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.
  • 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

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    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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.    
  • The influx of demand from feed buyers in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised numerous questions over the direction of the Asian low-quality white rice market.

  • While commercial feed demand in recent years has been dominated by corn and wheat, Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 led to price spikes for both products. It has also led to increasing concern about global exportable supplies, with the Black Sea region one of the major origins for these products. However, demand from feed buyers is not new. According to Shirley Mustafa of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization, this has been emerging for some time. "Use of rice for feed has been rising since 2020-21, after reaching a seven-year low the year prior," Mustafa told S&P Global Commodity Insights. "Rice use for animal feed [aside from bran] is usually limited and confined to backyard operations since the commercial feed sector usually has more economically viable alternatives than rice. However, gains in wheat and maize prices over the past year-and-a-half or so, driven by these commodities' own domestic and international market dynamics, have tended to narrow price differentials with rice [especially broken rice]." In China, for example, these shifting dynamics were directly linked to 2021 rice imports rising by 69% year on year to 4.96 million mt, according to data from Chinese customs, with the world's largest exporter -- India -- emerging to satisfy this huge volume of broken rice demand.

    Rice markets react

    But the demand from feed buyers has spiked in both India and other Asian rice markets since the Ukraine conflict began. In India, for example, sources have reported instances of defaulting and low supplies, with one Kakinada-based exporter going so far as to describe the local broken rice market as a "disaster" due to the sudden influx of demand. In rice export origins which are also destination markets for corn and/or wheat, such as Vietnam, many exporters have withdrawn their broken rice offers due to high domestic demand. Vietnamese 100% broken white rice price has increased by $65/mt since the invasion of Ukraine, reaching a high of $370/mt FOB on March 25, according to Platts assessment from S&P Global. However, many sources view broken rice prices from Vietnam as hypothetical, with the country even importing substantial volumes from India to meet demand. In traditional broken rice markets -- notably in West Africa -- the situation is more immediately concerning from a food security perspective. In Senegal, which is a huge market for broken rice for human consumption, a sizable gap is opening up between current retail prices and replacement costs. While in part this is due to Senegal's new retail price cap and high freight rates, the significant rise in Indian broken rice prices in recent weeks has only served to widen this gap. According to one Europe-based trader who buys for the country, this gap has reached $90/mt in recent days, and made it "impossible" to buy for Senegal at present without taking on huge financial risks. However, with sufficient stocks in Dakar for Ramadan and the following weeks, the trader added that it makes no sense to re-enter the market before the religious holiday is over, with hopes that the replacement cost gap will have narrowed in the interim.

    Unusual price spreads

    Because of the massive influx in demand for Asian broken rice, unusual price spreads between different rice grades have emerged. Pakistani 5% and 100% broken white rice were briefly assessed at par earlier in March while the gap was $70/mt a year prior. The spread between Thai 5% and A1 Super 100% broken white rice has narrowed to only $2/mt in recent days, compared to $51/mt a year prior. One major Singapore-based rice trader said that "some 25% [broken white rice] shipments for feed purposes" was seen from Myanmar to Europe. Sources buying from the Myanmar market have reported that offers of low-quality B234 broken white rice have been largely unavailable in recent weeks due to high feed demand, with higher quality broken rice prices also moving up substantially. Despite sources reporting no obvious reason for why feed buyers could not turn to 25% broken white rice if 100% broken white rice was unavailable, or priced uncompetitively, sales of this product for feed purposes so far remain rare. A second Singapore-based trader said that they were advising their traditional broken rice buyers in Africa to accept 25% broken white rice due to supply and price issues for 100% broken white rice. However, the first Singapore-based trader cautioned that this would ultimately "depend on corn prices." FAO's Shirley Mustafa agreed, saying that "because this trend is influenced by factors outside of rice markets, developments in these external markets will have an important bearing." Mustafa added that "current forecasts suggest record-breaking supply availabilities in the major exporters this season, thanks to bumper harvests expected in India, Pakistan and Thailand. If these are realized, they should be more than sufficient to cater to the higher global needs."

    Outside forces

    Despite uncertainty surrounding how this situation will play out, it is almost inevitable that feed demand will take up an unusually large portion of international rice sales in 2022. A third Singapore-based trader said that it will "not be a huge chunk ... But it will not be insignificant either." The questions which remain at this point are whether 25% broken white rice sales for feed will become more widespread and how this demand for cheap rice will impact traditional buyers of 25% and 100% broken white rice for human consumption. However, with rice still a minor player in the massive global feed market, the situation will ultimately remain at the mercy of outside forces.
  • 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.  
     
  • Rice worth Rs 3,300 crore yet to be lifted from Telangana by FCI

  • HYDERABAD: The procurement status of 70 lakh metric tonnes of paddy ready for the current yasangi (rabi) season is in limbo due to a dispute between the state and central governments. But, that is not all. As a result of unsolved issues between the state and the Centre, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) still has to lift Rs 3,300 crore worth rice from Telangana. Eleven lakh metric tonnes of custom milled rice (CMR) is yet to be lifted from the purchase season of April and September 2021. According to sources, the cost of this 11 lakh metric tonnes of paddy is Rs 3,300 crore at the rate of Rs 30 per kg. rice, Interestingly, rice mills have exceeded their capacity in milling 50 lakh metric tonnes of paddy during the same season. Approximately, 93 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was cultivated between October 2020 and March 2021 (kharif) season. This crop’s milling had resulted in 62 lakh metric tonnes of rice (purchase period was April-September 2021), while 11 lakh metric tonnes remains to be lifted. Union food minister Piyush Goyal’s charge that the state did not deliver the rice as promised pertains to this 11 lakh metric tonnes between October 2020-March 2021. Following the state’s request for purchasing extra parboiled rice, the Centre agreed to take three lakh metric tonnes of rice from the balance of 11 lakh metric tonnes but the commitment has not been kept. The state government accuses the Centre of causing transportation problems by failing to clear railway rakes and failing to provide storage space. There are approximately 3,000 rice mills in the state, with approximately 900 catering to parboiled rice and the remaining mills being small and fine rice mills. All these mills have the capacity to grind 50 lakh metric tonnes of rice in every cultivation season and receive 35 lakh metric tonnes of rice in return. “We have a heavy burden on the rice mills. Contrary to popular belief, we are still holding paddy and rice stocks. We have increased our capacity by 20%, but some rice is still not lifted,” said Gampa Nagender, president of the Telangana State Rice Mills Association.
     
     
  • 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.  
  • Rice exports: interesting times ahead?

  • It’s the season of new records. Pakistan’s rice exports breached 3 million tons during the 8-month period ending February-22, a first in at least 12 years. If exporters are able to maintain the monthly run rate of 0.4 million tons between Mar-June, final export tally for FY22 may touch 4.5 million tons. That would be 10 percent greater than Pakistan’s highest-ever export volume, last achieved in FY16.
    Unsurprisingly, higher export earnings have accompanied the quantum jump in volume. However, while export volume rose by 22 percent, dollar earnings only rose 15 percent. As BR Research has previously highlighted, rice is the only major cereal which has remained immune to the charms of ongoing global commodity price boom, leaving Pakistani exporters at a disadvantage so far.
    According to the data released by PBS, rice exporters fetched 5.5 percent lower prices on average during Jul ’21 - Feb ’22, compared to the same period last year. Unit price for exports of both rice categories fell during 8MFY22, with average export price for basmati declining 11 percent, while coarse prices fell 6 percent versus the previous year. Nevertheless, full year earnings against rice exports may yet clock in above $2.1 billion, nearly three percent higher than last year. Interestingly, bulk of the jump in export value has emanated from basmati category, which added $80 million in incremental earnings over the previous year. Basmati export volume rose by 37 percent during the 8M period, but still remained significantly lower than the year earlier (FY20). Full year basmati exports may reach 0.7 million tons, only third-highest during last decade.
    Market watchers will appreciate that growth in basmati exports remains the key to unlocking country’s the cereal’s export potential. Historically, basmati export has fetched 2x the unit prices in international market than coarse varieties. Pakistan’s basmati export potential is estimated at 1 million tons per annum – one-fourth of total world basmati market – yet has remained conspicuously shy of that goal due to uncompetitive pricing relative to Indian exporters until recent past. However, another risk to basmati export thesis now looms large in near-term. According to preliminary data, Pakistan’s basmati production has fallen short by 10 percent during kharif FY22, clocking in at 3.7 million tons against 4.1 million tons the previous year. This is despite news of national rice output kissing a fresh record of 9 million tons during the ongoing year, primarily driven by record yields in coarse varieties. Wherein lays the rub. Local consumers remain fond of basmati rice – which is also one-third more expensive (on average). It bears emphasis that up to 80 percent of Pakistani basmati feeds into local consumption, whereas nearly 75 - 80 percent of coarse varieties (both IRRI and hybrid) – are exported. This implies that the decline in basmati output during the current year may inadvertently impact the exportable surplus.
    Ordinarily, this would not make news, except that it comes at a time when the country is all set to witness a significant wheat shortfall. Naturally, basmati is Pakistani’s second favorite cereal after wheat flour, and a basmati surplus could have very-well come in handy to fill Pakistani stomachs in case wheat prices ran amok. Although rice and wheat prices have historically not shown any correlation in at least the domestic market, 2022-23 marketing year shall offer interesting insights into the extent of substitution effect between the two grains. Especially, if basmati prices come under pressure locally, while maintaining their prevailing calm in the international market. Whether consumers shall switch to the cheaper coarse rice also remains to be seen, especially given the strong distaste local palate has for IRRI/hybrid rice.
    Meanwhile, will traders reduce basmati export volume to cater to greater domestic demand or not will be another curious event. Or, will they aggressively chase exports, raising prices back home? Interesting times ahead.
  • 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.
  • Pakistan Asks China to Enhance Rice Quota to 2 Million Tons

  • Pakistan has asked China to enhance the rice quota to two million tons. Sources told ProPakistani that Pakistan, during the tour of Prime Minister Imran Khan last month, asked China not only to support duty concessions but for quota enhancement in specific sectors including rice. Pakistan has exported rice worth $2.1 million to China in the first seven months of the current fiscal year 2021-22 whereas it exported rice worth $2.29 million to China in the same period the previous year. Sources said that Pakistan has also asked China to abolish the 4 percent duty on the export of cement. Pakistan can get the duty-free concession of exporting cement to China after 3 years under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA-II). Sources further said that this will help offset part of the trade deficit which has surged to $32 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year. They said that Pakistan has also asked China to expedite the process of mutual recognition agreements on agriculture and animal products. Apart from this, Pakistan has also asked the tariff liberalization to be done by 10 and 20 years from seven to 15 years under CPFTA-II respectively. Similarly, Pakistan has also asked China for an uninterrupted bilateral opening of the Khunjrab border for trade. Sources said that the Ministry of Commerce is waiting for the response of China on these proposals.  
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • INDONESIA TARGETS LOWER RICE, CORN OUTPUT IN 2023 – AGRI MINISTER

  • 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)
  • 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
     
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • India’s natural, organic farming strategy for rice and wheat

  • This can help in targeting global export market, thereby feeding the world population and getting valuable foreign exchange for the country India’s natural, organic farming strategy for rice and wheat Photo: iStock India is predominantly agrarian — 80 per cent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Rice and wheat are the staple for 90 per cent of the country’s people.  Till the early 1960’s, the predominant mode of cultivation was what is now called “organic farming”, with no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides available or known.  At that time, farmers relied on cow dung, twigs of leguminous plants like Crotalaria junceaTephrosianeem and jeelugu. These materials mulched the fields ploughed for rice plantation. Oil cakes of groundnut, castor, neem were also used which is a good source of nitrogen.  Since the use of urea from the beginning of the 1960s, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium-based fertilisers became available after the establishment of industrial plants at Sindri (Bihar) Udyog Mandal (Kerala).

    Fortunately, in this decade, synthetic pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), endrin, and others entered the market. Another spectacular discovery was that of the high-yielding hybrid wheat and rice. The high-yielding wheat was discovered by Norman Borlaug (Nobel Prize winner) and was rapidly adopted by India largely due to the pioneering work of Dr Swaminathan and MV Rao. 

    Swaminathan is remembered as the ‘father of Green Revolution’ and Rao as the “wheat man of India”. With hybrid varieties and synthetic fertilisers and insecticides, the production of rice per acre increased to 40 quintals from 10 quintals, a tremendous victory in fighting hunger. There were also some setbacks during the 1960s and 70s. India’s budget (read agriculture) is dependent on the monsoon season, as George Curzon pointed out in 1905.  Due to drought from 1964-70, India had to import food and became heavily dependent on the United States for wheat supplies under the Public Law 480 agreement. At one time, we were eagerly waiting for the arrival of a ship full of wheat at the Mumbai port. The late former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a call to “miss a meal” on Monday nights as a part of the Jai Kisan movement.  Green Revolution Ultimately, the Green Revolution was initiated. The theme of the initiative was to boost food grains production of rice and wheat using any method and at any cost. Success followed many setbacks. Biologist-turned-science-writer Rachel Carson published a seminal book called Silent Spring, focused on the harmful effects of pesticides, primarily DDT on our health and environment.  DDT was found to be non-biodegradable and its remnants were traced everywhere — in our body, soil and water. Studies showed its effects on liver and kidneys, including causing cancers.  Scientists rapidly found alternatives and advocated Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a need-based use of pesticides, alternating crops, intercropping as well as usage of bird perches where birds rest, detect insects on crops and eat them.  After DDT, other insecticides like monocrotophos, metasystox, cypermethrin came into use but these are equally harmful to humans, livestock and fish. The “turn to nature” to get pesticide-free food has become a priority. The order of the day is organic farming — natural farming or zero-budget agriculture — which is welcome and most wanted in the agriculture sphere. 

    Not without setbacks

    The first and foremost sound solution is the usage of organic manures from compost, cow dung and ploughing and mulching of leguminous plants. Several plant-based botanical pesticides were discovered. Neem oil, neem kernel extracts, which contain azadirachtin, is the active principle discovered by Germans, the United Kingdom and US.  Neem revived the hope of using harmless pesticides but its availability is very low. Several commercial formulations were available in India. Karanj oil (Karanjin active principle), several leaf extracts like Adathoda and garlic-buds aqueous extracts are found to be effective to some extent as active repellants but they cannot replace synthetic pesticide. There is a growing awareness in India to cultivate the crops by natural fertilisers such as cow dung, leguminous green manures, compost, vermicomposting and biopesticides fungi, bacteria and virus-based  pesticides like Bacillus thuringiensisPseuedomonas aegleTrichoderma verdi.  These bio-pesticides are chiefly produced from diseased insects and soil, among other things. However, it only has limited use on too few fruit and vegetable crops. The problem with the bio-pesticide production is that it is confined to a small industry with no standardisation and doubtful efficacy. Several symposia are held by non-governmental organisations, ideal farmers and governments. Many agricultural magazines hail the miracles of higher yields from organic farming. Particular mention should be made about jeevamrutham — a recently designed concoction called Ramabanam, which gained prominence. These concoctions are made from jaggery, ginger, cow milk, cow curd, cow dung, cow urine, asafoetida. All the ingredients are mixed and fermented for a week, diluted and sprayed on crops.  It is claimed that the product can be used as a fertiliser and a pesticide. The farmers who experimented were quick to endorse the products. Their studies on organic farming presented in symposia on organic farming, however, were confined to few vegetables like tomatoes over a limited area. The yield, the farmers said, is high but not quantified with randomised block design studies.   The active principle of such concoctions is unknown and doesn’t stand scientific security. Moreover, the cost of these concoctions is as high as pesticides and starting products like cow dung are not available in plenty as of today.  For about 90 per cent Indians, rice or wheat are almost exclusively the staple food. So, encouragement of organic farming in a country like India will be meaningful, if applied for rice / wheat. Studies on these crops should also be prioritised. The inconvenient truth, as many farmers put it, is that the land is infertile now without urea in the first few days of rice plantation, and with no application of synthetic pesticides, the entire crop is prone to pests resulting in no yield. The challenge for agriculture scientists is how to maintain the current volume of yield (40 quintals per acre) with organic farming. We need to take with caution some sporadic success stories of organic farming on vegetables and fruits grown in an acre or two. Thus, all the available tools we have with us, like bio-fertilisers, bio-pesticides, green manure and vermicompost, their limitation is discussed herein. Constraints of sustainable organic farming are: None of the organic farming tools are available, especially for organic farming of rice that is the staple food in India. Importantly, the whole organic farming depends on cow dung, which is dwindling even as we are particular about their protection (gosamrakshana).  The staple food for cattle is rice straw. While we claim rice production is high and in surplus, the cost of rice remains very high and is not affordable for the poor man. Thus, the increase of cattle population is linked to paddy by rice production. Both are interlinked. Quantification for pesticide residues in food should be done by High Performance Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectra / Mass Spectra (HPLC / MS / MS) method. The sophisticated method has been adopted by advanced countries but is still not in use in India.  The real structure of crop production is dependent on high-yielding hybrid seeds. Continuous research on high yielding varieties by cross breeding with pest resistant wild varieties is essential.

    Compost from urban areas and vermicompost, in particular, don’t seem to have been examined for pesticide residues and harmful trace elements such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead is needed by using HPLC /MS / MS method and atomic absorption spectroscopy. 

    Introduction of transgenic varieties is not recommended for organic and natural farming. Therefore, it is wise to use the first three sprays on crops with natural organic materials and the last two sprays with synthetic pesticides. Research on organic farming should be done using robust scientific methods only. Surprisingly, rice was found to contain high pesticides and trace elements.  This technique should be standardised in India. Our slogan should be “natural and organic farming with high yields at an affordable price to the common man”. India’s wheat exports surpassed $872 million (2021-22) and rice exports in 2021-22 is likely to surpass the record $10 million, according to the agriculture department of the Government of India. 
  • 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.  
  • 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).
  • VIETNAM TO EXEMPT IMPORT TAX ON 300,000 T CAMBODIAN RICE THIS YEAR

  • 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.”
  • 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  
  • 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.
  • $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.  
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?

    Conclusion

    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?  
  • 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.
  • 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.  
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

     
     
  • South Korean rice imports decline

  • RiceRICE   SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Supply chain issues hampered South Korean rice imports in the final quarter of 2021, leading to a 11% decrease in imports from the previous marketing year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). South Korea’s estimated rice import total of 418,336 tonnes for 2020-21 was 16% lower than the previous USDA forecast, which was made last fall. The rice import forecast for 2021-22 has been revised upward to 490,000 tonnes, a 19% increase, due to actual delivery of some 2021 tariff rate quota contacts moving to 2022. The USDA estimated this year’s rice output in South Korea at 3.88 million tonnes, up 10% from the previous year, while rice consumption is virtually unchanged from 2020-21 at 3.96 million tonnes. As in many Asian countries, rice consumption has been declining in South Korea in recent years, having fallen four consecutive years since a recent peak of 4.7 million tonnes in 2017-18. Per capita rice consumption has declined from 59.2 kilograms in 2018-19 to a projected 55.3 kilograms in 2021-22, according to the USDA.
  • 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.
  • 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.