.51 lakh tonne during the corresponding period last year. The total rice procurement till end of January 2022 was 2.99 lakh tonne against 7 lakh tonne last year. As the blame game over lifting of parboiled rice between the State and Centre continues, the rice millers who are benefitting the most out of it are going slow as they are not keen to supply raw rice to the FCI. “We have sufficient stock of parboiled rice in our warehouse. As FCI refused to lift parboiled rice from this kharif marketing season, there is hardly any space to accommodate paddy and rice at the same time,” said a rice miller from Western Odisha. The Department of Food Distribution and Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Food, had intimated the State government on August  3, 2021 that the FCI will not lift parboiled rice from Odisha from the next KMS (2021-22). The issue was raised by BJD MPs in the Rajya Sabha last week. The State government has targeted to procure 63 lakh tonne of paddy (nearly 42 lakh tonne rice) in the kharif season and 14 lakh tonne paddy (around 10 lakh tonne rice) in rabi season.  
  • Brown Rice Market Driven by Growing Awareness about Health Benefits Read more: https://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/brown-rice-market-driven-by-growing-awareness-about-health-benefits#ixzz7LWP2m1Ws

  • The new report from Market Research Future (MRFR) presents a detailed analysis of the global brown rice market by providing readers with a comprehensive overview of the market’s historical trajectory. The leading drivers and restraints affecting the global brown rice market are assessed in detail in the report. The historical impact of these drivers and restraints is analyzed in context of the current impact of these factors and projections are made for the likely impact of these drivers and restraints over the forecast period. Various components of the global brown rice market are also studied in the report and projections are made for the growth trajectory of each distinct component. The various segments and sub-segments within the global brown rice market are studied in detail in the report. The study also makes a detailed analysis of the major players operating in the global brown rice market and provides a detailed look at the various competitive strategies employed by players in the global brown rice market. Likely future conditions with respect to the competitive landscape of the market are also explained in detail in the report. Brown rice is a more nutritious version of white rice and is becoming increasingly popular due to its health benefits over the latter. Brown rice contains vitamin B, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and various other additional ingredients that make it more nutritious and filling than white rice. It also has a lower caloric load than white rice. As a result, brown rice is increasingly being preferred by health-conscious consumers who want to consume healthier foods in order to stay healthy. The nutritional benefits of brown rice have driven its demand over the last few years. Increasing awareness about the same is likely to remain the major driver for the global brown rice market over the forecast period. The increasing prevalence of heart conditions, obesity, and diabetes has led to many consumers opting for healthier variants of regular foods. Brown rice has been top of the pile in this department, as it offers simple, easily understandable benefits.
  • ‘Fistful of rice’ helps women keep Bangladesh’s Indigenous community afloat Previous

  • DHAKA: When Doli Barman founded the first food bank in Kawapara village in northern Bangladesh two years ago, she wanted to make sure her community would be safe from hunger in times of crisis. The impoverished region in Niamotpur, Naogaon district, an area inhabited by some 6,000 members of landless Indigenous groups, has often suffered food emergencies.  The simple food bank idea, called Musti Chal (“a fistful of rice”), has already helped it stay afloat during one of the biggest crises in recent years — the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic — and is now allowing local women to make small investments and become self-sufficient. “One of the main objectives of this food bank was to extend support to group members during periods of crisis,” Barman told Arab News. Musti Chal was established just months before Bangladesh went into its first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. In communities like Barman’s, which are dependent on daily wage labor, pandemic-imposed closures deprived many of their livelihoods, increasing the country’s poverty rate to over 40 percent from 20 percent before the outbreak.  “Our people were saved from starvation,” Barman said. “From the food bank, we lent rice to community members, which they repaid later.” In her village, the food bank is now run by 30 women. They set aside a fistful of rice from their cooking every day. After a week, they collect all the spare rice and sell some of it. They save the money they have earned and after some time invest it together into small projects like fish farming and domestic animals, which generate further income.
    They also lend money to community members with little or no interest, preventing them from falling into debt by borrowing from loan sharks. “This is how the food bank is serving the community. We want to grow together,” Barman said. “Now that I have the food bank, I am much more confident than before. I used to feel quite helpless whenever I fell into any crisis.” With other members of Musti Chal, she has now managed to save around $250, which the women want to allocate for investment. This week, she said, they are going to buy livestock to rear. In managing the food bank, Barman’s group received training from the Borendro Development Organization, a local nongovernmental organization funded by the Manusher Jonno Foundation, which helps uplift Indigenous communities in the region and has helped with the establishment of similar food banks in other villages.  “Initially, we provided some training and logistics to participants for the management of the food bank,” project coordinator Mohammed Anwar Hossain told Arab News. “Each group meets once a week to review their achievements and discuss future plans. We have a plan to extend further assistance to groups to increase the fund, which will help Indigenous people achieve financial independence.”   In Chargasa Vutkuri, a village next to Barman’s, women are already planning expansion.  “Now we are planning to take a pond on lease for fish farming in the locality. There is also a plan to buy cattle,” she said. “All our 25 members are now growing together as a big family. We understand that the strength of togetherness will offer us a huge potential to grow.”  
  • Experts advise growing more low GI rice to fight spurt in diabetes

  • Experts advise growing more low GI rice to fight spurt in diabetes ‘Increasing shift to sedentary lifestyle driving up cases' With sedentary lifestyle increasingly becoming the norm in India — more so in view of the Covid-19 induced work-from-home trend — driving up the number of diabetes cases, scientists from ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition and ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research have favoured large-scale cultivation of the low Glycemic Index (GI) rice as a fit diet for diabetic people in the country. Any variety of rice with less than 55 GI is considered diabetic-friendly, according to scientists. A low GI diet helps curb cravings and prevent sugar levels from spiking, reduces heart risks, and aids weight  loss. “Considering increased shift towards sedentary lifestyle in majority of the population, necessary policy changes are to be made at various levels to increase the cultivation of low-GI rice in the country,” lead author of the study, D Sanjeeva Rao from IIR said. His colleagues J Aravind Kumar, V Ravindra Babu and R M Sundaram and Ananthan and  T Longvah, both from ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition co-authored the study published in the latest edition of journal Current Science. Most rice varieties in India are of high GI, a food quality said to contribute to the health problems surrounding high-calorie intake and dysregulated glucose metabolism. Manipulation of GI through various approaches is considered to significantly help in the fight against diabetes and related diseases. The scientists also noted that paddy procured from the farmers is processed to milled rice and sold in the market under various brand names, and often the varietal purity is compromised. Hence, they emphasized that it is equally important to indicate the original name of the variety, GI value and available carbohydrate value on the label to translate the advantages of this research to society. The IIRR has already identified three rice varieties with low GI values which are considered suitable for diabetic patients. These are Lalat (GI=53.17), BPT 5204 (GI=51.42) and Sampada (GI=51). Also, named the ‘Telangana Sona’, yet another low GI rice variety has been developed by researchers at Professor Jayaprakash Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU).  India is known as the Diabetes capital of the world with above 77 million adults suffering from diabetes, this number is expected to increase to 134 million by 2045. According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes mellitus is considered as one of the major causes of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower-limb amputation.
  • High cost of inputs leaves Mwea rice farmers with a bitter taste

  • A farmers carries some rice seedlings for transplanting at a section  whose season came late within  the Mwea Irrigation scheme. PHOTO;Munene Kamau/standard Rice farmers from the Mwea Irrigation Scheme have decried the increased cost of fertiliser and other farm inputs. The high cost of production of rice has resulted in farmers seeking money from unregulated creditors to finance farming while many small-scale farmers are unable to access credit have ditched rice farming. According to prominent rice trader Njiru Mkombozi, the farms and plots under the Mwea Irrigation Scheme still lack title deeds which make it difficult for farmers to get financial assistance from regulated banks. “Most farmers have lease and beacon certificates which are not accepted by banks as collateral for loans. This leaves farmers at the mercy of shylocks who charge exorbitant interests,” he said. Mr Mkombozi, a rice miller, said farmers rush to shylocks to get easier loans which accrue high interest of around 30 per cent. “With affordable farm inputs, farmers can be able to produce rice at low cost, we are also requesting financial institutions to start accepting lease and beacon certificates as collateral so as to save farmers from the jaws of rogue unregulated creditors,” he said. He added that some creditors are forced to harvest rice in the farms of indebted farmers who are then left with nothing from a whole crop season. Daniel Ng’ang’a, another farmer, said the completion of Thiba Dam would triple the production of rice in the scheme and urged the government to spur local production through imposing taxes on imported rice. “The government has been giving excuses that local production of rice is not enough, and that is why they have been allowing imports which have hurt our economy greatly,” he said. “This must come to an end once the dam under construction is completed.” Thiba dam is expected to double the production of rice from the current 114, 000 metric tonnes to 230,000 metric tonnes. Other than lack of affordable credit, competition from rice imports and the high cost of farm inputs, snail invasion in Kenya’s largest rice scheme are some of the challenges that have forced some farmers to abandon cultivation of the crop. Jane Wangechi, a trader at Wanguru township, said the government should expand the rice off-take programme to cover farmers outside the big cooperatives in the area. “We feel that the government has also left us at the mercy of brokers and must make the off-take programme an annual activity,” she said.  
  • From Plate to Plough: Fix rice farming to avoid a bumper emissions harvest

  • The amount of methane emitted from paddy fields of India is 3.396 teragram per year, which is 71.32 mt CO2e. By Ashok Gulati & Reena Singh Against the ‘carbon neutrality by 2070’ target set by India at CoP26, Budget FY23 lists “climate action” and “energy transition” as priorities for the “Amrit Kaal”. The announcement of an additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crore for solar PV modules, co-firing of 5-7% of biomass pellets in thermal power plants, “sovereign green bonds, and “battery-swapping policy” was made in the context. These are steps towards making energy and transport sector less polluting. But in the case of agriculture, Budget announcements have been rather limited. We know that agriculture contributes 73% of country’s total methane emissions. India has kept itself away from recent EU-US pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, despite it being the third-largest emitter of methane globally. It is in this context, one has to see the Budget announcement of chemical-free natural farming within a 5-km-wide corridor along the Ganga, support for millets, increased domestic production of oilseeds, kisan drones, etc. While these are welcome steps, they do not give enough comfort on overcoming the environmental damage already done by this sector as a result of subsidies on urea, canal irrigation, and power for irrigation, along with minimum support prices (MSP) and procurement policies that are concentrated in a few states and largely on two crops, rice and wheat. On January 1, the country had stocks of wheat and rice in the central pool that were 4X higher than the buffer stocking norms. In fact, rice stocks with the FCI are an astounding 7X higher than the buffer norms. This is despite record distribution of rice in PDS and record exports of rice (17.7MMT) in 2020-21! The financial value of these excessive grain stocks is Rs2.14 lakh crore, out of which Rs 1.66 lakh crore is just because of the excess rice stocks, estimated at economic cost of rice and wheat as given by FCI. Interestingly, the Economic Survey 2021-22, pegs the economic cost of rice and wheat as being higher than those reported by FCI. If one uses Economic Survey costs, then the value of excess stocks jumps to Rs 2.56 lakh crore, with rice accounting for approximately Rs 2 lakh crore. It is not just inefficient use of scarce capital locked up, the excess stocks are also reflective of a large quantum of greenhouse gases (GHG) embedded. As per the national GHG inventory, agriculture emits 408 million tonnes (mt) of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e), and rice cultivation is the third-largest source (at 17.5%) within Indian agriculture, after enteric fermentation (54.6%) and fertiliser use (19%). Paddy fields are anthropogenic sources of atmospheric nitrous oxide and methane—273 and 80-83 times more powerful than CO2 in driving temperature increase in 20 years, respectively. The amount of methane emitted from paddy fields of India is 3.396 teragram per year, which is 71.32 mt CO2e. Two important points need to be noted here: First, India is not reporting nitrous oxide emissions in its national GHG inventories. There is scientific evidence that intermittent flooding reduces water and methane emissions, but increases nitrous oxide emissions. Thus, lowering methane emissions through controlled irrigation does not necessarily mean net low emissions. Second, there are emissions due to burning of rice residues, application of fertilisers, production of fertilisers for rice, energy operations like harvesting, pumps, processing, transportation, etc, which are not being accounted in GHG emissions by rice production. A study by Vetter et al (2017) used Cool Farm Tool (CFT) model to estimate annual GHG emissions associated with crops, from production to the farm gate. This study reported emission of 5.65 kg CO2e GHG per kg of rice. Furthermore, rice cultivation requires about 4,000 cubic metres of water per tonne. Even if half of this percolates back to the ground, the excess stocks of 46 mt of rice embed about 92 billion cubic metres of water as well as 260 mt CO2e. According to the IMF, the world needs a global carbon tax of $75 per tonne by 2030 to reduce emissions to a level consistent with a 2°C warming target. India does not have an explicit carbon-price yet, but many countries have instituted carbon pricing, with Sweden leading the pack, at as high a rate as $137 per tonne of CO2e while the EU is at $50/t of CO2e. It is high time that India announced indicative carbon pricing and create a vibrant carbon market to incentivise ‘green growth’ in Amrit Kaal. Economic Survey 2021-22 points out that India is over-exploiting its groundwater resources, particularly in its northwestern and southern reaches. This is primarily due to paddy cultivation on 44 million hectares. Paddy helped achieve food security, but now is the time to save groundwater and the environment. It calls for revisiting policies on subsidising power and fertilisers, MSP, procurement, etc. Farmer groups and the private sector can be mobilised for developing carbon markets in agriculture, both at the national and international levels, which can reward farmers for switching from carbon-intensive crops such as rice to low carbon crops, or for improving farming practices in rice to lower GHG emissions. Moving towards ‘net-zero’ agriculture will give India ‘climate smart’ agriculture. And if we can protect productivity levels with a low carbon footprint, it will help India access global markets too. Respectively, Infosys Chair professor for agriculture, and senior fellow, ICRIER
  • Gulf Food: Tilda – Market leader in the region’s premium Basmati rice category

  • Gulf Food Tilda for web
    The story of Tilda is one of unbroken success. Tilda was the first company to bring Basmati to the Western world over 50 years ago and has become an international food brand selling in over 70 countries across the globe, which includes Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Africa, Middle East and Far East.
    Tilda Middle East was established in 1992 and caters to retail/traditional outlets, HORECA and Royal palaces across Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt. Tilda is the market leader in the Premium Basmati rice category in the Middle East.
    Basmati remains at the very heart of Tilda and we are committed to selecting only the finest Basmati for all our products. Indeed, Tilda refuses to blend with inferior grains. In our quest for the very best Basmati, Tilda employs the latest technology and checks every batch of rice for purity, ensuring only the finest and purest rice reaches the consumers’ plate.
    While rice remains the core product for Tilda, the brand has never stopped innovating. Our recently launched Tilda Ready to Heat products have taken the European markets by storm and soon will be driving a paradigm shift in how rice is consumed around the world. These Ready to heat Basmati rice meals consists of all-natural ingredients, no artificial preservatives and carry an 18-month shelf life while being kept in ambient temperature. This has allowed to us to target not just women, but men and also the younger audience who prefer convenience over food.
    Tilda is proud of its reputation for uncompromising quality and commitment to sustaining the premium status of Basmati and the Tilda brand worldwide. Tilda will be participating in Gulfood 2022 as a global brand and will be showcasing its entire range of rice products under Ebro Foods S.A. at Hall World Food S1-H40.
  • New Thai rice varieties lined up to boost exports

  •                   Thailand plans to develop 12 new commercial rice varieties by 2024 to boost rice export competitiveness. Speaking after an award ceremony for new commercial rice varieties, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the ministry set up a war room to accelerate Thai rice development and increase exports, for both existing and new markets. Of the 12 new varieties, Mr Jurin said four are hard-texture grains, four are soft texture, two are Thai fragrant rice and two are high-nutrition types. These varieties are in high demand among global consumers, he said.
  • Sri Lanka: Government’s Badly Planned Organic Farming Policy

  • sri lanka farm rice By R.M. Samanmalee Swarnalatha Sri Lankan government’s badly planned organic farming policy that has banned the use of chemical fertilizer in farms has upset farmers in this rice-growing heartland and a political stronghold of the ruling coalition. The policy has also drawn criticism from agricultural experts, who warn that Sri Lanka’s food security is at stake. Chairman of Minneriya Integrated Farmer Organization, Anil Gunawardhna argues that the government organic fertilizer program is an utter failure because it was announced without any proper program and work plan to achieve its aims. “The government’s original plan was to achieve this organic cultivation in ten years time.  However, without any discussion with farmers they banned the import of chemical fertilizer,” he complains. Writing in The Sunday Times in May last year just after the government banned chemical fertilizer imports, agricultural scientist Saman Dharmakeethi criticized the decision predicting that it would cause loss of forests and a food crisis.  In his election campaign in 2019 under the theme of ‘ Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’  President Gotabaya Rajapakse, clearly mentioned that “building up a community of citizens who are healthy and productive, we need to develop the habit of consuming food with no contamination with harmful chemicals”. In order to guarantee the peoples’ right to such safe food, the entire Sri Lankan agriculture will be promoted to use organic fertilizers within ten years, the election policy platform said.
    When President Rajapakse banned the importation of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in April 2021, he cited health concerns. The ban on its importation was imposed through an Extraordinary Gazette Notification on May 6th last year, following the Cabinet endorsement of the plan under the theme of  “Creating a Green Socio-economy with Sustainable Solutions for Climate Change”.  The document admitted that the use of chemical fertilizers has led to better harvests but has also contaminated lakes, canals and groundwater. For more than two decades a mysterious kidney disease has been spreading among farmers in the mainly rice-growing areas, which has baffled both hydrologists and medical experts. It is suspected that the overuse of chemicals in farming may be the cause.

    Weaning Away From “Green Revolution” Technology

    With many vested interests at work, the government is learning a bitter lesson that it is not easy to wean away farmers from the use of chemicals in farming. It needs careful planning and closer consultations with farmers. The agricultural production system in Sri Lanka consists of two traditional and well-defined components. One is the plantation section, established during the colonial period, consisting of large units, and producing perennial crops such as coffee, tea, rubber, and coconut mainly for export. The other is the smallholder sector comprised of small farms, which produce most of the country’s rice, vegetables, legumes, tubers, spices, and fruits. While, fertilizers and pesticides have long been used for the production of plantation crops in Sri Lanka, until several decades ago, most of the smallholder operations were farmed with little or no input of agricultural chemicals. Wide use of chemical fertilizer was introduced to the country during the so-called ‘green revolution’ in the decades 1960-70 along with “high-yielding” seeds.

    Costly Fertilizer Imports and Subsidy

    In 2020, Sri Lanka imported (both state and private sector) foreign fertilizers worth  $259 million, representing 1.6 percent of the country’s total imports by value according to Central Bank statistics. Sources indicate that the 2021 import bill could potentially total in the range of $300-$400 million given current international prices. By limiting and/or banning costly foreign exchange draining fertilizer and agrochemical imports, the Sri Lankan government aims to generate significant import cost savings. But, Professor Buddhi Marambe, a former Dean of Agriculture Faculty at the University of Peradeniya in recent newspaper articles has warned that an overnight shift to organic fertilizer could lead to crop declines that in turn cause huge food shortages within months. “We have spoken based on science. Without going for evidence-based decisions, nothing will go right,” he argues, refuting claims by the government that they are being manipulated. “Food security is national security,” he stresses, adding, “we must have sustainable policies to ensure food security because there is no point relying on food imports from outside”. 

    Rice Farmers’ Grievances

    Some rural farmers have already decided not to cultivate Sri Lanka’s staple rice in the ongoing ‘Maha’ or next ‘Yala’ cultivation seasons, because of the government’s failure to supply necessary fertilizers. Farmers here are deeply unhappy at the sudden banning of the import of chemical fertilizer. They mainly cultivate paddy, low country vegetables, cereals, grains, and onions. However, in this ‘Maha’ season, they could not use chemical fertilizer, If the government promised to supply the required organic fertilizer, farmers say they didn’t receive it at the correct time. Rice farmers have thus used different fertilizer that is normally used for tea, cinnamon, and coconut. They say this season’s rice harvest is very disappointing with resulting low incomes. Piyarathna, Chairman, Eksath Sulu Farmer Organization, representing farmers from Dehiyannewela, Divilunkadawala ,Viharagama, Medirigiriya areas told IDN that there are 142 farmers in their farmer organization and they cultivate more than 190 acres using minor irrigation  water. “Our farmers normally harvest 100- 120 bushel (2500-3000 kg) per acre using chemical fertilizer. However, this time farmers can’t expect such harvest due to improper fertilizer usage” he says, adding, “farming is now a business enterprise, (and) farmers cultivate not only for (their)consumption”. Paddy plants take around 3–6 months to grow from seeds to mature plants, depending on the variety and environmental conditions. They undergo three general growth phases: vegetative, reproductive, and ripening. “Our farmers cultivate two groups: the short-duration varieties which mature in 105–120 days and the long-duration varieties which mature in 150 days”, he explained.  “They (farmers) use hybrid seed and not traditional varieties. These hybrids varieties need quality fertilizer to increase the harvest. By using organic fertilizer farmers can’t expect high yield”.  Piyarathna says that farmers in the Polonnaruwa area have complained that the compost they have received is of inferior quality with most of the purchased compost having debris, seeds and stones. Kapila Ariyawasnsa, a 38 year old farmer from the Ekamuthu Bedum Ela Farmer Organization in Mahaweli river irrigation System B told IDN that he cultivate 8 acres of low land  both in Yala and Maha seasons – mainly paddy – and there are also 206 rice farmers belonging to his organization. He thinks that the proposed organic fertilizer program is not practical in their area. “There are not enough resources to make compost in our village. Greenery vegetables can be cultivated using compost, not paddy,” he argues, because  “there is no traditional varieties and only have all hybrid seeds (and) these hybrid seeds need required fertilizer for bumper harvest”. Further, he said that he had to spend Rs 23000 (USD 115) to purchase Yuria in black market. Ariyawasnsa, predicts that the rural economy will collapse after the coming rice harvest. “Farmers won’t have the yield this time, they would get only 30 per cent of the harvest” he predicts.  “Most of the people in Mahaweli area depend on agriculture”. He added that not only Mahaweli B zone, but most farmers in the Polonnaruwa District, would face bad harvests due to the government’s organic fertilizer program. “The current government’s policy (has been based on) unplanned policy decisions” he laments.

    Farmer’s Expectation

    There is also growing interest among farmers for producing organically-grown food products and they understand the export potential for it. Some farm production units have already experienced considerable success in such ventures. Organic food production and marketing could be greatly expanded in Sri Lanka. But, research is needed to develop organic farming systems and practices that are efficient, productive, and profitable. This is the criticism the government is facing at the moment. M.G. Dayawathi Chairman of Kalukele People’s company said that banning of chemical fertilizer has affected their company’s microfinance system too. “We have given more than 52 lakhs (5.2 million) of cultivation loans to 75 farmers for this Maha season. Unfortunately, farmers would not make the expected income and they are not in position to repay loans” she told IDN “Moreover, farmers mortgage their gold and their vehicles to purchase chemical fertilizer in the black market. They are trapped in a loan cycle.  Government cannot expect livelihood improvement (among farmers) with this kind of unplanned program”. 
  • Eunice farmer and LSU AgCenter develop new, diabetic-friendly rice

  • Michael Frugé, a second generation farmer in Eunice, is working to change the way we think of rice, even though it’s been a little bit of a process over the last couple of years. "It’s always been a passion of mine to put rice in a package. But I didn’t have-I couldn’t find a way to do it with just what I was growing," says Frugé. But that’s when he came across a particular variety of rice that his friend and fellow rice farmer in Illinois was growing. The variety is called Frontier and is developed through the LSU AgCenter. Now through a partnership with that same friend, Frugé created his own brand and is now growing this variety of rice in Eunice. It’s one that is high in protein but also brings the glycemic index down significantly compared to ordinary white rice. In fact, down from the 60s and 70s to a score of 41: A game changer for diabetics or those trying to bring rice back into their diets. "We have a lot of people who have left from eating rice because of their diabetes..because of what it does to their blood sugar. But this particular rice has allowed us to bring a lot of those people back. They can eat rice now and put it back in their diet to a certain extent," explains Frugé. While Parish Rice is in several different stores, Frugé says the biggest partnership they’ve had so far has been with Rouses. The local chain tells us the product is a perfect addition to their Eat Right with Rouses program. They also say they are receiving really good feedback from the public so far. Frugé says he looks forward to continue bringing attention to and celebrating Louisiana agriculture. You can find more information on this new rice over on the Parish Rice website or on their Facebook page.
  • India’s basmati rice exports hit 4-yr low as Iran trims buying

  • Workers lift a sack of rice to load onto a truck at a wholesale grain market in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Ajay Verma/File Photo  

    MUMBAI, Feb 11 (Reuters) - India's basmati rice exports plunged a fifth from a year ago to the lowest level in four years in 2021 as top buyer Iran slashed purchases after its rupee reserves dwindled, government and industry officials said.

    The country's basmati rice exports in 2021 fell 20% from a year ago to 4 million tonnes, the lowest since 2017, according to government data.

    Shipments to Iran, the biggest buyer of India's basmati rice, plunged 26% from a year ago to 834,458 tonnes, the data showed.

    "Iran wasn't active in the market for a few months last year after its rupee reserves with Indian banks depleted," said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading house.

    Iran previously had a deal to sell oil to India in exchange for rupees, which it used to import critical goods, including agricultural commodities, but New Delhi stopped buying Tehran's oil in May 2019 after a U.S. sanctions waiver expired.

    Tehran continued using its rupees to buy goods from India, but without crude sales, which brought down Iran's rupee reserves. read more

    There was slowdown in exports in the middle of 2021 but in the last two-three months buying from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other key buyers have picked up, said Vijay Setia, former president, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA).

    India, the world's biggest rice exporter, mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East.

    The country total rice exports jumped nearly 46% in 2021 from a year ago to a record 21.42 million tonnes as Bangladesh, China and Vietnam increased purchases.

    Basmati rice production in 2021 fell around 15% from a year ago because of lower area and untimely rainfall during harvesting season, Setia said.

    "Export prices of basmati rice have gone up by 20% because of lower production, but still demand is robust for February and March shipments," Setia said.


  • Fortified rice in 14 districts from April

  • Ahmedabad: Officials of state civil supplies department on Thursday said the state will start distribution of fortified rice in 14 districts through the public distribution system (PDS). Before the launch, the department along with Food Research Laboratory (FRL) of the Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFS) carried out an awareness programme to dispel myths about ‘plastic rice’. Officials said fortified rice is made with rice flour mixed with micronutrients — folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron. Thus, it’s colour and shape is sometimes different from rice grains. According to national standards, fortified rice has one such pellet mixed per 100 grains of rice. G P Darbar, technical officer at FRL, said there are multiple tests through which citizens can determine whether the rice in question is ‘plastic’, including soaking it in water (the pellet will fall to the bottom, while a plastic grain will float) and burning (a plastic one will smell). H P Sanghvi, director of DFS, said they regularly receive samples where citizens call the pellets ‘plastic rice’.
  • Philippine rice imports to hit 2.9 million MT

  • Philippine rice imports to hit 2.9 million MT MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to continue importing rice this year, with shipments expected to reach as much as 2.9 million metric tons (MT). In a report by its Foreign Agriculture Service, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revised upward its rice import forecast for the Philippines to 2.9 million MT, higher than its earlier projection of 2.5 million MT. The USDA attributed the higher forecast to the “continued strong import pace from Vietnam.” Similarly, the USDA also adjusted upward its milled rice production forecast for the country at 12.4 million MT from the earlier projection of 12.3 million MT. Consumption forecast is also increased to 14.95 million MT from 14.85 million MT. As rice imports continue to rise, the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) warned of a possible decline in palay prices during the coming dry season harvest, citing that rice imports reached 2.98 million MT in 2021. “We will have a supply glut when the farmers start harvesting their dry season crop starting March 2021,” FFF national manager Raul Montemayor said. “Farmers will again suffer from low prices even as the costs of fertilizer, fuel, and other farm inputs remain high. Having a large harvest is meaningless to farmers if it results in low prices for their produce,” Montemayor said. Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the deseasonalized farmgate price of palay registered at P16.65 per kilo from October to December 2021. This was 9.5 percent lower than the P18.39 per kilo farmgate price in the same period the year before. Meanwhile, the FFF also downplayed the impact of the reported increase in rice tariff collections on farmers. Under Republic Act 11598, or the Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is mandated to provide cash transfers to rice farmers tilling two hectares or less until 2024, to be sourced from rice tariffs in excess of P10 billion a year. As tariffs from rice imports reached P19 billion in 2021, this means P9 billion will be given to rice farmers in the form of cash assistance through the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance program. “Tariff collections increased because imports surged, and, as a result, palay prices went down. The P9 billion that will be given to farmers is very small compared to the P60 billion that farmers are losing every year compared to their income before RTL (Rice Tariffication Law) took effect,”Montemayor said. “In addition, one out of every three rice farmers will not get any cash assistance because RA 11598 applies only to farmers tilling two hectares or less,”he said. Moreover, the FFF said the increase in palay production last year did not benefit farmers significantly as half of the incremental harvest came from an expansion in harvested area and only half was due to an improvement in yields. “Overall, output per hectare improved by only 1.6 percent in 2021, equivalent to an additional income of only P1,095 per hectare. This is far off the DA’s unsubstantiated claim that farmers earned P10,000 more per hectare in 2021 despite the increase in fertilizer costs,” Montemayor said. The FFF questioned the effectiveness of the DA’s interventions, noting that the additional palay output of about 665,000 MT in 2021 had a market value of only P11 billion. “We support calls to increase the budget for agriculture, but we must make sure that the money is being spent wisely and effectively. Spending one peso to get back just one peso is not a good way to use scarce government money,”Montemayor said.
  • Rice feeds the world, now more than ever

  • sustainable rice, international food assistance

    Jesica Kincaid, Senior Manager, International Trade Policy, USA Rice, argues that rice feeds the world, now more than ever

    Rice has been produced throughout the world for thousands of years, and today it is a staple food for more than 3.5 billion people. The United States, while newer to the rice game than some other exporters, produces several varieties of nutritious, high-quality, and delicious rice. While approximately half of the rice produced in the U.S. is consumed there, the other half is exported around the globe including providing food to the world’s hungry. The U.S. rice industry is proud to participate in international food assistance programmes that help feed, nourish and educate those in need.

    Increasing need for international assistance

    Numerous man-made and natural disasters as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have only increased the need for such assistance. Two years into the pandemic, the World Food Programme reports (1) that global and national economic disruptions caused by subsequent waves of the virus have resulted in an estimated 97 million more people living in poverty in 2021 compared to 2019, leaving tens of millions more people hungry and malnourished. As a result, in 2020 and 2021, the U.S. rice industry saw record years for international food assistance deliveries. With the development and ever-expanding use of fortified rice, rice contributes to improving food security by not only fighting hunger but also acute malnutrition. Fortified rice is rice that is traditionally grown and milled, and following the milling process, a nutrient premix that is specified to the dietary needs of the recipient population is added as a coating or as an extruded kernel, without substantial additional cost. In addition to being nutritious, rice has a long shelf life, is easy to prepare, fits into the diets of many different ethnic groups, and is one of the least allergenic foods, making it a perfect fit for assistance programmes.
    Rice usage in international food assistance has been growing not only in terms of volume, but also in the diversity of the programmes in which it is utilised. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has two principal international assistance programmes: Food for Progress, a monetisation development programme that sells U.S. grown commodities in the recipient country and then uses that cash to create economic and agricultural programmes within the country; and McGovern-Dole Food for Education, a global school feeding programme and a primary user of fortified rice. A third programme is Food for Peace, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) emergency feeding programme which works to create a world free of hunger and poverty. Given that it is a global staple, rice has seen increased use across all three of these government assistance programmes. Recently, more than 100,000MT of U.S.- grown milled rice was monetised in West Africa to support the cashew and sesame industries in several countries in the region. As for fortified rice, it is the most utilised commodity in McGovern-Dole, having been awarded for all 2022 school feeding projects. USAID also recognises the value of fortified rice for the people it serves, having increased volumes over the past few years and with the eventual goal of having all rice used in its programmes be fortified.

    The U.S. rice industry

    In addition to the privilege of helping those in need, the U.S. rice industry also prides itself on its sustainable farming practices, having made substantial changes over the past 30 years that led to numerous environmental benefits. Some of these benefits include a 52% decrease in water use, a 41% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, and a 39% increase in land use efficiency. U.S. rice farms, 96% of which are family-owned, contribute to a safe and strong supply chain for the well-being of all through sustainable practices and being good stewards of the land. On a global level, rice production has hit record levels for the last several years, with another record projected for the 2021/22 crop year and global stocks maintaining their highest levels in history. For rice consumers around the world, whether they are able to purchase rice at their local grocery stores or need assistance to feed themselves and their families, the U.S. rice industry is there to answer the call.
  • Modern rice mill to come up at Chinnamanur, says Minister

    Whenever the DMK came to power in Tamil Nadu, temples across the State had been given a facelift and kumbabishekams were performed, said Minister for Cooperation I Periasami here on Thursday. Speaking at a meeting at Chinnamanur Uzhavar Sandhai, he said that soon after the DMK assumed office in May 2021, the government swung into action and retrieved thousands of acres of lands from encroachers. On the one hand, the government has been fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic while on the other side, it focused on development. Very recently, Vadapalani Murugan Temple witnessed kumbabishekam. Despite several odds, the officials and temple staff performed the rituals without compromising on the agama sastras, he said and informed that the Sivakami Amman - Poola Nandeeswarar Temple here would witness kumbabishekam soon.

    Quality rice

    The DMK government had promised to supply quality rice through PDS outlets. It had been decided to set up a state-of-the-art rice mill at Chinnamanur for this purpose. It would procure paddy from farmers and send the rice to ration shops from here directly. This is going to be a reality soon, he said and added that the modern rice mill would come up on an outlay of ₹ 108 crore. For the benefit of the plantain growers, the government had established a cold storage facility. It has a great impact so that they would establish more such facilities in different locations in Theni district including Uthamapalayam, Bodi and Cumbum.

    The government strived hard to maintain the storage level in Mullaperiyar reservoir at 142 feet. He recalled the legal battle undertaken by the DMK government and assured the farmers that the Chief Minister M.K. Stalin would not let them down at any cost.

    The party MLAs Cumbum N Ramakrishnan and Andipatti Maharajan were present. Earlier, Mr Periasami introduced the candidates to the voters. He also addressed meetings at different locations in Theni district.
  • Pakistan can fulfill entire rice demand of Romania: Fakhar Imam

  • Ambassador of Romania to Pakistan Nicolae Goia called on Minister of National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam in Islamabad today [Thursday]. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said Pakistan has immense export potential in citrus fruits, rice, mangoes, onion, potatoes, fisheries and livestock sectors. He said Pakistan has eight million tonnes of rice production which can be used to fulfill the entire rice demand of Romania. Syed Fakhar Imam said Pakistan can benefit from Romania expertise in mechanization.
  • [Graphic News] S. Korea’s rice consumption hits another low in 2021

  • South Koreans’ consumption of rice hit an all-time low in 2021, but the decreasing rate slowed on the back of a growing demand for home meals amid the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed.  The average South Korean consumed 56.9 kilograms of rice last year, down 1.4 percent or 0.8 kilograms from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. Rice is a key staple food for Koreans, but its consumption has been on a steady decline since 1980 due mainly to changes in diet and eating habits. The 2021 figure had more than halved compared with 30 years ago, when the amount stood at 116.3 kg. In 1980, per capita average annual rice consumption stood at 132.4 kg, the data showed. (Yonhap)
  • Substantial rise in FCI allocation of rice for ethanol production

  • image caption

    No diversion of foodgrain from cental pool buffer stock, says Piyush Goyal

    Allocation of rice from FCI (Food Corporation of India) for the production of ethanol has been raised by 466 per cent during the ethanol supply year (ESY) December 2021- November 22. To a query in Lok Sabha on the details of the quantum of foodgrains diverted from the buffer stock of FCI for the production of ethanol, Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said there is no diversion of foodgrains from the buffer stock in the Central pool. “With a view to increasing production of fuel-grade ethanol for blending with petrol, the government enables distilleries to produce ethanol from surplus rice available with FCI,” he said. For ESY 2020-21, the government had allocated 81,044 tonnes of FCI rice to distilleries for production of ethanol. Rice was priced at ₹20 per kg ex-FCI godown. Of this, distilleries in the country had lifted 49,233 tonnes of FCI rice for the production of ethanol during the ESY 2020-21. During the current ESY 2021-22, the government has allocated 4,58,817 tonnes of rice for the production of ethanol at a price of ₹20 per kg ex-FCI godown. Of this, the distilleries in the country have already lifted 19,929 tonnes of FCI rice till January 27.

    Wheat, rice procurement

    In a separate reply to a query on the quantum of procurement of wheat, rice, sugarcane and other kharif crops, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said 433.44 lakh tonnes (lt) of wheat have been procured in 2021-22. Added to this, 601.85 lt of rice and 2996.37 lt of sugarcane have been procured in 2020-21. On the number of farmers benefited from the procurement, he said in the reply that 49.19 lakh wheat farmers got the benefit during the rabi marketing season 2021-22 as against 43.35 lakh farmers in 2020-21. Apart from this, 1.31 crore paddy farmers got the benefit during the kharif marketing season of 2020-21 as against 1.24 crore in 2019-20. To another query, Choubey said 426.98 lt of covered storage (owned and hired) capacity was available with FCI for storage of foodgrains as on on January 1. The stock position of FCI was at 290.46 lt as on January 1. “No food grains got rotted in FCI due to shortage of godowns in the last three years,” he said.

    Cotton purchase

    Replying to a separate question on whether the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) had entered the market to purchase cotton, Darshana Jardosh, Union Minister of State for Textiles, said CCI is mandated to procure raw cotton, if prices of raw cotton fall below Minimum Support Price (MSP). “Since market price of raw cotton has been ruling above MSP right from the beginning of the current cotton year, there has been no need for CCI to undertake MSP operations. However, CCI has deployed adequate manpower at procurement centres to keep a close watch on kapas arrivals, market rates, and to meet any eventuality to undertake MSP operations wherever required,” the Minister said. A note in the reply said that seed cotton prices for FAQ grade are ruling much above MSP level since the beginning of current cotton season 2021-22, and farmers are getting higher prices. Thus, farmers do not require market intervention by CCI in current cotton season so far, as they are getting 65 per cent to 70 per cent higher above MSP rates by market forces itself, the note said.
  • Non-Basmati rice exports likely to cross 17 MT this financial year: BV Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association

  • non basmati rice Exports of non-Basmati rice are poised to cross 17 million tonne (mt) for the current financial year. Exports have already crossed 12.53 mt for the current season against 13 mt for the entire 2020-21 season, BV Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association (REA), told FE. According to data released by the association, non-Basmati rice exports have recorded a 51.8% rise between April and December last year, over the previous year’s corresponding period, due to high purchases made by China and Bangladesh. Non-basmati rice shipments crossed 12.53 mt over April-December 2021, compared to 8.25 mt in the same period last year. In value terms, the non-basmati rice shipments were up by 46% at $4.48 billion compared to $3.07 billion same time last year. In the April to December 2021 period, Bangladesh imported 1.58 mt in the current year, as against 13,811 tonne for the same period the previous year. In value terms, this translates to $596 million for the April-December 2021 period as against $13.47 million for the April to December 2020 period. Rao said that although Bangladesh has been the largest purchaser of non-Basmati rice from India in the 2021 period, the country has not been buying from India for the last four months since their purchases are largely determined by government decisions. China has imported 0.9 mt from India in the April to December 2021 period valued at $275 million, while the imports from the April to December 2020 period were 33,705 tonne and the shipments were worth $ 10,29 million for this period. Rao stated that China may continue to purchase rice from India and the shipments from India are likely to cross 1.5 mt for the entire year. Other major buyers of Indian rice include Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Somalia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Togo, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Russia, among others. Recently, the agriculture ministry said that the country’s exports of Basmati and non-Basmati rice are likely to touch 21-22 mt for the current fiscal.
  • Rising freight rates impact India’s basmati exports to West Asia

  • Doubling of freight rates for shipments to West Asia from the beginning of February has started impacting basmati rice exports to the region. As a result, basmati exports are likely to decline more than 10% year-on-year in this financial year, said industry executives. West Asia has traditionally been the largest buyer of Indian basmati rice, accounting for 85-90% India’s basmati exports. “In the first nine months of the current financial year, basmati exports were down by 38% compared to the same period last financial year,” Vinod Kaul, executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), told ET. “The trade was expecting exports to go up in the fourth quarter of FY22 as the Ramadan month of April was coming when the Middle East buys good quantities of basmati rice.” The surge in freight rates will hurt exports, said Kaul. “The freight cost has more than doubled in the last ten days beginning February. The freight rate was $1,100 per container at January-end which has shot up to $2,300 per container now,” he said. India exported 4.6 million tonnes of basmati rice in 2020-21. But this fiscal, exports are unlikely to cross 4.1 million tonnes, said Kaul. “The payment problem with Iran continues, though some exports are happening through third currency payments which are permitted by the Reserve Bank of India,” he said. However, while basmati rice exports are reeling under rising freight rates and exporters have no choice to send the rice to other destinations, non-basmati rice exports are doing exceedingly well. Exports of non-Basmati rice are expected to cross 17 million tonnes this fiscal, said BV Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association. Exports crossed 12.53 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2021-22, as against 13 million tonnes in the entire 2020-21. Non-basmati rice exports increased 51.8% year-on-year between April and December last year due to higher purchases made by China and Bangladesh.
  • Vietnamese rice well-received in Europe

  • HÀ NỘI — The EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for Vietnamese rice. Thanks to the preferential tariffs, the export of jasmine rice and high-quality rice to the EU has never been so good. Việt Nam Customs reported that the country's rice exports to the EU market have not yet recorded a sharp increase in volume, but the export price and value had increased significantly. Rice exports to the market reached 53,910 tonnes in the first 11 months of last year, worth US$38.07 million, up only 0.8 per cent year-on-year in volume but the value grew by 21.6 per cent. The Import-Export Department said this result showed that businesses had effectively taken advantage of the EVFTA to increase the value of rice exports to the EU, especially amid the pandemic, increasing sea freight rates and declining rice imports in the past year. Statistics from Eurostat showed that the EU rice imports fell by 10.9 per cent in volume in the first nine months of last year and 9.3 per cent in value. However, among the 10 major foreign rice suppliers to the EU in the nine months, the Vietnamese rice export price to the EU achieved the strongest growth, up 20.3 per cent, reaching an average of $781 per tonne. Therefore, although the country's rice exports to the EU dropped, the export turnover still rose by 13.2 per cent. With 27 member countries, a population of about 516 million people, and a GDP per capita of more than $35,000 per year, the EU market needs to import a large number of goods, especially agricultural produce. For Việt Nam, this is the third-largest export market of agricultural products, with a turnover of about $5.5 billion per year. But Vietnamese agricultural produce only accounts for 4 per cent of the EU's import market share, and rice accounts for just over 1 per cent of the market share. The Việt Nam Food Association (VFA) forecast the country's rice exports to the EU to increase significantly this year. In particular, the quality of Vietnamese rice has improved, mainly jasmine rice varieties, hitting the tastes of European consumers, said VFA. Taking advantage of the EVFTA to export jasmine rice with 0 per cent tax was in the hands of enterprises with large raw material areas and cultivated in high standards such as Lộc Trời, Tân Long and Trung An. In the last days of last year, amid the chaos and difficulties caused by the pandemic, Lộc Trời Group (LTG) completed its export of one final batch of rice to Europe, including 4,170 tonnes of jasmine and white rice. It was also the first batch shipped in the form of the bulk carrier to save transport costs amid the pandemic. For the whole year, LTG has exported more than 80,000 tonnes of rice to the EU, the UK, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and neighbouring countries in Asia, earning over VNĐ1 trillion ($43.47 million), or nearly 24 per cent of the group's total revenue. Nguyễn Duy Thuận, general director of the group, said that with an order of more than 4,000 tonnes just exported to the EU, the group believed that there would be more rice and agricultural produce produced in a greener and more sustainable direction to meet the strict requirements of the import market. Lộc Trời was also the first enterprise to export an order of 126 tonnes of jasmine rice to the EU under the EVFTA, right after the agreement took effect. The group's rice exports accounted for nearly 70 per cent of Việt Nam's total rice exports to the EU last year. Meanwhile, Trung An High-Tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company has also taken advantage of the EVFTA to export thousands of tonnes of rice to Switzerland, France and Germany. Phạm Thái Bình, general director of the company, said that the EVFTA continued to bring greater opportunities for Vietnamese agricultural products, including rice. — VNS
  • Rice farmers face turbulent 2022

  • U.S. agricultural commodity prices have been on the rebound, but at least one – rice – is still in a turbulent patch, USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward said during the Arkansas Rice Farmers and Arkansas Rice Council annual meeting held Tuesday (Feb. 8) in Jonesboro. Rice prices have been better, but explosive input costs, unfair world trade practices, and a lack of policy making in Washington D.C. threaten rice farmers, she said. “Crops are rebounding … rice is not recovering as fast,” she said. “Rice is different from other commodities. It has different challenges.”   Gov. Asa Hutchinson served as the keynote speaker at the event. Arkansas remains the top rice producing state in the country. About 48% of the rice grown on U.S. soil comes from the Natural State. It’s a $1.3 billion industry each year. Rice is the second largest export crop for the state with a value of $742 million. There are an estimated 1,800 rice farms in Arkansas and the crop is grown in 40 counties, he added. “I want to thank you for keeping our food supply going during the pandemic,” he said. “Farmers stepped up every step of the way.” A grim reality is setting in for many in the farm industry that input costs are going to be significantly higher in 2022, Ward said. With an evenly divided Congress, it’s unlikely relief will be coming from the federal government anytime soon, she said. “Getting anything passed in Washington D.C. right now is going to be tough,” she said. She noted the Joe Biden administration has tried to focus on climate change policies that will impact the way farmers are able to grow crops. Ward said there has been no cohesive attempt to open trade markets around the world, especially in China. Hutchinson said he talked to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week and he offered no specifics on how the Biden administration plans to open global markets for U.S. agricultural exports such as rice. China agreed almost two years ago to buy billions of dollar’s worth of U.S. agricultural products and that promise has not been kept, he said. The Chinese not adhering to previous commitments is a problem, but another problem has emerged on the world stage, Ward said. India is now the world’s largest rice exporter. It sends out 20 million metric tons of rice each year, which is 40% of the international rice market, she said. Farmers in India can produce rice cheaply due to a number of factors, Ward said. The first is that the Indian government guarantees high prices, and then covers all input costs for farmers. They essentially only operate within their own profit margins, she said. U.S. officials are trying to work with the World Trade Organization to tackle the India rice issue, she said. In addition to high input costs, there are a number of factors that will impact rice farmers in the coming years, Hutchinson noted. Throughout the state, there is a ground water shortage and there are a number of irrigation expansion projects ongoing to alleviate the lack of water, he said. Scientific research will be critical in the coming years as the water supply wanes and farmlands will have to produce more food to support a growing global population. The governor lauded rice research that is ongoing at Arkansas State University. He authorized $5 million to be taken from the state’s Restricted Reserve Fund to be used at the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center. Agriculture remains the state’s top economic driver, but in Northeast Arkansas steel production is starting to have a significant impact, he said. U.S. Steel recently announced it will build a new $3 billion plant in Mississippi County. Hutchinson’s term will end in one year, but he said he’s not done fighting for more projects like that and helping the farm community throughout the state. “Pittsburgh has moved to Arkansas. It will be transformative … I want you to know, I’m not going out quietly,” he said.
  • PDS beneficiaries will get fortified rice: Bihar govt

  • PATNA: The state cabinet on Tuesday gave its clearance to the government’s decision to supply ‘poshanyukt chawal (fortified rice)’ to the public distribution shops (PDSs) in the state to overcome the problem of malnutrition in the large chunk of population both in the rural and urban areas. In this regard, the Bihar State Food and Civil Supply Corporation (BSCSC) has been authorized to select the agencies required for the supply of fortified rice to the PDSs. The selection will be done through a proper tendering process, cabinet secretariat department additional chief secretary Sanjay Kumar said. The agencies concerned will also be authorized to procure fortified rice kernel (FRK) that has to be mixed with rice to prepare the fortified rice. It would require mixing of 1kg of FRK with 99kg rice. The proposal for the cabinet clearance had been moved by the food and consumer protection department. As its target people, the scheme will cover 85% of rural population and 75% of those living in the urban areas. The cabinet also sanctioned Rs72.82 crore for the construction of buildings with their specifics at Bagaha and Valmikinagar in West Champaran district to house the offices meant for Mahila Swabhiman Vishesh Sashastra Bal.The sanction was also given to the proposal of the health department for the creation of 32 posts to man Bihar Health Science University, Patna. The building construction department has been authorized to select representatives from Bihar School of Yoga Darshan or those authorised by it, to prepare the curriculum required for the Free Yoga Kendra at Shastri Nagar in Patna.

  • The USDA increased its outlook for U.S. cotton and rice ending stocks. The domestic rice supply is seen at 33.5 million hundredweight, up half a million from January, with a lower import projection more than canceled out by a decrease for exports. The average estimated farm price is $15.70 per hundredweight, $.60 higher than a month ago. Cotton ending stocks are expected to be 3.5 million bales, 300,000 above last month following a cut in export use. The average estimated farm price is $.90 per pound, unchanged on the month. The current marketing year for cotton and rice runs through the end of July. World rice ending stocks were up modestly from the previous report and global cotton stocks were down slightly. The USDA’s next set of supply and demand numbers is out Wednesday, March 9th. Breakdowns of selected supply and demand tables: 2021/22 U.S. rice ending stocks are seen at 33.5 million hundredweight, compared to 33 million in January and 43.7 million for 2020/21. Imports were cut 500,000 hundredweight to 30.5 million, leaving the total supply at 266 million hundredweight. Exports were cut 1 million hundredweight to 87 million, all of that milled rice, for total use of 232.5 million hundredweight. The average 2021/22 farm price is estimated at $15.70 per hundredweight, compared to $15.10 a month ago and $14.40 for the previous marketing year. 2021/22 U.S. cotton ending stocks are estimated at 3.5 million bales, compared to 3.2 million last month and 3.15 million last marketing year. Exports were lowered 250,000 bales to 14.75 million, putting total use at 17.3 million bales. There was also 50,000 bale swing in “unaccounted” use, from 30,000 to -20,000 bales. The average 2021/22 farm price is estimated at $.90 per pound, compared to $.90 for January and $.663 for 2020/21. 2021/22 world milled rice ending stocks are pegged at 186.33 million tons, compared to 186.06 million a month ago. Production is expected to be 510.31 million tons, slightly more than the prior report, following upward revisions for Brazil and Pakistan. Exports are estimated at 50.86 million tons, compared to 49.86 million last month. 2021/22 world cotton ending stocks are projected at 84.31 million bales, compared to 85.01 million in January. Global production is seen at 120.15 million bales, just over 800,000 less than the last guess, mainly on a cut for India. Domestic use is pegged at 124.43 million bales, compared to 124.24 million last month, and exports are estimated at 46.45 million bales, compared to 46.56 million a month ago.
  • China’s quest to secure its ‘Rice Bowl’: Challenges to its food security

  • Can Xi continue to promise food security despite increased consumption, aging rural population, rapid urbanisation, and climate changes? In June 2021, President Xi Jinping declared that China had achieved CCP’s first centenary goal to become a ‘moderately prosperous society’ with zero absolute poverty. As the nation moves to attain its second centenary goal, which is to build a ‘modern socialist country’, Xi knows he has to pivot back to the rural hinterlands  to perennially secure his people’s ‘rice bowl’—by increasing grain quality and output. Throughout its civilisational history, China has faced major famines. Ever since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took reigns of mainland China in 1949, the country has witnessed major setbacks when it comes to food security. One such major setback was the Great Chinese Famine (1959-61) a man-made disaster during the Great Leap Forward movement which is said to have killed nearly 45 million people. Some of the older generations alive today have horrid memories of the famine.
    The Great Chinese Famine (1959-61) a man-made disaster during the Great Leap Forward movement which is said to have killed nearly 45 million people.
    The Party has crafted a narrative that credits the nation’s leadership for being able to deal with nation’s challenges. Citizens are expected to place their faith in their party and their leader Xi Jinping. However, China’s food security faces certain perils.

    Journey towards food self-sufficiency

    China holds the distinction of being the world’s largest importer of food products—grains, meat, and seafood included. It is also the fourth largest buyer of agricultural land abroad. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic left an adverse impact on international food supply chains and although China has ample stockpiles of corn, rice, and wheat, it depends on global markets for pork and soybean which are part of the staple Chinese diet. The world continues to view China’s aggressive rise with suspicion, especially as it does little to allay the fears of the international community. Trade frictions, allegations of food hoarding and land grab, belligerent military posturing in Asia-Pacific, and the overall global perception of its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak—these are merely a few reasons for China to accelerate efforts to look inwards and attain self-reliance.
    Although China has ample stockpiles of corn, rice, and wheat, it depends on global markets for pork and soybean which are part of the staple Chinese diet.
    To further exacerbate food insecurity concerns, there were widespread incidents of panic buying and hoarding in November last year, when a Ministry of Commerce directive to local governments to stabilise food prices for winter months was widely speculated to mean a possible incoming COVID-19 wave or an outbreak of war with Taiwan.

    Policy changes over the last few years

    Over the years, China has shifted its policy focus towards self-sufficiency in food. In the 1990s, China’s leadership ordered for establishing a National Grain Stockpile to coordinate central and regional food reserves—which today is claimed to be one of the world’s largest stockpiles. In 2006, a ‘red line’ was established, under President Hu Jintao, at 1.8 billion mu of land (120 million hectares) to ensure that urbanisation and industrialisation drives did not encroach into arable lands that was to be utilised for agriculture.
    President Xi Jinping through the National Congress enacted a law that banned binge eating and food wastage to instill values of conservation amongst the general public.
    An ambitious target of 95 percent self-sufficiency in grains was set, i.e., 95 percent of domestic demand should be met through domestic supplies—which China claims it has ensured till date. To ensure accountability in provinces, political responsibility to prevent food shortages was assigned to provincial governors and local party functionaries. In April 2021, President Xi Jinping through the National Congress enacted a law that banned binge eating and food wastage to instill values of conservation amongst the general public.

    Seeds are the new ‘semiconductor microchips’

    In 2021, the Chinese central authority issued the year’s first policy document called ‘Document No. 1’, which is seen as an indicator of national policy priorities. For the 18th consecutive year, the document focused on food and agriculture. However, a significantly important policy change was in the promotion of Genetically Modified (GM) technologies in seed industries and commercial usage of GM crops. China’s Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian declared that seeds are the new “semiconductor microchips” in agricultural technology, and they shall be instrumental in securing grain output. Unlike countries like USA where private players are involved in three-quarters of the research in seed technologies that leads to commercial applications, in China, the number stands at 10 to 20 percent. Thus, CCP has instructed the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs to provide the government’s direct support to leading private seed enterprises. Acquisition of multinational corporations has been considered the quickest way for China to acquire seed technology. One of the most high-profile acquisitions has been that of Swiss food-tech giant Syngenta in February 2016 by state-owned ChemChina for US $43 billion.
    CCP has instructed the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs to provide the government’s direct support to leading private seed enterprises.
    On 24 December 2021, China adopted a revised Seed Law which shall come into effect from 31st March 2022. The revised law increases commercialisation and standardisation of GM technology in the seed industry and brings it in line with international standards. However, Chinese government has been drawing flak for promoting GM foods.

    Challenges ahead

    Despite China’s leadership’s go-ahead for GM corn and soyabean after passing them through biosafety evaluations in 2020, it has met with resistance from the Chinese public at large. Policymakers in Beijing have been unsuccessful in building trust amongst the citizens that GM foods are safe for consumption. The public has seen its share of food safety scandals in the past. However, this is only part of the problem. Till date, China continues to be an agrarian society but it faces the daunting task of feeding the world’s largest population on just 7 percent of world’s arable land. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources stated that China’s arable land area towards the end of 2019 had reduced by 6 percent to 1.28 million square kilometres, as compared to 2009—a majority of it converted into forests, urban areas or industrial hubs. Since 1990s, incessant and inefficient use of chemical fertilisers has polluted and depleted groundwater table and soil quality. China also happens to be the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world since 2006. In 2020, China’s carbon emissions broke records by reaching nearly 14 billion tonnes (GtCO2) contributing to 27 percent of the global emissions, as per reports by the Rhodium Group. Particularly, a major source of carbon emission in China arises from livestock cultivation. As per the ‘Journal of Integrative Agriculture’, net greenhouse gas emissions from the pork industry in China increased 16 million tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) during the study period 1976-2016, further adding to the national carbon footprint. The greenhouse gas emissions have a direct contribution to loss in crop yields. According to a study by Nature Food, China saw an increase in Ozone pollution resulting in diminishing yields of wheat, rice, and maize at 33 percent, 23 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has hailed climate change caused due to anthropogenic factors as the main reason for flooding in China and other countries.
    In 2021, heavy rainfall led to flooding in many provinces in China. Henan province, for one, experienced loss of 2.4 million acres of crops fields. The province produces one-third of China’s wheat supply and nearly one-tenth of its corn, vegetable, and pork. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has hailed climate change caused due to anthropogenic factors as the main reason for flooding in China and other countries. Thus, the need of the hour for the leadership is to ensure the adoption of sustainable and environmentally safe practices in food production. The socio-economic effects of the ageing population in China, especially in rural areas, have an impact on food production and consumption. Urbanisation rate in China was at 57 percent in 2016, and might go up to 65 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050. These figures raise an important question—who shall be a part of food production in rural areas if society continues to undergo such transitions?


    Ever since he came into power 10 years ago, food security has been one of Xi’s prime areas of focus. “Food security is an important foundation for national security. Guaranteeing national food security is an eternal issue, and this string cannot be loosened at any time” claims the President. The ‘string’ which Xi refers to is extremely vital to the longevity of his presidency. In 2013, he had reminded his officials to take heed of USSR’s disintegration in 1991 and to keep in mind the reasons for the same—that the then Russian leadership had permitted the public denigration of Soviet leaders like Lenin and Stalin. In China, excessive rise in food grain prices was one of the factors that led to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and Xi will not let public criticism of food security programmes adversely affect his political career. The National Congress, which assembles once in five years, shall convene towards the end of this year and determine who forms part of the future leadership, which Xi aspires to lead. Despite enacting a national anti-food wastage law, Beijing must realise that China has transformed into a relatively more prosperous country. With growing urbanisation and rising income levels in urban and rural areas, dietary consumption is bound to increase in the world’s largest population. The CCP had always promised its people abundance in food and grains. Now that citizens have begun to enjoy the fruits of a ‘moderately prosperous society’, an important question arises—are various components of China’s food policy realistic enough to secure the ‘rice bowl’ or are they mere political gimmicks to secure Xi’s presidency?  
  • APEDA Invites Bids For Crop Survey to Estimate Acreage & Expected Yield of Basmati Rice During 2022 & 2023

  • The government's agro export development authority, APEDA, has asked for bids by February 18 for a crop survey to estimate acreage, analyze crop health, and forecast Basmati rice yields for the years 2022 and 2023. However, it has kept out enterprises with merely yield estimating experience through crop cutting experiments, despite the fact that the government has enlisted multiple agritech companies, some without prior expertise, due to new sectors opening up for the private sector in the crop insurance segment. Due to the epidemic, the survey could not be completed in the last two years, however, APEDA has been estimating Basmati rice production estimates since 2003. "A field-based survey will be conducted on the basis of a sample group of farmers selected at the district level in the Geographical Indications (GI) area of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir," according to a notice from APEDA.

    Specific Model

    It has requested that agencies submit specific models and methodology for the crop survey. It said that the 'Technical Bid' and the 'Financial Bid' must be filed separately. A firm must have a minimum of five years of experience conducting crop surveys using satellite imagery and field-based surveys for a trade group or government entity in India, according to the bidding rules. "Crop cutting experiment experience will not be considered for this reason," it stated. The acreage estimation of all basmati rice crop varieties, differentiated in traditional and evolved varieties of Basmati rice, including Sharbati and Sugandha types of non-Basmati rice, would be covered by satellite imageries and field-based survey. Reports will have to be submitted on a district-level basis for each State.

    Concerns Raised

    However, experts have questioned the legitimacy of non-notified varieties of Basmati since Sharbati and Suganda are thought to be primarily used for mixing in pure Basmati. "It could also be projected that non-notified varieties are in the process of notification," an expert said, adding, "why should adulterants be surveyed?" By providing a quantity of such non-basmati crops, the survey will unwittingly facilitate in depressing actual Basmati paddy prices or distort market sentiments, he said. According to APEDA, the selected agency will also be responsible for variety-specific crop health monitoring and analysis, as well as advance yield prediction using climate-based yield modeling based on 10 years of historical yield and climate data. Reports must be submitted by the end of each month in July, August, September, October, November, and December. In the event of unusual weather conditions or pests/diseases wreaking havoc on yields, a fortnightly report will be required, particularly during crop maturity. Bidders who receive at least 70% (49 out of 70) in technical presentations will be shortlisted, and their financial bids will be opened. The financial bid will be worth a maximum of 30 points.
  • Weak peso boosts rice tariff collections in 2021

  • Weak peso boosts rice tariff collections in 2021 MANILA, Philippines — Tariffs collected from imported rice posted a double-digit growth last year, partly thanks to a weak peso that offset the impact of falling global prices of the main staple. The Bureau of Customs raised a total of P18.9 billion from rice tariffs in 2021, up 22% year-on-year, the Department of Finance reported Tuesday. The amount collected surpassed the P10 billion mandated to be allocated to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), a pooled funding under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law earmarked for projects targeted at improving local rice production. Under the law, the government is allowed to redirect in other farm programs any windfall revenues from rice levies during the first six years of the law enacted last year. The law met heavy criticism from agriculture stakeholders as many feared it would impair the livelihood of already-impoverished farmers. On the measure’s first year, part of the P12.3 billion generated under RCEF went to fund cash transfers to poor farmers. The Philippine Statistics Authority estimated that palay (unhusked rice) production increased 1% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2021 to 7.46 million metric tons. Tariff collections rose last year despite a drop in prices of rice. The Food and Agriculture Organization, a UN agency, showed its global rice price index fell 4% year-on-year in 2021.  FAO data showed grain prices have dropped in Thailand and Vietnam, where the Philippines secures the bulk of its imports, last year. Jun Neri, lead economist for the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said the higher collection was “partly due to weak peso”, which nevertheless pushed up the value of rice shipments, the base over which the 35% tariff is collected. “Tariffication works and that funds can be used to improve farmer productivity whereas no revenues prior to Rice Tariffication Law,” Neri said.

    Losses from lower pork tariff hit P4-B

    In the same statement on Tuesday, the DOF said Customs estimates that it had foregone P4 billion in revenues last year as a result of the presidential directives lowering the import tariffs on pork.  For pork imports, the bureau was able to collect P3.75 billion from April 9, 2021 to Jan. 28, 2022 from a total volume of 242 million kilograms. The national government allowed imported pork to surge in local markets in a bid to tame inflation after the African swine fever epidemic battered the local hog industry.
  • High-yield rice offered

  • A new high-yielding, with the registered trademark of Clearfield rice variety developed by the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station will be available to rice growers from Horizon Ag in 2023.
    The new rice is called CLL18 and averaged 221 bushels per acre over two years in the 2020-21 Arkansas Rice Performance Trials conducted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
    Beginning in 2022, the ARPT will be known as the Arkansas Rice Variety Advancement Trials.
    “This was the highest yielding nonhybrid Clearfield® rice in the ARPT for those two years,” said Karen Moldenhauer, professor emeritus and rice breeder for the experiment station. “It has looked very good in all of the tests it has been in.
    “CLL18 is an excellent long-grain Clearfield® line derived from the cross of Roy J and CL142-AR, made at the Rice Research and Extension Center at Stuttgart in 2011,” Moldenhauer said.
    BASF provided the CL142-AR Clearfield® breeding material.
    “It has excellent rough rice yields,” Moldenhauer said. “CLL18 yielded a two-year mean of 221 bushels per acre in the 2020-21 ARPT, compared to CLL16 at 210 bushels per acre and Diamond at 209 bushels per acre,” she said.
    “BASF views CLL18 as a high performing new Clearfield® variety that will greatly benefit Arkansas rice growers, as well as rice growers in the mid-south down to the coastal states,” said Frank Hardimon, rice licensing account manager for BASF Agricultural Solutions. “The New CLL18 will be a great addition to the Horizon Ag portfolio of herbicide-tolerant rice varieties. CLL18 will be an excellent companion to CLL16, this combination of broadly adapted varieties will have strong performance across the mid-south.”
    “We appreciate the rice breeding efforts of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture that developed CLL18 and the business relationship that we have with Horizon Ag that will bring CLL18 to the market in 2023,” Hardimon said.
    Tim Walker, Horizon Ag general manager, said, “We’re excited about the fit that new CLL18 will have in our elite Clearfield® rice variety portfolio and the outstanding performance potential it offers our farmers. CLL18 has shown it has yield potential equal to or greater than CLL16, which has proven it can yield with or better than top-performing varietals and even hybrids. In addition, because CLL18 is earlier in maturity than CLL16 and appears to be well adapted to the coastal region of Louisiana and Texas, it may have a better fit in second crop situations.”
    CLL18 will be in seed production in 2022, Walker said. He encourages farmers to look at how it performs and where it will fit on their farms, along with other Horizon Ag Clearfield performers like CLL16, CLL15 and CLL17.
    “CLL18 is another step in our commitment to providing farmers better and better-performing varieties,” Walker said. “Since it doesn’t have the pi-ta gene, it doesn’t have as broad a spectrum for blast as CLL16. But it will be a great addition to the top-performing Clearfield varieties that are helping farmers improve production potential and profitability.”
    Moldenhauer said CLL18 has a plant height of 37 inches with grain weight and kernel size like Diamond, and early maturity similar to CLL15. It has a lodging resistance similar to Diamond and CLL16.
    “CLL18 is moderately susceptible to common rice blast, to sheath blight, bacterial panicle blight and false smut,” Moldenhauer said. “It is moderately resistant to narrow brown leaf spot.”
    CLL18 has typical southern U.S. long-grain cooking quality, she said.
    Clearfield rice, from which CLL18 was bred, was developed at Louisiana State University from a rice breeding line with a naturally occurring genetic mutation tolerant to the imidazoline family of herbicides.
    Scientists at LSU licensed the original Clearfield® lines to American Cyanamid, now BASF Agricultural Solutions, which later shared the breeding material with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Horizon Ag is a seed technology company licensed by BASF to market Clearfield rice varieties.
    Breeder seed for CLL18 will be maintained at the Division of Agriculture’s Rice Research and Extension Center and distributed to growers by Horizon Ag. Fertilizer and other agricultural management recommendations are available from County Extension offices or Horizon Ag.
  • Applications invited from rice growers for subsidised machinery provision

  • FAISALABAD    -  The agriculture department has invited applications from rice growers for providing them agri appliances and machinery on subsidised rates under Prime Minister (PM) Agri Emergency Programme.
    Deputy Director Research Information Unit Agriculture Department Faisalabad Dr Asif Ali said that male and female farmers belonging to Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin, Narowal, Hafizabad, Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, Bahawal Nagar and Okara were eligible for applying for agri machinery. He said that rice growers should submit their applications up to February 20, 2022 and they would be provided rice machinery after balloting. He said that application forms were available in the offices of Assistant Director, Deputy Director and Divisional Director agriculture (extension) while the same could also be downloaded from website www.agripunjab.gov.pk and its photocopy would also be acceptable. He said that after balloting farmers would be provided various kinds of agri appliances and gadgets. More information in this regard can be obtained from the offices of Deputy Director or Divisional Director Agriculture (Extensive) Department during office timing, he added.
  • Hiding ‘‘Rice- Rubber Pact’’, Hyping ‘‘Hambantota Fib’’, Depicts Unfair Judgement

  •             The stamp issued to mark the historic Rubber-Rice Pact between Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and the People’s Republic of China signed on December 18, 1952. Recently, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a visit to Sri Lanka to commemorate the 65th year of bilateral ties between the two countries, but another landmark history remained silent over the warm visit -70th anniversary of historic Rubber- Rice pact. The accord is widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful and long-lasting trade agreements. Despite the agreement bgein terminated in 1982, the spirit of the accord symbolizes the vitality of Sino-Lanka bilateral ties.

    The Ceylon-China Commercial Agreement of 1952 was unquestionably one of the most beneficial trade deals ever negotiated between China and Sri Lanka, and it exemplified China’s open-minded diplomacy. The Western youth has a right to know about the ancient benign links between China and Sri Lanka, not simply the phony “Hambantota Debt Trap” rhetoric

    Wang during his visit quoted “The spirit of the pact characterized by independence, self-reliance, Unity and mutual support is deeply rooted in the heart of two peoples’ and such spirit should be carried forward’’. 1952 was a bad year for Sri Lanka; the country faced a global rice scarcity because rice from the country’s regular suppliers, Burma, Thailand, and Indo-China were unavailable. Between 1951 and 1952, the world market price of rice increased by 38 percent. In 1952, the Lankan government faced a foreign exchange crisis as a result of a sharp drop in export prices precipitated on the rapid end of the Korean War boom. Between 1951 and 1952, Sri Lanka’s export price fell by 23 percent as a result of the West’s reduced acquisition of commodities, particularly natural rubber by the USA, resulting in a trade surplus of Rs 345 million in 1951 turning into a trade deficit of Rs 200 million in 1952. In that desperate position, Sri Lanka attempted, but failed, to arrange a loan of $50 million from the USA, as well as favorable rates for a few rubber exports and rice imports. Moreover, she was forced to buy 60,000 tons of rice from the USA at a hefty price since she couldn’t find enough rice to feed her people. However, in 1952, China agreed to sell rice to Sri Lanka in exchange for rubber, and the “Rubber-Rice Pact” was signed. China was also in need of rubber at that time, as she was unable to receive it due to a ban on rubber export from Malaya imposed by a United Nations resolution prohibiting the sale of rubber to communist China.
    China promised to pay a higher price for rubber than the market price and to deliver rice to Sri Lanka at a lower price than the market price. As a result, the agreements benefited Sri Lanka in both directions. Even when other markets were willing to offer rubber at a cheaper price, China continued to buy it at a premium. Even when she didn’t have an exportable surplus, China supplied Sri Lanka with rice directly from Burma under triangle trade agreements, charging only the amount she paid Burma, not a penny more —even when she had incentive to charge more. The US government retaliated by enacting the “Battle Act,” which resulted in the suspension of aid to Sri Lanka without taking into account the country’s precarious economic situation. She also ceased distributing sulphur, which is required by Sri Lanka’s Rubber Plantation. “We noted on the Chinese side the absence of the spirit of bargaining and arguing on fairly trivial things,” said RG Senanayake, Sri Lanka’s then Trade and Commerce Minister. “ They gave us the sense, on the other hand, of being open-minded and frank in their dealings.” Sri Lanka has also been dealing with a serious financial and foreign exchange crisis in recent years, which has been exacerbated by the loss of tourist income during the pandemic. According to the Chinese Ambassador to China, “China has already assisted and will continue to support”. The China Development Bank (CDB) already offered a $500 million loan and another loan of 2 billion Chinese yuan in 2021.The two central banks signed a currency swap for 10 billion yuan which is equal to $1.5 billion. Within March, 2022, Sri Lanka will receive 1 million metric tons of rice as a contribution from China, according to Co-Cabinet spokesman Minister of Sri Lanka Ramesh. The gift is being made to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact. The Chinese Debt Trap propaganda over Sri Lanka is always promoted by the Western media. The “Hambantota Myth” is being used to hide Sino-Lanka supportive diplomacy. According to western propaganda, Sri Lanka was unable to repay the money used to build the port, therefore it was given over to China. However, because the port was losing money under government control, the Sri Lankan government chose to lease an 85 percent part in the port to China Merchants Ports Holding Company in order to raise foreign currencies in 2016. The $1.12  billion received from China Merchant Ports was used to boost Sri Lanka’s US-dollar reserves and pay off short-term foreign debts unrelated to the port, primarily foreign bond interest. The Ceylon-China Commercial Agreement of 1952 was unquestionably one of the most beneficial trade deals ever negotiated between China and Sri Lanka, and it exemplified China’s open-minded diplomacy. The Western youth has a right to know about the ancient benign links between China and Sri Lanka, not simply the phony “Hambantota Debt Trap” rhetoric.  
  • 50 tons of PDS rice seized in Hyderabad

  • Hyderabad: The Jawaharnagar police raided a house at Bharatnagar and seized huge quantity of rice meant to be distributed under the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) on Monday morning. Acting on a tip-off, the local police raided a house and found two persons had stocked around 50 tons of PDS rice after purchasing it from different people. “The duo was planning to transport it to Gujarat and sell it a higher price. On being informed, a raid was conducted and the PDS rice along with a lorry was seized,” Jawaharnagar Inspector S Chandrasekhar said. A case was registered.
  • Thailand rice exports expected to rise sharply

  • Rice Paddy Harvest BANGKOK, THAILAND — Thailand is forecast to export 8 million tonnes of rice in the 2021-22 marketing year, up 31% from the previous year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Attractive Thai prices, driven by the weakening of the Thai baht, are the reason for the sharp increase in exports, the report said. Rice production is projected to increase year-on-year from 18.8 million tonnes to 20.8 million tonnes, the USDA said. The report noted that the country’s wheat imports are expected to decline by 13% in 2021-22. Reduced domestic demand for milling and feed wheat due to a slow economic recovery from the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and high import prices for feed wheat are the primary reasons for the decline. An even sharper drop in corn imports is expected, as the USDA forecasts a 17% decrease due reduced demand for swine feed caused by the African swine fever outbreak. “Post forecasts swine feed demand to decline by 30%, in line with swine production shrinking from 19 to 20 million heads to 12 million to 13 million heads,” the USDA said.
  • Thailand’s rice exports projected to grow almost 15 percent this year

  • Thailand’s rice exports have been forecast to rise by 14.8 percent this year to 7 million tonnes driven by sufficient water supply. Thailand’s rice exports projected to grow almost 15 percent this year hinh anh 1 Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s rice exports have been forecast to rise by 14.8 percent this year to 7 million tonnes driven by sufficient water supply. According to the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA)'s report, the nation exported 6.11 million tonnes of grain last year, up 6.68 percent from 5.73 million tonnes 2020. Its export value totaled at 108 billion THB (3.25 billion USD), down by 7.14 percent from 116 billion THB in 2020. TREA President Charoen Laothammatas said in 2022, higher demand is anticipated thanks to a global economic recovery, while a favourable foreign exchange rate should make Thai rice competitive. For the 2021/2022 harvest season, the association expects the production to increase to 30-32 million tonnes of paddy, up from 27-28 million tonnes in the 2020/2021 season. A widespread drought is unlikely this year, as happened two years ago, Charoen said. Given the ample water supply, he added second-crop rice production is also expected to increase. He said the container shortage and lack of shipping space causing relatively higher freight rates are expected to remain key risk factors for rice exports. TREA expects Thailand’s rice exports in January will tally 700,000 tonnes, slightly down from 729,138 tonnes worth 12.5 billion THB in December 2021.
  • Sri Lanka to import 100,000 tons of rice from Myanmar

  •  Sri Lanka's Ministry of Trade said on Monday it has decided to import 100,000 tons of white rice from Myanmar to control the rising price of rice in local markets. The ministry said in a statement it planned to import the rice at 445 U.S. dollars per ton through the Sri Lanka State Trading (General) Corporation. It plans to import 20,000 tons of rice at a time and release it to the market gradually. The Ministry of Trade said it has requested the Central Bank to issue the required foreign exchange for the import of the rice. Imports of rice in Sri Lanka are usually limited to small quantities, especially rice such as Basmati, officials said.
  • Large quantity of rice imported from India last year to fulfil export commitments

  • -Agriculture Minister, GRDB unaware

    Indian High Commissioner Dr KJ Srinivasa has said that a large quantity of rice was imported from India during 2021 by local businessmen in order to meet export commitments.
    He made the revelation during a recent interview with the Stabroek News. “In fact, last year when the interesting thing happened, if you see the Indian exports to Guyana, rice became a big export. What happened was there was some Guyanese businessman who needed to get rice from India [because] there was some shortfall somewhere in Brazil or something,” the High Commissioner disclosed.
  • Laos’ rice export value nearly halves in 2021

  • Laos, rice export value in 2021 nearly halved due to COVID-19 restriction measures, reported the Vientiane Times. Laos’ rice export value nearly halves in 2021 hinh anh 1 Vientiane (VNA) – Laos’ rice export value in 2021 nearly halved due to COVID-19 restriction measures, reported the Vientiane Times. The paper quoted the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce as saying that rice brought home 52.7 million USD in 2020, but only 35 million USD in 2021. Its biggest market was China, followed by Vietnam and the European Union. Though China reopened Boten border with Laos in November, two-way trade remains slow due to COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control measures. China now buys over 80 percent of Laos’ exported farm produce, mostly cassava, banana, water melon, sugar cane and rubber.  
  • Iran orders immediate imports of rice, potato amid price surges

  • US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo) The Iranian government has ordered immediate imports of rice and potato into the country to tackle rising prices in the domestic market. Iran’s Food Security Headquarters, a government department controlled by the ministry of agriculture (MAJ), ordered the imports of 100,000 metric tons of potato and 200,000 tons of rice into the country following an emergency meeting held on Thursday. MAJ’s spokesman Alireza Rezazadeh said that the imports had been ordered to comply with a decree by Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi to fight hoarding and overpricing of food in the domestic market. Rezazadeh would not elaborate on the name of countries from where Iran will import potato but he said that rice shipments will gradually arrive from India, Pakistan and Thailand within the next two months. This is a first time in years that Iran decides to import potato, a crop which is produced in the country on a massive scale of around 5.2 million tons per year. However, reports on Thursday suggested that the MAJ had issued a decree with immediate effect to halt potato exports from Iran. The reports said that the government will impose a heavy duty on exports of potato from the country in the upcoming weeks. Rezazadeh said that the government will start distributing Iranian rice on a large scale later this week to contain surging prices that he attributed to hoarding practices. The decisions come as price of some premium verities of Iranian rice hit record highs of 1.15 million rials ($4.2) per kilogram on Wednesday. That comes as Pakistani or Indian rice varieties were selling for around $1 per kilogram in the market on the same day.
  • ‘How investments in agric is boosting quality rice production’

  • Anchor Borrowers Programme ( ABP ) The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-led Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) was created to increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector and create economic linkage between smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale rice processors. Private sector investments in rice farming has also created opportunity for consumers to get the best output from the market, writes COLLINS NWEZE Samuel Oyetunde, a cashier at a new generation bank, paid his mother a routine visit. Upon his arrival, he was served his favourite meal of rice, native stew and chicken. Samuel spooned the food,   and the taste exploded on his tongue. As he closed his eyes to savour the delicacy, the unbelievable happened. His teeth crushed some stones and sand hidden in the rice. Samuel was filled with disbelief and sadness. Unfortunately, many of consumers can identify with Oyetunde’s plight. Subconsciously, consumers make themselves vulnerable by patronising loose rice sold in open basins in neighbourhood stores and open markets. The danger is that the loose and unpackaged rice sold to consumers in basins are exposed to stones, rodents, insects and importantly easily contaminated by other food items as well as unfavourable sanitary conditions. Moses Abiodun, a farmer, who has benefited from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) funding for rice farming in various states, said the solution to this was to buy packaged rice. He said over N620 billion had been released for the ABP in over six years of implementation with consumers demanding packaged rice. through the transfer of bacteria or other microorganisms from other substances to rice. There are three main types of cross contamination: food-to-food, equipment-to-food, and people-to-food. “For instance, putting contaminated foods and non-contaminated foods under the same roof can result in food-to-food cross contamination. This allows harmful bacteria and fungi to spread and populate. Secondly, it is a known fact that bacteria can survive for long periods on surfaces like storage container and basins, when they are not washed properly or unknowingly contaminated with bacteria resulting in equipment to food contamination,” Abiodun explained. Furthermore, Adigun said people could easily transfer harmful bacteria from their bodies or clothes to loose and exposed rice in basins. For example, a person may cough into their hand or touch other food items in the store and continue to sell loose rice without washing their hands in between. This also occurs when several consumers sample the rice by handling it before purchase. “Cross contamination can have serious consequences as it can compromise consumer health and safety. Proper food safety practices like rice packaging can significantly reduce risk of cross contamination,” he stated. Another farmer and Managing Director, CountryMade Farms Limited, Timothy Nnodim, said some rice manufacturers  complied with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s (NAFDAC’s) regulations and international food safety standards to protect the integrity of their brands and ensure quality and wholesome rice, but some rice traders in the open market continue to undermine these efforts with loose rice. He said: “What then is the way forward? The answer lies in making informed decisions to purchase only quality, packaged and hygienic rice like Big Bull rice. Big Bull Rice is an indigenous, premium quality parboiled rice. It is sortex-cleaned, stone-free and has a high-swelling index. It is produced in a state of the art automated rice milling factory, which has eliminated handling to the barest minimum hence giving you rice produced in the highest hygienic condition. “With Big Bull Rice, you are assured of good quality, safety and the great taste of homegrown ingenuity. It is  available in open markets, neighbourhood stores, supermart, Modern Trade, among others. in varying SKUs (50kg, 25kg, 10kg, 5kg, 2.25kg and 750g) to fit consumers’ preference.”
  • Minister: Rice prices soaring due to international market

  • The government has a roadmap to increase production through high yield rice breeds, Unb Rice 1630333402314

    Rice prices in the country are on the rise due to high demand and increased prices in the international market, says Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque. 

    “We are trying to figure out how to be self-sustaining in terms of grain food production,” he said during a meeting on Thursday. 

    The minister said that the government did not need to import rice until 2017 and any imports were made by private traders. 

    “Then the import tax was reduced due to the floods, which in turn led to rice prices falling,” he said. 

    He added that the government is undertaking initiatives to increase production in line with the demands. 

    “We have also discussed how to increase the production of Boro, Aman and Aush rice,” the minister said before adding Bangladeshi scientists have invented the Bri-89, 92 which yield high produce. 

  • Emerging Riceberry Rice

  • Professor Apichart Vanavichit, Director at the Rice Science Center in Thailand, highlights the attempt to develop rice that directly benefits well-being

    Rice, a staple food for the majority of countries, has always carried health risks. Eating rice in excess of moderation can cause risks particularly when it comes to sugar in the blood. Rice is actually the basis of 50% of daily energy needs for the population of the world. Did you know that purple rice used to be considered such a delicacy, it was only served to Emperors and used as a base for foods made to be given to spirits? Rice has a rich, fascinating history, which rises up to meet the present day with advice and insight. In a pioneering project, Professor Vanavichit is part of a push to create an easy-to-grow, healthy strain of rice. Wholegrain, pigmented rice like Riceberry rice is one of the most likely sources of healthy nutrition. However, when it comes to wholegrain rice, it can be difficult to balance taste with nutritional and health benefits. While the rice is infinitely better for the human body, it also often lacks the aromatic appeal of a classic, white rice – which is also melded into traditions across the world as the norm. To change a norm this deep-rooted, the new form of rice has to manage taste, health benefits and be as easily accessible as existing forms of rice. The intricate science behind how Riceberry rice impacts human health is at the forefront of food technology, which will shape the future of diabetes and hypertension management if it can be successfully introduced to global markets. In addition, rice growing usually requires a heady mix of chemicals – contributing to climate change, as the demand for this product remains intrinsically high. Organic forms of rice, while benefitting future health, can also protect the Earth from the need for excessive pollution.
  • Massive production of ‘Golden Rice’ seeds to start this year

  •   MANILA – To utilize and promote biotechnology in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday said this year marks the start of massive production of Golden Rice seeds, particularly in the vitamin A-deficient provinces. DA Secretary William Dar said the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will map out programs for the massive production of Golden Rice seeds and production of Golden Rice in its pioneer provinces. “On the policy front, the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) has adopted a unified policy for the varietal registration of all genetically modified crops, which paves the way for a streamlined deployment timeline for Golden Rice,” Dar said during the Healthier Rice Project Team and Advisory Committee (HRAC) meeting. As a member of the National Nutrition Council, DA will pursue the inclusion of Golden Rice as one of the recommended interventions in the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition, which currently includes the study of biofortification in its revised research agenda. “On the research and development front, we have poured extensive resources into the new facilities of the Crop Biotechnology Center in DA-PhilRice, where the Golden Rice Program office and other ongoing biotech crop research activities will be housed,” Dar said. Dar said biotechnology is a “powerful tool of science to feed the future”. “The stance of the DA is clear: biotechnology is a pillar of our ‘OneDA approach’ to ensuring agricultural productivity, sustainability, economic growth, and nutritional security,” he said. He said the biosafety approval of Golden Rice for commercial propagation firmly cements the Philippines’ leadership in agriculture biotechnology in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) region. Dar said the department welcomes its role as a pioneer in the deployment and commercialization of the first rice variety of genetically modified (GM) for nutritional improvement. He added that DA will be needing capacity assistance and funding resources to move their basic knowledge’s from institutions such as International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to strategic research partners.
  • Pakistan to lend Sri Lanka $200mn: report

  • Pakistan will lend Sri Lanka $200mn. ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to give Colombo a $200 million loan for the purchase of rice and cement, said a Sri Lankan media report. The decision was made during a recent visit of the Sri Lankan trade minister to Islamabad, the report said. However, the terms and duration of the loan were being finalized by the authorities from both the countries, it added. Sri Lankan will use the amount for the import of rice and cement from Pakistan. Sri Lanka’s Secretary to the Treasury Sajith Attygalle confirmed that Islamabad and Colombo have agreed on the $200 million credit line in principle while the details of the credit is yet to be worked out, according to Daily Mirror. The amount will be used to import cement, basmati rice and medicines manufactured in Pakistan, the publication added. It is pertinent to mention here that Sri Lanka is facing a shortage of cement recently, which had led to skyrocketing prices.
  • World Rice Market Market Analysis by 2030

  • Prophecy Market Insights recently published World Rice Market Market research which examines key industry factors such as growth drivers, existing and future trends, recent developments, threats, challenges, and opportunities in the global market. The research includes the competitive landscape of the World Rice Market Market as well as profiles of the leading organizations. North America, China, Africa, Germany, APAC, and other regions have been independently evaluated for a more detailed picture of each region’s performance in the World Rice Market Market and the various reasons for its positive and negative growth. In addition, this report offers a comprehensive overview of the market and provides a comprehensive value chain analysis. It provides detailed information on value creation at each stage of the value chain. The World Rice Market market research offers a high-level overview of the industry, as well as product definitions and market scope. Following the introduction chapter, the sections that provide in-depth overview of the market based on substantial research. Along with market dynamics, the research includes a detailed market analysis that includes supply and demand forces.
  • Thailand aims to ship 7 mln tonnes of rice in 2022 as outlook improves

  •   Thailand targets 14.6% increase in rice exports in 2022 * Paddy production seen up 18% on better growing conditions * Pressure from baht, container shortages expected to ease BANGKOK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Thailand has set a rice export target at 7 million tonnes this year, 14.6% higher than in 2021, an exporters body said on Wednesday. The world's third-largest rice exporter shipped 6.11 million tonnes of the grain last year and 5.7 million tonnes in 2020, the lowest volume in two decades. Thai rice exports should benefit this year from a more stable baht making prices more competitive and better weather conditions, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association. Thailand is expected to produce 19.5 million tonnes of paddy this year, 18% up on last year's 16.5 million tonnes, he said. "It's a brighter outlook this year than the last two, in which drought undermined our production and the baht was too strong," Chookiat told Reuters. A shipping container crunch and higher global freight rates, which affected last year's exports, had also started to ease, he said. "We should overtake Vietnam this year and become the world's second-largest exporter," he said. Thai rice export volumes declined for three consecutive years after hitting a record high of 11.6 million tonnes in 2017. Thailand recorded its lowest export volume in two decades in 2020 and slipped to third place in global rankings after being overtaken by Vietnam, which shipped half a million tonnes more of the grain that year. A global economic recovery should also boost Thai rice sales, as customers gain greater purchasing power, Chookiat said. Thai rice is trading around $20 per tonne higher than similar Vietnamese grades. "In the past two years, people just bought whatever was the cheapest," he said. "But now they have more power to choose better quality rice, even if it's slightly more expensive." Vietnam exported 6.24 million tonnes of rice in 2021. (Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Additional reporting and writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Martin Petty and Ed Davies)
  • 6.7% growth in 2021 rice export pushes Thailand up in world ranking

  • Thailand became the world’s third-largest rice exporter by shipping 6.12 million tonnes of rice last year, up 6.7 per cent year on year, Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said on Monday.

    6.7% growth in 2021 rice export pushes Thailand up in world ranking hough the export volume has increased, the total value of exported rice in 2021 dropped 7.1 per cent from the previous year, or from $3.7 billion [THB116.04 billion] to $3.4 billion [THB107.75 billion],” he said. Meanwhile, India still remains the top rice exporter for four consecutive years with 19.5 million tonnes of rice exported in 2021, up 33.9 per cent year on year. Vietnam came in second with 6.24 million tonnes exported last year, dropping 5.2 per cent year on year. Pakistan and the United States, meanwhile, are in fourth and fifth places, with 3.93 million tonnes and 2.85 million tonnes of rice exported in 2021, respectively. The Thai Rice Exporters Association also reported that in December 2021, Thailand exported 729.12 tonnes of rice valued at THB12.5 billion, down 3.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively from the same period in the previous year. “Rice export dropped towards the end of last year in both quantity and value because buyers tend to slow down after they have built up a stock of rice,” Charoen said. Thailand’s biggest rice buyers in 2021 include China, Japan, United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Congo, Syria, Benin and Angola. “We expect rice export in January to be around 700,000 tonnes, while the target for 2022 is set at 7 million tonnes,” said Charoen. “Positive factors for rice export this year include the recovery of the global economy, increasing demand in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and our estimate that the baht will stay steady at THB33 per US dollar, which will make our price competitive against other exporters.”
  • Organic black rice finds few takers in Anantapur

  • Enthused by the wide publicity given by the State government to the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) a couple in Dharmapuri village near Dharmavaram in Anantapur district took to organic farming without using chemical pesticides or fertilizer and has been reaping goodyields. Polepalli Revathi and Kondarajugari Seetaramaraju, owning justtwo acres of land in this nondescript village, are seen as ‘different’ as they do not resort to farming in the way other villagers do, and use neem and castor cake in the soil, Jeevamrutham and neem oil for fertilizer and pest control and once their crop comes to harvest stage, they use fermented curd. However,while they have more than 550 kg of processed and packed black rice with them, they are struggling to findtakers. “We expected some NGOs or government agencies to show ushow to market it, but getting back our investment of ₹30,000 per acre looks difficult,” Mr. Seetaramaraju told The Hindu. Things have come to such a pass that at a time when organic black rice is sold at an average of ₹250 to ₹300 a kg in stores, entrepreneurs are asking for the stock for prices lower than the normal white BPT rice. The State government’s agriculture departmentis not providing any support, they lament
    “We have reaped very good results for the past three years and got enough seed for our use in the first year in 2019 and used BPT-2841 variety of black rice seeds sourced from Haripuram in Sangareddy, which gave us a healthy crop in 2020 Kharif,”said Ms. Revathi, who also doubles as a tailor at home toboost the family income. Describing the health advantages and nutritional values of black rice, Ms. Revathi said 100 grams of it containsnine grams of protein, as againstseven grams in brown rice. It’s also a good source of iron, and several nutrients, protein, and fiber. Scientists at Agriculture Research Centre at Rekulakunta said thatblack ricehas over 23 types of antioxidants and has the highest antioxidant activity of all rice varieties. The couple can be reached over phone at 8147467521.
  • Organic Rice Protein Market to Reach $307.2 Million by 2028 – Powered by Increase in Consumer Awareness about Healthy Diet

  • Vantage Market Research’s recent analysis of the Global Organic Rice Protein Market finds that emergence of organic rice proteins as an alternative to animal proteins is expediting market growth. Primarily driven by increasing consumer awareness about healthy diet, the total Global Organic Rice Protein Market is estimated to reach USD 307.2 Million by 2028, up from USD 95.3 Million in 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.2%. Furthermore, the changes in lifestyle and food habits of consumers are also anticipated to augment the growth of the Global Organic Rice Protein Market, states Vantage Market Research, in a report, titled “Organic Rice Protein Market by Type (Rice protein isolates, Rice protein concentrates, Others), by Application (Sports & energy nutrition drinks, Beverages, Dairy alternatives, Bakery & confectionery), by Form (Dry, Liquid), by Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa) - Global Industry Assessment (2016 - 2021) & Forecast (2022 - 2028)”.
  • Rice exports increase 10.73pc to $1066m in 1st half

  •               ISLAMABAD - The exports of rice surged by 10.73 per cent during the first half of the current financial year (2021-22) as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year.
    Pakistan exported rice worth $1066.769 million during July-December (2021-22) against the exports of $963.379 million during July-December (2020-21), showing growth of 10.73 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Among the rice commodities, the exports of Basmati rice increased by 33.14 percent as these surged from $228.370 million last year to $304.043 million during the current year. The exports of other rice commodities also grew by 3.77 percent by going up from $735.009 million last year to $762.726 million during the current year, the PBS data revealed. In terms of quantity, the overall rice exports grew by 12.54 percent including Basmati rice by 47.39 percent and other rice commodities by 7.51 percent, the PBS data revealed. Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the rice exports witnessed an increase of 3.26 percent in December 2021 as compared with the export of the same month of last year. The rice exports in December 2021 were recorded at $240.260 million against exports of $232.676 million in December 2020. During the period under review, the exports of Basmati rice increased by 54.25 percent , however, the exports of other rice verities declined 4.82 percent. On month-on-month basis, the rice exports increased by 3.60 percent as compared to the exports of $231.908 million in November 2021. On month-on-month basis, the Basmati rice exports witnessed decline of 12.94 percent, however that of other rice verities increased by 8.92 percent. The overall food exports increased by 22.28 percent during the first half of current year as compared to last year. The food exports of the country were recorded at $2482.704 million during July-December (2021-22) against the exports of $2030.322 million during July-December (2020-21).
    It is pertinent to mention here that the overall exports of the country during the first half of current financial year witnessed an increase of 24.71% by going up to $15.102 billion as compared with the exports of $12.110 billion of last year. The imports also registered about 65.94% growth as these went up from $24.454 billion in 1st  half of the last year to $40.580 billion during current year, the PBS data revealed.
  • Govt may continue rice subsidy for ethanol to reduce stock

  • image caption

    Rice stock with FCI was at 53.89 mt as on Jan 1 — more than 7-times the stocking norm of 7.61 mt

    Economic costs of rice (₹/kg)

  • Agricultural rice exports making Lake Charles a major player internationally

  • Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Port of Lake Charles has become an international hotspot for one specific export, as tons of rice are being shipped out of the port and involves hundreds of stake holders here in the United States.

    Rice is one of the biggest exports that the Port of Lake Charles handles, and the rice is grown locally here in Southwest Louisiana and East Texas.

    “Six years ago, we didn’t know what we’d be doing today and it’s just an exciting adventure that we’re on,” said Mark Pousson, manager of the South Louisiana Rail Facility.

    The rail facility is one of the 200 partners involved in rice exporting out of the Port of Lake Charles. Pousson said even with in the three years, rice exports out of the port have taken off with each grain of “rough rice” having an impact on a global scale.

    “Annually, we’re running or average around 175,000 tons a year,” Pousson said. “We’re exporting to South America, Central America. We have a vessel on the way Tuesday that will go to Columbia. The first time we go to that country.”

    From growing it on regional farms to shipping it out of the Gulf.

    “It’s a huge accomplishment you know that we’ve produced it, we’ve marketed it, we logistically delivered to the buyer,” Pousson said.

    Now, partnerships that continue to bring economic growth to Southwest Louisiana are reaching Asia.

    “In 2019, a company from India approached us to partner in a rice milling facility, and so we are currently under construction of a rice mill in Lacassine,” Pousson said.

    The mill is another step forward in expanding the possibilities to produce more exports and developing economic growth within the region. Pousson adds that all those involved from rice produces to the stakeholders are proud of all they’ve done and are looking forward to future expansion.

  • The high cost of low yields

  • The high cost of low yields LAHORE: Pakistan’s pathetic agriculture policies have resulted in huge drain of foreign exchange. Low yielding seeds create shortage of crops like cotton, wheat, and edible oil, which is covered via imports. However, seeds are imported too. Over seventy percent of Pakistan’s exports originate from agriculture. Rice exports after textiles are the largest foreign exchange earners for Pakistan. The basic problem is that of quality seeds. Public sector research in developing new and better seed varieties is pathetic. The private sector is hostage to the long approval process for certification of their seeds, as the approvers in the government themselves are from public seed research institutes. They have a vested interest. New seed varieties developed by the private sector with better yield are a blot on the public sector seed institutes that have failed to develop any seed through research. They often own the popular smuggled seed varieties and give those seeds their name. Provincial seed research institutes are starved of funds as 90 percent of their budget is consumed on salaries and administrative expenses. There is a very small amount left for research that must be distributed among several PhD researchers employed at these institutes. The funds are not sufficient for even one credible research. Seed is the most crucial input in agriculture. The productivity of the crop depends on the quality and efficacy of the seed. The ability of the seed to resist pests and drought are the features that are embedded after research. These seeds are certified by the provincial governments confirming the features claimed by the public or private researchers. Still there is a dearth of quality seeds in Pakistan. The country still depends on the Maxi-Pak wheat variety introduced in the 60s. Our per acre wheat production is half that of neighbouring India. In cotton, we failed to develop its BT variety with the result that cotton production in the country declined from 14.87 million bales in 2014-15 to only 8 million bales in recent years. Basmati rice production in Pakistan is almost half that of the long grain rice of India and we are constantly losing our global share to India. Maize production has multiplied in recent years on the strength of imported hybrid seed. In the same way, coarse rice exports are constantly on the rise because of imported hybrid rice seed and its production in Pakistan through transfer of technology. After the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has also urged the government to focus on demand driven research, taking all stakeholders on board, particularly rice exporters. REAP Chairman Ali Hassam Asghar regretted that public sector research institutions were doing research in isolation whereas Pakistan’s competitor, India was bringing a new variety every year. It is becoming very difficult for us to compete with them. A decade back Basmati share in our rice export was over 70 percent. Now it has reversed as the share of coarse rice variety dominates rice export. The cost of coarse rice has reduced appreciably because of high yielding hybrid rice seeds imported from China and production of the same high yielding variety through transfer of technology from China. Since Basmati or the long grain rice is grown in Pakistan and India only, its high yielding seed must be developed in Pakistan. Indians have already done so and are leading long grain exporters. Asghar said both federal and provincial governments should pay attention towards the whole rice supply chain. Most vital now was the availability of extra-long grain seeds. Currently, REAP members have no option but to export high-cost low yield super basmati and 1121 varieties. He said private sector companies claimed that the variety approval system of the government was flawed, as preference was given to low yield government varieties over high yielding private sector varieties. Private rice seed researchers are dismayed over the delay in approval of their high yield basmati varieties, while low yield varieties of the public sector are approved. In one instance, one high yield rice variety from the private sector was rejected by the provincial seed council on spot examination with a comment that “if this variety goes for fine, we may recommend”, otherwise it will be rejected if the researcher company wants to get it approved as a basmati variety. Yield of that variety was higher by 12 percent than the check variety (super basmati). Incidentally, the same variety was recommended by PARC, which is a federal body. This variety was again sent for spot examination and was cleared, but this time the objection was that the data of the researcher was old. These delaying tactics discourage the private sector as research is an expensive process. To ensure fair play, the provincial seed council must have representation from private sector research centres as well as relevant exporting associations, beside experts from the provincial government and a representative of the federal government.
  • Precious ‘super-organic’ rice produced from formerly ‘dead’ fields

  • In the world today, there is no rice variety that reaches all 545 quality criteria like Quang Tri organic rice. Two compounds found in this variety are considered highly valuable. Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields One day in early summer 2019, holding in his hands the test results of an organic rice variety grown in the central province of Quang Tri, Associate Professor Tran Dang Xuan, head of Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry at Japan’s Hiroshima University, was very surprised. A month before, when receiving a bag of rice from Dai Nam Company, which had worked with farmers in Quang Tri to test an organic rice variety, Xuan had thought that Quang Tri was heavily affected in the war and local farmers had used too much pesticides and chemical fertilizers, so it could not produce organic rice. He was surprised to see the test results. The dead field in the land that was heavily contaminated with dioxin in the war had been miraculously revived. The organic rice variety produced from this field was not only organic but super organic, as it met all 545 quality criteria. Furthermore, two compounds Momilactone A and Momilactone B (MA and MB) found in this rice variety are effective in fighting diabetes, obesity, and gout. Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields “We are conducting further research on many valuable characteristics of these two compounds, which have been published in many international biological journals. These compounds are found in the organic rice from Quang Tri,” Xuan said, adding that these two compounds are 30,000 times more precious and expensive than gold. Eating a certain amount of this rice daily can help reduce the risk of getting these diseases. This conclusion changes the conventional thought that eating rice increases the risk of having diabetes. According to Xuan, these compounds have also been found in Japanese rice, but Quang Tri organic rice has much higher concentrations. Based on the analysis, he said that the rice is very organic. He said Vietnam should encourage the development of the business-farmer model to create high-value rice products and strengthen Vietnam's rice position in the world. The founder of the Quang Tri organic rice production chain model, Tran Ngoc Nam - General Director of Dai Nam Production and Trading Co., Ltd. – told VietNamNet that the day he decided to develop this model in Quang Tri, his friends and family all told him to not invest in this project. They said that field was a dead and infertile land, which was unsuitable to grow rice, let alone organic rice. Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields Nam has proven that they are all wrong. So far, local farmers have harvested five crops of organic rice, with increasing output and earnings. Nam has cooperated with farmers in many provinces to produce organic coffee, organic pepper, organic fruit... but Quang Tri was the place with the most unfavorable conditions. “After a period of struggling, I decided to try to do something to change this land. I accepted the Quang Tri officials’ invitation to bring the technology I had studied for decades to this land to help local farmers change their lives," said Nam. In recent years, in many large granaries across the country, farmers have not planted rice and turned to fruit trees for higher profit. So it is difficult for Quang Tri authorities to persuade farmers to grow rice, said Ha Sy Dong, Vice Chairman of Quang Tri Provincial People's Committee. After five successful crops, local farmers are now very eager to plant organic rice.
    Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields
    The area of organic rice in Quang Tri has increased to 158,224 hectares. The organic rice farming model has been implemented in 11 cooperatives in five districts and towns. The dead fields have been revived. Farmers can make a profit of up to 40 million VND per hectare, plus income from selling fish caught in the field. "In the past, earnings from rice farming were just enough to cover daily life expenses. I never thought that there would be a day when I would get as much profit as now," said Cao Dinh Lap, a farmer in Vinh Thuy commune, Vinh Linh district. His family earned a profit of nearly VND100 million (nearly $5,000) in the last crop. After three years of growing organic rice, from the dead field, farmers have created the Quang Tri organic rice brand. This product has been sold throughout the country and will be exported to the US and Japan.
    Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields
    Quang Tri’s Vice Chair Ha Van Dong told VietNamNet that in the near future, the area of organic rice will increase to about 10,000 hectares. Moreover, in early July, the construction of an organic agricultural product processing factory commenced in Quang Tri. This VND100 billion (nearly $5 million) factory will process organic agricultural products such as rice, coffee, peanuts, corn... in a closed circle for domestic consumption and export. Quang Tri organic rice chain has become a model for many provinces and cities to learn from.
  • CRF all set to market fragrant rice in European countries

  • The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) sets a plan of bold promotion of Cambodia’s fragrant rice in some European countries in a bid to spread out the quality of milled rice to the bloc’s consumers. The plan has been prepared amid the EU ending the three-year import tariff on the country’s long-grain white rice last week.
    The CRF sets a plan to join exhibitions in the EU countries to push direct sales to customers, said CRF president Song Saran. “Per our strategy, we will join exhibitions to sell directly to customers. Now, the rice import tariff has ended. We will go to sell and promote our rice directly to regain support,” Saran said. CRF plans to promote fragrant rice in France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and other countries such as the US, Australia and China’s Hong Kong, he said, adding that the promotion is made based on the CRF’s budget available and support from development partners. The CRF also pushes farmers to select quality rice seeds to plant so that they produce quality rice for export. The CRF plans to promote the quality rice seed to farmers to provinces in the main rice production province around the Tonle Sap Lake, Saran said.
    The EU market accounted for more than 50 percent of Cambodia’s total milled rice export in 2016 and this amount dropped sharply to around 20 percent last year, mainly due to the import tariff on Cambodia’s long-grain white rice. With the import tariff removed, Cambodia expects to see at least 200,000 tons of rice exports to the EU this year. “Rice export reaches about 150,000 tonnes to the EU, so after the import tariff ends, we expect to see at least 200,000 tonnes by this year or up to 250,000 tonnes according to high demand of Cambodia’s rice,” Saran said optimistically. Currently, China is the biggest market for the country’s rice export, followed by the EU.
  • Pakistani rice sold in international market labeled ‘made in India’

  • Pakistani rice traders are reportedly unhappy after they found out that Pakistani rice is being sold in the international market with a "made in India" tag.

    Speaking to Deutsche Welle (DW) a German international broadcaster, the Managing Director of Charagh Group of Companies Khalil Ahmed said that "Indians in Muscat, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai purchase rice from us but sell it under their own brands and labelling." Pakistan's rice export association has filed a lawsuit against Indian rice purchaser companies in an international court. But since the case is still pending in court, the association has declined to speak with DW about the matter. According to rice traders, the issue is not just about branding. Ahmed explained that as a result of crop cultivation when farmers sow the seed, rice becomes scarce in the market, which naturally increases the price of rice. Once the crop has reached maturity, the farmer begins harvesting.  He stated that 10% to 20% of paddy is broken during the reaping process due to a lack of modern equipment. Once the rice crop reaches the mills, the crop must be dried and husked, which requires more modern machinery. Similarly, the rice breaks during the process and all of these factors add to the cost.

    This year, Pakistan will export 36 million tonnes of rice to a lot of different countries, with basmati rice accounting for 20% of the total.

  • Rice exports increase by 10.73pc to $1066 mln in 1st half

  • Among rice commodities, the exports of Basmati rice increased by 33.14 percent as these surge from $228.370 million last year to $304.043 million during the current year: PBS reported ISLAMABAD, Jan 24 (APP): The exports of rice surged by 10.73 percent during the first half of the current financial year (2021-22) as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year. Pakistan exported rice worth $1066.769 million during July-December (2021-22) against the exports of $963.379 million during July-December (2020-21), showing growth of 10.73 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Among the rice commodities, the exports of Basmati rice increased by 33.14 percent as these surge from $228.370 million last year to $304.043 million during the current year. The exports of other rice commodities also grew by 3.77 percent by going up from $735.009 million last year to $762.726 million during the current year, the PBS data revealed. In terms of quantity, the overall rice exports grew by 12.54 percent including Basmati rice by 47.39 percent and other rice commodities by 7.51 percent, the PBS data revealed. Meanwhile, year-on-year basis the rice exports witnessed an increase of 3.26 percent in December 2021 as compared with the export of the same month of last year. The rice exports in December 2021 were recorded at $240.260 million against exports of $232.676 million in December 2020. During the period under review, the exports of basmati rice increased by 54.25 percent , however, the exports of other rice commodities declined 4.82 percent. On month-on-month basis, the rice exports increased by 3.60 percent when compared to the exports of $231.908 million in November 2021. On month-on-month basis, the Basmati exports witnessed negative growth of 12.94 percent, however that of other rice commodities increased by 8.92 percent. The overall food exports from the country increased by 22.28 percent during the first half of current year compared to last year.  The food exports from the country were recorded at US $ 2482.704 million during July-December (2021-22) against the exports of US$ 2030.322 million during July-December (2020-21). It is pertinent to mention here that the overall exports from the country during the first half of current financial year witnessed an increase of 24.71% by going up to $15.102 billion as compared with the exports of $12.110 billion last year. The imports also registered about 65.94% growth as these went up from $ 24.454 billion in 1st  half of the last year to $40.580 billion during current year, the PBS data revealed.
  • IGC meeting highlights record rice output

  • Rice LONDON, ENGLAND — A projected record in global rice production and an update on the global pulse market were among the highlights from the International Grains Council’s (IGC) 54th Council Session, held Jan. 21 via video conference. The meeting, chaired by Taras Kachka, deputy minister for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, examined developments for the 2021-22 marketing year. Global rice output was forecast at 511 million tonnes, marginally higher year-on-year and a new record due to bigger harvests among Asian producers. Tied to population-driven gains in food use, rice consumption was predicted at a peak, while inventories were also seen at a high, including accumulation in key exporters. After the prior year’s solid year-on-year rise to a record, rice trade was expected to edge lower in 2022. World pulses trade was seen contracting for a second successive year in 2022 (January to December), by 2%, to 16 million tonnes, on smaller shipments of dry peas and chickpeas — principally to destinations in Asia. Despite a 5% year-on-year fall in dispatches, Canada would remain by far the biggest supplier of pulses to the global market, the IGC said. The Secretariat also updated members on its forecasts for chickpeas supply and demand, which formally were published for the first time in the IGC’s January Grain Market Report. The Secretariat updated members on developments regarding its ongoing work program. This program included the construction of supply and demand balances for grains-based ethanol, the expansion of its freight market model, the revamping of its suite of daily reports, as well as work in setting up a pulses fob price matrix, intended for completion by June 2022. Regarding administrative issues, members agreed to the IGC signing two Memorandum of Understandings with the Institute for the Development of Agricultural Cooperation in Asia (IDACA) and Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM). The Secretariat also provided a debrief on the previous day’s Grains Forum co-organized with Ukraine, titled, “Grains Sector Resilience: Contingency Plan to Anticipate Shocks,” which explored the state of contingency plans in the grains, oilseeds and rice sectors, including how those plans could be articulated and their potential impact on global trade.
  • Vietnam offers cooperation in textiles, rice production

  • KARACHI: Nguyen Tien Phong, Ambassador of Vietnam in Pakistan, on Friday proposed that building partnership in textiles and rice production would help two nations strike new avenues in world trade. “Business communities of both sides should not think that being big producers and competitors in rice and textiles, we cannot cooperate,” Ambassador Phong said talking to the officials of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry at their office. In fact, he emphasised, “we can beautifully complement each other for a win-win mechanism”. He also expressed his profound and enthusiastic desire that Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Vitnam should be signed through fast-tracking the initiative and implemented effectively to multiply the trade volumes. Phong added that he would certainly relay the concerns and suggestions on visa regime back to their ministry’s head office in Vietnam and he also wanted the duration of business visas for Pakistani businessmen increase from six months to one year. The Vietnamese envoy maintained that the bilateral trade volume of $600 million per year was just not sufficient and it could be taken to $5-10 billion given the true potential for exponential growth over the upcoming years. For this he strongly emphasized on the visits of businessmen from Pakistan to Vietnam and vice versa. Hanif Lakhany, Vice President FPCCI, expressed his desire to expand trade relations with Vietnam as there was untapped potential in a number of sectors. Lakhany proposed that Vietnam should consider investing in smartphone and computer chips, parts and accessories, in Pakistan being one of the most advanced large-scale producers in the sector. Suleman Chawla, SVP-elect of FPCCI for 2022, said the chamber would do its best to strengthen and enrich economic and commercial ties between the two countries.
  • Rice valuing $1.066b exported in H1-FY2021-22

  • Rice valuing $1.066 billion were exported in the first of the financial year 2021-22 as against the exports of $963.379 million of the corresponding period of last year. During the period from July-December 2021, over 2.081 million tons of rice were exported as against the exports of 1.849 million tons of the same period last year, according to the data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. In the first two quarters of the current financial year, rice exports from the country witnessed about 10.73pc growth as against the exports of the same period of last year, it added. The exports of basmati rice grew by 33.14pc as 343,633 metric tons of basmati rice valuing $304.043 million exported as against the exports of 233,152 metric tons worth $228.370 million of the same period last year, it added. Meanwhile, the country fetched $762.772 million by exporting over 1.738 million tons of rice other than basmati rice as compared to the exports of 1.616 million tons $735.009 million of the same period last year. During the last six months, the country earned $201.581 million by exporting about 75.268 metric tons of fish and fish products, which was stood at $195.364 million in the same period of last year, it added. On a month-on-month basis, the exports of rice grew by 3.26pc in December 2021 as against the exports of 484.956 million tons worth $232.676 million of the corresponding month of last year, it added.  
  • Azerbaijan keen in bilateral trade

  • Islamabad : Azerbaijan and Pakistan can help each other in the food industry. He added that Azerbaijan is looking forward to signing an agreement with Pakistan to introduce low custom duties to import rice, wheat and other edible items, said the Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov. He stated this while visiting while visiting the Sihala Flour Mill in I-9. Following the visit, the delegation was escorted to the Khattak and Sons IT park where the ambassador was briefed about the growing IT sector in Pakistan, says a press release. Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, former president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) invited the Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov to explore various economic opportunities in Pakistan to enhance bilateral relations. The former president of ICCI stated that Azerbaijan and Pakistan have completed over 30 years of bilateral relationship and cooperation which extends over a vast sphere ranging from political, economic, technological, security to cultural segments. Azerbaijan envoy agreed while addressing the press and stated that a ‘A strong Pakistan means a strong Azerbaijan.’ Sardar Yasir, CEO of the Centaurus, emphasised upon the imminent need to cooperate in the IT segment as it has a huge potential in terms of business and this year Pakistan aims to export nearly $3 billion from this sector alone. Several local companies at this IT park are already providing services to countries such as the US, UK, Middle East, Iraq, Zambia, Nigeria and Kazakhstan. Many of these IT companies specialize in offering backend services to Amazon, hospitals in the US including gaming and apps development for android and ios platforms etc. The ambassador was also taken to Kahuta triangle to visit various pharmaceutical companie
  • Milled rice export to EU expected to increase

  • Cambodia is in high hope of seeing the amount of milled rice export to the European Union increase after the import tariff on the country’s rice was revoked. The EU market accounted for more than 50 percent of Cambodia’s total milled rice export in 2016 and this amount dropped sharply to around 20 percent last year, mainly due to the import tariff on Cambodia’s long-grain white rice. High hopes to grain shares of rice export in the EU come as the bloc’s three-year temporary measure – import tariff came to an end on January 19. Rice export to the EU will gradually increase from this year, said Song Saran, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, a clan of rice millers and exporting companies, said yesterday. The rice body encourages its members and farmers to produce fragrant rice and high-quality rice as import tariffs were removed in the EU, Saran said. “We expect the milled rice export to the EU to increase, but it is not in a high pact of growth because we focus on export of fragrant rice and premium high-quality rice,” Saran said Cambodia would spend several years pushing the amount of milled rice to reach the amount of 300,000 tons registered in 2019, he said. The EU imposed import tariffs under the safeguard scheme as a temporary measure to help protect farmers from competitively priced long-grain rice, with exporters in Cambodia and Myanmar having benefited from tariff-free status under the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. Under the tariff, exporters are subject to pay $198 per metric tonne in the first year, $170 and $142 per metric tonne in the second and third year, respectively. Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries showed that Cambodia exports only some over 140,000 tonne to the EU while more than 300,000 tonne to China, the biggest market of Cambodia’s milled rice. “We expect to see an increase by 10 percent and constantly in the same beat until the amount of rice export reaches about 25 to 300,000 tonne as before, and what we want is 300,000 tons per year export to the EU,” he said. CRF plans to promote and guide farmers to produce fragrant rice and premium quality rice for export, rather than a lower price rice grain, Saran said, promoting in markets abroad is another task the CRF would take to promote the country’s rice name in international markets.
  • ASIA RICE-India rates jump to 7-month peak on freight trains shortage

  • By Kavya Guduru Jan 20 (Reuters) - Rice prices in top exporter India hit a more than seven-month high this week due to a railway wagon scarcity, while rates in Thailand reached their highest level since July on a stronger baht. India's 5% broken parboiled variety RI-INBKN5-P1 was quoted at $375-$382 per tonne, its highest since June, up from last week's $367-$375. "Railway wagons are not available and moving rice by trucks means spending nearly double on transportation," said a Kakinada-based exporter in Andhra Pradesh. Nearly a third of India's rice exports for this month are stuck due to a shortage of freight trains. Most traders have stopped signing February export contracts to avoid demurrage charges, industry officials told Reuters.
    Thailand's 5% broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 prices rose to $407-$410 per tonne, the highest since last mid-July, from $404-$405 last week. The baht THB=TH appreciated against the U.S. dollar, causing rice prices to rise, said Bangkok-based traders, adding that prices are expected to hover around these levels for a while as overseas demand is muted. Vietnam's 5% broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 was offered at $395-$405 per tonne, unchanged from a week ago. "The market is quiet, and we expect it to remain so until after the Lunar New Year holiday," said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City, adding domestic supplies will remain low until the harvest beginning next month. Traders forecast export prices to remain high this year on strong wheat and corn prices, and said Philippines will continue to be Vietnam's largest buyer this year. Bangladesh started selling cut-price rice to help poor people hit by exceptionally high commodity prices during the pandemic and stepped up imports while it strengthens efforts to grow more rice.
    The lowest price offered in the tender from Bangladesh's state grains buyer to purchase 50,000 tonnes of rice which closed on Sunday was $421.99 a tonne CIF liner out, officials said. (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai and Ruma Paul in Bangladesh, additional reporting by Swati Verma; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
  • First Thai rice shipment delivered using Laos-China railway

  • A first shipment 1,000 tonnes of Thai rice has been delivered using the Lao-Chinese railway to Chongqing, marking a new chapter in exports to China, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry announced on Thursday. Exports of other farm products using the new rail link would follow, Alongkorn Polabutr, adviser to the agriculture minister, said. He said the initial shipment of rice was carried in 20 carriages and had already reached Chongqing. More would follow. The railway, which commenced service early last month, opened the possibility of extending export routes to other Chinese provinces and farther, to Central Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Europe. The government was looking into exporting fruit, orchids, rubber, cassava, palm oil and fishery and livestock products on the new railway, Mr Alongkorn said. Thai fruit could reach Chongqing in 1-2 days, retaining freshness thanks to the railway. This would enable expansion to markets in China, he said.
  • EDF Board approves Rs27m for global ‘Biryani Festivals’

  • KARACHI: On the request of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), the Export Development Fund (EDF) Board has approved some Rs27 million for Biryani Festivals at five international destinations for the promotion of Pakistani rice. Reap is making serious efforts to boost the country’s rice export and intends to achieve a $5 billion export target in the next few years. Rice is one of the largest exporting commodity and cumulatively, some 3.2 million tons worth $2 billion rice were exported during the last fiscal year. As per Reap proposal, these Biryani Festivals will be organized in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), Baghdad (Iraq), Tehran (Iran) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) for the promotion and marketing of Pakistani rice. In these festivals, Reap would present Pakistani rice as a brand to enhance the exports and earn more foreign exchange for the country. While talking to Business Recorder, Muhammad Anwar Mianoor, acting Chairman Reap said these five countries are already importing Pakistani rice, but there is huge potential to increase exports. Pakistan has exported some 0.2 million tons of rice to Malaysia and is willing to achieve 0.5 million tons target. Iraq’s rice market is over one million tons and Iran is also a potential market with 1.5 million tons demand, he mentioned. He said the Export Development Fund (EDF) Board in its 22nd Finance Committee Meeting has principally approved Reap’s proposal for organizing Biryani Festivals in the five international destinations to further explore the rice export markets. “We are planning to conduct Road Shows and aggressive social media marketing. We will engage food bloggers and social media influencers for the promotion of Pakistani rice,” acting Chairman Reap said. He said that these Biryani Festivals will be arranged in the hotels, restaurants and hypermarkets of the potential rice buying countries. Accordingly to manage funds for these festivals, Reap requested Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) for support Reap’s proposal through the EDF, so that the rice exporters’ representative body will be able to increase rice exports from Pakistan and increase overall market share in the different countries, he added. He informed that Mincom and TDAP have not only appreciated the Reap’s Biryani Festival proposal but also assured full support to make these events successful. Accordingly, the EDF Board has approved Reap’s proposals and sanctioned EDF funds of Rs.27 million for Biryani Festivals at five proposed destinations. Anwar Mianoor said that Pakistani rice is one of the best rice in the world due to its length and quality. There is a need to make some serious efforts for the promotion of Pakistani rice. Pakistan has a bumper rice crop this year and has sufficient stocks for exports. The growth in rice exports and its earnings will also help the government to reduce pressure on external accounts. He has thanked Abdul Razzak Dawood, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Sualeh Farooqi Federal Secretary Commerce and all members of EDF Board for their consistent support for approval of these proposals and efforts for the betterment of rice export trade of Pakistan.
  • Where is the rice export rally?

  • Numbers are a fickle mistress. One look at export data from PBS would seem to suggest that the country exported highest monthly volume of rice in over six years. That would be cause for celebration. Yet the same dataset also indicates that – on six monthly basis - this is the poorest performance by rice exporters since PTI came to power. So, what is really happening in the paddy universe? First off, the frequent revisions in (prior) monthly databy PBS isn’t inspiring confidence, as the quantum of revisions is stretching further. But more importantly, paddy prices in the international market are trading against the tide, facing considerable downward pressure,even as prices of many other grains have galloped forward for many months. Six-month moving average of international rice prices (various indices, by type) are trailing below levels last witnessed in 2016. In fact, rice prices of various commodities such as IRRI (Pak) may be second-lowest in a decade. That’s certainly one reason why Pakistan hasn’t seen its rice export earnings explode, but doesn’t fully explain the picture.
    Quantity exported during H1-FY22 is also significantly lower than in recent past; even lower than the dreadful pandemic stint of H2-FY20. At 2.08 million tons exported during H1-FY22, quantity exported is lowest since at least H2-FY17. Variety-wise breakdown is equally bleak, with 6-month basmati exports lowest since H1-FY19 (minus H1-FY21); while coarse rice exports being lowest since H2-FY17. And that trend alone offers insight into what’s been brewing in Pakistan’s rice exporting market. After peaking during H2-FY19, Pakistan’s rice exports appear to be on a secular decline, both in value and volume terms. That peak had come with the precipitous decline in currency value between Jan – Jun 2019, when Pak Rupee breached Rs160/$ parity for the first time in history. Rice export earnings shot up by 36 percent during H2-FY19 against the preceding six months, while quantity exported also rose by nearly one-third over the same period. Since then, export earnings are crawling back in the 2015-18 territory, with slight seasonal upticks during second half of the year (when autumn harvest makes it to market). Quantum exported also seem to be mirroring the much-reviled PML-N era, during which artificially overvalued currency was held guilty for lack of competitiveness of Pakistan’s exports in the global market. The currency is arguably now as free as it ever has been. Global container shortage also seems to be eking itself out. December export performance is certainly uplifting, but medium-term trend is insipid, if not altogether alarming. Will exporters take the stand and explain: where is the rice export rally?
  • Global Rice Market Outlook: China’s Imports Hit Record Highs

  • Throughout January-August 2021, China's rice imports hit 3.2M tonnes, the highest level ever. Indian supplies into China's rice market have increased sharply, with exports of broken rice reaching 1M tonnes. LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to a recent report published by IndexBox, the flow of foreign supplies into China's rice market has sharply increased due to spiking demand for broken rice for animal feeding. From January to August 2021, China imported record 3.2M tonnes of rice, whereas broken rice represented half of the total volume. India became the largest supplier to the country, exporting unprecedented 1M tonnes of broken rice during this period with competitive prices relative to domestic ones in China. In value terms, purchases from India amounted to over $225M. Broken rice is primarily used for feed, snack and liquor manufacturing.  Broken rice purchases from other leading suppliers, namely Myanmar, Vietnam, Pakistan and Thailand, have also increased. Shipments from Pakistan soared from $24M to $90M in 2021 for January through August. Imports from Viet Nam jumped from $131M to $150M over the same period, while Thailand's supplies soared from $25M to $44M. Myanmar boosted its broken rice exports to China from $41M to $81M.  China’s Rice Imports by Country In 2020, rice imports into China skyrocketed to 2.9M tonnes, picking up by 16% compared with 2019. In value terms, purchases soared to $1.5B.  Myanmar (911K tonnes), Viet Nam (788K tonnes) and Pakistan (475K tonnes) were the leading suppliers of rice imports to China, together comprising 75% of the total volume. These countries were followed by Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan (Chinese) and the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which accounted for a further 25%. In value terms, Viet Nam ($452M), Myanmar ($324M) and Thailand ($242M) were the largest rice suppliers to China, with a combined 70% share of total imports. Pakistan, Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Taiwan (Chinese) lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 30%. In 2020, China's average rice import price amounted to $501 per tonne, flattening from the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest cost was Thailand ($746 per tonne), while the price for Myanmar ($356 per tonne) was amongst the lowest. In 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Lao People's Democratic Republic, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced more modest paces of growth.
  • EXCLUSIVE Indian rice traders stop new export deals as freight train shortage blocks shipments

  • Workers lift a sack of rice to load onto a truck at a wholesale grain market in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Ajay Verma/File Photo

    MUMBAI, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Nearly a third of India's rice exports for this month are stuck due to a shortage of freight trains and most traders have stopped signing February export contracts to avoid demurrage charges, industry officials told Reuters.

    The slowdown in exports from India, the world's biggest rice exporter, has allowed rival suppliers such as Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam to increase overseas sales at higher prices.

    Slowing exports could force the Indian government to increase procurement from farmers.

    Shipments of more than 500,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice that need to be transported to ports on India's east coast from the central state of Chhattisgarh have been stuck due to the shortage of freight trains, dealers said.

    They are part of around 1.5 million tonnes of rice that India had planned to export this month.

    "Cargoes cannot move from producing centres to ports because of freight train scarcity," said Nitin Gupta, vice president of agricultural commodities trader Olam India's rice business.

    "There is no clarity on the availability of trains so nobody is offering fresh cargoes."

    Railway authorities have diverted wagons to ship fertilizers and to serve thermal coal power plants to ensure adequate power supply this winter after power plants ran out of coal a few months ago.

    The delay in Indian shipments is hitting exporters hard as vessel rates have risen to $30,000 per day and some exporters need to pay as much as $500,000 in demurrage charges, wiping out their entire margin, said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India's biggest rice exporter.

    Traders have started quoting higher prices for overseas shipments to cover higher demurrage charges, and prices for India's 5% broken parboiled variety of rice have risen to $380 per tonne, the highest in six months.

    Higher prices and shipping delays are prompting some buyers to switch to rival suppliers such as Thailand and Myanmar, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of India's Rice Exporters Association.

    International rice prices turn higher on Indian export delays

    Thailand's 5% broken rice prices rose last week to their highest since mid-July 2021 at $404-$405 per tonne.

    "We have requested the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to help us by increasing railway wagons' availability," Rao said.

    India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of Railways did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

    In the past traders use to switch to road transport in the absence of railway wagons, but truckers have substantially raised freight charges in the past six months after diesel prices jumped to a record high, said a dealer with a global trading firm.

    "At least for near-month shipments, Asian and African buyers are switching to Thailand, Myanmar and Pakistan. Indian exports could fall in the March quarter," he said.

    India cornered nearly half of global rice shipments in 2021 as its exports surged 45% from 2020 to a record 21.4 million tonnes, or more than the combined exports of the next three largest exporters Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan, according to provisional government data.

    India's rice production has jumped to a record high in the current year and prices are still competitive, but logistics' bottlenecks are limiting exports, said Himanshu of Satyam Balajee.



  • * Vietnam's 2021 rice exports fell 0.2%- govt. data * Bangladesh domestic rates up despite good crops, imports- trader By Kavya Guduru Jan 14 (Reuters) - Rice export prices in top exporter India this week touched their highest levels since last June, supported by tight supplies and a stronger rupee, while an uptick in demand buoyed rates in nearby Thailand to their highest since mid-July last year. India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted at $367-$375 per tonne, a peak since the week of June 24 last year, up from last week’s $359-$363. "Mills are mainly focusing on milling white rice. Parboiled supplies are very limited, and that's why prices are moving higher," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
    Prices are also firming because of an appreciation in the rupee, he said, which trims traders' margins from overseas sales. Thailand's 5% broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> prices rose to their highest since mid-July 2021 at $404-$405 per tonne from $390-$402 last week. Bangkok-based traders said an uptick in demand among exporters who had to fulfil orders made before the New Year’s holidays raised prices slightly. Thailand exported 5.39 million tonnes of rice between January and November 2021, up 2.6% from the same period a year earlier, according to the country’s commerce ministry. Vietnam's 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> was offered at $395-$405 per tonne, widening from a range of $395-$400 a week ago. "Sales are slow, and local traders have scaled down their purchases from farmers," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said. Government customs data released on Thursday showed Vietnam’s rice exports in 2021 fell 0.2% to 6.24 million tonnes. Exports in December fell 13.4% from November to 490,219 tonnes. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, domestic rice prices went up again this week despite good crops and huge imports, traders said. Bangladesh, the world's third-biggest rice producer, imported nearly 1.36 million tonnes in the previous year that ended in June. (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai and Ruma Paul in Bangladesh; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
  • Rice exporters warn of losing $400 million due to high freight charges

  • China Rice import Pakistan KARACHI: Pakistani rice exporters warned the country could lose $400 million in export revenue due to high freight charges and lack of container availability, Arab News reported. The global shortage of containers and high freight charges have affected Pakistan’s rice exports, making people associated with the business seek government intervention to restrict the exit of empty containers from the country. “Due to the lack of availability of containers and high fright costs, 250,000 tonnes of rice could not be exported last year and this quantity may increase to 500,000 tonnes this year due to the severity of the situation,” Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) senior vice chairman Muhammad Anwar Mianoor said during a news conference. “The county is likely to lose $400 million in export revenue if timely steps are not taken through policy measures by restricting the movement of empty containers,” he said, adding, “The government should come up with policies for return of empty containers and should bound shipping companies to cap a fixed percentage of empty containers which will be available for export purposes.” The Reap official noted that India had already taken such steps to facilitate its export sector by allowing imported containers to remain in the country for re-use. Rice exporters said the container charges had gone up over 1,500 per cent by shipping companies which had been steadily increasing the cost of the commodity. “Over a year, container charges which were $70 to $80 last year have increased to over $1,300 per container for their Chinese destination,” Mianoor said. The Pakistani rice exporter called for a complete audit of shipping companies and freight forwarders, saying they were making money by disturbing the export sector. “Shipping companies have made a cartel and are blackmailing us,” he continued. However, the government officials said that the rice export was continuing from the country, adding that 55,000 tonnes of it had already been exported this week from the Karachi port. They also maintained that appropriate measures had been taken to make containers available for exports. “Around 5,000 containers at the ports are stuck up and we have asked the Federal Board of Revenue [FBR] to clear them,” special assistant to the prime minister on maritime affairs Mahmood Moulvi told Arab News. Pakistan exported around 1.6 million tonnes of rice worth over $826 million, up by 13 per cent, during the July-November 2021 period of the current fiscal year. The country’s exports fell by six per cent to over $2 billion, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
  • Sri Lanka to import 300,000 tonnes of rice as crop loss expected

  • ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of minister has approved the import of 300,000 metric tonnes of rice to increase the supply, a government statement said, with crop losses expected due to the use of organic fertilizer. The Minister of Trade had been given approval to import 200,000 metric tonnes of Nadu type rice (parboiled) and 100,000 tonnes of GR11 short grain rice. GR11 is a substitute for Samba, the statement said. The cabinet had earlier approved the import of 100,000 metric tonnes of rice. These rice will be imported from India, cabinet spokesman Minister Ramesh Pathirana said. Rice prices have moved up and imports are to stabilize prices, he said. Stat-run Sathosa and some private traders have been allowed to import rice, Minister Pathirana said. At least 30,000 metric tonnes had been imported from Myanmar. Sri Lanka has restricted the import of rice which has allowed millers to drive up prices. However in the Maha season, where harvesting begins from around February, crop losses are expected due to a ban on chemical fertilizer and agro-chemical import. (Colombo/Jan11/2021)
  • EU Commission confirms expected resumption of tariff-free Myanmar, Cambodian rice imports

  • The EU Commission's Directorate General for Trade has confirmed to S&P Global Platts expectations that the EU's import tariffs on Myanmar and Cambodian long grain white rice will revert to zero from Jan. 18.
    Both countries benefit from their place within the EU's Everything but Arms initiative, which allows Least Developed Countries to export to the bloc tariff-free. However, tariffs were brought in three years ago as a temporary measure to help protect EU farmers from competitively priced long grain rice. Medium grain, short grain and broken rice -- in addition to brown long grain -- imports from these countries were unaffected. The tariffs led to a substantial shift in the flow of rice to Europe. Cambodian Fragrant rice faced much more competition in the continent from Thai Fragrant rice and many EU buyers switched to buying the Myanmar medium grain variety, Kayinma, instead of the regular Emata long grain variety. While Cambodia's government challenged the tariffs in the courts, there was also pressure on the EU side to go further and extend the tariffs to other rice products from both countries and to make the temporary tariff changes permanent or at least extend them. However, in a statement from DG Trade, a spokesperson confirmed to Platts that "the rice tariffs for Cambodia and Myanmar will return to zero at the expiry date (18/01/2022)." The EU's import tariffs on Myanmar and Cambodian rice during this period were Eur175/mt ($198/mt) in the first year, Eur150/mt ($170/mt) in the second year and Eur125/mt ($142/mt) in the third year.

  • Pakistan posts record rice production

  • Rice_ShutterStock_E.jpg ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Pakistan harvested a record rice crop of 8.9 million tonnes in the 2021-22 marketing year, up from 8.4 million tonnes the prior year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). “New higher-yielding hybrid rice varieties, improved agronomic practices and increased planting area, as farmers shift out of cotton, are factors driving the increased production,” the USDA said. The agency noted that the Pakistan government’s policy of ensuring rice growers had adequate inputs also contributed to the record production. Meanwhile, the country’s rice exports in 2020-21 (November-October) were stagnant at 3.8 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the previous year, the report said. Supply chain disruptions, shipping container shortages, and high transportation costs negatively impacted rice exports. With this year’s record production adding more stocks, total available supply is estimated to be 11 million tonnes, the USDA said. “Domestic rice consumption is 3.7 million tonnes, leaving an exportable supply of 7.3 million tonnes for 2021-22,” the USDA said. “This large surplus will provide an opportunity to significantly increase exports, but Pakistani rice will continue to face stiff competition from India and Southeast Asia suppliers.”    
  • Rice export surges by 19pc to $594.5m in 4 months

  • Rice export surges by 19pc to $594.5m in 4 months ISLAMABAD    -  The export of rice surged by 19.04 percent during the first four months of current financial year (2021-22) as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year.
    At a time when rice exports of the country were on escalating trend, the production of the rice crop has also been estimated at over 9 million tons during current season as compared to the output 8.4 million tons of same period of last year. Pakistan exported rice worth $594.528 million during July-October (2021-22) against the exports of $499.442 million during July-October (2020-21), showing growth of 19.04 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Among the rice commodities, the exports of Basmati rice increased by 27.44 percent as these surged from $161.654 million last year to $206.013 million during the current year. The exports of other rice commodities also grew by 15.02 percent by going up from $337.788 million last year to $388.515 million during the current year, the PBS data revealed. In terms of quantity, the overall rice exports grew by 22.60 percent including Basmati rice by 39.59 percent and other rice commodities by 18.59 percent, the PBS data revealed.
    Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the rice exports witnessed an increase of 22.99 percent in October 2021 as compared with the export of the same month of last year. The rice exports in October 2021 were recorded at $171.335 million against exports of $139.306 million in October 2020. During the period under review, the exports of basmati rice increased by 28.09 percent whereas that of other rice commodities went up by 20.88 percent. On month-on-month basis, the rice exports increased by 19.87 percent when compared to the exports of $142.933 million in September 2021. On month-on-month basis, the Basmati exports grew by 32.19 percent whereas the exports of other rice commodities increased by 28.03 percent. The overall food exports from the country increased by 26.91 percent during the first four months of current year compared to last year.
    The food exports from the country were recorded at $1434.398 million during July-October (2021-22) against the exports of $1130.250 million during July-October (2020-21). It is pertinent to mention here that the country’s total merchandise exports surged by 24.94 during the first four months of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of last year. The exports during the period were recorded at $9.462 billion against the exports of $7.573 billion during same period of last year. On the other hand, the imports into the country also surged by 65.40 percent by growing from $15.176 billion last year to $25.101 billion during the current fiscal year, the PBS data added.
  • Food prices: is basmati next?

  • According to weekly SPI, basmati (broken, average quality) national average price has closed in on Rs 100 per kg in the week ended 09th December. Although price of basmati varieties can reach up to Rs 250-300 per kg – depending upon quality – this is the first time SPI price has scored a century. Is a basmati price spiral next? Not really. It is correct that basmati prices (as tracked by SPI) have increased by nearly 60 percent in the past 5 years that says little in an economy where currency itself has depreciated by over half during the same period. But FY21 marked the highest rate at which basmati prices have raised in nearly a decade, while FY22 may prove worse still. According to PBS data, basmati prices rose by 10 percent during FY21 over the preceding year (12-month average). Since July alone, prices have risen by 6 percent, and even if they stabilize at current level for H2-FY22 – the 12-month average run rate will translate into 11.5 percent by end FY22. But that’s not crazy enough in the world of domestic food prices, where prices of other staples such as wheat flour, ghee, cooking oil and sugar have risen by over one-third in less than a year (and in some cases, witnessed double-digit increase for two years in row). What’s crazy however is basmati price increase also flirting with double-digit territory, since in more recent past these had stood out for their relative calm and semblance of stability. What has happened? First theory is a grain miller’s favourite, and takes a leaf from Econ 101. Essentially, it posits that wheat and other cereals are substitute goods – not only in human consumption but also as livestock feed inputs. Thus, increase in price of one commodity leads to rise in price of others, especially when quantum of price increase is inordinate, as has been the case with wheat flour prices domestically.
    Of course, outside of classroom, the real world does not operate under ceteris paribus conditions. Over the past decade, while Pakistan’s wheat and flour output has stagnated, production of basmati and related varieties (such as Kainat) has doubled. Meanwhile, uncompetitive pricing meant Pakistan’s basmati could find few takers in the international market, meaning there simply was a lot more rice to fill the stomachs back home. Greater output together with reduced export of marketable surplus meant that local prices remained stable, even when prices of other food commodities started to give in under the weight of rising cost of inputs. But it seems that the precarious equilibrium is now giving away too, a confluence of variety of forces. First, cost of production of basmati and other rice varieties has risen in tandem with other grains. According to Punjab government, cost of per acre production for basmati paddy rose by over one-third in the past two seasons alone, without commensurate increase in market prices. Two, output growth rate is now peaking, as growers have failed to note quantum jump in per acre productivity. Moreover, rice crop may very well have witnessed maximum area under its cultivation during the just concluded kharif season, as some growers may shift back to cotton in the upcoming season, due in part to demand revival from textile exporting industry. Lastly, demand for basmati exports is staging a comeback too, flirting with peak pre-Covid volume (witnessed in FY19). It appears likely that local basmati prices may witness upward momentum in coming months, especially if local wheat output falls short of target/expectations. Is there any saving grace then? Maybe, but only to the extent that consumers may feel assured that basmati prices shall not witness a topsy-turvy rollercoaster ride – unlike sugar and flour prices – and may instead only inch forward – albeit slowly. But that’s primarily an outcome of the very large number of small and mid-sized rice millers and shellers in the market, ensuring that none of the market participants command a dominant position in local trade. But that’s no thanks to administrative interference. Rice – and especially basmati market – has remained free of administrative intervention in the past, and must remain so regardless of which ever way prices might settle. In the medium term, however, policymakers must confront the existential dilemma of building forex reserves on raw material exports. Commodity exports may very well offer the fastest route to growing foreign trade, but sooner than later economies run out of marketable surplus if they fail to improve productivity. While rice crop may have done tremendously well compared to wheat or cotton in recent years, it is not free of the low (and stagnating) yields scrouge that inflicts agriculture sector in general.
  • Containers: Rice exporters urge govt to ensure timely availability

  • KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) Tuesday urged the federal government to take immediate measures to ensure the timely availability of the containers for export purposes. A high-profile delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) led by Abdul Rahim Janoo, Former Chairman Reap had a meeting with Mahmood Baqi Moulvi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs yesterday at KPT Head Office Karachi. Muhammad Anwar Mianoor Senior Vice Chairman REAP, MC Members Dr. Muhammad Hafeez, Hasab Abdul Rauf along with Rasheed Jan Muhammad, Jawed Jilani, Ashfaq Ghaffar, Anis Majeed, Usman Shaikh, Noman Arif, Faisal Anis, Shoaib Rauf and others were the part of the delegation. In addition, Muhammad Sohail Shahzad, Director Technical Quarantine Department of Plant Protection Department, government of Pakistan along with his team was also present during the meeting. Anwar Mianoor said with a bumper rice crop this year, Pakistan has great opportunity to boost the rice exports. “We have good orders for China in coming months,” he said. However, exporters are facing a severe challenge of non-availability of containers for export purposes, he mentioned. He also drew the attention of the Advisor towards exorbitant increase in freight charges. He requested the federal government for immediate measures for the availability of containers for export of goods, particularly rice. “The federal government should issue a notification that forbids shipping lines from taking away empty containers or put a percentage on the movement of empty containers from our country,” he suggested. He mentioned that in some countries, their government implemented this practice. Further, he complained that shipping agents and companies are charging high exchange rates as compared to prevailing rates. He requested his support to facilitate rice exports to work with peace of mind. Mianoor also appreciated the role of DPP for the betterment of import export trade of Pakistan. He said that despite the shortage of staff, DPP staff has worked day and night and provided excellent services to business and trade. He requested Mahmood Moulvi to extend every possible support to DPP to continue their services. Abdul Rahim Janoo congratulated Mahmood Moulvi and said that he is the first leader of rice industry who have reached this position and we are proud of you for representing the rice sector everywhere. Sohail Shahzad, Director DPP thanked for the support to Reap, Ministry of National Food Security & Research and Government of Pakistan and informed that previously DPP was facing a critical shortage of staff to perform our duties to inspect import export containers at all sea ports. However, after consistent efforts MINCOM appointed a good number of Staff on Contractual basis and also provided suitable funds, so that DPP can continue to work with zeal. He requested to provide support to get these staff permanent. He requested Mahmood Moulvi to again hand over the office to DPP to work smoothly at Port premises. Sohail Shahzad added that there should be dedicated space at seaport to inspect the import export containers properly for sensitive countries, so that exports could not be stopped.
  • Pakistan poised to export near-record rice volume this season

  • Pakistan poised to export near-record rice volume this season ISLAMABAD: Bolstered by a bumper crop, Pakistan is poised to export near-record volumes of rice this season as the country struggles to manage surplus stocks of grain, a minister said on Monday. Pakistan planned to offer over 8 million tons of rice to foreign buyers as by December around 11.43 million of rice stocks will be available in the market for 3.4 million tons of local consumption. Syed Fakhar Imam, minister for National Food Security and Research said the country would offer rice worth $5 billion this season for exports to cut its ballooning surplus “but at the same time it’s a challenging task”. “This year we have over 8 million tons of exportable, worth around $4.85 billion. If we succeed in exporting this surplus rice, it would be a major breakthrough,” Imam told a news conference. China, Kenya, UAE, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia were key exports destinations of Pakistani rice over the last five years and imam said the government is mulling to setup a committee or task force on national level under the supervision and monitoring of the Prime Minister to push rice exports to new markets including. Africa and Latin-America “Exports have been a major challenge for the country over the last one decade and have been in the bracket of $21 to $25 billion. If this avenue is exploited and the rice is exported, the country can earn more forex and jack up our total exports,’ he added. Imam said the provincial crops reporting departments have reported a bumper rice crop of 8.96 million tons from 3.5 million hectares during the Karif 2021/22 crop year. Last year the country produced 8.41 million tons of rice. The government estimates that total available stock by December 2021 will be 11.43 million tons. Deducting 3.40 million tons for domestic consumption, 8.03 million tons is available as exportable surplus. Of the total exportable surplus, approximately 30 percent is basmati (2.41 million tons). Currently, the average export prices of basmati and coarse rice are $870/ton and $490/ton respectively. At these prices, Pakistan can earn $2.10 billion and $2.75 billion (total $4.85 billion) from the export of basmati and coarse rice, respectively. Official data showed that the country produced 8.41 million tons of rice and had a carryover stock of 0.51 million tons. Around 8.92 million tons of grain stock is available for domestic consumption and export. Up to November 2021, approximately 3.1 million tons were domestically consumed and 3.34 million tons was exported. Currently, the country has last year’s carryover stock of 2.47 million tons. During the last fiscal year, Pakistan exported 3.50 million tons of rice, valuing $2.11 billion. However, rice exports fell 12 percent compared to exports of FY2019-20 due to Covid-19 related disruption in shipments. “In FY2021-22, our exportable surplus is 128 percent higher than that of last year. Now that the shipment disruption is easing, Pakistan should make every effort to export 8.03 million tons and earn $4.85 billion which will be $2.74 billion more than that of last year,” Imam said.
  • Pakistan poised to export near-record rice volume this season

  • Pakistan poised to export near-record rice volume this season ISLAMABAD: Bolstered by a bumper crop, Pakistan is poised to export near-record volumes of rice this season as the country struggles to manage surplus stocks of grain, a minister said on Monday. Pakistan planned to offer over 8 million tons of rice to foreign buyers as by December around 11.43 million of rice stocks will be available in the market for 3.4 million tons of local consumption. Syed Fakhar Imam, minister for National Food Security and Research said the country would offer rice worth $5 billion this season for exports to cut its ballooning surplus “but at the same time it’s a challenging task”. “This year we have over 8 million tons of exportable, worth around $4.85 billion. If we succeed in exporting this surplus rice, it would be a major breakthrough,” Imam told a news conference. China, Kenya, UAE, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia were key exports destinations of Pakistani rice over the last five years and imam said the government is mulling to setup a committee or task force on national level under the supervision and monitoring of the Prime Minister to push rice exports to new markets including. Africa and Latin-America “Exports have been a major challenge for the country over the last one decade and have been in the bracket of $21 to $25 billion. If this avenue is exploited and the rice is exported, the country can earn more forex and jack up our total exports,’ he added. Imam said the provincial crops reporting departments have reported a bumper rice crop of 8.96 million tons from 3.5 million hectares during the Karif 2021/22 crop year. Last year the country produced 8.41 million tons of rice. The government estimates that total available stock by December 2021 will be 11.43 million tons. Deducting 3.40 million tons for domestic consumption, 8.03 million tons is available as exportable surplus. Of the total exportable surplus, approximately 30 percent is basmati (2.41 million tons). Currently, the average export prices of basmati and coarse rice are $870/ton and $490/ton respectively. At these prices, Pakistan can earn $2.10 billion and $2.75 billion (total $4.85 billion) from the export of basmati and coarse rice, respectively. Official data showed that the country produced 8.41 million tons of rice and had a carryover stock of 0.51 million tons. Around 8.92 million tons of grain stock is available for domestic consumption and export. Up to November 2021, approximately 3.1 million tons were domestically consumed and 3.34 million tons was exported. Currently, the country has last year’s carryover stock of 2.47 million tons. During the last fiscal year, Pakistan exported 3.50 million tons of rice, valuing $2.11 billion. However, rice exports fell 12 percent compared to exports of FY2019-20 due to Covid-19 related disruption in shipments. “In FY2021-22, our exportable surplus is 128 percent higher than that of last year. Now that the shipment disruption is easing, Pakistan should make every effort to export 8.03 million tons and earn $4.85 billion which will be $2.74 billion more than that of last year,” Imam said.
  • Rice export has huge scope

  • Paddy shipments to Beijing may rise as agri-cooperation deepens farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy field on the outskirts of lahore july 10 2011 photo reuters BEIJING: Will Basmati rice, the pride of Pakistan, appear on the dining tables of more Chinese consumers? Customs data showed that China imported 1.95 billion yuan worth of paddy and rice from Pakistan in the first 10 months of this year, 3.9 times higher than the same period of last year. Pakistan is the third-largest rice supplier to China. In addition, Pakistan became China’s largest rice supplier in the first five months of this year. As China and Pakistan further deepen agricultural cooperation, rice exports to Beijing may increase. The world’s leading rice exporters, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan compete and cooperate with each other. India used to be the largest exporter of Basmati rice, however, due to the strict European Union restrictions on tricyclazole and carbendazim, India lost a lot of Basmati rice orders from European clients. Meanwhile, Pakistan has become the biggest beneficiary thanks to its organic farming of Basmati rice. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Senior Vice President Faisal Jahangir Malik said that three years ago, India sold 400,000 tons of Basmati rice in the European markets while Pakistan’s share was less than 40,000 tons. “From 2020 to 2021, Pakistan’s rice exports to European countries reached 470,000 tons, while India’s share dropped below 40,000 tons,” he said. Read ‘Agriculture sector vital for growth’ “This was made possible thanks to Pakistan’s traditional farming method. Although Pakistan’s farming methods are not modern, they are close to organic production, hence the world has confidence in the locally produced rice.” Smog affects rice yield For a long time, Pakistan has followed a formula for rice export – rice export equals output minus domestic consumption. Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan told China Economic Net that Pakistan exports all it could offer. The only way to enhance exports is to increase the rice yield. Zhang Jiegen, the Associate Researcher at the Centre for Pakistan Studies at Fudan University, believed that China’s rice market is open to Pakistan in a way that other countries do not enjoy. “China will provide as much quota as possible to Pakistan in order to promote the healthy development of two-way trade but Pakistan’s production capacity cannot keep up,” he said. He cited sugar exports as an example. In 2020, Pakistan announced a subsidy for exporters to promote sugar export to China, however, this was followed by a spike in sugar prices as Pakistan’s domestic sugar production capacity could not keep up. Many factors affect rice yield. Read more Australia to provide agri-training Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku Director Muhammad Rafiq was of the view that smog is a major culprit. “When Basmati rice is not dried in time, exposure to the air produces aflatoxins. If these factors are excluded, the average yield of crops per acre will increase by 10-15 maund (40 kg),” he said. In Pakistan, many farmers consider rice as a cash crop. They use wheat harvesters to harvest rice due to the lack of specialised rice harvesters. Shamsul Islam Khan believed that the use of inappropriate combine harvesters affected the rice yield. “This leads to grain loss and increases breakage rate. When specialised rice harvesters are used, the yield will increase and the quality of crops will improve.” Agricultural technology limits rice production and also has an impact on rice processing. Khan said that 40-50% of rice is broken during processing. Rice exporters in China In the first five months of this year, Pakistan became China’s largest rice supplier. The main reason behind this is that China has relaxed its import restrictions on Pakistani rice in recent years. China has allowed seven new Pakistani rice exporters to do business in the country. So far, the number of Pakistani rice exporters that have got permission to enter the Chinese market has risen to 53. “There are 1,800 active members in Pakistan’s rice exporters association and currently, over 800 companies export rice from Pakistan,” said Malik. Comparing 53 approved exporters to 1,800 active members, he stated that “there is still much room for improvement in the exporter quota”.
  • Pakistani rice export to China has huge potential perts

  • Pakistani rice export to China has huge potential: Experts BEIJING, Nov. 25 (APP):Customs data showed that China imported RMB 1.95 billion worth of paddy and rice from Pakistan in the first 10 months of this year, 3.9 times that of the same period last year. Pakistan is the third largest rice supplier to China. In addition, Pakistan once became China’s largest rice supplier in the first five months of this year. As China and Pakistan further advance agricultural cooperation, Pakistan’s rice exports to China may increase, according to a report published by China Economic Net. Zhang Jiegen, an associate researcher at the Center for Pakistan Studies at Fudan University, believes that China’s rice market is open to Pakistan in a way that other countries do not enjoy. “China will provide as much quota as possible to Pakistan in order to promote the healthy development of China-Pakistan trade, but Pakistan’s production capacity cannot keep up.” Many factors affect rice yield. Ch. Muhammad Rafiq, Director of Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku, holds that smog is among the culprits. “When basmati rice is not dried in time, exposure to the air produces aflatoxins. If these factors are excluded, the average yield of crops per acre will increase by 10 to 15 maund (1 maund is about 40kg). “ In Pakistan, many farmers take rice as a cash crop. They use wheat harvester to harvest rice due to the lack of specialized rice harvesters. Shamsul Islam Khan believes that the use of inappropriate combine harvesters affects rice yield. “This leads to grain loss and increases breakage rate. When specialized rice harvesters are used, the yield will increase and the quality of crops will improve.” Agricultural technology limits rice production, and also has an impact on rice processing. Shamsul Islam Khan said that 40-50% of rice is broken during processing. In the first five months of this year, Pakistan once became China’s largest rice supplier. The main reason is that China has relaxed its import restrictions on Pakistani rice in recent years. China has approved seven new Pakistani rice exporters to do business in China. So far, the number of Pakistani rice exporters that have got permission to enter the Chinese market has risen to 53. “There are 1,800 active members in Pakistan’s rice exporters association, and currently over 800 companies export rice from Pakistan,” Faisal Jahangir Malik said. By comparing 53 approved exporters with 1,800 active members, he expressed his expectation that “there is still much room for improvement in the exporter quota”. China adopts tariff quota policy for corn, wheat and rice, levying a 1 percent tariff on imports within the quota and a 65 percent tariff on imports exceeding the quota. In 2021, import tariff quotas are 9.636 million tonnes for wheat, 7.2 million tonnes for corn and 5.32 million tonnes for rice, including 2.66 million tons of long-grain rice. Guo Jiapeng, a businessman engaged in global rice trade in Hong Kong, said. “Pakistani rice is mainly mixed with domestic rice according to a certain proportion to get the best taste.” As domestic rice harvest season has started, the arrival price of Pakistani rice in Hong Kong this year fell all the way from the highest USD 480 per ton to USD 310 per ton. China’s per capita consumption of rice has been declining year by year. Guo Jiapeng, based on years of trade experience, concluded that the rice that Chinese people have for staple food is decreasing at the rate of 3.5 per year, while the rice used for industrial production is increasing at the rate of 5%. Among them, broken rice for industrial use is not included in the quota, and the tariff levied on Pakistan’s broken rice export to China is 10. International sellers have set their sight on this “blue ocean market”. If the quota is a threshold, the preferences and habits of Chinese consumers determine the export prospect of Pakistani rice. Through more than ten years of experience in the Chinese market, Shamsul Islam Khan believes that the appearance of rice plays a key role in the Chinese market, “Chinese consumers’ preference for milled and polished rice leads to an increases in breakage.” Aman Ullah Khan, a Pakistani trader who has lived in China for over ten years, said that one reason for the poor sales of Pakistani rice in China is the characteristics of basmati rice. “Cooking basmati rice is demanding. The texture of cooked rice will be affected when it’s cooked in electric cookers, so the sales are not satisfactory in China.” Compared with foreign quality rice, cooked basmati rice gives a soft texture with superior aroma. As cooking it is demanding, currently, basmati rice in China is mainly served in foreign restaurants. Meanwhile, short-grain rice is still the main variety consumed by Chinese people at home. Thailand is a traditional rice supplier to China. Kesrin Ariyapongse, deputy secretary-general of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in China, holds that one reason why Thai rice has gained a good reputation in the Chinese market is that the eating habit is similar in China and Thailand, so Chinese people accept Thai rice easily. Fortunately, the Chinese have high recognition and acceptance of foreign food. Shamsul Islam Khan came to a Pakistani restaurant in China in 2018 and saw an amazing sight, “There wasn’t a single Pakistani except me. All were Chinese. They were eating samosas and having a good time. They were tasting Pakistani food, which was a good thing for us. “ If basmati rice wants to gain more recognition in China, high-end positioning is the top priority. Moreover, how to help Chinese consumers make a choice between Pakistani basmati rice and Indian basmati rice is also particularly important. A search for “basmati rice” on a Chinese e-commerce website shows that more than 70% of the products are “Pakistani basmati rice”, and the rest are produced in India. This has been made possible by the efforts of Chinese and Pakistani rice traders. Badar uz Zaman, Commercial Counsellor of Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, appreciated, “importers have started using e-commerce platforms to sell Pakistani rice, and Pakistani Embassy and Consulates in China have organized several rice related events.” “Our exporters start to comprehend Chinese taste for rice, participate and exhibit in different exhibitions and trade fairs actively, and learn about packaging requirements for products sold in the Chinese market,” said Badar uz Zaman. Kesrin Ariyapongse also suggested that Pakistani exporters should make adjustments for the habits of Chinese consumers. “Packaging improvement and constant product upgrading will allow the Chinese to accept easily.” “China is a large rice importer. Our exports can be increased many folds!” said Imran Sheikh, a Pakistani rice trader. Sino-Pak agricultural cooperation is all-round. Pakistan is eager not only to export its agricultural products to China, but also to bring Chinese investors with capital and technology to improve its agricultural sector. “Chinese technology can be seen everywhere around the world now.” He has been engaged in cooperation with Chinese companies. “We have made new machines by mixing local machines with those imported from China, Thailand and other countries. We have reached an agreement with our Chinese counterparts to cooperate in setting up a rice processing plant,” said Shamsul Islam Khan. Before Chinese agricultural machines entered Pakistan, high prices kept farmers away and hindered the development of agricultural mechanization. “In the past, the prices of these machines were quite high. For example, color sorter machines from Japan were extraordinary expensive. Now we import them from China because of lower cost and good rejection quality,” Shamsul Islam Khan said. The combine harvester mentioned above is also a good aspect of cooperation. Faisal Jahangir Malik said that Pakistan needs Chinese rice harvesters and transplanters. “Like the tray paddy transplanter, rice seedlings can be spread on the tray. Furthermore, it can increase yield by 5% to 7%. Pakistani farmers need equipment, education and training to modernize agriculture.” Chinese agricultural machines enter Pakistan relatively late, but they cost less and are in line with the habits of local farmers. In this way, upgrading of local agricultural technology and realization of agricultural machinery localization can come true in Pakistan. In response to Pakistan’s agricultural technology, Hussain Haider, Consulate General of Pakistan in Shanghai, holds that Pakistan needs to modernize its agricultural sector. In this case, Chinese assistance, investment and expertise can play a key role in mechanization of agriculture, use of modern technology and improvement of productivity. Pakistan has about 10 million hectares of saline alkali land. In this regard, Ch. Muhammad Rafiq is more interested in cooperation with agricultural colleges. “A large portion of our land is under the effect of salinity. We are still running breeding programs with old traditional methods and are not using the genetic engineering aid. We hope to cooperate with Chinese agricultural colleges.” Deep processing is a good opportunity for Pakistani rice to overtake if it wants to stand out from the fierce competition in the rice export market. As carbon constraints tighten, the gap in China’s starch market is widening, and the production of industrial products such as fast food boxes made from corn starch and rice starch is expanding. Guo Jiapeng believes that by using Chinese fermentation technology, the added value of Pakistani rice can be improved through deep processing biodegradable materials in China after initial processing in Pakistan. According to Shamsul Islam Khan, in addition to agricultural technology, he hopes that China can make extensive investment in Pakistan’s agriculture sector, and that more Chinese companies will “contract land” in Pakistan, as it has a large area of open, uncultivated land due to lack of agricultural technology. “After Chinese and Saudi companies went to Africa, they turned it into fertile land. 22% of Pakistan’s area is cultivated land, but there are still a wild stretch of land that is uncultivated. If China’s drip irrigation technology is adopted, it may also yield rice.” However, not all Pakistani farmers will accept Chinese technology. Zhang Genjie told CEN reporter a story, “Once an entrepreneur from a Chinese agribusiness talked about cooperation with a big landlord in Islamabad. The Chinese entrepreneur said that if the production technology was applied, the yield increased two to three folds, but the Pakistani landlord showed no interest. He said that the current practice could ensure an annual income of tens of millions of rupees. Why to change?” Zhang Jiegen believes that with the introduction of international cooperation and capital, an action forcing mechanism will be formed to accelerate the adaptation of local agriculture sector to international market demand. Traditionally, seed industry, agricultural machinery, agricultural materials, and product processing have been the main areas of agricultural cooperation between China and Pakistan. Pakistanis involved in rice business have started imagining scenarios of applying information technology to agricultural farming. Shamsul Islam Khan proposes to develop an application for rice farmers that would allow them to stay in touch with the agriculture department in real time, and the agricultural department would advise them on watering schedules and others. Pakistani rice is harvested by Chinese harvesters and then exported to the Chinese market according to Chinese packaging standards… This is the pursuit of countless Pakistani rice practitioners. As Badar uz Zaman said, “In the next few years, I think Pakistan will become the largest player in the Chinese rice import market.”
  • Basmati prices on upswing in Punjab, with reduction in area hitting supply

  • Chandigarh With basmati supplies expected to be constrained with area under its cultivation falling this season, the aromatic variety has seen an upward swing in the prices, crossing over 4,000 a quintal, over the past ten days Punjab has seen basmati prices on upswing as there has been a 26% reduction in area under cultivation of the crop; the dynamics of the crop changes every year based on export demand. (HT FILE PHOTO) Punjab has seen basmati prices on upswing as there has been a 26% reduction in area under cultivation of the crop; the dynamics of the crop changes every year based on export demand. Chandigarh With basmati supplies expected to be constrained with area under its cultivation falling this season, the aromatic variety has seen an upward swing in the prices, crossing over 4,000 a quintal, over the past ten days. Last season’s peak season rates ranged between 2,500 and 2,600 in mandis of Kotkapura, Amritsar, Muktsar, Batala, Fatehgarh Churian and Batala. Punjab Mandi Board figures show that to date, 8.35 lakh tonne basmati has arrived in mandis against last year’s corresponding figure of 10.75 lakh tonne. “Prices are expected to cross 4,500 per quintal, with total arrivals expected to be between 13 lakh tonne and 14 lakh tonne. “This upswing in prices has come after years and is good for growers, especially when the area under the crop has reduced by 26% over previous season,” said Ashok Sethi, director, Basmati Exporters Association. The area under premium paddy variety basmati this season has shrunk by one-fourth over the previous seasons. Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) figures show that this season, basmati was sown over 4.4 lakh hectare against last year’s area under of 6 lakh hectare, witnessing a steep fall of 26%. The Centre has been studying the cropping pattern over the past four-five years. Fall in area is attributed to poor economics attached with the premium crop forcing the basmati growers to shift to the Parmal paddy covered under MSP, with 26 lakh hectare is under Parmal. Now, paddy crop sown June-July has matured and is being harvested. “An acre of basmati yields 18-20 quintal, which is sold at price of 2,500 a quintal, for a total sale of 48,000. While the yield of an acre of Parmal variety is 30-32 quintal which sells at a fixed price of 1,940 per acre,” said an official with state’s food and civil supplies department. He adds that parmal fetches per acre value between 58,000 to 62,000 per acre witnessing a benefit of Rs. 10,000 to 12,000. “Prices are expected to see an upward trend this week. There is needs a system to regulate and stabilise prices offered for basmati, so that farmers are not fleeced,” said Surinder Singh, a basmati grower from Batala. According to Sethi, the fall in prices is due to closure of business with Iran which used to export grain worth 12,000 crore from the state. “We hope for more upward swing in the basmati market, once sanctions imposed on Iran by the US are removed; India had also followed the US,” he added. Annually, basmati export from India is worth 34,000 crore, out of with Punjab contributes 40%. The quantum of Indian basmati rice consumed in Saudi Arabia is 50% of import to middle-east; the region itself forms 70% of our country’s export market.  
  • Rice exports to set new record this year

  • Rice exports rose an impressive 10.5 per cent between April and October over the record exports in FY21 A man works in a paddy field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, Friday, Nov. 19. (AP Photo) Chennai: Despite the pandemic demand waning out, rice exports rose an impressive 10.5 per cent between April and October over the record exports in FY21. A new record in rice exports is expected this year. In value terms, rice exports grew 10.5 per cent, increasing from $4,777.35 million in April-October 2020 to $5,278.95 million in April-October 2021. Between April and October, rice exports have almost touched 60 per cent of last year’s exports in value. Rice exports fetched $8.8 billion in FY21. Of this, non-basmati rice revenues more than doubled to $4.8 billion. However, basmati rice saw a drop of 7 per cent to $4 billion. Even in volume terms, rice exports had almost doubled to an all-time high of 17.7 million tonnes last fiscal, against 9.5 mt a year ago.  In the pandemic year, several countries have been stocking up food items prior to going into lockdown. Scarcity and export restrictions in some of the exporting countries saw demand for Indian rice going up. Further, Indian rice is becoming popular in the global market for its lower price and better quality. Even after the pandemic, the demand for Indian rice is high. In volume terms, the country has already exported 8.3 mt of rice between April and September, up 11.44 per cent over 7.5 mt a year ago.
  • rice export: cautious optimism

  • Pakistan’s rice exports staged a comeback during Q1-FY22, rising against low base from Covid quarter during same period last year. Exports of all varieties have shown marked improvement, with basmati rice exports recording a particularly impressive performance, marching ahead by one-third in volume terms. But beyond the obvious low base impact, rice exports are struggling to get off the rollercoaster ride they stepped on three years ago, failing to inspire confidence. Exports remains significantly lower than Q1-FY20, when impact of currency devaluation made commodity export temporarily very attractive. Since then, volumes have struggled to maintain momentum, with annualized basmati volume well-under million tons target, whereas non-basmati varieties are also trailing under peak performance.
    Although rice exporters have pointed fingers at the oceanic container shortage, much more seems to be at play that explains below-par performance. Exporters are struggling to fetch attractive pricing in the global commodity market, as rice prices have turned out to be the only laggard in the ongoing global commodity price spiral. International prices of most rice varieties are trailing well below their pre-pandemic levels, and refusing to change gears from downward trajectory. Domestically produced rice varieties are also no exception to this global trend, which is an outcome of a glut in rice supply from East Asian countries.
    It must come as little surprise to readers that Pakistan is a price taker in the international rice trade, especially due its tiny share in non-basmati varieties production. Since non-basmati varieties are mainly produced for export markets, export volume has demonstrated resilience (as suppliers struggle to sell in local market). But pricing has certainly taken a hit, in line with international trend. In case of basmati, global demand remains steadfast at roughly 5 million tons per annum, of which 0.6 to 0.8 million tons originates from Pakistan. Exporters from India meet more than 80 percent of the global demand, and thus enjoy unchallenged pricing power.
    News reports from across the border suggest that India’s basmati exports may remain restricted close to 4 million tons in the ongoing fiscal year, due to lower production forecast in its local markets. Pakistani exporters thus have a golden opportunity to maximize volume exported, but some risks to thesis persist. Exporters insist that ‘ocean freight gone wild’ risks hurting prospects, as buyer destinations are not entirely averse to higher prices. Ex-farm prices have already adjusted upwards in response to lower production across the border, further diminishing mills’ margins. On the other hand, buoyant demand for local consumption means millers are happy to offload their output in the domestic market, especially if price of substitute cereals (such as flour) also rise. Given the complex dynamics, the recent round of currency depreciation has offered some encouragement to exporters, which may be dampened due to change in macro-settings: the possibility of an upward correction in Rupee as a result of an agreement with IMF. If that happens, Pakistan’s rice exports breaching $2.5 billion in FY22 shall remain a mirage.
  • India-Pakistan tug of war over GI tag for Basmati rice takes a new turn

  • India-Pakistan tug of war over GI tag for Basmati rice takes a new turn
    A recent judgement of a European Union court has misled Pakistan into believing that its geographical indication (GI) rights over Basmati rice have been upheld. The judgement gains significance in view of the tussle over GI rights between India and Pakistan.
    India and Pakistan have been in a tug of war over exclusive trademark rights on long-grain Basmati rice. India applied to the EU for protected geographical indication (PGI) status for Basmati rice last year. Pakistan opposed the move as it would deal an adverse blow to the country’s exports to EU. India and Pakistan are the only two countries that export Basmati rice to the world.
    Pakistan’s claim that the latest judgement upholds its rights over Basmati rice is unsubstantiated, S. Chandrasekaran, author of the book, Basmati Rice: The Natural History Geographical Indication, told The Hindu BusinessLine.
    The case
    In October 2017, the UK-based Indo European Food Ltd appealed to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) against registration of the trademark by Venice-based distributor Hamid Ahmad Chakari. Chakari is a distributor in the EU who buys rice from Pakistan, while Indo European Food Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s Kohinoor Foods Ltd that markets Basmati rice.
    Chakari had obtained the non-registered trademark for rice flour, rice cakes, rice-based snacks, extruded food products made of rice, rice pulp for culinary purposes and rice meal for forage.
    According to Indo European Food Ltd, the trademark relied upon the goodwill associated with the name Basmati.
    The UK firm also said use of the words, ‘Abresham Super Basmati Selaa Grade One World’s Best Rice,’ indicated that the product was Basmati rice and if the rice used was of any other type, it would lead to misrepresentation. This would damage the goodwill of the Basmati rice brand.
    The EUIPO rejected the arguments by Indo European Ltd in April 2019, saying it failed to provide sufficient evidence that the registration of the trademark caused loss to the firm.
    “There was no argument to explain how use of the mark applied for could affect the distinctiveness of the name ‘basmati’,” the EUIPO board of appeal had said.
    What is the EU court judgement?
    The ruling by the Court of Justice of EU came on an appeal filed by Indo European Food Ltd against the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) judgement.
    The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice upheld the registration of  ‘Abresham Super Basmati Selaa Grade One World’s Best Rice’ in the EU and said Indo European Ltd “failed to demonstrate” how the trademark would result in misrepresentation of the name Basmati.
    However, it agreed that a small part of the public could believe that the goods were in some way associated with Basmati rice.
    The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan hailed the judgement and said it “successfully” crushed the Indian application of GI tag for its Basmati rice in the EU.
    India still in the race
    Chandrasekaran said Pakistan is wrongly under the impression that the Court of Justice recognised its Basmati variety.
    Since 2017, the Indian Patent Office has given GI tag for Basmati rice, thereby protecting the exclusivity of the long-grain fragrant rice across the world.
    As the 2017 case revolved around a non-registered product, the Indian registration supersedes such a claim, the expert said. It is now an internationally settled law.
    With the domestic GI tag, India has the legal means to challenge any registered or non-registered trademark post-2017, Chandrasekaran said.
  • Rice exports to Russia restored after two-year ban

  • DPP portraying false image of increasing exports due to govt efforts ISLAMABAD: The exports of rice to Russia have been restored with officials of the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), an attached department of Ministry of Food Security and Research (MFS&R), claiming that the development was a result of the government’s efforts to increase the country’s exports. However, Profit learnt that Russia had actually re-allowed import from Pakistan in the mid of this year, under stiff conditions, as the product was banned for clear negligence of DPP in 2019.  As per details, the ban was imposed in August 2019 after insects were found in the rice. It is pertinent to mention here that a number of similar incidents of Pakistani products being banned has been reported in the past due to the DPP’s alleged role wherein they clear consignments without the due fumigation process. This has earned the country a very bad name apart from resulting in losses of revenue through exports. For example, Mexico banned the import of Pakistani rice in 2013 due to the presence of the Khapra beetle, Vietnam has banned Pakistani wheat, the UK destroyed one consignment of bitter melon (karela) due to the presence of a sort of bacteria in July this year, while Malaysian Quarantine Authorities (MQA) found turtles in a potato container sent by DPP with a fake Phyto certificate. Interestingly, the officials accused of negligence which caused huge losses to the national exchequer were never probed.  Speaking with Profit, a leading exporter of rice who did not want to be named informed this scribe that exporters are allowed to fumigate their consignments themselves and pay charges to DPP. “This clearly shows the negligence and violation of rules by DPP officials and there is no doubt that they are damaging the country’s exports,” they added. On the other hand, a complaint to the Prime Minister Office against DPP officials sent by trade bodies states that the department even asks importers to fumigate already fumigated items. Regarding this matter, although the DPP is mandated to fumigate hundreds of consignments both exported and imported, only a single company, National Chemicals, is allowed to import methyl bromide, a chemical that is necessary for carrying out the task. In similar wrongdoing, there are 54 fumigation companies that are registered with the DPP; however, only sister fumigation companies of National Chemical, namely Adeel Pesticides, Pak Pansy, Pest Management Pentagon Fumigation Services, and Tahir Fumigation Expert are carrying out fumigations and charging sky high rates due to their monopoly. Documents available with Profit show that there are 54 fumigation companies registered with the department, but only 8 of them are active, which are actually firms set up under different names of three companies whereas about 46 registered companies are either inactive or closed due to the non-supply of methyl bromide. Furthermore, citing ongoing irregularities in the department, Iranian authorities had earlier blacklisted fumigation companies Ramadan Associates and Millat Trading, stating in a letter that insects were found in a consignment of mangoes which had been imported from Pakistan. Sources said that a monopoly has been established on the international trade of agricultural products under the auspices of DPP officials, yet the food ministry has turned a blind eye to the department’s performance. On Friday, DPP officials claimed that the Russian Ministry of Commerce, in collaboration with the department itself, would monitor more rice mills via video link. Plant Production Director Sohail Shahzad told Profit that several countries including Russia, China, Japan and Australia have lifted the import ban from Pakistan and are also issuing online confirmation certificates to Pakistani exporters. He said that by visiting the factories online, several countries are releasing orders for rice and fruits. Previously, Pakistan had about 34 rice export outlets in the Russian market. But now the number has increased to 53. Pakistani exporters are allowed to export 150,000 tonnes of rice to Russia. Pakistani exporters are allowed to export 150,000 tonnes of rice to Russia.      

  •             KARACHI: The steps being taken by the incumbent government to increase the country’s exports have started yielding results as Russia has increased the volume of rice imports from Pakistan. The Russian Trade ministry will monitor more rice factories via video link with the collaboration of the Plant Production department. Earlier Pakistan had around 34 rice export establishments in the Russian market, but now the number has increased up to 53, said director Plant Production Department, Sohail Shahzad said and added several countries including Russia, China, Japan and Australia have lifted the import ban from Pakistan and issuing online confirmation certificates to the Pakistani exporters. Sohail Shahzad said several countries by visiting the factories online via Plant Production Department are releasing orders for rice and fruits. It is to be noted that Russia had banned the import of Pakistani rice in 2018. The ban was lifted after efforts were made by the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and the trade wing of Pakistan’s embassy in Moscow. The trade attache in Moscow had also persuaded the Federal Service for Veterinary & Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS), a federal executive body in Russia, to conduct a virtual inspection of other rice exporting enterprises in Pakistan, so that they may also be allowed to export rice to Russia.  
  • New grant advances research on domestic organic rice

  • Washington D.C., Sept. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of Arkansas, in collaboration with The Organic Center and the University of California Cooperative Extension, has been awarded nearly $500,000 through USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Institute (OREI) to help undertake a three-year project studying the challenges and opportunities for organic rice production and usage in the United States.  Currently, consumer demand for organic rice exceeds domestic supply, and leads to significant import competition. Meanwhile, research is needed to determine whether domestic organic rice production can be competitive and sustainable, and what attributes consumers consider desirable in the rice they eat.  The long-term goal is to facilitate the growth of organic rice production in the U.S. and foster the growth of the domestic market. Specifically, researchers will focus on identifying and assessing the economic impacts of different production practices used in domestic organic rice production. To expand domestic consumption of organic rice, researchers plan to study consumers’ preferences. In addition, researchers will develop a multi-state outreach program to disseminate the findings of the research. “It will be important to assess producer and consumer attitudes about organic rice production and consumption, and then identify any barriers that need to be overcome to improve the market opportunities” says Dr. Alvaro Durand-Morat of the University of Arkansas who is lead Project Investigator. The research will include using discussions with farmer focus groups and surveys, as well as studies of consumer behavior and attitudes concerning desired attributes of rice they buy and consume. Findings and results will be disseminated through many channels, including interactive extension tools, presentations, and journal and newspaper publications, to reach targeted audiences. During the first year, The Organic Center will issue press releases and grower group announcements to publicize the planned research. It will also provide a web portal to post description of the project, updates, and other information. Meanwhile, it will launch a social media campaign about the research via The Organic Center and Organic Trade Association Facebook and Twitter accounts. This campaign will continue throughout the full four years of the project to disseminate information gathered at farmer and industry group listening sessions, requests for stakeholder input, research findings, and stakeholder meeting conference sessions and workshops.  During the second and third years, The Organic Center will increase its outreach to allow wide dissemination of on-farm research findings and recommendations. Included will be webinars, and publications explaining research results. “We are thrilled to be a part of this monumental research,” said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center. “This project will fill a critical need to help increase the domestic supply of organic rice.” OREI helps support wide ranging research projects that specifically address the most critical issues impacting organic growers. The 2018 Farm Bill approved increasing funding for OREI to $50 million per year by 2023, thus establishing permanent funding for the program. For the current 2021 funding round, this amount increased from $20 million to $25 million. In 2022, the amount will increase to $30 million. In 2023, the program funding amount will be capped at annual distribution of $50 million.    
  • Pakistani rice export to China may cross one million in coming years: Badar uz Zaman

  • BEIJING, Aug 23 (APP): Pakistan has a huge potential to enhance rice export to several countries especially China and Pakistani rice export is likely to cross one million tons within two years with increased demand from the Chinese market, said Badar uz Zaman, Commercial Counselor of Pakistan Embassy in China. “Last year our rice exports to China was 475,000 tons and in quantity wise we are the third largest country while in amount or money wise we are fourth largest rice exporter to China,” he told APP. Last year, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Thailand were the top three rice exporters to China, with export of 787,538 tons, 911,231 tons, and 324,642 tons respectively. China had appeared as one of the top destinations for Pakistani rice with 59% increase of broken rice in last year while semi/wholly milled rice and IRRI-6 and IRRI-9 are the main top two rice varieties imported by China amounted to around $259 million last year. Badar uz Zaman said the number of registered rice exporters has increased to 53 and within the last two years as 18 new Pakistani rice companies were registered by the General Administration of Customs, China, which shows the huge demand for Pakistani rice in the Chinese market. These companies fully meet the Chinese standard. He said that IRRI-6 and IRRI-9 types of rice have special Chinese consumer taste, while all commercial sections in China are trying B2B marketing to promote all kinds of Pakistani rice types, and also the products of quality are in demand here. According to a report released by China-Pakistan Agricultural and Industrial Information Platform (CPAIC), Pakistan has already become one of the top rice producers and exporters in the world. The rice grown in Pakistan is mainly divided into Basmati rice and non-Basmati rice. Basmati rice, with slender and elongated grains, aromatic taste, and soft and fluffy texture when cooked, is one of the most favored high-end rice varieties in the international market. Pakistan is the most important growing area of Basmati rice besides India and Bangladesh. Hybrid rice breeding assisted by China is elevating Pakistani rice yield to a new height. Honglian hybrid rice developed by Wuhan University and harvested in eight demonstrative plots in Pakistan has demonstrated ability to raise production by two times. A rice variety bred by China’s Yuan Longping High-tech Agriculture Co., Ltd. in collaboration with Guard Agriculture Research and Services are anticipated to double the rice production in Pakistan from 2 tons per acre to 4 tons per acre. Last year, a total of 500 tonnes of hybrid rice seeds from a seed company in east China’s Jiangsu Province landed in Pakistan to help ensure the country’s grain yield. It may be mentioned here that China permitted imports of Pakistani rice in January 1, 2006. In February of the same year, the first batch of rice shipped from Pakistan.
  • India, Pakistan take battle over basmati rice title to EU

  • India applies for exclusive trademark that would grant it sole ownership of basmati title in European Union, setting off a dispute with rival Pakistan. From biryani to pulao, Pakistan and India’s shared culinary landscape is defined by basmati, a distinctive long-grain rice now at the centre of the latest tussle between the bitter rivals. India has applied for an exclusive trademark that would grant it sole ownership of the basmati title in the European Union, setting off a dispute that could deal a major blow to Pakistan’s position in a vital export market. “It’s like dropping an atomic bomb on us,” said Ghulam Murtaza, co-owner of Al-Barkat Rice Mills just south of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city. Pakistan immediately opposed India’s move to gain Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the European Commission.

    India is the largest rice exporter in the world, netting $6.8bn in annual earnings, with Pakistan in fourth position at $2.2bn, according to the United Nations figures.

    The two countries are the only global exporters of basmati. “(India) has caused all this fuss over there so they can somehow grab one of our target markets,” said Murtaza, whose fields are barely five kilometres (three miles) from the Indian border. “Our whole rice industry is affected,” he added.

    From Karachi to Kolkata, basmati is a staple in everyday diets across southern Asia.

    It is eaten alongside spicy meat and vegetable curries, and is the star of the endlessly varied biryani dishes featured at weddings and celebrations across both countries, which only split following independence from British colonial rule in 1947. They have since fought three full-scale wars, with the latest skirmish in 2019 involving the first cross-border air attacks in nearly 50 years. Diplomatic relations have been tense for decades and both countries routinely attempt to malign each other on the international stage.

    ‘Very important market’

    Pakistan has expanded basmati exports to the EU over the past three years, taking advantage of India’s difficulties meeting stricter European pesticide standards.

    It now fills two-thirds of the region’s approximately 300,000-tonne annual demand, according to the European Commission.

    “For us, this is a very, very important market,” says Malik Faisal Jahangir, vice-president of the Pakistan Rice Exporters Association, who claims Pakistani basmati is more organic and “better in quality”. PGI status grants intellectual property rights for products linked to a geographic area where at least one stage of production, processing, or preparation takes place.

    Indian Darjeeling tea, coffee from Colombia and several French hams are among the popular products with PGI status.

    It differs from Protected Designation of Origin, which requires all three stages to take place in the concerned region, as in the case of cheeses such as French brie or Italian gorgonzola. Such products are legally guarded against imitation and misuse in countries bound by the protection agreement and a quality recognition stamp allows them to sell for higher prices. India says it did not claim in its application to be the only producer of the distinctive rice grown in the Himalayan foothills, but attaining PGI status would nevertheless grant it this recognition.
     “India and Pakistan have been exporting and competing in a healthy way in different markets for almost 40 years… I don’t think the PGI will change that,” Vijay Setia, former president of the Indian Rice Exporters Association, told AFP news agency.
    As per EU rules, the two countries must try to negotiate an amicable resolution by September, after India asked for a three-month extension, a spokesman for the European Commission told AFP. “Historically, both the reputation and geographic area (for basmati) are common to India and Pakistan,” says legal researcher Delphine Marie-Vivien. “There have already been quite a few cases of opposition to geographical indication applications in Europe, and each time a compromise has been found.”

    After years of procrastination, the Pakistani government in January demarcated where basmati can be harvested in the country.

    It also announced it would assign similar protected status to pink Himalayan salt and other vaunted agricultural products. Pakistan hopes to convince India to instead submit a “joint application” in the name of the common heritage that basmati represents, Jahangir said. “I am confident that we will reach a (positive) conclusion very soon… the world knows that basmati comes from both countries,” he added. If an agreement cannot be reached and the EU rules in India’s favour, Pakistan could appeal to the European courts, but the long review process could leave its rice industry in limbo.
  • Rice exporters slam PM aide’s claim

  • Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan say the statement regarding no demand of basmati rice in the world is misleading

    Karachi: Rice exporters on Thursday came hard on a Prime Minister’s aide for underestimating the export potential of Pakistani basmati that fetches the country more than $800 million. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) said the statement regarding no demand of basmati rice in the world is misleading, as Pakistan exports basmati worth more than $800 million every year. REAP expressed serious concern over a public statement by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Agriculture Jamshed Cheema that demand in export markets is mostly for coarse rice while the Pakistani farmers are intoxicated with basmati rice and should shift to production of coarse rice. The aide said basmati rice should only be produced for local consumption. “The statement of the special assistant is patently false and misleading,” Qayum Paracha, chairman of REAP said in a statement. “REAP would like to apprise that basmati is sown in Punjab since 17th century and due to its unique aroma, our basmati rice acts as Pakistan’s ambassador globally,” Paracha said. Pakistan’s current basmati rice exports are around $800 million per annum out of total $2.3 billion rice exported per annum. Hundreds of thousands of people in the whole supply chain of basmati rice from farmers, millers and work force to exporters and brand owners are dependent on the crop, he added. REAP has announced a reward of Rs10 million to any rice breeder, government or private sector, who comes up with high productivity basmati rice new seed. “Instead of encouraging research and yield increase in basmati crop which has a potential of more than $3 billion export annually, Cheema is discouraging sowing of this heritage product,” he said. “Such irresponsible statements by people sitting on highest echelons of Pakistan will jeopardize our case in European Union. Such damaging stance by a high official of the government negates all our efforts to safeguard our heritage since centuries in basmati rice besides billions invested in rice mills, export market brand equity.” In March, the European Union accepted the reasons of Pakistani rice exporters for why India should not be given exclusive rights to export basmati. REAP had filed the statement in opposition to India’s claim of geographical indication of basmati on February 5 after sending the notice of opposition on December 7 last. Pakistan has been challenging India’s bid to obtain exclusive rights of exporting basmati rice to the 27-member European Union since last year. India is the world’s biggest basmati exporter and meets 65 percent of the global demand for the aromatic rice. Pakistan meets the remaining requirement.
  • High ocean freight may lead to slow start in rice exports

  • image caption

    Buyers turn cautious as Indian rupee also weakens

    After record exports of around 12 million tonnes (mt) of non-basmati rice during 2020-21, exporters are confident of sustaining the trend this fiscal. However, they see a slower start to the shipments in current fiscal as buyers have turnedcautious over the sharp increase in freight rates.
    “In the new financial year, we expect to sustain the shipment trend witnessed in last year as the supply issues are seen continuing in other major producing countries. However, with the rise in freight rates, we see buyers adopting a wait-and-watch stance. As a result, there will be a slower start to shipments,” said BV Krishna Rao, President, The Rice Exporters Association. However, the shipments for the earlier contracts will happen in April, he said. Ocean freight rates have moved up by 50-60 per cent for both container and break bulk cargo, due to which the share of freight costs in the total product cost of rice has increased significantly, Rao said. The demand continues to be there for the Indian rice as the supply issues are seen continuing in the other origins. Though there’s an improved crop in Myanmar, exporters are seen facing challenges due to the prevailing political situation. Also a weaker Indian currency is seen aiding the country’s exporters. Rao further said that the availability of rice for exports in the country was likely to be lower as the Government has stepped up the procurement. “We may not have last year’s level of supplies due to higher procurement, which may result in slightly firm prices. We are expecting the average realisations to increase by about $20 per tonne from the last year’s average of around $370,” he added. India — with total exports of around 16 mt — has been the largest player in the world rice trade estimated at 50 million tonnes.

    Basmati exports

    Basmati rice exports are estimated to be between 4.5 and 4.6 mt, said Vinod Kaul, Executive Director, All India Rice Exporters Association. Basmati rice exports, which had registered a growth of around 16 per cent in volumes till December, slowed down in January-February period due to shortage of containers and also due to higher ocean freight rates. “As a result, we expect a overall growth in shipments to be marginal at around 1 per cent over 2019-20,” Kaul said. India exported 4.5 million tonnes in 2019-20. About 90 per cent of the basmati shipments are done through containers.
  • CRF: Bumper 2021 for organic rice

  •           Cambodia exported 11,200 tonnes of organic milled rice to international markets in 2020, a slight 1.2 per cent increase over 2019, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF). While the milled-rice export sector by and large chalks up 2020’s lacklustre growth performance to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the CRF has only strengthened its resolve to ramp up sales of Cambodian milled-rice abroad. According to the CRF, more than 90 per cent of the exports were shipped to the European market, while “a small amount” went to the US. With the Kingdom’s total 2020 milled-rice exports weighing in at 690,829 tonnes, organic rice accounted for just 1.6 per cent. Song Saran, president of the CRF and CEO of miller and exporter Amru Rice Cambodia Co Ltd, told The Post on January 11 that total milled-rice exports surged 11.4 per cent from 2019, far outshining the growth seen in the organic variant. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries data show that the Kingdom exported 387,000 tonnes of milled rice in 2014, 538,396 tonnes in 2015, 542,144 tonnes in 2016, 635,679 tonnes in 2017, 626,225 tonnes in 2018 and 620,106 tonnes in 2019. Each figure has fallen short of the government’s pledge to export one million tonnes of rice per annum, originally made in August 2010 for 2015. Saran attributed the uninspiring growth in Cambodian organic milled-rice exports to tariffs levied by the EU, citing the market’s dependence on the bloc. Cambodia’s rice sector officially lost its import duty exemption granted by the EU in January 2019 after the bloc’s decision to impose tariffs on imports from the Kingdom and Myanmar to protect European rice farmers’ interests. Saran added that Covid-19 had brought organic rice demand in the EU to a virtual halt. “While overall milled-rice exports to Europe did not increase due to tariffs, organic milled rice did enjoy a bumper year,” he said. “Without tariff barriers, we’d be even more competitive. Still, the growth we saw is acceptable given the context. “We’ll strive to find more and larger organic milled-rice export markets, especially in the US, where demand is high and [import] volume remains small. We’ll boost Cambodia’s organic milled-rice exports to around 15,000 tonnes in 2021,” he said. According to Saran, Amru Rice accounted for 9,000 tonnes, or 80 per cent, of 2020 organic milled-rice exports, which represents a 10-20 per cent gain over 2019. With its production based on “natural principles” with a “clear control system”, he said organic rice is widely known for its myriad health benefits. Chan Sokheang, chairman and CEO of Signatures of Asia Co Ltd, another local rice miller and exporter, said Covid-19 had diminished global demand for organic rice. He said his company exported more than 2,000 tonnes of organic milled rice last year, declining about 20 per cent from the year before, and 22,000 tonnes of regular varieties, up around 30 per cent over 2019. “Declining incomes during the Covid-19 epidemic have led people to opt for the types of rice they need, with less focus on [the healthier] organic rice, which costs almost twice as much,” he said. According to Sokheang, organic white milled rice was valued at around $950 per tonne on the international market last year – similar to 2019, while fragrant varieties fetched around $1,200-1,300 per tonne. “As the global economy remains mired in uncertainties, it’d be ill-conceived to presume what the volume of organic milled-rice exports will look like in 2021, given how concretely interwoven [its performance] is with economic growth acceleration. “If people’s incomes increase, the purchase volume of organic milled rice will swell up in consonance,” he said.