Cambodia to export more rice to China

  • May 19, 2017 - by Eric Schroeder

    WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — China is expected to become a bigger export market for Cambodian rice, with reports suggesting China will import 200,000 tonnes of rice per year from Cambodia, according to a May 15 report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    The USDA said Cambodia’s rice millers have shifted their attention to the expanding Chinese market in light of new rules in the European Union that have tightened the residue limit of tricyclazole on rice. Cambodian rice farmers commonly use tricyclazole to control rice blast fungus, but effective June 2017 the E.U. said it will implement a new threshold of tricyclazole residue for white rice — 0.01 mg per kg of paddy — and in December 2017 will implement a new tricyclazole residue level for fragrant rice — at 0.01 mg per kg.

    “Amid rice millers’ concern of the E.U.’s potential ban on Cambodian rice that fails to meet the chemical residue threshold, the government of Cambodia is looking into substitute options and raising awareness of farmers on proper usage of fungicides,” the USDA said.

    Cambodia exported a total of 542,144 tonnes of milled rice in 2016, up 0.7% from 2015. China was the largest destination, importing 127,460 tonnes, a figure that is forecast to grow to 200,000 in 2017, the USDA said. The increase in demand from China is expected to outpace the potential decline in demand from traditional E.U. buyers.

    “Last December, China National Cereals, Oils, and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) approved 18 Cambodian rice millers for exporting rice to China as part of an agreement signed between COFCO and the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF),” the USDA said. “Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (MAFF) selected 28 rice millers who have demonstrated competence to meet the requirements for exporting rice into China. The CRF is urging the government to facilitate more access to the China market to offset potential decrease demand from E.U.

    “The cross border rice trade is a vital pathway for Cambodia rice export into Thailand and Vietnam. However, Thailand’s reduction in stock and a production recovery this year show no signs of an increase in import demand. Meanwhile, the cross border trade with Vietnam is robust mostly because of strong demand for Cambodian rice to serve local Vietnamese consumers who prefer quality fragrant rice.”

    Overall milled rice exports are forecast to increase 5% to 570,000 tonnes in 2017, and 8% to 615,000 tonnes in 2018, the USDA said.

  • Council backs EU ban on rice protection product

  • By Max Green

    The EU moved another step closer to banning rice treated with the fungicide tricyclazole last week as the Council opted not to oppose a draft Commission proposal slashing residue limits to prohibitively low levels.
    The plans involve cutting maximum residue limits (MRLs) for tricyclazole from thecurrent 1mg/kg to 0.01mg/kg. By setting the level at the so-called ‘limit ofdetermination’, the new rules would effectively outlaw imports of rice treated withthe substance.
  • Centre, basmati exporters looking at alternative fungicides to treat rice

  •  Isoprothiolane is good alternative to tricyclazole, but restricted in the US

    The Centre is working with basmati exporters to identify alternatives to tricyclazole — a fungicide used to treat rice — as the European Union seems inflexible in its decision to bring down the tolerance level for the chemical next year, effectively banning its use.

    “If alternatives are not found, India’s basmati exports to the region could get hit drastically as the levels of tricyclazole in Indian rice is mostly much higher than the default level of 0.001 ppm (parts per million) that the EU wants,” a government official told BusinessLine.

    The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), under the Department of Commerce, together with basmati rice-exporting companies, is looking at possible solutions to the problem, the official added.

    No issues with current cap The maximum residue limit (MRL) for tricyclazole, a fungicide used by rice-growing countries to protect the crop from a disease called ‘blast’, is at present fixed at 1 ppm by the European Union.

    Indian exporters do not have any problems staying within this limit, but once the default level of 0.001 ppm kicks in, much of the $3 billion of basmati exported to the EU from India could get affected.

    The industry and government are finding it difficult to zero in on other fungicides that could be used because of a peculiar problem, the official said. While the fungicide isoprothiolane (IPT) could be a good alternative to tricyclazole as it has similar properties and is allowed in the EU, it is difficult to advise farmers to switch to it as the chemical is restricted in the United States.

    So, in order to save the market in the EU, India would have to put at risk its market for basmati rice in the US, if it switches to IPT. The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) is also working on varieties of rice that are resistant to the heat blast disease but it will take time to yield results.

    “Before we are able to have our own varieties of disease-free rice, we have to use our diplomatic skills to sort out the problem with the EU and also with the US if required,” the official said.

    India is continuing to talk to the EU hoping to convince it to change its mind about lowering the maximum residue limit for tricyclazole.

    “The EU does not seem too impressed by the problem Indian basmati exporters may face next year. India is talking to countries like Italy and Portugal, which do not support the EU initiative of raising the tolerance level, to strengthen its argument,” the official said.

    (This article was published on May 11, 2017)
  • After Nirmala Sitharaman’s ‘quality’ order, APEDA gets cracking on improving

  • After Nirmala Sitharaman’s ‘quality’ order, APEDA gets cracking on improving basmati rice

    APEDA is making all efforts to ensure production of export-compliant basmati rice in the country, according to a senior official from the body.

    By: | Updated: May 5, 2017 3:39 AM
    Agricultural, Processed Food Products, APEDA, basmati rice, AIREA, Nirmala Sitharaman, National Standards Conclave, Rajan SundaresanAPEDA is making all efforts to ensure production of export-compliant basmati rice in the country, according to a senior official from the body.
    Dibyajyoti Bhattacharjee The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is making all efforts to ensure production of export-compliant basmati rice in the country, according to a senior official from the body. It will be working closely with the governments of seven states that produce basmati rice and run awareness campaigns among the rice farmers for selective use of pesticides in cultivation, keeping in view the target market. APEDA will participate in 15 workshops in the basmati rice producing states along with agricultural universities, the All India Rice Exporters’ Association (AIREA) and the state agricultural departments over the next few months. This development comes at a time when commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while inaugurating the ‘National Standards Conclave’ in Delhi on May 1, has called on the industry to produce quality goods at affordable price to secure higher market access in the foreign countries. Welcoming the move by APEDA, Rajan Sundaresan, executive director of AIREA, said with the expected improvement in realisation rates of basmati rice in major overseas markets, India will be able to penetrate deeper into world rice markets in near future. Basmati rice, arguably the most premium variety of rice available in the world, has lucrative market in the EU, the US and the Middle East. But exports of basmati rice to some countries are hampered due to non-compliance of technical regulations concerning product standards. Actually, exports of basmati rice from India faced problems due to detection of pesticides residues exceeding prescribed Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). India’s basmati rice exports to the world, which stood at $3.22 billion in 2016-17, declined more than 7.3% compared to the previous year. You might also want to see this:
    Speaking to the FE, the APEDA official said recently that the EU has brought down the MRL of tricyclazole (an ingredient used in pesticides) to limit of determination (LOD) i.e. 0.01 mg/kg. So, basmati rice grown in India will not qualify for exports to the EU after January 2018, unless it conforms to the new standards prescribed by the EU. Similarly, the US does not permit the presence of residues of pesticides like Isoprothiolane and Buprofezin beyond 0.01 mg/kg. He stressed that only those pesticides should be used by farmers which are recommended by the state agricultural universities for application to paddy crops. Additionally, correct dose of the recommended pesticides should be used and pre-harvest interval should be observed as mentioned on the label of the packing of the respective pesticides.
  • EU’s stringent norms to hit basmati rice exports

  • The European Union’s stringent norms bringing down tolerance level for tricyclazole in basmati rice imports are likely to severely hit exports of grains from India. Tricyclazole is a fungicide used to protect the crop from a disease called ‘blast’.

    India is the leading exporter of the basmati rice in the global market. (PTI)
    The European Union’s stringent norms bringing down tolerance level for tricyclazole in basmati rice imports are likely to severely hit exports of grains from India. Tricyclazole is a fungicide used to protect the crop from a disease called ‘blast’. The EU may bring down the Maximum Residue Limit for tricyclazole to the default level of 0.01 parts per million. Currently, the level approved by the EU is 1 parts per million and level in Indian consignments are much lower. “We are trying to convince EU… even the current level of tricyclazole do not pose threat for consumer’s health and the level is much lower than 1 parts per million,” a senior government official said. India is the leading exporter of the basmati rice in the global market. The country exported 4.05 million tonne of basmati rice worth `22,727 crore during 2015-16. Of the total exports, around 0.38 million tonne worth `1,930 crore were to EU, according to the data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.
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    India exported 2.92 million tonne of basmati rice during April-December in the current financial year, out of which 0.26 million tonne were shipped to EU, the data showed. “95% of the exports would be affected… but we are trying our best so that we can get extension,” a leading exporter said.
    The EU is likely to make an announcement regarding this in July. Usually, the norm becomes applicable after six months of the announcement. “For basmati rice, we have got a margin up to a year. So, by the end of calendar year 2018, we can export… we are talking to the members of the EU bloc” the exporter said. Some officials, however, believe that basmati rice exports to EU would not be affected. “Basmati rice exports to EU would not be down… its just that the cost of testing would increase…The level of tricyclozone varies, its not the same,” an official with APEDA said. India accounts for over 70% of the world’s basmati rice production. Basmati rice constitutes a small portion of the total rice produced in India.
  • Push to stop farmers using chemicals in rice

  • Push to stop farmers using chemicals in rice

    Experts in the rice sector have expressed their fears over the ban in exporting milled rice containing the chemical Tricyclazole to the European Union (EU), while the government is trying to educate and spread word of the ban to farmers.   The EU commission has announced that Cambodia’s milled rice industry must eradicate the use of Tricyclazole by June and that exports of Cambodian rice must not contain more than 0.01 milligrams of the chemical per kilogram this year or it will face bans.   The bans will affect Cambodia’s milled rice exports if the use of the chemical is not stopped quickly, said Hun Lak, the vice-president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, a private body involved in exporting Cambodian rice to foreign markets.   “We are worried about the EU’s ban because the EU is the biggest market for Cambodia’s milled rice exports. So the ban on Tricyclazole is facing a problem during the rice planting season because farmers usually use chemicals to protect their rice from diseases,” Mr. Lak said.   He added that educating farmers on eradicating the use of Tricyclazole needs time so they can be prepared and find new chemical fungicides to be used instead of Tricyclazole.   “By June, the CRF thinks that the deadline is too close for finding new fungicides to be used instead of Tricyclazole and if farmers keep using Tricyclazole, it will be a big problem and we cannot produce rice for export to the EU,” he said.   “Educating farmers about fungicides takes time – three or four months is not enough.”   However Hean Vanhan, the director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Agriculture Directorate, said he is not worried about the ban affecting rice exports.   The ban will only affect those who use the Tricyclazole fungicide and agriculture officials are working to educate them by finding new fungicides to use instead, Mr. Vanhan said.   “We are preparing other fungicides for farmers to use instead of Tricyclazole and are educating farmers on follow the technical use of products,” he said.   Sang Saron, the CEO of Amru Rice Cambodia, said there are many methods of using fungicide that farmers can choose, but he warned that using some fungicides are real concerns for farmers.   “There are many ways to use a fungicide to protect rice from diseases, not only with Tricyclazole, but by both traditional methods and chemical methods,” he said.   “But the concerns are how to use those fungicides on a technical level,” he added, referring to a lack of knowledge about fungicides among farmers.   Mr. Saron hopes that by educating farmers on the use of fungicides that the sector will be improved.   The Agriculture Ministry is seeking a budget to run workshops to educate people about using fungicides following technical methods in order to keep the EU market open for Cambodia’s rice exports, according to Mr. Vanhan.   The EU market took about 63 percent of Cambodia’s total exports of milled rice last year.
  • June deadline to end Tricyclazole use

  • June deadline to end Tricyclazole use

    The European Commission has said Cambodia’s milled rice industry must eradicate the use of the fungicide Tricyclazole by June.   The strict new Maximum Result Limit will mean rice must not contain more than 0.01 milligram of the chemical per kilogram of the grain.   The limit was adopted by the commission in February and rice producers are now being given deadlines to comply. The majority must stop use by June, but jasmin rice producers will have until December 2017.   A joint-working group met on Tuesday to discuss the new regulation. It included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), exporters, millers and the farming community.   The group wants to be vigilant about the presence of Tricyclazole, since the EU found the substance was being used in China and Vietnam, from where Cambodia imports most of its pesticides and chemical fertilizers.   Hun Lak, vice president of CRF, yesterday told Khmer Times his federation is cooperating with EU representatives to conduct research in rice-producing provinces nationwide.     “It was a bit of a shock for us when got the news from the EU,” he said. “Currently our rice is not contaminated, but we have to be careful to keep it that way, because the EU market represents more than 50 percent of our total exports of milled rice.   “We will work with concerned parties and the government to inform to farmers to be careful with pesticides and chemical fertilizers from Vietnam and China. We have set up a working group with support from EU representatives, so we will work together to monitor rice production in the provinces.”     Song Saran, president and CEO of leading rice miller and exporter Amru Rice, said the new EU measure is good news for Cambodia’s rice industry and consumers.   “We have to be vigilant but I am not worried because our country doesn’t use many pesticides which contain that substance. We have long been recognized as producers of very good quality milled rice with few chemicals,” he said.   “But we do have to take immediate action to curb the use of such chemicals. The Ministry of Agriculture should inform farmers about all kinds of chemical substances banned by other countries in order to produce safe rice for all consumers, not only for exports,” added Mr. Saran.   “I urge exporters and millers to sign contracts with farmers to make sure they are avoiding such substances.”   Growth in Cambodia’s milled rice exports was 0.7 percent last year, taking the total exported to 542,144 metric tons and representing a slowdown for the industry.
  • Basmati exports to EU face fungicide blockade

    •  NEW DELHI, MARCH 1:  
    India’s basmati exports to the European Union (EU) could be significantly hit if the bloc implements a proposal to bring down the tolerance level for tricyclazole, a chemical used in India to treat rice. New Delhi is trying to convince the EU not to go ahead with the “unnecessary” safety precaution, as it argues that it has been scientifically proved that present levels do not pose a threat to consumers, a government official said. “The EU plans to bring down the MRL (Maximum Residue Limit) for tricyclazole to the default level of 0.01 ppm (parts per million), which could prove to be disastrous for Indian exports of basmati. But it is supposed to happen only in 2018, so we have time to convince them not to implement the change,” the official told BusinessLine. EU initiative India is in talks separately with European countries, such as Italy and Portugal, which do not support the EU initiative of raising the tolerance limit to put pressure on the bloc not to go ahead with its plan, the official added. The MRL for tricyclazole, a fungicide used by rice-growing countries to protect the crop from a disease called ‘blast’, is at present fixed at 1 ppm by the EU. This level does not prove to be a problem for Indian exports at the moment, as levels detected in Indian basmati consignments are much lower. Export of basmati However, if the MRL is brought down to 0.01 ppm, as indicated by the EU, a large part of India’s $3 billion export of basmati to Europe could be affected. Rice exporters from India are preparing for the worst by arranging for pre-testing of shipments, but are hopeful that the EU will change its mind, said Rajen Sundaresan from the All India Rice Exporters Association. “I believe that the matter will be sorted out favourably, as it is not just Indian exports that are at stake. Even rice growers in EU countries such as Italy and Spain use the fungicide,” said Sundaresan. Dow Agro Sciences, the owner of the molecule used in the fungicide, has already submitted scientific and technical evidence to the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 supporting a tricyclazole tolerance level of 3.0 ppm in rice.