Punjab’s fortified rice manufacturers seek premium over fixed price

  • Chandigarh, November 24

    Rice milling for 180 lakh metric tonnes of paddy could be delayed this year if the government fails to act against some manufacturers of fortified rice kernels (FRKs), who are demanding a premium for supplying the rice to millers.

    What is fortification of rice

    • Fortification is the process of adding fortified rice kernels (FRKs), containing FSSAI-prescribed micronutrients (iron, folic acid, vitamin B12) to normal rice (custom milled rice) in the ratio of 1:100 (mixing 1 kg of FRK with 100 kg custom milled rice)
    • The FSSAI defines fortification as ‘deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health’
    • As per the Government of India policy, fortified rice is to be supplied for public distribution and also for various other welfare schemes to combat several malnutrition-related diseases

    Govt warns of action

    All sale of FRKs has to be done through the Anaj Kharid portal, and at the prices already fixed. If any manufacturer is found seeking a higher price, we can initiate action against him, including cancelling his licence and blacklisting his firm. — Rahul Bhandari, Principal Secy, Food and Supply department

    Some suppliers of the FRKs have started demanding Rs 8-10 per kg (Rs 800-1000 per quintal) over and above the price of Rs 46.58 per kg fixed by the state government for this year. The FRKs has to be supplied to the rice millers by the end of this week, as milling of rice is to start from December 1.

    There are more than 128 suppliers of FRKs in the state, and as many as 338 (including suppliers outside the state) had participated in the tender process to supply FRKs in Punjab. As per rules, 1 kg of FRKs is to be mixed in 100 kg of custom milled rice.

    “For the past couple of days, some FRKs manufacturers either directly, or through their brokers, have been approaching rice millers asking them to pay a premium if they want the FRKs on time. Since the Centre will not accept rice without fortification, these manufacturers are trying to browbeat millers,” Ranjit Singh Josan, a rice miller in Ferozepur said.

    He said the matter had been raised by the Punjab Rice Millers Association with top officials in state Food and Supply Department, as non availability/delay in supply of FRKs could in turn delay the custom milling of rice. Interestingly, the department has also issued advertisements, warning the FRKs manufacturers against selling at a premium.

    Another rice miller in Sangrur said he, too, had been approached by a broker. “In 2020, FRKs was supplied at Rs 71 per kg, while last year it was supplied at Rs 55 per kg. This year, one of the manufacturers quoted a much lower price in the bidding for the tender, and all others accepted the price of Rs 46.58 per kg. The Centre pays the state government a price of Rs 73 per kg to buy FRKs. As the number of manufacturers of the FRKs has increased, a competition has started between them to supply FRKs at lower price. But they are now trying to extract more money from the rice millers,” he said.

  • Basmati: losing traditional markets?

  • That Pakistan’s rice exports are all set to decline massively in the ongoing fiscal now appears to be a foregone conclusion. Earlier this month, this space highlighted USDA’s revised assessment that rice exports out of Pakistan may decline by as much as 20 percent during marketing year 2022-23, on the back of flood-hit disaster in Sindh and Balochistan which led to substantial losses of non-basmati crop. (For more, read: “Rice stocks: what does bank borrowing suggest”, by BR Research published on Nov 11, 2022).

    This assessment brought a strong response from rice export players, who suggested that higher basmati exports shall come to the rescue. Market players – including some REAP members – are of the view that basmati prices have escalated by as much as 55 percent in value compared to the 2021-22 marketing year.

    Substantially higher prices from traditional markets where basmati demand is historically well entrenched can indeed help in compensating the forgone export receipts from coarse variety (albeit partly), which fetches less than half the price of basmati, but is over five times the volume.

    For reference, consider if coarse rice exports drop by USDA forecast volume of 0.8 million metric tons (MMT), export receipts would decline by $360 million (average unit price unchanged at c. $450 per ton). In contrast, if basmati prices in the international market maintain their current trajectory and rise by an average of one-third over last year, export revenue would rise by c. $250 million, assuming volume exported remains unchanged.

    However, this rudimentary analysis by rice market players seems to miss two key elements: namely, market share and pricing power. Pakistan is a small player in the international coarse rice market, meaning that a million tons less rice exports by this nation would make little difference to 50MMT plus coarse rice annual trade. Lost exports from Pakistan may just as easily be compensated by other players whose market share is several times that of ours, such as India, Viet Nam, and Thailand. Coarse rice prices are also far more stubborn, struggling to rise beyond the +/- 10 percent range of $400 per metric ton in absence of major supply shocks. Lower Pakistani coarse exports alone may not cut it.

    On the other hand, Pakistan is only one of the two notable players in the global basmati trade, splitting market share with neighboring India at 20-80. Although global basmati trade has averaged at 5MMT over the past many years, demand for this premium aromatic variety is highly price sensitive. Although it is correct that basmati demand is well-entrenched in exporting destinations such as Gulf, Europe and North America; India dominates each of these markets due to its greater pricing power.

    But why does that mean Pakistan may struggle to benefit from higher prices? Two factors. First, Pakistan’s share in entrenched markets has been falling over the years, both in absolute and relative terms. For reference, Pakistan’s basmati exports between 2019-21 to Gulf countries was less than half of the volume exported during 2007-09.

    Two, even in recent years when Pakistan has managed to maintain its overall market share in the basmati export market, it has continued to shed volume in traditional markets of Gulf, Europe, and North America. In fact, Pakistan has only been successful in maintaining market share by tapping non-traditional, middle-income markets such as African and Central Asian countries.

    This brings us to two important conclusions: first, basmati export volume may struggle to maintain it previous year levels if prices escalate abnormally (as they seem to indicate so far). Two, price elasticity of demand may be significantly greater in non-traditional, low to middle income markets of Africa and Central Asia, compared to that in traditional markets such as Gulf and the West where demand is not only entrenched, but consumers also enjoy higher disposable income.

    Afterall, harder for desi diaspora in Dubai to stop making pulao than for Kazakhs and Kenyans who have only recently discovered a taste for the delicacy. If rice exporters hope to grow export revenue despite the loss of coarse rice crop, they may have to fight to recapture traditional markets after all.

  • Researchers in Thailand developing new strain of rice to survive floods and to resist pests

  • As reported by Dusita Saokaew in China Global Television Network, the new study could help contribute to global food security

    AdobeStock 294118914

    Scientists have been working on creating a new, more resilient strain of rice. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

    For the past 10 years, scientists at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology have been working on creating a new strain of rice, more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and the natural threats that come as global temperatures rise.

    Meechai Siangliw, researcher, National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology said, "If the rice fields are damaged by environmental conditions like flooding, insects, or bacterial outbreaks, this strain of rice will help rice farmers. It will reduce the risk so that farmers will not lose income."

    Charoen Laothamatas president, Thai Rice Exporters Association, commented, "In Thailand, we overlooked the need for development over the years. Our rice has remained the same. If we do not act or find a solution, our competitiveness in the global market will be limited. It needs to be our National Agenda. We need new rice varieties with high yields in order to compete."

    As the world's population is expected to reach 10bn in 2052, global agriculture must increase its food supply by 56% in order to feed everyone.

  • Nestle, Riceland partner on sustainable rice program

  • STUTTGART, ARK. — A new partnership between Riceland Foods, Inc., Stuttgart, and Nestle Purina PetCare, St. Louis, will incentivize Riceland farmer-members to grow rice using sustainability practices, beginning in 2023. Purina will invest more than $1.5 million over four years.

    Arva Intelligence, Houston, will qualify the carbon reductions associated with the farming practices. The reductions will provide proof for Purina to receive associated Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions credits. Scope 3 emissions result from activities from assets not owned or controlled by a company, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, which also refers to them as value chain emissions.

    “Sustainable rice is relevant to meeting market demands as much as meeting the bold environmental goals we set-out to achieve, which includes a goal of net zero by 2050,” said Jack Scott, vice president of sustainable sourcing at Nestle Purina.The sustainability program also will benefit Riceland’s Carbon Ready program. Riceland Foods is a farmer-owned cooperative that stores, transports, processes and markets over 2.5 million tonnes of grains annually. 

  • Climate change to drastically cut Indonesia’s rice, coffee produce: Study

  • Continued carbon emissions would significantly reduce rice and coffee production in Indonesia -- one of the world's top producers of both crops -- according to a study

    Continued carbon emissions would significantly reduce rice and coffee production in Indonesia -- one of the world's top producers of both crops -- according to a groundbreaking study that will be published by a team of scientists led by a co-chair of the UN's climate science panel.

    The study, titled "Impact of Climate Change in Indonesian Agriculture", found that continued climate change would cut Indonesia's rice production by millions of tons a year, cutting exports by a third and leading to price increases of more than 50 per cent.

    Lower emissions would still lead to reduced rice yields and price rises -- but to a lesser extent.

    Indonesia is the world's fourth-largest rice producer, and these cuts to yields could be expected to have a disastrous effect on the world's poorest people.

    Food price rises this year, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have been a major factor behind increased hunger globally.

    Lead author, Edvin Aldrian, said: "Our report shows the stark contrast between a world in which emissions are high, and one where emissions fall. There are significant economic incentives to increasing efforts to cut emissions, to save ourselves from the devastating impacts we would otherwise see."

    Coffee production would also decrease under continued emissions -- with high emissions, Indonesia's coffee exports may fall around 2-35 per cent.

    The scientists project an increase in coffee prices for both Arabica and Robusta bean varieties of around 32 per cent by 2050 and 56-109 per cent between 2050 and 2100.

    Although the study focuses mainly on Indonesia's economic and food security, it is clear that Indonesia's decreased coffee and rice outputs will affect the global supply chain, and producers elsewhere may see similar effects.

    Sea level rise will increase salinization, flooding, and the loss of rice fields in coastal areas. The report shows that climate impacts will reduce Indonesian rice production by 3.5 million tons or equivalent to fulfilling the rice consumption of 17.7 million people.

    Without serious mitigation efforts to shift away from fossil fuels globally, sea level rise may increase saltiness of soils, which will cause a 50 per cent loss of productivity amounting to a decreased production of 8 million tons or equivalent to the rice consumption of 42 million people.

    This means that there will be a significant increase in world rice prices due to increased demand. Countries with significant agricultural production in their coastal areas will also be impacted in a similar manner.

    According to Elza Surmaini, an author of the study from BRIN -- Indonesia's main governmental research agency, "extreme climate conditions cause a significant reduction in planted area and agricultural production. We must enhance our adaptation and mitigation efforts to ensure food security".

    "Without a significant increase in mitigation efforts, the number of days where the temperature and rainfall conditions are optimal for coffee cultivation in Indonesia will be reduced by 50 per cent by the end of the century," reports Supari, a study author from BMKG --Indonesia's meteorological agency.

    These results clearly show how improved climate change mitigation actions are needed to avert the world from more catastrophic climate change impacts. The level of disruption climate change could have on Indonesia's agricultural sector would affect the world's agricultural supply chain. The only way this can be prevented is with faster action to reduce carbon emissions.

    Perdinan, a study author from IPB -- Indonesia's foremost agricultural institute, said: "The economic costs of the impacts of continued climate change on agricultural production show it is essential to make stronger commitments to manage climate risks and stabilize food supply, which are essential for achieving Indonesia's development targets."

  • Tight supplies lift Vietnam rice rates to 16-month high

  • MUMBAI/HANOI/ BANGKOK/DHAKA: Export prices of rice from Vietnam hit their highest levels since July 2021 this week, with traders expecting a fall in supply as well as growing demand for the cereal to support prices into the year-end.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered free on board at $438 per tonne, compared with last week’s $425-$430 range.

    “The increase in prices this week was due to tightening supplies from the Mekong Delta,” a trader, based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, said, adding at the current level, “Vietnamese rice prices are now higher than other exporting peers”.

    Prices would keep edging higher until the end of December on dwindling stocks and rising demand from China and European countries, some traders said. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety rates were unchanged at $373-$378 per tonne amid good demand from importing countries.

    “Rice prices are moving up in other exporting countries. Indian rice is cheaper even after paying export duty,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Limited supplies are available for exporters as Indian government has been aggressively buying new season paddy from farmers, the exporter said. India has raised the price at which it will buy the new-season common rice paddy variety from local farmers by 5.2%, the biggest increase in five years.

    Domestic prices in neighbouring Bangladesh stayed elevated despite a series of efforts, including allowing imports and duty cuts, traders said.

    The US Department of Agriculture had forecast Bangladesh’s production to drop 1% from last year to 35.6 million tonnes in the 2022-23 marketing year due to floods. Bangladesh, traditionally the third-biggest rice producer in the world, often imports to manage shortages caused by natural disasters.

  • Rice millers vow to shut down factories if new power tariff not taken back

  • LARKANA: The Sindh-Balochistan Rice Millers and Traders Association (SBRMTA) has rejected newly imposed electricity tariff and warned if the government does not take it back on or before Dec 18, 2,500 rice mills in the two provinces will ground operations to a halt in protest.

    Asad Ali Tunio, general secretary of the association, told Dawn on Thursday that the millers had received highly inflated bills and had decided to challenge the exorbitant raise in the bills in court.

    The millers’ meeting decided to start staging protests outside press clubs against the management of power utilities, SEPCO, HESCO and QESCO, from Dec 10, he said.

    He said the association had drawn prime minister’s attention in a letter dated Nov 11 towards the recently imposed SRO by NEPRA wherein half of the sanctioned KW load was forcefully charged. The millers demanded de-notification of the SRO and approval of subsidised tariff for the rice mills, he said.

    He said in reply to a question that paddy was cultivated in both provinces on around 300,000 acres of land and their annual produce of IRRI-6 rice alone was three million tonnes. Of it 1.7 million tonnes were exported to earn foreign exchange of $1.8 billion, he said.

    He said that the association estimated that 55 per cent crop had been damaged in heavy rain and flood and feared food scarcity in the days to come.

    He said that despite the fact that the crop had suffered heavy damage the electricity bills had been raised which had multiplied the millers’ woes. The population in this rice belt had not yet switched over to an alternate crop after the paddy suffered damage in flood onslaught, he said.

    Roughly 20 labourers were engaged in every rice mill hence the total number of workers in 2,500 rice mills in both the provinces came to 50,000, who might lose jobs if the mills stopped operations, he said, adding they would definitely migrate to towns and cities, which would further aggravate conditions in urban centres.

    He said that without jobs, they would possibly turn to crimes and demanded the government pay attention towards this serious issue as the new tariff was proving disastrous for the rice mill industry.

    If people at the helm of affairs turned deaf ear towards their genuine demand the millers would have only one recourse and that was to put locks on mills, he said.

    He said that according to routine practice rice mills ran for only six months a year but this year the closure time would extend to ten months because of less paddy production.

    During the closure time the power utilities in Sindh and Balochistan had to recover half of the sanctioned KW load in the light of recently imposed SRO, he said.

    It would be sheer injustice with the rice industry which demanded the government take urgent remedial measures or the millers would shut down their factories in both the provinces after Dec 18, he warned.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2022

  • China to continue cooperation with Pakistan to evolve high yield hybrid rice seeds

  • ISLAMABAD-China will continue its support and cooperation in conducting modern joint research for evolving the best quality more new varieties of high yield hybrid rice seed for bumper crop.  This was stated by Zhao Shiren, Chinese Consul General, while talking to Chairman Pakistan Hi Tech Hybrid Seed Association Shahzad Ali Malik during his visit of Guard Agricultural Research and Services here Wednesday, said a press release. Speaking on the occasion, Zhao stressed the need for further strengthening the cooperation in the agriculture sector and entering into more Joint ventures for research on modern scientific lines to boost yield per acre in Pakistan. He said Pakistan must take advantage of agricultural achievements made by Chinese private sector and said there is vast scope of investment in agricultural sector. He said China is proud that Guard Agricultural Research and Services evolved first ever hibrid rice seed with the collaboration and joint ventures of Chinese counterpart Longping Hi Tech Industry.  Speaking on the occasion Shahzad Ali Malik said Guard Agricultural Research and Services is the pioneer in introducing hybrid coarse rice seed in Pakistan that developed a new ‘Extra long grain super hybrid rice’ heat tolerant seed with double per acre yield and length after cooking as compared to competitor existing varieties. He said that Guard Agricultural Research is working to bring such seeds to market which can ensure prosperity for the growers and food security for the country’s ever-increasing population. He said they partnered with their Chinese counterparts in 1998 and since then they are putting in efforts to bring high-yielding varieties and have tolerance against climate change as well.

  • Basmati prices escalate in Haryana as market widens

  • The premium basmati varieties including PB 30 is being sold above ₹ 6,000 per quintal, while the other two varieties of Pusa 1121 and Pusa 1718 were also getting around ₹ 4,000 per quintal.

    Basmati prices escalate in Haryana as market widens

    : The prices of the traditional basmati varieties of paddy in Haryana have registered a hike for the first time in several years, reaching over ₹ 6,000 per quintal, mainly due to the government agency HAFED foraying into the market and breaking the monopoly of private traders.

    With the harvesting of the traditional basmati sowing belts of the state on the last leg, the premium basmati varieties including PB 30 is being sold above ₹ 6,000 per quintal, while the other two varieties of Pusa 1121 and Pusa 1718 were also getting around ₹ 4,000 per quintal.

    According to farmers, the prices of long-grained premium basmati variety were around ₹ 3,800 to ₹ 4,000 in 2021, while it fetched ₹ 4,500 to ₹ 4,800 in 2020.

    The premium aromatic rice was generally purchased by the private traders but for the past two years, Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (HAFED) has been buying paddy directly from farmers, giving a tough competition to the private traders.

    “Since HAFED is directly involved in the purchase of basmati, this has given a tough competition to the private traders, leading to an increase in the prices. Now, the prices have gone around ₹ 6,000 per quintal for the first time in the past several years,” said commission agent Mahinder Singh of Karnal’s Nilokheri grain market.

    HAFED officials associated with the procurement operations said that the agency was purchasing basmati as it has got export orders from different countries. The officials said that they will buy paddy until they achieve the targets in different districts.

    In a statement in October, Kailash Bhagat, HAFED chairman said that the government agency, had earned a profit of around ₹ 207 crore during the financial year 2021-22. For the current fiscal year, it has got an export order of 20,000 MT basmati rice valuing 21.85 million USD from Saudi Arabia.

    Meanwhile, farmers said that poor yield is also a reason behind the increasing prices.

    “The average yield has come down to around 10 quintals from 15 quintals. But the increase in the prices will help to compensate the farmers for the losses caused due to poor yield,” said basmati grower Rishi Pal of Karnal’s Sikri village.

    Moreover, growers of the aromatic long-grain basmati rice earn around ₹ 10,000 per acre extra from the crop waste as they said that paddy straw is used as cattle fodder.

  • South Korea passes in tender for 50,500 T rice from US, re-tenders

  • South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. rejected all offers and made no purchase in an international tender for an estimated 50,500 tonnes of rice to be sourced from the United States which closed earlier in November, European traders said on Tuesday.
    The agency has issued a new tender to purchase an estimated 63,600 tonnes of rice also to be sourced from the United States with price offers to be submitted on Nov. 24, they said.
    Prices in the previous 50,500 tonne tender which closed on Nov. 9 were regarded as too high, traders said. The agency traditionally can take several weeks to make a decision in its tenders, sometimes seeking samples before buying.
    The new tender seeks non-glutinous brown medium grain rice and non-glutinous milled medium grain rice in a series of six consignments for arrival in South Korea 2023 between Feb. 1 and June 30, they said.
    Source: Reuters (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Kirsten Donovan)
  • Azerbaijan removes cd on rice import from Pakistan

  • November 23, 2022 (MLN): Azerbaijan has removed Custom Duty (CD) on rice import from Pakistan for five years till 2027, Rafique Suleman Convener Rice Committee at FPCCI informed today. 

    This development will improvise the volume of rice exports, he added. 

    He lauded the steps taken by the Azerbaijan government that will encourage trade between the two countries.

    He also appreciated the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) to taken several steps to boost two-way trade with Azerbaijan by opening a new avenue and said that it will boost rice export by $20 million per annum.

  • Japan farmers shift from rice to feed crops as price of imported grain surges

  • Sluggish demand for rice in the domestic market is also accelerating the change, and the government is considering expanding support for farmers who switch from rice to other crops.

    The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Farmer Atsunori Suzuki checks a corn field in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, in October. The Yomiuri Shimbun

    TOKYO – Domestic farmers are increasingly shifting from planting rice to growing corn and other grains for livestock feed, following a surge in the price of imported grains amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Sluggish demand for rice in the domestic market is also accelerating the change, and the government is considering expanding support for farmers who switch from rice to other crops.

    Atsunori Suzuki, 49, cultivates about 40 hectares of rice paddies in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture. Last year, Suzuki began large-scale production of corn for livestock feed in some of his paddies that previously produced so-called staple rice.

    Staple rice is handled separately from rice used for industrial purposes, such as ingredients for sake, miso and crackers.

    Suzuki initially made the shift because harvesting corn involved a lighter workload than staple rice. However, the poultry farms to which he sells his corn have recently been calling for increased production, and Suzuki plans to double his planted area of corn next year.

    “It’s better to grow what people want than staple rice that is often overstocked,” he said.

    Soaring global grain prices have pushed up demand for domestically produced corn — mixed feed for livestock cost ¥100,186 per ton in August, up 22.7% from the same month last year.

    Japan has traditionally relied on imports for 70 to 80% of its feed. However, poultry farmers and others are increasing their purchases of domestically produced feed, which has stable prices.

    Govt to expand support

    According to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, Japan had 1,251,000 hectares planted with staple rice in the 2022 crop year, down 52,000 hectares from the 2021 crop year. Demand is weakening due to the declining birthrate and changing dietary habits.

    Wholesale prices for the 2022 crop rose for the first time in three years, but they are still below the level before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Yomiuri Shimbun

    In contrast, the planted area of corn and rice used for feed in the 2022 crop year increased for the second consecutive year, up 37,000 hectares from the year before to 549,000 hectares. Moves to replace rice paddies with fields producing wheat, vegetables and fruits are also expanding rapidly.

    In its comprehensive economic stimulus package compiled last month, the government proposed strengthening domestic production of feed crops, including corn, as well as production of wheat and soybeans.

    The ministry plans to provide subsidies for five years to farmers who turn rice paddies into fields to produce such crops. To fund the program, ¥25 billion was allocated in the second supplementary budget proposal for fiscal 2022.

  • Egypt Issues Decree to Regulate the Price and Quantities of Rice

  • Amid soaring food prices and an ongoing inflation, Egypt’s cabinet issued a decree penalising vendors who hoard or stock up on rice with at least one year in prison and a fine between EGP 100,000 and EGP 1 million in order to prevent any shortages of the “strategic commodity” in the market. The decree will remain in effect for three months.

    To regulate the price of rice in the markets, the cabinet also set prices to be sold at no more than EGP 18.

    The decree also orders all stakeholders in the value chain, including rice traders, producers, suppliers, distributors, and merchants, to notify the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade of the types and quantities of rice they have and adhere to the rules specified by the ministry.

    In an interview with local media last week, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi dismissed rumours Egypt is facing a rice shortage in the markets, adding that the speculations on the quantities of rice available have led to a hike in retail prices due to stockpiling and lack of adherence to the official prices in the market.

    The minister added that Egypt’s production of rice is sufficient to cover 100 percent of its consumption, noting that Egypt produces 3.5 million tonnes of rice and consumes 3.2 million tonnes.

    In a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Moselhi noted that the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade has received 140,000 tonnes of rice from farmers since the beginning of the harvest season in May, which can cover until mid-December. The ministry also plans to receive 1.5 million tonnes of long-grain rice from farmers during the current harvest season.

    To meet local market needs, the Prime Minister also issued directives for extending the ban on rice exports.

    Local media is also raising the alarm on farmers and vendors who have been hoarding rice commodities in an effort to increase the price in the black market.

    Last month, popular Egyptian TV host, Amr Adib, tackled the issue during his talk show “El Hekaya” in an interview with Representative Magdi El-Waili, member of the Rice Division of the Grain Chamber of the Federation of Industries.

    El-Waili noted that local supply has been heavily affected by local producers, as they have been intentionally reducing the quantities in the market to raise the price. He added that local producers are benefiting from the absence of strict regulations, and that producers are attempting to manipulate the market prices.

    ​​The repercussions of the Ukraine conflict have exacerbated Egypt’s financial crisis, which led to a significant rise in Egypt’s annual headline inflation, reaching 15.3 percent in September, up from eight percent in September 2021. This is the highest level of inflation since November 2018, when inflation rose to 15.7 percent.

  • Thai farmers use derelict Cold War airbase to dry rice crop

  • Rice harvesting season often brings traffic accidents in rural areas, as farmers have little choice but to use roads to dry their paddy.

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     November 22, 2022

    BANGKOK – Farmers in the northeastern province of Yasothon province are drying their rice harvest on an abandoned Royal Thai Army airbase runway in a bid to prevent road accidents.
    At least 100 farmers from Loeng Nok Tha district are turning up each day at the disused airstrip with loads of freshly cut rice.

    Rice harvesting season often brings traffic accidents in rural areas as farmers have little choice but to use roads to dry their paddy.

    Farmers at the old airbase are reportedly guarding their drying paddy at night to prevent it from being stolen.

    Prayad Samerphak, head of Ban Khok Samran village, said farmers in Loeng Nok Tha district were lucky to have an old airbase in the area.

    The Loeng Nok Tha airbase was built with the help of the British in 1967 as Cold War tensions mounted in Southeast Asia.

    “Many farmers gather at the airport to dry their paddy during harvest season every year,” she said.

    She also thanked soldiers at the airport for allowing them to dry their rice crop for free.

  • Local Rice Farmers Strongly Protest Govt Rice Import Projection

  • TEMPO.COJakarta - Head of the Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI) chairperson Hendry Saragih in a statement to Tempo on Tuesday voiced strong rejection against the government’s plan to enact rice imports through the State Logistics Agency (Bulog). He argues that it goes against Law No.18/2022 overseeing food. 

    According to the law, he said, imports on the commodity are currently not permitted if domestic production is still sufficient. The adequacy of the stock had previously been conveyed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

    "So you can't import rice. Bulog has not fulfilled it. This is a mistake. Bulog must rely on rice that is already available among the public," Henry said on Tuesday, November 22.

    According to Henry, farmers are currently working hard to increase production and maintain food reserves. Henry hoped that the National Food Agency (Bapanas) would increase the number of storage warehouses during the harvest season, not during the middle of the year or during current small harvests.

    In contrast to the Ministry of Agriculture's claim, Bulog previously felt that domestic rice reserves did not meet the government's target of 1.2 million tons. 

    In fact, the rice stock calculated by the state-owned company is rice reserves in the central government and fails to consider the supply in regional governments, both provincial, district, and city.

    The President Director of Perum Bulog, Budi Waseso, explained that the current supply held by Bulog amounts to 625,000 tons of rice in the country. While 500,000 tons of commercial rice are located abroad.

    "We can withdraw the rice supply in foreign countries at any time if the domestic supply runs out. The point is that there is no problem with rice supplies," Waseso said in a written statement on Friday, November 18.

  • Cambodian rice beats Hom Mali for top spot.

  • A fragrant rice variety from Cambodia beat Thailand's Hom Mali rice to win the title of World's Best Rice 2022 at a global conference on rice held last week in Phuket, the Rice Exporters Association said on Monday.

    The winning variety, called phaka lamduan, beat over 20 varieties of fragrant rice in blind tasting during the competition this year because of its stronger fragrance, said Chukiat Opaswong, the association's

    honorary president. The Cambodian rice beat Thailand's Hom Mali rice by one point for the title. The Thai variety, which hails from the Northeast, came second, followed by a variety from Vietnam and Laos

    he said.

    The deciding point was awarded to the phaka lamduan by a judge from the United States, who said the Cambodian variety had a sweeter scent than the Hom Mali, explained the association's chief.

    Mr Chukiat said the higher-than-average rainfall across Thailand this year may have contributed to the less pronounced aroma of this year's Hom Mali rice crop.

    This year's Thai Hom Mali rice is expected to fetch US$750 (about 27,170 baht) per tonne, while phaka lamduan prices are expected to increase from its current average of US$720 per tonne due to its

    new title as World's Best Rice 2022, Mr Chukiat explained.

    Thailand's rice exports will increase to eight million tonnes next year, up from 7.5 million tonnes this year.

    The increase will bring the market price for Thai rice down to US$410-450 per tonne, compared to Vietnam's US$400 per tonne.

    Since the contest began in 2009, Thai varieties have won seven times, including last year and the year before that, he said.

  • Flooding stops rice farmers sowing next crop in southern New South Wales

  • Heavy rain and flooding have seen less than half the expected rice crop planted in some areas of the country, as the window to sow closes. 
    In southern New South Wales, growers would typically be wrapping up sowing at this time of year. 
    Rice Growers' Association of Australia president Peter Herrmann says optimal sowing conditions have been replaced by an unseasonable amount of rain.
    He says growers are still frantically trying to plant what they could. 
    "In theory, the window's still open but we've been saying this now for quite a few weeks and the weather keeps coming," Mr Herrmann said. 
    "Some poor families are in the situation where they haven't had the opportunity, despite their best preparations, to sow any rice crop this year."
    A portrait shot of a man standing in front of a tree.

    Less than half the intended crop planted

    Michael Chalmers is a rice grower at Wakool, west of Deniliquin, and chair of the local Rice Growers' Association branch. 

    While he managed to get half of his rice sown before the start of October, some of it was submerged for up to three weeks.

    "It's drill-sown rice, which ironically doesn't want to be under water until about the end of November, so it's struggling along," he said. 

    Drill-down rice is planted directly into the soil and uses less water than aerial-sown rice.

    Mr Chalmers said there would be a yield reduction and that counterparts in the Wakool region were even worse off. 

    "Talking to a good friend down the road, he's lost about 160 hectares of rice under floodwater —  it's been under water for about a month," Mr Chalmers said. 

    "I would guess at the moment he has something like less than 40 per cent of the intended area planted."

    A man with one arm around a boy in front of a flooded paddock.
    Michael Chalmers and his son, Lachie, on their flooded property.(Supplied: Michael Chalmers)

    After such a good year for the industry in 2021, Mr Chalmers says this year is a "bitter disappointment".

    "Last year was a fantastic year, probably the best year I've ever seen for growing rice and this year's the polar opposite," he said.  

    'Tragedy' after a huge investment

    At this stage, it is unclear how bad the losses are. 

    Mr Herrmann says it is a big blow for the industry after increased investment into this year's crop to cover high fertiliser costs. 

    "There's the opportunity cost of crops that aren't going to be sown," he said.

    "Then there's the terribly distressing circumstances of losing crops that were so close, and that we had invested so much of our money in to produce.

    "We're still in damage control mode so counting our losses is something we probably do in the middle of the night when we prefer to be sleeping."

    Rows of rice crop with some puddles around.
    Michael Chalmers' rice survived after being submerged.(Supplied: Michael Chalmers)

    Looking ahead

    Mr Chalmers does not expect the domestic market to be impacted but things could be different overseas. 

    "Our export markets, probably there will be an effect given that there is a global rice shortage at the moment," he said.

    Mr Herrmann says it is unclear what the coming months hold for growers, but he hopes the rain and flooding ease to ensure crop rotation can go ahead, which is vital for rice growers.   

    "We want that winter crop rotation, that pasture rotation, and inundation is not good for pastures," he said.

    Sheep make their way along a road with water around them.
    Southern NSW farmers have had to adapt to flooded paddocks.(Supplied: Michael Chalmers)
  • Rice harvesting near completion in Punjab

  • LAHORE    -   Rice harvesting is near completion in Pun­jab and this year its expected production is 5.2 million tonnes. Agriculture Depart­ment sources told APP on Monday that rice has been cultivated on more than 5.7 million acres of land in the province. Sources said that after completion of harvesting process, storage of rice was the most important task. Mostly old rice is preferred by users, sources added. The sources said if rice was not stored scientifi­cally, not only the qual­ity of the produce was harmed but its weight was also reduced. Moisture, insects, birds and rats were the fac­tors which put negative impact on rice if not stored properly. Mean­while, the Agriculture Department sources advised growers not to burn paddy stubble as it is illegal way to get rid of crop residue. High-level of smog af­fects the growth.

  • Indian farmers sow more wheat, rice and slow down on lentils, pulses this rabi season

  • The rabi crop sowing data for 2022 shows that Indian farmers have preferred to sow wheat and rice more than lentils and pulses. The rabi sowing season took off on a shaky note due to an erratic monsoon but seems to have caught up and gone above last year's figures.

    The reading shows that sowing is up over seven percent when compared to last year and the government will be hoping that eventually, this will help cool off the high agri-inflation further.

    For example, wheat, one of the major important crops, has seen sowing increase by nearly 15 percent. This might give some relief to the government India's buffer stock has declined by 49.9 percent as compared to the previous year. Moreover, wheat prices have gone up by 20-25 percent in 2022 due to geopolitical and trade hassles as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war.

    Similarly, prices of other crops like rice, oil seeds, and mustard have shot up in the last six or seven months.  This is also the reason that farmers are sowing these crops more than a year before.

    Commodities such as lentils, chana, and pulses, which have not seen prices rise to that extent have seen lower sowing in the season. Pulse prices in fact have been sluggish and hovered below the minimum support price or MSP for the most part of last year.

    For the Indian markets, the government has had to take various measures in the recent few months -- steps like cutting import duty and giving subsidies -- that have impacted the domestic market prices as well.




  • Rice is one of the key strategic crops for food security and a source of income for rice value chain actors…

  • Michael Mwangi, an agronomist from Mwea rice growers multipurpose society showing komboka rice seed farm /KNA

    KIAMBU, Kenya, Nov 21 – Rice is one of the key strategic crops for food security and a source of income for rice value chain actors, but despite an increase in production, local supply has not been able to meet the market demand.

    Consequently, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar have been involved in a partnership project to enhance the performance of the local rice value chain based on innovative institutional approaches and knowledge products.

    The three-year project that has been running under ‘Strengthening the rice sector in East Africa for improved productivity and competitiveness of domestic rice’ (EARiSS) has helped rice farmers bridge the widening rice production-consumption gap.

    One of the implementing partners in the project, the Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Origination (KALRO) has been promoting appropriate seed production and delivery mechanisms as well as new rice varieties for enhanced productivity.

    Speaking during a farmer’s exchange workshop in Kenya for all three countries on the achievements of the EARiSS project, a Rice Breeder working for KALRO Emily Gichuhi said they have created a seed unit and system, whose mandate is to produce clean seeds for multiplication under the KEPHIS inspection

    “We grow our seeds locally and do not import, but despite the increase in the rice production, unfortunately, the country has not been able to meet the demand for consumption, which currently stands at around 720 metric tonnes,” she said.

    Gichuhi explained that in order to meet the demand, various organizations such as the Kenya Seed and National Biosafety Authority (NBA) have been mandated to multiply the upland high variety, which deals with the Basmati Pishori Rice and BW rice varieties, while KALRO has the mandate to maintain the seed for Nerica and also a new variety Komboka, which has been taken up by most farmers in the country as they are high yielding.

    “The new Komboka rice seed we are promoting has been found to produce 7 tonnes of rice per hectare compared to the Basmati- Pishori rice, which produces between 4 and 5 tonnes per hectare, thus rapid uptake by farmers,” Gichuhi said.

    Currently, she added that they have licensed other seed merchants to assist in producing seed for Komboka, which is distributed throughout the country, while they have also been promoting it through dissemination activities such as field days in the rice growing areas of central, coastal and western regions.

    “Through EARiSS, we have been disseminating technologies in rice to out growers and we have about 3,000 hectares of upland rice production, where we sell Nerica seeds and through irrigation, we have 4,000 acres in central region, about 2,000 in Bura and Hola irrigation schemes and slightly above 800 hectares in Taita Taveta, where we sell the Komboka seeds as well as share other varieties such as basmati and BW,” she added.

    The uptake of Komboka rice has now reached 50 per cent across the region in terms of seeds, while the other 50 per cent is for the other varieties of basmati and BW because we have contracted farmers to help in distribution and production of the certified seeds, added Gichuhi.

    The Rice breeder said the biggest challenge they have been having is farmers replanting the same grain from the previous season, which according to her is not healthy and can be prone to pests and diseases.

    “Accessibility of quality seeds has been a big problem since rice is a self-pollinating crop and sometimes farmers tend to keep their own grain and use it for the next season which is not a good practice because of transmission of disease. We have been discouraging farmers not to reuse the grain and asking them to buy new seeds per season,” she said.

    Gichuhi explained that as a research institution they have observed a shift in preferred rice variety for planting from the ordinary Basmati 370 to the new Komboka variety, which farmers prefer as it gives twice the yield, its semi aromatic and the cost of production is low, while in terms of pests and diseases it is moderately resistant.

    Negussie Zenna from Africa Rice, Madagascar said the exchange visit in Kenya is to gain experience and learn in terms of seed production and also commercialization of seeds.

    “What we are lacking in some countries is seeds, the demand is high. Producers produce quality seeds but do not know where the market is and it is necessary for both producer and utilizer to meet at the right platform,” he said.

    Zenna noted that through the EARiSS project, they have been promoting the sensitization of different stakeholders in terms of quality seed and promotion of the seeds produced locally through demonstration of farmer’s field day and exhibitions working with national seeds systems such as KALRO.

    The biggest challenge in rice production, Zenna said, has been marketing of the seeds as there are many traders in the region and through the partnership they want to see and hear from farmers on how to make it profitable and marketable.

    Zenna said overall there is no one solution, but multi approaches that will be able to address the deficit in Africa and it can only be done through transformation, modernization of rice breeding and rice production

    “We want to expand, see what other countries can offer in terms of supply as the demand for rice is growing exponentially not only in terms of quantity but quality. It needs to go through all levels from farmers, seed producers, marketers, millers and traders until to the table of consumers,” Zenna said.

    On his part, an agronomist from Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose (MRGM) cooperative society Michael Mwangi, said production of rice seeds is key especially for the new varieties that have been introduced, since the farmers have realized the new varieties are bringing in more yields.

    “Farmers are satisfied with the new variety such as Komboka considering that in comparison to other old varieties, its yield is quite high. For example, the production of one kg of basmati variety costs a farmer Sh60 compared to the Komboka variety, where a farmer is using only Sh40 to produce,” he said.

    Mwangi explained that MRGM has contracted 5 farmers with around 4 to 5 acres each across the country, who are bulking the seed in high demand.

    “We have like 3,500 active farmers out of the registered 7,500, what we have done is select a few farmers who ensure they produce the seeds for the rest of the members,” he noted, adding that the society is involved in the entire value chain production, processing, and marketing.

    Patrick Githinji, a farmer who produces rice seeds said the biggest challenge they have been having was farmers re-planting their seeds and not embracing the Komboka rice variety.

    “I am now producing the seeds for the Komboka rice variety as it does not have a problem with the pests and also because farmers have started embracing it for its high yields,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the current demand for rice per individual per year stands at 20. 6 Kilogrammes. In 2020 the country produced 180,000 metric tonnes of rice, but KALRO projects that it will increase by 10 percent to 520,000 Metric Tonnes by 2030.

  • Cultivating rice with aquatic animals naturally boosts production – study

  • Rice is a staple food for more than 3.5 billion people around the world. Sustainable rice production plays a significant role in ensuring food security for many communities. 

    Carp living with rice plants in a co-culture experiment. (Photo from Lufeng Zhao)

    However, like many other monoculture crops, the cultivation of a single crop in a field, rice is prone to diseases, weeds, and pests. The increased vulnerability pushed many farmers to heavily rely on pesticides and fertilizers to ensure efficient rice production.

    In a bid to introduce environment-friendly rice cultivation, Liang Guo, a postdoctoral fellow at the College of Life Sciences at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, and his colleagues conducted experiments integrating carp, mitten crabs, and softshell turtles in rice paddies. 

    Their study showed that growing aquatic life alongside rice helped prevent weed growth, improved the decomposition of organic matter, and stabilized nitrogen levels, ultimately leading to 8.7% to 12.1% higher crop yield compared to control crops grown without the animals. 

    “In terms of rice production, adding aquatic animals to paddies may increase farmers’ profits as they can sell both the animals and the rice, spend less on fertilizer and pesticides, and charge more for sustainably grown products,” said Xin Chen, co-senior author of the study and an ecology professor at Zhejiang University.

  • Canadian market suitable for Pakistani textile, rice products

  • * Pak-Canada bilateral trade can be increased to $5b by making more efforts

    “Canada is an import-oriented country and the business community of Pakistan has a good opportunity to tap this potential market for trade and exports. The Pakistani private sector can set up a base in Canada and capture the North American market.”

    This was said by Faisal Kakar, Deputy Head of Mission-designate to Canada while exchanging views with the business community during his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), said a press release issued here. Faisal Kakar said that he could facilitate online B2B meetings between Pakistani and Canadian entrepreneurs to explore areas of mutual cooperation.

    He said that Pakistan can export many products to Canada including rice, textiles, IT and software, and others. He said that around 0.6 to 0.7 million people from the Pakistani community were living in Canada and some of them had been elected in the Canadian parliament. He said those parliamentarians could play an effective role in improving trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Canada.

    He assured that he would try to share information with ICCI about business opportunities for Pakistan in Canada so that the private sector could make efforts to take advantage of them. Speaking at the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Canada in 2020 was just around US$ 1.11 billion, which was not according to the actual potential of both countries. He said that with better efforts, bilateral trade can be increased to 3-5 billion US dollars. He stressed that both countries should focus on developing strong business linkages between their private sectors to explore new areas of cooperation.

    He said that the Pakistani High Commission in Canada should explore the products that were in good demand in Canada and share such information with chambers of commerce & industry so that Pakistan’s private sector can capture better market share in Canada. He said that many sectors of Pakistan’s economy offer great opportunities for JVs and investment and stressed that the Pakistani diaspora in Canada should be motivated to invest in Pakistan. Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President ICCI said that Pakistan and Canada were agro-based economies and had good potential to enhance cooperation in this sector.

    Khalid Iqbal Malik Group Leader, Zubair Ahmed Malik, Zafar Bakhtawari, Muhammad Ejaz Abbasi, Raja Imtiaz, Khalid Chaudhry, Mehmood Ahmed Warraich and others were also spoke at the occasion and offered useful proposals to further improve bilateral trade ties between Pakistan and Canada.

  • China ships more rice, sugar and plastic bags to N. Korea as exports surge in Oct

  • An aerial view shows containers and ships at the Kwai Chung Container Terminal in Hong Kong, China June 6, 2021. Aleksander Solum, Reuters

    Rice, polyethylene bags, sugar, textile material and tobacco were the main exports

    BEIJING - China's exports to North Korea surged in 46.3% October from a month earlier, with foodstuffs including rice and sugar among the main items, though it shipped less COVID-related items except for rubber gloves, Chinese customs data showed on Sunday.

    Totaling $132.43 million in October, China's exports to North Korea were 2.5 times more than a year ago. Rice, polyethylene bags, sugar, textile material and tobacco were the main exports.

    Exports of milled long rice to North Korea for the month totaled 16,450 tonnes, valued at $7.3 million, while for sugar they stood at nearly 8,000 tonnes, worth $4.5 million.

    North Korea imported 1.47 million pairs of medical rubber gloves in October, compared with 400,000 pairs in September, the data showed, though imports of other COVID-19 protection merchandise, such as facial masks and thermometers, fell.

    North Korea has not confirmed how many people have caught COVID, apparently because it lacks the means to conduct widespread testing.

    (Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

  • Rice exporters fear big drop in shipments after floods

  • Basmati exports shipments plunged 25 per cent to 173,684 tonnes in the four months through October, whereas proceeds dropped 8pc to $182m from a year ago, official data showed.—White Star/file

    KARACHI: Rice exporters are braced for a lacklustre year ahead amid fears of at least a 30 per cent drop in production in Sindh due to damage to crops caused by flash floods earlier this year.

    Besides, they also face fierce competition from India, which is offering lower prices to foreign buyers.

    Chela Ram Kewlani, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), a representative body of the sector, said Pakistan fetched $2.5 billion from rice exports by shipping 4.88 million tonnes of rice to various foreign destinations in the previous fiscal year (2021-22).

    It was 1.19m tonnes more than the year-ago figure of 3.684m tonnes, which helped the country fetch a little over $2bn.

    “I think rice exports may plunge to 3.5m tonnes this fiscal year (2022-23) in view of the damage to the crop in Sindh,” Mr Kewlani said. However, he was satisfied with Punjab’s figures.

    Say exports may plunge to 3.5m tonnes this year from 4.8m after Sindh crop hit by flooding

    He said rice crop arrivals in Sindh were due in October but had been delayed by a month due to recent flooding that inundated large swathes of the country.

    Last year, the country’s rice production was 8.5m tonnes, whereas local consumption stood at 3m tonnes.

    On incentives, the REAP chairman was not happy with the fact that rice exporters were ignored when Finance Minister announced big power relief for the export sector last month.

    According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, basmati exports plunged to 173,684 tonnes (fetching $182m) in the July-October period from 229,791 tonnes ($198m), reflecting a drop of 24.4pc in quantity and 8.4pc in value.

    Other rice varieties fetched $364m with shipments of 791,676 tonnes compared to $396mn (861,999 tonnes), down 8pc each in quantity and value.

    In October alone, basmati rice exports stood at 45,154 tonnes ($51m) compared to 43,821 tonnes ($43m) in September and 51,499 tonnes ($45m) in October 2021.

    Exports of other rice varieties stood at 205,744 tonnes ($92m) in October compared to 163,497 tonnes ($76m) in September and 297,576 tonnes ($126m) in October last year.

    Faisal Anis Majeed, the deputy convener of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) rice committee, said foreign buyers were turning towards India, whose rice prices were less than Pakistan’s by $80 to $100 a tonne.

    He said the rupee’s depreciation over the last month also created problems for exporters, making exports expensive.

    Meanwhile, it has been noted that consumers are paying higher prices for local rice due to massive exports in the previous fiscal year.

    Prices of various rice varieties have gone up by 60-70pc in the last one and a half years. However, market sources said rice hoarding also went unchecked as “the mafia” kept the commodity out of the market to create an artificial shortage and fetch better prices.

    While the wholesale rates of different rice varieties now hover between Rs85 and Rs320 per kilogram, retail prices seem to have no limits due to fat margins.

    Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2022

  • Preah Vihear governor urges farmers to produce more organic rice

  • Kim Rithy, Governor of Preah Vihear province, has urged local farmers to produce more organic rice for domestic supply and export, while the price of the organic rice in the foreign markets are higher.

    Kim Rithy made the call when visiting local farmers in the province’s Kulen district recently.

    Kim Rithy noted that the income of farmers has improved significantly thanks to the rising market value of agricultural products through contracting farming on the organic rice.

    Director of Preah Vihear provincial Department of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry Mr Poeung Tryda said the organic rice market has been very vibrant for the past six to seven years because of collective push by players such as the private sector, development partners and local farming communities.

    According to Mr Diep Cham, Board Chairman of the Agricultural Community for the Promotion of Farmers, the local farming communities can now produce more than 2,590 tonnes of organic rice on 2,000 hectares of their land.

    Cambodian milled rice export to international markets for the last 10 months of 2022 increased by 10.67 percent to 509,249 tonnes equivalent to $323.90 million.

    Cambodia exported rice to 56 destinations, of which China, including Hong Kong and Macau, is the top buyer, followed by 25 countries in Europe and countries in ASEAN. AKP-Heng Panha

  • Indian rice prices climb on higher demand

  • MUMBAI/HANOI /BANGKOK/DHAKA: Prices of rice shipped from top exporter India edged up this week on an uptick in overseas demand and as aggressive government buying of paddy to encourage higher domestic output jacked up traders’ procurement costs.

    India’s 5% broken parboiled variety rates rose to $373-$378 per tonne from last week’s $370-$375, amid higher export demand as well. “The government has been buying new season paddy crop at revised higher prices. Exporters need to pay more to secure supplies,” said an exporter based in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

    India raised the price at which it will buy the new-season common paddy from farmers by 5.2%, the biggest increase in five years, as New Delhi encourages farmers to boost acreage and output.

    Meanwhile, output from neighbouring Bangladesh’s second-biggest rain-fed rice crop could hit 17 million tonnes, exceeding the target of 16 million tonnes, as farmers raised acreage to cash in on higher prices, a senior agriculture ministry official said.

    Bangladesh has been struggling to shore up stocks following widespread flooding. Prices of Thailand’s 5% broken variety scaled the highest since early October at $410-$425 per tonne. Traders attributed the increase to gains in the baht, which decreases exporters’ margins from overseas sales and prompts them to hike prices.

    “Global markets are slowing because countries have stocked up on rice from their experience during the pandemic and war between Russia and Ukraine, which led to hoarding,” said a Bangkok-based trader.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices were unchanged at $425-$430 per tonne, free-on-board. “Demand for Vietnamese rice is higher than previously anticipated and I think this year’s exports will exceed the official target of 6.3-6.5 million tonnes,” a Ho Chi Minh City- based trader said.

  • CSIR develops improved climate smart rice varieties 

  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) has developed improved climate smart rice varieties using biotechnological tools.

    Dr Maxwell Asante, Principal Research Scientist and Rice Breeder at CSIR-CRI, said the improved rice varieties were disease and pest resistant and had short maturity period of 90 to 100 days.

    He announced this in an interview with Ghana News Agency in Tamale.

    He said over the years, rice production had been a major challenge to farmers due to the difficulties they faced in acquiring suitable land and maturity period for rice.

    Dr Asante said the improved rice varieties could grow on multiple lands unlike the ordinary varieties, which could only grow in lowland areas.

    He said the new improved rice varieties could be cultivated on highlands to encourage more farmers to venture into rice cultivation.

    He advised farmers to adopt the new improved rice varieties to enhance their production for local consumption to reduce importation of rice into the country.

    Source: GNA

  • Govt may review blanket ban on broken rice exports if procurement steadies

  • Exports may still face some curbs with the imposition of a duty instead of the complete ban that is currently in place, but matters are still at a discussion stage, say sources

    With rice procurement progressing steadily and with prices starting to moderate, the Central government might review the ban on the export of broken rice, though an outright lifting is ruled out for now, two people aware of the development said.

    Exports may still face some curbs with the imposition of a duty instead of the complete ban that is currently in place, but matters are still at a discussion stage, they added.

    India, the largest exporter of broken rice, had imposed the ban in September to stabilise domestic prices and ensure the availability of the grain in the domestic market particularly for the ethanol and poultry industries.

    Prior to the ban, broken rice exports between April and August of FY23 has risen by a mind-boggling 4,178 per cent from the corresponding period of 2019, while between FY18 and FY19, thay had jumped by almost 319 per cent.

    Data shows that in FY22, of the 3.8-3.9 million tonnes of broken rice exported, around 1.6 million tonnes (over 41 per cent) went to China for use as feed meal for the poultry industry there.

    The share of broken rice in India’s total exports—estimated to be about 21.2 million tonnes in 2021-22—rose to 23 per cent in April-August 2022 from 1.34 per cent in the same period in 2019.

    However, some softening of domestic prices, a steady start to 2022-23 rice procurement season and demand from southern millers may have prompted the Centre consider revoking the ban, sources said.

    Till November 10, paddy procurement in the central pool for the 2022-23 season that started on October is estimated to be about 23.1 million tonnes--1.31 per cent more than the paddy procured during the same period last year.

    In the 2022-23 season (October to September), the Centre has planned to procure 77.1 million tonnes of paddy which is more than the 75.9 million tonnes procured last year.

    Meanwhile, sources said the commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal had discussed the matter during a review of the sectoral progress in exports with export promotion councils and industry bodies.

    “The industry had expressed their concerns regarding the continuation of the ban on broken rice,” one of the persons cited above said.

    Market sources said India annually produced around 5-6 million tonnes of broken rice which is mainly used as poultry and cattle feed.

    India’s rice production in 2022-23 kharif season is estimated to be around 6.05 per cent less than the same period last year at 104.99 million tonnes as per the first advance estimate of agriculture production for 2022-23 crop year (July to June) released a few months back.

    Rice production in the 2021-22 kharif season was a record 111.76 million tonnes.

    If the numbers hold firm, then this will be the lowest rice production in the kharif season since the 2020-21 crop year.

    The production is expected to be down due to drought like conditions in main growing regions of East India namely in the states of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and also shift towards other competing crops in some other states.

  • Global demand, low inventories push Basmati paddy prices.

  • Mandi prices of Basmati paddy at Karnal (Haryana) and Rajpura (Punjab) are currently ruling around Rs 3,800 – Rs 4,000/quintal, Rs 400 – Rs 500/quintal more than the prices prevailed a year ago.

    Mandi prices of Basmati paddy at Karnal (Haryana) and Rajpura (Punjab) are currently ruling around Rs 3,800 – Rs 4,000/quintal, Rs 400 – Rs 500/quintal more than the prices prevailed a year ago.

    Robust global demand and negligible inventories have pushed up mandi prices of Basmati paddy this season sharply across the key rice growing regions in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

    Mandi prices of Basmati paddy at Karnal (Haryana) and Rajpura (Punjab) are currently ruling around Rs 3,800 – Rs 4,000/quintal, Rs 400 – Rs 500/quintal more than the prices prevailed a year ago.

    “Negligible carry forward stock from the previous year, large number of pending exports orders have pushed up the mandi prices of new crop this year,” Vijay Setia, chairman and managing director, Chaman Lal Setia Exports, a leading exporter of aromatic rice, told FE.

    Setia said that rice prices are expected to rise in the domestic market while realisation from the exports of the aromatic long grain rice has seen a sharp spike in the first half of the current fiscal.

    Currently, the procurement of Basmati paddy by traders from the farmers is going at a brisk pace and will continue till next month.

    According to the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics data, the value of Basmati rice exports rose by more than 37% during April-September 2022 to $2.2 billion from $1.6 billion in the same period last fiscal.

    The per tonne export realisation of aromatic rice rose by 24% to $1057/tonne in April-September 2022 from $853/tonne a year ago period.

    “The prospects of the Basmati rice exports in the second of the current fiscal year are bright as demand has been rising steadily,” Vinod Kaul, senior executive director, All India Rice Exporters’ Association, said. He said besides the demand from traditional markets in the middle countries, there has been encouraging demand for aromatic rice from the European Union this season.

    M Angamuthu, Chairman, Agricultural Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority, said that Basmati rice exports prospects are encouraging as there are several countries in the middle east that need rice to meet their domestic demand.

    To boost exports, APEDA has set up Basmati Export Development Foundation in collaboration with the industry, through which the farmers in key growing states are informed about the usage of certified seeds, good agriculture practices and judicious use of pesticides to meet the international standards

    In September, the government banned exports of broken rice and put a 20% export duty on non-Basmati ‘white’ rice varieties. However, Basmati rice export was put outside the export restrictions.

    Out of the total annual production of 9 million tonne (mt) of Basmati rice, 4.5 mt is exported. In 2021-22, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Yemen had a share of 65% in value of aromatic rice export of $ 3.5 billion.

    Pakistan exports around 0.9 – 1 mt of Basmati rice annually and harvesting this year has been disrupted because of flooding in the many parts of the key growing region.

  • ‘PH close to achieving P20/kilo rice’

  • PRESIDENT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said the Philippines is close to achieving the aspiration of bringing down the price of rice to P20 per kilogram.
    In his speech during the simultaneous launch of the "Kadiwa ng Pasko" project in Mandaluyong City, Marcos said the National Food Authority (NFA) is now selling rice at P25 per kilogram.
    "If we get rice from the NFA, if we get from the buffer stock, the NFA will not earn. You can see that the price of rice is P25," Marcos said.
    "We are close to achieving the dream of having rice priced at P20 per kilo, but we have to take things slowly. We will be able to reach that goal," he added.
    Marcos, who is concurrently the country's agriculture chief, said they "cannot do anything" amid the rising prices of basic commodities, noting that this is due to external forces "that we cannot control."

    "A lot of things are happening. We can't do anything because the soaring prices of commodities were brought by external forces that we cannot control," he said.
    But the President said he is committed to add more Kadiwa stalls in the country to provide consumers with more affordable and high-quality local products.
    "We will expand this to ensure national coverage. Aside from that, it will continue after Christmas, even if it is named 'Kadiwa ng Pasko'. We will not stop it," Marcos said.
    "I hope this could help you. May these affordable products enable you to have a Merry Christmas despite the challenges we faced since the onset of the pandemic, followed by recent developments," he added.


    The Kadiwa ng Pasko project, an initiative of the Office of the President and spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, aims to promote affordable and high-quality products.

    The program was launched to address inflation and price surges associated with the Christmas season. It provides a direct farm-to-consumer food supply chain to eliminate several marketing layers and help boost the income of local agricultural producers.
    Fourteen Kadiwa stores have opened nationwide — 11 in Metro Manila, one in Tacloban City, one in Davao de Oro, and one in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
    First lady Louise "Liza" Araneta-Marcos launched the Kadiwa ng Pasko project in Parañaque City, along with presidential sons Ilocos Norte First District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander "Sandro" Marcos 3rd in Quezon City and Joseph Simon Marcos in San Juan City.

    Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr., also graced the opening of Kadiwa stores in Makati City, Presidential Management Staff Secretary Zenaida Angping in Pasay City, Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo in Valenzuela City, and Office of the Press Secretary Undersecretary Emerald Ridao in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
    During the event, Marcos visited the Kadiwa stalls, which featured the products of farmers and fisherfolk, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises.
    The President, after delivering his speech, received several gifts from the sellers, including several pairs of Marikina-made Seacrest shoes.

    He thanked the participants in the Kadiwa caravan and expressed optimism that the project would benefit both local suppliers and consumers.
    "This is one of the administration's undertakings to give our countrymen a more comfortable life," Marcos said.
    "So, thank you. I am grateful that this Kadiwa is being implemented because this is really a good program," he added.
    The Kadiwa market system was created during the time of the Chief Executive's late father, former president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

    Farmers' group urges DA to expand 'Kadiwa ng Pasko'
    In a related development, farmers' group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura President Rosendo So on Wednesday urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to expand the areas covered by the Kadiwa ng Pasko project to allow farmers to sell directly to outlets to minimize middlemen.
    During the Laging Handa briefing, So added that the P25 per kilo of rice being sold at 14 branches of Kadiwa ng Pasko will benefit the consumers.
    "This will be a big help to the consumers. Of course, if more Kadiwa are established in the country, Filipinos who cannot afford to buy basic commodities at high prices can now have access to cheaper products," So said.
    "At least farmers can now have direct access to the Kadiwa stores," he added.
    So said he is now coordinating with DA Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista to connect farmers in the provinces to the Kadiwa outlets.
    "The DA should expand Kadiwa and if it's possible, the stores should be fixed in one place where our farmers can directly sell their produce.
    It will benefit not only the farmers but the consumers as well with the low prices of agricultural products," he said.
    At the same time, So said that retail prices of agricultural products are starting to normalize after the effect of Severe Tropical Storm "Paeng."

  • Ctg port gets new terminal after 15 years, rice-laden vessel unloaded

  • Chittagong Port’s Patenga Container Terminal (PCT) has begun operations on a trial basis with the unloading of a rice-laden vessel from Myanmar.

    A vessel named MCL-19, carrying some 2,650 tonne of rice, docked at the newly built terminal on Tuesday.

    The development marks the unofficial introduction of a new terminal at the Chittagong Port after 15 long years.

    The Newmooring Container Terminal (NCT) was built back in 2007. Construction work of the PCT was concluded earlier this year.

    A ship had to cross a distance of some 14km on River Karnaphuli to reach the main jetty of the port. However, with the introduction of the PCT, that distance has now been cut down to 6km.

    Speaking with The Business Standard, Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Secretary Md Omar Farooq said, “Until the PCT is made fully operational, relatively small gearless ships carrying government imported rice will be handled here.

    “The installation of all necessary equipment and the process to hire a suitable operator for the terminal may take some more time.”

    Contacted, Mahbubul Alam, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said “The launch of PCT is undoubtedly positive news for the country’s import and export trade.

    “However, if the operator recruitment process for the terminal gets delayed, we will not be able to enjoy its benefits. Therefore, authorities must launch the PCT at 100% of its capacity as soon as possible.”

    The terminal was all set to be inaugurated on a trial basis in July. But the date was later rescheduled.

    The local agent of the vessel is Seven Seas Shipping Lines Limited while the stevedore is Messer’s AW Khan.

    Even though the rice-laded ship docked yesterday, the stevedoring company started unloading the goods this morning. The rice is being sent to the CSDs in Halisahar and Dewanhat.

    About 92% of the country’s import and export goods pass through Chittagong Port. Currently, the port has 19 jetties at three terminals: General Cargo Berth (GCB), Container Terminal (CCT) and New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT).

    After the opening of the Patenga terminal, the number of jetties will increase to 23.

    The port can currently accommodate ships with a maximum of 9.5 metres of draft and 190 metres of length.

    The PCT is able to accommodate ships with 10.5 metres of draft and 200 metres of length.

    The PCT, built on a 32-acre site, will be able to handle about 4.5 lakh TEUs of containers per year.

    The terminal has three containers and an oil unloading (dolphin) jetty. Four ships can be docked at a time there.

    Tk1,229 has been spent on the construction of the new terminal.

    The Chittagong Port handled some 827,112 TEUs in FY2005-06. The figure rose to 3,255,358 TEUs in FY2021-22 – a 393% growth in the last 15 years.
    Source: The Business Standard

  • Cause for concern. Growth in Indian rice procurement slows in November

  • Agencies’ procurement, which was up 12 per cent in October, is now only 2 per cent higher

    The procurement of rice has slowed down in the past fortnight, though the total procurement registered a 2 per cent growth until November 15. The purchase of the cereal by procurement agencies, which began on October 1 for the current marketing season was higher by 12 per cent as of October 1 compared with the year-ago period.

    But since then, the scenario has changed. However, the deficit in Uttar Pradesh is not bad as it is in Punjab, where it was higher in October.

    According to the latest data, the procurement of rice is 169.13 lakh tonnes (lt) as of November 15 — up by 1.9 per cent from 166.02 lt a year ago. During November 1-15, the procurement of rice was 54.8 lt for the Central Pool — down 14 per cent from 63.8 lt a year ago.

    Unlikely to make up

    “Against the normal procurement scheduled to commence from December 1 in Chhattisgarh, the government has allowed the purchase to start from this month. So, if you deduct the quantity of Chhattisgarh, the actual procurement in the past fortnight fell by almost a quarter,” said an official source. Last year, procurement in Chhattisgarh started on December 1.

    Not yet ready for agri derivatives

    The commencement of rice procurement in Tamil Nadu was advanced by a month to September 1 and now the total quantity from the State for the Central Pool is 5.75 lt, some 92 per cent higher from the year-ago period.

    Though Punjab’s contribution to the Central Pool stock is down by 3.5 per cent at 113.56 lt, the drop this season is unlikely to be made up. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh may also see a significant fall in rice procurement — as high as 20-25 per cent, official sources said.

    May be misleading

    “Whatever the current trend is, whether a fall or rise in procurement, could be misleading as the actual harvesting varies year-on-year based on the withdrawal of monsoon. A clear picture will emerge after December as to what could be the likely procurement in 2022-23 kharif season (October-March),” an official said.

    In Haryana, the procurement has been completed on November 15 and 38.93 lt of the cereal have been purchased, which is seven per cent more from the year-ago period. The State had set a target to procure 37 lt this year for the Central Pool.

    The official purchase in Uttar Pradesh is 2.4 lt — down 6 per cent from a year ago. So far, the procurement is on the expected lines as the production in the State is estimated to drop to 124.8 lt during the 2022-23 season to June. This is down from 152 lt a year ago.

    Earlier this year, the Centre procured only 187.92 lt of wheat against a target of 444 lt from the 2021-22 crop. This led to several measures, including a ban on exports as well as no provisioning for the open market sale. The government has already banned the export of broken rice and levied a 20 per cent export duty on white (raw) rice.

    The Centre has set the target for the procurement of rice at 518 lt against 510 lt last season.

  • India’s rice exports to fall by 1.5 mt to 19.mt: USDA

  • Despite export tax, India’s rice price is competitive

    Thailand’s exports are projected to increase 0.6 mt to 8.2 mt next year, given weaker shipments from its top competitors India and Pakistan.

    India’s rice exports may decline to 19.5 mt in 2023 from a record 21 mt of shipment this year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  has stated in its outlook.

    The USDA  said the fall in exports is mainly because of an anticipated decline in India’s rice production due to deficiency in monsoon rainfall in the key grain growing states in eastern India.

    Thailand’s exports are projected to increase 0.6 mt to 8.2 mt next year, given weaker shipments from its top competitors India and Pakistan.

    While projecting a marginal decline of 0.4 mt in global rice trade to 53 mt 2in 023, USDA has said that despite the government in September announcing a 20% export tariff on non-basmati and non-parboiled rice shipment, ‘India remains the most competitively-priced source for rice in Asia,’.

    India’s price quotes for 5% broken-kernel rice shipped bulk were $ 380/tonne for the week ending November 8, 2022 against Pakistan’s $ 415/tonne and Argentina’s $ 415/tonne.

    India banned broken rice exports, used as animal feed in September.

    Officials said that India would continue to be the largest exporter of the grain in the world next year as well despite a decline in shipment.

    USDA also projected a 2 mt decline in production for China, world biggest producer of rice, to 147 mt, from a record of output for 2021/22. Pakistan’s rice production is expected to decline by 2.5 mt to 6.6 mt because of flooding in the Indus river valley.

    In September, the agriculture ministry in its first advance estimate for foodgrain production had stated that rice production in the current kharif season for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) would decline by around 6 mt to 124 mt from a record 130 mt reported in the previous year.

    India has been the world’s largest rice exporter in the last decade — export earnings stood at $ 8.8 billion in the 2020-21 financial year (April-June) and $ 9.6 billion in 2021-22. In the current fiscal (April-Sept), $ 5.4 billion worth of rice (11 mt) has been exported.

    India accounts for around 40% of global rice trade and exports to more than 150 countries.

    Out of the 21 mt of rice shipment in 2021-22, India exported more than 17 mt of non-basmati rice and the rest of the volume was aromatic and long grain Basmati rice. In terms of volume, Bangladesh, China, Benin and Nepal are five major export destinations of rice.

    In September a food ministry official had stated that there has been ‘mind-boggling” increase of exports of broken rice which had caused domestic shortage and increased poultry and feed meal rates. Broken rice is largely meant for the non-human consumption and it is used as a feed in the poultry industry.

  • Unprocessed rice imports from Cambodia eyed by Philippines

  • Cambodian unprocessed rice eyed for import by Philippines. File Photo

    Asean Business Advisory Council Chair for the Philippines and Go Negosyo founder Jose Maria A. Concepcion III said the Philippines is mulling over importing rice from Cambodia.

    “Cambodia is a big exporter of rice, but it goes through Vietnam for processing,” said Concepcion.

    “Our suggestion is import so that the Philippine companies can process the rice,” he added.

    In a news statement issued by Go Negosyo on Tuesday, Concepcion shared that Cambodian businessmen were receptive to the idea, and even offered technology exchange between the two countries. “Cambodia is very good at growing rice, and we could learn from them,” the Go Negosyo founder added.

    “Agriculture in particular, was revealed as a promising area of cooperation between the two countries. Cambodia produces rice, but Vietnam—which is a major exporter of rice to the Philippines—has the biggest production by hectare,” Go Negosyo said.

    Further, it said that several expansion and export opportunities in Cambodia for Philippine companies were explored during the CEO Roundtable meeting held on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Phnom Penh last November 10.

    The CEO Roundtable meeting was attended by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President George T. Barcelon, LT Group’s Mike Tan, Go Negosyo senior adviser Josephine Romero, and the Philippine winners of the Asean Business Awards 2022.

    Go Negosyo said aside from agriculture, other areas of cooperation that the meeting was able to identify were on housing, digitalization, food security, hospitality, garments manufacturing, business process outsourcing (BPO), and micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development.

    In his intervention during the event, Marcos stressed the importance of international cooperation to prevent regional food shortage.

    “It has become glaringly clear that there is a dire need to strengthen food security towards self-sufficiency in our region, to increase adaptability and resilience in the face of threats to the global supply chain,” the President said.

    Marcos is the concurrent Agriculture Secretary of the Philippines.

    Meanwhile, during the meeting, the Philippine group invited the Cambodian businessmen to invest in the Philippines and partner with the Philippine businesses.

    “SMEs from the Philippines—namely, FELTA Multimedia, Home Healthlink and Esquire Financing—who were also winners of the Asean Business Awards, said that they are looking for partners to expand both in the Philippines and within Asean. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Cambodian garments industry association commended during the meeting the logistics support from Philippine cargo and mobility facilities, namely Philippine Airlines [PAL],” Go Negosyo said in its statement.

    According to Go Negosyo, the Cambodian businessmen shared that PAL helped them not only with cargo, but also with the transport of the designers and other technical people between the two countries.

    Further, it said that the Philippines and Cambodia are also together in a campaign to get their respective garments exported at zero rates in the United States’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) so that these may be imported by US brands at zero, or near zero duty. Business Mirror.com.ph

  • Chinese hybrid rice offers solution to global food shortage: ministry

  • China attaches great attention to global food security and Chinese hybrid rice offers a solution to global food shortages, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a press conference on Tuesday.

    Mao said that half a century ago, hybrid rice was developed and is now popularized in China, helping China feed nearly one-fifth of the world's population with less than 9 percent of the world's arable land. 

    Hybrid rice has been introduced to nearly 70 countries and regions on five continents in the world, making outstanding contributions to increasing grain production and agricultural development in those areas, providing China's solution to food shortages, she said.

    China's grain production capacity has steadily increased, with output stabilizing at more than 1.3 trillion jin (650 million tons) for seven consecutive years, reaching a record high of 1.3657 trillion jin in 2021, with per capita grain volume reaching 483 kilograms, achieving basic grain self-sufficiency and food security. 

    Mao noted that China attaches great importance to global food security, which has become an increasingly serious problem.

    China has listed food security as one of the eight key areas of cooperation in its Global Development Initiative (GDI). China has also proposed initiatives on international food security cooperation under the G20 framework and the eight proposals on establishing cooperative partnerships for commodities and safeguarding global food security. 

    China has also reached an important consensus on strengthening cooperation on food supply, access, utilization and stability with participating parties at the just-concluded 25th China-ASEAN summit meeting.

    Mao said that China will continue to work with other countries for a shared future, advance the GDI, strengthen cooperation on food security and poverty reduction, and make greater contributions to accelerating the implementation of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and building a world free from hunger and poverty.

    Global Times 
  • USA Rice Outlines Annual Trade Barriers for USTR to Address in 2023

  • WASHINGTON, DC – Late last month, USA Rice formally submitted comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding foreign trade barriers to U.S. rice exports.  The industry overview is designed to aid the agency in formulating their 2023 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), which will be published next spring.
    Similar to what has been submitted in recent years, USA Rice accounted for priority barriers to trade in 15 overseas markets.  The USTR and sister agencies such as the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, State, and Treasury all review industry submissions and contribute to the comprehensive NTE report.
    “It would be a near impossible task for USTR to break down all of our 2023 outlined trade barriers, but based on estimates, we think we could see more than $450 million in additional value added back to the U.S. rice industry through increased export sales,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president for international.
    New to the report this year was a subsection regarding an implementation delay by the European Union-27 for the U.S. tariff rate quota splits, impacting the volume of U.S. milled rice that can enter duty-free in 2022 and possibly in 2023.  The quota was split in response to Brexit when the 38,721 metric ton tariff rate quota was divided between the EU-27 and the United Kingdom.  This technical implementation delay has created a shortfall of 8,521 metric tons, which in a year with high demand for milled rice in Europe, has cost U.S. exporters between $8-12 million in lost export value.  The UK was able to quickly and seamlessly implement their share of the quota without the bureaucracy that agreements face in the EU-27.
    Other major issues in the report are attributed to the barriers created by government solicitation protocols in Asia, arbitrary maximum residue levels and testing protocols throughout a number of markets worldwide, and calls by markets to stifle the phase-outs of duties, including the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.
    “The vast majority of the issues highlighted in the report are not new issues for USTR, however it is helpful to make sure, as an industry, we’re comprehensively on the record,” said Moran.
    USA Rice again called out India and China for their longstanding trade distorting domestic support programs, encouraging USTR to take swift action at the World Trade Organization to push China to comply with the terms of the two existing rice-related cases and to file a request for consultations with India.
  • How do India’s protectionist rice export restrictions affect those in need?

  • Peter Bachmann, Vice President Policy & Government Affairs, at USA Rice, states that India’s protectionist rice export restrictions hurt the neediest the most

    Over the past decade, India has become the largest rice exporter in the world, shipping 21.5 million metric tons in 2021 to destinations all over the world. India exports high value basmati varieties to Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the UK but also ships regular milled and broken rice to many food-insecure Sub-Saharan African countries such as Benin, Senegal, and Ivory Coast. However, this has been affected by India’s recent acts on rice export restrictions.

    In September 2022, the Indian government announced a series of major export curbs that harkened back to the nation’s 2008 export ban on non-basmati rice that had far-reaching market implications for world food prices. These rice export restrictions, however, included an all-out ban on broken rice exports along with a 20% export tariff on non-basmati and non-parboiled long grain rice shipments. These restrictions on rice followed India’s bans earlier on wheat and sugar exports that resulted in extreme price fluctuations, further exacerbating the impacts of inflation on global food prices.

    India’s restrictions have a ripple effect on global rice markets

    India’s ban on broken rice has been somewhat walked back and modified since the original announcement, resulting in a situation that is not as detrimental as the 2008 wider ban. However, the impacts of the rice export restrictions have had a ripple effect on global rice markets and disrupted a long-running streak in price stability for rice. Throughout the pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine, rice has been a beacon of stability in price and supply, but that is no longer the case.

    “In September 2022, the Indian government announced a series of major export curbs that harkened back to the nation’s 2008 export ban on non-basmati rice that had far-reaching market implications for world food prices.”

    The Indian government attributes the rice export restrictions to drought, and reduced plantings, for a reduction of roughly 6 million metric tons of production from 2021 to 2022, which is roughly equal to the total U.S. annual production. While this reduction sounds extreme, India has demonstrated in recent years that it has consistently and significantly over-produced, growing exports from less than 10 million metric tons to more than 20 million metric tons for the 2021-22 crop year. With India responsible for 40% of the world’s rice trade, this has distorted the global market.

    This price distortion has resulted from the leakage of Indian government-subsidised rice into the global export market which has suppressed global rice prices. This causes major exporters, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan, to accept prices below the cost of production to compete with Indian exports. This distortion has grown over the last year as the world grapples with higher input costs, such as fuel and fertilizer, and raises the cost of production for crops such as rice. Yet, India’s cost of production was supported by $31 billion worth of fertilizer subsidies alone last year! Surely fairness must be a factor as we strive to keep the diversification of rice production alive and well on six continents instead of shrinking to one.

    Woman drying rice in Bhaktapur.Bhaktapur is an ancient Newar town in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

    U.S. government initiates consultations with India

    India admits to this over-subsidisation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) but shelters itself under what is called the ‘Bali Peace Clause,’ citing that its mass procurement of rice and subsidies are for domestic food security only and don’t result in any distortion. However, the U.S. government, along with nine other governments disagree. Given that India is responsible for such a large share of exports, it is nearly impossible for the subsidies not to distort world rice prices. In May 2022, the U.S. Government initiated consultations with India at the WTO under the terms of the Bali Peace Clause to review Indian rice subsidies more closely. The U.S. was joined by the governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Thailand in confronting India.

    While India’s rice export restrictions may not have had long-lasting impacts on the global rice balance sheet, they certainly had immediate effects and have worsened inflationary impacts on some of the most food-insecure countries throughout Africa and Southeast Asia that have relied primarily on Indian exports at stable prices. These protectionist measures to protect India in the short term will have long-lasting impressions, and the growing coalition of countries signing onto consultations at the WTO shows that the rest of the world is watching.

  • INDONESIA’S BULOG TARGETS 1.11 MILLION TONNES OF RICE…

  • INDONESIA'S BULOG TARGETS 1.11 MILLION TONNES OF RICE FROM DOMESTIC PROCUREMENT IN 2023

    JAKARTA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Indonesia's state food procurement agency Bulog chief executive Budi Waseso told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday:

    * Bulog's rice stocks in November stood around 600,000 tonnes

    * Bulog aims to procure 1.11 million tonnes of rice from domestic production in 2023

    * Government rice stocks in 2023 targeted at 1.3 million tonnes (Reporting by Bernadette Christina)

  • IFAD-VCDP issues farming implements…

  • IFAD-VCDP issues farming implements to boost dry season farming in Niger State

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP) has distributed farming implements to boost dry season farming in Niger.

    Flagging off the distribution of phase one of the equipment at the Minna Farm Centre, the National Programme Coordinator, Dr. Fatima K. Aliyu, said the move aim to reduce the negative impact of flooding on food and nutrition security in the state and Nigeria.

    Aside from out dry season farming implements, the agency also distributed rice and cassava processing machines and grinding machines. The implements distributed included 80 knapsack sprayers, 20 power tillers, 8 Rice De-stoner, 26 threshers, 20 water pumps and accessories, 3 solar pumps for irrigation, 3 rice milling machines, 10 grinding machines, 2 cassava peeling machine and 4 graters.

    Empowerment

    Others were 4 Jack Presser, 4 Communal Fryer, 3 Rice flour machines motor power, 4 sealing machines, 3 rice polisher, 16 standard weighing measure, among others. About 99 farmers in eight LGAs of Niger State received the tools, most being women and 10 people with disabilities.

    Dr. Fatima K. Aliyu, said the Value Chain Development Programme of the IFAD had supported over 32, 000 farmers in rice and cassava value chain in the areas of production, processing and marketing in Niger State.

    “Farming is a business and that is what we want our farmers to understand. We want our women and youth to become gainfully employed through agriculture. I am pleased to inform you that IFAD has approved a $5m grant to the government of Nigeria to establish climate adaptation infrastructure and build capacities of our farmers because we don’t want our farmers to be devastated with floods again. We want to minimize the impact of flooding and other severe weather activities on our farmers. So, we are going to use this money to ensure that we minimize the adverse effect of climate conditions,” she said.

  • S.Korea’s rice output falls in 2022.

  • SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's rice output fell this year due to bad weather conditions, statistical office data showed Tuesday.

    Rice production totaled 3,764,000 tons in 2022, down 3 percent from the previous year, according to Statistics Korea.

    Rice output turned downward this year after growing 10.7 percent last year. Rice production kept sliding for five successive years from 2016 to 2020.

    This year's downturn was attributable to the shortage of sunny days and precipitation as well as the negative effect of Typhoon Hinnamnor.

    The size of rice paddies across the country shrank 0.7 percent over the year to 727,054 hectares this year, furthering the rice output reduction.

    Rice production declined 2.3 percent per 10 acres to 518 kg in 2022.

    The country's rice consumption has been on the decline for the past decades owing to the change in eating habits. 

  • Interpreting Sri Lanka’s Organic Farming Failure

  • Image via Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    On July 9, 2022, more than 100,000 Sri Lankan protesters stormed the residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, forcing the president to flee the country. This was the climax of a major economic crisis that left ordinary Sri Lankans struggling with soaring inflation and severe shortages in fuel and food. The crisis has its roots in many causes, including excessive foreign borrowing, mistimed tax cuts, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. But there was another unusual contributing factor: President Rajapaksa’s decision in April 2021 to ban all imported chemical fertilizers and forcibly transition Sri Lanka into organic farming. The organic farming experiment led to a 40 percent fall in rice yields and an equally large decline in the yields of many other crops, which has exacerbated food shortages and contributed to the nation’s economic downfall.

    The crisis in Sri Lanka has become a talking point in the broader political debate about the merits of a large-scale environmental transition. Some critics cite Sri Lanka as an example of the danger of “green utopianism” and claim that attempts to replace industrial farming with organic farming are untenable. Others point to Sri Lanka as evidence that policies favoring greater sustainability often come at severe economic costs. However, a comparative analysis of Sri Lanka and other developing economies reveals that the problem is not with organic farming policies per se, but the top-down, indiscriminate way the Sri Lankan government implemented its policies. The Sri Lankan crisis is therefore not a lesson on the danger of organic agriculture, but the danger of a government that values drastic action over a nuanced analysis of economic realities.

    Like many other policy issues, implementing organic farming comes with complex environmental and economic trade-offs. Although agricultural experts contest what constitutes “organic,” a baseline definition of organic farming is an agricultural system that avoids the use of outside chemical inputs, like synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, during the cultivation process. The use of these agrochemicals has long been associated with environmental and human costs like soil degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, and adverse health impacts on farmers. Therefore, by promoting organic farming methods, countries can potentially limit the effects of agrochemicals on the environment. Advocates further argue that organic farming improves the food security of smallholder farmers by reducing their need for expensive fertilizers.

    On the flipside, some experts point out that organic farming can lead to lower crop yields, requiring additional land use and therefore increasing greenhouse emissions. However, organic farming’s effect on yields largely depends on geographic location and crop type. In a meta-analysis of 293 case studies, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan found that organic farming produced lower average yields relative to conventional farming in developed countries, but much higher average yields in developing countries. One explanation is that small-scale, low-input farms, which make up a larger proportion of the agricultural sector in developing economies, can more easily adapt to organic farming practices. Thus, organic farming’s tradeoffs depend heavily on context and it does not always lead to a decline in agricultural production.

    The problem with Sri Lanka is the sudden, totalistic nature of its chemical fertilizer ban. First of all, Sri Lanka’s farmers were not prepared for organic farming. According to a national survey by Verité Research, 64 percent of Sri Lankan farmers supported an eventual transition to organic farming, but only 22 percent of farmers said they could achieve that transition within a year. More importantly, only 20 percent of the farmers said they knew how to apply natural fertilizers to their crops. On top of the farmers’ lack of readiness, it would also take up to a decade to achieve the soil nutrient level needed for organic crop growth. Despite these complex realities, the Sri Lankan government pursued an immediate nationwide ban on agrochemicals without consulting either agricultural experts or farmer organizations. The ban left farmers without any time to purchase organic farming supplies or accumulate the knowledge needed for organic cultivation. The result was the devastation of Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector.

    "Despite claims to the contrary, the crisis in Sri Lanka illustrates not the price of environmentalism, but the price of poor governance."

    In contrast, countries that took a more incremental and localized approach to organic farming, such as India and China, experienced far more favorable economic outcomes. In India, regional governments took the lead in identifying suitable lands for organic cultivation and negotiating with farmers about implementing organic farming practices. In an analysis of 50 organic farms in India, researchers found organic farming led to marginal decreases in yields but 20 percent greater profits for farmers, thanks to the lower cost of organic inputs. Similarly, in China, the government supported the gradual development of the organic farming sector by selecting lands and subsidizing organic fertilizers. As a result, from 2011 to 2021, China’s domestic organic produce sales increased from 313 billion to 521 billion yuan. Rather than implementing an indiscriminate agrochemical ban, policymakers in India and China made case-by-case judgements about the viability of organic farming and received consent from farmers on the ground. As a result, neither country experienced economic destabilization because of organic farming. Despite claims to the contrary, the crisis in Sri Lanka illustrates not the price of environmentalism, but the price of poor governance.

    What, then, motivated Sri Lanka’s misguided organic farming policies? At least part of the explanation comes from the politicization of agriculture by Sri Lanka’s populist government. Before Rajapaksa began his presidential run in 2019, the Sri Lankan public knew him as the military general who ruthlessly ended the civil war between Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority in 2009. Leveraging his wartime reputation, Rajapaksa campaigned on a platform of ethno-religious nationalism and promised to restore prosperity to the nation. One of the radical campaign promises he made was to fully transition the nation into organic farming within a decade. Even though Rajapaksa lacked experience in civilian politics, his populist rhetoric resonated with the country’s Sinhalese majority, and he won the presidency in a vote largely split along ethnic lines.

    However, once Rajapaksa assumed power, he exacerbated Sri Lanka’s already-fragile finances with massive tax cuts. Faced with a shortfall in revenue, Rajapaksa’s response was to implement a total ban on agrochemical imports, both to reduce cash outflows from fertilizer purchases and fulfill his campaign promise. As a populist strongman with limited policymaking experience, Rajapaksa was more concerned with finding quick, politically attractive fixes than consulting stakeholders about the long-term implications of his decisions. In more ways than one, this political shortsightedness has contributed to the unraveling of the Sri Lankan economy.

    While it is convenient to blame Sri Lanka’s crisis on organic farming and the environmentalist movement’s influence, what happened in Sri Lanka is the product of a political failure. If there are any lessons to be drawn from the Sri Lankan experience, it is that a government puts its people at risk when it favors grand, ideological plans imposed from the top over a careful analysis of economic realities.

  • Lahore Grain Market Rates

  • LAHORE: Grain and other commodity rates in rupees on Akbari Mandi on Monday (November 14, 2022)...

    LAHORE: Grain and other commodity rates in rupees on Akbari Mandi on Monday (November 14, 2022)

    ======================================
    Per 100 kg
    ======================================
    Sugar                        8850-8900
    Gur                         9000-11000
    Shakar                     11000-13000
    Ghee (16 kg)                 7200-7750
    Almond (Kaghzi)            10000-42000
    Almond (Simple)            12500-15000
    Sogi                       40000-70000
    Dry Date                   14000-20000
    Chilli (Sabat)             26400-36000
    Chilli (Pissi)             25000-31250
    Turmeric                   15500-16500
    Darchini (large)           26000-28000
    Mong (Sabat)               15500-17000
    Dal Mong (Chilka)          17000-19000
    Dal Mong (Washed)          17500-19500
    Dal Mash (Sabat)           29000-31000
    Dal Mash (Chilka)          31000-35000
    Dal Mash (Washed)          37000-40000
    Dal Masoor (Local)         38000-40000
    Dal Masoor (impor)         25000-27000
    Masoor (salam-impor)       25000-27000
    Masoor (salam-local)       30000-35000
    Gram White                 25000-30000
    Gram Black                 18000-20000
    Dal Chana (Thin)           19500-21000
    Dal Chana (Thick)          20000-21000
    White Kidney Beans
    (Lobia)                    20000-22500
    Red Kidney Beans
    (Lobia)                    22000-25000
    --------------------------------------
    Rice (per 100 kg)
    --------------------------------------
    Basmati Super (Old)        22000-28000
    Basmati Super (new)        23000-24000
    Kainat 1121                18000-25000
    Rice Basmati (386)         13000-14500
    Basmati broken              7000-13000
    --------------------------------------
    Tea (per 1 kg)
    --------------------------------------
    Tea (Black)                    650-980
    Tea (Green)                   500-1300
    ======================================
    
  • 35-hectare rice field project for Kanuma village

  • In an effort to fight hunger and contribute to food self-sufficiency in the country, Star GSM, in partnership with two investors with support from Kanuma Farato Women Kafo in Lower Nuimi District, has cultivated a 35-hectare rice field project for the village of Kanuma and its surrounding.

    The objective of the project is to contribute and complement Government efforts towards food self-sufficiency.
    Dr Serge Alain Bassene, Project Manager for Kanuma Farato Kafo Rice Project, thanked women of Kanuma for their efforts, saying part of the harvested rice would be given to the community while the rest would be sold to support women pay for their children’s school fees.
    Dr Bassene expressed their plan to dig a borehole and fence the area, noting that they are interested not only in making profit but also in supporting women of the area.
    He called on government, individuals and organisations to partner with them, saying though prices for basic commodities are expensive in the country, “such initiatives will help reduce” expenditure.
    “Embracing agriculture is the solution,” he stated.
    He also said that they aim to cultivate rice at the project site year-round as well as expand the project to other parts of the country.
    Lamin Kaba, Chief Executive Officer of Star GSM, thanked the alkalo and community of Kanuma for providing them with the land to cultivate rice to fight hunger and contribute to food self-sufficiency in the country.
    Mr Kaba thanked Prince Ebrahim Sanyang, a Gambian investor who is working with the Saudi and Turkey Governments, to support other African countries.
    The Star GSM CEO promised to donate a scanning machine to Essau District Hospital through Kanuma village.
    Prince Ebrahim Sanyang, investor, developmental economics and philanthropist, also commended women of Kanuma for their commitment and dedication to the project, saying if they could sustain the project it would cut down the importation of rice in the country.
    Tentu Manneh, President of Kanuma Farato Kafo Rice Project, thanked the investors and Star GSM for their support.
    She added that government cannot do it all alone and therefore called on all and sundry to work with government in developing agriculture and ensure “we eat what we grow”.
  • Farmer urged to restore rice lost to floods without delay

  • Rice field damaged by flood is replanted in Pursat province. PHOTO SUPPLIED

    An officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has urged farmers to quickly cultivate their land again in order to prevent further economic losses for themselves and rebound from this year’s widespread flooding.

    Kong Kea, head of the ministry’s General Department of Rice Crops, said on November 13 that with the floodwaters having receded, the majority of farmers are busy cultivating their land again after their paddy fields were inundated earlier this year and their crops damaged.

    As of November 13, the cultivation of 2,784ha in Kratie province by rice farmers is at 100 per cent utilizing over 281 tonnes of seed from several different rice varieties. Farmers have cultivated 93 per cent of 3,125ha in Tbong Khmum, and 72 per cent of over 10,000ha in Kampong Thom. In Pursat province, farmers have cultivated just 16 per cent, or 1,105ha, out of the damaged 9,321ha of rice crops.

    “The industry and effort of our farmers show that they have strived to restore and boost their household income to contribute to a reduction in poverty in their rural communities,” he said.

    However, in some areas the farmers are reluctant or hesitant to restart their rice crops again, saying there is still standing water in their fields that prevent them from using power tillers or tractors there.

    Has Saline, a 45-year-old farmer in O’Kanthor commune of Kampong Thom province’s Stung Sen district, said: “I will start to grow rice and restore it later in November because now my paddy fields still have knee-high standing water. So now I cannot use a power tiller there to plough my fields.”

    However, Kea advised that farmers could use mechanised pumps to remove the water from their paddy fields and then plough their fields to kill the grass in advance before they sow the rice varieties. He cautioned that waiting for the waters to recede entirely is a lost opportunity for a larger harvest, especially for growing dry-season rice in the coming year.

    “If we delay growing rice and restore it now, we will lose more opportunities to grow dry-season rice. But if we start now, we will be able to harvest rice in mid-February and be able to continue producing dry-season rice that can be harvested between May and June 2023 without worrying about the lack of irrigation water,” he said.

    Tum Niro, director of the Stung Treng provincial Fisheries Administration (FiA) cantonment, said that in the previous rainy season, floods had damaged 187ha of rice fields and damaged a total of 334ha of horticultural crops. But since Stung Treng is a plateau, the restoration of rice cultivation is not possible because the irrigation system to supply water there remains limited, he noted.

    “According to the present situation, most of our farmers in Stung Treng province need vegetable seeds and other cash crops that can be grown in a short time with some used as a food reserve. They cannot restore their rice because there is no adequate water for irrigation,” he told The Post.

  • Prices Of Rice Soar In Jos Markets – Survey

  • The price of rice has gone up in Jos as a 50kg bag of smuggled rice now costs N45,000 up from N35,000 for which it…

    The price of rice has gone up in Jos as a 50kg bag of smuggled rice now costs N45,000 up from N35,000 for which it was sold three weeks ago.

    A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who conducted a market survey reports a 50kg bag of locally-parboiled rice now sells for N43,000 up from N28,000 in September.

    A bag containing 80 bowl measures of local rice, which was sold at N50,000 at the beginning of the year, now sells at N72,000 in Jos.

    Mr Austin Chikwujindu, a trader at the Chorbe Market, blamed the price increases on the soaring rate of the dollar and recent flooding in parts of the country.

    “The price of a 50kg bag of foreign parboiled rice has risen to N45,000 from N35,000 that was obtainable just three weeks ago.

    “I believe the rise in dollar rates and high cost of transportation due to fuel scarcity could be the reason for the upward change in price.

    “The floods affected many parts of the country, limiting the number of foods and other commodities that could be moved around.

    “From the feelers that we are getting a bag of foreign rice might cost up to N50,000 by December and not just rice, but other food items like groundnut oil, flour, Semovita and others,’’ he said.

    A foodstuffs trader at Katako Market, Malam Aliyu Umar, said that 80 bowl measures of local rice which used to sell for N50,000 is now sold at N72, 000 and it may go higher.

    Umar also blamed the floods for soaring food prices, noting that the floods washed away a lot of rice farms.

    According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) the 2022 flood is the worst in a decade.

    It destroyed more than 70,000 hectares of farmland, damaged more than 45,000 houses and displaced more than 1.4 million Nigerians, while taking the lives of about 600 persons.

    Thousands of hectares of rice farms were reportedly washed away in Jigawa, Kebbi, Kano, Benue, Taraba, Niger, and Kogi, among other states.

    NEMA and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) attributed the flood to the release of excess water from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam which cascaded into Nigeria through River Benue, affecting communities in many states.

    Current data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs show that people affected by widespread flooding across Nigeria have risen to more than 3.2 million.

    It also reported that 4.1 million people would face severe food insecurity with 1.7 million children below the age of five years suffering from acute malnutrition in 2022.

    NAN reports that there had been increases also in the prices of maize, groundnut oil, palm oil and Semovita, among others. (NAN)

  • This Is The World’s Most Popular Variety Of Rice

  • When you talk about a staple crop for most people in the world, you are not describing wheat or potatoes, you're talking about rice. The World Economic Forum states that more than half the world's population depends on rice as part of their diet. It also states that rice is the second most-grown crop in the world, behind sugarcane and corn. Both production and consumption of rice are heavily concentrated in Asia, accounting for more than 80% of both categories, with Brazil being the only non-Asian country to crack the top 10, according to World Atlas.

    Within that massive production, there are quite a few types of rice out there that you are probably familiar with. On your local shelves alone, you are likely to find brown rice, sushi rice, jasmine, and basmati among a dozen others. That is only a fraction of the total types of rice available. Bon Appétit reveals there are over 40,000 types of rice in the world. While that diversity may seem like a lot to you, what may be even crazier is that all those different kinds of rice originate from just two varieties, and one of those dominates the world market.

    Indica rice dominates world production

    The two types of rice that make up most commercial varieties are japonica and indica, according to Serious Eats. Both varieties are descendants of the rice first domesticated in Asia, with China eventually giving rise to japonica rice and indica coming out of the Indian subcontinent (via ThoughtCo.). Of the two, indica is the far more popular variety, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating it makes up over 70% of the world's crop. Indica requires a wetter, warmer climate than its counterpart, so production is dominated by subtropical regions in South Asia like Vietnam and Thailand.

    The more popular indica rice tends to be longer grain, thinner, and less starchy when cooked. Basmati and jasmine are the two most well-known strains of indica, and true to their origins, they are major staples in Indian cooking and other South Asian cuisines. Japonica is most often short or medium-grained and develops a more sticky texture. When you think of sushi rice or arborio, the type of rice that forms the basis for risotto. The fact that all these amazing rice styles came from just indica and japonica is a testament to how essential of a staple it is all over the world. After all, necessity breeds invention. Thankfully, this is one essential invention that turned out to be delicious.

  • NASC Seeks Farmers’ Adoption Of Flood-Tolerant Rice Varieties 

  • Following the severe damages often caused by flood to the existing rice varieties, the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) yesterday called on Nigerian farmers to adopt the new flood tolerant rice varieties to address yield losses. 

    The innovative FARO 66 and 67 are improved varieties earlier released in 2017 by the Africa Rice and are suitable for planting in flood prone rice growing zones in Nigeria with potential to yield up to 80 and 10 times higher than their parent varieties.

    Additionally, the varieties have been breed to withstand water submerge, reach maturity within 120-125 days with yield capacity of 6.6 and 6.7 tonnes per hectares respectively and are resistance to stem borers, bacteria leaf blight and African rice gall midge disease.

    Their development came with technical support from the Korea-Africa Agriculture and Food Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI) currently running in 16 other African countries.

    At a Mini Farmers’ Field Day to showcase the innovation and breakthrough of the varieties to farmers in Sheda, Kwali area council yesterday, NASC director-general, Dr Olusegun Phillip Ojo said the only possible solution to tackle crop yields losses due to flooding remains the use of flood-tolerant varieties.

    He said, “Over time, we have continued to witness the severe impact of flooding on rice production in the country, we are experiencing even more severe flooding situation, our environment is changing, the impact of global warming is being felt, the rainfall pattern is becoming difficult to predict, even for the experts and flooding is becoming a more re-occurrent even.

    Most of the popular rice varieties get severely damaged or killed within a week of severe flooding…these varieties have shown superior yield potential when compared to their parents”.

  • Asia rice: Vietnam rates climb as traders eye year-end demand boost

  • MUBAI/HANOI/BANGKOK AND DHAKA: Prices of rice exported from Vietnam held at a one-year peak, as traders anticipated a fillip from seasonal end-year demand, while rates of the staple from other hubs were little changed amid a lack of fresh orders.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was unchanged from the previous week at $425-$430 per tonne, free-on-board, the highest level since November 2021.

    Traders said prices were likely to stay at this level or even edge up slightly over the coming weeks, as demand is often higher towards the year-end, with global food supplies unstable amid the Ukraine crisis.

    Vietnam’s rice exports in October rose 22.3% from the previous month to 713,546 tonnes, government data showed, with exports in the first 10 months this year rising 17.4% year-on-year to around 6 million tonnes — valued at $2.95 billion.

    Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $410 per tonne, versus $405-$410 last week. Prices have not moved much due to limited demand, but could soon weaken as new supply flows in, traders said.

    “It’s harvest season, so supply will gradually come,” said a Bangkok-based trader. Prices of top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled rice were also unchanged at $370-$375 per tonne.

    “Flow of new orders have slowed down, but exporters could not reduce prices as rupee has been appreciating in last few days,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Heavy rainfall earlier this month damaged rice crops just before harvest in key producing states. Meanwhile, severe flooding destroyed crops in neighbouring Bangladesh at a time when the country was struggling to rein in high domestic rates amid low supplies.

    The US Department of Agriculture forecast Bangladesh’s production could drop 1% from last year to 35.6 million tonnes in the 2022-23 marketing year due to the floods.

  • Rice stocks: what does bank borrowing suggest?

  • Pakistan’s rice exports appear to be slowing down. Per PBS, volume exported declined by 9 percent during Q1-FY23 compared to the same period last year. Historically, exports usually do slowdown during the first quarter – as inventories start to run out – but the decline in the quarter ended Sep’22 appears to be stronger than usual. (For more, read “Rice exports: are good times over?”, published on November 08, 2022). Are rice exports facing strong headwinds, or will exports pick up with the arrival of the fresh crop?

    Earlier this week, USDA made a strong cut to Pakistan’s rice outlook for marketing year 2022-23. The monthly update by the agency lowered rice production forecast to 6.6 million metric tons (MMT), down from 9.1MMT reported last year; and exports to 4MMT, down from record volume of 4.8MMT last year. USDA’s forecast follows the release of GoP’s own estimates during mid-October, which forecast national rice production at 5.5 MMT against the target of 8.5 MMT set in April 2022.

    Although there appears to be consensus over significant damage to rice crop following the devastating floods, last month the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) had reportedly claimed that the “damage to the crop is minimal,” and that national production would comfortably reach 8MMT during the ongoing fiscal. It remains to be seen whether REAP’s forecast is on the money, or was an effort to calm the grain market and restrain local prices from rising out of control.

    While REAP’s claim may not be without merit, it stands to reason why did rice exports slow down during Q1FY23 (Jul – Sep), if the crop has not performed so poorly? Interestingly, if commercial bank lending data is used as a proxy, rice stocks appear to have been running low long before the floods hit the country.

    In the accompanied illustration, BR Research has used month-end working capital loans outstanding with rice processors as an indicator of rice stocks with the milling segment. Of course, not all procurement is financed through formal banking credit. However, since no data is available viz. stock positions, and nearly all rice mills are privately held, loans obtained for commodity financing may serve as a valid indicator of the overall market trend.
    Note that since loan amount outstanding inflates naturally every year due to rising prices/inflation, 12-month data is re-based to September-end of preceding year. This is done to emphasize the seasonal movement in debt stock. Historically, rice crop harvesting in Pakistan begins in September and is completed by November; therefore, loans outstanding with the milling industry peaks by December and ebbs by September every year.
    The credit data from SBP seems to suggest that loans outstanding with the milling segment fell at a far brisker rate between Dec ’21 and Sep’22 than same period last year. In fact, working capital loans to rice mills had already begun to climb up between Aug and Sep last year, while loan outstanding continues to decline during the ongoing season in these months.
    But more significantly, borrowing for commodity financing did not peak at the same rate during the last marketing season (Sep – Dec 2021) as it had in the preceding year (Sep – Dec 2020). This is even though Pakistan not only achieved record rice production of 10.6MMT (official GoP estimate for FY22 varies from USDA’s), but also made record exports of 4.8MMT. Did strong demand from exporting destinations allow mills to finance procurement through own sources? Or did higher interest rates restrain formal sector financing?
    Either way, both record exports, and bank data suggests that the industry began the current marketing 2022-23 with very low carryover stocks. If USDA and GoP’s forecast of poor crop performance – 5.5MMT to 6MMT - is correct, then rice prices in the local market should go berserk right about now (remember, REAP itself puts national consumption at 4.5MMT). Else, a massive slowdown in exports should be on the cards.
  • FG boosts rice production in North Central

  • By Olayinka Owolewa

    The Federal Government said it has supported no fewer than 56 farmers in the North Central zone of Nigeria in rice production.

    Dr Mahmud Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said this while distributing farm inputs to some of the selected farmers in Ilorin.

    Abubakar explained that the purpose of the intervention is to bolster rice production in all parts of the country.

    Represented by Mr Usman Bashir, Deputy Director (Rice) Value Chain in the ministry, described rice as a staple crop that is consumed in virtually all homes across the country.

    “We therefore cannot afford to rely on the importation of this important food item and be exporting labour outside the country while our citizens can grow and produce it sufficiently.

    “By encouraging cultivation, we are empowering our youths and creating jobs through the value chain from seed production, and nursery bed preparation to the last farm operation in the field which involves so many actors along the value chain.

    “It equally does not stop at production, processors at different stages of parboiling, de-stoning, polishing and grading are equally engaged in line with this administration’s agenda to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production and for export.

    “Against this backdrop, this administration is doing all it can within the limited resources and challenges of our time in the post-COVID-19 era to encourage Nigerians to grow more food amidst natural disasters, in the past few years,” he said.

    According to Abubakar, the ministry has produced and distributed high-quality Early Generation Seeds (AGS) through the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) to produce more certified seeds for distribution to farmers at the grassroots to encourage community seed production.

    “We are also producing and distributing Flood Tolerant Certified seeds of FARO 66 and 67 to farmers along the riverine areas of Niger, Kogi and Benue States to mitigate the effect of flood and other natural disasters as witnessed recently.

    “The Ministry provides farm equipment in form of power tillers, transplanters, rice reapers, threshers and other simple farm tools to smallholder farmers in different locations at subsidised rates.

    “There is also an upgrade in the milling process. New rice mills are springing up in the process of reestablishing integrated rice mills in strategic rice production clusters,” the minister said.

    In his opening remarks, Dr Aliyu Kabiru, the State Director FMARD, said rice is a major staple food in Nigeria and since the ban on the importation, the rice value chain has developed tremendously.

    “But we can all testify to the fact that the most important item in the value chain is the paddy. Due to several factors, the paddy is still relatively quite expensive.

    “I am as excited as I believe you all are to be here today to learn how best or what better ways to produce rice.

    “In addition to learning about the Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) in rice production, our capacity will also be built on safe/effective ways of using Agrochemicals to increase rice production,” Kabiru said.

    Some of the beneficiaries in their responses commended the federal government for the opportunity given to them.

    They said the opportunity has opened the door for them to learn a new way of rice production.

  • Rice millers bemoan impact of flood

  • WITH countdown to Christmas, prices of 50kg bag of rice are already hitting beyond the roof including other ingredients, rice millers under the auspices of Rice Millers Association of Nigeria, RIMAN, Wednesday, expressed pain and frustration over the massive impact of the devastating flood on their mills to feed Nigerians.

    Speaking with Vanguard on the plight of rice millers across the country, the National President, RIMAN, Peter Dama, said millers are down with serious frustration as they have lost machinery and rice paddy for production to the ravaging flood.

    Peter said to compound plight of rice millers is the loans assessed from banks for their business, and the payment with interest stares at their faces, because they least expected this quantum of devastation occasioned by the flood.

    He said Rice millers to survive with their families and also be in business is a big problem as most of the millers are displaced and are in Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camps for survival.

    He said: “Rice millers are still regretting the devastation of their rice mills and rice farms.

    “They are presently waiting and hoping that there will be some interventions from government and donor agencies to assist them with funding to go back into business once again.

    “The extent of damage is very high & devastating because a number of mills were submerged , while rice farms were washed off.

    “Some of these millers took loans and they have to pay back to the banks, and unless government intervene, for these loans to be rescheduled or written off completely, rice millers and farmers will find it difficult to operate optimally.

    “At the moment, Paddy is very expensive all over the country , because of high costs of farm Inputs and the flood that has washed off so many rice farms.

    “At North Western Zone of the country, 75kg bag of Paddy is going for between N20,000 – 21,000 , depending on the quality, while in Plateau State @ Shendam local government area of the State, 120kg bag goes for N30,000 .

    “In the South East 100 kg bag goes for N27000. Take note this is the season for harvesting of rice but the prices of paddy is still very high

    “We are expecting the prices will go down but rather it is rising by the day in the markets.

    “For now I have no records of mills that have been revived. Am sure it will take a little bit of time to clear off the mess and devastation caused by the floods. Millers are still trying to recuperate from the devastation.

    “Our plea to banks is to beg them to reschedule the grants or loans granted to millers. The interest rates be drastically reduced to one percent or the loans be completely written off.”

    He also gave update on what RIMAN is doing currently to seek for assistance to ameliorate plight of rice millers.

    “RIMAN as an association, has escalated the news about the effect of flood disaster as it affects rice millers, to both local, states and federal government to come to their aid.

    “Added to this we have also called on donor agencies, where possible to come to the aid of the flood victims.

    “We have equally appealed to banks to reschedule loans or grants advanced to the flood victims” he said.

    Meanwhile, he expressed hope that the Federal Government inaugurated presidential committee on flooding would bring intervention package to his members.

    “There is some hope from the Federal Government and donor agencies. This is because we have heard that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has set up a presidential committee to look into the plights of flood victims through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

    “We believe this presidential committee will be able to reach the identified victims with their palliatives and financial assistance.

    “Also, we have read that donor agencies like International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, United States of America, USA , the United Kingdom, UK, governments and some Nigerian politicians have provided financial assistance to flood victims in some States, and we believe some of our millers through this intervention would also be reached if things are done appropriately by identifying those that are actually affected , without bringing in political consideration or political affiliation before one is considered to benefit from the intervention programme being envisaged”, he added.

  • Momauk residents struggle with rice harvest under siege… 

  • Momauk residents struggle with rice harvest under siege from aerial bombardment

    Around 600 Military Council soldiers are stationed in the foothill villages of Lone Jar Bum Mountain in Momauk Township, Kachin State, subject local farmers to daily shelling every day, making life almost impossible for local farmers to look after their paddy fields.

    A resident of Momauk Khanam neighbourhood commented “ The rice paddies cultivated by the locals from villages such as Lone Jar, Wa Wan and Naung Pauk are all close to the military-occupied foothills of Lone Jar Bum. Currently about 600 Military Council soldiers have been deployed in the area. In addition, the farm owners are having trouble harvesting paddies due to random artillery fire every day”

    He added “Those fields are next to their artillery firing range. So no one dares to risk their lives to go there. Very few people want to work there, even if they offer a lot of money. The farm owners are in a deep dilemma as they cannot afford for their fields to be left unharvested. Previously, in Momauk, the daily wage to harvest rice was about 5000 kyats, but now it has increased to about 8000 kyats a day.

    Even with the increase in wages, there is a shortage of workers to harvest the rice, so locals started to be worried that about 800 acres of farmland in the region will not be harvested.

    The Military Council had launched an offensive around Lone Jar Bum since October 22.

    A woman was killed in a crop field near Mankon Village after being hit by an artillery shell of the Military Council. And a man was injured when an artillery round exploded in front of Khanam neighborhood High School.

    Similarly, a man and a woman were seriously injured when an artillery round hit a house in Ward No. 3 in Momauk Khanam neighbourhood on October 29.

    On October 31, an artillery shell fell and exploded in a kindergarten campus in Khanam neighbourhood, damaging the school buildings.

  • Corporate Social Responsibility: SSM College donates rice to needy

  • Srinagar, Nov 9: SSM College on Wednesday donated 100 quintals of rice to needy residing in adjacent villages of institute subsequent to less harvest of rice.
    The step is a part of continued social work which the institute has been carrying out since its establishment, the college said in a statement, adding that the main motive of this campaign was to promote value of kindness, sharing, caring and empathy in society.
    Vice Chairperson expressed her pleasure and said such programmes will benefit the deserving people with a hope that within the available sources such activities will be rendered as a continuous process by the institute.
    Deserving people, who gathered at college campus to collect the rice, expressed their gratitude to the founder of the institute who strives to improve their standard of living. The beneficiaries expressed gratitude to the institute for the care they are showering for the last three decades.
    “Efforts taken by the institute in increasing literacy rate by imparting free education, distribution of stationary and uniform has been a regular feature of the institute,” said a local present at the spot.
    The activity was conducted by students’ council under the supervision of Registrar, Dr N A Shah along with the staff of SSM College of Engineering. Education Administrator, while talking to her students, appreciated them and reminded them that “great acts are made up of small deeds”.

    http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/state-starts-distribution-ortified-rice-through-ration-shops-ahead-of-target-498653

  • Drought-tolerant Basmati rice variety notified for release

  • With IARI planning to distribute seeds for the new variety to farmers in the next year’s kharif season, the export prospects of Basmati rice to the European Union (EU) is expected to get a boost as PB 1 variety has been traditionally shipped to these countries.

    According to S Gopala Krishnan, principal scientist, IARI, the new variety during two years of field trials had given an average yield of 4.6 tonne/hectare compared to 4.2 tonne/hectare reported for its parent variety PB 1. (IE)
    To reduce water usage in rice cultivation, a drought-tolerant Basmati rice variety developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has been notified for the first time for large-scale release by the agriculture ministry.
    Recommended for cultivation in key Basmati rice growing regions of Haryana, Punjab, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, the new variety Pusa Basmati (PB)1882 can withstand deficient rainfall during the flowering stage of the grain.
    According to S Gopala Krishnan, principal scientist, IARI, the new variety during two years of field trials had given an average yield of 4.6 tonne/hectare compared to 4.2 tonne/hectare reported for its parent variety PB 1.
    With IARI planning to distribute seeds for the new variety to farmers in the next year’s kharif season, the export prospects of Basmati rice to the European Union (EU) is expected to get a boost as PB 1 variety has been traditionally shipped to these countries.
    “Rice grown through the transplanting method requires close to 3000 litres of water for producing one kg of rice, while the new variety sown through direct seeding method results in huge saving on water usage,” Krishnan told FE.


  • Rice exports: are good times over?

  • Pakistan’s rice exports are off to a bumpy sta-rt. After a stellar FY22 marking record growth in quantity exported and earnings, Q1-FY23 report card spells trouble. Headline numbers indicate a 9 percent decline in volume and over 5 percent fall in revenue, even as prices fetched in the international market held their ground. Are rice exports witnessing reversion to mean after hitting peak last year, or is there more at play?

    For natural reasons, first quarter is usually slow for rice exporters. Clarity over new crop outlook is only achieved in earnest by late October/mid-November, once harvest is completed in Punjab. Historically, basmati exports during Q1 make up no more than one-fifth of annual export quantum; whileQ1 accounts for no more than 15 percent of annual coarse exports.

    But the slowdown during Q1-FY23 is not just in keeping with past tradition. At nearly 30 percent lower than Q1-FY22, basmati exports are lowest in four years (minus Covid year). This comes despite a 55 percent rice in basmati prices in the international market compared to past season (3M average Jul-Sep). Pakistani exporters also fetched 20 percent higher prices compared to last year yet failed to export more volume. Now, prices are in fact receding in the international market, while currency has begun to stabilize (which risks eroding exporters’ margins). Have Pakistani exporters missed out on a golden opportunity by waiting too long?
    BR Research has previously explained that unlike India, basmati variety is grown in Pakistan primarily for local consumption, with exports accounting for no more than 15-20 percent of local output. Since April 2022, prices of most domestically produced basmati varieties have shot up by as much as 30 percent in the local grain markets, led in part by poor wheat crop in the past season. In addition, Pakistan reported a 10 percent decline in basmati production last year (FY22), as a result of a misguided policy to encourage coarse rice production under the previous government.
    And all of that came in to play long before the devastating floods that hit the crop in Sindh and Balochistan between Jul – Sep. With rice crop in the southern provinces devastated, Federal Committee on Agriculture estimates that national rice output would be at least 40 percent lower than last year, or 3.8 million metric tons lower!


    Does this mean rice processors are going slow on exports in national interest and to ensure domestic food security? Although that charitable explanation may be appealing to some, it doesn’t explain the trend in coarse rice exports during Q1-FY23, where the slowdown was much more muted in comparison.
    In fact, the explanation falls apart when one considers that the lost acres of Sindh had almost exclusively planted coarse rice varieties whose volume is in lockstep with recent trend. It may be worthwhile to note that coarse rice varieties have recorded no more than 10 percent rise in prices in the international market, and prices fetched by Pakistani exporters remained broadly unchanged compared to the previous year (3M average, Jul-Sep).
    It is almost certain that exports during FY23 will fall significantly short of last year levels. However, exporter behavior appears vexing, especially given severe concerns over land available for wheat plantation during the upcoming rabi season. Are rice processors betting on a severe domestic grain shortage? Or, is the international market in retreat even though prices don’t signal as much just yet? Rice export trend remains one to watch closely over coming months.
  • Anti-smog action may delay wheat sowing in rice belt

  • LAHORE: The ongoing anti-smog crackdown may impede wheat sowing campaign in the rice belt as farmers are not clearing paddy stubble from their fields through manual or chemical means.

    “We don’t have finances and tools other than applying the centuries old technique of burning the paddy crop leftovers for preparing our fields for next crop (wheat) in the small window available for both clearing remnants of the previous harvest and ploughing the land for next plantation,” says Abu Bakr, a farmer from Gujranwala district.

    But the anti-smog squad of the provincial government is imposing heavy fines on the farmers who are getting rid of stubble through burning for timely preparations of lands for wheat sowing, he says.

    Devoid of financial and technical resources, small farmers in the rice area are sitting idle at their homes, perplexed how to prepare their fields for the next crop, he adds.

    Farmers lack resources to opt for alternative to stubble burning

    If no step is taken by the government at the earliest, wheat plantation will at least be delayed if not missed and late sowing will lead to poor crop yield, he fears.

    Endorsing his views, Kisan Board Pakistan central vice-president Amanullah Chattha regrets that the administration in rice-growing districts is harassing the farmers through heavy fines and instituting criminal cases against those who burn stubble at their fields for timely preparing them for wheat plantation.

    This crackdown, he warns, is not only causing unrest among the farming community but will also lead to national food insecurity if wheat could not be sown in hundreds of thousands of acres of land.

    He argues that the administrative action against the growers is uncalled for because the agriculture research institutions could not offer any alternative system or chemical to dispose of the paddy stubble.

    He urges the government to refrain from penalising the farmers until and unless it comes up with an alternative method other than burning for getting rid of crop leftovers otherwise, he cautions, the unrest among the farming community may make it to take to the streets.

  • Cambodia to export more milled rice to China in coming years

  • PHNOM PENH (XINHUA) – Cambodia is expected to export more milled rice to China in coming years thanks to the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) earlier this year, Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) President Song Saran said.

    A report released by CRF recently showed that China remained a major buyer of Cambodia’s milled rice in the first 10 months of 2022.

    “These FTAs will further ease trade in goods between Cambodia and China as well as other participating countries,” Saran told Xinhua.

    “Both trade deals have provided a bigger market access for Cambodia’s products, and I think it will attract more foreign investors to invest in various sectors, including in the rice industry, in order to export finished products to those RCEP member countries, with tariff concessions,” he said.

    Ministry of Commerce’s Undersecretary of State Penn Sovicheat said the RCEP and the CCFTA have given and will continue to give a big boost to Cambodia’s exports to China and other member countries.

    “China is a huge market for us,” he told Xinhua. “Under both trade pacts, we believe that the exports of our potential agricultural products such as rice, cassava, bananas, mangoes, and longans, among others to China will continue to grow in coming years.”

    From January to October, Cambodia’s milled rice exports to international markets reached 509,249 tonnes, up 10.6 per cent year-on-year, earning gross revenue of USD324 million, the report said, adding that the milled rice had been shipped to 56 countries and regions.

    Exported milled rice varieties included fragrant rice, long grain white rice, parboiled rice, organic rice and glutinous rice, it said.

  • Jakarta to be Flooded with Rice Stock, National Food Agency Head Explains the Reasons

  • TEMPO.COJakarta - Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi said the government is mobilizing rice stocks from several regions to accommodate the needs in Jakarta. He declared the stock of rice coming to Jakarta later would be very substantial.
    "Jakarta will soon be flooded with rice stock," said Arief after conducting market operations at the Cipinang Rice Market, East Jakarta, Monday, November 7, 2022.
    South Sulawesi is one of the regions that will supply rice for Jakarta. According to Arief, South Sulawesi Governor Andi Sudirman Sulaiman has confirmed that his party has now sent 6 thousand tons of rice to Jakarta.
    The rice stock, according to Andi, is already on the way to Jakarta. Then, the West Nusa Tenggara will shift its rice stock to Jakarta as much as 9,845 tons.
    Indonesian Bureau of Logistics (Bulog), will also be sending the government's rice reserves (CBP) of as much as 14,000 ton to Cipinang Rice Market. Although he admits that the rice supply in Bulog is currently running low, he believes the government can immediately increase CBP stocks to 1-1.2 million tons by the end of 2022.
    Arief explained the price of rice has increased upon the producer. Therefore, the government distributes CBP or Rice Availability of Supply and Price Stabilization (KPSH) in Bulog to intervene in the price on the market. He stated that there will be a continuation to supply KPSH rice to the biggest market in Jakarta as much as 3,000 tons per week.
    The government is currently focusing on establishing a price of medium rice at about Rp8,900 per kilogram at the Cipinang Rice Main Market level. Meanwhile, in derivative markets in Jakarta, the price of medium rice is around Rp9,300 per kilogram. Bapanas itself planned to distribute it to 153 markets in Jakarta.
    Meanwhile, Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan assessed that the current rice stock is safe to meet domestic needs. "Rice is secure, plenty. At there (Cipinang Rice Main Market), all serve Bulog medium rice at a price of Rp8,900," stated Zulkifli. But for premium rice, Zulkifli admits the price still varies.
    Zulkifli has visited markets in Makassar, South Sulawesi. There, he said, the price for medium rice is the same at Rp8,900 per kilogram. But there are also traders who charge Rp8,950 per kilogram specifically for plastic packaged rice which is five kilograms in size.
    According to him, the price of rice in Central Java is similar to that in South Sulawesi, Rp8,900 and Rp8,950 for plastic packaged rice per five kilograms. "I've also gone to Wonosobo, Kebumen, and Purbalingga, the same price means that rice stocks are everywhere. It's safe," he said.
    Based on Tempo monitoring on November 7, 2022, at 11:00, the Market Monitoring System and Basic Needs of the Ministry of Trade recorded that the average national price of medium rice as of November 4, 2022, was still at the level of Rp10,900 per kilogram. Meanwhile, Food Info Jakarta noted that as of November 7, 2022, the price of medium rice for IR I was Rp11,325 per kilogram, while the price of rice for IR III was Rp12,940 per kilogram, and rice for IR II was Rp10,489 per kilogram.
  • Fertilizer vouchers eyed to boost rice production

  • Farmers reap their newly-harvested palay at a rice field in Barangay Buer in Aguilar, Pangasinan on October 1, 2022.

    MANILA, Philippines — The government will distribute fertilizer vouchers to qualified farmer-beneficiaries to help boost rice production in the country, Malacañang said yesterday.

    The Department of Agriculture (DA), which President Marcos concurrently heads, issued updated guidelines on the implementation of the fertilizer discount voucher project under the National Rice Program.

    Under DA’s Memorandum Order 65, eligible beneficiaries will be given vouchers, which will be used in purchasing urea fertilizers, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said in a statement issued yesterday.

    “The use of fertilizer vouchers offers an alternative to farmers with lower purchasing power to buy a sufficient volume of urea recommended for their rice farm,” the OPS said.

    The assistance aims to cushion the impact of “under-application of urea fertilizer to palay production and to food security.”

    The fertilizer discount voucher project covers regions that plant inbred and hybrid rice seeds, except for the National Capital Region and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

    The discount vouchers are for one-time use only and may be claimed in any accredited fertilizer merchant in the preferred area of the farmer-beneficiaries.

    “A supplemental fund sourced from an unprogrammed regular agency fund has been released to enable rice farmers to meet the recommended urea fertilizer, thereby securing rice production in the country,” the OPS said.

    Data from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority showed that the average price of urea per 50-kilo bag is P2,523.68 and P2,490.35 for urea granular.

    Marcos earlier met with officials of Chen Yi Agventures to discuss measures aimed at helping farmers affected by the increasing prices of fertilizers.

    Chen Yi Agventures’ rice processing center is reportedly the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia.

    Western Visayas logs P1.5 billion agri damage

    Meawhile, the cost of agricultural damage from Severe Tropical Storm Paeng in Western Visayas has soared to P1.5 billion, according to the DA regional office.

    As of 9 a.m. yesterday, the region had recorded over 179,209 hectares of agriculture and aquaculture areas that were destroyed by the storm.

    Rain and floods spawned by Paeng resulted in production losses of 32,934.38 metric tons of rice, corn and other high-value crops.

    The storm also destroyed poultry, livestock, fishery and agricultural infrastructure.

    Rice recorded the largest amount of loss with P694.77 million followed by aquaculture with P621.90 million.

    Corn logged P42.99 million in losses; livestock and poultry, P23.53 million; high-value crops, P10.52 million, and sugarcane, P4.92 million.

    The region’s irrigation system also incurred damage amounting to P50 million.

    The province of Capiz was hit hardest in terms of agriculture with P745.3 million.

    Tagged as the country’s seafood capital, Capiz’s aquaculture sector incurred P408-million damage.

    Iloilo recorded P328-million damage to agriculture; Negros Occidental, P227 million; Antique, P199.8 million; Aklan, P16 million, and Guimaras, P4 million.

    James Earl Ogatis, information officer of the DA regional office, said Paeng displaced an estimated 38,978 farmers and fishermen. – Jennifer Rendon

  • In Punjab’s paddy fields, farmers hail a new low-cost, high-yield rice varieties ‘revolution’

  • Harvested for the first time this season — Pusa Basmati 1847, Pusa Basmati 1885 and Pusa Basmati 1886 — were developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

    Sangrur/Patiala: They are disease-free, use half the water, cost less to grow, give higher yield and fetch higher prices. So, it’s no wonder that three new paddy varieties being grown in Punjab have been dubbed as “krantikari“, or revolutionary, by Harpreet Kaleka, who said that these new varieties will “rule the markets for the next 20 years”.

    Kaleka, a farmer in Kamalpur village of Punjab’s Sangrur district, is talking about Pusa Basmati 1847, Pusa Basmati 1885 and Pusa Basmati 1886.

    This harvesting season, Harpreet, who had planted all three varieties in June, is a happy man.

    The varieties were developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), an institute under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

    The 1847, 1885 and 1886 are improved versions of the Pusa Basmatis 1509, 1121 and 6, respectively, which accounted for 90 per cent of the Basmati rice exports from India. The need for developing these varieties arose in order to curb bacterial blight and blast diseases which affect the yield and grain significantly. Traditionally, these diseases were treated through chemicals like streptocycline and tricyclazole.

    But, according to Harpreet, “Now the importing nations, especially European countries, have started rejecting rice with chemicals in them.”

    How it began

    Dr A.K. Singh, director of IARI, said that he had spoken to the farmers during the Kisan Sampark Yatra held in September. Singh told ThePrint, “We had given 1 kg seeds per acre to 10,000 farmers in different parts of the country (earlier this year)… My advice to these farmers was not to sell these seeds in the market and, instead, give it to other farmers in their blocks and districts to cover the maximum area of basmati cultivation.”

    On 15 October, after reviewing the three varieties in the paddy field of IARI in Pusa, Delhi, the Union ministry of agriculture said, “There will be no need to spray pesticides in these varieties, which will reduce the cost as well as produce Basmati rice free from chemical residues, which will fetch good prices in the international market and directly benefit farmers’ income.”

    When ThePrint visited Harpreet’s field Thursday, the 1886 variety was still being harvested, while other varieties (1847 and 1885) were ready to be sold.

    “Even the cost of cultivating these varieties is less than what it used to be earlier, especially due to less water usage and no use of pesticides,” he said, adding that this was especially true for Pusa Basmati 1847.

    For the two crop varieties — 1847 and 1885— the price in the local mandi is Rs 4,050 per quintal and Rs 4,200 per quintal, respectively. The older varieties, on the other hand, were being sold at lower prices. While Basmati 1509 was being sold at Rs 2,500-3,600 per quintal, the Basmati 1121 variety fetched Rs 3,800-4,000 per quintal.

    The Minimum Support Price set by the central government for rice is Rs 2,040 per quintal for the 2022-23 crop year.

    As for the produce this year, Harpreet said, “I had called some people at the local mandi and they said that this variety (Basmati 1886) will fetch Rs 4,500 per quintal.”

    Harpreet says apart from this, the yield has also significantly increased. He said for the 1847 variety, this year, the yield has been 31 quintal while for the 1885 variety, it has been 22 quintal. This compared to the 1121 variety that he used earlier, the yield for which was 17-18 quintals.

    Harpreet was able to harvest Pusa Basmati 1847 within 94 days of being planted and Pusa Basmati (1885) in 145 days. The only drawback in Pusa Basmati 1886 is that it takes longer (155 days) than the other two but that is compensated for with the good quality of rice, he said.

    Harpreet is now distributing the seeds of these varieties to other farmers in his village.

    Gurmail Singh, another farmer from the Gehlan village in Sangrur district, who has only cultivated the Pusa Basmati 1847, echoed Harpreet’s sentiment in calling it the variety “krantikari”.

    Satisfied with the longer grain that reflects better quality of the product, Gurmail also agrees that the cultivation cost significantly reduced due to no use of pesticides.

    “Apart from diseases, paddy yield is also negatively affected when the crop ‘lodges’. But this variety (Pusa Basmati 1847) is neither affected by disease nor suffers lodging,” says Gurmail.

    Lodging refers to the bending of crops due to rain, storm or diseases or other reasons, resulting in weakening of the plant stem to a point where it cannot support the crop, resulting in wastage of the yield.

    For Gurmail, Pusa Basmati 1847 took nearly 115 days to be harvested from the time the crop was planted.

    High demand for the three varieties in Patiala

    Bhagwan Das, president of the Young Farmers Association (YFA), a centre for agricultural research that also spreads awareness about new seeds and technologies, said that Patiala farmers are particularly impressed with Pusa Basmati 1847.

    “The most important thing is that these new varieties have not seen any disease and the yield has also been better compared to all previous varieties,” he said.

    Das also said that the 1885 variety, an improved version of Pusa Basmati 1121, does not face the problem of lodging and is also slightly better than 1121. “As regards to the yield, 1886 is the most outstanding. It has the maximum yield, particularly due to the long duration of the crop (longest time to be cultivated). Secondly, the quality of rice out of 1886 is also very superior,” Das added.

    The three new varieties are seeing a high demand among the farmers in Patiala. “There is huge demand for these varieties amongst the farmers who have seen the demonstration (at YFA). They already want to book these seeds,” Das said. 

    (Edited by Anumeha Saxena)

  • VIETNAM OCT RICE EXPORTS AT 713,546 TONNES, UP 22.3% M/M – CUSTOMS DEPT

  • HANOI, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Vietnam's rice exports in October rose 22.3% from the previous month to 713,546 tonnes, government customs data showed on Monday.

    The country's rice exports in the first ten months of the year rose 17.4% year on year to around 6 million tonnes valued at $2.95 billion, it said. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen)

  • Thailand’s rice exports boom – earnings rising 36% to 95.232 billion baht as exports from January to September surge 40%

  • BANGKOK, Nov 6 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): Iraq has become the world’s largest export market for Thai rice, after shipments in the first nine months soared 511 per cent to 15.405 billion baht, the Commerce Ministry said.

    Global exports of Thai rice from January to September surged 40% from last year to 5.41 million tonnes, with earnings rising 36% to 95.232 billion baht, the ministry said.

    Thailand is now the world’s second-largest rice exporter after India.

    The top five export markets for Thai rice in the first nine months were:

    - Iraq with exports worth 15.405 billion baht (up 511%)

    - United States, 14.029 billion baht (up 29%)

    - South Africa, 8.017 billion baht (down 3%)

    China, 7.439 billion baht (up 30%)

    - Hong Kong, 3.56 billion baht (up 1.6%).

    The Rice Exporters Association of Thailand forecasts the country will export between 7 million and 8 million tonnes of rice this year as the weakening baht boosts competitiveness over India and Vietnam.

    Iraq has returned to buying Thai rice in large quantities for the first time in seven years, with over one million tonnes purchased so far this year, the association said.

    Meanwhile Phuket will host the 14th World Rice Conference from November 15 to 17, with Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit scheduled to give the opening speech.

    Thailand’s foreign trade agencies will be at the conference to showcase the country’s potential as a rice exporter. - The Nation Thailand/ANN

  • Pakistan’s rice exports to China crosses historical figure

  • * Data shows that in first nine months of 2022, China imports more than 4,971,644 tons of three different types of rice worth $ 2bn

    Pakistan’s rice export to China in the first three quarters of this year surpassed US$421.94 million with a volume of 1,111,352.57 tons (more than one million tonnes), for the first time in history, Gwadar Pro reported on Friday quoting China’s General Administration of Customs.

    The Customs’ Data showed that during the first nine months of 2022, bilateral trade increased significantly and China imported more than one million tons of different types of rice increasing 45 % while last year in the same period it was more than 674,646.876 tons by volume, worth $290 million an increase of $131.91 million from 2021.

    According to GACC, Pakistan’s broken rice (commodity code: 10064020) export to China has crossed US$ 159.72million, increasing by 80% as compared to last year’s US$ 87.75 million in the same period, with the exported volume growing 38% from 401,867.79 tons last year in the same period tons to 491,678.15 tons.

    The GACC data showed that in the first nine months of 2022, China imported more than 4,971,644.621 tons of three different types of rice worth US$ 2.05 billion, increasing 19% by volume from last year’s 3452523.288 tons in the same period worth $1.55 billion from the globe.

    The main sources of rice imports are Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    The ex-Commercial Counselor Pakistan Embassy in Beijing, Badar uz Zaman told Gwadar Pro that Pakistan has set a target of one million tons of rice export to China this year which is achieved much earlier, and that if it were not for the flood in Pakistan, rice export to China would have doubled the existing amount.

    Zaheer Ahmad, a rice exporter to China told Gwadar Pro that Pakistan has high-quality varieties of rice, ample young labour, large fertile land, and good environmental conditions for agriculture but due to a lack of technologies previously the low average yield and degraded seeds were the main reason of less export to China and other countries.

    “Natural disasters are the key problems. Recently we are facing flood which destroyed more than 45% of crops and drought is probably the biggest abiotic stress Pakistani farmers face every year while much country’s planting area is affected by salinisation which can be solved through the latest technologies and techniques used in the field of rice production”, he stated.

    He further said that years ago, only Basmati rice was an important export earner in Pakistan but broken rice export to China helped Pakistan increase its export in this field, adding that Pakistanis are thankful to China which provided the latest technology in this field like colour sorting machines and modern seeds which help out more yield per arc and also duty-free access in the Chinese market. Zaheer hopes that China will also remove the quota system for Pakistani exporters and will increase the number of exporters from Pakistan, especially small enterprises.

    It is to be noted that in 2021 Pakistan exported about 973,000 tons of rice worth US$437 million to China and the total number of Pakistani companies in the approved General Administration of Customs P.R of China list is 53.

  • FAO Food Price Index Steady in October, While Fertilizer Prices in Focus

  • Bloomberg writer Megan Durisin reported today that, “Global food prices steadied in October, as supply disruptions wrought by the war in Ukraine were partly offset by slowing demand for staples.

    “Good weather has bolstered supplies of crops like barley, and soaring inflation is curbing trade of goods from cheese to pork. That has helped buffer supply shocks from the Black Sea and brought a monthly food-cost index from the United Nations 0.1% lower in October, holding at its lowest since January.”

    The Bloomberg article noted that, “Grains rose 3% during the month, the only commodity group in the index to gain. Russia resumed its part in the Ukraine crop-export pact this week, after a brief suspension that temporarily halted ships. The deal comes up for renewal in mid-November and officials have yet to verify an extension.”
    Reuters News reported today that, “The United Nations food agency’s world price index edged slightly lower in October, the seventh consecutive monthly fall and some 14.9% down from its all-time high recorded in March.”
    “The index has fallen from a record of 159.7 in March, but remained 2.0% higher than a year earlier.”
    The Reuters article added that, “In separate cereal supply and demand estimates, FAO lowered its forecast for global cereal production in 2022 to 2.764 billion tonnes from a previous 2.768 billion tonnes.
    “That is 1.8% below the estimated output for 2021.”
    Also today, Dow Jones writer Yusuf Khan reported that, “Corn prices also rose 4.3%, according to the U.N. body, on lower production prospects in the U.S. and Europe as well as continued uncertainty on Ukrainian exports. Rice prices were also pushing higher, though low demand kept the increase to just 1%.”
    Meanwhile, Reuters writer Pavel Polityuk reported yesterday that, “Seven ships carrying agricultural products left Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Thursday, a day after the resumption of a grain deal aimed at delivering Ukrainian food to foreign markets, the infrastructure ministry said.”
    And Reuters writer Michelle Nichols reported yesterday that, “Ukraine has exported 10 million tonnes of grain and other food since a U.N.-brokered deal in July restarted shipments stalled by Russia’s war, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said on Thursday as he pushed Russia and Ukraine to extend the pact.
    “‘I appeal to all parties to concentrate efforts in two areas. First, renewal and full implementation of the Black Sea Initiative. Second, removing the remaining obstacles to the exports of Russian food and fertilizer,’ he told reporters.”
    Elsewhere, DTN writer Russ Quinn reported earlier this week that, “Retail fertilizer prices continued their lower trend as five of the eight major products are cheaper compared to last month, according to locations tracked by DTN for the fourth week of October 2022.”

    Also this week, Bloomberg writers Elizabeth Elkin and Jen Skerritt reported that, “Fertilizer prices are falling from the highest levels seen in years as farmers postpone purchases to await lower prices, creating gluts that are upending the market for crop inputs. It’s a reversal from earlier this year when prices surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threw the world’s crop-nutrient sector into disarray.”
    And the latest edition of the AMIS Market Monitor explained this week that, “Fertilizer prices generally declined in October following lower demand. However, prices remain high relative to historical levels, which along with lower expected farm income in view of declining grain prices is causing many farmers – particularly in Brazil and the United States – to hold off fertilizer purchasesFalling natural gas prices may further improve the fertilizer supply outlook in the near term.”
    AMIS Market Monitor. No. 103 November 2022.
    Wall Street Journal writers Yusuf Khan and Jenny Strasburg reported earlier this week that, “European fertilizer producers are restarting production across the continent, spurred on by the recent, sharp fall in natural-gas prices, though other energy-intensive industries are taking a wait-and-see approach to their own capacity cuts.
    “Norway’s Yara International, one of the world’s largest fertilizer companies, said that it was now operating at 65% of its European ammonia capacity—having slashed output to just over a third of its total capacity for much of the second half of this year.”
    Reuters writer Rod Nickel reported yesterday that, “Nutrien Ltd, the world’s biggest fertilizer producer, intends to follow through with plans to expand production capacity of potash and nitrogen, despite a sharp pullback in potash demand due to high prices, its chief executive said on Thursday.
    “Nutrien is increasing Canadian potash production by 20% to an annual 18 million tonnes by 2025, helping to address tight global supplies related to sanctions against Russia and Belarus, the second- and third-largest producers after Canada.”
    Also with respect to fertilizer, DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported this week that, “Asked Wednesday about the challenges of getting grain down the Mississippi River to export, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he’s more concerned about moving fertilizer up the river to farmers than load limits on grain moving out of the river into export channels.
    “‘The thing I’m most concerned about isn’t so much exports as it is the ability to get fertilizer to producers upriver,’ Vilsack said during an event at Greater Omaha Packing Co. ‘There is still barge traffic taking place on the Mississippi, but the barges may not be loaded as much as they would traditionally be.’
    “On exports, ‘Any time there is a disruption, it is obviously a concern,’ he said.”



  • Indonesia Discontinues Rice Imports As A Form Of Trade Protection To Boost Domestic Rice Production – OpEd

  • By Sulthan Haidar Dziban

    The agricultural sector is one of the most important and most strategic sectors for the survival of a country, without food the country could be in a position of chaos and bankruptcy. According to data in 2020, the Production of rice in Indonesia is in second place after palm oil as the largest food commodity production figure at 54 million. There are so many ways that the Indonesian government does to maintain the availability of rice, one of the most ways is by importing rice, this import policy reaps a lot of cons because Indonesia is known as an agricultural country or a country with most of the worker in the agricultural sector, but unfortunately, Indonesia continues to import rice.

    The data showed that Indonesia imported large amounts of rice in 2018, with an import volume of 2.25 million tons. Indonesia carried out this rice import because it could anticipate an increase in rice prices. At that time, the government was afraid of the supply because the existing rice could not meet the huge demand of the Indonesian market.

    In the end, the good news came for Indonesia. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that finally, for the last 3 years, starting from 2019 to 2021, Indonesia had no longer imported rice. The reason for this policy is that, according to Joko Widodo, the productivity of domestic farmers has increased. Besides that, Joko Widodo also explained that the cause of this high productivity is the infrastructure for the agricultural sector that has been built by the government.

    The fact is Indonesian government has not stopped rice imports in the last three years, because, according to Kuntoro, the Head of the Public Relations and Public Information Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan), there are still efforts to import rice, but imported rice is special rice, such as for foreign restaurants that require specially imported rice. However, the government generally uses domestically produced rice for public consumption.

    On August 14, 2022, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) organization presented Indonesia with the Food Self-Sufficiency Award as a result of Indonesia’s accomplishment in sustaining national food security, particularly in staple rice.

    Due to the current state of the world, which is experiencing a global food disaster due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, many nations have closed the export door to maintain their domestic stock, one of which is India, one of the exporters. Indonesia’s decision to stop importing rice to support local rice does not garner much attention or cause a stir in the international community at this time. With this momentum, Indonesia could discuss how seriously they should stop importing rice, whether it’s for everyday consumption or special rice, even to concentrate on the domestic agricultural industry.

    Even though it no longer imports rice, Indonesia is attempting to become a rice exporting country, as stated by Airlangga Hartarto, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, who stated that Indonesia will export 200,000 tons of rice due to the potential rice production of more than 7 million tons. However, the country of destination for rice exports is not mentioned.

    The author strongly agrees with the policy decision made by Indonesia to stop rice imports, because the state should show its seriousness in the agricultural sector, especially rice. So far, Indonesia has been known as an agrarian country, but when you see the reality that Indonesia still imports rice often, it is appropriate for Indonesia to be able to provide its own domestic rice needs. Even with the term an agrarian country which is familiar to many people, Indonesia should be at the level of rice exporting country in high quantity or level. If this trend of rice imports continues to be carried out by Indonesia, there are many things that I fear, starting from the reduction of the next generation in the field of agriculture, because the successors feel that their efforts are not appreciated, because the country prefers to import and in the end, they will choose to work in other sectors. even if this import trend continues, the worst thing that will happen is that Indonesia will be very dependent on the exporting country.

    Rice is a very important commodity in the Indonesian people’s lives; there is even a term in Indonesia that says that Indonesian people have not eaten if they have not consumed rice; from this term, it can be seen that rice has become a staple for the Indonesian people. If Indonesia’s situation continues to be dependent on the exporting country, I fear that Indonesia will have no negotiating power against that country. Indonesia will do everything possible to meet its country’s food needs, and with conditions like this, the country will lose its power.

    Actually, in addition to the policy of stopping rice imports by Indonesia, Indonesia should also begin to show its seriousness in its efforts to procure land for agriculture, considering that in the current era a lot of agricultural land in Indonesia has been converted into industrial areas, housing, and even offices. The acquisition of more land for the agricultural sector will certainly affect the quantity of rice that can be produced by Indonesia.

    Sulthan Haidar Dziban is an International Relations Student, Islamic University of Indonesia

  • Rice from space promises robust new varieties

  • Workers harvest space rice from paddies in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Friday. (Photo provided to China Daily)

    Mutated rice seeds brought from space may provide new species on Earth and result in higher yields than their terrestrial counterparts.

    At a scientific research demonstration base in Wuhan, Hubei province, workers from Hubei Jinguang Agricultural Technology Co recently completed harvesting space rice from 20 hectares of paddies where they had planted seeds from China's Shenzhou-12 manned space mission.

    Space breeding is a process in which seeds are exposed to cosmic radiation and microgravity during a space mission in order to mutate their genes and are returned to Earth to generate new species.

    Back on Earth, scientists examine and evaluate the mutations. Some can be positive, conferring properties favored by farmers, such as greater yields, shorter growth periods and better resistance to disease.

    "On Sept 17, 2021, we got back the seeds carried by the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship when it returned to Earth after three months in space," said Gao Xuegang, president of Hubei Jinguang Agricultural Technology Co in Wuhan. "The high-quality seeds that we carefully selected include corn, rapeseed and rice."

    After the seeds went through an additional selection process and were germinated by experts at China's Space Breeding Achievement Transformation Center, the rice seedlings were planted in Hainan province in November 2021 to generate more seeds.

    In June, 150 kg of high-quality space-bred rice seeds were selected and planted on 20 hectares in Wuhan.

    "This is the second time we planted space-bred rice, after a first success in 2021," Gao said. "During the whole process, we used no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The rice harvested last year had better quality than common rice, a sweeter fragrance and a softer and waxier texture."

    Gao said the results of this year's planting experiment show that space-bred seeds can be used as an early or late crop because of their adaptability.

    "Because of the unusually high temperatures and severe drought this summer, diseases and insect pests were serious in some regions in the country, reducing the rice output," he said. "However, the space-bred rice showed strong drought resistance and good ability to resist pests and disease. Space rice was significantly less affected than ordinary rice."

    "Space breeding is a new technology with outstanding advantages," said Dong Hualin, an expert from the provincial academy of agricultural sciences. "Space creates a special mutagenesis environment, which is difficult to achieve on Earth."

    Mutagenesis is a process that leads to permanent and possibly inheritable genetic mutation.

    "The high vacuum, high cleanliness, weightlessness, strong radiation, ultra-high-speed operation and magnetic wire cutting in space can greatly shorten the breeding period," he said.

    Scientists expect to produce 7,125 kg per hectare this year, Gao said. Some of the rice will be used for further breeding research and some will be supplied to the markets as a high-end product costing about 200 yuan ($27.46) per kg.

    So far, the company has conducted the planting experiment on more than 333 hectares of farmland in Jiangxi, Guizhou, Hunan and Shandong provinces in cooperation with local farmers.

    "With the continuous improvement of people's living standards, consumers have higher requirements for food quality," said Dong, the agricultural expert. "I believe there are good prospects for the industrial development of large-scale planting of space-bred rice."

  • Vietnamese rice prices surpass Thailand’s in global markets

  • Vietnamese 5% broken rice, which usually costs less than its Thai peers in export markets, raced past them in October to reach record levels.

    It fetched $425-430 per ton, $48-51 and $18-25 higher than similar varieties from India and Thailand, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Vietnam exported over six million tons of various kinds of rice for nearly $3 billion in the first 10 months, up 17% and 7% year-on-year.

    According to local businesses, this is not the first time Vietnamese rice has fetched higher prices than Thailand’s, but its brand recognition is growing in the world market.

    "Vietnamese fragrant rice is still behind Thailand, but it is becoming increasingly popular with foreign consumers," Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An Hi-tech Farming Joint Stock Company based in the southern city of Can Tho, said.

    His company exports some 30 containers of rice to Europe every month at $700-1,250 per ton, he said.

    Australia recently registered the ‘Gao Ong Cua Vietnam’ trademark for ST24 and ST25 rice varieties developed by agricultural engineer Ho Quang Cua.

    ST25 won the World’s Best Rice Contest in 2019 and ST24 came second in 2017.

    Loc Troi Group’s rice with the trademark ‘Com Vietnam Rice’ is sold at 4,000 supermarkets in France.

    Local firms expect rice exports to remain big and fetch high prices for the next three years since the world is facing climate change and food supply is falling.

    Thailand’s rice production is declining.

    Vietnam is the world’s third biggest rice exporter after India and Thailand and accounts for 7.8% of global rice trade.

    Its rice is now sold in 28 countries and territories around the world, mainly in Asia and Europe.

  • Kerala scouts for AP rice in bid to cool down prices…

  • Thiruvananthapuram: Rice prices in Kerala are unlikely to cool anytime soon despite the efforts of the administration to procure more quantity from outside the State. Even as the supply of ‘Jaya’ variety rice from Andhra Pradesh will get delayed by another five months, other varieties are likely to arrive in the Kerala markets after a month.

    We are currently not cultivating the popular rice brand (Jaya), stated Andhra Pradesh Minister K V Nageswara Rao, after meeting with Kerala Food and Civil Supplies Minister G R Anil the other day.

    Rao is the Minister for Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.

    However, the Civil Supplies corporations of both states have reached a pact to start the supply of other rice varieties, including 'Surekha', besides grocery items like bengal gram, red cow pea, coriander, dried red chilli, and Kashmiri chilli from next month onwards.

    Andhra Pradeh will resume the cultivation of ‘Jaya’. It has already readied the seeds. Kerala’s demand for supply of 3,840 tons a month can be met only after the harvest five months from now.

    ‘Jaya’ and ‘Jyothi’ form 70 percent of the rice being consumed by the people in Kerala. While ‘Jaya’ is procured from Andhra Pradesh, ‘Jyothi’ is supplied from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

    The inter-state ministerial-level talks were convened urgently as the prices of essential commodities shot up following a fall in the supply of rice from Andhra Pradesh in recent times.

    The decrease in paddy output in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has led to the price rise. The retail price of loose Matta rice is Rs 60 per kilogram and branded Matta is Rs 67 per kg as of Monday. The wholesale price of Matta rice is Rs 58 per kg.

    Genuine 'Jaya' not traded now

    Minister Nageswara Rao said the rice being supplied in Kerala in the name of ‘Jaya’ brand was not the real one.

    ‘Jaya’ is cultivated in the Godavari region. When the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stopped its procurement years back, the Andhra Pradeh farmers started cultivating other rice brands instead of ‘Jaya’, said Ahmed Babu, the Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Dairy Development Cooperative Federation Limited. (Babu is originally from Kerala.)

    Minister Anil evaded from giving a direct reply when asked whether the government will initiate action if fake 'Jaya' rice is being made available in the state.

    10 kg rice for white cardholders

    White card holders in Kerala will get 10 kg rice at Rs 10.90 per kg this month, Minister Anil said. Out of this, 8 kg is in addition to the usual quantity provided. Blue card holders too will be allocated an additional 8 kg of special rice, he said.

    The Civil Supplies Department had published the ration allotment chart without including the special rice provision as announced by the minister. However, the minister promised the same will be distributed at ration outlets.

    Ration card holders can collect rice from Mobile Maveli Stores in taluks where there are no Supplyco outlets or Maveli stores. Jaya, Kuruva, Matta, and Pachari will be given free of cost.

  • PAU’s rice variety PR 126 a hit among farmers

  • Ludhiana,

    Rice variety PR 126, developed by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), had emerged as a frontrunner during the kharif season.

    Hailing the ineffable response of farmers to the PAU-developed rice variety, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said it was in the interest of the state to promote the cultivation of PR 126 during the next season. Though the PAU and state seed agencies are multiplying its seed on a large scale, yet seeing farmers’ response, it will be a Herculean task to meet the demand of seed in the next season, he observed. In view of this, Dr Gosal appealed to the farmers to retain the pure seed of PR 126 variety or make efforts to arrange from their friends, neighbours or relatives.

    Dr Gurjit Singh Mangat, Additional Director of Research, Crop Improvement, PAU, said: “During the current Kharif season, PR 126 was grown on over 5 lakh ha. As per the feedback received from different districts through extension functionaries, farmers and media, PR 126 has performed consistently better and is emerging as a frontrunner among all the varieties.”

    About its characteristics, Dr Mangat said “The PAU released PR 126 variety in 2017 for cultivation in the state. It has short duration, i.e. one month shorter than Pusa 44 and 2-3 weeks than other varieties. Though its average paddy yield is 30.0 quintals per acre, yet farmers are realising up to 38 quintals per acre. On account of shorter duration, it has a great potential for saving resources (water, agro-chemicals, etc.).” Besides, PR 126 also provides sufficient time for the management of paddy straw residue, and its low biomass also facilitates the use of straw management machinery for wheat sowing, he added.

  • Govt allows rice exports backed by already issued letters of credit

  • The government has said it will allow cargoes of white and brown rice backed by letters of credit issued before September 9 to be shipped overseas, a measure that provides some relief to exporters grappling with fresh government curbs.

    The world’s biggest exporter of rice on September 8 banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various grades as it sought to boost domestic supply and calm local prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    The surprise move trapped nearly 1 million tonnes of rice at ports or which had been in transit before the government made the announcement.

    “It’s a big relief, which we have been asking for the last few weeks,” said BV Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

    Export prices for Indian white rice have risen 12% since September 9.

    The government also said in its notice issued late on Monday that it would allow 600,000 tonnes of unmilled rice to be exported to Nepal, which traditionally relies on India to fulfil its foodgrain requirements.

    India accounts for more than 40% of global rice shipments and competes with Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Myanmar.

    New Delhi last month allowed 397,267 tonnes of broken rice to be exported. — Reuters

    Prices up 12% since Sept 9

    • The world’s biggest exporter of rice on September 8 banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various grades as it sought to boost domestic supply
    • The surprise move trapped nearly 1 million tonne of rice at ports or which had been in transit before the government made the announcement. Export prices for Indian white rice have risen 12% since September 9
  • India allows rice exports backed by already issued letters of credit

  • India said it will allow cargoes of white and brown rice backed by letters of credit issued before Sept. 9 to be shipped overseas, a measure that provides some relief to exporters grappling with fresh government curbs.

    The world’s biggest exporter of rice on Sept. 8 banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various grades as it sought to boost domestic supply and calm local prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    The surprise move trapped nearly 1 million tonnes of rice at ports or which had been in transit before the government made the announcement.

    “It’s a big relief, which we have been asking for the last few weeks,” said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

    Export prices for Indian white rice have risen 12% since Sept. 9.

    The government also said in its notice issued late on Monday that it would allow 600,000 tonnes of unmilled rice to be exported to Nepal, which traditionally relies on India to fulfill its food grains requirements.

    India accounts for more than 40% of global rice shipments and competes with Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Myanmar.

    New Delhi last month allowed 397,267 tonnes of broken rice to be exported.
    Source: Reuters (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

  • Government steps into control rice price

  • Move for direct procurement from Andhra Pradesh

    Non-priority ration card-holders in the State (white and blue cards) will get 8 kg of rice at ₹10.90 a kg from November 1 as part of the government’s market intervention programme to bring down the price of the staple foodgrain, Food Minister G.R. Anil has said.

    The move comes in the wake of the spiralling price of rice in Kerala over the past two weeks.

    In addition, stocks of four varieties of rice have been despatched to 500 centres across the State for distribution through mobile Maveli stores at concessional rate. Card holders in places where there are no Supplyco or Maveli store outlet will be eligible for 10 kg of rice from the mobile units.

    Mr. Anil said here on Monday he would hold talks with Andhra Pradesh Food Minister K.P. Nageswara Rao here on Tuesday on direct procurement of rice and chilli. The discussions are a follow up of the talks held with the AP government two weeks ago. Kerala is seeking procurement of Jaya rice, the preferred choice of people in the State, from Andhra through the direct route without the involvement of middlemen. The qunatity of rice to be procured and the price would be finalised at the talks on Tuesday, Mr. Anil said.

    Senior officials from Andhra Pradesh, including the Civil Supplies Commissioner, are accompanying Mr. Rao.

  • India allows rice exports backed by already issued letters of credit

  • [1/2] A woman harvests ripened rice in a paddy field at Karunj village in the western state of Maharashtra, India, October 17, 2022. Rajendra Jadhav

    MUMBAI, Nov 1 (Reuters) - India said it will allow cargoes of white and brown rice backed by letters of credit issued before Sept. 9 to be shipped overseas, a measure that provides some relief to exporters grappling with fresh government curbs.

    The world's biggest exporter of rice on Sept. 8 banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various grades as it sought to boost domestic supply and calm local prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    The surprise move trapped nearly 1 million tonnes of rice at ports or which had been in transit before the government made the announcement.

    "It's a big relief, which we have been asking for the last few weeks," said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

    Export prices for Indian white rice have risen 12% since Sept. 9.

    The government also said in its notice issued late on Monday that it would allow 600,000 tonnes of unmilled rice to be exported to Nepal, which traditionally relies on India to fulfill its food grains requirements.

    India accounts for more than 40% of global rice shipments and competes with Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Myanmar.

    New Delhi last month allowed 397,267 tonnes of broken rice to be exported.

  • HAFED gets export orders for 20000 ton Basmati rice

  • Its first time Haryana State Cooperative Supply & Marketing Federation Limited (HAFED) of Haryana government has recently received export orders for 20000 ton Basmati rice from Saudi Arab. Information reveals, Haryana state holding nearly 50% share in export of rice in the country at present. However, export of Basmati rice from Haryana was adversely affected in past two years due to epidemic outbreak in the country as well as in the world resulting rice exporters and farmers cultivated paddy crop suffered a lot in this period due to slump in the market. Whereas, as a result of improvement in system and relief in economic conditions in the world the demand of rice in domestic markets as well as in export markets have returned on the track like previous years.

    Information reveals, rice produced in India, especially Basmati rice in Haryana is in much demand in gulf and European countries due to its favor and after a slump in market for a period of two years rice exporters in Haryana state are now getting plenty of export orders from gulf countries which include Saudi Arab, Qatar, Iran. Iraq, Behrin, Kuwait, UAE, Yaman, Omen and other gulf countries as well as from all European countries including Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Ukrain as such farmers in Haryana state are expecting to recover all losses incurred in past two years due to crisis.

    The arrival of new paddy crops in grain markets in Haryana state has started and likely to start as such farmers as well as rice exporters are happy over good demand in domestic as well as export markets this year. According to Kailash Bhagat HAFED Chairman they are expecting good export orders for Basmati rice from other countries also this year and will procure quality Basmati rice from farmers in the state for exports. He told that minimum support price (MSP) of different quality of rice is fixed by the government on the basis of price in open market and farmers are hopeful for better price of tof heir paddy crop this season.

    According to information, arrival of limited quantity of Basmati variety 1718 has started arriving in grain markets in the state which is being sold at the rate Rs 3700 per quintal as against price Rs 3200 per quintal last year.  The rate of another variety Basmati DP1401 too is available in grain markets in the state at the rate Rs 3750 per quintal at present which was being sold at the rate Rs 3100 per quintal last year. The rate of Basmati rice variety1509 available in grain markets i9n the state at present at the rate Rs 3300 per quintal was sold last year at the rate Rs 2200 per quintal. Similarly, the rate of ‘Pusa’ variety Basmati rice being sold at present in grain markets at the rate Rs 3700 per quintal was available at the rate less than Rs 3300 per quintal last year. According to experts, the rates of Basmati produced in Haryana state is likely to reach much higher this season due to increase in demand not only in domestic markets but also all over in the world where ever the flavor of Basmti rice produced in Haryana reaching.   

  • Basmati 1121 attracts exporters to Fazilka mandi

  • Fazilka, October 28

    The aromatic 1121 fine variety of basmati is attracting a record number of rice exporters this year to the Fazilka grain market.

    According to sources, more than 25 exporters have already visited the grain market in Fazilka, which is one of the largest paddy producing belts of the region.

    Arhtiya Association president Davinder Sachdeva said exporters sell basmati in the Gulf where there are bulk buyers of the variety.

    Official sources said of the total arrival of 36,988 metric tonnes (MT) of basmati, 35,264 MT had been purchased by private players in Fazilka district till Thursday evening.

    Arhtiya Association president Davinder Sachdeva said exporters sell basmati in the Gulf where there are bulk buyers of the variety.

    Official sources said of the total arrival of 36,988 metric tonnes (MT) of basmati, 35,264 MT had been purchased by private players in Fazilka district till Thursday evening.

    Sachdeva alleged that earlier rice millers often used to form a cartel to buy the paddy at a lower price, but after the entry of exporters in large numbers, the farmers are being offered remunerative prices for the produce.

    The basmati variety was sold at the rate of Rs 3,850 per quintal in Fazilka today. The rate is much higher as compared to the last year.

  • 2,500 tonnes of Arakan State-grown rice to be exported to Bangladesh.

  • The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has reached a deal to send 200,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh, of which Arakan State will supply 2,500 tonnes, according to U Than Shwe, chairman of the Arakan State Rice Millers Association.
    “We’ll sell 2,500 tonnes to the MRF in December, when rice will be harvested. We are not directly exporting to Bangladesh. But the MRF will export via Sittwe,” he said.
    Under the agreement, the MRF has agreed to sell at a COF (cost and freight) price of US$465.50 per tonne to be delivered to Chittagong Port, according to the Rakhine State Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
    The Arakan State Rice Millers Association plans to sell to the MRF at US$400 per tonne.
    A rice merchant from Sittwe said: “It is good to export rice to Bangladesh. This will bring up prices. Farmers will earn higher profits only when there is a market. Rice prices will decline when the demand is sluggish.”
    Four rice mills in Kyauktaw, one in Ponnagyun and two in Sittwe will supply export-quality rice to the MRF for export to Bangladesh.
    Meanwhile, farmers in Arakan State predict a poor rice harvest this year as they could not use sufficient fertiliser due to high prices, and also could not take proper care of their farms due to renewed fighting between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army.
    The Arakan State Rice Millers Association has decided to sell 2,500 tonnes of rice to the MRF for the sake of local farmers who have had to spend more on agricultural inputs due to price hikes, said U Than Shwe.
    “We have to take both farmers and consumers into consideration,” he explained. “Because farmers had to spend more on inputs, we have decided to sell rice in their interests. We think that amount will not affect [local] consumers. But if we sell large volumes, it will definitely affect consumers.”
    There are more than 1.2 million acres of farmland in Arakan State, but only 850,000 acres could be brought under paddy cultivation due to various factors, according to data from the Arakan Farmers Union.
    Some 50,000 acres of paddy fields in Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships were left unattended due to the renewed fighting, which kicked off in August, and yields are expected to decline by about 30 percent compared with previous years, said the Arakan Farmers Union.
    Caption: Inside a rice mill in Sittwe.


  • Indian rice prices higher

  • MUMBAI/ HANOI/ BANGKOK/DHAKA: Prices of rice from top exporter India edged up this week on an up tick in the rupee and supply concerns, while a cyclone destroyed crops in Bangladesh at a time when it was already struggling to tame high local rates for the staple.

    India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $375-$384 per tonne, down from $374-$382 last week.

    “Farmers are making profit from the current price, and this will encourage them to invest more in the upcoming winter-spring crop, the largest of the year,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

  • Devastating floods cause 5 percent cut in Pakistan’s rice exports

  • ISLAMABAD-Pakistan’s rice exports witnessed a decrease of 5.10% in the first three months of the current fiscal due to the recent devastating floods in the country, WealthPK reported.

    According to the data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the export volume of rice from Pakistan dipped to $401.629 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal as compared to $423.192 million during the same period of the previous financial year. Pakistan is facing a shortage of rice due to the recent floods, which led to a decrease in the export of the commodity. The devastating floods have washed away rice crops standing on millions of acres of land in Sindh and Punjab. The upcoming Rabi season is expected to see a decrease in rice and wheat production as farmers are switching to alternative crops, which will adversely affect the country’s food security.

    Pakistan exported 679,779 metric tonnes of rice during the first three months of the current fiscal, showing a decrease of 8.47% as compared to 742,715 metric tonnes during the same period of the previous financial year. On a year-on-year basis, rice exports decreased by 16.85% and reached $118.852 million in September 2022 as compared to $142.933 million in the corresponding month of last year, according to PBS data. In September 2022, rice exports dipped by 17.31% to $118.852 million from $143.730 million in August 2022. The export of basmati rice was recorded at $129.896 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal against $153.671 million in the same period of the previous financial year 2021-22, showing a drop of 15.47%. However, its export increased by 3% on a month-on-month basis to $42.803 million in September 2022 from $41.556 million in August 2022. On a year-on-year basis, the export of basmati rice decreased by 17.14% to $42.803 million in September 2022 as compared to $51.656 million in September 2021. The export of other qualities of rice was recorded at $271.733 million in the first three months of the fiscal year 2022-23 against $269.521 million in the corresponding period of the last financial year, showing a growth of 0.82%.

    On a month-on-month basis, the export of other qualities of rice was recorded at $76.049 million in September 2022 as compared to $102.174 million in August 2022, showing a decrease of 25.57%. The country’s total food group exports fetched $1.077 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal against $1.019 billion in the corresponding period of the previous financial year, showing a growth of 5.70%.

    The country’s overall food group exports in September 2022 were $354.816 million as compared to $366.945 million in August 2022, showing a decrease of 3.31%. On a year-on-year basis, food group exports decreased by 1.26% to $354.816 million in September 2022 from $359.331 million in September 2021. The country’s overall exports increased by 1.84% and reached $7.125 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal as compared to $6.996 billion during the same period of the previous year. On the other hand, imports shrank by 12.72% in the first quarter of the current fiscal and reached $16.334 billion, down from $18.715 billion in the same period the previous year. The trade deficit of Pakistan shrank by 21.42% to $9.209 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal. To increase rice production, Pakistan should grant interest-free loans to farmers. Rice is one of the most important crops in the world. Pakistan has the potential to increase rice production to boost exports. Pakistan’s economic growth is mostly reliant on revenue generated from exports. 

    The government needs to devise farmers-friendly policies if it is serious about increasing the export of rice, according to the research conducted by WealthPK.

  • RPT-ASIA RICE-INDIA PRICES TICK UP, BANGLADESH REELS FROM CYCLONE HIT.

  • By Ashitha Shivaprasad

    Oct 27 (Reuters) - Prices of rice from top exporter India edged up this week on an uptick in the rupee and supply concerns, while a cyclone destroyed crops in Bangladesh at a time when it was already struggling to tame high local rates for the staple.

    India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted at $375-$384 per tonne, down from $374-$382 last week.

    The size of the Indian crop would be lower than earlier expectations as rainfall has damaged paddy in northern and north-eastern states, said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Heavy rainfall damaged crops just before harvest in key producing states such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh earlier this month.

    Neighbouring country Bangladesh, meanwhile, was grappling with the aftermath of cyclone Sitrang, which struck on Monday.

    The storm destroyed rice crops on 6,000 hectares, according to preliminary estimates from the agriculture ministry, in a likely blow to the country, which has been trying to bring down elevated domestic prices after floods earlier this year destroyed 254,000 tonnes.

    Prices of Vietnam's 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> were unchanged at $425-$430 per tonne free-on-board.

    "Farmers are making profit from the current price, and this will encourage them to invest more in the upcoming winter-spring crop, the largest of the year," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    The government on Wednesday forecast Vietnam's rice exports in the first 10 months of the year at 6.07 million tonnes, up 17.2% from last year. October exports were forecast at 700,000 tonnes.

    Preliminary shipping data showed 387,050 tonnes to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port during Oct. 1-28, with most of it heading to the Philippines, Africa, Cuba and Bangladesh.

    Thailand's 5% broken rice prices <RI-THBKN5-P1> were also little changed at $405 per tonnes.

    Traders said demand was flat with no major deals in the market. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok and Ruma Paul in Dhaka; editing by Arpan Varghese and Maju Samuel)

  • CRF explores UAE market to expand export of milled rice

  • Cambodia expects to boost milled rice exports to the UAE. Khmer Times

    The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) has sought to expand the market of milled rice in the United Arab Emirates, stating that the negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Cambodia and the UAE would give a big boost to commodity export to the market.

    Its president Song Saran attended the Cambodia-UAE Business Forum held earlier this week in Abu Dhabi where he made a presentation on the potential of Cambodia’s rice sector.

    Cambodia expects to boost milled rice exports to the Western Asia nation and the region as the negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is being conducted, Saran said yesterday.

    Under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Cambodia’s milled rice will be exported to the United Arab Emirates and the Western Asia nation more and more easily, he said.

    Cambodia’s milled rice exports to the United Arab Emirates are small. So, through the negotiation of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates, it is the first opportunity to make Cambodia more widely known, he said.

    “Cambodia will be able to export more rice to the United Arab Emirates,” Saran said.

    Launched formally on October 24, the negotiation of the Cambodia-United Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will likely be completed by 2023, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

    The Cambodian Rice Federation is providing opportunities for dialogue with relevant partners to find trading partners for Cambodia’s rice exports to those countries.

    “The Cambodian Rice Federation has made great efforts to boost Cambodia’s milled rice exports in order to promote the community and farmers who grow rice, especially to contribute to our national economy,” Saran said.

    Cambodia exported some 450,000 tons of milled rice to 60 international markets including nations in the Western Asia in the January-September period of this year, earning $287 million.

    China remained the top buyer of Cambodia’s milled rice, purchasing 198,107 tons, or 44.09 percent, of the kingdom’s total export amount, the CRF said, citing that other countries are France, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Italy, Gabon, Brunei, Britain, and Germany, and so on.

  • Indonesia’s rice production estimated at 32 million tonnes this year

  • Statistics Indonesia (BPS) has forecast the nation's rice production will reach 32.07 million tonnes this year, up 2.29% as compared to 31.36 million tonnes reached in 2021.

    Illustrative image (Photo: Antara)

    Jakarta (VNA) - Statistics Indonesia (BPS) has forecast the nation's rice production will reach 32.07 million tonnes this year, up 2.29% as compared to 31.36 million tonnes reached in 2021.

    Deputy for BPS Statistics of Distribution and Services Setianto said the October-December output is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes, up 15.12% from the same period last year.

    Based on production per island, Java island contributes the most as compared to other islands, with a total contribution of 56.12%, or 18 million tonnes, of which 31.07% of the production is in East Java.

    Earlier on August 15, Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture said the country had stopped importing edible rice due to ample supplies, and only imported rice for industrial purposes.

  • Rice sector stands a chance to boost value thanks to by-products

  • Vietnam, a leading rice producer and exporter in the world, has a chance to earn higher value from the grain by capitalising on by-products.

    The meeting between Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam (second from right) and representatives of the Oryza Oil & Fat Chemical company (Photo: VNA)

    Tokyo (VNA) – Vietnam, a leading rice producer and exporter in the world, has a chance to earn higher value from the grain by capitalising on by-products.

    Talking to visiting Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam, Murai Hiromichi, President of the Nagoya-based Oryza Oil & Fat Chemical company, said rice bran oil generates 320 - 350 USD per tonne in value while compounds obtained during oil extraction are used in 70 nutritional and beauty care products.

    He noted rice oil is a popular product in Japan and other developed countries, adding that each tonne of bran can bring about 2,000 - 3,000 USD or higher in value if it is maximised.

    Making a fact-finding tour of the factory of Oryza Oil & Fat Chemical, Deputy Minister Nam said applying technology to produce high-value products from rice bran could be an answer to the question of how to help rice farmers in Vietnam raise income.

    In 2021, the country produced about 44 million tonnes of rice, which generated about 8 million tonnes of bran.

    Prof. Tran Dang Xuan from the Hiroshima University held that Vietnam should step up research and cooperation with Japan and other developed countries to soon make use of the values of agricultural by-products, especially from rice.

  • Russia Looking to Increase Rice Imports from Pakistan

  • A Russian delegation Wednesday told Federal Minister for National Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema that Russia is looking to increase rice imports from Pakistan.

    The delegation comprising representatives of Prodintorg, a state-owned Russian company, Agriculture Attaché Aleksei Kudriavtsev, and Attaché Russian Embassy met the minister at his office and discussed prospects of cooperation and partnership in the agriculture sector.

    Prodintorg’s Yousuf Asif said that Pakistan and Russia can mutually benefit from enhancing trade cooperation in agriculture. He noted Russia is one the largest global exporters of wheat and can help Pakistan to meet the local demand of wheat under the government-to-government (G2G) framework.

    The delegation also offered an opportunity of wheat import for Pakistan in the form of barter trade while exchanging food basket commodities.

    Asif mentioned that Russia is increasing the number of authorized exporters of rice to Russia in Pakistan to increase rice imports from Pakistan as Pakistani rice is of good quality. He also showed a willingness to import potatoes from Pakistan.

    At the outset, the minister welcomed the delegation and said that the agriculture sector has suffered colossal losses because of the recent rains and floods. He stressed that the international community should help Pakistan in the rehabilitation and recovery phase. He added that his government is making every effort to support the affected farmer community.

    Agriculture Attaché of Russia hoped that mutually beneficial cooperation in agriculture will help to ensure food security in both countries.


  • Latest study recognizes India Gate as the world’s no. 1 basmati rice brand

  • Latest study by leading global research agency shows how the grain is witnessing an increased demand, globally

    PRI ECO GEN NAT .NEWDELHI DCM12 KRBL Limited Latest Study Recognizes India Gate as the World's No. 1 Basmati Rice Brand New Delhi, Delhi, India Business Wire India Latest study by leading global research agency shows how the grain is witnessing an increased demand, globally The made-in-India brand successfully exports Basmati Rice to over 90 countries, translating to 8+ cr. packs annually As a global leader brand in the category, India Gate plans to grow in India through converting a largely loose unbranded category to a branded one The aromatic Basmati Rice is a staple across households in India. According to a recent research study on the Global Basmati Rice Market, the iconic grain is witnessing huge demand owing to its high quality, premium appearance, and distinct taste. India Gate, the flagship brand of KRBL, has been recognized as the world's No. 1[1] Basmati Rice Brand in a market study conducted by a leading global research company. The quantitative study by Mordor Intelligence covers research of White and Brown Basmati Rice Category across continents like Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. The research has been done using methodologies like Primary & Secondary Research, Data Triangulation and Insight Generation. Mordor Intelligence, a leading global research company founded in 2014 has been conducting studies providing insights to 4000+ enterprises across 100+ countries across multiple industries. Since its introduction in 1998, India Gate Basmati Rice, has been working continuously to deliver its purpose of enriching lives through Basmati Rice, a nutritional wonder of nature. Over the years, India Gate has developed a successful global consumer franchise, as evidenced by the fact that it is exported to over 90 countries and sells 8+ cr. packs annually. The grains of India Gate Basmati Rice are aged to perfection, which makes them longer, fluffier, non-sticky, and full of beautiful aroma, setting them apart from the others. Commenting on this, Mr. Anil Kumar Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, KRBL Limited, said, With a rich industry experience of more than a century, KRBL Limited has created its place as a world leader in the Basmati rice industry. From the very beginning, our unconditional commitment has been to offer the best quality to our consumers. Today, our flagship brand India Gate Basmati Rice is appreciated worldwide for its premium quality. This latest study recognizing India Gate Basmati Rice as the World's No.1 Basmati rice brand is testimony to our unwavering commitment to get the best quality basmati on the consumer plates across the world. In India there's a huge task ahead to convert a largely unbranded loose market into a branded one. Mr. Mittal adds, Brand India Gate has tasked itself to drive conversion from unbranded Basmati Rice to branded. There is a well thought out strategy basis robust consumer and category insights that has been put in place to drive this which includes sharp consumer communication, aggressive retail footprint expansion from the current 3 lacs to 5 lacs outlets, distributor expansion in lower population class markets and scaling up digitization to accelerate efforts in this direction. Products in the India Gate Basmati Rice portfolio are available across leading e-commerce platforms as well as offline modern trade and general trade stores. [1] As per Secondary Market Research Report, MAT June 2022 About KRBL KRBL is world's largest & only integrated manufacturer and exporter of Basmati rice. The Company is certified by FSSC 22000 issued by Eurofins, a globally recognized certification. The certification confirms that the organizations food safety management system is in conformance with the scheme requirements. It also showcases how the Company has been successful in maintaining compliance with international standards. Thus, ensuring top-notch product quality and safety attributes. KRBL has two state-of-the-art manufacturing units and four technologically advanced packing units strategically located across India. Through their extensive network of 500+ distributors and 3 lac+ retail outlets operating in more than 750 cities, KRBL enjoys product presence throughout all of India. KRBL Limited is also India's first, integrated rice company with an extensive supply chain presence and a rich, 130-year history. With processing capacities of 195 MT/per hour. KRBL Limited's portfolio also includes 14 brands in Rice and a variety of healthy food products like Quinoa, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, and Brown Rice. The Company offers its rice under a varied range of brands namely India Gate, Unity, Nur Jahan and many more. Its's flagship brand India Gate is appreciated worldwide for its premium quality. The Company engages in seed production, touch cultivation, paddy procurement, storage, processing, and packaging, basmati rice branding and marketing. The Company enjoys presence in the domestic as well as in 90+ international markets, which includes USA, Australia, EU, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, amongst others.

  • Sri Lanka President relaxes broken rice imports for animal feed

  • ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued an order allowing broken rice to be imported for animal feed as poultry farmers faced difficulties in getting maize and chicken and egg prices soared amid a currency crisis.

    Under a gazette notice issued by Wickremesinghe in his capacity as Minister of Finance, up to 25,000 metric tonnes of broken rice would allowed to be imported.

    Sri Lanka has faced difficulties in importing maize, which has been under import licensing for many years to give high profits to special interests involving a collector lobby, keeping domestic meat prices high.

    President Wickremesinghe earlier allowed maize to be imported by feed millers under open account, but the companies were unwilling to do so, according to poultry industry officials.

    Sri Lanka’s imports were disrupted and prices soared as the rupee collapsed from 200 to 360 to the US dollars after two years of money printing, in the worst currency crisis triggered by the island’s intermediate regime (soft-pegged) central bank.

    Currencies collapse due to mis-targeting of interest rates through a policy rate or other means. (Colombo/Oct26/2022)

  • Vietnam Jan-Oct rice exports seen up 17.2% y/y at 6.07mn tonnes

  • HANOI: Vietnam’s rice exports in the first ten months of this year are forecast to rise 17.2% from a year earlier to 6.07 million tonnes, the government said on Wednesday.

    Rice export revenue in the January-October period is seen rising 7.4% to $2.94 billion, the government said in a statement, adding that exports in October were seen at 700,000 tonnes.

  • Grain Market Review: Rice

  • The arrival of the new crop in some major exporters as well as the rise in the US dollar against most currencies internationally has triggered an easing in prices in many sectors of the rice market.

    The International Grains Council (IGC) in its Oct. 20 Grain Market Report described rice prices as over the preceding month as “slightly weaker amid currency movements and the impending arrival of new crop supplies in several exporters.”

    “In Thailand, 5% broken offers were modestly softer m/m, at US$411 fob Bangkok, on slow demand and as a weaker local currency weighed, while quotations in Pakistan retreated by US$11, to US$394 (fob Karachi), as new crop harvesting got underway,” the IGC said. “Indian values also fell in subdued activity ahead of kharif arrivals, but tighter supplies underpinned gains in Vietnam.”

    A weekly report, dated Oct. 21, from the USDA in Bangkok on the rice market in Thailand noted that “export prices decreased 2% to 8% as new-crop rice supplies began entering the market.” A monthly USDA report from Burma, dated Oct. 19, reported prices down “as supplies from the new rice crop enter the market and the Myanmar kyat appreciated against the US dollar.”

    The US Rice Producers in their Oct. 21 Rice Advocate publication said that harvesting was almost complete, “Paddy prices remain firm, but the spot market is not as active as most producers expected it to be post-harvest.”

    They complain that “the largest milled market for US rice is getting worse with each passing day, as it’s nearly impossible to unload a vessel in Haiti right now, even for NGOs trying to help the people in crisis.”

    Looking at paddy exports, they complained of the US losing market share in Mexico to Brazil and reported that milling was winding down after the fulfilment of 80,000 tonnes of Iraq business.

    “The domestic market has been the steady savior, but with both Haiti and Iraq in the wings and prices that are significantly higher than the competition, it will be an interesting year marketing this crop,” US Rice Producers commented.

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in its Rice Price Index, which was published on Oct. 7, said that prices overall rose by 2.2% in September to reach an 18-month high.

    “Indica prices spearheaded this increase, rising 3.4% above August levels and reversing all losses registered since June,” it said. “Nevertheless, Japonica prices also moved up by 4.4% to hit an all-time nominal high, as a revival in shipments lifted values in Vietnam, adding to firmness in drought-struck California.”

    Conversely, efforts to attract sales eased Glutinous prices by 0.9% percent, it said.

    “Aromatica quotations also declined by 2.5%, mostly reflecting bearishness in Pakistan ahead of the 2022 basmati harvest, which was largely spared by the severe floods affecting the country,” FAO said.

    “Asian Indica markets were dominated by supply-side developments last month,” FAO reported, noting in particular the imposition by India on Sept. 9 of “an export ban on fully broken rice, alongside a 20% export duty on non-parboiled paddy, husked and semi/wholly milled Indica.”

    While the export ban on Indian brokens received mixed responses in competing origins, buoying values in Myanmar and Pakistan, while those of Thailand continued to ease, Indian quotations of 5% and 25% white rice reacted to the export tax by rising 10 percent month-on-month, FAO said.

    Another point made by the Rome, Italy-based organization was that “across-the-board currency depreciations against the US dollar in the major origins, limited price gains, especially in Thailand and Vietnam.”

    Chris Lyddon is World Grain's European correspondent. He may be contacted at: cajlyddon@gmail.com.

  • Rice seen hitting N50,000/bag as floods ravage farms

  • Parboiled rice is partially pre-cooked in its inedible husk before being processed for eating.

    Nigerians may have to brace themselves for a surge in the price of a 50kg bag of locally parboiled rice to as high as N50,000 before December on the back of the floods in many states, traders and distributors of the commodity have said.

    Flood incidents in Africa’s biggest economy that have destroyed 70,566 hectares of farmland, damaged 45,249 houses and displaced over 1.4 million Nigerians, with about 600 persons reported dead, according to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, have sent prices of food items on an upward trajectory, especially in affected communities.

    Rice, a key staple mostly consumed by households, has been affected the most by the impact of the flood. The situation has caused the price of paddy to jump from N200,000 to N300,000 per tonne in three weeks owing to the flood.

    The recent jump in paddy prices is piling more pressure on rice millers that are already contending with rising production costs amid a nearly three-fold increase in diesel cost.

    In September, the country’s inflation hit a 17-year high at 20.7 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

    “With the rate the prices of rice are surging daily, we might even buy it at N50,000 before December,” said Ronke Adewale, a rice trader at Daleko Market in Mushin.

    “Our suppliers keep adding money and attributing it to the flood and high cost of transportation,” she said.

    “If you have the money, you better buy now and stock because if it persists, it will be worse in December,” she said.

    Adewale Adegbenro, a Lagos-based rice distributor who buys from millers in the North, said the price of rice would exceed N50,000 by December owing to supply shortfall caused by the floods.

    “As a today, the rice we supplied was sold at N43,000 in Lagos, so it is definitely going to exceed N50,000 by December,” he said.

    Mohammed Abubakar, chairman of the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria, said the recent surge in the price of a bag of rice is a result of a combination of issues escalated by the floods.

    “The recent surge in the price of a bag of rice is a result of the flooding in major producing states and a combination of other issues of high diesel and transportation costs,” Abubakar said in his response to questions from BusinessDay.

    “The flood has submerged hundreds of rice farmlands and has caused the price of paddy to jump from N200, 000 to N300, 000 per tonne. It has also worsened the diesel and transportation situation in the North,” he added.

    Currently, 33 out of the country’s 36 states have been ravaged by flood, and this has caused transportation costs to further surge as tankers conveying petroleum products to the northern states are unable to move as the incidents cut most road networks in the region.

    BusinessDay surveyed some markets in Lagos and found that a 50kg bag of locally produced parboiled rice sells for an average of N35,000 as against N28,000 a month ago.

    A 50kg bag of foreign parboiled rice now sells for N43,000 as against N31,000 a month ago, indicating a 38.7 percent rise in price.

    The country’s largest farmland of 10,000 hectares in Nasarawa owned by Olam and worth about $140 million investment has been submerged by floods, according to Ade Adefeko, vice president of external relations and stakeholder management at Olam Agri.

    Owing to the current shortfall in supply, some traders of rice in Lagos – the country’s commercial centre – are hoarding the commodity in anticipation of selling at a higher price, BusinessDay gathered.

    Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the price of rice has been relatively stable amid accelerating inflation and dwindling household income. Experts attributed the price stability of the staple to an increase in local production.

    Africa’s biggest economy cultivated 8.2 million metric tonnes of rice paddy in 2020, according to the latest data from UN Food and Agricultural Organisation.

    The most recent reliable figures for production come from the United States Department of Agriculture, which has projected that Nigeria’s rice production will reach five million tons in 2022, slightly above the 4.8 million tons it predicted last year.

    With this production, the country will still have a deficit of two million tons with demand at 7 million tons, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

    But the gains made in the sector are currently being threatened by flooding and FX volatility as rice is among the 41 items restricted from FX by the country’s apex bank.

  • Farmers in Narowal burning stubble of rice crop despite ban

  • Despite the fact that smog is becoming an annual occurrence in central Punjab, with the provincial capital Lahore remaining at the top of the list of most polluted cities in the world last autumn due to the city’s air quality index (AQI) being way above the normal level, farmers in Narowal district are openly disobeying Punjab government directives, according to a report on Tuesday.
    People in the vicinity are having trouble breathing as a result of farmers in the area burning rice crop residue, which adds to the haze in the area.
    The locals have appealed to Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to take notice of the situation and order the concerned authorities to crack down on the farmers indulging in such practice.

  • Big progress in sustainable rice cultivation

  • A Mars Food-supported project has shown that greenhouse gas emissions from rice paddies can be significantly reduced with the help of some nifty techniques.

    As part of an ongoing project to improve the sustainability of rice cultivation in Seville, the biggest rice cultivating region of Spain, a joint project between Mars Food, Herba Ricemills (Ebro Foods), and Danone has shown that significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions are possible.   

    The project, ORYZONTE, which was started in 2018, used Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) techniques and achieved up to a 63 percent reduction in GHG emissions produced by rice paddies in the province of Seville.

    What happened during the first study?

    The ORYZONTE project sampled and analysed GHG emissions from three commercial rice fields, each with a different water management scenario.

    The majority of rice fields are cultivated under flooded conditions, meaning they are a key source of anthropogenic GHG emissions, namely methane (CH4), the prevailing gas for rice crops.

    To study the emissions in detail, rather than relying on estimations from existing models, sampling needs to be carried out. This way accurate results can be obtained. However, until now, Mars says no sampling of GHG emissions from commercial rice fields in Seville have been reported.

    The samples for the project were taken during the cultivation and fallow season between June 2019 and June 2020.

    Two of the fields implemented GHG-saving techniques. The first was AWD, a process that aims to conduct aeration periods during the crop cultivation cycle. The second technique was No Winter Flooding (NWF), a process that focuses on not flooding the fields after harvest, which consequently increases the period in which the soils are oxygenated.

    The first field in the study was used as a control plot to obtain the baseline and verify if the applied practices could effectively reduce GHG emissions.

    The project team collected gas samples; members included staff from the Gabinete de Iniciativas Europeas and Optiriego Consulting, as well as technical support from Instituto Hispánico del Arroz (Hisparroz). Later on, the gas samples were analysed by members of the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA).

    Noteworthy findings of ORYZONTE project

    Overall, the project findings showed that implementing specific mitigation practices effectively reduced GHG emissions from rice fields in Seville.

    Specifically, the implementation of AWD allowed there to be a reduction in methane emissions by 63 percent with respect to the current farmers’ practices.

    It is important to note that the study found that the emissions of other GHGs were not significant in all cases. This means that the global warming potential was significantly reduced at a similar rate as the methane emissions with the implementation of Mid-Season Drainage and NWF in the growing and fallow seasons, respectively.

    The ORYZONTE project is now looking to work with rice growers in the Spanish region to educate them on the feasibility of implementing GHG-saving practices, such as Mid-Season Drainage in their own commercial fields.

  • Explainer: How recent floods will impact price of a bag of rice

  • The floods sweeping through many parts of Nigeria have taken a huge toll on some rice farms.

    Thousands of hectares of rice farms in Taraba, Jigawa, Kano, Benue, Niger, Kogi, and Kebbi, among other states, have been reportedly washed away.

    “Though the impact of the flood on rice farms in Kebbi State is not as bad as we expected, as those who have their farms in areas not prone to flooding have been able to get good harvest, rice farms near River Niger have suffered a lot of damage,” said Muhammad Augie, former chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kebbi State chapter.

    Augie said the flooding will certainly impact rice prices negatively as Kano, Jigawa, Taraba, Niger, and many other states that are the hubs of rice production in the country had their farms badly affected.

    “They will experience low harvests this year, which will then translate to high cost of rice,” he said.

    The rising flood in Nasarawa State has wrecked and immersed the Olam Rice Farm, which is worth over $15 million.

    The farm has lost over 4,500 hectares of cropping land, according to a statement issued by the company.

    Ade Adefeko, vice president of Olam Nigeria Limited, while explaining the effect of the flooding on their rice farm and its ripple effect on the price of rice, said: “Well, with what happened on October 2, I will tell you that 25 percent of the crop for rice has been taken out. We should expect an increase in rice prices in December. Of course, that goes without saying, because the entire crop has been lost.”

    There are fears among stakeholders in the rice value chain that the flooding that is still wreaking havoc on rice farms in rice-producing areas will affect the harvest. The average Nigerian also fears that rice, the most common staple, may surge during the festive season.

    Emeka, a wholesale rice seller at Boundary market, complained that just last week, local rice (50kg) was sold for N34,000 while foreign rice was sold for N38,000, but this week foreign rice is N40,000-N42,000 per (50kg) while local rice is N37,000-N39,000.

    “The problem we are facing is explaining the jump in price to retailers and consumers,” he said.

    The recent flooding in many parts of the country is expected to worsen the food inflation in the country, especially for major food staples such as rice.

    The National Bureau of Statistics said food inflation accelerated in September for the seventh straight month to 23.34 percent, caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, food products, potatoes, yam, and other tubers, as well as oil and fats.

    In the months ahead, rice may be on the list of food items seen to be pushing up food inflation.

  • Five new varieties to expand India’s Basmati platter

  • Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Director of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) at a paddy field site of Pusa in New Delhi on October 19, 2022. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

    IARI developed five seeds in 2020 and 2021, which are now ready to be used in fields after all trials; these paddy seeds can resist diseases and herbicides

    Five new varieties of seeds of Basmati rice, developed by a group of scientists led by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) Director Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh in 2020 and 2021, are all set to bring revolutionary changes in the way Basmati rice is cultivated in the country.

    Three of the five varieties can resist two common diseases of paddy (one bacterial and one fungal). The other two varieties can save 35% of water as the method of Direct Sowing of Rice (DSR) can be used to raise them. These two seeds are resistant to herbicides too, helping the farmers control weeds more efficiently.

    In the next three years, all of the five seeds will have the combined qualities of disease and herbicide resistance, says Dr. Singh.

    “This is a landmark achievement. We started the research in 2008. This is 100% indigenous revolution using indigenous breeding programmes,” Dr. Singh tells The Hindu. “This will help in increasing farmers’ income by reducing the cost of cultivation, by improving production and by realising price of their labour and input cost. The cost of cultivation will be reduced. It will reduce the use of pesticides and water. If the production is free from residue, it will get better prices,” he explained.

    Export in mind

    India is known for its Basmati rice, with seven States — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — earmarked for geographical indication. Basmati, known for its mouthfeel, aroma, length of the grain when cooked and taste, has a market abroad and brings about ₹30,000 crore foreign exchange every year. While 75% of the export is to West Asian countries, European Union countries also import Indian Basmati. However, recently, the export to EU countries faced certain hurdles due to the increase in the pesticide residue levels in the rice from India.

    Dr. Singh says that over a period of time, as the area of cultivation increased, traditional varieties become susceptible to two major diseases — bacterial leaf blight (BLB) and blast (leaf and collar) diseases caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Pesticides and fungicides used against these diseases increased the residue levels permitted in developed countries.

    “Achieving the permitted levels is very difficult if we are using pesticides for controlling pests. The only way was that we bring in genetic resistance so that we do not have to spray pesticides and fungicides. So, from Pusa Basmati 1121, we developed Pusa Basmati 1885; from Pusa Basmati 1509, we developed Pusa Basmati 1847; Pusa Basmati 1401 was improved to develop Pusa Basmati 1886. All these varieties have two genes to resist BLB and two genes to resist blast disease. Farmers need not use pesticides and it will decrease the cost of farming by ₹3,000 per acre. Because of effective disease control, production will increase and most importantly, there is no question of pesticide residue and our consignments will not be rejected,” Dr. Singh says.

    The IARI provided one kilogram each to about 10,000 farmers in these seven States in 2021. “They had grown these crops during this kharif season. In the last week of September, I travelled 1,500 kilometres to see for myself how the crop is doing and to hear the feedback from farmers. I stayed at the residences of farmers. There is phenomenal response for these varieties. I am hoping that from next year, these varieties will change the scenario of Basmati cultivation and it will directly help in terms of addressing the problem of pesticides residue,” Dr. Singh says, sharing hopes of an increased coverage area in the next crop year. “I have asked farmers to keep this year’s produce for next year as seeds,” he adds.

    The IARI developed Pusa Basmati 1979 and Pusa Basmati 1985 as herbicide tolerant rice by improving the Pusa Basmati 1121 and Pusa Basmati 1509, respectively. The traditional way of paddy cultivation relied on transplanting the plants into a water-filled field midway through the cycle. “Around 3,000 litres of water is required for one kilogram of Basmati rice. This has impacted the groundwater table of States like Punjab and Haryana. We have to change the practice of cultivating transplanted variety of paddy to direct sowing of rice (DSR). Water saving is 35% in DSR and the requirement will be 2,000 litres of water for a kilogram of rice. The second advantage is that the green house gas emission is reduced by 35% as water is not stagnating in this process. Labour cost of transplantation, which is about ₹3,000, is also saved. Overall, saving will be at least ₹4,000 per acre. Just do the sowing in the field and let the crop grow there,” he says.

    However, one of the major problem in the DSR is weeds. Without the water acting as a herbicide, the DSR method allows for lot of weeds to crop up in the field. “So, we transferred a gene that is resistant to a herbicide. So, when farmers spray herbicide, weeds will be killed, not paddy,” he says.

    Process in place

    The first process in developing these two varieties was to do a mutation breeding using a chemical called Ethyl Methanesulfonate (EMS) to identify a variant in the plant that survives the application of herbicide.

    “Last year, we released the seed to farmers on an experimental process. This is a non-genetically modified herbicide-tolerant seed. GM is a good technology but many markets such as European Union doesn’t accept GM rice. We get about ₹8,000 crore from exporting Basmati rice to EU countries. A minor step is incomplete, which is making an application to the Central Insecticide Board’s registration committee to allow us to expand its label claim to this variety. The process may take some time. We have to submit dossiers about the efficacy of the seed. The data has been submitted. We hope that all formalities will be cleared by next crop season. This year, we have done trialling under control. Everything is fine. It provides effective weed control. The cooking quality is also excellent. There is no residue of any kind of herbicides,” Dr. Singh says.

  • Rice exporters unhappy with govt over being neglected in fixed energy rate facility

  • ISLAMABAD: As the government has approved fixed electricity rates for selected export sectors of the country to facilitate exporters, the rice exporters have expressed their concern that despite being a major contributor, the rice sector has been neglected.

    Through a notification issued here on October 19, 2022, the Ministry of Energy has fixed the electricity rate for the five export-oriented industries including textiles, leather, carpet, surgical and sports goods.

    According to Taufiq Ahmed, former Vice President of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), the sector, despite contributing $2.5 billion in the exports of the country, was not included in the fixed energy facility.

    “Even sectors having less than the contribution of rice in exports have been included in the list. Unfortunately we, despite competing, India, the major competitor, have been neglected,” he said, adding that the export of rice could go up to $3 billion if the sector is given the due attention.

    “The rice exporters are now facing the huge challenge of competing with India in the international market as the exporters in neighboring countries comparatively enjoy good crops, stable currency and lower rate of dollar. We are unfortunately expecting a setback under the prevailing situation,” the rice exporter claimed.

    As per the notification of the ministry of energy, the energy rate, “Regionally Competitive Energy Rates for Export Oriented Sectors” would be available for the exporter from October 1 to June 2023.

    Earlier, the Ministry of Commerce, through a summary had requested ECC to approve the fixed Rs 19.99/kWh all-inclusive rate for the five sectors. The same was approved by ECC on October 10, 2022. Following the approval from ECC and cabinet the ministry of energy has asked all DISCOs (including K-Electric) to provide electricity on fixed rate to the five sectors.

    Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mohammad Ishaq Dar had announced the relief measure, saying that the finance ministry would bear around Rs100 billion for the period of one year, which was the difference of actual and subsidized rate.

    Earlier, the government provided the electricity at the rate of US 9 cents, which was to continue only for two months.

    Dar claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government had provided Rs147 billion targeted relief or Duty Drawback to exporters back in 2017, and resultantly the exports were increased by 12.7 percent.

  • Rice Market Update: Challenges Abound to Market New Crop…

  • Rice Market Update: Challenges Abound to Market New Crop, Cover Production Costs

    With harvest now almost complete, the long grain industry finds itself on a precipice and is not entirely sure where to go next. Paddy prices remain firm, but the spot market is not as active as most producers expected it to be post-harvest. That’s because the largest milled market for U.S. rice is getting worse with each passing day, as it’s nearly impossible to unload a vessel in Haiti right now—even for NGOs trying to help the people in crisis.

    If we look at paddy exports as a bright spot, the U.S. continues to lose market share in Mexico to other origins from South America, namely Brazil. The 80,000 metric tons of Iraq business that has been keeping mills busy was for old crops, and the milling is winding down.

    The domestic market has been the steady savior, but with both Haiti and Iraq in the wings and prices that are significantly higher than the competition, it will be an interesting year marketing this crop.

    After considerable delay and debate in Mexico, the federal government published details of their recent Anti-Inflationary Program that has been reported previously in the Rice Advocate. However, it remains unclear as to the treatment for rice and in the meantime, the length decree (link below) is being interpreted as no real change. Any Mexican company with importing history can access the license while the duty exemption is valid only for paddy rice.

    The Mexican federal government decree that exempts the payment of import tariff and administrative facilities are granted to various goods of the basic basket and supplies that are indicated. The decree can be found here. A new USDA Gain report on the decree is forthcoming.

    These are the factors that don’t even take into account the rising value of the dollar making U.S. exports more expensive, which further depresses our ability to be price competitive with our Western Hemisphere counterparts. Trade is not a focus of the current White House Administration, therefore significant headwinds prevail in developing new markets and sustaining existing ones.

    On the ground, Texas prices are holding firm at $17/$18, however with limited activity. The same goes for Louisiana where prices are at $17. Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri are all competing for barge space that is limited by low water on the Mississippi River, with prices at $16/$17.

    In Asia, the market is holding steady as well. It continues to be an anomaly that rice prices have not experienced the same wild volatility that most other food grains have. Thai 100% B is quoted anywhere from $415-$425 pmt this week, right in line with previous weeks. Vietnamese 5% is pegged at $430 pmt, which is also in line. India remains at $380 pmt, which has been the “new” price since making their tariff announcement.

    The weekly USDA export sales report shows net sales of 11,200 mt this week, down 13% to Colombia (10,400 MT), Canada (400 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), Mexico (200 MT), the Netherlands (100 MT), and Micronesia (100 MT). Exports of 7,100 MT were dismal as well, down 87% and headed primarily to Canada (2,400 MT), Mexico (1,900 MT), Jordan (1,000 MT), the United Kingdom (900 MT), and Saudi Arabia (500 MT).

    The futures market was active this week, with average daily volume jumping 16% up to 1,448. Open Interest also bumped 4.22% up to 8,289.

  • India rice export curbs to end a decade of price stability

  • MUMBAI: India’s recent curbs on rice exports could trigger a rally in global prices after more than a decade of stability, traders said, as New Delhi’s protectionist move coincides with falling output in other major producers and rising global demand.

    Uneven monsoon rains hit rice planting in India, prompting the export restrictions in September, and floods have cut output in Pakistan even as consumption has grown in top importers such as Bangladesh and the Philippines. That’s why forecasters are saying global demand will outstrip production in 2022-23.

    This is bad for Asian and African countries that use rice as a staple, some of which import as much as 60pc of their supply.

    Since India - the world’s biggest rice exporter - banned exports of broken rice and slapped a 20pc export tax on some non-basmati varieties, global rice prices have jumped more than 10pc. Last month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s global rice price index rose 2.2pc to hit an 18-month high.

    “The international market has gone up and it will go up further,” said Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India’s rice business.

    Governments worldwide had already been struggling to tame food inflation because of Covid-19 disruptions to production and supply chains, and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine removed millions of tonnes of foodstuffs from global markets, pushing inflation to a record earlier this year.

    Still, before India implemented its export curbs a few months ago, industry and government officials in Asia were saying rice prices would hold steady due to ample stocks.

    Rice, unlike wheat, was insulated from the Russia-Ukraine war as neither country is a big producer, and supplies of the grain had remained relatively steady during the Covid-related disruptions for other foodstuffs.

    Now, however, top exporters Thailand and Vietnam sit on insufficient inventories to make up for India’s curb on exports and widespread output losses. Global rice inventories could fall to their lowest in at least five years in 2023, three global traders said, citing internal assessments.

    “Since India cornered 40pc of the global trade, it’s not easy for others to replace falling Indian shipments when demand is rising from leading importers,” Gupta said.

    The US Agriculture Department (USDA) has cut its global rice production estimate for 2022-23 to 508 million tonnes, the lowest in four years. Just a month ago, the agency was expecting output for the year at 512 million tonnes.

    Some top global trading houses, though, expect a sharper fall to around 500 million tonnes because of the extreme weather conditions that threaten crop yields in countries such as China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    In India, dry weather conditions delayed the sowing of rice, with many farmers not planting the crop at all, and then torrential rains damaged ripening paddy fields, raising concerns about food inflation.

    India’s summer-sown rice output is likely to fall to 105 million tonnes in 2022-23, down 6pc, the farm ministry said in September, and private traders estimate it could fall as low as 100 million tonnes.

    Published in Dawn, October 23th, 2022

  • Rice exporters get advantage

  • India’s recent curbs on rice exports provides Pakistan with opening

    “The quality of our super basmati rice is far superior in aroma, taste and length compared to Indian basmati rice. We have an edge,” says UNISAME President, Zulfikar Thaver. photo: file

    KARACHI:

    Climate disaster, in the South Asian agro-based economies of India and Pakistan, has started to disturb the international rice market dynamics that have remained stable for decades.

    On one hand, Pakistani basmati prices are feared to decrease on account of the depreciating Indian rupee against the dollar. On the other hand, India’s recent curbs on rice exports could provide an opportunity to Pakistani exporters to cash in on the lowered supply from their neighbouring competitor country.

    Rice Market Expert, Hamid Malik believes, “Pakistani basmati is facing strong tail and headwinds this October.”

    “The Pakistani Basmati Paddy 1509 is experiencing strong headwinds due to the rapidly depreciating Indian rupee, which has lost almost 7% value in just 30 days against the US dollar, going from INR79.8 to 83.04,” he explained.

    “In the last week of September, Basmati 1509 started with a price above Rs4,000 per 40 kilograms. In two weeks, prices came down to Rs3,200 for a short period but then started going up and the same is now being traded at Rs3,525-Rs3,700,” he explained.

    Meanwhile, he noted, “Indian basmati 1509 prices also started on a high note at INR3,800-INR3,900 per quintal but came down to INR2,900 to INR3,000 – $380 per tonne as compared to the Pakistan 1509 Paddy at $366 per tonne – $14 per tonne less than the Indian basmati.”

    “Now, in India, the price of 1509 has inched up a little since last week to $397 per tonne while the price of the Pakistani 1509 stands at Rs 3,550 per 40 kilograms, which is between $403-412 per tonne,” he added.

    Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) President, Zulfikar Thaver emphasised that “the quality of our super basmati rice is far superior to Indian basmati rice. Pakistani basmati has more aroma and a better taste and length, which is a natural blessing. Because of this, we have an edge and even our 1121 has aroma which the Indian 1121 lacks.”

    “We are in a position to overcome the Indian rupee depreciation because even our rupee has depreciated and our exporters are getting more rupees to a dollar. Even before the depreciation of the rupee, we were getting a better price as compared to India in the international markets. Nevertheless, our exporters and TDAP must make serious efforts for more penetration in the global markets and we need to improve our strategies, including our packing,” Thaver said.

    Commenting on potential roadblocks, Malik said, “Pakistan miller’s dilemma is that the 1509 crop looks shorter than expected even though our per acre production is 10-12% higher than last year. And supplies of 1509 from growers are drying up but will be available from stock or commission agents.”

    Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) Vice President, Ahmad Jawad argued, “On the flip side, the Indian curb can trigger a rally in global prices after more than a decade of stability as New Delhi’s protectionist move coincides with falling output in other major producers and rising global demand.”

    “Uneven monsoon rains hit rice plantings in India, prompting the export restrictions in September, and floods have cut output in Pakistan even as consumption has grown in top importers such as Bangladesh and the Philippines. That’s why forecasters are saying global demand will outstrip production in 2022/23,”
    he added.

    “The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cut its global rice production estimate for 2022/23 to 508 million tonnes, the lowest in four years. Just a month ago, the USDA was expecting output for the year at 512 million tonnes,” noted Jawad.

    The PBF VP, however, expects a sharper fall to around 500 million tonnes because of the extreme weather conditions threatening crop yields in countries like China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    “In India, dry weather conditions delayed the sowing of rice, with many farmers not planting the crop at all, and then torrential rains damaged ripening paddy fields, raising concerns about food inflation,” he explained.

    “Pakistan produces around 8.9 million tonnes of rice annually, whereas only four million tonnes are consumed in the country, leaving the rest for export. Therefore, India’s ban offers a lucrative opportunity for Pakistan to expand its rice exports and fetch better prices,” he encouraged.

    Given the recent floods in Pakistan, Jawad said, “The floods washed away millions of acres of standing rice crops in Sindh and Punjab, with total crop losses estimated at around 2.2 million tonnes, most of which are non-Basmati (coarse) varieties.”

    “Pakistan could opt for a cautious policy allowing the unabated export of Basmati rice, hoping to meet 750,000 tonnes of export, but restrict the export of non-basmati (coarse) rice at two million tonnes,” suggested the PBF VP.

    Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2022.

  • State takes up cultivation of at least 25 indigenous varieties of rice

  • KOLKATA: At a time when indigenous varieties of rice are scarce in Bengalee platter, the West Bengal Biodiversity Board (WBBB) has taken up measures for the cultivation of some of these indigenous rice varieties following 100 per cent scientific process of cultivation. There was a time when there was around 5,500 indigenous paddy varieties in Bengal. The WBBB has gone door-to-door of farmers who are into paddy cultivation for several decades and has collected 250 variety paddy seeds from different parts of the state which are expected to be viable. Seed banks with 250 types have been developed at five places in the state namely Bolpur in Birbhum, Hirbandh in Bankura, Joygopalpur and Kultali in South 24-Parganas and Dantan in East Midnapore.
    Out of these, 25 types have been taken up for cultivation spreading across 130 bighas of land by involving 90 farmers. The Calcutta University researchers in the allied field have collaborated with the Board in this initiative. "We have adopted non-inorganic agriculture for the cultivation of these indigenous varieties by using microbial fertiliser. The farmers have been trained on how to use this fertiliser and it has been found that the cost of cultivation has been reduced by one-fifth," Dr Himadri Sekhar Debnath, Chairman of WBBB said. According to a senior official of WBBB, the idea of reviving traditional varieties of rice, vegetable pulses, fruits, medicinal plants etc had cropped up after the Board developed the People's Biodiversity Register (PBR) that equipped it with traditional practices and bioresources.
    Many of these indigenous varieties that are on the revival path and are likely to make a comeback in the platter of the Bengalee who are known for their cravings for aromatic rice varieties include Kabiraj sal of Midnapore that dates back to 1865 as per literature while Danaguri of Bankura dates back to the 19th century. Kabiraj sal is rich in food value with high content zinc, iron and Vitamin B. It was a variety of rice that was prescribed by doctors of yesteryears popularly known as Kabiraj when people would fall sick. Danaguri is a sweet variety and is more aromatic than even Gobindo Bhog. "These two varieties have already been approved by the top brass at Nabanna. So we are going for large-scale cultivation and are also working on developing the market link for these varieties," a senior official of WBBB said. Farmers in Basanti in South 24-Parganas have evinced interest to take up the cultivation of indigenous paddy in 800 bigha land.


  • Ban on rice export continues in Egypt to cover local needs

  • The Egyptian government announced the continuation of the ban on the export of rice abroad in order to secure the needs of the local market, while tightening control over the ports.

    The Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stressed the need to continue working to secure the needs of Egyptians for strategic goods for a period of six months, in light of the economic crisis in the world due to the Russian-Ukrainian war that threatens the food security of several countries.

    The Egyptian Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali al-Moselhy also confirmed that the ministry was working to provide rice and various basic commodities to enhance food security.

    The ministry works to provide rice in various consumer complexes nationwide to contribute to reducing its prices in the local market, as the price of rice reached LE10 per kilogram in the ministry-affiliated complexes.

    He stressed that local production of rice covers the needs of citizens throughout the year.

    Private mills were allowed to participate in the rice supply process which resulted in an increase in the proceeds of rice supplied by farmers for the benefit of the Supply Commodities Authority, he said.

    The proceeds of rice supply so far amounted to 140,000 tons of rice, since the beginning of the harvest season, which continues until the middle of the December, he pointed out.

    The number of private mills participating in rice supply amounted to 65 percent of the number of the total mills in the country, which contributed to an increase in supply.

    Moselhy said that the Ministry of Supply aims to receive 1.5 million tons of barley rice during the current season, explaining that the ministry provides all possible facilities to receive barley rice from farmers, with the payment of suppliers’ dues in a period not exceeding 48 hours.

  • PM gives 500 tonnes of rice to flood-hit families

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses flood victims during his visit in Banteay Meanchey province on October 23. SPM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on October 23 delivered more than 500 tonnes of rice seeds to more than 5,000 households affected by floods in Banteay Meanchey province, and asked agriculture specialists to provide technical instruction to farmers, to ensure that their harvests are as successful as possible.

    This is the latest batch of the thousands of tonnes of rice seeds recently distributed by the government to farmers affected by flooding.

    Speaking at the handover ceremony in Banteay Meanchey, Hun Sen noted that Tina had inspected afflicted fields himself in several provinces and had also distributed rice seeds to farmers.

    He said Tina had informed him that the rice seeds given to farmers had grown well, but he had discovered that some fields had been sown with too many seeds, which was an indicator that farmers would benefit from instruction by experts.

    “Some rice fields are just 1ha, which means they need just 50kg of seed. Some farmers had used up to 100kg, which is far too many. This is one part of the issue. Another aspect is the inefficient use of fertiliser.

    “I hope the new agriculture minister will use this opportunity to conduct research and send technical consultants out into the field to work with our farmers. They should be able to make more efficient use of seeds and fertiliser. This way, their incomes should grow,” he said.

    As of October 22, he said the government had distributed a total of 7,000 tonnes of rice seeds. They had been reserved for farmers in case of natural disasters and paid for with the national budget.

    “I’m sure people are aware that the government is always prepared to assist with financial intervention in cases of flood or drought,” he said.

    Hun Sen added that he had reserved 100 tonnes of milled rice and $100,000 to distribute to other affected areas.

    Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Um Reatrey said that in the month from September 20 to October 20, eight district-level localities had been affected: Sisophon and Poipet towns, and Mongkol Borei, Phnom Srok, Preah Netr Preah, O’Chrov, Thma Puok and Malai districts.

    He noted that more than 10,000 households had been affected, with 30,000ha of rice and 20,000ha of other crops inundated. The flooding killed four people and nearly 3,000 head of cattle.

    Ngin Chhay, head of the agriculture ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, met with farmers to assess their productivity. He said his evaluation of farmers’ expenses will lead to a reduction in unnecessary expenditure, which should improve their profit margins. He also shared some of his expertise on the use of fertilisers and pesticide.

  • India rice export curbs to end a decade of price stability

  • MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: India’s recent curbs on rice exports could trigger a rally in global prices after more than a decade of stability, traders said, as New Delhi’s protectionist move coincides with falling output in other major producers and rising global demand.

    Uneven monsoon rains hit rice planting in India, prompting the export restrictions in September, and floods have cut output in Pakistan even as consumption has grown in top importers such as Bangladesh and the Philippines.

    That’s why forecasters are saying global demand will outstrip production in 2022/23.

    This is bad for Asian and African countries that use rice as a staple, some of which import as much as 60% of their supply.

    Since India - the world’s biggest rice exporter - banned exports of broken rice and slapped a 20% export tax on some non-basmati varieties, global rice prices have jumped more than 10%.

    Last month, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s global rice price index rose 2.2% to hit an 18-month high.

    “The international market has gone up and it will go up further,” said Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India’s rice business.

    Governments worldwide had already been struggling to tame food inflation because of COVID-19 disruptions to production and supply chains, and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine removed millions of tonnes of foodstuffs from global markets, pushing inflation to a record earlier this year.

    Still, before India implemented its export curbs a few months ago, industry and government officials in Asia were saying rice prices would hold steady due to ample stocks.

    Rice, unlike wheat, was insulated from the Russia-Ukraine war as neither country is a big producer, and supplies of the grain had remained relatively steady during the COVID-related disruptions for other foodstuffs.

    Now, however, top exporters Thailand and Vietnam sit on insufficient inventories to make up for India’s curb on exports and widespread output losses.

    Global rice inventories could fall to their lowest in at least five years in 2023, three global traders said, citing internal assessments. “Since India cornered 40% of the global trade, it’s not easy for others to replace falling Indian shipments when demand is rising from leading importers,” Gupta said.

    Output forecasts lowered

    The US Agriculture Department (USDA) has cut its global rice production estimate for 2022/23 to 508 million tonnes, the lowest in four years. Just a month ago, the agency was expecting output for the year at 512 million tonnes.

    Some top global trading houses, though, expect a sharper fall to around 500 million tonnes because of the extreme weather conditions that threaten crop yields in countries such as China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    In India, dry weather conditions delayed the sowing of rice, with many farmers not planting the crop at all, and then torrential rains damaged ripening paddy fields, raising concerns about food inflation.

    India’s summer-sown rice output is likely to fall to 105 million tonnes in 2022/23, down 6%, the farm ministry said in September, and private traders estimate it could fall as low as 100 million tonnes.

    Rice output in China, biggest consumer of the grain, could drop 2.9% from a year ago to 206 million tonnes due to higher temperatures and drought in some rice-growing regions, according Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd, a consultancy.

    This is a big change from last year, when India’s record 21.2 million tonnes of rice exports - 30% cheaper than rival suppliers - helped cap global prices while other food commodities soared due to supply disruptions. After the September curb, India’s rice exports are set to fall by around a quarter this year.

    Falling down in asia

    Almost all top producers are beset with lower rice output, and global demand will likely outstrip supply, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of India’s Rice Exporters Association.

    India’s export restrictions have helped rival suppliers Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar increase their sales, but they have limited surplus stocks for exports, Rao said.

    Vietnam’s unmilled rice output is forecast to hold flat to last year’s 43 million tonnes, according to government data.

    Neighbouring Thailand is aiming to export 7.5 million tonnes this year, up about 7% from its previous target of 7 million tonnes, said Anucha Burapachaisri, a government spokesman.

    Together the two can add no more than an extra 2 million tonnes of rice to fill the void left by India, traders said.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan cannot capitalise on India’s export curbs after severe flooding ravaged its crop.

    Its rice output could fall 18% to 7.4 million tonnes, according to the USDA.

    Other Asian producers such as China, Bangladesh and the Philippines were, like India, hit by unfavourable weather conditions, including drought, flooding, typhoons and cyclones.

    “The exceptional confluence of events in Asia will badly hit consumers in many parts of the world and many poor consumers will have to either buy far more expensive, superior grades or go without rice,” said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India’s biggest rice exporter.

    “The choice will be difficult.”

  • Rice fields in California look more like dust fields thanks to drought

  • SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This time of year, rice farmers like Elise Nelson get to see the results of many long hours spent tending to their crops.

    “We’re very excited to get it to where it is today. Where you can see the harvesters and all of the equipment working behind us,” Elise said.

    But this year, as the California enters its third year of drought, many fields that are usually full of rice resemble dust bowls.

    “It is difficult to see that because, you know, behind every fallowed field there’s a family, and there’s employees. And, I think I mentioned, the chain before of other families, and other industries and other businesses that rely on that grain being there and being planted every year.”

    Elise’s farm is in Yolo County, where the U.S. Department of Agriculture says compared to last year, there are 5,700 fewer acres planted. While in neighboring Colusa County, 63,800 acres have been left unplanted.

    The USDA said over half the state’s rice fields this year are unplanted. The majority of those fields are in the Sacramento valley, where much of the country’s sushi rice comes from. The California Rice Commission reports rice contributes over $5 billion to the state’s economy a year.

    “We just do feel fortunate that we were able to plant as much of our ground as we were able to do,” Elise said.

    The Central Valley has lost over 90% of its natural wetlands due mainly to dams. Avian ecologist Kristin Sesser said rice fields have become important food sources for millions of migratory birds.

    “Rice fields act like surrogate wetlands to some extent. Because they’re flooded in the summer and some in the winter. There is waste rice in those fields, there also quite a few invertebrates,” Kristin said.

    There is the danger the drought could march on into a fourth year.

    And why Elise says they are constantly introducing new farming methods.

    “Leveling the fields to provide water efficiency across an entire field to utilizing varieties of rice that are more water efficient.”

    Techniques crucial Elise said to all who benefit from the harvest.

  • Analysis: India rice export curbs to end a decade of price stability

  • MUMBAI/NEW DELHI, Oct 21 (Reuters) - India's recent curbs on rice exports could trigger a rally in global prices after more than a decade of stability, traders said, as New Delhi's protectionist move coincides with falling output in other major producers and rising global demand.

    Uneven monsoon rains hit rice planting in India, prompting the export restrictions in September, and floods have cut output in Pakistan even as consumption has grown in top importers such as Bangladesh and the Philippines. That's why forecasters are saying global demand will outstrip production in 2022/23.

    This is bad for Asian and African countries that use rice as a staple, some of which import as much as 60% of their supply.

    Since India - the world's biggest rice exporter - banned exports of broken rice and slapped a 20% export tax on some non-basmati varieties, global rice prices have jumped more than 10%. Last month, the Food and Agriculture Organization's global rice price index rose 2.2% to hit an 18-month high.

    "The international market has gone up and it will go up further," said Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India's rice business.

    Governments worldwide had already been struggling to tame food inflation because of COVID-19 disruptions to production and supply chains, and then Russia's invasion of Ukraine removed millions of tonnes of foodstuffs from global markets, pushing inflation to a record earlier this year.

    Still, before India implemented its export curbs a few months ago, industry and government officials in Asia were saying rice prices would hold steady due to ample stocks.

    Rice, unlike wheat, was insulated from the Russia-Ukraine war as neither country is a big producer, and supplies of the grain had remained relatively steady during the COVID-related disruptions for other foodstuffs.

    Now, however, top exporters Thailand and Vietnam sit on insufficient inventories to make up for India's curb on exports and widespread output losses. Global rice inventories could fall to their lowest in at least five years in 2023, three global traders said, citing internal assessments.

    "Since India cornered 40% of the global trade, it's not easy for others to replace falling Indian shipments when demand is rising from leading importers," Gupta said.

    Reuters Graphics

    OUTPUT FORECASTS LOWERED

    The U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) has cut its global rice production estimate for 2022/23 to 508 million tonnes, the lowest in four years. Just a month ago, the agency was expecting output for the year at 512 million tonnes.

    Some top global trading houses, though, expect a sharper fall to around 500 million tonnes because of the extreme weather conditions that threaten crop yields in countries such as China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    In India, dry weather conditions delayed the sowing of rice, with many farmers not planting the crop at all, and then torrential rains damaged ripening paddy fields, raising concerns about food inflation.

    India's summer-sown rice output is likely to fall to 105 million tonnes in 2022/23, down 6%, the farm ministry said in September, and private traders estimate it could fall as low as 100 million tonnes.

    Rice output in China, biggest consumer of the grain, could drop 2.9% from a year ago to 206 million tonnes due to higher temperatures and drought in some rice-growing regions, according Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd, a consultancy.

    This is a big change from last year, when India's record 21.2 million tonnes of rice exports - 30% cheaper than rival suppliers - helped cap global prices while other food commodities soared due to supply disruptions.

    After the September curb, India's rice exports are set to fall by around a quarter this year.

    FALLING DOWN IN ASIA

    Almost all top producers are beset with lower rice output, and global demand will likely outstrip supply, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of India's Rice Exporters Association.

    India's export restrictions have helped rival suppliers Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar increase their sales, but they have limited surplus stocks for exports, Rao said.

    Reuters Graphics
    Reuters Graphics

    Vietnam's unmilled rice output is forecast to hold flat to last year's 43 million tonnes, according to government data.

    Neighbouring Thailand is aiming to export 7.5 million tonnes this year, up about 7% from its previous target of 7 million tonnes, said Anucha Burapachaisri, a government spokesman.

    Together the two can add no more than an extra 2 million tonnes of rice to fill the void left by India, traders said.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan cannot capitalise on India's export curbs after severe flooding ravaged its crop. Its rice output could fall 18% to 7.4 million tonnes, according to the USDA.

    Other Asian producers such as China, Bangladesh and the Philippines were, like India, hit by unfavourable weather conditions, including drought, flooding, typhoons and cyclones.

    "The exceptional confluence of events in Asia will badly hit consumers in many parts of the world and many poor consumers will have to either buy far more expensive, superior grades or go without rice," said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India's biggest rice exporter.

    "The choice will be difficult."

    Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; Additional reporting by Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok, Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila, and Dominique Patton in Beijing; Editing by Tom Hogue

  • Australia backs over AU$5 million for rice production in Mekong Delta

  • The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has launched a sustainable rice value chain project in the delta as a public-private partnership (PPP), according to Senator Tim Ayres, assistant minister for Trade and Manufacturing of Australia.

    The Australia-funded project is operated by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research and Sunrise, one of Australia’s largest branded food exporters, with an investment of over AU$5 million.

    The universities of An Giang and Can Tho and the Cuu Long Delta Research Institute are participating in this project that will be carried out in the provinces of An Giang, Kien Giang and Dong Thap.

    The cultivation land is set to cover one million hectares, joined by 1.5 million farm households in four years, from 2022 to 2025.

    At the launch event on October 19, Senator Tim Ayres said that it was the first project to be implemented in the Mekong Delta in the form of PPP.

    He added that Vietnam ranked third among the world’s biggest rice exporters, with over 53% of the country’s rice exports coming from the delta. The project was meant to offer mutual cooperation in learning for sustainable development.

    The representative of Sunrise shared that the project’s purpose was to encourage the implementation of sustainable rice production among co-operatives and farmers in terms of fertilizing, irrigating and minimizing production costs.

    Le Thanh Tung, deputy director of the Crop Production Department under the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, said that agriculture production in Vietnam had been facing several challenges amid climate change, and has to seek new adaptations to boost productivity.

    Source: Saigon Times

  • Rice season kicks off in wet conditions

  • Rice paddocks have had a drenching in recent weeks, which has made preparations difficult for many growers who would normally have their ground ready by now.

    Planting of the 2023 calendar year rice crop is traditionally due to begin this month, but with the constant wet weather experienced during the first fortnight of October, many growers are having a delayed start to the season.

    Others, however, have been able to get their seed in the ground and make the most of breaks in the rain.

    In the current wet conditions, rice is once again demonstrating its resilience and suitability to the variable seasonal conditions experienced in the Riverina.

    SunRice Group Chairman Laurie Arthur said, “As we look ahead to planting for the CY23 Riverina crop, conditions are favourable”.

    “Water availability and water pricing ($10/ML in the Murray Valley) are at ideal levels for rice production and should underpin another large crop.

    “The SunRice Group is offering both fixed price contracts for limited volumes of particular varieties, and a pool for the CY23 crop, which will be planted from October 2022.

    “We’ve received consistent feedback from growers that they value both fixed price contracts and a pool, and we’re pleased to once again provide both options for the upcoming season.”

    Seed orders for the coming planting season have also opened.

    Below are the prices for particular varieties in the fixed price contract offer:

    VarietyCY23 varieties pricing
    Reiziq$420/mt
    V071$420/mt
    Sherpa$420/mt

    V071 is again being offered to growers, alongside Reiziq, and Sherpa is being offered at the same price in the fixed price contract offer, whereas last year it had a discount to base medium grain Reiziq.

    The SunRice Group has identified strong market demand for Sherpa, particularly given the drought in key Northern Hemisphere supply countries, and is seeking increased volumes to meet that demand.

    CY22 was the first year in which V071 was grown at commercial levels with outstanding results.

    Hopefully this will be repeated under conditions presented to growers in the coming season.

    Reiziq, our proven bold medium grain variety, will continue to be available this season, along with Viand.

    Below are the premiums to base medium grain which will also be offered for specialty varieties in the CY23 pool:

    VarietyCY23 varieties pricing
    ReiziqBase
    V071/Viand/SherpaFlat
    Opus+$20/mt
    Langi+$75/mt
    Topaz+$110/mt
    Koshihikari+$165/mt

    The SunRice Group is unable to disclose an estimated range for the pool at this stage, given the ongoing uncertainty in global markets, specifically related to such factors as foreign exchange rates, world rice prices, conditions in end markets and ongoing disruption and volatility in global shipping and supply chains.

    It will continue to monitor these factors and provide an estimated range to growers when practicable.

    Processing and marketing of the crop is due to run from May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024.

  • Butter, beef and basmati: The supermarket staples driving up cost of weekly shop

  • Food prices are rising at the fastest rate in 42 years

    The cost of food and drink has increased at its sharpest rate since 1980, with surges in the prices of many key items in the average household’s shopping basket.

    The rise in the cost of groceries has been accelerated by the war in Ukraine, which has pushed up the cost of fertiliser and animal feed due to the impact on grain supply from the region.

    Global meat prices have jumped as a result, while the knock-on effect to oil production in the regions has also hit the price of sunflower oil and other fats. Food and drink prices have also been affected by the recent weakness in the pound, which has caused more expensive imported products and ingredients.

    Consumer Price Index inflation rose back rose to 10.1 per cent in September, matching July’s 40-year high, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The increase was driven partly by soaring food prices, which rose at their fastest rate since 1980.

    Karen Betts, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “Food and drink manufacturers continue to do everything they can to keep product prices down, but huge rises in ingredient, raw material, energy and other costs mean they have no choice but to pass some price rises on.”

    The Independent compared food prices in Tesco today to 1 April to see how the cost of everyday essentials has changed in the past six months.

    Beef mince: up 47%

    Meat prices are up globally due to the war in Ukraine as essential animal-rearing products such as fertiliser and animal feed have shot up, forcing supermarkets to increase prices to offset rising costs.

    According to our Tesco shop, a 500g pack of beef mince rose 47 per cent from £2.85 to £4.20 in the six months from April to October. This will be a price increase that many families will feel when doing the weekly shop to prepare meals.

    Basmati rice: up 46%

    Also seeing a steep increase by our shop was basmati rice. A 2kg packet was £2.05 in April but is now £3.00. The UK imports its rice primarily from India and Pakistan so the falling value of the pound would definitely impact the price of rice on supermarket shelves across the country.

    Butter: up 37%

    Given the rising price of cooking oil and other fats due to the Ukraine conflict, there are no surprises that the price of butter saw a steep increase in our shop. Disruption in the region and limitations on exporting produce puts pressure on supply chains, driving up prices for the average supermarket shopper.

    A 400g packet of Bertolli butter was £2.55 in April but shot up 37 per cent since April to £3.50.

    Milk: up 19%

    Milk, an essential shopping item for cereal, tea and cooking, also saw a steep increase in our shop as the price of a 4-pint carton increased almost 20 per cent in just six months. Priced at £1.30 in April, the cost in October is £1.55.

    Cereal: up 10%

    A box of Nesquik cereal was also subject to price increases – again due to the rising price of grain because of the war in Ukraine. The cost of a box of cereal went from £2.40 in April to £2.65 in October. A price increase of 10 per cent, or 25p in cash terms, which may not be significant as one item but will be felt within the total of an overall shopping bill.

    Pasta: up 20%

    Another cooking essential – pasta – also saw a noticeable price increase of 20 per cent from April to October. As the UK imports almost all of its pasta from Italy, a weakening pound would have a knock-on effect on prices.

    The price in April for a 500g packet went from 75p to 90p in October. This is an essential shopping item for many households and families will feel the pinch of this increase.

    Bread: up 4%

    The price of bread also saw an increase in our shop. Grain exports have been hard hit by the war in Ukraine needing interventions from other countries to broker a peace deal allowing flow to resume.

    This would have been felt by supermarkets, hence the increase for customers. An 800g bag of whole grain bread was £1.15 in April but has now risen slightly to £1.20.

    Eggs: up 4%

    Eggs also saw a similarly small increase in price – a rise of 4 per cent from April to October according to our shop. The price of six medium free-range eggs in April was £1.10, but this has now risen to £1.15.

    Bananas: down 44%

    Shoppers will be pleased to know that the supermarket shop isn’t all doom and gloom. There were some price decreases in our shop. Loose bananas priced at 25p in April dropped to 14p in October.

    Sweet potatoes: down 24%

    A bag of sweet potatoes was priced at £1.30 in April but that dropped to £0.99 in October – down 24 per cent.

    Baked beans: no change

    However, some prices have stayed the same throughout. The price of a can of baked beans stayed the same between April and October in our shop: 40p for a tin of Tesco own brand.

  • Rwanda to increase scale of land for rice production

  • The government of Rwanda has announced plans to improve rice production through increasing scale of land on which it’s grown by 5,000 hectares.

    Director General of Agriculture Value Chain Management and Trade at the Ministry of Agriculture, Octave Nshimiyimana revealed the plans and said the government is in the process of allocating the additional 5000 hectares.

    “We are set to increase the scale of land through incoming projects by preparing more marshlands to meet local demand. The 5000 hectares will be allocated in different districts, including Kayonza, Nyagatare and part of Rusizi Districts among others,” said Nshimiyimana.

    Rice production

    Rice is a priority food crop in Rwanda. With an average productivity of 5.8 t /Ha, rice is grown over 12,400 Ha of marshlands in two seasons which makes around 80,000 MT per year. Although there has been a rapid rise in rice production in the past decade, the country has not yet achieved self-sufficiency.

    Rwanda annually imports an average of 26,736 t of milled rice. Furthermore, the quality of locally produced rice lags behind that of imported rice. Thus Rwanda’s rice sector is confronted with how to sustainably raise both the production and quality of locally grown rice to meet the consumer demands.

    “There are a lot of issues around rice farming which have so far been addressed but we are learning how production of rice and quality can be increased for local factories and have a significant impact on farmers,” said Laurent Ndagijimana the head of the Rwanda Forum of Rice Mill (RFRM).

  • India’s rice farmers find themselves on front line of water crisis

  • The country is struggling to wean itself off subsidies that encourage overuse

    Paddy fields in Kerala. Changing monsoon patterns have made life harder for India’s farmers © Rebecca Conway/Getty Images

    India’s “green revolution” in the 1960s was hailed globally for combining policy and scientific advances in agriculture — bringing food security to the newly independent country. A surge in yields and production of staple crops, such as rice and wheat, helped prevent the famines that had blighted the country under British colonial rule. But the intensification of Indian farming in the decades since has spawned a series of challenges of its own, from chemical pollution to price distortion. One of the greatest of all is unsustainable water use. India, with a population of 1.4bn, is among the most water-stressed countries in the world. A report from the government’s NITI Aayog think-tank in 2019 estimated that 600mn Indians faced “high to extreme water stress”, and warned that 21 big cities — including the capital New Delhi — would run out of groundwater in a matter of years. With about half the workforce employed in agriculture, this poses a huge challenge, not just to farmers but also to the economy as a whole. Indian authorities are aware of the challenge. Prime minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly called on citizens “to save every drop of water” that they can. “We should use water sparingly, like a sacred offering,” he said in an address released on World Water Day in March this year. However, the magnitude of the task has stumped policymakers, economists and environmentalists alike. India’s farmers, despite their vulnerability to water stress, often depend on a series of incentives and subsidies that encourage them to grow water-intensive crops, like rice. For example, many receive free electricity that allows them to pump water from the ground, which depletes groundwater levels. These farmers also depend on the annual monsoon — the rainy season that sweeps across the subcontinent between June and September. Yet climate change has made these rains more volatile, triggering unpredictable combinations of intense flooding and droughts. Historic flooding in Pakistan this year, for example, devastated crops in the south of the country, while farmers in already dry regions face intensifying water stress. “India is short of water and has a highly water insecure future,” says Karan Manral, a farmer and writer on agriculture. “What we’re seeing already is a form of climate chaos. What are the monsoon or water patterns going to be? I’m not sure I’ve read anything that has a clue about how the climate lottery is going to work out for any place.”

    Climate chaos: floods in some areas — such as these in Assam in June — coincide with water shortages elsewhere © David Talukdar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Amid this backdrop, authorities, non-governmental organisations and the private sector are all scrambling for solutions. At one end of the spectrum, venture capitalists and investors have poured money into start-ups that promote technological solutions, such as hydroponics — a highly water-efficient method of growing plants without soil. But many dismiss such approaches as too expensive for mass use. “It may be great in a very urban place, in New York City, where land is so expensive,” Manral says. “But, if you say it’s going to save the future of farming, you completely lose me there . . . The cost is many light years away from what a farmer in India is capable of doing.” Other approaches include incentivising farmers to plant less water-intensive crops, such as millet — a cereal traditionally grown in India — rather than rice. In 2020, for example, the government in the northwestern agricultural state of Haryana launched a scheme offering farmers Rs7,000 ($85) for every acre on which they grow something other than rice. These initiatives have had limited success, though. Avinash Kishore, a researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute in New Delhi, argues that the vast differences in potential yield mean it is often more lucrative to grow rice than alternatives — even with the extra money. Rice growers also enjoy government-mandated minimum prices that remove much of their financial risk, which is not the case with many alternative crops. Defenders of such arrangements point out that encouraging production of staples like rice and wheat protects food security by creating strategic surpluses to distribute at times of need, such as during the Covid-19 lockdowns. These challenges suggest that initiatives to improve water use in farming must be part of a broader reform of the agricultural system. But the political peril in implementing this has left authorities reluctant to try. Modi, for example, attempted in 2020 to overhaul the country’s farm laws and open up a government-controlled system to greater private participation. However, this controversial move — pushed through with minimal consultation — sparked such broad and unrelenting protests that he was ultimately forced into a humiliating U-turn, scrapping the reforms. Kishore says that the government “seems to have given up” on trying to reorganise the system of subsidies that ultimately push farmers to grow water-intensive crops. But he believes that at least one project has had some success in achieving the scale that could break the deadlock. PM Kusum, a government initiative launched in 2019, distributes solar panels to farmers to promote clean energy. Instead of encouraging farmers to pump even more groundwater, authorities buy back excess power as part of the scheme, creating a financial incentive for farmers to limit their own electricity — and therefore water — use. “This may be the largest government programme to save water,” Kishore says.

  • Giant rice’ supersizes yields in rural Guizhou

  • According to a farmer, planting regular rice produces about 7.5 to 9 metric tons per hectare, but the production of giant rice is 1.5 times that.

    A farmer measures the height of his "giant rice" in Sanzhou village, Rongjiang, Guizhou province, on Sept 20. YANG CHENGLI/FOR CHINA DAILY

    GUIYANG – Shi Xichang has been planting rice in his village of Sanzhou in Guizhou province for decades, but his latest autumn harvest delivered a bit of a shock — his rice grew to over 2 meters for the very first time.

    “This new variety of ‘giant rice’ that I grew reached 2.05 meters, the individual stalks were about 34 centimeters,” Shi, 53, said.

    Planting regular rice produces about 7.5 to 9 metric tons per hectare, but the production of giant rice is 1.5 times that, Shi said.

    Zhaihao township, where Sanzhou is located, has over 1,000 hectares of rice fields.

    This spring, in an effort to increase rice output, the local government experimented planting a new variety of rice in 0.26 hectares of rice fields.

    Shi was one of the volunteers on the project. “Not everyone was willing to try because the yield was uncertain,” he said.

    Developed by the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2017, the giant rice is a new rice variety with high productivity, according to the institute. It has taller stalks than ordinary rice, and greater resistance to pests and flooding.

    “We introduced the giant rice variety from Hunan province in May and it grew very fast,” said Ou Junzhi, director of the agricultural technology service center in Zhaihao township.

    “The rice can also provide nutrients for aquatic animals.”

    On their quarter hectare, the farmers from Sanzhou village harvested 3.2 tons of giant rice this autumn, about 1.5 times the previous year.

    In Sanzhou, most farmers are from the Dong ethnic group and they have a tradition of raising fish and bullfrogs in their rice fields.

    Shi was delighted to see that not only did he get a bumper crop of rice, but his fish increased too.

    “The giant rice provides shelter and increases the survival rate for aquatic animals as fewer chemicals are used,” Xia Xinjie, chief researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told The Economic Daily.

    Since its creation in 2017 in Hunan province, home of Yuan Longping, the father of hybrid rice, giant rice has been successfully planted across China including in the provinces of Sichuan, Heilongjiang, Guangdong, Fujian and Guizhou and in Tianjin municipality.

    According to Wang Geng, Party secretary of Zhaihao township, the town is going to grow giant rice on over 66 hectares next year, including high-altitude land where ordinary rice struggles to grow.

    “About 220 households will join the team next year, and we believe with this year’s experience and technological support, the prospects are good,” said Wang.

  • China urges farmers to consider new variety of perennial rice

  • The agriculture ministry is promoting a strain that has higher yields and can be harvested over several years without the need for replantingResearchers say perennial rice can be more cost-effective to produce and is potentially better for the environment

    Chinese researchers say perennial rice can reduce production input costs by more than 50 per cent and simplify crop management. Photo: Xinhua

    The Chinese government is trying to encourage farmers to plant a new rice variety that can be harvested for several years without reseeding.

    A list of favoured varieties produced last month by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs included a strain of perennial rice with twice the yield of traditional strains.

    The variety is the world’s only commercially viable perennial grain, according to BGI Research, a Shenzhen-based company that took part in a joint venture with Yunnan University to develop the strain.

    Compared with most rice crops, which have to be replanted each year, perennial rice is cheaper and less labour intensive to produce, and scientists say it can also be better for the environment.

    Liu Huan, the chief scientist at BGI Research, said perennial rice was revolutionary.

    “There are many areas where mechanised farming is not available or there are labour shortages, or where much of the land is underused,” he said.

    “With this rice variety, we can make good use of abandoned farmland, so the ministry of agriculture is very supportive about promoting the variety.”

    Scientists first came up with the concept of a grain that could produce crops for years without the need for replanting in the 1930s. But it was not until the 1980s that researchers started to make progress on the concept, with experimental varieties of wheat, corn and rice being produced around the world.

    The strain promoted by the agriculture ministry was developed by Hu Fengyi, a professor at Yunnan University’s Agriculture College.

    It was first made available to farmers in the southwestern province in 2018 and it has a yield of about 15 tonnes per hectare – more than twice the average for conventional strains, according to the China Rice Data Centre.

    Meanwhile, perennial rice can reduce production input costs by more than 50 per cent, according to Hu’s research, and simplify crop management.

    A preprint study published on Research Square found that the cost of producing perennial rice was about the same as that of annual varieties in the first year, but because it does not need seeding, planting and ploughing in subsequent years, farmers can save up to US$1,400 a season.

    Laura van der Pol, an ecologist at Colorado State University, said perennial grains could help make food production more sustainable and reduce many of the “disservices” introduced by agriculture.

    “Perennials reduce [soil] erosion in a couple of ways,” she said. “They reduce soil disturbances because plants are left in place to grow for multiple years, thus there is less mechanical disturbance by farm equipment.”

    Roots growing in the soil year-round also help to maintain and restore soil structure, she said, adding that perennials also reduce weeds after plants are mature, promoting soil biodiversity and the accumulation of organic soil matter.

    But van der Pol noted that perennial grains also help crop pests or soil pathogens to accumulate over time, so some sort of rotation or measures such as growing the rice alongside another crop – a process known as intercropping – will still be necessary.

    In April, BGI Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Yunnan University, and the two parties established a joint venture focusing on the promotion and industrialisation of perennial rice.

    So far, perennial rice has been planted at 117 locations in southern China, covering an area of more than 400 acres. It has also been promoted to 17 Asian and African countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Laos, Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to BGI.

    “China produces a quarter of the world’s grain with less than 10 per cent of its arable land. When we consider the potential savings, enhanced yields as well as environmental benefits, perennial rice can be truly revolutionary for farmers,” Liu said.

  • India’s rice exports expected to decline

  • NEW DELHI, INDIA — India’s rice exports in marketing year 2022-23 are forecast to decline to 17 million tonnes, down from last year’s record shipments of 21.5 million tonnes, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

    The Indian government on Sept. 8 banned exports of broken rice and imposed an export duty of 20% on rice in husk and semi- or wholly milled rice other than parboiled and basmati. Based on the latest official statistics, 2021-22 ending stocks have been lowered to 35 million tonnes, with 2022-23 ending stocks projected to drop to 32 million tonnes.

    “The government reported that the export control measures were announced to contain rising domestic rice prices resulting from lower rice plantings and production prospects for the upcoming 2022-23 kharif rice crop,” the FAS report said.

    Earlier this week, the Indian government said the country’s stocks of rice and wheat are sufficient, and wheat could be sold by the government to help control domestic prices, if necessary.

    India is the world’s second largest rice producer, behind China, and is the leading exporter most years.

  • Rice farmers continue to struggle with low selling prices and high fertilizer cost

  • Rice fields get ready for harvesting in the coming month in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, on September 02, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

    MANILA - Farmers continue to struggle as rice only sells from producers at 13.50 pesos per kilo.

    "Bagsak presyo po talaga, sobrang baba ng presyo ng palay. 'Yung galing direct from harvester, P13.50 (a kilo) lang, sobrang baba. Sobrang kawawa ng farmer," Manel Palpita, a farmer from Occidental Mindoro told Teleradyo on Tuesday.

    (Prices are extremely low. Direct from harvester rice sels for only 13.50 pesos per kilo.)

    Farmers could opt to sell their crops for a higher price at the National Food Authority (NFA), but its strict standards for moisture content prevents them from doing so, especially during the monsoon season when it is more difficult to dry rice grains.

    "'Pag sa NFA ka magbebenta, although 19 pesos [sa kanila], ang taas ng hinihingi nilang tuyo, eh tag-ulan ngayon. Nire-reject nila, kawawa ang magsasaka," Palpita said. 

    (NFA buys rice at 19 pesos per kilo, but they require the grain to be very dry. They reject what farmers are able to sell them.)

    Palpita, who harvests rice from the towns of Rizal and San Jose, said rice grain left to dry on roads have to be covered with tarpaulins when rain comes. 

    She explains that more days spent drying grains will cost farmers more to pay for farmhands who tend to the drying rice grains. This will only offset the profit they might make from selling at a higher price to NFA. 

    "'Pag nagpabilad ka 20 pesos ang bayad sa nagbibilad. Sayang 'yun, halos 'yun din ang kikitain mo sa San Jose, kaysa NFA, ibibiyahe mo pa 'yun sa bayan, sampung piso ulit," Palpita explained. 

    (You have to pay the people tending to the drying grains 20 pesos. That's almost the same as what would have been your profit. Transportation also costs another 10 pesos.)

    Palpita called for the NFA to ease on their standards for dried rice grain. 

    "Ang problema namin sa NFA, andoon lang sila sa opisina nila, hindi sila pumupunta sa mga magasaka. Sana kung makita nila napakaraming palay ng Mindoro, magaganda pa, kaya lang hindi namin maibenta," Palpita said.

    (The NFA does not visit us farmers, they stay in their offices, so they don't see the quality rice grain we are able to produce in the fields.)

    She also hoped that the Department of Agriculture might put budget toward lowering the prices of fertilizer, which put farmers at a deficit. 

    "May subsidy naman ang DA, pero P5,000, sana ilagay na lang nila sa presyo ng fertilizer, yan ang gusto ng magsasaka, para bumaba. Ang cash kasi naco-corrupt, may iba hindi naman nakakatanggap [ng subsidy]," Palipita said. 

    (Subsidies can be put towards lowering fertilizer prices. That would work better for farmers, because subsidies can be corrupted and end up in the wrong pockets.)

  • Floods likely to set back main rice harvest

  • Expected to hinder output for the season

    Floods ravaging vast plots of farmland in many areas nationwide are likely to delay by two weeks harvesting of the main crop of the country's 2022-23 season, limiting output for the season which

    usually gets underway in early November.

    According to Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, floods resulting from Typhoon Noru in late September and heavy rains during the early part of this month

    may reduce the country's main rice crop, but it is too early to estimate the value of damage because flooding continues in many parts of the country.

    "Rice plots in the hills may be not affected much, but the lowlands face a definite impact because they are still inundated. We'll have to wait until the harvest to see how many grains have broken,"

    he said. Mr Chookiat said many importers have inquired about the flooding situation, as they are afraid of rising rice prices if Thai production sees a lot of damage.

    Rice production for the country's 2022-23 crop was originally estimated at 26.9 million tonnes of paddy rice, up 2.09% from the previous season. Kasikorn Research Center estimates that flooding during

    August and October may cause around 2.9-3.1 billion baht's worth of damage to rice in the country's main crop and possibly drive Thai rice prices to stay at relatively high rates during this period.

    Mr Chookiat said if the floods continue, bringing about collateral damage to the country's overall rice production, a negative impact may arise for Thai exports in the year to come.

    However, he insisted that the floods are unlikely to cause a significant impact on Thai rice exports this year.

    "This year, Thailand's rice exports will definitely reach 7.5 million tonnes and can reach 8 million, too, due to the weak baht and India's export tax increase. More importantly, Thailand has enough

    rice stockpile to export to the world market," said Mr Chookiat.

    In September, India, the world's largest rice exporter, banned overseas sales of broken rice and levied a 20% duty on exports of various rice grades.

    Mr Chookiat said Thailand's domestic rice prices are considered to be good and will remain at a relatively high level this year driven by strong export demand and baht weakness which raise the country's

    competitiveness in terms of rice exports.

    The price of domestic white paddy is now quoted at 9,500-10,000 baht per tonne, while the price of Thai hom mali paddy stands at 14,500-15,000 baht per tonne.

    The free-on-board price of Thai white rice 5% is now quoted at US$439 per tonne, while Vietnam's white rice stands at $428-432 per tonne.

    "We expect Vietnam can ship a maximum of 7 million tonnes because the country needs enough to feed its population of 100 million, while Thailand has enough rice for exports of 8-9 million tonnes a year,"

    he said.

    In the first nine months, Thailand's rice export volumes stood at 5.6 million tonnes, up 44% from the same period of last year. Despite heavy rains in the country, Thai rice exports could reach over 800,000

    tonnes in September.

  • Govt says rising wheat, rice prices ‘normal’, assures enough inventory

  • The government on Monday said that price rise in wheat and rice is normal

    Amid rising retail food inflation in the country, the government has made it clear that the price rise in wheat and rice has been "normal" and it will intervene in the market only when there will be an abnormal increase in the rates. 

    In contrast to reports claiming the reduction in wheat stocks, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told the media that the government has surplus stocks of both wheat and rice in its go-downs which will make the government capable of market intervention.

    He also said that last year’s wholesale price was depressed because the centre sold a huge amount of grains under its Open Market Sale Scheme(OMSS) to bulk consumers. Due to this, the rise in wheat prices this year is normal, he said.

    "Therefore, it is not advisable to compare the current year's increase in wheat with last year's. It should be compared with prices that prevailed in 2020," Pandey explained.

    Since 2020, there has been an 11.42 per cent increase in wholesale wheat prices at ₹2,757 per quintal and 12.01 per cent in retail wheat prices at ₹31.06 per kg as on 14 October 14 this year. It is worth noting that the government’s claim is in complete contrast with the recently released Food Corporation of India’s report in which it talked about the wheat inventories in India till 1 October 2022.

    Price rise in wheat is not “astronomical", said Food Secretary

    Normalising the price rise in wheat, Sudhanshu Pandey said that “ Price increase in wheat is not astronomical, it is in tune with the increase in the minimum support price, fuel and transportation and other expenses."

    He also asked the people to not worry about inflation as the government has enough stock of both wheat and rice in its godowns. He informed that the government has procured higher amount than requirement this time for PDS and other schemes.

    The government had a wheat stock of 227 lakh tonnes this year. It is higher than the buffer norm of 205 lakh tonnes till September end. Just like wheat stocks, the government has stored around 205 lakh tonnes of rice this year,, informed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) Chairman Ashok K K Meena in the presentation.

    He also informed that the stock will not only remain sufficient in the coming months but will grow higher than normal buffer norms till 1 April, 2023. This will happen after meeting the free grain supply under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, National Food Security Act and other welfare requirements, claimed Ashok Meena.

    He also assured that the government is closely monitoring the situation and is fully aware of the price scenario.

    It is worth mentioning that the government had proactively controlled the price rise of wheat in May this year by imposing export regulations. He also said that the upcoming production of wheat will be normal.

    Informing about paddy procurement, Ashok Meena said that around 58 lakh tonne paddy (39 lakh tonne in terms of rice) has been procured up to 16 October. The quantity is higher than a year-ago period.

    (With inputs from PTI)

  • High rice yield recorded in demonstration farmland

  • A rice yield of about 1,136 kg per mu (approximately 0.067 hectares) was recorded on demonstration farmland in east China's Anhui Province, a major rice-producing region of the country, according to researchers from the Anhui Agricultural University.

    The rice cultivation technique utilized by the research team has been shown to withstand seasonal high temperatures and drought.

    The demonstration farmland saw an improvement in both the quantity and quality of rice as a result of the green, efficient, high yield and cost-saving cultivation methods during this year's extreme high-temperature climate conditions, said Zhang Xiufu, a researcher with the China National Rice Research Institute.

    The farmland also achieved a 10 percent reduction in nitrogen.

  • High rice yield recorded in east China’s demonstration farmland

  • HEFEI, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- A rice yield of about 1,136 kg per mu (approximately 0.067 hectares) was recorded on demonstration farmland in east China's Anhui Province, a major rice-producing region of the country, according to researchers from the Anhui Agricultural University.

    The rice cultivation technique utilized by the research team has been shown to withstand seasonal high temperatures and drought.

    The demonstration farmland saw an improvement in both the quantity and quality of rice as a result of the green, efficient, high yield and cost-saving cultivation methods during this year's extreme high-temperature climate conditions, said Zhang Xiufu, a researcher with the China National Rice Research Institute.

  • Revisiting Sri Lanka’s abrupt shift to organic farming

  • The agricultural debacle that wrecked the economy offers crucial lessons for other countries

    Anti-government protests in Colombo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    Tracing the origins of the disastrous agricultural policy that was one of the factors that led to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ouster as president and downfall of the Sri Lankan economy, we can see his dynamism being displayed when he promised a “revolution” in fertilizer use in his election manifesto. But the fact is that this was supposed to have happened over a 10-year span, not overnight.

    In April 2021, the Sri Lankan president announced that the import of synthetic fertilizers was banned and no more would be procured once the stocks ran out. Rajapaksa stated that the synthetic agricultural inputs were causing “adverse health and environmental impacts.”

    The main driver behind this decision was the hope that it would save the nation the approximately US$400 million it had been spending annually to import synthetic fertilizers and pesticides over the last few years.

    After the ban, farmers in Sri Lanka could not afford the cost of organic farming, and the yield was much lower than expected. The production of rice fell by 20% in the next six months. Sri Lanka lost its self-sufficiency in rice production and had to import it from other countries.

    The situation became so bad that Sri Lanka had to resort to importing 60,000 tons of substandard rice from countries that use harmful chemicals such as monocrotophos and glyphosate for paddy cultivation.

    The fuel shortage in Sri Lanka also affected the transportation of paddy. The farmers who survived all this and successfully harvested rice were met with a new surprise. The government had authorized import of cheap rice that pushed down the market price of paddy in the nation, which meant the farmers could not sell their produce at sustainable prices.

    The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations stated in its Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission report that rice production in Sri Lanka would hit its lowest point after the drought in 2017, seeing a 42% decline year on year. The 6.2 million people (28% of the population) who are already suffering from food insecurity are set to face more problems.

    Only 42.2% of the cereals required for the population were imported in the first six months of 2022 and the FAO believes that the country will not be able to meet its food-import requirements this year. The acute decline in production of export-oriented crops such as tea, rubber, coconut and spices has resulted in a reduction in household income as well as in revenues from exports.

    Combined with this, the food inflation rate ballooned to 94% this August. This situation has forced the people to adopt coping strategies such as reducing the number of meals eaten in a day, altering portion sizes, dipping into their savings to purchase food, and borrowing money to purchase food.

    Sustainable development

    The Sri Lankan experience offers some insights in the area of developmental policies. When we look at this case in terms of the UN Sustainable Development Goals framework, we see that when the Sri Lankan government tried to advance UN SDG 13 (Climate Action) through an abrupt overnight move, it negatively affected SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) to the point that the entire economy is in crisis now.

    The SDG Framework has some flaws that prevent targeted policy action from being implemented and hinders forecasting the outcome of these actions.

    The second lesson is that sustainable development cannot be achieved if developmental policies are not appropriately analyzed in tandem with available resources. Lifting successful policies from the developed nations and planting them in developing nations without tweaking them according to the local requirements will lead to counterproductive results, as we have seen in Sri Lanka.

    For instance, this abrupt shift to organic farming could have been implemented without any trouble in a developed nation, since the rich countries have the necessary infrastructure, knowledge and skilled workforce. But when it was done in Sri Lanka, which lacked adequate infrastructure and had scanty production of agrochemicals, it had a detrimental effect on the domestic economy.

    Sri Lanka tried to do a course correction in November 2021 by lifting the ban after huge protests from farmers’ organizations. The administration imported both rice and fertilizers using credit lines from friendly neighbors. The government also announced a compensation program for farmers, which would widen the budget deficit even more.

    But it was too late, as the damage done to domestic production had become irreversible by then. Immediately after this, Sri Lanka asked India to deliver urgently 100 metric tons of nano nitrogen liquid fertilizers, which was accepted by India. India also extended a $55 million credit line to Sri Lanka for it to import urea fertilizer for the “Yala” cultivation season, which is effective during the monsoon period from May to end-August every year.

    The government is currently looking to reduce rice imports because of the market-price problem discussed above. Sri Lanka also plans to infuse funds into its Paddy Marketing Board, which has assured farmers that it will procure rice from them at a floor price of 120 Sri Lankan rupees (33 US cents) per kilogram.

    The key takeaway from the Sri Lankan organic-farming debacle is that it provides valuable lessons to other South Asian countries on implementing developmental policies in a contextualized manner rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.

    These policies can ravage the agriculture sector if they are implemented without the necessary knowledge and technical resources in place and if the people employed in the sector are not given proper training and support to enable a smooth transition.

    In the case of Sri Lanka, the failed policy had a cascading effect that brought down the entire economy.

    The author acknowledges Aravind J Nampoothiry at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore for his research assistance on this article.

  • INDONESIA’S 2022 UNHUSKED RICE OUTPUT …

  • INDONESIA'S 2022 UNHUSKED RICE OUTPUT SEEN UP 2.31% Y/Y - STATS BUREAU

    JAKARTA, Oct 17 (Reuters) -

    * Indonesia's statistic bureau estimated 2022 unhusked rice production at 55.67 million tonnes, up 2.31% from last year's 54.42 million tonnes.

    * Production in January-September was down 0.19% annually at 45.43 million tonnes, but output is expected to improve in the October-December period, Setianto, a Statistics Indonesia official, told reporters.

    * Unhusked rice output in October-December is estimated at 10.24 million tonnes, but actual production would depend on weather conditions, he added. (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Stefanno Sulaiman; Editing by Martin Petty)

    © Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022

  • Tamil Nadu giving poor quality rice, says Union Food Minister; State Food Minister rejects charge

  • Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, interacting with members of the public at Madipakkam on Sunday. Tamil Nadu State BJP President K. Annamalai is also seen. | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

    Goyal says the State wants to stop Centre’s schemes from reaching people since it is scared that the people of Tamil Nadu will start liking Modi; Sakkarapani says the Union Minister did not visit the public distribution system outlets 

    Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal on Sunday accused the Tamil Nadu government of distributing sub-standard quality of rice to the poor in the State.

    Rejecting his charge, State Food Minister R. Sakkarapani countered that such allegations were being levelled since Tamil Nadu was opposing many of the BJP-led Union government’s policies.

    Addressing a BJP-organised function in Chennai to propagate benefits of the Union government’s schemes, Mr Goyal said: “I have just been told that even though the Central government procures and sends good quality of rice to Tamil Nadu, the State government is distributing poor quality of rice [through the public distribution system].” He claimed that though the Centre was implementing many schemes, the State wanted to stop them from reaching the people since it was scared that the people of Tamil Nadu would start liking Mr. Modi. “They are so scared that they will not even allow the Prime Minister’s image in any of the schemes,” he claimed.

    According to him, Mr. Modi personally wanted to see a prosperous, developed and corruption-free Tamil Nadu, but one could not expect this from the ruling dispensation. He accused Ministers in Tamil Nadu of criticising the Prime Minister using “foul language”.

    Within hours of Mr. Goyal’s speech, Mr. Sakkarapani told journalists that the Union Minister was making politically driven comments. Referring to the BJP State president K. Annamalai’s statement that 50 more Central Ministers were expected to visit the State in the coming months, Mr. Sakkarapani claimed: “The Parliamentary elections are coming. They want to do politics with this.”

    The Food Minister pointed out Mr. Goyal had not visited the PDS outlets. “The PDS shops are closed on Sunday. He did not go anywhere to visit. He is believing in his party workers. They are blaming the government. They are making him speak like this. It is quite regrettable,” Mr. Sakkarapani said.

    Mr. Sakkarapani recalled that Mr. Goyal, his deputy in the Cabinet Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey had, over the past few months, commended the PDS in Tamil Nadu on separate occasions.

    “During his visit to Coimbatore in June, Mr. Goyal had even invited Tamil Nadu to make a presentation of an exclusive design for ration shops it had made, and such a presentation was done during a meeting of all Food Ministers and senior officials in Delhi on July 5,” he recalled.

    During Mr. Choubey’s visit to Chennai on September 27 and Mr. Pandey’s visits to Madurai, Thanjavur and Ramanathapuram districts in the first week of October, they had commended the PDS in the State, Mr. Sakkarapani pointed out.

    He also wondered why Mr. Goyal could not [have waited to] enquire about it with the officials during a meeting, which he was set to chair on Sunday evening. Officials from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) inspected the quality of rice, the Minister said. As for the claim that rice was being changed, Mr. Sakkarapani questioned: “How can it be changed? FCI is controlling everything.”

    Some schemes were being implemented jointly by the State and Centre. “During the past 10 years [of AIADMK government 2011-21], they did not say anything like that. Only after the DMK came to power [such claims are being made]. We are opposing many of their principles. They are making such claims only because of that,” he charged.

  • New high-yielding rice seed to be available from next sowing season

  • LAHORE-Pakistani and Chinese agricultural scientists have developed a new high-yielding and heat-tolerant rice seed which will be available for open commercial cultivation from the next sowing season.

    New ‘Extra long grain super hybrid rice’, which has been developed by Longping Hi-Tech Industries China and Guard Agricultural Research & Services (Pvt) Ltd, will double per acre yield to 90-100 maunds per acre from existing 30 to 40 acres as compared to competitor existing varieties. 

    Both companies, which already have the honour to introduce hybrid rice seed of coarse varieties in Pakistan, held a limited commercial trial this year spreading over 200 acres of land at various places of the country which resulted in having a yield of 90-100 maunds per acre at different places. Guard Agricultural Research & Services (Pvt) Ltd., held a field demonstration to showcase the new seed, its technology and the produce from the trial fields to farmers at a village near Pakpattan the other day and informed the growers that the new variety can attain maturity in 80-85 days and gives double yield using the same amount of nutrients and inputs as used by the existing varieties.

    Momin Ali Malik, senior executive of the company, speaking on this occasion said that their company is working to bring such seeds to market which can ensure prosperity for the growers and food security for the country’s ever-increasing population. He said they partnered with their Chinese counterparts in 1998 and since then they are putting in efforts to bring high-yielding varieties and have tolerance against climate change as well. He said their research team is bigger than their sales team as they believe that only research-oriented activities can produce the required results in the seed sector. He said Pakistan’s export of rice had touched new heights but to maintain this momentum, the country needs more per acre yield by using the existing resources. He claimed that the new variety can produce more than 100 maunds per acre provided taken good care of it. Final data is being completed as harvesting is still underway at different places, Momin added. Head of Research of the Chinese Company in Pakistan, Mr Long threw light on hectic research activities being carried out in the country. 

    He said that they plant 12000 lines every year and make hybrids by using local varieties and Chinese material. He said 11 varieties have so far been approved for cultivation by the Pakistani government since 2012. He said the new variety took 3-4 years of testing with a 14 mm length after cooking and an 8 mm length as uncooked rice.

    The event was also addressed by the GM Guard (Agri) Rizwan Younis, Chaudhry Muhammad Afzal (grower) and Usman Khaliq (grower) who shared their experience about the new variety.

  • Xiaozhan rice harvested in N China’s Tianjin

  • Aerial photo taken on Oct 13, 2022 shows a harvester working at a paddy field in Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District in north China's Tianjin. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Aerial photo taken on Oct 13, 2022 shows a harvester working at a paddy field in Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District in north China's Tianjin. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Aerial photo taken on Oct 13, 2022 shows a harvester working at a paddy field in Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District in north China's Tianjin. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Aerial photo taken on Oct 13, 2022 shows a harvester working at a paddy field in Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District in north China's Tianjin. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Aerial photo taken on Oct 13, 2022 shows a harvester working at a paddy field in Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District in north China's Tianjin. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Photo taken on Oct 13, 2022 shows a harvester working at a paddy field in Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District in north China's Tianjin. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Photo taken on Oct 13, 2022 shows a harvester working at a paddy field in Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District in north China's Tianjin. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Newly-harvested rice is loaded onto a truck at Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District, north China's Tianjin, Oct 13, 2022. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

    Newly-harvested rice is loaded onto a truck at Xiaozhan Town of Jinnan District, north China's Tianjin, Oct 13, 2022. Xiaozhan rice, which is a popular rice variety in China, is originated in Xiaozhan Town of Tianjin. Lately Xiaozhan rice has entered its harvest season. Photo:Xinhua

  • Asia rice: Thai rates slip on weaker baht, lower demand

  • MUMBAI/KHANH/ HANOI/BANGKOK: Thailand rice export prices slipped to a more than two-month low this week due to a weaker baht and softer demand, while rates in Vietnam held steady near multi-month highs on supply concerns.

    Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $410 to $420 per tonne on Thursday, down from $415 to $425 per tonne a week ago, with traders attributing the drop to muted demand in overseas and domestic markets.

    The Thai baht was trading near its lowest since 2006 against the dollar, bogged down by persistent concerns over global growth and fears of a recession.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was unchanged at $425 to $430 per tonne - the highest since Nov. 2021. “Domestic supplies are running low, and we expect prices may edge slightly higher over the next weeks,” a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang said.

    Preliminary shipping data showed 265,250 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port in the Oct. 1-22 period, with most of the rice heading to the Philippines, Africa and Bangladesh. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $374 to $382 per tonne, unchanged from last week amid concerns over production due to heavy rainfall. “Production number is likely to be revised down further. The rainfall has badly affected crop in northern and southern states,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Heavy rainfall in India has damaged rice just before harvesting in key producing states such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

    India will allow overseas broken rice shipments of 397,267 tonnes backed by letters of credit (LCs) issued before Sept. 8.

  • Perennial rice incorporates African wild rice genes and halves production cost

  • An estimated 670 million people are projected to be undernourished in 2030, as noted in FAO’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 report. Conflict, COVID-19, climate extremes and economic shocks are listed as the key factors contributing to food insecurity and malnutrition.

    Against this backdrop, what are international scientists doing? On the occasion of World Food Day, Dr. Liu Huan, the Chief Scientist of BGI Research Agriculture and Head of BGI Bioverse, notes it is crucial to enhance yields of key crops such as rice. Dr. Liu makes three key points:

    • – Compared to cultivated rice, perennial rice can reduce production costs by over 50%
    • – Perennial rice incorporates African wild rice genes, which enhances its stress tolerance
    • – The reach for perennial rice planting includes 18 countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia
    Perennial rice in the field – note that the crop base shows signs of previous harvests

    Do you know that wild rice species – similar to ginger – develop rhizomes, modified stems that grow underground horizontally, as a means of vegetative reproduction? However, cultivated rice do not possess rhizomes. This means cultivated rice must be planted on a per-season basis. Whereas perennial rice can be harvested over many years since it incorporates wild rice genes and its rhizomes for reproduction.

    Perennial rice: In search of a greener and more efficient crop

    So what does this mean for farmers? Keep in mind that traditional rice cultivation consists of six processes: buy seeds, raise seedlings, ploughing, transplanting, field management and harvesting. With perennial rice, the farmers skip the first four stages and concentrate their efforts on field management and harvesting.

    Compared to cultivated rice, perennial rice can reduce production input costs by more than 50%. Farmers are potentially looking at US$11.40 – 13.70 savings per acre based on labor costs in Yunnan, China. If farmers plant two crops in one year, the estimated cost savings is US$22.80 – 27.30 per acre. China has 65.9 million acres of land dedicated to rice farming. Therefore, the theoretical social and economic value of these savings is estimated at US$1.5 billion.

    Growing perennial rice not only greatly reduces production costs, but also eliminates the need to plough the field for many years, reducing labor, fertilizer and pesticide inputs and enhancing the natural properties of the soil. This can greatly alleviate labor shortage faced by farmers, while as well as bringing associated ecological and environmental benefits.

    Perennial rice also has the advantage of high yield and quality. In terms of yield, in Yunnan, the yield reaches 164 kilograms, compared to China’s average of 75 kilograms per acre. Dr. Liu believes that more varieties can be cultivated,including more disease-resistant varieties, and developing high-yielding and high-quality varieties that are adapted to different climates. There are all future areas of research for BGI’s team.

    Dr. Liu commented, “China produces a quarter of the world’s grain with less than 10 percent of its arable land. When we consider the potential savings, enhanced yield as well as environmental benefits, perennial rice can be truly revolutionary for farmers.” Not only has perennial rice been selected as one of the FAO’s 2018 International Agricultural Technology Innovations, it is also one of the 29 rice varieties promoted by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for 2022.

    Perennial rice has relatively wide regional adaptability. Perennial rice has been planted at 117 locations within China, covering 13 major rice-growing provinces while covering 17 countries internationally, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Laos, Myanmar and Bangladesh, showing its potential for development across various climates.

    Perennial rice’s African “father” gene

    Dr. Liu Huan, Chief Scientist of BGI Research Agriculture, shows African wild rice’s (Oryza longistaminata) rhizomes

    Generally speaking, higher rice yields require intensive cultivation, field management and favorable weather conditions. What if such conditions are not available? BGI’s perennial rice is well-placed to overcome this challenge as it incorporates Oryza longistaminata wild rice genes from Africa, which enhances stress tolerance.

    The Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Uganda have collaborated with BGI to conduct research trials. With less intensive field management, perennial rice still managed to achieve a single-season yield of nearly 82 kilograms per acre.

    Perennial rice can produce high yields with less intensive field management. This indicates perennial rice has the adaptability to be scaled up in Africa. Rice is the second most important source of calories in Africa with demand growing at more than six percent per year. Further adoption of perennial rice is potentially of great importance to the food supply of African countries.

    Dr. Liu notes that BGI is ready to share technology and to nurture a team of modern technological agricultural talent in Africa. Working with local partners, BGI can develop perennial rice varieties that are more suitable for African cultivation, to further raise farmers’ incomes.

    How can multi-omics sequencing technologies help meet climatic challenges?

    Apart from its work on existing staple food crops, BGI is an active member of the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC). These local orphan crops which have been neglected by the global scientific community, have special adaptability to grow in these environments. The robustness of orphan crops also helps farmers to increase their yields and incomes as global temperatures rise.

    The AOCC, in partnership with World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), targets to open access the genomic data from some of Africa’s most important food and tree crops to improve their nutrition, productivity and climatic adaptability.

    Dr. Liu shared that, “We work in partnership at the AOCC. For example, UC Davis takes the lead to train Africa’s plant breeders, empowering them to apply their knowledge to their traditional crops and communities. BGI sequences these orphan crops to identify genes that have potential to impart tolerance to high temperatures, drought, and high salinity while providing excellent nutrition. So far, we have sequenced over ten orphan crops, such as African eggplant, breadfruit, jackfruit and the moringa.”

  • India allows broken rice exports

  • On Sept 8, India banned exports of broken rice in effort to augment supplies

    MUMBAI:

    India will allow overseas broken rice shipments of 397,267 tonnes backed by letters of credit (LCs) issued before September 8, the government said in a notification on Wednesday, as a sudden ban on exports of the grain prevented the loading of cargoes.

    On September 8, India banned exports of broken rice as the world’s biggest exporter of the grain tries to augment supplies after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    The surprise move trapped nearly 1 million tonnes of rice that was moved to the ports or was in transit before the government made the announcement. 

    Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2022.

  • Vigil up on state-UP border along Karnal to check arrival of PDS rice

  • Officials suspect grains meant for PDS could be delivered as custom milled rice

    Parveen Arora

    Karnal, October 13

    With the unearthing of an alleged paddy procurement scam in four rice mills and the seizure of 1,424 bags of rice reportedly brought from Bihar in a rice mill in Jundla, the district administration has intensified the vigil at the Haryana-UP border.

    Tractor-trailers queue at the Karnal grain market on Thursday.

    During a raid by the Chief Minister (CM) flying squad, around 80,000 quintals of paddy, worth nearly Rs 16 crore, was found short at grain markets in Jundla.

    The duty magistrates, along with the police force, have been deployed round-the-clock at two nakas — Manglora and Shergarh Tapu — on the border.

    As per the officials, the step had been taken to check the arrival of the public distribution system (PDS) rice or paddy from other states in the district.

    According to officials of the district administration, the PDS rice is recovered from rice mills every year, which is brought at a lower price from other states and used to adjust against the proxy procurement done with the help of fake gate passes.

    The arrival of paddy and rice keeps the officials of the district administration on toes every year.

    The officials suspect the rice meant for the PDS could be delivered as custom milled rice (CMR) to the state.

    “We have deployed duty magistrates on the Haryana-UP border, along with police force, to check the arrival of paddy and PDS rice from other states in Karnal. Our officials are vigilant and keeping an eye on every vehicle,” said Anish Yadav, Deputy Commissioner.

    As per sources, farmers from other states come to traders with samples of the PDS rice to finalise the deal.

    An official said: “It is a challenging task for the authorities to keep a check on such people. There should be random physical verification of the mills at regular intervals to verify the allotment of paddy and availability of stock.”

    The Tribune had highlighted the issue of ‘fake gate passes’ being issued in various grain markets of the district for proxy procurement. After the reports, a team of the CM flying squad inspected the Jundla grain market and three mills, and found discrepancies there.

    The team found a shortfall of 66,834 quintals in paddy stock. Besides, a team of the Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board (HSAMB) also conducted a physical verification at another mill and found 13,095 quintals of paddy short than the actual procurement made by the mill.

    The Karnal police have already registered an FIR against four millers.

    The Chief Administrator of the HSAMB, Sujan Singh, has suspended the secretary of the Jundla grain market, Pawan Chopra, in this regard. Besides, action has been recommended against erring officials of the grain market.

    After the issue came to fore, the HSAMB has also increased vigil at the grain market. Eight teams of the HSAMB are on regular checking. “Our teams are inspecting various grain markets of the state to check proxy procurement and the issuance of fake gate passes,” the Chief Administrator said.

  • Contracts inked to buy 2,500 tonnes of organic rice

  • International companies have agreed to buy organic rice from 10 communities in Preah Vihear province, which would benefit 1,514 farmers. KT/Chor Sokunthea

    Two international rice processing companies, Signature of Asia Co.,Ltd and Golden Rice Cambodia Co. Ltd, agreed to buy 2,500 tonnes of organic rice from 10 communities in Preah Vihear province through contract farming before the end of the year.

    The contract for this was signed on Monday at the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

    Peng Trida, Director of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for Preah Vihear told Khmer Times that the agreement would benefit 1,514 farmers of organic rice from the 10 farming communities.

    “So far this year agreements were signed for the purchase of 80,000 tonnes of organic farm produce. This included 15,350 tonnes of rice, 55,000 tonnes of cassava, nearly 500 tonnes of cashews and 30 tonnes of peanuts produced by 32 farming communities in Preah Vihear province,” Trida said.

    Sao Sonita, Deputy General Director of Golden Rice said that this is the fourth year that the company is partnering with farmers in Preah Vihear province and purchasing organic rice for processing and export to the international market. The export markets are in Asia, Europe and
    the United States.

    “In the first year, the company signed a contract to purchase 4,000 tonnes, in the second year 3,500 tons, in the third year 1,500 tonnes, and in the fourth year again 1,500 tonnes. In 2023, the company will expand the volume even further,” she pointed out.

    Kim Rithy, Governor of Preah Vihear Province, appreciated the well-coordinated efforts of all stakeholders in making the plan a success. “The efforts of the Department of Agriculture led to the contract. Producers and buyers are also working together with trust and transparency based on three main principles – ensuring sustainable supply, product quality and value. In the future, the agricultural sector in Preah Vihear Province will expand organic farming to take it to the next level,” Rithy said.

    Industry experts said Cambodia’s exporters need to make constant efforts to improve the quality, safety and sustainability of the produce to compete globally. The government also has introduced an organic agriculture policy to boost production and export, according to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

  • Top Headlines: Byju’s to lay off 2,500 staffers, broken rice exports & more

  • India will allow overseas broken rice shipments of 397,267 tonnes backed by letters of credit (LCs) issued before September 8

    Edtech giant Byju’s is set to lay off nearly 2,500, or 5 per cent, of its employees as part of an “optimisation” plan. India will allow overseas broken rice shipments of 397,267 tonnes backed by letters of credit (LCs) issued before Sept. 8, the government said. Read more on these in our top headlines.

    Byju's to lay off 2,500 staffers, targets profitability by March

    Edtech giant Byju’s is set to lay off nearly 2,500, or 5 per cent, of its employees as part of an “optimisation” plan. The move by India’s most valuable start-up comes amid a funding winter and steep losses. “To avoid redundancies and duplication of roles, and by leveraging technology better, around 5 per cent of Byju’s 50,000-strong workforce is expected to be rationalised across product, content, media, and technology teams in a phased manner,” said the company in a statement. 

    Centre allows exports of 397,267 tonnes broken rice backed by LoC

    India will allow overseas broken rice shipments of 397,267 tonnes backed by letters of credit (LCs) issued before Sept. 8, the government said in a notification on Wednesday, as a sudden ban on exports of the grain prevented the loading of cargoes. On September 8, India banned exports of broken rice as the world's biggest exporter of the grain tries to augment supplies and calm local prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting. 

    Retailers likely to see strong revenue performance in July-Sept quarter

    Retail companies are expected to see a strong topline performance in the second quarter of the ongoing financial year. Apparel companies are expected to see an uptick which started in the April-June quarter as all covid restrictions were lifted. “Cotton prices are still high which could see margins remain under pressure,” Edelweiss Securities said in its report. 

    Run-up to Budget: Monetary threshold for GST offences may rise to Rs 25 cr

    As part of its drive against decriminalisation, the Centre is contemplating raising the monetary threshold for initiating prosecution for cognisable and non-bailable offences related to the goods and services tax (GST) to Rs 25 crore and above. At present, if the amount of tax evaded or input tax credit wrongly availed of is Rs 5 crore or above, the prison term may be extended to five years. 

    Global wealth set to contract by over 2% this year, says report

    Global household wealth is on track for its first significant contraction since the great financial crisis of 2008, according to a report by Allianz. After three years of record gains in the value of household financial assets, 2022 is likely to result in a nominal drop of more than 2 per cent, researchers said in a global wealth report published Wednesday. They called this year a “turning point” for global wealth, amid scant signs that a meaningful reversal will follow. 

    Digital rupee likely to bring down cost of cross-border payments

    The introduction of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in cross-border remittances is likely to bring down significantly the cost of transaction for customers. At present, customers have to pay a fee to the bank. This is a percentage or a fixed amount of money transferred. The fee is applicable to both inward and outward remittances. Last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had published a concept note on CBDC. The central bank is in the process of launching a pilot for its CBDC, christened eRe. 

  • Output of salt-tolerant rice breaks new record in China, reaching 691.8 kg per mu

  • The Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center organized experts to test output of saline-alkali tolerant rice on Tuesday. Photo: Courtesy of the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center

    The output of salt-tolerant rice, or better known as "seawater rice" initiated by China's "Father of Hybrid Rice" —the late Yuan Longping reached a new high, with the average yield of the salt tolerant conventional rice surpassing 691.8 kilograms per mu (0.06 hectares).

    The Global Times learnt from the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center that the Qingdao-based test field of salt tolerant conventional rice variety that survives under 4‰ sodium chloride (NaCl) for the whole growth duration has yield 691.8 kilograms per mu, exceeding its previous average output.

    The test planting field was 0.34‰ in salinity, and its pH value was 7.9. The tested rice and the control varieties were irrigated with 4‰ salt water during their whole growth period. Two tested rice plots respectively yielded 608.9 kilograms per mu and 691.8 kilograms per mu, the center said.

    Wan Jili, director of the technology R&D department of the center, told the Global Times on Thursday that reaching 691.8 kilograms per mu is quite an achievement for salt tolerant conventional rice variety. Great potential lies ahead.

    In 2017, a hybrid saline-alkali tolerant rice that was irrigated with 6‰ salt water yielded 620.95 kilograms per mu. Because the hybrid rice generally yields more than conventional rice, so the newly-tested salt tolerant conventional rice variety that survives under 4‰ NaCl can reach such high output is quite significant, Wan noted.

    Developed by China's "Father of Hybrid Rice" — the late Yuan Longping, the"seawater rice" is a major breakthrough in China's efforts to expand rice output. Yuan's goal was to improve 100 million mu of wasted soil by planting saline-alkali tolerant rice.

    In recent years, the team continues to make breakthroughs in salt-tolerant rice output, with its yield in 2019 reaching 295.9 kilograms per mu, in 2021 it rose to 590.6 kilograms per mu, and then in 2022 the maximum yield of salt tolerant conventional rice variety that survives under 4‰ NaCl reached 691.8 kilograms per mu.

    In the past 10 years, China's saline-alkali tolerant rice has achieved a leap, starting from scratch to reaching the currently large-scale plantation.

    By the end of 2021, China's saline-alkali tolerant rice planting area has reached 600,000 mu, distributed in more than 10 provinces such as Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, East China's Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. In 2022, China's saline-alkali tolerant rice planting area will exceed 1 million mu, according to the center.

  • India allows broken rice exports backed by already issued LCs

  • Labourers unload rice bags from a supply truck at India's main rice port at Kakinada Anchorage in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India, September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav

    MUMBAI, Oct 12 (Reuters) - India will allow overseas broken rice shipments of 397,267 tonnes backed by letters of credit (LCs) issued before Sept. 8, the government said in a notification on Wednesday, as a sudden ban on exports of the grain prevented the loading of cargoes.

    On Sept. 8, India banned exports of broken rice as the world's biggest exporter of the grain tries to augment supplies and calm local prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    The surprise move trapped nearly 1 million tonnes of rice that was moved to the ports or was in transit before the government made the announcement.

    The concession to allow exports against already issued Lcs will help traders as a lot of cargoes were trapped and buyers were requesting quick dispatch, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

    He added that for many low income African countries, buying from other suppliers meant paying a "very high price".

    "Indian broken rice was at least 30% cheaper than other origins," he said.

    China was the biggest buyer of Indian broken rice - which it uses for animal feed - with purchases of 1.1 million tonnes in 2021, while African countries such as Senegal and Djibouti bought broken rice for human consumption.

    India accounts for more than 40% of global rice shipments and competes with Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Myanmar in the world market.

  • Rice millers’ association starts dharna

  • Fatehgarh Sahib, October 12
    The Rice Millers Association, Sirhind, has started indefinite dharna at the FCI main depot to protest over the ‘dictatorial attitude’ of the divisional manager (DM). The association has demanded that the FCI should stop purchase from Bhamarsi, Sirhind, Peerjain and Chunni grain markets as paddy arrival in these ‘mandis’ is proportionally less than the number of rice mills here.
    The association says that the FCI should procure paddy from surplus procurement centres. The association further says that till their demand is not met they would neither lift nor store procured paddy of government agencies.
  • Global Markets: Rice – Rising Competition in Core U.S. Market, Mexico

  • Mexico has diversified its suppliers in 2022, causing U.S. market share to plummet. The United States has accounted for less than half of rice exports to Mexico during the first 8 months of 2022 compared to nearly 90 percent for the same period in 2021.

    The United States has historically been the key exporter to Mexico, traditionally supplying over 95 percent of rice imports. However, more South American rice has recently entered the country primarily due to the temporary tariff suspension2 and high U.S. prices.

    In May 2022, the government of Mexico announced a one-year suspension of import tariffs for paddy rice in an effort to battle inflation. The import tariff for paddy rice had been 9 percent, but the United States and Uruguay both had preferential duty-free access. Since then, other exporters including Paraguay and Brazil have seen market share expand rapidly.

    U.S. rice faced a similar challenge between 2017 and 2020 when Mexico implemented duty-free tariff rate quotas for all types of rice. However, the 2022 policy does not limit the amount of paddy rice entering duty free.

    Paddy rice accounts for 80 percent of total Mexico rice imports. With substantial milling capacity, Mexican importers prefer to bring in paddy rice. The United States has been the largest supplier of paddy rice to Mexico and Mexico is the largest paddy market for the United States.

    So far this year, Mexico is buying more paddy rice from South American suppliers, primarily Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay than from the United States. Brazil accounts for almost two-thirds of South American exports to Mexico, which reached 364,000 tons3 in January-September 2022. Since the new policy was implemented, U.S. exports have declined significantly.

    In August and September, the United States exported less than 10,000 tons to Mexico each month. In contrast, Brazil’s exports to Mexico in September surpassed 70,000 tons. Beyond the 9 percent tariff reduction, another primary cause of the loss of U.S. market share has been rising U.S. prices. U.S. paddy rice sold to Mexico averaged $424/ton FOB compared to Brazil’s average price of $315/ton FOB.

    Looking ahead, U.S. prices are remaining firm given the tighter supplies in 2022/23. As a result, it is not expected to regain competitiveness with South American rice in the near future. Brazil and other South American suppliers are likely to continue shipping large quantities of rice to Mexico while paddy rice imports are duty free. At current prices, however, even if a paddy rice tariff is reintroduced in Mexico, U.S. rice prices remain uncompetitive at current prices.

    Brazil Exports Surge on More Paddy and Broken Rice Shipments

    In 2022, Brazil has become a formidable Western Hemisphere exporter, primarily for paddy and broken rice. Brazil is the top rice producer and consumer in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest rice exporter in the region after the United States.

    Despite a smaller crop earlier this year, Brazil rice exports are expected to increase. In the first 9 months of 2022, Brazil exports have been strong, exceeding exports from the prior calendar year. Key factors supporting exports include competitive prices compared to U.S. paddy and increased opportunities to ship broken rice amid India’s absence.

    The primary driver of increased exports has been a surge in paddy rice shipments to the Western Hemisphere as Brazil’s paddy prices have become more competitive compared to the United States. As described in the previous article, Brazil has benefited from duty-free access for its paddy rice into Mexico and has made significant gains there. Thus far in 2022, Brazil’s exports of paddy rice to Mexico have surpassed its shipments to Venezuela, making Mexico the largest destination.

    Brazil’s paddy exports to its key market Venezuela increased in 2022, despite increased competition from Uruguay. In addition, the United States has not exported rice to Venezuela in 2022, allowing Brazil to capitalize on the absence of the United States. Brazil also saw an increase in paddy exports to Central America, particularly El Salvador and Guatemala, despite slight reductions in exports to Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

    Brazil’s second largest export category is broken rice, which has also witnessed growth. Already in the first 9 months of the year, Brazil’s broken rice exports are up compared to the prior year and the outlook is favorable for those to expand further. Brazil exports are positioned to increase further following India’s export ban on broken rice, particularly to West Africa.

    Similarly, in 2022, Brazil has also exported 25 percent more milled rice than the same period last year. The biggest area of growth has been its tremendous increase in exports to Cuba, with the largest shipments since 2015. Brown rice exports are also up, mainly to the European Union.

    Looking forward, Brazil’s production is expected to drop slightly in 2022/23 (harvested mostly next April- May). Thus, with a second consecutive crop reduction, exports are projected to decline marginally in 2023.

  • China’s sea-rice yield achieves new high

  • A saline-alkali tolerant rice harvest festival was held in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province, on Oct.11. (Photo/China News Service)

    (ECNS) -- A saline-alkali tolerant rice harvest festival was held in Qingdao, a coastal city in east China’s Shandong province, on Tuesday.

    The production of sea rice "22ZS-44" recorded 691.8 kg per mu (1 mu equals 0.06 hectares) in the test field, an increase of 17.1 percent from 590.6 kg per mu last year, marking a breakthrough in salt-tolerant rice output at 4‰ salinity.

    Experts from the Qingdao Sea-rice Research and Development Center also assessed the yield of sea rice "22ZS-39" in test fields, with output reaching 608.9 kg per mu.

    The salt content of the test field soil is 0.34‰ and the pH value is 7.9. The tested fields are irrigated with salt water with a concentration of four percent.

    The saline-alkali tolerant rice has grown well this year, said Yumeng, a breeding engineer at the Qingdao Sea Rice Research and Development Center.

    Sea rice "22ZS-44," cultivated for four years, features lodging resistance, disease resistance and high yields.

    The breeding team started to research and develop saline-alkali tolerant rice in 2012 under the guidance of the late agronomist Yuan Longping, China's hybrid rice pioneer.

    Yuan pushed to plant sea rice across China in 2020. By the end of the year, 100,000 mu of sea rice had been planted, one million mu of salt-alkali land had been utilized and 10 million mu of saline-alkali land had been reserved.

    By of the end of 2021 China had planted 600,000 mu (40,000 hectares) of sea rice, distributed in more than 10 provinces including Heilongjiang, Shandong, Jiangsu, the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Zhejiang.

  • Global rice prices are now at an 18-month high

  • 'The major concern of Bangladesh is the rising price of Indica species, consumed by South and South-East nations'

    Global rice prices have reached an 18-month high,  according to the The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) All Rice Price Index in its October report.

    The FAO report said Thai parboiled rice, suitable for Bangladeshi consumers, reached $453 a tonne in September. The Index increased by 2.2% to 110.9 points in September 2022.

    “The major concern of Bangladesh is the rising price of Indica species, consumed by South and South-East nations, by 3.4% (index rose to 111.6 points) above its August level,” it said.

    FAO data shows that parboiled 5% broken rice from India, Pakistan and Vietnam prices hit $380-396 per tonne (excluding freight and other charges).

    The FAO cited Indian restrictions on full broken rice and its imposition of higher export duty on non-boiled rice as major reasons behind rising prices of Indica species in Asia.

    The exchange rate of US dollar and purchase parity also put an impact on the rice market, according to the report.

    However, rice price continues to stay in its previous high as coarse rice retailed at Tk42-54, medium at Tk48-65 and finer at Tk56-96 a kg across the country on Monday depending on varieties.

    According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh and Department of Agricultural Marketing statistics, current rice prices are above 10% higher on average than a year ago.

  • Govt supplies PDS rice directly to bypass overcharging fair price shop

  • Villagers from Lumtrep Nongjngi were finally provided public distribution system (PDS) rice at the right price last week after alleged attempts by the local fair price shop to overcharge them.

    A complaint was made earlier this year by Linda Nongkrem, a resident of the village in West Jaiñtia Hills, that the shopkeeper had arbitrarily increased the price of the subsidised rice from Rs 3 to Rs 4 per kilogramme. Lumtrep Nongjngi is a village of about 140 households in the Nartiang circle of West Jaiñtia Hills .

    Acting on the complaint, the government removed the dealer, Pyniaiddame Pale, and a Supply Inspector distributed the rice directly to the villagers.

    Nongkrem had written a letter in this regard on May 6 this year, saying that the price hike had been in place since February. Those who refused to pay the inflated rate were denied their ration. The dealer had even reportedly ignored an instruction from the Deputy Commissioner’s office in this matter.

    Village headman Ebormi Pale, far from coming to the villager’s aid, sided with the shopkeeper. He too would take 1kg of rice out of every allocation, it is alleged, in order to help the dealer transport the rice to the village (despite this charge clearly being illegal). In an alleged case of revenge, the headman has reportedly refused to issue proper residential certificates to Nongkrem’s children, who need them for their school admissions, etc.

    Although happy to get their rations, the aggrieved villagers were still a little upset to only receive their quota for October and not for the months that they had to go without. In addition, only the four families that had officially complained against the shopkeeper were given rations by the Supply Inspector. There has also been confusion sown among residents of Iangkar, who previously got their rations from Lumtrep as well; supplies meant for them were taken directly to Iangkar but the villagers were apparently not informed prior of this change.

    Until a new dealer is appointed to replace Pale, the DC has given responsibility over the ration distribution for Lumtrep to one Heiporka Samati in Nongjngi A.

  • Cambodia’s milled rice export nets $287 million in 1st 9 months of this year

  • Rice exports remain positive despite floods. Khmer Times

    Cambodia exported 449,325 tons of milled rice to international markets in the first nine months of 2022, up 10 percent over the same period last year, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) said in a statement on Monday.

    The Southeast Asian nation made nearly $287 million in revenue from the exports of milled rice from January to September this year, the CRF said.

    China remained the top buyer of Cambodia’s milled rice, purchasing 198,107 tons, or 44.09 percent, of the kingdom’s total export amount, the CRF said.

    “Nine countries accounted for more than 81 percent of Cambodia’s export market, including China at 44.09 percent, France at 14.83 percent, Malaysia at 5.58 percent, the Netherlands at 4.65 percent, Italy at 2.65 percent, Gabon at 2.63 percent, Brunei at 2.44 percent, Britain at 2.25 percent and Germany at 2.08 percent,” the CRF said.

    Ministry of Commerce’s Undersecretary of State Penn Sovicheat said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, which entered into force earlier this year, had boosted this growth.

    “The RCEP trade pact has given and will continue to give a big boost to our export growth for the long term,” he told Xinhua. “It has provided us larger market access, especially for our potential agricultural produce.” Xinhua

  • India’s rice farmers, exporters feel impact of cooling measures.

  • CNA – India’s rice farmers and exporters are feeling the crunch of a ban on broken rice exports and duty hikes on several varieties of the grain.

    The restrictions were introduced by the India government on September 8 to cool rising prices and maintain sufficient supplies for the local population.

    While the curbs bring some relief to consumers, it is bad news for business in a country that is the world’s largest exporter of rice.

    For rice exporter Al-Gyas Exports, the government’s move to slap a ban on broken rice exports – which make up 10 per cent of its shipments – came as a shock. The company ships some 300,000 tonnes of rice a year, largely to countries in the Middle East and across Africa.

    “It will affect 10 per cent of the sales, and we are looking to compensate for that with other products,” said Al-Gyas Exports’ director Naeem Ilyas Motorwal.

    “In general, I think it was a positive move by the government (to put) some restrictions, because they cannot allow a lot of rice to go when we also have a lot of consumption for the same product in India as well.”

    Rice is a staple that households across India widely depend on, not just for food but also for animal feed

    Rice is a staple that households across India widely depend on, not just for food but also for animal feed.

    However, with uneven rains during this year’s monsoon season, there are expectations of a decline in production.

    Meanwhile, food inflation has been soaring, with grain prices up more than nine per cent in August on the year, according to official data.

    This has prompted the government to intervene to control the price of rice locally.

    “If we see India’s context, in the entire global scenario, our share and exports have been rising,” said director at analytics firm Crisil Pushan Sharma.

    “Over the last few years, we used to account for about 24 per cent of global exports from 2018 to 2019. That has risen to 40 per cent.”

    Pushan added: “So the fear is that, given the decline in domestic production, global production, and India’s rising share in exports, the prices locally could start escalating, which is why the ban has been put in place to protect the domestic needs.”

    Basmati and par-boiled rice are not affected by the measures aimed at curbing overseas shipments.

  • Telangana govt’s free rice scheme benefits poor

  • TRS government has been running a '6 kg fine rice' scheme

    Hyderabad: A free rice scheme, started by the Telangana government under which 10 kg of rice is distributed per person free of cost to eligible cardholders, is benefitting the poor of the state.

    The state government has been providing rice for the past three years to the people for free in the state.

    A long queue of beneficiaries was seen outside the ration shop to collect rice. The beneficiaries expressed their gratitude towards CM K Chandrashekar Rao and lauded the move.

    Ratan Singh, one of the beneficiaries said that the KCR government is giving free rice and people are happy with the move of the state government.

    “We get around 200 to 300 quintals of rice. People are pleased,” he said.

    Another beneficiary, Pinky said that her family is getting free rice for three years now.

    “I thank CM KCR. I am a window and free rice is very helpful. We get around 40 kg of rice,” she said.

    Sultana Begum said that her family is getting free rice since KCR has come to power.

    “If this continues we will be very grateful to KCR. We get the ration on time. Earlier we used to get 6 kgs of rice but now we are getting 10 kgs,” she said.

    Syed Mustafa, another beneficiary of the scheme lauded the move of the government.

    “We have been getting free rice for three years now. CM KCR is doing good work. We are also getting fine rice,” he said.

    Meanwhile, with an aim to ensure that no one in Telangana sleeps hungry, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has been running a ‘6 kg fine rice’ scheme and the beneficiaries stand testimony to the achieved mission.

    A beneficiary of the scheme said that adequate quantity of rice is being distributed under the scheme since TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao came to power.

    Rice is supplied through the Public Distribution System (PDS) to every member in the eligible families in the state.

  • Options for Pakistan’s rice exports

  • In May 2022, India banned wheat exports and imposed restrictions on sugar exports. Recently, it has also banned exports of broken rice and levied 20 per cent new duties on semi-milled and milled rice (excluding parboiled and basmati varieties).

    These measures aim to manage “national food security” by augmenting stocks and calming food inflation. Since India is the largest rice exporter, accounting for almost 40pc of the global grain trade, the export restrictions would escalate international inflationary pressures and worsen food supply issues.

    Additional export duties would make Indian rice exports uncompetitive in the international market, encouraging buyers to shift to its competitors like Vietnam, Thailand, and Pakistan, which are among the top five rice exporters. Yet they won’t be able, even collectively, to bridge the export gap that India will create.

    Pakistan produces around 8.9 million tonnes of rice annually, whereas only 4m tonnes is consumed in the country, leaving the rest for export. Therefore, India’s ban offers a lucrative opportunity for Pakistan to expand its rice exports and fetch better prices.

    Allowing the export of basmati rice but restricting other varieties will earn revenue and maintain food supplies

    However, Pakistan is facing destruction by massive floods, which have washed away millions of acres of standing rice crops in Sindh and Punjab.
    Initially, 9m tonne production was expected for the 2022 crop. However, due to a shortage of canal water during the rice planting season, the estimations were revised to 8.6m tonnes. Out of this, Sindh province estimated production at 2.3m tonnes, mainly from its rice zone, which is the worst hit by the floods.
    A rapid assessment of crop losses in Sindh was recently conducted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC). Using an approach based on satellite imagery and measuring district and tehsil level damage intensity indicated crop losses of almost 80pc of the rice acreage.
    Production losses are estimated to be 1.8m to 1.9m tonnes. In addition to standing crops, the flood has destroyed the stocks lying in the houses for personal consumption as well as for the next crop seed. Total crop losses are roughly estimated at around 2.2m tonnes, most of which are non-Basmati (coarse) varieties.
    Many think that Pakistan is heading towards a real food security challenge, and they are proponents of imposing restrictions on rice exports like India. Expected shortage of wheat in the country, rice crop loss caused by the flood, derailing wheat planting season due to stagnation of flood water in fields, significant loss of livestock in flood-affected areas, greater reliance of poor and lower-middle class on wheat-based and rice-based products in the diet due to lack of affordability for meat, milk and fruit, low production of staple food across the world due to climate change, and disruption of global food supply chains, are some of the arguments in favour of exports restriction.
    These factors may raise the risk of continued food shortfalls and price spikes in the coming months. On the flip side, farmers and rice exporters favour exports for many reasons.
    First, Pakistan’s rice production will hopefully stand at around 6.4m tonnes despite flood losses. After putting aside local consumption, a 2.4m tonne exportable surplus will be available in the country.
    Second, rice is not a principal grain consumed in Pakistan. Per capita rice consumption in Pakistan stands at 18kg, whereas Bangladesh and India consume around 190kg and 78kg per capita, respectively. Therefore, it can be asserted that rice is not as sensitive as wheat, if looked at from a food security perspective.
    Third, the share of rice in Pakistan’s consumer price index (CPI) is quite small — in the food CPI basket, its weightage is just around 3.8pc. So higher rice prices would not significantly impact consumers as it does in the case of wheat.
    Fourth, penetration in export markets takes time, money, and effort. Pakistan may lose valuable markets/buyers in case exports restriction are imposed. In particular, basmati varieties are often sold under brand names, and any supply disruption may adversely affect brands’ equity.
    Fifth, over and above all that, basmati rice is grown mostly in districts that have not been affected by the floods. Thus the basmati crop is largely intact. Harvesting of basmati varieties is in progress in Punjab, and due to favourable weather conditions, the yield is 10-20pc higher than the previous year.
    The government is facing conflicting priorities. On the one hand, the government wants to earn maximum foreign exchange through exports, while ensuring national food security and quell inflation. Moreover, balancing the competing interests of its farmers and consumers is also a hard task.
    If rice export is allowed without any restriction, excessive depreciation of the rupee may render Pakistan’s rice more competitive globally, which is likely to result in excessive export of rice, causing a shortage in the local market.
    Therefore, Pakistan may go for a cautious policy that allows the unabated export of Basmati rice, hoping to meet 750,000 tonnes of export, but restricts exports of non-basmati (coarse) rice, capping it at 2m tonnes.
    Mr Wattoo is a farmer and consultant in the social sector.
    Ms Hasan is a political economist and graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
    Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, October 11th, 2022
  • Rice production: Japan-funded proderip faces smuggling challenges

  • (Business in Cameroon) - The Rainfed Rice Development Project (Proderip) financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Cameroon is facing smuggling issues. Official data indicate that a large portion of the project's production is smuggled into Nigeria.

    "We don’t know the exact volume of the local production that goes to Nigeria illegally. The Semry (operated by Yagoua Rice Expansion and Modernization Company) and Undva (operated by the Upper Noun Development Valley Authority) production basins are both affected. Since the two companies that operate them are unable to absorb the whole production, speculators see an opportunity to smuggle large quantities to Nigeria. That's why it's difficult to say exactly how much rice is produced in Cameroon," says Emile Folefack Tsopkeng, the National Proderip Coordinator.

    Despite this drawback, the project has managed to produce about 450,000 tons of paddy rice in over 10 years. This is however 150,000 tons lower than the initial target of 650,000 tons.

    Proderip was launched in Cameroon in 2011 in close partnership with the Japanese agency JICA with an initial budget of CFA1.5 billion. To date, JICA reported, nearly 10,000 farmers have received training and about 75,000 tons of seeds have been distributed. Phase 2 of the project, which ended last September, has trained nearly 4,000 new farmers. Phase 3 is scheduled to run from this month to 2027.

    S.A.

  • Bacterial Blight-resistant Varieties of Basmati Rice Developed — Transcontinental Times

  • INDIA : The India Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), the public sector farm research body which falls under the umbrella of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research

    recently developed three varieties of improved basmati rice that are resistant to bacterial blight and blast diseases.

    According to the farmers who cultivated them for the first time in this agricultural season, the new varieties would revolutionise basmati cultivation in terms of reduced cost of input and increased global sales as the produce is pesticide residue-free.

    The varieties are called Pusa Basmati 1847, Pusa Basmati 1885, and Pusa Basmati 2021. These are expected to play a role in sustaining Indian leadership in the export of Basmati rice as ICAR-IARI conducted tests on the crop and the results showed that the varieties address various concerns raised by the importing countries about the use of chemicals in basmati rice.

    These nations had previously rejected some basmati rice consignments, stating the excessive levels of chemicals in them.

    In recent years, the European Union (EU) has reduced the maximum residue limit of tricyclazole, one of the most commonly used fungicides, to 0.01 ppm.

    India had an urgent need to address these restrictions in order to maintain its leading position. In 2021-22, India earned  25,053 Crore through basmati exports alone in 2021-22.

    A.K. Singh, the lead breeder of the new varieties and director of IARI said,

    Since bacterial blight and blast diseases are the major and destructive diseases in basmati rice, which can potentially cause huge yield losses as well as affect the grain and cooking quality, the new varieties will be a game changer in the basmati rice production industry.

    Usually, the diseases in existing varieties are managed by the use of chemicals like streptocyclin and tricyclazole.

  • India’s rice farmers, exporters feel impact of cooling measures

  • Recent curbs to cool rising rice prices bring relief to consumers in India, which is the world’s largest exporter of rice, but it is bad news for businesses.

    India’s rice farmers are concerned that the latest curbs would eat into their profits. (Photo: CNA/Manoj Gaikwad)

    MUMBAI: India’s rice farmers and exporters are feeling the crunch of a ban on broken rice exports and duty hikes on several varieties of the grain.

    The restrictions were introduced by the India government on Sep 8 to cool rising prices and maintain sufficient supplies for the local population.

    While the curbs bring some relief to consumers, it is bad news for business in a country that is the world's largest exporter of rice.

    For rice exporter Al-Gyas Exports, the government’s move to slap a ban on broken rice exports - which make up 10 per cent of its shipments – came as a shock. The company ships some 300,000 tonnes of rice a year, largely to countries in the Middle East and across Africa. 

    Restrictions were introduced by the India government on Sep 8 to cool rising rice prices and maintain sufficient supplies for the local population. (Photo: CNA/Manoj Gaikwad)

    “It will affect 10 per cent of the sales, and we are looking to compensate for that with other products,” said Al-Gyas Exports’ director Naeem Ilyas Motorwal. 

    “In general, I think it was a positive move by the government (to put) some restrictions, because they cannot allow a lot of rice to go when we also have a lot of consumption for the same product in India as well.”

    Rice is a staple that households across India widely depend on, not just for food but also for animal feed.

    However, with uneven rains during this year's monsoon season, there are expectations of a decline in production.

    Meanwhile, food inflation has been soaring, with grain prices up more than 9 per cent in August on the year, according to official data.

    CONCERNS OVER ESCALATING PRICES

    This has prompted the government to intervene to control the price of rice locally.

    “If we see India's context, in the entire global scenario, our share and exports have been rising,” said Mr Pushan Sharma, a director at analytics firm Crisil. 

    “Over the last few years, we used to account for about 24 per cent of global exports from 2018 to 2019. That has risen to 40 per cent.”

    Mr Pushan added: “So the fear is that, given the decline in domestic production, global production, and India's rising share in exports, the prices locally could start escalating, which is why the ban has been put in place to protect the domestic needs.”

    Basmati and par-boiled rice are not affected by the measures aimed at curbing overseas shipments.

    The export ban is on broken rice, which is made up of fragments of grains. While it is considered inferior, broken rice is consumed by people in some developing countries and widely used for animal feed.

    Import duties of 20 per cent have also been placed on types of white and brown rice, both of which are consumed widely in India. 

    Last year, India exported a record 21.5 million tonnes of rice. This is more than the total shipments of the next four largest exporting countries of the grain - Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States.

    KNOCK-ON IMPACT

    Mr Pushan said the reduced supply of rice from India “will lead to a slight increase in prices in the global market as well”. 

    He added that China, which is the biggest buyer of broken rice from India, will need to look to other markets, along with countries like the Philippines and Bangladesh.

    This will also have a knock-on impact on other major rice-producing and exporting economies such as Thailand and Vietnam.

    India’s rice farmers are concerned that the curbs would eat into their profits.

    Already, rice farmers are struggling with the rising costs of fertilisers and pesticides. Weather conditions have also damaged some of their crops. (Photo: CNA/Manoj Gaikwad)

    Already, they are struggling with the rising costs of fertilisers and pesticides. Weather conditions have also damaged some of their crops.

    “There would be less demand and we may have to bear the losses, as the cost would come down and this would in turn make us less profitable,” rice farmer Ananta Vishe said. 

    For most consumers though, the ban has been a relief.

    Exporters noted that rice prices are already showing signs of cooling off in India.

    Al-Gyas Exports said that domestic trade prices of broken rice are down by 20 per cent since the ban. 

    Meanwhile, industry insiders said that prices of non-basmati rice have fallen by up to 5 per cent.

  • Rice farmers urged to use irrigation method


  • Small holder rice farmers are urged to plant rice using the irrigation method instead of dry land rice farming

    Trukai Industries Limited rice development manager Aina Davis said they are encouraging a shift from dry land farming to irrigation.

    She said in their rice development programs, they advocate on farming rice using an irrigation method because it produces a big yield.

    Ms Davis said when farmers harvest big yields, they earn good income when they sell their rice to Trukai and the surplus can be consumed.

    “Trukai utilises overhead sprinkle irrigation at its rice farm at Erap and trains its farmers to use flood irrigation mainly around Morobe province.

    “Outcome of good irrigation is increased yields, reduces the risk of crop failure, yields are stable and reliable, assured production targets can be made and reduce fluctuations in the year to year yields,” Ms Davis said.

    She said they have a program for interested and established rice farmers that they are doing to support farmers in their rice farming.

    She said they establish contact with the farmer, and then inspect their farming area of soil type, vegetation; irrigation possibility and accessibility are assessed.

    “After that we provide rice seeds to the farmer to plant in his or her area of less than a hectare as a trial while we assess the farmer’s ability to grow a crop and also area viability.

    “We provide training for the farmer both on the rice field and in the classroom taking step at a time to develop their skill to grow more than a hectare rice farm,” Ms Davis said.

    She said this program started in 2011 and with irrigation farming encouraged, they helped trained farmers to become successful in harvesting bigger yields and based on the farmer’s crop harvest, farming attitude and enthusiasm, the farmer is issued a Trukai Sustainability Kit (VSK) to support him as a model farmer to others in his or her surrounding community.

    She said once farmers are given rice seeds, they work with them and bring them back for training because they are growing rice at a small holder farm but for commercial demand.

  • Pakistan poised to achieve rice export target

  • Cash crop not significantly damaged, can bring substantial earnings

    Investment of Rs350 million for the establishment of phytotron tunnels will expedite research and development on new rice varieties. PHOTO: file

    KARACHI:

    Despite climatic damage to major crops like cotton and wheat, most of the rice crop has remained unhurt by flood devastation and Pakistan is poised to achieve its export target of 4.8 million tons this season.

    It is really a blessing that the cash crop of rice has survived the onslaught of floods and can fetch a substantial amount in export earnings, while most of the other summer crops have been destroyed, say rice exporters. “Pakistan has not lost its rice crop. Damages are minimal,” Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Chela Ram Kewlani told The Express Tribune. “Pakistan is in a position to meet the rice export target, which is almost equal to the exports made last year. The country exported 4.8 million tons of rice last year,” he said.

    “Despite the floods and various other challenges being faced by the economy, exporters are gearing up for rice shipments as much as possible.” According to REAP’s record, Pakistan’s total rice crop is around 9 million tons. Of this, 4.5 million tons are exported and the remaining 4.5 million tons are sold in domestic markets. Of the total harvest, 5 million tons comprise Basmati rice while 4 million tons consist of nonBasmati paddy. “After assessing the losses inflicted by the natural disaster, we are expecting a satisfactory rice harvest of 8 million tons,” Kewlani said.

    About flood damage, he said Punjab’s rice belt remained nearly unscathed. Sindh too had a similar rich crop but unfortunately it was partly wiped off. “There are two rice belts in Sindh – upper and lower belts. Areas falling in the lower belt include Golachi, Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan where farmers have bumper crops. But 20% of the crop has been damaged in the upper belt stretching over areas of Larkana, Jacobabad, Kandhkot and other cities in close proximity.”

    He brushed aside the talk on social media that Pakistan should place a ban on rice exports as the crop had been totally damaged. “It is fake news; we really don’t need a ban. The varieties we export are not consumed locally, as those are used in feed mills only. Therefore, the ban is not required at all,” he emphasised. REAP chairman pointed out that there was a surplus stock of one million tons comprising Basmati and non-Basmati varieties, therefore, it would not be difficult to make up for the shortfall of half a million tons or so.

    Rice production has increased due to quality seeds. Farmers are using hybrid seeds that produce good quality rice and increase output. In fact, this year “we have a bumper crop across Pakistan, by any means, the country can make it”.

  • Parboiled idli rice exports take a hit 

  • File photo: A worker carries boiled rice in a wheelbarrow to spread it for drying at a rice mill on the outskirts of Kolkata | Photo Credit: REUTERS

    Customs officials seeking 20% duty payment, classifying commodity as raw rice based on appearance; association demurs

    Almost 1,000 tonnes of parboiled rice - which is used to make idlis - are reportedly held up at the ports in Tamil Nadu since last month following the Central government order that levied 20% duty on raw rice exports and banned export of broken rice.

    “The Traditional Tamilnadu parboiled idly rice with full of white belly appearance is popular throughout the world,” the Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners Association said in a tweet. “Due to the presence of chalky white grains (white belly) in rice (which is its normal appearance) customs officials at ports are not accepting it as parboiled rice,” it added.

    According to M. Sivanandan, secretary of the association, Tamil Nadu is the main producer of idli rice, which is parboiled, and is exported to countries such as Dubai, Japan, Canada, and Singapore. The rice looks white though it is parboiled. The officials are asking the exporters to pay 20% duty to export it, treating it as raw rice. With almost 1,000 tonnes held up, the mills are unable to make fresh paddy purchases.

    “This is harvest season for this variety of paddy and when the millers do not buy, farmers are affected,” he said.

    Thangapandi Jeyaraman, managing partner at RMJ Modern Rice Mill, said almost 30% of the paddy harvest in Tamil Nadu is the idli rice variety. The officials at the port should look at criteria other than appearance, he pointed out.

    Mills and exporters in Tamil Nadu ship 120 to 150 containers a month directly, apart from selling to exporters in other States. Except exports from Kerala, where idli rice is double parboiled, idli rice exports are affected in all other States, he said.

  • SKUAST-Jammu organises Rice Field Day

  • Srinagar, Oct 7: As part of a programme to benefit rice farmers, SKUAST-Jammu organised a Rice Field Day here.  The programme was held under the guidance of Prof. J.P. Sharma, Vice Chancellor.
    After the visit of the Rice Research Farm, Division of Plant Breeding and Genetics SKUAST-Jammu, farmers gained knowledge about the different varieties of rice, different diseases and pests of rice, different crop establishment methods etc.
    Vice Chancellor Prof. J.P. Sharma as chief guest addressed the farmers and appealed them to use seed of the latest rice varieties, interact with scientists and visit the University for the latest techniques and emphasized the farmers to go for diversifications in crops. Director Research Dr. Pradeep Wali also put forth his views and made them aware of the facilities provided by the University like free soil testing in KVKs and toll free calling facility initiated by the University for farmers. Prof. and Head, Division of Plant Breeding Dr. Tuhina Dey also emphasized on the benefits of new rice varieties whereas Dr. V.B. Singh, Chief Scientist,
    covered various aspects of rice diseases. Dr. Anuradha Saha, Chief Scientist and Incharge of AICRP on Rice presented a detailed outline of this programme and thanked the farmers for their active participation. Dr. Vijay Bharti, Chief Scientist hosted the programme and the programme was also attended by Dr. M.K. Pandey, Dr. S.K. Rai and Dr. Bhupesh Kumar.
  • Innovative rice cultivation sees bumper harvest in SW China.

  • Farmers in Lancang County, southwest China's Yunnan Province have embraced an innovative way of cultivate rice paddies, which experts say is significant in promoting food security.

    The new cultivation method has seen the farmers realize a bumper harvest. Earlier this week, in the village of Haozhiba, the highest yield reached 788.9 kilograms per mu, equal to some 11,833.5 kilograms per hectare. Meanwhile, the average yield is about 10,417.5 kilograms per hectare, much higher than that cultivated the traditional way.

    The program aims to grow rice on non-irrigated dry land and is led by renowned plant pathologist Zhu Youyong, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE).

    A farmer harvests rice cultivated on dry land for the first time. Yang Jinghao/CGTN

    A farmer harvests rice cultivated on dry land for the first time. Yang Jinghao/CGTN

    This year, some 33,000 hectares of rice were grown this way across Yunnan, with 1,800 hectares in Lancang, which shares a border with Myanmar. Rice was even planted on some hillsides.

    "In the beginning, I was skeptical about the feasibility of the practice and didn't expect much. But it surprisingly turned out to be a bump​er harvest. Besides self-sufficiency, we can probably sell some of it. I'm really happy," said local villager Liu Shibao.

    Liu said that, before this, they would grow some upland rice, but the yield was low, and they needed to buy rice from the market almost every year.

    Zhu told CGTN that the method has made rice cultivation a lot easier, as some procedures including seedling raising and transplanting are not needed.

    He added that it makes mechanized farming more convenient and efficient, as all work – from sowing, fertilization to harvesting – is conducted on non-irrigated farmland.

    "Another advantage is that it's conducive for the development of water-efficient agriculture," said Zhu, who took the experiment in Haozhiba as an example.

    "We didn't irrigate the farmland at all and just relied on rainfall. This type of farming is very suitable in areas with insufficient water."

    Zhu Youyong (C) talks to Lancang County villagers about the program. Yang Jinghao/CGTN

    Zhu Youyong (C) talks to Lancang County villagers about the program. Yang Jinghao/CGTN

    According to Zhu and his team from Yunnan Agricultural University, two key issues were addressed before their trials finally saw breakthroughs.

    First, they took advantage of hybridization to make tillering in dry land as good as in paddy fields.

    Another challenge for the team is that there are a lot more weeds in dry land than in paddies, which also grow faster. Zhu said through years of experiments, they have developed a new technology that can eliminate the weeds at the initial stage while not harming the rice seedlings.

    In late September, dozens of experts from CAE visited the county and evaluated the program. Many said the innovative cultivation method would play an important role in ensuring food security when implemented on a larger scale. And this is also what Zhu has strived for.

    Since 2015, the scientist has been dedicated to helping Lancang, which is mainly inhabited by people of the Lahu ethnic group, to shake off poverty by cultivating special products suitable for local natural conditions. And he has been dubbed a "farmer academician".

    "I'll try my best to do more for them. I'll research what the farmers need so that they can live a better life," Zhu told CGTN, stressing that technological innovation will be the biggest driving force for rural development.

    As for the rice program, he hopes that local governments can encourage more people to engage in it by providing them with related training and subsidies.

    (Li Qiu, Li Wenqiang and Yuan Lan from the Lancang County Multimedia Center contributed to this report.

  • Rice production to fall by 2% this year: Statistics Korea

  • Rice paddies in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province (Yonhap)

    SEJONG -- The nation’s rice output is projected to decrease by 78,000 tons in 2022 on-year in the wake of a curtailed rice paddy size as well as shortage in rainfalls, Statistics Korea said Friday.

    According to the state-run agency, rice production nationwide will likely decline by 2 percent on-year from 3.88 million tons in 2021 to 3.8 million tons in 2022.

    The size of rice paddies is estimated to have contracted by 0.7 percent from 7,320 square kilometers (732,000 hectare) to 7,270 square kilometers.

    Statistics Korea also forecasted that output per 100 square meters would reduce by 1.3 percent from 530 kilograms to 523 kilograms over the corresponding period.

    “Amid a slump in rice prices and the state-led support for other agricultural crops, the size of rice paddies inched down this year. In addition, (the required) rainfalls decreased between June and July,” said the agency.

    South Jeolla Province, the largest rice producer in Korea, is projected to see the largest on-year decline in output by 6.3 percent, followed by South Chungcheong Province (the second-largest producer) with a 5 percent fall.

    Gangwon Province is likely to see a 4 percent fall and Gyeonggi Province with a 2 percent fall. In contrast, two of the nine provinces -- North Jeolla Province and North Gyeongsang Province -- could see an output increase by 4.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, said the agency.

    Compared to a decade earlier, the size of rice paddies across the country is set to mark a 14.3 percent (or by 1,200 square meters from 8,490 square meters in 2012) decline this year, its data showed.

  • Arkansas Rice: Harvest Winding Down; Preliminary Performance Trial Data

  • A quarter or less of the rice crop is left to harvest and a change in the weather is forecast for next week (rain and a temperature drop).  Variability seems to be the best word to describe harvest season this year.  The heat over the course of the summer did its work and depending on planting date and management, yields are bouncing around.  The general trend is a 5% or so reduction in yield, but there are still those on par with last year and some reporting their best yields.  Others have reported major problem fields.

    Last year’s yield record of 170 bu/acre wasn’t expected to be challenged, but it’s looking more likely that we’ll fall in the neighborhood of 165 bu/acre for a state average.  The remaining late rice to be harvested will likely tell the story on where we end up, especially with cooler temperatures on the way.

    Milling yields have largely held firm with a guesstimate in the 55/70 range (low 50s to upper 50s common).  This is a big improvement over last year that was around a 52/69 with far too much milling in the 40s.  Hopefully this improved milling with lower damaged rice (peck) will help to make up for some of the lower grain yields.

    Fig. 1.  2010-2022 Arkansas rice harvest progress (USDA-NASS). Click Image to Enlarge

    Preliminary Arkansas Rice Performance Trial Data

    Preliminary results from the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials (ARPT) small-plot testing are now available.  One site remains to be harvested, but planting decisions are already approaching for the 2023 season.  Note this data is subject to change as we finish analyzing data.  Final results will be published around Dec. 1.

    A few notes:  all trial locations are managed with a conventional herbicide program to allow for comparison across all technologies; STF site was harvested at very low moisture which may have had a greater impact on early-maturing cultivars; CLA and LAW sites had significant grass pressure resulting in greater plot variability, therefore results from these sites should be evaluated carefully.

    False smut

    To paraphrase Ray Wylie Hubbard, “False smut, just sounds nasty, false smut, pretty much is”.

    Especially in later rice, the false smut is very noticeable this year.  RT7521FP has resulted in the most calls, mainly because we have a lot of it planted this year and it’s pretty susceptible.  It continues to pop up even in cultivars that we typically don’t see it in much.

    Remember that even with a properly timed application of a triazole fungicide (propiconazole [Tilt, Quilt Xcel] or difenconazole [Amistar Top]) you may only see 50% suppression of false smut.  This particular disease is very showy, but even when it appears to be very bad it isn’t usually yield limiting.  It’s often not even impactful on milling, which is very different from kernel smut.

    Well, if it’s not yield limiting then why do my lower yielding spots have a lot of false smut?

    Typically because there are other underlying issues in those areas.  We generally see that those areas are pretty rank with overall plant health problems due to conditions, management, or both.  In some cases, it’s clearly low potassium (K) and high nitrogen (N) rates.  Plants low in K have a harder time fending off diseases, but even when you have adequate K, if you have too much N the plant is out of balance and you can get results like you are low K.  In hybrid rice, you don’t usually see typical K deficiency symptoms, you just get the problems associated with it.

    What about milling?  Surely all those spore balls are hurting milling, right?  

    Not much.  False smut takes the place of kernels, but even when it looks bad it’s a small percentage of kernels.  Even in high yielding rice fields, 10-20% of kernels are naturally blank.  A healthy plant makes more kernels that it can actually fill – this is normal.  So having a small percentage of kernels lost to false smut doesn’t necessarily impact yield.  As for milling, the spore ball replaces a kernel and is easily broken loose in the harvest process and can easily be sorted out.  This is very different from kernel smut which occurs inside the rice hull and is impossible to easily remove from harvested grain.

    False smut starts out with a bright orange color but turns to a very dark green, almost black color, as it matures.  So, you can still end up with a black combine from false smut like you typically see with a kernel smut problem.  Given the dry conditions this fall, the spore balls are drying up and disintegrating which is giving rice a very ugly look.  Once it’s been harvested most of that residue has been blown off of the rice and samples generally look good.

    As with any disease, things can change, so if you’re seeing something different please let us know.

    Fig. 2.  Mature false smut on rice.

    Drain Timing

    Draining on time was draining too early in 2022.  Nobody could have predicted that harvest season would remain as hot and dry as it has, but it still caught up with us.  Hence the rule “drain like it’s never going to rain again.”  Some rice began to shut down and cave in or collapse early before grain had dried down.  Adequate water is necessary for a plant to maintain a rigid stalk.  Once it loses enough water (turgor pressure), it will wilt and/or collapse.  This helps to explain some of the untimely lodging/collapse of rice in the absence of any storms.

    Speaking of water, this was a reminder of where we have limited irrigation capacity.  We know there are places we must be more careful with row rice, and maybe even alter our approach to flooded rice.

    High Grain Moisture

    It’s been hot and it’s been dry, so why won’t this grain moisture drop?  Notice how we don’t have much dew in the morning?  Soil moisture is necessary for heavier dews, and we don’t have much of that these days.  What does dew have to do with grain drying down?  Water is hydrophilic – which is to say that water loves water.

    Ever notice that when you drain a rice field, it drains off a lot better when there’s more water in the field?  So, with the grain in the field, the outer portion of the grain is drier and having dew that soaks into the grain will then evaporate off during the heat of the day and “pull” more moisture out of the grain, helping it to mature.  Right now, that isn’t happening.

    Think back to when we usually have light showers scattered through harvest, the grain matures faster when we have humidity, and those showers occur.  For now, the drying down process will remain slow for greener rice until something changes.

    Fig. 3.  Near mature rice with greener kernels.

    Quinclorac is Rough on Reproductive Rice

    Over the past few weeks, it has become clear that late applications of Facet (quinclorac) to clean up grass did a number on some rice.  Quinclorac applied to reproductive stage rice can have major impacts on our yield potential.  There are typically no visual symptoms on the plant following the application, but at maturity, heads will be blank (straightheaded) and often there are “twin stems” emerging from upper nodes on the plant attempting to replace the blanked head.

    What we’re seeing from these applications are yield losses ranging from 20-100 bu/acre.  Variability in the response involves exact growth stage of the application, rated used, and environmental conditions.  While there may be some differences among cultivars, so far, we’ve seen it in some of everything across varieties and hybrids.

    A number of years ago there was a publication documenting this possible yield loss from Mississippi State.  Looking at varieties and hybrids sprayed with a full rate of quinclorac just prior to panicle initiation (PI) up to 14 days after PI, they reported yield losses of 10-20% depending on the year and timing of application.

    The take home message is to not apply quinclorac once rice reaches reproductive growth.  It would be even safer to avoid spraying once rice is nearing reproductive growth.

    Fig. 4.  Quinclorac injury to rice causing blank heads and replacement heads.

  • Rice insecurity: The depletion of groundwater resources…

  • Rice insecurity: The depletion of groundwater resources and the increasing cost of cultivation may put rice production in jeopardy in the future

    Poornima Varma writes: Unreliable rice export policy and precarity of production among other factors, will have long-term impact

    India exports rice to more than 130 countries, constituting around 40 per cent of the global rice trade. The decision to curb rice exports has, unfortunately, been taken when global food prices are already rising. (Express Archive)

    Fears concerning a potential ban on rice exports in India, following a ban on wheat exports on May 14, have come true. On August 8, India banned the exports of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent duty on the exports of various grades of rice amid high cereal inflation and uncertainties with respect to domestic supply. The rice export restrictions have heightened food security anxieties across the global market as many developing countries depend on Indian rice.

    The world rice market is thin, given that 90 per cent of production is consumed domestically. As a result, any small change in exports and imports has an enormous impact on prices, especially if it leads to panic buying of food grains by rich countries. While the actual impact of the export restriction policy on domestic prices is a matter of empirical scrutiny, and the government has intended to regulate domestic prices and safeguard food security, frequent changes in export policies undoubtedly have long-term ramifications.

    India exports rice to more than 130 countries, constituting around 40 per cent of the global rice trade. The decision to curb rice exports has, unfortunately, been taken when global food prices are already rising. The export uncertainties will affect the credibility of Indian exporters, create a disincentive for future exports, and will enable buyers to shift towards other major rice-exporting countries. Though Indian farmers in general lack market access, and hence do not take advantage of high market prices, the fall in prices may adversely affect a section of farmers who hope to get a better price for their produce through exports. The exporters who face the burden of the unfeasibility of exports may pass it on to farmers in the form of lower prices during procurement.

    In India, around 49 per cent of rice cultivation depends on groundwater. which is depleting rapidly. As per the latest data available from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), agricultural water withdrawal as a percentage of total available renewable water resources has increased from 26.7 per cent in 1993 to 36 per cent in 2022. Similarly, the total per capita renewable water resources have also declined from 1,909 cubic meters to 1,412 cubic meters during this period. The water-intensive nature of rice cultivation, along with frequent export restrictions will adversely affect the long-run sustainability of rice production. Further, India’s export restrictions will adversely affect several low-income and low-middle-income countries like Bangladesh, Senegal, Nepal and Benin, which are among the largest importers of Indian rice.

    Rice exports are leading to an indirect export of water to other countries — a phenomenon known as virtual water trade (VWT). The relative per capita water availability in India is lower than a majority of its major importing countries. The other major exporters of rice, such as Thailand and Vietnam, also have better per capita water availability in comparison to India. Out of 133 countries in which India has positive net rice exports, only 39 countries have relatively lower per capita renewable water resources. Out of these 39 countries, 12 countries are high-income countries with the ability to buy food at a higher price.

    Though Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) are announced for a large number of crops, India’s food security policies, especially how they are implemented, favour mainly rice and wheat. Furthermore, procurement is skewed towards selected northern states such as Punjab and Haryana where water availability is lower than in several other states.

    India’s rice yield is also lower than the world average. India’s yield is better than Thailand and Pakistan but worse than Vietnam, China and the US. The cost of cultivation in India is also increasing, and hence there will be a need for a higher MSP to make production remunerative. This will exacerbate the pressure to re-think its price-support-backed food security mechanism.

    The depletion of groundwater resources and the increasing cost of cultivation may put rice production in jeopardy in the future. Unless appropriate measures are taken to save water and the input requirements in the form of wider adoption of water-saving practices such as the system of rice intensification (SRI), the cost of cultivation will increase and production will become unsustainable. This will limit the ability to export and might adversely affect not only global rice security but also domestic rice security.

    The writer is a faculty at the Centre for Management in Agriculture, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Views are personal

  • Gov’t to buy 450,000 tons of rice for reserves on price drop concerns

  • Officials of the Rural Development Administration check rice at a rice paddy in the city of Suwon, south of Seoul, Sept. 15. Yonhap

    The government will purchase a total of 450,000 tons of rice for its reserves this year as it seeks to stabilize prices of the staple grain, the agriculture ministry said Friday.

    A total of 350,000 tons of rice to be harvested this year and 100,000 tons harvested last year will be isolated from the market starting Oct. 20 through December after the government and the ruling People Power Party (PPP) agreed earlier upon the step to counter prices falling, according to the ministry.

    The amount is a sharp increase from the 350,000 tons purchased a year earlier and the largest tally since 2005.

    The ministry said it will purchase the rice at the average market price.

    Korea has been struggling to cope with a glut of rice, key staple food for Koreans, and its falling prices on the constant decrease in consumption in recent decades due to changes in diet and eating habits.

    The price of a 20-kilogram bag of rice fell 24.9 percent on-year this year to 40,725 won, marking the largest on-year decline since 1977, according to government data. (Yonhap)

  • China’s smart farming revives traditional rice brand

  • Paddy field of Xiaozhan Rice in north China's Tianjin Municipality. /Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of Tianjin Municipality

    With the help of smart farming, the traditional rice brand, Xiaozhan Rice, in north China's Tianjin has revived in recent years.

    Researchers have explored ways to integrate multiple devices into one platform to help farmers monitor crop growth and make decisions, according to Xu Xingang, principal researcher of a smart farming project and researcher from the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA).

    "We use satellites, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and portable devices to help with this," Xu told CGTN. "A single development of one device is not rare, it is hard to combine multi-devices into one to serve farmers with the lowest cost and the best effectiveness." 

    Xu said that with the help of China's Gaofen satellites, remote sensing images with high spatial and temporal resolution have made it possible to monitor the process of crop growth.

    Maps of Xiaozhan Rice derived from the Gaofen satellite images from 2019 to 2021. /NERCITA

    Maps of Xiaozhan Rice derived from the Gaofen satellite images from 2019 to 2021. /NERCITA

    Flying in the sky, the UAVs helps monitor and assess seedling condition, nutrition status and lodging in rice. "Equipped with high-resolution multispectral cameras and laser radar, the UAV-based technology can help save 5 to 12 percent nitrogen fertilizers," said Xu.

    Xu said his team has also developed a portable instrument to help with monitoring for smaller farms. Key crop growth indicators, such as leaf area index, fractional vegetation cover and chlorophyll content, can be measured with the device. It can help recommend the amount of nitrogen fertilizer and predict yield to farmers, Xu said.

    The portable instrument for monitoring crop health (the upper three images), its working mode, a prescription map for fertilization and a map to forecast yield (the lower three images). /NERCITA

    The portable instrument for monitoring crop health (the upper three images), its working mode, a prescription map for fertilization and a map to forecast yield (the lower three images). /NERCITA

    Using these technologies, two demonstration farms have been established, with a total of 5500 mu (around 367 hectares). They have also offered technical training to 150 personnel to better serve farmers. 

    Big data-driven dynamic monitoring system for smart farming. /NERCITA

    Big data-driven dynamic monitoring system for smart farming. /NERCITA

    Traditional rice brand get 'rejuvenated'

    Xiaozhan Rice is an old brand. The rice originated from Xiaozhan Town in Jinnan District, Tianjin. The town had been a place of strategic importance and an army was stationed there in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

    The troop training in the town made the place famous and it was the only Chinese town marked on maps published in Europe and the United States in the late 19th century. It created the country's first new-style army based on a modern military system, with soldiers equipped with modern weapons and equipment, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.

    Xiaozhan Rice was bred based on the original rice and other high-quality rice genes with the rise of troop training in the town. Nowadays, the breeding of Xiaozhan Rice uses a combination of traditional agricultural techniques and new technologies.

    Since 2018, Tianjin launched a campaign with methods including exploring digital technology into the planting and injecting funds into rice planting.

    In addition, efforts were made to new rice breeds. Several high-yield, high-quality varieties have been cultivated, such as Jinyuan U99, Jindao 919 and Jinchuan No.1, which were marked by features like resilience to diseases and pests, drought and salinization.

    Xiaozhan Rice in in north China's Tianjin Municipality. /Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of Tianjin Municipality

    Xiaozhan Rice in in north China's Tianjin Municipality. /Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of Tianjin Municipality

    Farmers have also used their rice fields to breed crabs, shrimp and fish, with the crabs fertilizing the paddy soil and larvae in the field providing green feed for crabs.

    At present, the planting area of the rice has grown from over 300,000 mu (20,000 hectares) in 2016 to more than 1 million mu (around 66,700 hectares) for two consecutive years, according to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of Tianjin Municipality.

    "We've established 100,000 mu (6,670 hectares) standardized demonstration areas for rice seedling raising and cultivation till now," said Wang Haiyuan, an official at the committee's Planting Administration Office.

    "Using standardized production technology, the yield per mu of the rice increased by more than 10 percent, the amount of nitrogen fertilizer reduced by more than 20 percent, and the amount of pesticide reduced by more than 30 percent," Wang told CGTN.

  • Duty relief for rice exporters in Gujarat

  • The Gujarat order followed an Andhra Pradesh HC judgment last month allowing three rice exporters to ship out rice subject to certain conditions. Mint

    NEW DELHI : Rice exporters in Gujarat are taking heart from a Gujarat High Court order granting interim relief to an exporter who had challenged the duty on exports of non-basmati rice on the grounds that his shipping bills were registered before 8 Sept, when the 20% duty was imposed.

    The Gujarat order followed an Andhra Pradesh HC judgment last month allowing three rice exporters to ship out rice subject to certain conditions. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rice got stuck at ports after the Union government decided to regulate rice exports citing domestic food security concerns. “Merely because the goods could not be sailed in the vessel, the customs authorities were not justified in taking to levy the duty," the Gujarat HC said. The rice consignments which were destined for Ghana belonged to Kunvarji Comtrade. The company argued that its goods were inspected and allowed for “Let Export" on 5 Sept by Customs. “Interim order is just a temporary thing. It could go either way. So if the decision is in favour of the government on the justification that they give, exporters will have to repay the duty. As far as shipping bills are concerned, in the rice business these bills are made much earlier. We don’t know what will be the final decision," said Vinod Kaul, senior executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association.

    “These orders are high court orders and so will be applicable to those particular states alone—in this case, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. And of course other exporters in the region will be able to take the benefit of the same. But it will be important to see if the government challenges the order," said Ajay Sahai, director-general of Federation of Indian Export Organizations.

  • Asia rice: steady demand lifts Vietnam rates

  • MUMBAI/HANOI/ BANGKOK/DHAKA: Vietnamese rice export prices rose this week driven by robust demand, while rates for the grain shipped out from top exporter India eased on a plunge in the rupee and improved supplies.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $425-$430 per tonne on Thursday, versus $420-$425 a week ago.

    “Demand is picking up, and we expect the Philippines to import more to compensate for the shortfall caused by the recent storms,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said. The Philippines is Vietnam’s largest rice buyer.

    Meanwhile, domestic supplies are running low as the summer-autumn harvest is ending, traders said. Export prices could increase further over coming weeks on tight supplies due to adverse weather in several rice growing countries and on rising demand, particularly from China, they added.

    Prices for India’s 5% broken parboiled variety fell to $374-$382 per tonne from $376-$384 last week, amid a dive in the rupee to a record low, increasing traders’ margins from overseas sales.

    “Government’s rice distribution has increased supplies in the market. For time being, the market is keeping aside concerns over the new season’s crop,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

  • BENEO opens additional rice starch production line

  • Following a €50 million (US$49.4 million) investment, the capacity of BENEO’s Belgium facility has risen by 50%

    Health ingredient specialist BENEO has opened a new rice starch production line in a special inauguration event.

    Attendees included Nadia Lapage (Secretary General FEVIA 1 Flanders), Carl Devlies (Alderman of City of Leuven), Dominic Speleers (Member of Executive Board of BENEO), Christoph Boettger (Member of Executive Board of BENEO) and Roland Vanhoegaerden (Operations Managing Director for BENEO’s Rice Ingredients). The addition of the new line increases production capacity at BENEO’s Wijgmaal facility in Belgium by 50%, allowing the company to continue meeting growing demand for its clean label rice ingredients.

    BENEO is a global provider of rice flour, starch and protein for the food and feed industry and the company’s unique rice derivatives are used in the production of a wide range of clean label products. The increasing demand for natural and clean label ingredients, in a wide range of applications, has led to BENEO’s production line expansion.

    Roland Vanhoegaerden, Operations Managing Director for BENEO’s rice ingredients said: “From bakery and dairy to confectionery and baby food products, the demand is growing for our clean label ingredients. Here at BENEO we believe in investing for the long-term, and with the addition of this new rice starch production line, we have built even more resilience into our rice portfolio. As food manufacturers continue to move away from artificial additives and replace them with natural alternatives, we are well placed to meet their needs with our rice starch ingredients.”

    The impact is on cost saving, but also on the environment, due to lower carbon emissions and a reduction in traffic. Our factory is in the middle of an urban area and by increasing barge use, we can reduce congestion and noise levels in the neighbourhood

    The plant in Wijgmaal has a proud 160-year history in the area and BENEO has been significantly investing in the facility in recent years, to make it a frontrunner in sustainability. With the new production line BENEO’s water consumption at the Wijgmaal site stays the same while the production capacity increases by 50% at the same time. This is possible thanks to a two-step process of cleansing: first contaminants are separated from the used water by an evaporator. The condensate is in turn purified in a second step, resulting in water of drinking quality. 

    The plant receives two-thirds of rice raw material by barge and just one- third by truck due to another investment taken a few years ago. 

    Vanhoegaerden continued: “The impact is on cost saving, but also on the environment, due to lower carbon emissions and a reduction in traffic. Our factory is in the middle of an urban area and by increasing barge use, we can reduce congestion and noise levels in the neighbourhood. All in all, the addition of the new line increases our production capacity, enabling us to continue meeting growing demand for our clean label rice ingredients, whilst minimising our impact on the environment and neighbourhood.”

  • Brands help Vietnamese rice enter more global markets

  • Vietnamese rice has been served for the first time for lunch at the Japanese Cabinet Office, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Japan.

    On September 2, chefs there made fried rice from ST25, the award winning Vietnamese grain.

    To enter the Japanese market, the Vietnamese producers of the rice had to meet more than 600 stringent technical standards and took over a year of negotiations with authorities in that country.

    Then, in September, Loc Troi Group exported the Com Vietnam brand of rice to France where it was bought by retailer E.Leclerc.

    Some 500 tons of Com Vietnam were sold to France’s Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer and wholesaler.

    For more than 20 years Vietnamese rice had been exported without proprietary brand names or under the brand name of foreign importers. This is the first year that rice exports are packed and labeled with brand names registered internationally.

    The evident quality of the product is increasingly attracting consumers in the high-end segment.

    A Loc Troi spokesperson said rice exports so far this year have been higher than in the whole of 2021.

    The company plans to increase exports to Europe, the U.S., Japan, and Australia, where it has rice farms and controls pesticide residues.

    Distributors in those markets have been expressing interest in buying from Vietnamese businesses.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, American consumers are fond of fragrant and long-grain rice varieties like Vietnam’s ST25, and their imports have seen a surge in the last two years.

    Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An Hi-tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company from southern Can Tho Province, told VnExpress, his company is unable to meet European demand.

    "We are also trying to increase production." He expected the Philippines and China also to increase rice imports.

    Analysts at securities company VnDirect expected Vietnam's rice exports to benefit from India’s export restrictions to stabilize prices after output was hit by drought.

    This has caused rice prices in Vietnam and Thailand to increase sharply in the past half month, they noted.

    Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agricultural Development Phung Duc Tien said rice exports are expected to be worth US$3.2-3.3 billion this year.

    The government recently instructed the agriculture ministry to zone one million hectares for high-quality specialized rice in the Mekong Delta.

    The initial draft envisages the zones to be situated in Dong Thap, Long An, An Giang, and Kien Giang provinces and Can Tho City.

    These areas are relatively less affected by drought and salinity, have extensive irrigation systems and can ship their produce by waterway, according to Nguyen Nhu Cuong, director of the ministry’s Department of Crop Production.

  • Thai rice exports could reach 8mn tonnes this year despite floods

  • Thailand’s rice exports could reach 8 million tonnes this year as flooding caused by Typhoon Noru has had little impact and a weak baht has helped overseas sales, the president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association said on Wednesday.

    The world’s third largest rice exporter shipped 6.11 million tonnes of the grain last year.

    Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association told Reuters that floods resulting from the typhoon in late September and early October had caused some damage to crops, but had not impacted exports.

    “We can still reach 7.5 million tonnes (of exports) this year and can reach 8 million as well due to the weak baht and India’s export tax,” Chookiat said.

    In September, India, the world’s largest exporter, banned overseas sales of broken rice and levied a 20% duty on exports on various rice grades.

    Unless there is a dramatic change in the situation, he expected exports of 8 million tonnes in 2023 too.

    The association in September raised its export target to 7.5 million tonnes from 7 million tonnes due to higher output and weak baht.

  • Organic farming for sustainable crop production in J&K

  • Dr Banarsi Lal

    J&K is a mountainous Union Territory in which about 30 per cent of the area is under cultivation. Agriculture is the backbone of J&K. This sector provides employment directly or indirectly to about 70 per cent population of J&K. The average size of landholding in India is 1.08 hectares where as in Jammu & Kashmir it is 0.54 hectare. Agriculture contributes significantly to the economy of J&K which signifies the overdependence of the J&K on agriculture. Agricultural development harbingers the overall growth and development of J&K. The use of fertilizers and other agrochemicals has started to increase in J&K which deteriorates the soil health. Organic farming is a method of farming in which we largely exclude the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and we maintain the soil fertility by the organic manures, green manures, crop rotation etc. It is a unique system of farming which sustains the agro-ecosystem including biodiversity and soil biological activities. Organic farming can prove as a major tool for the second green revolution especially in the hilly regions. Majority of farmers of Union Territory of J&K have small and marginal size of land holding which generate less income particularly in the hilly areas. It is the tradition in J&K to add organic manures in the soil which supplement nutrients and improve physical and biological properties of soils. Over the years, the farmers of the hilly Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have adopted new agricultural technologies but still J&K is having low crop productivity of almost all the crops. There is need to develop systematic approach and plan for the development in organic farming in Jammu and Kashmir as J&K has immense potential for organic farming. Several steps have been taken by the government in order to highlight the importance of organic agriculture in the growth of J&K economy. There is need to make rigorous efforts to promote organic farming in J&K. Soil health is deteriorates due to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers in the soil. In order to sustain the health of soil, organic farming is the best option. Organic farming is picking up pace in the UT of J&K and there is need of awareness and trainings of farmers for organic farming. J&K has huge potential for organic farming as a large area in J&K is already under semi-organic cultivation especially in hilly districts of J&K due to the lack of availability of chemical fertilizers in these areas and the farmers of these areas hardly apply the chemical fertilizers. Basmati rice of R S Pura, Rajmah of Bhadarwah, potato of Gurez and Machil and red rice of Tangdar, Kupwara, ginger and turmeric of Pouni, Reasi are major exportable organic products in J&K and have the potential to fetch more returns in the market. There is need to explore markets in the country and abroad for saffron, basmati rice, rajmash, spices and various other agricultural produce from J&K. In order to improve the socio-economic status of farmers of J&K, help them to get higher returns per unit area and overall improvement in the soil health along with increase in the export potential of farmers produce, specific interventions are needed to promote organic farming. Special impetus on construction of vermi-compost pits, vermi-beds, certification of organic produce and assistance for promoting bio-agents needs to be given so that farmers in near future become more competitive and generate better returns from their farms. Some specific projects on organic farming should be implemented specially in the hilly areas to promote organic farming in J&K. Area under organic farming and certified organic area need to be enhanced with the assistance of experienced service providers having certification tie up with the approved agency of APEDA. Cluster approach needs to be followed to identify the potential areas and emphasis should be given on organic farming in selected areas. Specific zones need to be identified and niche areas of organic production needs to be identified. Firstly the base line survey of the areas needs to be conducted and after that farmer meetings need to be conducted to orient the farmers on commercial organic farming. Specific demonstrations on organic input preparation such as Jeevamrit, Beetamrit, Panchgavya, vermicomposting, Matka Khad etc. should be given to the farmers. The literature in local dialect on organic farming should be provided to the farmers of selected areas of J&K. After that comprehensive trainings on all aspects of organic farming should be imparted to the farmers by the experts. Farmers should be acquainted with the uses, doses, time of application, stage of growth etc. of various bio-agents. Farmers should be oriented on less cost of cultivation and higher market returns by the adoption of commercial organic farming. By practicing organic farming even small farmers can generate more returns from their farm produce. Organic farming can benefit the farmers economically and ecologically by reducing the cost of cultivation. By organic farming, the farmers of J&K can leave a better legacy for their future generations. Farmers can also generate additional income by selling the earthworms and vermi-compost. The farmers of Jammu & Kashmir can tap the opportunity of growing demand of organic products. Organic agriculture is generally environment friendly maintains soil health and enhance biodiversity. Already large numbers of farmers of J&K are growing spices, basmati rice, walnuts, herbs etc. organically. There is need to introduce organic farming commercially, scientifically and in a systematized way so that the farmers can get rich dividends and farming can become sustainable. Keeping the importance of organic products in view there is needed to shift from chemical to organic farming. Organic farming system is not new and it is being followed from ancient times in J&K. There is an immense scope for organic Basmati rice in J&K which is grown on more than 35,000 hectares of land in J&K and has a production of over 88,000 metric tonnes, besides rajmash, spices, saffron, pulses and potato. There is need to provide logistic support for organic farming to the farmers so that they can get maximum benefits from it. Organic farming is a market demand driven agriculture which aims to fetch more prices. Postharvest crop residues can be utilized to the fullest extent. Currently the demand for organic products is more than supply. The market for organic crops is growing at a very high rate each year. The reduction in the input cost in organic farming ensures higher economic net returns. The emerging challenge for food security and environment sustainability can be mitigated by the organic farming. Good market demand for organic products will have a positive impact on the socio-economic status of the farmers of J&K. Commercial organic farming can be a boon for the farmers of J&K.

  • Vietnam’s world’s best rice gets trademark in Australia

  • The Gao Ong Cua ST25 Rice logo is displayed on IP (intellectual property) Australia's website. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy

    Vietnam’s ST24 and ST25 rice varieties, the latter the World’s Best Rice award winner not long ago, have obtained trademarks in Australia.

    The ‘Gao Ong Cua Viet Nam’ trademark has been registered by Ho Quang Tri Private Enterprise, a company owned by the son of the main developer of ST25, Ho Quang Cua.

    The trademark is valid until June 2031.

    It includes a logo of the brand with Cua’s smiling face next to a stem of grain.

    ST25 won the World’s Best Rice contest in 2019 and secured second place in 2020.

    It was the result of 25 years of research by Cua and his colleagues who cross-bred the premium fragrant rice, described as having a sweet taste and a hint of pineapple flavor, in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang.

    Cua has been pursuing global trademarks for the grain since last year after several companies tried to register the ST25 trademark in the U.S. and Australia.

    He has successfully registered the brand in the E.U. and the U.K.

  • Engineering Researcher Part of USDA Project Quantifying ‘Climate-Smart’ Rice Production

  • Associate professor Benjamin Runkle is part of a group that received a five-year, $80 million U.S. Department of Agriculture award aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emission associated with rice production.

    The USDA Climate Smart Agriculture Initiative project is led by USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited, which will coordinate the development and implementation. Runkle's team will receive approximately $1 million to oversee measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification to help ensure that project goals are met and well quantified.

    "This project is ambitious. It aims to impact approximately one-fifth of all rice acreage in the United States," said Runkle, who teaches in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. "Farmers will receive incentives to carry out conservation practices that save water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining large harvests."

    The project is also unique in its focus on involving historically underserved farmers through partnership with the National Black Growers Council and others. The program will also fund infrastructure development for underserved farmers to create the enabling conditions for eventual implementation of conservation practices at their farms.

    This grant was one of 70 announced in September comprising a $2.8 billion investment in the creation of Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities by the USDA. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited the central Arkansas rice farm of Mark Isbell on Sept. 16 to highlight the project. Vilsack noted that the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited proposal scored the highest of all applicants.

    Vilsack hosted a panel discussion that included representatives from Ducks Unlimited, the National Black Growers Council, Tyson Foods, the Winrock Foundation and U of A System Vice President of Agriculture Deacue Fields III. Both Tyson and Winrock received other awards under the program. The panelists indicated the need to develop trusted labeling of goods as climate-smart that are grounded in good science and supported throughout the supply chain.

    Runkle's award will allow him to hire scientific personnel to guide project data collection, document the performance of the proposal and report findings to the USDA and to the broader scientific community. He believes that if the grant team is successful in its implementation, the project could spur spin-off activities to ensure a broader, lasting reduction of the climate impact of rice production through relatively small changes in field management practices.

    Because the project will be active in all six U.S. rice producing states, the data collected will also help understanding of how to make effective changes to rice production under different management, soil and climate conditions.

    Runkle noted that the project will build on his group's ongoing sustainability research at the Isbell family farm, and it will also use some of the expertise gained from his current projects funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

    Read coverage of Vilsack's visit in the Stuttgart Daily Leader.

  • Thai rice exports could reach 8 million tonnes this year despite floods – assoc

  • FILE PHOTO: A rice mill worker holds up rice fallen onto the ground in Udon Thani, Thailand, September 16, 2015. The rural heartland of Thailand's deposed leader Yingluck Shinawatra and her exiled billionaire brother Thaksin is hurting…

    Thailand's rice exports could reach 8 million tonnes this year as flooding caused by Typhoon Noru has had little impact and a weak baht has helped overseas sales, the president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association said on Wednesday.

    The world's third largest rice exporter shipped 6.11 million tonnes of the grain last year.

    Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association told Reuters that floods resulting from the typhoon in late September and early October had caused some damage to crops, but had not impacted exports.

    "We can still reach 7.5 million tonnes (of exports) this year and can reach 8 million as well due to the weak baht and India's export tax," Chookiat said.

    In September, India, the world's largest exporter, banned overseas sales of broken rice and levied a 20 per cent duty on exports on various rice grades.

    Unless there is a dramatic change in the situation, he expected exports of 8 million tonnes in 2023 too.

    The association in September raised its export target to 7.5 million tonnes from 7 million tonnes due to higher output and weak baht.

  • Flooding impacting rice production in Pakistan

  • ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Recent flooding in Pakistan has damaged the rice crop and hindered wheat planting, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    The report said rice output for the 2022-23 marketing year was revised down to 8.3 million tonnes, well below last year’s record total of 9.1 million. Projected rice exports also are reduced to 4.5 million tonnes in 2021-22, which would still be a record, and to 4.2 million tonnes in 2022-23.

    “During the first six months of 2022, rice exports increased to almost all traditional markets, including Africa, the Gulf states and the EU, with shipments to China showing the most robust growth,” the USDA said.

    The USDA noted that rice consumption estimates for 2021-22 and 2022-23 increased to 4.3 and 4.6 million tonnes, respectively, “as lifting of COVID restrictions has allowed for a resumption of social events, generating a positive impact on rice consumption.”

    The USDA said the recent floods are likely to negatively impact the 2023-24 wheat planted area in Pakistan. With large areas of the Sindh province typically planted to wheat still submerged, the USDA said “it may be several months before the flood waters recede.”

    Farmers normally beginning planting the wheat crop in mid-October through November in that region.

  • Thailand boosts cross-border trade, G2G rice deals

  • The new director-general of the Thai Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Foreign Trade, Ronnarong Phoolpipat, said on October 3 that he will give priority to promoting cross-border trade and government-to-government (G2G) rice deals with China to serve economic recovery post COVID-19.

    Bangkok (VNA) – The new director-general of the Thai Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Foreign TradeRonnarong Phoolpipat, said on October 3 that he will give priority to promoting cross-border trade and government-to-government (G2G) rice deals with China to serve economic recovery post COVID-19.

    He stressed that the agency’s most important agenda is to boost cross-border trade, as its value rose to 1.15 trillion baht (30.4 billion USD) in the first eight months of 2022, up 3.18% year-on-year.

    Of the total, cross-border export rose slightly at 0.11% to 682.84 billion baht, while imports increased by 7.98% to 471.02 billion baht.

    According to him, weakened baht and recovering Myanmar and Laos economies were the main factors boosting cross-border trade this year. The rising demand for energy alone has expanded Thailand’s exports to Myanmar and Laos by 100% and 115% year-on-year, respectively.

    The department will also focus on G2G contracts to sell rice to China under the Thailand-China high-speed rail cooperative framework, he said, adding that under the contract, China will purchase 2 million tonnes of rice from Thailand.

    So far 720,000 tonnes have already been shipped. The department will work with the Chinese government to push for the rest of the shipment as soon as possible, he affirmed./.

  • Sale and Use of Insecticides for Basmati Rice Banned in Noida

  • The sale, distribution and use of insecticides and pesticides has been banned by the district authority of Gautam Budhha Nagar in Noida City for the next 60 days to come.

    The use of insecticides like buprofezin acephate, Chlorpyrifos, and Propiconazole has been banned by, Suhas LY, the district magistrate of Gautam Budhha Nagar, for 60 days, as the export of basmati rice in the state is facing problems.

    The pesticide and insecticide sellers of the district have been asked to submit a list of their stock to the district agriculture officer within a week according to an order released by the DM’s office. The move comes in adhering to the order issued by the state government.

    According to the order, the sale and use of insecticides have been banned for the next 60 days to come, under the Insecticides Act, 1968. The officials have warned against using or selling any insecticides or pesticides on the paddy fields. It has been clearly stated that strict action will be taken against farmers or vendors found using the chemicals, under the act.

    Further adding to the same they have said that Indian Basmati Rice is exported to countries like the USA, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and the UK among other big countries, although because of the presence of insecticides, the countries show unwillingness to accept the export of the crop products which in the end causes heavy loss to the farmers.

  • Bangladesh’s rice farmers tap underground ‘reservoirs’

  • Bangladesh farmers rely on a natural underground water storage system for agriculture, with the pumped groundwater regularly replenished during the monsoon season.

    Bangladesh is the world’s fourth highest producer of rice. Image: Water Alternatives Photos, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Flickr.

    The pumping up of groundwater by Bangladesh’s 16 million smallholder farmers has led to a massive storage capture of underground reservoirs rivalling the storage capacity of the world’s large dams, according to a study.

    Published in Science, the study said that groundwater-fed irrigation had transformed much of Bangladesh’s single-crop, rain-watered floodplains into highly productive double-cropping and, in places, triple-cropping lands to make the country the world’s fourth highest producer of rice.

    The researchers say the sustainable irrigation process could be replicated in other areas affected by the impacts of climate change which is intensifying extreme weather events worldwide.

    In Bangladesh, 90 per cent of rainfall occurs during the May to October wet season with the rest of the year considered the dry season. According to the study, following droughts that hit the country between 1992 and 1994, there was a rapid increase in the use of groundwater.

    The researchers explain how the pumping up of water during the dry season reduces groundwater levels that are restored by leaching from the ponds, rivers and lakes during the monsoon months. The capture of surface water leads to recovery of groundwater levels and helps limit flooding in a process the study authors call “The Bengal Water Machine”.

    “The Bengal Water Machine is a nature-based solution, requiring a comparatively minimal intervention — i.e. shallow irrigation wells that are less than 100 meters below ground level — relative to dams, to increase seasonal capture of freshwater that would otherwise drain to the Bay of Bengal,” said Mohammad Shamsudduha, corresponding author of the study affiliated with University College, London.

    The researchers analysed one million weekly groundwater-level observations from 465 wells across Bangladesh, taken between 1988 and 2018.

    Over the past 40 years, according to the study, monsoon rainfall has recharged 75 to 90 cubic kilometres of water in Bangladesh, a volume equivalent to twice the reservoir capacity of the Three Gorges Dam in China.

    Shamsudduha noted that the phenomenon has enabled farmers to transform the country’s economy and food security, and improved resilience to climate change.

    “In order to benefit from the operation of the Bengal Water Machine, we recommend identifying the potential areas where further freshwater capture is possible under current and projected changes in monsoon rainfall and irrigation demand,” Shamsudduha told SciDev.Net. “Continuous monitoring of groundwater levels and abstraction can ensure the sustainability of the Bengal Water Machine”.

    Shafi Mohammad Tareq, professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences in Jahangirnagar University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, told SciDev.Net that the study has implications for the future estimation of groundwater recharge and use in the agriculture sector for the production of food grain in densely populated Bangladesh.

    According to the researchers, wider replication of the study findings may be possible, for example in Vietnam’s Mekong delta and the delta of China’s Huang He river which are prone to the effects of climate change. The Bengal Water Machine can help augment international food security and durability to climate extremes caused by global warming, they said.

  • Gov’t to Purchase Total of 900,000 Tons of Rice to Stabilize Prices

  • The government has decided to purchase an additional 450-thousand tons of rice during the harvest season this year as it seeks to prevent rice prices from plummeting.

    According to the agriculture ministry on Monday, 450-thousand tons of rice will be purchased as public reserves, a sharp increase from the 350-thousand tons bought last year, resulting in a total purchase of 900-thousand tons of rice.

    This latest volume comes on top of the 450-thousand tons the government earlier announced it would buy in an attempt to stabilize prices through market isolation, the largest amount since 2005.

    The Rural Development Administration under the agriculture ministry had forecast that this year's rice harvest would be about as strong as last year, which could result in an oversupply considering the recent decline in rice consumption with changing diets and eating habits.

    The ministry is expected to take further action to stabilize prices once Statistics Korea confirms this year's rice production numbers next month.

  • PHL rice imports breach 2.9 MMT; top 2021 data

  • THE country’s rice imports as of September 22 breached the 2.9 million metric ton (MMT), already 5 percent higher than last year’s full-year import volume of 2.771 MMT, latest government data showed.

    Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data indicated that total rice imports from January 1 to September 22 reached 2.913 MMT.

    BPI data showed that Vietnam accounted for 82.11 percent or about 2.392 MMT of the total volume of rice imported during the period. The country’s rice imports from Vietnam was 1.35 percent higher than the 2.36 MMT full-year import volume recorded last year.

    Vietnam was followed by Myanmar with 203,879.28 MT and Thailand with 150,416.375 MT. Rice imports from Myanmar and Thailand also increased year-on-year by 3.64 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.

    Rice imports from Pakistan, which has benefited from lower tariff rates, reached 146,055.675 MT, more than five times the 25,286 MT imported volume from the South Asian country last year.

    At least 138 eligible rice importers brought in rice from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam from January 1 to September 15. The importers used a total of 3,218 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPS-IC), according to BPI data.

    BPI data showed that NAN Stu Agri Traders led all rice importers with a total import volume of 146,990.35 MT, followed by Manus Dei Resources Ent. Inc. with 142,881.28 MT, and Lucky Buy and Sell with 128,523 MT.

    Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. President Danilo V. Fausto earlier said the increase in rice imports may dampen local unmilled rice prices as the market is “overflowing with supply.”

    “Palay prices being harvested today and next month would be affected. Farm-gate prices will not go up,” Fausto told the BusinessMirror in an earlier interview.

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier revised upward its total rice import forecast for the Philippines this year to a record level of 3.4 MMT, from an earlier estimate of 3.2 MMT.

    In its monthly global grain report, the USDA increased its total rice import forecast for the Philippines this year by 200,000 MT due to “large purchases from Vietnam.”

    The new import forecast for the Philippines, the world’s second-largest buyer of rice, is 15.25 percent higher than the 2.95 MMT of rice it imported last year, based on USDA data.

    If the forecast materializes, this would be the first time in Philippines history that it would import more than 3 MMT of rice, according to historical USDA data.

    The Philippine Statistics Authority reported last month that the value of the country’s agricultural output in the first half contracted by 0.4 percent, mainly due to the anemic performance of the crops and fisheries subsectors.

    Data released by the PSA showed that the value of farm output in January to June (at constant 2018 prices) reached P853.087 billion, lower than last year’s P856.66 billion.

    In terms of volume, the country’s unmilled rice production contracted by 0.63 percent to 8.743 MMT in January to June, from last year’s 8.799 MMT. Corn output, however, rose by 1.1 percent year-on-year to 3.926 MMT. Palay and corn account for the bulk of the crops subsector’s output.  

  • Karnal: Despite downpour direct seeded rice suffers less damage

  • Early maturing varieties suffer heavy losses

    Karnal, October 3

    Direct seeded rice (DSR) has shown less lodging in recent heavy rains and has witnessed less effect of dwarf disease in both early and late sown varieties of basmati and non-basmati, claimed experts and farmers involved in the DSR farming.

    This may be due to deep rooting of DSR crops and less irrigation, while the root zone in transplanted rice is restricted only to hard pan surface areas of about six to eight inches of depth in puddle soils and it is flooded irrigated, said Dr Virender Singh Lather, former Principal Scientist, ICAR-IARI, Karnal.

    Heavy rains from September 20 to 25 in the district have not only flattened and lodged a large area of paddy with heavy losses in terms of grain yield and discolouration, which will further fetch low prices to farmers. Early maturity group varieties PB-1509 and PR-126 suffered heavily due to the lodging.

    Dr Lather said seed germination with main root length was more than six inches on the third day of the sowing under the DSR whereas other paddy varieties normally germinated six to nine days after sowing.

    DSR crops were sown early from May 20 to June 10 under hot and dry climatic environmental conditions with delayed first irrigation at two-three weeks after the sowing and further irrigation schedules of weekly alternate wetting and drying cycles which proved unfavourable for the development and spread of plant hopper and dwarf disease, he added.

    “Due to deep roots in comparison to the transplanted crop and cultivated in lines, the DSR crop was less lodged in this unprecedented rainfall, said Aditya Dabas, Deputy Director, Agriculture.

    The DSR was introduced by the state government to save water and a financial assistance of Rs 4,000 per acre was given to farmers to adopt it, he added. This year, around 9,000 acres have been covered under the DSR in the district. Bharat, a farmer, said he had cultivated paddy with the help of DSR, which was not flattened in downpour.

  • Forecast of heavy rains in October raises concern about India’s wheat, rice crops

  • Farmers plant saplings in their rice field on the outskirts of the eastern Indian city of Ranchi July 20, 2009. (File photo: Reuters)

    India is likely to receive above-average rainfall in October, an official with the state-run weather office said on Friday, posing risks for summer-sown crops such as rice and the planting of wheat.

    Monthly rainfall is expected at 115 percent of the long-term average, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the India Meteorological Department, told a virtual news conference.

    Heavy rains in October could damage ripening crops such as rice, pulses, cotton and soybeans, and may delay wheat planting in parts of India, the world's leading producer of an array of farm goods.

    Scant rain in eastern and northern India in the first half of the June-September monsoon season had already hit rice planting, forcing the government to cut output estimates and restrict exports to ensure adequate supplies for the country’s 1.4 billion people.

    The curbs came on the heels of a ban on overseas sales of wheat after a sudden rise in temperatures in March and April shriveled the crop.

    Although monsoon rains were patchy in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and parts of West Bengal - some of India's major rice-producing states - overall summer rains were 6 percent higher than average during the four-month season as central and southern regions received torrential downpours.

    India is increasingly seeing uneven monsoon rains, raising concerns about food output. Rains are also getting more intense during the tail end of the season, and lingering.

    This year, the monsoon could last longer than normal, especially in northern India, Mohapatra said.

    Although a longer monsoon tends to help winter crops by leaving the soil moist and replenishing reservoirs, unusually heavy downpours hamper agricultural activities.

    “Crops are getting ready for harvesting and they need dry weather,” said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trading firm.

    “Excessive rainfall could damage crops, especially rice in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal,” said the trader who did not wish to be identified in line with his company’s policy.

    Within weeks of harvesting the rice crop, millions of Indian farmers start planting wheat in October. Growers harvest the wheat crop in March and April.

    Monsoon rains are critical for India’s farm-dependent economy, as almost half of the country’s farmland goes without irrigation. Farming accounts for nearly 15 percent of India’s almost $3 trillion economy and sustains half of its population.

  • Paddy procurement likely to begin today in Alappuzha

  • Kottayam-based mill has come forward to procure the harvested paddy

    After an initial delay, procurement of paddy cultivated in the additional (second) crop season in Alappuzha is expected to begin from Monday.

    Officials of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) said that a Kottayam-based mill had come forward to procure paddy.

    “One mill has informed us of their willingness to procure paddy. They are expected to begin the procurement by purchasing harvested paddy kept in two polders at Karuvatta and Edathua on Monday,” said an official.

    The procurement was hit after mills decided not to take paddy in protest against the government's apathy towards various issues raised by them. Farmers, meanwhile, said the single mill would soon turn out to be inadequate as largescale harvesting of paddy was set to begin in the coming days. In the 2021 additional crop season, as many as 30 mills participated in the process in the district.

    Despite the threat of rain, farmers have been forced to keep the harvested paddy in polders or open at Edathua, Karuvatta and Punnapra due to a lack of proper storage facilities. Farmers have urged the government to hold talks with the mills and end the impasse.

    Farmers have undertaken paddy farming on around 9, 700 hectares in the additional crop season in the district, a major portion of which is in Kuttanad. The rain and waterlogging destroyed rice plants in over 100 hectares in August. Further brown planthopper infestation and leaf blight disease were reported from fields under Kainakary, Champakulam, Edathua, Nedumudi, and Karuvatta among other Krishi Bhavans in Kuttanad in recent weeks.

    As climate change accelerates, paddy cultivation in the additional crop season has been witnessing a steady decline in Kuttanad and other parts of Alappuzha since 2018. The area under cultivation in the current season fell by around 40% compared to around 15,000 hectares four years ago.

  • Dr Razzaque: Extension of rice over 30 maund yield per bigha is now underway

  • For raising productivity, the minister call upon to use fourth industrial revolutionary technology

    Agriculture Minister Dr M Abdur Razzaque on Sunday said the government is now trying to enhance newly invented high-yielding rice varieties with a yielding capacity of more than 30 maunds per bigha.

    “There is a huge scope of raising yield in the agricultural production which once was only 4-5 maunds in per bigha, but now it ( per unit productivity) has reached to 17-18 maunds”, said the minister.

    The minister made this comment while participating in a discussion on the national productivity day at Osmani auditorium here. National Productivity Organization (NPO) under the Ministry of Industries arranged the function.

    The productivity in the agriculture sector has been increased tremendously due to the breakthrough  of developed variety and technology, he said, adding that: “Our scientists already have developed BRRI Dhan -89 and BRRI Dhan-92 and extension of these varieties are now underway.”

    Dr Razzaque said: “the yield of these newly innovated varieties has exceeded more than 30 maunds in per bigha and the government is now trying to extend these varieties”.

    Regarding milk productivity, the agriculture minister said once our cows gave on average only 5 litres of milk, but now it has been increased to 28-30 litres due to variety development.

    “But now we have to develop our variety in line with the variety development in Europe in order to raise our milking capacity up to 60 litres”, the minister told the function.

    For raising productivity, the minister call upon to use fourth industrial revolutionary technology like artificial intelligence, robotics and genetic engineering and said various developed technologies are now available across the world, adding that but now it is high time to make an evaluation that how much we are equipped with these technologies.

    Participating in the discussion, State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder said “Bangladesh is now in better position in terms of raising production as the contribution of industries is now around 37 percent in overall economy.”

    Chaired by Director General (DG) of the National Productivity Organization M Meshbahul Alam, the function also was attended, among others, by Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana and FBCCI President Jasim Uddin.

  • Reap chairman asks peers to go for value addition

  • LAHORE: Rice exporters must go for value addition instead of exporting just rice if they want to materialize the US$ 5 billion goal. It is unfortunate that we export just rice which is used by the importing countries to make different products such as rice crackers, biscuits noodles, etc.

    Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) newly-elected Chairman Chela Ram stated this while addressing 24th Annual General Meeting of the association where he and his team took reins from the outgoing body for the year 2022-23.

    He said he has some targets in mind to achieve the magical figure of exporting US$ 5 billion rice mark including convincing his peers to go for value addition and export value-added rice products besides rice. He sought cooperation of the newly-elected management committee members and vowed to make this target come true during his tenure.

    His other targets include taking delegations abroad to search for new markets and holding two seminars in Pakistan - one each in Punjab and Sindh to introduce products to foreign buyers as well as looking for ways and means to develop the trade further both domestically and internationally.

    Chela Ram brushed away the impression that recent floods had hit the rice crop badly instead, he said, Basmati in Punjab has not affected at all while in Sindh it was damaged only 15-20 per cent. Even this damage will be mitigated as it is sown over larger area than last year and we will be having a bumper crop, he added.

    He said there is no need to impose any tax or Minimum Export Price (MEP) as it may discourage the trade. He also vowed to work for getting industry status for the rice sector and having share from the export development fund to fuel the rice research projects.

    Newly-elected Senior Vice Chairman Haseeb Ahmad Khan thanking the elders for reposing confidence in him hoped that flourishing rice exports will touch the US$ 3 billion mark during the current fiscal. He also shared his plans to resolve the issues being faced by the exporters due to department of plant protection who, he alleged, hinder smooth working of mills instead of working in field.

  • Typhoon Karding farm damage to jack up rice, vegetable prices: Department of Agriculture

  • Karding has wiped out P2.02 billion worth of agricultural produce, with the rice sector accounting for nearly 82 per cent of the recorded damage.

    UNDER WATER Vast tracts of farms are submerged by flood in this photo taken during President Marcos’ aerial inspection of provinces ravaged by Supertyphoon “Karding.” —KJ ROSALES/PPA POOL

    MANILA — Consumers should brace for an increase of as much as 20 percent in the retail prices of rice and vegetables after Super Typhoon “Karding” (international name: Noru) wreaked havoc on the country’s farm sector, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.

    Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said they were expecting a spike of 15 to 20 percent in prices of food items because the rice-producing region of Central Luzon suffered the brunt of the typhoon.

    Karding has wiped out P2.02 billion worth of agricultural produce, with the rice sector accounting for nearly 82 percent or P1.66 billion of the recorded damage in the farm sector, based on the DA’s tally as of Thursday.

    “Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan and Quezon are among the affected provinces, with more than 20 percent of the total area planted destroyed,” Panganiban said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

    The rice sector was followed by high-value crops, which suffered P271.6 million in losses; corn, P44.6 million; fisheries, P43 million; and livestock and poultry, P7.9 million.

    The DA’s latest monitoring showed that the typhoon also ravaged farming, livestock and fishing areas in the Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Bicol and Western Visayas regions.

    Damage to the agriculture sector in the Bicol region was placed at about P53 million worth of livestock, fisheries, rice, corn and high-value vegetables in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. The typhoon affected 2,853 farmers and fisherfolk and destroyed 3,828.19 hectares of farmland.

    Gov’t assistance
    The P2.02 billion worth of damage caused by Karding was nearly double the P1.13 billion in losses due to Severe Tropical Storm “Florita” (Ma-on) that hit in August, but only a fraction of the P13.3 billion in agricultural destruction during the onslaught of Typhoon “Odette” (Rai) in December 2021.

    Karding took its toll on the livelihood of some 91,944 farmers and fishers in the affected regions. The volume of production loss was estimated at 117,663 metric tons (MT) involving 150,693 ha of land.

    Panganiban assured the farmers and fishermen of government help to enable them to recover from their losses.

    “We will give about 70 million rice seeds, P83.16 million worth of corn seeds, and P13.5 million worth of assorted vegetable seeds,” he said.

    The DA, he said, would also give about P2.45 million worth of animal head and medicines for the livestock and poultry sector.

    The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, for its part, would give away fingerlings and fishing paraphernalia to aid small fishers affected by Karding.

    According to Panganiban, the agency would also provide equipment to affected fishermen, including financial assistance of up to P25,000, payable in three years at zero interest, under the Survival Recovery Loan Program of the Agriculture Credit and Policy Council.

    A P500-million Quick Response Fund would likewise be allocated as aid to affected areas, he said.

    Enough rice
    Despite the damage caused by the typhoon on palay farms in Central Luzon, the agriculture official assured the public that there would be enough supply of rice for the coming holiday season.

    Local rice production for 2022 was estimated at 19.5 million MT, or lower than the 19.96 million MT recorded in 2021, as farm yields were affected by skyrocketing prices of farm inputs such as fuel and fertilizer, the DA’s National Rice Program reported.

    The DA’s 2022 rice supply-and-demand outlook as of Sept. 15 placed the total annual supply at 17.36 million MT and the total annual consumption at 15.14 million MT. It said there would be an ending stock of 2.23 million MT, or a reserve level good for 60 days.

    The Philippines has imported 2.9 million MT of rice as of Sept. 22 this year, latest figures from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) showed. Bought mostly from Vietnam, the imported rice covered the shortfall in local production.

    “While all of the remaining issued import clearances by the [BPI] will only be valid until the third quarter and imports are yet to be estimated on the last quarter of this year, based on historical trend, import arrivals start to decline by the fourth quarter in time for the peak harvest from October to November,” the DA said in a statement.

    The DA has reported no significant movements in retail prices of commercial rice in Metro Manila between June and September this year.

    The prevailing retail price for imported well-milled rice as of Thursday stood at P39.50 a kilo, lower than the P44 a year prior, according to the DA’s price monitoring.

    Regular milled imported rice was being sold for P38 a kg, but no comparative data from last year was available on the DA website.

    Locally produced well-milled rice retailed for P40 a kg as against P44 last year, while regular milled rice remained at P38 a kg.

  • Asia rice: Thai rates gain on fresh orders, rupee dive trims India prices

  • Export prices of rice from Thailand rose this week, helped by demand from the Middle East and South Asia, while rates for the staple from top exporter India eased on a weaker rupee.

    Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $422-$435 per tonne from $420-$435 a week ago.

    “There is new demand from Bangladesh of 200,000-300,000 tonnes and deliveries to Iraq,” said a Bangkok-based trader.

    Another trader said there was demand coming in from Iran, but only a few Thai companies had the goods manufacture practice (GMP) requirements to service that market.

    India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $376 to $384 per tonne, down from $385-$392 last week, amid the rupee’s dive, and expectations of more supply following the government’s decision to extend a free food programme for the poor.

    The rupee touched a record low on Sept. 28, increasing traders’ margin from overseas sales and allowing them to reduce export rates.

    “A few traders were expecting the government won’t continue free food beyond September. But with the government distribution for another three months, the market would be oversupplied,” said an exporter at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Meanwhile, India’s recent restrictions on exports seemed to drive expectations of more demand from other hubs such as Vietnam.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $420-$425 per tonne from $400-$410 a week ago, with traders also attributing the gain to the end of the summer-autumn harvest.

    However, “though prices are higher, not many new deals have been signed recently as buyers remain quiet while sellers are still waiting for further price hike,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    Preliminary data showed 37,400 tonnes of rice to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port on Oct. 1-9, with most of it bound to the Philippines and Bangladesh.

  • Sindh rice crop: separating fact from speculation

  • Last week, rumor mills went in overdrive in farmer Whatsapp groups, claiming that government of Pakistan was considering banning of rice exports, in a bid to protect domestic food security. Later that week, press reported that as much as seventy percent of Sindh’s rice crop had been lost to the floods. Have the floods truly put Pakistan’s grain security at risk?

    Although the humanitarian fallout from the floods is truly catastrophic, the grave concerns raised on social media viz national rice crop risks painting a far more scary picture viz farm output than may be warranted. While it is correct that the province contributes as much as one third of national rice output, its share in basmati production – Pakistan’s mainstay rice variety – is less than 1 percent. Instead, the province primarily produces hybrid and IRRI rice, over 90 percent of which is exported on average.

    In fact, out of total four million metric tons (MMT) of IRRI and hybrid rice production in the country, as much as 2.5 MMT is grown in the southern province (or 63 percent). During the last fiscal year, Pakistan non-basmati (IRRI and hybrid) rice exports breached 4.1 MMT, implying that very little of the non-basmati varieties produced are locally consumed.

    In contrast, most of locally consumed rice is of the basmati variety, grown in the Kalar region of north-eastern and central districts of Punjab province. Fortunately, basmati region has remained protected from floods this monsoon, suggesting that Pakistan’s grain security – at least to the extent of domestic rice consumption – may have remained unaffected by the floods.

    But this does not mean that the exportable rice production of Sindh has been spared. That’s where facts become muddy. Of the 29 districts in the province, 23 were declared calamity hit by the provincial governmentin late August. This included the eight districts which contribute as much as 98 percent of provincial rice output, raising fears that provincial rice crop had effectively been washed away.

    Remember, because of Sindh’s frequent drought conditions, rice crop cultivation is encouraged in limited areas of the province, mainly on the right bank of river Indus in upper Sindh: Kashmore (incl. Kandhkot), Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Larkana, Kambar Shahdadkot and Dadu – and the Indus delta region in the south: Badin and Thatta (incl. Sujawal), where water is available in relative abundance. More than 70 percent of rice produced in these districts is hybrid variety, which is yet to gain significant traction in local cuisine. Historically, most paddy fields in Sindh are cleared by late September, to make way for land preparation for wheat cultivation in October.

    According to data released by PDMA Sindh, flood inundation in lower Sindh (Indus delta region) districts of Thatta, Badin and Sujawal remained restricted below 30 percent of land area at its peak level. Based on historic figures from Sindh Crop Reporting department, delta region’s contributes as much as 30 percent of provincial rice output, which could suggest that much of the paddy in the area may have remained protected from flood induced damage.

    This stands in sharp contrast to the situation in upper Sindh. Per PDMA, as much as 60 percent of land area in some of these districts became inundated by early September, which has seen been brought down to below 40 percent (as of last week). In areas such as Kambar Shahdadkot and Jacobabad, that means significant losses to rice crop may have taken place before draining began in earnest.

    While nothing can be said with certainty, there may be some cause for hope. Districts that witnessed limited flooding in the north including Kashmore, Shikarpur – and to a lesser extent Larkana –together account for half of provincial output. While the loss is in no way insignificant, Pakistan’s domestic demand should remain turbulence free. In fact, timely draining of water and land preparation before wheat sowing season presents a far greater threat to domestic food security than economic loss from Sindh’s rice crop damage ever could.

  • ‘Floods have destroyed 30pc of rice crop’

  • LAHORE: Recent heavy monsoon rains and floods have destroyed 30pc of the rice crop, especially in Sindh, says Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association chairman Shahzad Ali Malik.

    Speaking to the media at the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the body here on Thursday, he said the country was expecting around 9.2 million tonnes of rice production during the current season. But, stagnation of water due to the heavy monsoon rains coupled with floods in the rice fields for weeks in Sindh, the crop was destroyed leading to around 30pc fall in the crop yield, he said.

    He called for increasing the use of quality hybrid seed to save the agriculture sector from total collapse. He said maize and rice, two of the five big crops of the country, were not only meeting the domestic requirements but also earning foreign exchange through exports as hybrid seed was being used for both the crops.

    He regretted the critical situation of the white gold (cotton) in the country as precious foreign exchange was being spent to import lint for meeting requirements of the local textile industry.

    Addressing the AGM participants earlier, Mr Malik said the association was in infancy stage having 102 members. He assured the participants that issues of the seed industry would be raised at every forum for their resolution. He also handed over a cheque worth Rs4 million to Al-Khidmat Foundation as flood relief donation and announced that Rs1 million more would be donated for the flood victims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Members on this occasion raised the issue of free movement of wheat seed which was hindering their efforts to produce quality seed for the next crop.

    Rice exporters Pir Nazim Hussain Shah, Sajjad Sulaiman Malik and others were also present.

    Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

  • China imports less glutinous rice from Vietnam

  • The proportion of glutinous rice in total rice exports to China has fallen from 74 percent to 48 percent.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MOIT) statistics show that China’s import of glutinous rice from Vietnam keeps falling.

    Vietnam is the biggest glutinous rice exporter to China, and China is Vietnam’s biggest market for Vietnamese glutinous rice. China’s maintenance of its ‘zero-Covid’ policy has significantly affected its demand for glutinous rice.

    Vietnam’s rice exports to China in January-July 2022 dropped by 27.5 percent in quantity and 28.2 in value compared with the same period last year to 466,225 tons and $242.74 million. Meanwhile, export of glutinous rice was 223,464 tons, a fall of 53 percent year on year. 

    However, China has increased imports of fragrant rice, especially ST21 and ST24 from Vietnam. Fragrant rice exports to China rose by 58.6 percent to 188,459 tons in this period. 

    Reuters quoted sources from the Chinese agriculture ministry saying that some areas in Jiangsu and Anhui provinces have been severely affected by hot weather. 

    The situation has cooled after recent rains, but rainfall has been unevenly distributed and drought is still occurring in some areas. These provinces made up 11.5 percent of grain production in 2021.

    The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), in its August 2022 report, predicted that China’s consumption of rice in 2022/23 would be 156.6 million tons, a slight increase of 156.29 million tons compared with the previous crop.

    China is expected to continue to be the world’s largest rice import country with 6 million tons in 2023. China’s rice inventories are predicted to drop by 4 million tons in the 2022/23 crop to 109 million tons.

    According to Chinese customs, with the reduction of 27 percent in export volume, Vietnam has fallen to the third position for rice supply to China from the first position in 2021. Vietnam’s market share in China has also dropped from 22.5 to 11.5 percent.

    India has replaced Vietnam to become the biggest rice exporter to China with 1.5 million tons, up 2.6 times year on year, accounting for 36.9 percent of China’s rice imports.

    Meanwhile, China’s rice imports from Pakistan and Thailand increased by 72 percent, and Laos by three times.

    So far this year, China has boosted imports of broken rice from India and Pakistan for animal feed as wheat and barley prices have increased.

  • Rice prices set to rise as high input costs dampen farm output

  • A RICE shortage is looming if the government does not address rising input costs and low farmer incomes, rice industry analysts and representatives said.

    “There is a threat that we might be lacking in rice. For us farmers, the first reason is because of low prices of palay (unmilled rice) and high input costs. Because of this, the harvest is not good. There is no motivation to harvest because farmers earn so little,” Teodoro C. Mendoza, agronomist and a retired professor affiliated with the Institute of Crop Science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, said in an online forum on Wednesday.

    “Expect rice prices to increase. We are conditioning people to expect that rice prices will increase,” he added.

    The Alliance for Resilience, Sustainability and Empowerment (ARISE) in a statement called for an increase in the farmgate price of cleaned palay to P22 per kilogram and P25 for dried palay.

    “Farmers would lose if their palay is bought at P19 per kilogram, which is the National Food Authority’s (NFA) current buying price,” it said, adding that the NFA price does not adequately compensate them for their labor.

    Mr. Mendoza said that rice production has also been hampered by weather conditions and the conversion of farmland to roads or infrastructure.

    “Farmers are not applying sufficient fertilizer due to its very high price. Even if there wasn’t a typhoon, prices would still rise because farmers could not put in sufficient fertilizer,” he said.

    The price of a bag of urea fertilizer has risen to P2,850 from P1,000 pre-crisis, Mr. Mendoza said.

    International rice prices have risen for the fifth straight month to a 12-month high, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index.

    “The supply of rice is very tight. India usually supplies 21 million metric tons to over a hundred countries in the world. But now India won’t export rice because they were caught by the drought. Their policy is that the buffer stock is for one year. Here, it is for six days,” Mr. Mendoza said.

    He also said land planted to rice is declining.

    “How to stop land hemorrhage? Pass the National Land Use Act, implement the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997, amend the local government code, and increase rice farmers’ income,” he said.

    He said the availability of irrigation water is out of sync with the planting season.

    “Farmers plant from early May to the first week of June. But they cannot plant early because rain is not sufficient to prepare the land, which is why fields need to be irrigated. We (should) criminalize the conversion of irrigated rice land,” he said.

    “We are in the climate change era. We have to adjust planting times due to climate change. Strong typhoons are happening in September. By mid-September, rice should have been harvested,” he added.

    According to ARISE, rice imports are projected to hit 3.9 million metric tons (MT) this year if the government does not intervene.

    “The NFA’s recent pronouncement that it will raise its palay buying price to P21 per kilogram is a welcome move for many farmers. However, this needs to be followed up with concrete action from top to bottom,” the group said.

    “The NFA has called for the support of legislators and (has asked) local government units (LGUs)… to engage in palay procurement. But NFA has also to increase its (procurement funds) capital and prepare the logistical support to enable LGUs to readily procure from farmers,” it added.

    “We must save the rice industry. Saving the industry saves the rice farmers,” Mr. Mendoza added.

    In a statement, the Department of Agriculture (DA) National Rice Program projected this year’s palay production at 19.5 million MT.

    As of Sept. 15, the DA’s 2022 rice supply outlook estimated supply in the year to date at 17.36 million MT and consumption at 15.14 million MT.

    “There will be an ending stock of 2.228 million MT equivalent to 60 days. The expected imports are 2.75 million MT for the first three quarters of the year,” the DA said.

    “While all of the remaining issued import clearances by the Bureau of Plant Industry will only be valid until the third quarter and imports are yet to be estimated for the last quarter of this year, based on historical trends, import arrivals start to decline by the fourth quarter (to coincide with) the peak harvest from October to November,” it added.

    The department said it is “confident” rice supply will be sufficient for the holidays.

    According to the DA, the prevailing retail price for imported well-milled and regular-milled rice remain at P39 and P38 per kilogram, respectively. Domestically produced well-milled and regular-milled rice fetch P40 and P38 per kilogram, respectively.

    For 2023, the DA said it is targeting production of 20.24 million MT of palay.

    Separately, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said it is promoting drone technology in rice farming to improve pest and nutrient management.

    “Agricultural drones are used in aerial spraying of pesticides, fungicides, foliar fertilizers, and nutrients. Based on studies, using drone sprayer can reduce pesticide volume by up to 30-40%, minimize pilferage of chemicals, and save water up to 90%,” PhilRice said in a statement.

    The agency also recommended drum seeders to improve farmers’ field practices and applications that aid in weed identification which also make crop management recommendations. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

  • Govt allows export of broken rice shipments in transit till Oct 15

  • Broken rice in transit with certain conditions will now be allowed for exports till October 15, a new notification by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said late on Tuesday.

    The conditions include that where loading of broken rice on the ship commenced before the initial ban order came into effect, where the shipping bill is filed and vessels have already berthed or arrived and anchored in Indian ports and their rotation number has been allocated, and where broken rice consignment has been handed over to the customs and is registered in their system. Earlier, it was extended till September 30.

    On September 9, the government banned the export of broken rice with immediate effect. The export policy for the commodity was revised from “free” to “prohibited”.

    The ban assumes significance as it appeared that the overall sown area under paddy this kharif season could be lower than that of last year. This can have an impact on both crop prospects as well as prices going forward. — ANI

    Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution had said an abnormal rise in exports and lower availability of broken rice in domestic markets pushed the central government to put a ban on its trade.

    Pandey said the price of broken rice which was around Rs 15-16 (per kg) increased to Rs 22 and its exports rose three times. As a result, broken rice was neither available for poultry feed nor for ethanol manufacturing.

    Broken rice is widely used as feed in the poultry sector.

    “The contribution of the feed is about 60% as cost on input to the poultry sector. So the prices will get pushed,” Pandey had said.

    This kharif season, the area under paddy cultivation is around 5-6% lower than the previous season. Kharif crops are mostly sown during monsoon — June and July, and the produce is harvested during October and November.

    The primary reason for the decline in the sown area could be attributed to the slow advancement of the monsoon in June and its uneven spread in July in some growing key regions in the country. Crop diversification could possibly be another reason.

    Secretary Pandey had further said India’s kharif rice production, in the worst-case scenario, could fall by 10-12 million tonnes.

    Also, the Centre imposed a 20% export duty on non-basmati rice, except for parboiled rice, to boost domestic supplies. The export duty had come into force from September 9. — ANI

    DGFT notification

    • The shipments where loading of broken rice on the ship commenced before the initial ban order came into effect and where the shipping bill is filed and vessels have already berthed or arrived would be allowed
    • On September 9, the government banned the export of broken rice with immediate effect
  • Why millets are better than rice, wheat or your breakfast cereal for diabetes, heart and weight loss

  • Not for nothing are millets being called the next superfoods. Experts break down what makes them the perfect recipe for future-proofing our lives

    One of the many benefits of millets is that they are gluten free and ideally suited for people with gluten allergy and irritable bowel syndrome. (Representative image of millets/Pexels)

    Replacing your white rice with bajra rotis and switching your breakfast bread and cereal with a ragi uttapam can help you keep your blood sugar levels in check, lose weight and prevent heart damage. And come to think of it, they can easily agree with our systems, considering that they were traditionally used in our diet quite liberally during the bronze age.

    “As we became an agricultural society, millets became relegated to being an animal food. We have about 300 varieties of millets in our country and in climate-conscious times, these use less water, are heat-resistant and still nutrient-dense. Besides, they can soak up maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen. So, they are environmentally-resilient and grow abundantly to be everybody’s superfood. They are a super cocktail of body-friendly nutrients,” says Dr Anuja Agarwala, former senior dietitian, Department of Paediatrics, AIIMS. With the government promoting the use of millets and documenting their heritage, and the United Nations declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, let’s look at our superfood.

    (1) Low Glycaemic Index: Millets like jowar, bajra and ragi have a much lower glycaemic index – a measure of how much a food increases your blood glucose levels – as compared to rice and wheat flour. “When we suggest any food item to diabetics, we look at its glycaemic index. For bread, this is a very high 90, for dalia it is around 30 or 40. The glycaemic index of all millets is below 50, making them a food of choice,” says Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head, Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics at Max Super Speciality Hospital.

    (2) High-fibre ensures there is never hyper or hypoglycaemia: Not only are millets low in glycaemic index, the amount of fibre they contain is also higher than what is found in rice, wheat flour, maida or cornflakes. The high fibre content means they help in achieving satiety faster, thereby reducing the amount that people consume. “They slow down sugar spikes as the glucose gets released very gradually into the bloodstream. This stabilises blood sugar levels. They are never high, nor do they fall below desired levels,” says Dr Agarwala. “In this respect, millets are better than cereals, which are sometimes available in refined and processed forms. Millets are coarse and complex, taking time to be broken down,” she adds. Dr Swatee Sandhan, senior dietician at Jupiter Hospital, Pune, says, “The indigestible portion (insoluble fibres) of millets further works to slow down and regulate the absorption of carbohydrates and fats, thus maintaining blood sugar levels. Further, an increase in adiponectin concentration may improve insulin sensitivity for diabetics.”

    How are millets good for heart health?

    According to Dr Agarwala, millets contain good fats and can significantly control triglycerides and cholesterol. How does this happen? As Dr Sandhan says, “The Niacin or vitamin B3 content in millets is effective in lowering oxidative stress and high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides that are risk factors for heart diseases.”

    The risk of developing cardiovascular diseases can be diminished by a regular consumption of millets, according to a study led by Hyderabad’s International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition. Participants were given 50 to 200 g of millets per day for about four months. They reduced cholesterol by eight per cent, LDL or bad cholesterol by 10 per cent and lessened the load of triglycerides. These contributed to almost seven per cent decrease in body mass index (BMI) of the participants. Moreover, millets pushed down diastolic blood pressure readings by 5 per cent.

    How do millets improve gut health?

    (1) Gluten-Free: One of the many benefits of millets is that they are gluten free and ideally suited for people with gluten allergy and irritable bowel syndrome, says Samaddar. Dr Sandhan adds, “Besides, millets stimulate the growth of probiotics within the microbiome which play a role in gut health and micro nutrient absorption.” This greatly helps those with celiac diseases, according to Dr Agarwala.

    (2) “The fibre content in millets contributes to digestive health and helps regulate bowel movements, flushing out toxins,” says Dr Sandhan.

    Good for proteins, vitamins and minerals: Dr Agarwala says that millets are repositories of “high proteins, vitamin A, C (helps in the absorption of iron) vitamin B complex, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.” Samaddar says ragi is high in calcium content, while bajra and jowar have a high iron content that can improve their deficiencies.

    So, how do millets help in managing weight loss?

    Obesity is one of major risk factors for hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases. Millets promote weight-loss as their fibre density and protein guarantee satiety over a long time. Besides, the Little millet contains 5.2 grams of mostly unsaturated fat that ensures a healthy metabolism. That in the end helps you drop body fat.

    How can you integrate millets in your diet?

    “The best thing about millets is that you can make them a part of your breakfast, your main meal as well as snacks,” says Samaddar. “The morning bowl of cornflakes or bread can easily be replaced by ragi porridge or uttapam. For the main course, bajra can be integrated in the form of khichdi or jowar can be used to make rotis. As for snacks, it is better to substitute biscuits or fried stuff with makhanas. The best thing about millets is that they are readily available at reasonable prices because they are grown locally. So, they are no-fuss and safe,” she adds.

    A word of caution from her, though, is that millets, despite their good qualities, still have calories just like rice and rotis. “Portion control remains important even with millets. We cannot overdo anything just because they are healthier.”

  • SENEGAL TO SEEK TALKS WITH INDIA OVER RICE EXPORT BAN

  • DAKAR, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Senegal plans to hold talks with India to secure a much-needed rice supply after India banned exports of broken rice globally and imposed tariffs on some other types, the West African nation's president told business leaders late on Monday.

    India and Pakistan are Senegal's two top sources of rice, a major food staple in the country. Senegal grows only about half the rice it consumes.

    India, the world's biggest rice exporter, banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other types on Sept. 8 as it tries to boost local supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    The ban could have a severe impact on countries particularly in the West and Central Africa region that depend on imports to make up for the shortfall in their local production.

    "We must open negotiations with the Indian and Pakistani government on broken rice imports," Senegal's President Macky Sall told a meeting with business leaders to discuss measures to curb rampant food inflation.

    "I want to remind everyone that Senegal is an exporter of phosphoric acid which allows India to make its fertilizer," Sall added, saying Senegal should get some exemption for that reason.

    Although Senegal has increased its local rice production to more than 1.2 million tonnes annually from around 200,000 tonnes in 2007, it still needs to import over a million tonnes a year to meet local demand, which is more than 2 million tonnes, according to government data.

    West Africa has faced its worst food crisis on record this year, with millions going hungry due to poor harvests and insecurity, while the war in Ukraine has made the region especially vulnerable to food price hikes and shortages. (Reporting by Diadie Ba Writing by Bate Felix Editing by Nellie Peyton and Bill Berkrot)

  • Zhangma early-ripening rice is on the boil

  • It's harvest time in Shanghai's suburban Qingpu District for its early-ripening rice.

    Residents now can enjoy freshly ripened "Zhangma Rice" with the first batch on sale September 23.

    Zhangma Rice is certificated as a national A-level green food, which means it is grown and produced under strict and green measures.

    To retain the best taste of the rice, it is milled and sold as soon as it is harvested. The label on the outer box reminds consumers to finish it within three months – its best taste period.

    Electronic and mechanized tools are local farmers' best assistants when welcoming the harvest season.

    In the Shanghai Maodang Rice Professional Cooperative in Zhangma Village, farmers use drones to spray pesticides on their rice fields.

    The early-ripening rice is ready to be harvested.

    "This year's scorching weather added some difficulties to rice growing," said Zhu Huigen, Party secretary of Zhangma Village who is also the head of the cooperative.

    "But we have taken timely countermeasures, such as increasing the frequency of irrigation, making good use of herbicides and using physical control as scientifically as we can. It is expected to reach the yield target."

    Shanghai had seven extremely hot days (with highs over 40 degrees Celsius) this summer, the most in one summer since the city's meteorological system was established in 1873.

    This year, the planting area for early-ripening rice is 80 mu in Zhangma Village, and the yield per mu is expected to reach 450 kilograms.

  • Three new basmati rice varieties show high yield

  • IARI had provided seeds of new basmati varieties to around 10,000 farmers in key growing regions in three northern states for helping in seed multiplication from the next season onwards.

    Three new basmati rice varieties, which possess in-built resistance to bacterial blight and blast diseases, thus ensuring lesser usage of pesticides, sown for the first time by farmers of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh this kharif season, have shown promise.

    Just a few weeks prior to harvesting, the crop conditions look robust and yields are expected to be higher this season, according to preliminary assessment by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa, Delhi.

    AK Singh, director, IARI, which supplied seeds to farmers of improved PB1847, PB1885 and PB1886 rice varieties this kharif season, there has not been any reports of diseases and pests so far in the standing crops.

    “Increase in adoptability of new basmati rice varieties amongst farmers in the next couple of seasons, would help recapitulate the country’s basmati rice exports to European Union (EU) which had been hit by several rejection of export consignments due to presence of pesticide residue,” Singh of IARI, an institute affiliated to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, told FE.

    Exports of aromatic and long grain rice to the EU have declined to 0.2 million tonne (mt) annually from 0.5 mt a few years back.

    IARI had provided seeds of new basmati varieties to around 10,000 farmers in key growing regions in three northern states for helping in seed multiplication from the next season onwards. The varieties have been sown in around 5,000 acres in the current kharif season.

    “There has not been any pest attack so far and the crop condition of PB1847 variety is far better than other varieties,” Harpreet Singh, a farmer from Sangrur district, Punjab, who has sown the rice variety in 1.5 acre of his 10 acre of land, said.

    According to IARI scientists, new varieties would gradually replace the existing basmati rice varieties PB1121, PB1509 and PB6, which are cultivated in more than 90% of the about two million hectares of aromatic and long-grain rice-grown area.

    “Existing key varieties over the years have been susceptible to bacterial blight and blast diseases, leading to excessive use of pesticides by farmers, thus increasing reports of rejection of export consignments due to presence of pesticide residue,” Singh of IARI said.

    Scientists say that for managing bacterial blight disease and blast, farmers use antibiotics and fungicides, which is not a sustainable approach

    “Newly-introduced basmati rice varieties are expected to hugely reduce pesticide consumption and improve the quality of rice,” Vijay Setia, former president of the All India Rice Exporters Association and an exporter, said.

  • Chinese agriculture company to donate hybrid rice seeds to Pakistan

  • BEIJING: Chinese developer and provider of hybrid seeds based in Wuhan, China will donate hybrid rice seeds to support Pakistan in its relief efforts in flood-stricken areas.

    “To support Pakistan in its fight against the floods, we will donate some seeds of hybrid rice to Pakistani farmers. We will also send more technicians to the country to support post-flood reconstruction,” said Zhou Xusheng, Director of Pakistan Business Department, Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed Co, Ltd.

    The company has been providing hybrid seeds of rice, canola and vegetables to Pakistan for nearly twenty years. In particular, it registered the first hybrid rice variety -QY0413 in the history of Pakistan.

    Zhou told China Economic Net (CEN) that North Sindh, home to 60% of the hybrid rice in Pakistan, is one of the worst-hit areas in the floods. It is expected that the export of rice, which is an important means for Pakistan to earn foreign exchange, will suffer greatly.

    “It may take three years for the rice production and export in Pakistan to recover”, Zhou informed.

    “By sending more technicians to the rural areas, we aim to improve the effective use of fertilizers and pesticides to achieve maximize production with minimum cost”, he said.

    “As extreme weather conditions have become more frequent, the company has laid out a blueprint to minimize losses from natural disasters.”

    “First of all, the resistance of crop varieties should be improved. For example, in China, our rice varieties have performed well in the usual heat wave this year. For floods, too, the varieties can be improved”, he said.

    “Second, the production of seeds can be carried out both in Pakistan and China so that they can complement each other in case of extreme weather. Test stations can also be more scattered in different cities in to spread the risk.

    “Zhou also mentioned the importance of the repair of irrigation canals and ditches and road infrastructure. “It would be devastating for farmers if they could not sow normally in the coming months.”

    “Efforts are also required in the maintenance of soil fertility, land levelling, and prevention of diseases,” he added.

  • Major rice traders admit to duping consumers by selling fake Miniket…

  • Major rice traders admit to duping consumers by selling fake Miniket, Najirshail rice

    The Competition Commission last week sued 44 companies producing and distributing essential commodities on charges of destabilising the market by raising prices abnormally.

    Representatives of major rice suppliers in the country have admitted to selling over-polished coarse varieties of rice by rebranding them as popular varieties like Miniket and Najirshail. 

    The admission came on the second day of a public hearing at the Bangladesh Competition Commission. A four-member panel, led by the commission’s Chairperson Md Mofizul Islam, conducted Tuesday’s hearing. 

    The commission, an autonomous judicial authority which ensures fair competition in the market, organised the proceedings to hear from the representatives of six firms, involved in the production and marketing of rice, flour, egg, chicken and toiletries, on charges of “destabilising the market by abnormally raising prices of essential commodities with the intention to profiteer”. 

    The firms are Bangladesh Edible Oil Limited, Rashid Agro Food, Belcon Group, City Group, Paragon Poultry and Unilever Bangladesh. 

    The representatives, however, have sought extensions to come up with information regarding operating and production costs and methods they follow to set retail prices the panel asked for at the hearing.

    A government study last year found that all varieties of Miniket rice and most of the Najirshail varieties found on the market across Bangladesh are over-polished coarse varieties of rice. 

    The traders and millers collect different varieties of coarse paddies or rice and polish them before marketing them as Miniket and Najirshail varieties, capitalising on people’s preference for fine white rice, the study concluded. 

    The Competition Commission last week sued 44 companies producing and distributing essential commodities. Apart from ensuring fair competition, the commission has the authority to register cases at production, supply, retail or consumer levels, or file cases on its own in line with the law. 

    BANGLADESH EDIBLE OIL COMPANY

     The representative of the firm, widely known as a cooking oil company, conceded that the company over-polishes BR 28, BR 29 and Kataribhog varieties of rice and sells those as Miniket varieties since the name Miniket has “market value.” 

    The company, according to the representative, markets two brand names, Veola and Rupchanda. The Rupchanda brand, according to the company, is for high-end consumers. 

    The representative was asked if he could confirm which variety of rice they market under each brand, but he failed to come up with an answer.

    In its defence, however, the company said they are essentially acting as a distributor as they collect rice from the millers, package it and sell it in the retail market as the company was issued a licence to sell rice. 

    The panel asked the company to come up with more information about their production costs and retail costs by Oct 13.

     RASHID AGRO FOOD 

    Rashid Agro’s National Sales Manager Shaikh Shahiduzzaman represented the company at the hearing. 

    Confirming that the company holds a 5 percent share in the rice market, Shahiduzzaman admitted they sell BR 28 breed of rice in Cumilla region as BR 28 while the same rice is sold in Gazipur as Njirashail. 

    “We do it because consumers in different regions are familiar with different names they prefer,” he said at the hearing. 

    Shahiduzzaman also conceded that the commission’s allegation about abnormally raising prices of rice is somewhat true, but he defended the move citing growing dependency on power generators due to intermittent power cuts and a rise in transportation costs due to recent fuel price hikes. 

    The panel asked Shahiduzzaman to come up with more information about the company’s sales on Oct 13. 

    BELCON GROUP 

    Jafrul Alam, an executive officer of the Belcon Group, represented the company at the hearing. 

    The company, which sells rice under the Rajanigandha brand, failed to produce any supporting evidence in favour of its rice price hike. The panel also asked the group to produce more information on Oct 13. 

    Belcon Group has also been asked to open their books for the last three fiscal years and submit specimens of different varieties of rice they market. 

    CITY GROUP 

    The company, which sells Miniket, Najirshail and Kataribhog varieties under the Teer brand, has failed to produce any corroborating evidence to justify its recent price hike. 

    The panel also asked the group’s representative Bishwajit Saha to present more information on Oct 13. 

    The company also received an identical extension in another case of price manipulations of flour. 

    Meanwhile, Unilever Bangladesh, too, was given an extension until Oct 16 to provide more information after the company’s legal representative Mostafizur Rahman Khan asked for more time. 

    The commission opened the hearings on Monday with Kazi Farms, which is accused of destabilising the egg and chicken markets. 

    Kazi Farms failed to provide necessary information during the hearing and it got until Oct 6 to prepare the records. 

    Commodity prices have increased rapidly across the globe due to the Russia-Ukraine war amid heightened demand during the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. 

    In Bangladesh, the prices of rice, soybean oil, sugar, cosmetics and toiletries, egg, chicken and other commodities have surged abnormally, prompting the authorities to check whether the companies raised the prices for proper reasons. 

    The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection found irregularities leading to price hikes of some products. It held meetings with representatives of the companies and merchants. 

    The commission looked into the irregularities spotted by the directorate and reports of market manipulation before filing 44 cases. 

    Most of the cases were filed against businesses involved in the rice trade, including 11 big organisations and eight corporate firms. 

    The others include eight involved in flour production and supply, six in egg production, six in broiler chicken production and marketing, and six in the production and marketing of soap and detergent. 

    OTHERS ON THE LIST 

    The others named in the cases over rice prices include Md Abdul Hannan of Zahura Auto Rice Mill in Dinajpur, Md Erfan Ali of Erfan Group in Chapainawabganj, Golam Kibria Bahar of Kibria Agro Industries Ltd in Bogra, Toufiqul Islam Babu of Mofizuddin Automatic Rice Mill in Naogaon, Alal Ahmed of Alal Agro Food Products in Bogura, Zahirul Khan Islam, proprietor of Nurjahan Agro Foods industries Ltd in Brahmanbaria, Putu Mia of Auto Rice Mill, Arshad Ali of Dada Auto Rice Mills in Kushtia and Brajen Majumder of Majumdar Auto Rice Mill in Naogaon. 

    Those named in the cases over rice prices also include the chairmen of Square Food & Beverage Ltd, ACI Limited and Mabco High-tech Rice Industries Ltd, the chairman or managing director of BRAC Seed and Agro Enterprise and City Auto Rice & Dal Mills Ltd of Narayanganj, the managing director and CEO of PRAN Foods Ltd. 

    The managing director of Meghna Group of Industries, the chairman of Akij Group, and the managing directors of Bashundhara Group, ACI Limited, TK Group, Nurjahan Group and S Alam Refined Sugar Industries Limited will face hearings for an abnormal hike in flour prices. 

    The CEO of CP Bangladesh Co Ltd, the managing director of Diamond Egg Ltd, and the proprietor of Peoples Poultry Feed Limited are named in cases related to the egg business. 

    The director of Suguna Food and Feeds Bangladesh Private Limited, the managing director of Alal poultry and Fish Feed Ltd, the director of Nourish Poultry Hatchery Limited, and the president of CP Bangladesh Co Ltd, who are associated with the chicken business, have been sued over chicken prices. 

    Those sued for the hike in the prices of toiletries or soap and detergent are the chairman of ACI Limited, the chairman or managing director of Square Group, and the chairmen or managing directors of Kohinoor Chemical Company (Bangladesh) Limited and Keya Group.

  • China Harvest Season: New rice cultivation method aims to ensure food security

  • Farmers across China are embracing the autumn harvest. In recent years, technological innovation has become a driving force for rural development. In a once impoverished area in southwest China's Yunnan Province, locals are reaping the benefits of some of these advances first hand. Yang Jinghao reports from Yunnan.

    Farmers in this town in Lancang County are harvesting paddy rice. It's the first time that they have cultivated the crop in a different way – growing it in dry farmland instead of paddy fields.

    Before that, they had mainly bought the major staple food from market.

    LIU SHIBAO Farmer, Lancang County "In the beginning, I was skeptical about the feasibility of the practice and didn't expect much. But it surprisingly turns out a bumper harvest. Besides self-sufficiency, we can probably sell some of it. I'm really happy."

    This program is led by Zhu Youyong, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

    After years of experiments by his team, some 33,000 hectares of paddy rice was grown this way across Yunnan. Some is even planted on hillsides.

    Zhu says the method has made cultivation a lot easier, as some procedures like seedling raising are not needed.

    ZHU YOUYONG Academic, China Academy of Engineering "Another advantage is that it's conducive for the development of water-efficient agriculture. Take the rice fields here for example, we didn't irrigate them at all and just relied on rainfall. This type of farming is very suitable in areas with insufficient water."

    YANG JINGHAO Lancang County, Yunnan "China is both a big producer and consumer of grain. Zhu says this initiative will not only help farmers increase their income; it will also play an active role in ensuring food security."

    Initial measurement shows that the yield is about 9,000 kilos per hectare, outweighing that planted in paddy fields.

    Zhu says that two key issues were addressed during the process. One is how to make tillering possible in non-irrigated land.

    ZHU YOUYONG Academic, China Academy of Engineering "Another problem is that there are a lot more weeds in dry land than in paddy fields, and they also grow faster. With years of experiments, we've developed a new technology that can eliminate the weeds at the beginning."

    Zhu is a renowned plant pathologist. Since 2015, he has been dedicated to helping the county bordering Myanmar shake off poverty. He says technological innovation is the key to the sustainable development of the vast rural areas after the elimination of extreme poverty.

    The scientist says he hopes his methods can be promoted to more areas and even foreign countries to benefit more people.

  • Cambodia donates 6,000 tonnes of rice to Cuba

  • The Cambodian government has donated 6,000 tonnes of rice to the Cuban government and its people.

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Facebook said that the Cambodian government donated 6,000 tonnes of rice to the Cuban government and its people.

    “The donation by government and people is 3,000 tonnes of rice and the remaining comes from private sectors,” he said.

    Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel yesterday.

    “The donation will leave Cambodia in October, and arrive in Cuba in December,” he added.

    In the meeting, both leaders highlighted the good bilateral relations and reiterated the willingness to strengthen cooperation in sports, health, culture, and biotechnology.

    Mr Hun Sen said the Cuban President thanked Cambodia for its rice donation.

    President Díaz-Canel recalled the historical ties of friendship between both countries and the firm connection between Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz and King Father Norodom Sihanouk, founders of the Non-Aligned Movement (MNOAL).

  • India’s control on rice exports, new orders from Iraq a boon for Thai rice industry

  • The Thai Rice Exporters Association said on Sunday that thanks to these developments, Thailand’s total rice exports could reach 8 million tonnes.

    Chukiat Opaswong, the association’s honorary chairman, said India’s recent ban on the export of broken rice and imposition of a 20 per cent duty on shipments of white and brown rice could benefit Thailand as it would bring the price of Indian rice close to that of Thai rice.

    “This will encourage customers to switch to Thai rice due to superior quality and on-time delivery,” he said.

    Chukiat added that Indian white rice, which went for US$340 per tonne, now costs $390-$400 per tonne, while Thai white rice is priced at $420 per tonne.

    He said India has imposed these measures to curb exports because rice harvests in the country have plummeted due to a severe drought and there may not be enough rice for domestic consumption.

    The association had initially estimated Thailand’s total rice export this year at 7.5 million tonnes, up from 6.1 million tonnes in 2021.

    “With India’s new measures in effect, we expect their rice export to drop to 17 million tonnes from 21 million tonnes recorded last year. This missing ratio will go to other exporters like Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand,” he said.

    “This could bring our rice exports this year up to 8 million tonnes worth approximately 150 billion baht.”

    Chukiat said another factor contributing to the surge in rice export this year is that Iraq has resumed buying rice from Thailand since late last year. Iraq had banned the import of Thai rice for nearly nine years because it failed to meet standards.

    “Thanks to the Commerce Ministry’s negotiations and continued marketing campaigns, Iraq is now importing as much as 100,000 tonnes of Thai rice monthly and will therefore contribute 1.2 million tonnes of total rice export this year,” Chukiat added.

    As of August 20, Thailand has exported 5.35 million tonnes of rice worth 9.57 billion baht, up 46.46 per cent and 40.11 per cent year on year respectively.

  • Asia rice india rates near 18 month high

  • September 26, 2022: India’s prices for rice exports were near a 1-1/2 year high this week as traders struggled with logjams at ports due to recent curbs on overseas shipment, while buyers hunted for cheaper supply from other hubs.
    Prices for the top exporter’s 5% broken parboiled variety were unchanged from last week at $385-$392 per tonne, their highest since April 2021. Some buyers were willing to pay higher prices, but most were waiting for prices to stabilize, said an exporter from Kakinada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Rice loading has stopped at Indian ports, holding up shipments of nearly 1 million tonnes of grains, as buyers are refusing to pay the government’s new 20% export levy on top of the agreed contract price.
    The restrictions also forced buyers to switch to rival suppliers. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice rates were also unchanged at $400-$410 per tonne.
    Traders said domestic rice prices had risen recently as exporters were boosting purchases from farmers, anticipating higher export rates.
    “Domestic supplies are running low as the summer-autumn harvest has ended and we’ve to wait for at least two more months before another harvest begins,” a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.
    Meanwhile, Vietnam’s agriculture minister Le Minh Hoan said the country was not in a deal with Thailand to jointly raise rice prices in the global market, after a Thai official recently hinted at such an agreement.
  • View of paddy fields at rice planting demonstration zone in north China

  • Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

    Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

    Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

    Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Zhu Xudong)

    Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Zhu Xudong)

    Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Zhu Xudong)

    Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Zhu Xudong)

    Aerial photo taken on Sept. 24, 2022 shows paddy fields at a rice planting demonstration zone in Dawang Town of Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area, north China's Hebei Province. Anxin County of Xiong'an New Area has a long history of rice cultivation. Located near Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, Anxin County has exceptional irrigation advantage in rice planting. In recent years, Anxin County has adopted rice-fish and rice-crab co-culture modes to build a modern eco-agriculture demonstration zone. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

  • Razzaque calls for increasing rice production to meet domestic demand

  • Allocation of Tk660 crore which is topmost during this year has been earmarked for farm mechanization

    Agriculture Minister Dr M Abdur Razzaque on Sunday called upon the agricultural scientists, extension workers and officials concerned to increase rice production to meet the growing demand of the country.

    "The country's annual rice production is not enough to meet the demand of local people. We have to increase rice production to achieve self-sufficiency in food production," he said.

    The minister said this while addressing a review meeting of Annual Development Programme (ADP) at the ministry conference room in Dhaka. Agriculture Secretary M Sayedul Islam moderated the function.

    "We need to achieve self-sufficiency in food production in order to curb rice imports to meet demand for the staple food," said the minister.

    Project directors including different body chiefs and senior ministry officials, among others, attended the meeting.

    Calling upon the concerned officials to take massive initiative for raising production of different crops including rice on the saline land of the southern region, Dr Razzaque said: "The country's saline-prone southern region has huge potential for raising production."

    "We have saline-tolerant crop varieties and latest technology,'' said the minister, adding: "So, we have to extend production of those varieties to that region."

    Along with innovation of crops and new technology, he said: "We have to keep under consideration how many technologies have been executed at the field level."

    In 2022-23 FY, the government earmarked Tk4,138 crore under ADP for the agriculture ministry for implementing 72 projects.

    Allocation of Tk660 crore which is topmost during this year has been earmarked for farm mechanization.

  • Transition to Low-Carbon Rice Will Help Vietnam Meet Its Emission Target

  • Moving to low-carbon rice production offers the highest potential for Vietnam to meet its goal of cutting methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 while boosting the competitiveness of a strategic export item, a new World Bank report says.

    The report, titled “Spearheading Vietnam’s Green Agricultural Transformation: Moving to Low-Carbon Rice,” suggests that Vietnam can transform the rice sector by cutting GHG emissions, improving resource efficiency and yields, boosting resilience, and diversifying production. Such transformation will require significant investment and major policy reforms to align incentives and coordinate behaviors of stakeholders at all levels.  

    The agricultural sector, despite all its successes, is an important contributor to GHG emissions in Vietnam,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “It has reached a point where a transition to lower-carbon modes of farming is imperativethe longer it takes to switch, the higher the costs will be. Experience suggests that government has a catalytic role to play in driving the green transition through strategic allocation of public investment and strengthening the enabling environment for private sector participation in a modern, green agriculture sector.”

    Rice, which is Vietnam’s most important crop and grown on more than half of its agricultural land area, accounts for 48 percent of the agriculture sector’s GHG emissions and over 75 percent of methane emissions. Based on conservative estimates, improving water management and optimizing application of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticide can help farmers maintain or increase yields by 5 to 10 percent and reduce input costs by 20 to 30 percent, thereby boosting net profits by around 25 percent. More importantly, these improved techniques would also help cut GHG emissions by up to 30 percent. Such approaches were successfully piloted in over 184,000 ha of rice farming under the Vietnam Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project financed by the World Bank.  

     “These methods have been proven effective,” said Benoît Bosquet, World Bank Regional Director for Sustainable Development in East Asia Pacific. “If we can scale them up in the whole agricultural sector, they will help Vietnam progress towards its 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

    The report highlights five short- to medium-term policy areas to accelerate the transition to low-carbon agriculture, including ensuring policy coherence and plan-budget alignment, repurposing policy tools and public expenditures, promoting public investments, strengthening institutions, and enabling the private sector and other stakeholders to participate.

    The report was launched at the “Integrated Climate Resilience and Sustainable Development of the Mekong Delta” workshop, co-organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the World Bank in Can Tho on September 24.

  • Rice Market Update:

  • Rice Market Update: Solid Early Field Results for Arkansas, Milling Numbers Largely Unknown

    Field reports coming in from Arkansas are mixed in a good way; some are seeing average, while others are reporting above average. Reports of below-average are starting to sneak in, but they are few and far between with early reports being solid. Harvest is just about 5% behind last year, but 9% behind the five-year average.

    The expectation is that things will catch up relatively quickly in the next two weeks, where we will get an initial read on millings as well. With old crops still in first hands, we could see an interesting price dynamic emerge for on-farm pricing as the market will begin deciphering old crops from new crops.

    Mississippi, like Arkansas, is still in the middle of harvest with 60% cut, which is right in line with last year and the five-year average. It was a small crop this year, and initial reports have not been so bright with some milling results coming in with head rice in the low 50’s.

    Domestic millings remain steady, but the high prices may be bumping against a ceiling. In the most recent months, red-hot inflation provided the cover fire (and justifiably so) for increasing prices. Now that inflation is resting at over 8%, price increases aren’t being so readily accepted in the market.

    This doesn’t necessarily signal a price decrease coming anytime soon for US long grain rice, but it should make growers who are holding paddy consider selling at current prices before the domestic market gets covered and the market turns to depend on exports.

    The 20% tariff on Indian rice exports is still having muted impact on Thai and Viet prices, but we expect to see them augment in the coming weeks. In years past, announcements like the ones India just made have jolted markets and prices into a panic—we are happy to see that level heads are prevailing this time.

    Buyers are discerning their way to dependable suppliers despite the tariff. And it can’t be overlooked either, that rice prices in the Middle East and far east haven’t risen like other grains have in the past six months, so on a parity basis, Indian rice, even with a 20% tariff, is still cheap in a relative sense. Thai prices are at $445 pmt, Viet prices at $410 pmt, and Indian Prices now rising to $390 pmt.

    The USDA Export Sales report is finally back online, showing sales of 30,200 metric tons. Highlights are that 15,500 mt were long grain rough, and Saudi Arabia bought 8,800 mt milled. Exports for the week registered at 19,800 mt, with long grain milled in the amount of 8,500 mt to Saudi Arabia taking the lion’s share.

    In the futures market, average daily volume dropped by 22% down to 351, and open interest bumped 2.65% to 9,040. It would appear that the market is poised for a slight pullback, but there may still be some legs in the current action. Reports are indicating strength through harvest and the end of the year, but things can change quickly.

  • Haryana: Farmers suffer as Arhtiyas hold an indefinite strike against transparency in procurement of paddy.

  • The strike has disrupted procurement operations at local mandis and caused inconvenience to the farmers.

    On September 19, the arhtiyas (middlemen) went on an indefinite strike after the Harayana government announced the trading of basmati rice varieties on the National Agriculture Market (eNAM) portal.

    The strike has disrupted procurement operations at local mandis and caused inconvenience to the farmers. While speaking to news agency ANI on Friday (September 23), a farmer in Haryana’s Karnal informed how he was forced to leave his paddy in the open despite the incessant rain.

    “Paddy produce lies in the open amid rains in Karnal as procurement is hindered due to strike by ‘arhtiyas’ (23.09). It’s raining constantly & we can’t sell our produce as arhtiyas are on strike. Govt is yet to take action on the issue,” he emphasised.

    The arhtiyas had sought support from the farmers and asked them to not visit mandis for procurement until the government gives in to their demands. According to the Haryana State Anaj Mandi Arhtiyas (HSAMA), the procurement through e-NAM portal has increased the burden of the middlemen and the producers.

    It claimed that uploading details of the procurement on the portal, meant to provide transparency in the process, would be time-consuming. President of HSAMA, Ashok Gupta, alleged that farmers were unable to sell early maturing varieties of parmal rice in mandis after the government did not advance the date of procurement.

    With arhtiyas having refused to purchase a single grain until their demands are met, Basmati rice farmers are in a state of dilemma. In its defence, a Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board (HSAMB) official said that procurement through e-NAM portal would impose a levy of 6.5% on arhtiyas and bring transparency.

    Meanwhile, the Haryana government is holding meetings with representatives of HSAMA to resolve the issue at the earliest.

    Direct Benefit Transfer is changing the lives of farmers in Punjab

    In April last year, the Modi government procured 18.24 lac tonnes of wheat from Punjab at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). The Centre had transferred a total of ₹13.71 crores to the account of farmers in Punjab through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) at MSP (Rs 1,975 per quintal).

    It must be mentioned that since 2018, Punjab sought exemption from DBT implementation in the State. As such, 2021 was the first time that farmers in Punjab received the payment for their produce (at MSP) directly into the accounts.

    While speaking about the matter, a 39-year-old farmer named Dalip Kumar said that he was the happiest since he started farming 15 years ago. He had received ₹1.90 lac and ₹1.48 lac directly into his bank account for 171 quintals of wheat sold at the Rajpura mandi.

    He said that this was the first time he received such a large payment at once. “This is the best system. What could be better than getting paid for our crop in our account? Earlier, arhtiyas gave us a cheque. After we took our crop to the mandi, everything was in the hands of the agent,” he said.

    “The final settlement of accounts took time, as the arhtiya always found an excuse to defer the payment even after the farmer had repaid any debts he might have had,” the farmer recounted.

  • No viable options: farmers in Punjab forced to persist with paddy, go against the grain

  • Farmer Baljinder Singh showing poor quality water used for farming at Dhaula Village, in Punjab. File | Photo Credit: R.V. MOORTHY

    Rice growers in the State are keen on cultivating other crops but lack an assured market and guaranteed returns

    Pruning poplar trees on his three-acre field that stands on the banks of the Sutlej river in Punjab’s Maniewal village, about 30 km from Ludhiana, Raghvir Singh, 53, explains why he stopped cultivating paddy.

    A change in the flow plan of the Buddha Nullah, which merges with the Sutlej, seems to have been the cause. It had led to industrial effluents from Ludhiana entering the canal and pollute the water used for irrigation. “Several farmers like me were forced to make the switch from rice cultivation owing to the dearth of clean water. I planted the (poplar) trees three years ago,” he says.

    A poplar tree, whose wood is used in the plywood industry, provides about five quintals of wood over five to 10 years. Each quintal fetches ₹500 to ₹700, he says. “This can compensate for the shift from paddy to an extent but demand for the wood is uncertain. We don’t have an assured market and have to depend on private traders and agents. But in the case of paddy, we feel safe as the government procures the produce at the minimum support price (MSP),” he says.

    Rice growers in the State say they are keen on shunning the water-guzzling crop and cultivating alternative crops that will curb the depletion of groundwater, reduce input costs and prevent stubble burning. However, the lack of assured procurement and guaranteed returns are forcing them to persist with paddy.

    Demand for MSP

    Traditionally, Punjab was not a rice producing State. However, farmers began cultivating paddy during the green revolution, helping fill the godowns of the Food Corporation of India and ensuring food security in the country.

    Out of the 881.32 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of paddy procured in the ongoing kharif season, as of August 31 this year, 125.48 LMT have come from Punjab. In the previous seasons, too, Punjab topped the list of contributors to the nation’s granaries. Around 31.33 lakh hectares of land in the State is under paddy cultivation.

    To produce a kilogram of rice and wheat, 5,000 litres and 2,500 litres of water is required, respectively, leading to the overexploitation of groundwater. Several farmers’ organisations have been supporting the efforts of the Centre and the State to implement crop diversification and demand that the crops that replace paddy be procured at MSP.

    “Along with paddy cultivation, a system of agriculture was imposed on us. Farmers had to buy new machinery, fertilisers and pesticides. A new market system was also introduced. Now, farmers can’t go back to growing other crops,” says Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), one of the largest farmers’ groups in the State.

    ‘Sowing of wheat hit’

    Dr. Ajmer Singh Brar, principal agronomist (water management), Punjab Agriculture University, says water shortage owing to overexploitation of groundwater poses the biggest threat to paddy cultivation. He says despite efforts to implement crop diversification, cultivation of paddy has been on the rise since 1974. He says adoption of less water-intensive crops such as maize, cotton and certain fruits would be possible only with financial and technical support from the government.

    Dr. Brar says paddy cultivation is affecting the sowing of wheat too. “In several fields, the formation of hardpan is impairing plant growth as it prevents roots from absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. Specific tractors have to be used to break the hardpan before sowing wheat. This adds to the farmers’ input cost.”

    No takers

    In Fazilka, once known as the ‘California of Punjab’ for its rich varieties of cotton, fruits and grains, farmers growing cotton, fruits and sugarcane are not finding any takers.

    Jagtar Singh, a farmer near Abohar, says, “I tried growing vegetables without success. I grew radish on three acres, but the crop failed due to a disease. I incurred a loss of around ₹2 lakh last year. My father had made the shift from paddy to vegetables in 2005, but he also suffered losses. Debts are mounting. We are forced to cultivate paddy.”

    Mr. Singh adds that cotton growers are also finding it tough to sell their produce as two private cotton mills have moved out of the district. “The Cotton Corporation of India is also not regular in making procurement,” he says.

    Harminder Singh Sekhon, a farmer from Dharang Wala village, who cultivates paddy on nine acres of land, says the lack of a planned irrigation system has left large tracts of land infertile. “Cotton cultivation had become a loss-making endeavour owing to frequent pest attacks. We made the shift to paddy in 1998, but now most of our land lies barren. We can’t return to cultivating cotton or sugarcane even if we want to,” he says.

    'No procurement yet'

    Baljinder Singh, who owns a farm near Barnala, has been fighting against the discharge of effluents into farms. “Effluents have polluted the groundwater. We used to harvest about 3,500 kg of rice from one acre. Now we get just half of it. Plants have become unhealthy. The water in around 25 bore wells is polluted,” he says.

    Efforts to grow fruits, vegetables and cotton have proved economically unviable, Mr. Singh says. “We even cultivated green gram as the government promised to buy it. No procurement has taken place yet.”

  • Bangladesh, Cambodia table idea of free trade deal to boost rice export

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in the US' New York City on September 23. SPM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in rice processing warehouses and rice mills in Cambodia for export to Bangladesh, while also encouraging the South Asian country to increase imports of the Kingdom's rice.

    The premier met with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 23 on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) in the US' New York City.

    Hun Sen said that Bangladesh has imported about 200,000 tonnes of rice from Cambodia.

    “What I suggested during our discussion is to increase rice exports from Cambodia to Bangladesh. I also invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in rice processing warehouses and rice mills – for export to Bangladesh,” he said, in a social media post.

    According to the post, Hasina has asked the private sector of Bangladesh to invest in Cambodia in the agricultural sector, especially in rice production and processing. She told Hun Sen that Bangladesh has a large population but has a small land mass, which is not favourable to farming due to flooding risks, hence the need to buy rice from other countries.

    “We can find agreement with each other, and have worked together to be able to develop and strengthen mutual trade,” the post quoted Sheikh Hasina as saying.

    She intended to push for a free trade agreement between the two countries to boost exports and increase opportunities.

    Hun Sen agreed that it is necessary to start negotiations on a free market agreement to boost trade growth between the two countries.

    “We already have free market agreements with China and South Korea. Through this potential agreement, we could increase the trade volume of our two countries. It is also an opportunity for Bangladesh to develop and strengthen relations with ASEAN,” he added.

  • Govt asked to halt rice imports as local harvest starts in Oct

  • FARMERS' group Samahang Industriyng Agrikultura (SINAG) appealed to the government to halt rice importation as local harvest starts in October.

    SINAG President Rosendo So said that farmers will suffer further loses if the millers continue to refuse to buy palay in bulk.

    "Our harvest time will start in October so the government should slowdown the entry of rice imports. There is now a movement in the prices of palay and the millers are not buying in big volume. This will certainly affect the prices of palay and the farmers will suffer," So said.

    Total imports of the staple food has reached 2.52 metric tons in the first three quarters of 2022.

    The Central Luzon Farmers' Cooperative complained that the buying price of palay has dropped to P13 per kilo, P6 lower that the P19 per kilo set by the National Food Authority (NFA).

    "The importation should be stopped to at least encourage local millers to buy the palay of our farmers," So added.

    So said that the price of imported rice in the world market has increased to $10 per metric ton.

    "We expect the price of imported rice to further go up in the coming weeks, so expect higher prices of imported rice," he said.

    Based on the data from the Department of Agriculture (DA), at least 930,000 metric tons, 950,000 metric tons and 640,000 metric tons of rice arrived in the first, second and third quarters of the year, respectively.

    The DA said the total rice supply for this year is pegged at 17. 14 million metric tons while the total demand is expected to reach 15.43 million metric tons.

  • Domestic Rice Prices May Continue To Increase …

  • Domestic Rice Prices May Continue To Increase Due To Low Production Forecast, High Demand, Says Govt The retail price of rice showed an increase of 0.24 per cent over the week, 2.46 per cent over the month and 8.67 per cent over the year as on September 19

    India is the world's second-largest rice producer after China. (Representative image/Shutterstock)

    As the paddy acreage this kharif season is lower as compared with the last year, the food ministry has said domestic prices of rice are showing an increasing trend and it might continue to increase. The rice production is forecast to be lower by about 6 million tonnes this year and non-basmati export sees an 11 per cent year-on-year increase.

    “The retail price of rice showed an increase of 0.24 per cent over the week, 2.46 per cent over the month and 8.67 per cent over the year as on September 19, 2022. There is an increase of 15.14 per cent on an average of five years," the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said in a statement on Thursday.

    It added that the likely shortfall in area and production of paddy for the kharif season 2022 is 6 per cent. In domestic production, 60-70 LMT (lakh metric tonnes) estimated production loss was earlier anticipated.

    “Now, production loss of 40-50 LMT is expected and production output is not expected to be higher this year but only at par with previous year," the ministry said.

    It also said there has been a rise in global demand for broken rice due to geopolitical scenario, which has impacted the price movement of commodities including those related to animal feed. Export of broken rice has increased by more than 43 times in past four years (21.31 LMT exported from April-August 2022 compared to 0.51 LMT in the same period in 2019) with a significant jump in 2021-22 over last year. In the year 2021, the quantity exported was 15.8 LMT (April-August 2021). Prices of broken rice rose significantly in the current year.

    “Domestic price of broken rice, which was Rs 16 per kg in the open market, has increased to about Rs 22 per kg in states. The poultry sector and animal husbandry farmers were impacted the most due to price hike of feed ingredients as about 60-65 per cent inputs cost for poultry feed comes from broken rice," the ministry said.

    It said any increase in prices of feedstock are reflected in price of poultry products like milk, egg, meat, etc. adding to food inflation.

    “The domestic prices of rice are showing increasing trend and it may continue to increase due to low production forecast by about 6 MMT (million metric tonnes) of paddy and 11 per cent increase in export of non-basmati compared to the corresponding period of last year," the ministry added.

    This year, Jharkhand witnessed a lower paddy coverage by 9.37 lakh hectares, followed by Madhya Pradesh (6.32 lakh hectares), West Bengal (3.65 lakh hectares), Uttar Pradesh (2.48 lakh hectares) and Bihar (1.97 lakh hectares) on account of poor rainfall.

    India is the world’s second-largest rice producer after China and commands a 40 per cent global market share.

  • 20% duty on non-basmati rice variants will hit exports: FTCCI 

  • (Representational image) In a representation to the Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, FTCCI President Anil Agarwal said the blanket imposition of 20 percent duty irrespective of the variety, quality, standard, demand and price of rice would cripple non-basmati exports from India.

    Hyderabad: The 20 per cent duty imposed by the Government of India on exports of non-basmati rice will result in rice shipments becoming noncompetitive in the world market and importers shifting to Thailand and Vietnam, said industry body FTCCI.

    In a representation to the Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, FTCCI President Anil Agarwal said the blanket imposition of 20 percent duty irrespective of the variety, quality, standard, demand and price of rice would cripple non-basmati exports from India.

    On September 14, the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance notified the slapping of a 20% duty on exports of rice. It excluded parboiled and basmati rice. This would have covered all raw non-basmati rice shipments, whether of full or broken grains. However, another notification from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade ( Ministry of Commerce and Industry) imposed a blanket ban on broken rice exports. It implies that only export of full grain consignments would be permitted on payment of 20% duty.

    FTCCI said India is the world’s biggest rice exporter and its rice exports have touched 21.5 million tonnes in 2021, more than the combined shipments of the world’s next four biggest rice exporters – Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States. India accounts for more than 40 per cent of global rice shipments and competes with Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Myanmar in the world market.

    The Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) had said the export price of non-basmati rice was 28-29 per kg, which was supposedly higher than the domestic price. FTCCI said this information was misleading and the duty imposed was based on incorrect data. The DFPD had assumed that all non-basmati rice variants put under single HS Code (HS-10063090) sell for 28-29 per kg.

    But in reality, there are several varieties of non-basmati rice including Sona Masoori, Wada Kolam, Jeera Samba, Ponni, black and red rice, and others. Some of these sell for $700-1,400 per metric tonne (MT). Levying a duty on these variants would have many adverse outcomes for India in the long term, according to Agarwal.

    Indian rice exporters will not be able to capture new markets in premium non-basmati segments due to the 20% duty. Lack of price competitiveness will destroy them. Also, farmers and exporters from the rice surplus states like Telangana will be affected severely as they would lose the market to competitors from other countries.

    As shortage is envisaged for varieties of rice that are meant for public distribution system and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, Agarwal suggested imposing duty according to the export price of rice and avoiding a blanket levy. Long Grain and Swarna are varieties that sell for $300-400 per MT were fit candidates for the levy. He suggested that export prices between $301-400 per MT can have a duty of 20%, between $401-500 per MT 10%, between $501-600 per MT 5% and export price above $601 per MT zero per cent duty.

  • Balanced fertilization: A fulcrum for sustainable production of maize and rice in Africa

  • Efforts to improve the yields of staple cereal crops like maize and rice at scale in Africa remain seriously hampered by the effects of poor soil fertility. The lack of adequate information to base an effective fertilizer recommendation upon often results in inefficient nutrient use by crops and low crop yields. A root cause of poor crop response to applied nutrients is generalized fertilizer recommendations that fail to account for variability in factors such as the climate, soil properties, and water availability. As we improve our understanding of the range of underlying issues that interact to create variability, better solutions can be created for farmers, and confidence in fertilizer use will grow.

    Over the last 20 years, nutrient omission trials (NOTs) have become a widespread method of assessing crop responses to nutrient application within defined agro-climatic landscapes or even an individual farm field. NOTs are designed as a series of plots that omit single nutrients in order to isolate the effects of their absence on crop growth and yield. Plots omitting nutrients are also compared to plots providing a more balanced application of nutrients that attempt to achieve a predetermined yield target based on a current understanding of crop nutrient demand.

    The NOT technique is particularly adaptable to the fragmented landscape of smallholder agriculture. The use of NOTs provides a means to collect site-specific data on crop nutrient responses and soil nutrient supply and provide data essential for generating more targeted fertilizer recommendations. Additional motivation behind the development of the science supporting NOTs is that the method shows high promise as a scalable tool to replace long-standing generalized recommendations systems.

    Recently, an analytical review of NOT studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development, has provided new insight into the causes of yield-robbing variability. The team of researchers began by collecting primary data from more than 3,000 NOTs conducted for maize (35 regions from seven countries) and rice (30 regions from 17 countries) in order to gather evidence on the most influential factors limiting these crop yields and gain a better understanding on why and to what degree yield responses vary across the landscape.

    "Ultimately, the team was searching for actionable information to improve nutrient management for sustainable crop production intensification in SSA and identify future nutrient management research and development priorities that can help breakthrough existing knowledge gaps that are preventing yield improvement at scale. The results of the analysis provide valuable insights into the role of balanced fertilizer in improving the performance of cropping systems as the continent prepares for the Africa Union-led 2023 Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit," said Dr. Shamie Zingore, Corresponding Author and Director of Research and Development at the African Plant Nutrition Institute.

    The review provides a comprehensive look at the overall effects of nutrient application on yields and nutrient use efficiency in maize and rice, how yields vary across the landscape, and what are the best predictors of yield and yield response.

    Highlights from the study

    Results determined that balanced fertilization with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) doubled both maize and rice yields (i.e., from 2 to 4 t/ha) compared to current practice. Yet the analysis indicated that farmers could expect more consistency across their fields, and season-to-season, if NPK applications were combined with other macro- and micronutrients, or farmyard manure inputs. The authors point to an existing African Green Revolution target of 3 t/ha that would be more likely to be exceeded by farmers adopting this latter, more balanced fertilization approach.

    Critical to our knowledge, the study also details new insights on how, why, and to what degree maize and rice yield responses are expected to vary in SSA. Factors such as soil type, agro-climatic zone, crop variety, and nutrient imbalances are identified and ranked in terms of importance within the cropping systems. Nutrient imbalances of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and K were identified as playing a large role in limiting yield responses to N and P application in SSA soils. Of specific note is the authors' recommendation to revitalize research efforts towards understanding why soil potassium responses vary widely across maize and rice cropping systems. In their concluding remarks the authors make a convincing case for revitalizing work on unraveling the site-specific interactions between potassium and other nutrients, as well as the role of potassium fixation, as two key areas of research needed to generate consistently high yields at scale.

  • Diffculties in rehabilitating farmland after floods:

  • Diffculties in rehabilitating farmland after floods: Water-loving crops, changes in farming practices proposed

    LAHORE: Stakeholders claiming that flooded soils present significant obstacles in rehabilitation of the agricultural lands have proposed that the provincial agriculture departments must introduce water-loving improved crop varieties and changing agricultural practices which can help realize potential production gains.

    “Some crop varieties are better suited for flood-based farming systems, such as very fast growing floating rice varieties, which are grown in areas as varied as Mali and Myanmar. Grasses can also be grown as flood pastures to meet livestock feed. The productivity of flood-based farming systems can also be boosted by fisheries, for example, fishponds and aquaculture which can supply local communities with protein, while requiring fewer inputs than other agricultural practices,’ said Dr. Adnan Arshad, an environmentalist and Director Climate Smart Agriculture programme at Potohar Organization for Development of Agriculture (PODA-Pakistan) and Aamer Hayat Bhandara Co-founder Agriculture Republic while talking to Business Recorder on Tuesday.

    They said floods also trigger the runoff of agricultural topsoil and flooded soil syndrome; the loss of useful fungi that mobilize plant nutrients from the soil. Erosion can result in the loss of essential plant-available nutrients and organic materials. In addition, the deposition of flood sediments may raise the soil’s NPK and Zn levels.

    Flooding can also limit the amount of available phosphorus; hence, diminishing the populations of microbes important for enhancing phosphorus availability. They were of the view that soil health, including soil texture, structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient availability should be recovered after flooding for enhanced agricultural productivity. The farming community must; therefore, prepare for the gradual restoration of their agricultural soils. Multiple recovery procedures are employed to manage the soil following flooding.

    Dr. Adnan Arshad said there is a need to minimize limitations to crop production and manage deposition in fields, farmers must evaluate if the material and objects may be tilled into the ground or whether they must be physically removed. Due to the size of the debris and the travel distance, physical removal is expensive. Additionally, certain laws forbid the addition of sediments to the river.

    He said promoting microbial and fungi activity in the soil is also essential. Symbiotic fungi called arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) develop inside and on the roots of plants. Fungi penetrate roots without causing any harm to the plant. As a result, the plant gives the fungi nourishment in the form of carbohydrates, whereas the fungi give plant nutrients, particularly phosphorus, Dr. Adnan Arshad added.

  • Rice dwarfing virus threatens Indian yields

  • Officials fear up to seven per cent crop losses as a plant virus surfaces in India’s main rice-producing states.

    A plant virus disease first identified in China has been detected in north Indian paddy fields causing fears of reduced crop yields at a time when extreme weather events have already hampered grain production.

    Rice plants infected with the Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus (SRBSDV) exhibit dwarfism, stiffness, and darkening of leaves.

    The virus — transmitted by the white-backed planthopper (Sogatella furcifera) when it sucks on the sap of young plants — interferes with root development and plant growth.

    Detected in Guangdong Province in 2001, the disease was confined to China for the next few years before spreading to other countries such as Vietnam and Japan. A research paper shows that it can cause a 30 to 50 per cent reduction in rice yields.

    The Indian government fears that the outbreak might add to losses caused by erratic southwest monsoon rainfalls. The area under paddy cultivation has been six per cent lower this August compared to the same period last year. Rice accounts for 40 per cent of India’s total food grain basket.

    “Laboratory analysis showed the presence of virus in both the infected young plants and the body of the vector after the RNA was isolated,” Rajbir Singh, director, Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute, Ludhiana, Punjab told SciDev.Net.

    However, the virus was not found in the infected plant’s seeds and grains, said Singh, who heads an eight-member committee of experts formed 22 August by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare to assess the extent and severity of the disease. The team visited the 24 fields located in the three worst affected states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand.

    Punjab has 2.7 million hectares under paddy, Haryana has more than 1.5 million hectares and Uttarakhand has around 2.8 million hectares. Punjab and Haryana alone contribute around 16 per cent of India’s total rice production.

    Collected samples sequenced in the laboratory showed the virus’s association with stunting symptoms. The team found that between two and ten per cent of rice plants were affected although in some fields the rate of infection was as high as 50 per cent.

    The team observed that most infected plants were those grown in waterlogged conditions where hybrid seed crops were planted early. “The incidence was mostly reported from crops planted in June while crops planted in July didn’t show signs of infection,” said Singh. “We also observed that the disease mostly affected hybrid seed crops.”

    Farmers have been advised not to flood their paddies with water and to monitor the plants for the presence of the vector on a weekly basis. They have also been asked to remove weeds and avoid the indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilisers.

    When large numbers of the insect pests are spotted, pesticides such as triflumezopyrim, dinotefuran or pymetrozine may be sprayed at the base of affected rice stalks, officials say.

    The virus was found to be affecting both basmati (aromatic) and non-basmati varieties of rice. Investigations are underway to discover how the virus arrived in India and how it works against rice plants.

    “Currently, we assume that the vector is ‘long-range migratory’ in nature, which would probably come through human routes,” said Gopala Krishanan, principal scientist at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, India’s premier agriculture research institution. “We are trying to decode the whole mechanism of the spread of the virus.”

    While it is known that infected paddy plants die, hitting crop production, neither officials nor scientists are ready to estimate the extent of possible loss.

    “Loss is certain, but we have no figures yet — it is still under monitoring and assessment,” said a scientist and member of the investigating committee, asking not to be named.

    Rice traders, however, expect that the virus could substantially cut crop production in Punjab and Haryana, often called the rice granaries of India. “Our assessment shows that the production of rice can be reduced by as much as seven per cent,” said Ashok Kumar Gupta, vice-president of Haryana Rice Millers Association.

  • Rice, Wheat Push Up The Inflation

  • Rising prices of food articles and certain manufactured items pushed up inflation past the one per cent mark to 1.21 per cent for the week ended Sept 10 from 0.92 per cent in the previous week

    Rising prices of food articles and certain manufactured items pushed up inflation past the one per cent mark to 1.21 per cent for the week ended Sept 10 from 0.92 per cent in the previous week. While food commodity prices have softened, wheat and rice could still cause concern for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ahead of its Monetary Policy Committee meeting.  

    Core Concern:

    Indian wheat prices jumped to a record high, despite a ban on exports, amid strong demand and dwindling supply from a crop damaged by heat wave. On the other hand, the Russia-Ukraine war disrupted the global supply chains and sent commodity prices soaring. This provided India, the world’s second largest wheat producer, with an opportunity to capture the void in wheat supply caused by the war ,Ukraine accounted for 12 percent of the total wheat exports in the world.

    Why Is Wheat Production Impacted:

    Several stakeholders and experts raised concerns that India’s own production and procurement this year was impacted by the heat wave seen across the country. But the government went ahead and allowed export of wheat by the private sector. The decision reportedly fetched farmers 10 per cent higher price than the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat.

    But India’s own staggering food inflation soon forced the government to reverse its decision on May 14.  June’s retail inflation was at 7.01 per cent, above the RBI’s target range of 2-6 per cent — India’s retail inflation has been beyond 6 per cent for the sixth consecutive month now. While curb on export of food commodities and softening of edible oil prices slightly eased inflation, it has not been enough to control food inflation. In the food basket, inflation in cereals and products was at 5.66 per cent, meat and fish at 8.61 per cent, and vegetables at 17.37 in June. 

    Factors Responsible:

    The soaring inflation caused by a cocktail of global and domestic factors was not enough, a heat wave in March further worsened the price situation for wheat. On July 27, wheat prices in local markets reached a record high of Rs 23,547 per tonne, up almost 12 per cent from the lows it reached recently due to the government’s export ban.

    The government had an estimate of 106.41 million tonnes of supplies this year — in 2021, India harvested 109.59 million tones of the crop — but according to traders, the supply is much low at about 95 million tonnes. The US’ Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service has estimated supply to be at 99 million tonnes. The impact of the March heat wave is also reflected in government’s wheat procurement, which is down 57 per cent this year compared to a year ago, at 18.8 million tonnes. The government had wrongly estimated excess production which was mainly due to inaccurate intelligence on wheat production and analytics, thereby resulting in misplaced policy decisions such as allowing of exports and eventually banning it.

  • Sri Lanka mulls using imported rice for animal feed to keep farmgate prices up

  • ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has suggested using imported rice stocks for animal feed as farmers who cultivated a record extent in the current season call for higher farmgate prices for paddy.

    “There was a need to import rice some time ago,” Minister Amaraweera said. “But this (Yala) season farmers have cultivated more paddy than in seasons when fertilizer was given free.”

    “This season farmers have cultivated 512,000 hectares. Now our problem is to ensure that the paddy is purchased. There is no longer any need to import rice. But it is alright to import rice for animal feed.”

    Sri Lanka’s Consumer Affairs Authority whose coercive interventions and price controls disrupt agriculture and food markets banned the use of rice for animal feed in June 25.

    The CAA can issue disruptive gazettes at midnight while the population is sleeping.

    It has also created a crisis among poultry farmers who have no political clout with a price control on eggs, while rice farmers are calling for higher prices. Poultry feed prices are high due to controls on maize imports.

    Imported rice is selling for around 190 rupees while domestic rice prices are controlled by several large millers who have silos sell for around 220 rupees.

    Sri Lanka rice prices soared after the rupee collapsed from 182 to 360 to the US dollar after the central bank printed money for two years to supress interest rates.

    There have been calls to restrict the agency’s independence to print money (open market operations) to stop currency depreciation, impoverishment of the population and social unrest.

    Minister Amaraweera has come under fire from some quarters for suggesting that rice be used for animal feed.

    Sri Lanka authorities promised 120 rupees a for a kilogram of rice through the state-run Paddy Marketing Board up from around 50 to 55 rupees last year but are awaiting cash from the government.

    Private millers are now buying rice for around 100 rupees or less but farmers want the promised rate.

    Farmers say cultivation costs have doubled. Tractor fees for preparing land has doubled from 12,000 rupees to 20,000 to 24,000 and combine harvesting costs have also similarly gone up to around 25,000 rupees they say.

  • Rice dwarfing virus threatens Indian yields

  • Officials fear up to seven per cent crop losses as a plant virus surfaces in India’s main rice-producing states.

    Women harvest wheat in central India.Image: World Bank Photo Collection, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Flickr.

    A plant virus disease first identified in China has been detected in north Indian paddy fields causing fears of reduced crop yields at a time when extreme weather events have already hampered grain production.

    Rice plants infected with the Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus (SRBSDV) exhibit dwarfism, stiffness, and darkening of leaves.

    The virus — transmitted by the white-backed planthopper (Sogatella furcifera) when it sucks on the sap of young plants — interferes with root development and plant growth.

    Detected in Guangdong Province in 2001, the disease was confined to China for the next few years before spreading to other countries such as Vietnam and Japan. A research paper shows that it can cause a 30 to 50 per cent reduction in rice yields.

    The Indian government fears that the outbreak might add to losses caused by erratic southwest monsoon rainfalls. The area under paddy cultivation has been six per cent lower this August compared to the same period last year. Rice accounts for 40 per cent of India’s total food grain basket.

    “Laboratory analysis showed the presence of virus in both the infected young plants and the body of the vector after the RNA was isolated,” Rajbir Singh, director, Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute, Ludhiana, Punjab told SciDev.Net.

    However, the virus was not found in the infected plant’s seeds and grains, said Singh, who heads an eight-member committee of experts formed 22 August by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare to assess the extent and severity of the disease. The team visited the 24 fields located in the three worst affected states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand.

    Punjab has 2.7 million hectares under paddy, Haryana has more than 1.5 million hectares and Uttarakhand has around 2.8 million hectares. Punjab and Haryana alone contribute around 16 per cent of India’s total rice production.

    Collected samples sequenced in the laboratory showed the virus’s association with stunting symptoms. The team found that between two and ten per cent of rice plants were affected although in some fields the rate of infection was as high as 50 per cent.

    The team observed that most infected plants were those grown in waterlogged conditions where hybrid seed crops were planted early. “The incidence was mostly reported from crops planted in June while crops planted in July didn’t show signs of infection,” said Singh. “We also observed that the disease mostly affected hybrid seed crops.”

    Farmers have been advised not to flood their paddies with water and to monitor the plants for the presence of the vector on a weekly basis. They have also been asked to remove weeds and avoid the indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilisers.

    When large numbers of the insect pests are spotted, pesticides such as triflumezopyrim, dinotefuran or pymetrozine may be sprayed at the base of affected rice stalks, officials say.

    The virus was found to be affecting both basmati (aromatic) and non-basmati varieties of rice. Investigations are underway to discover how the virus arrived in India and how it works against rice plants.

    “Currently, we assume that the vector is ‘long-range migratory’ in nature, which would probably come through human routes,” said Gopala Krishanan, principal scientist at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, India’s premier agriculture research institution. “We are trying to decode the whole mechanism of the spread of the virus.”

    While it is known that infected paddy plants die, hitting crop production, neither officials nor scientists are ready to estimate the extent of possible loss.

    “Loss is certain, but we have no figures yet — it is still under monitoring and assessment,” said a scientist and member of the investigating committee, asking not to be named.

    Rice traders, however, expect that the virus could substantially cut crop production in Punjab and Haryana, often called the rice granaries of India. “Our assessment shows that the production of rice can be reduced by as much as seven per cent,” said Ashok Kumar Gupta, vice-president of Haryana Rice Millers Association.

  • Govt extends deadline for export of broken rice to ease port congestion

  • Official estimates suggest that rice sowing is down by 3.8 million hectares and the loss of production may be 10-12 million tonnes this year due to a variety of factors, including deficient rainfall. (Mint)

    The central government extends the period for exports of broken rice from 15 Sept till 30 Sept

    In a move that could ease tension at the ports, the union government on Tuesday allowed the export of broken rice that was in transit till September 30. India banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other types on September 8 over food security concerns. 

    The Directorate General of Foreign Trade had earlier allowed rice exports till 15 September, if loading began prior to the order, and in cases where the shipping bill has been filed and vessels have arrived at their destination. 

    “The central government in exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 read with section 5 of the 

    foreign trade Act 1992 as amended, read with Para 1.02 and 2.01 of the Foreign Trade Policy, 2015-20, hereby extends the period for exports of broken rice from 15 September 2022 till 30 September.

    All other conditions as contained in Notification No 31 dated 8.09.2022 remain the same. Export of consignment of broken rice as permissible under Notification No 31 dated 8.09.2022 has been extended till September 30," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) notification read. 

    Mint had earlier reported that exporters have sought a relaxed deadline for the clearance of around one million tonnes of rice stuck in transit after the government imposed a 20% export duty.

    “We welcome this decision of the government, it will surely help to clear the vessels & broken rice cargo stuck at various ports across Indian ports. We also request the government a similar relaxation to be issued for duty levied on exports of permitted non-basmati rice," Raajesh Bhojwani, CEO & MD, RBB Ship Chartering Pte Ltd Singapore said. 

    Foodgrain stocks with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) are at their lowest in five years. As of 16 August, combined rice and wheat stocks in the central pool stood at 52.3 million tonnes. Earlier this year, the Center had started replacing rice with wheat for its free food programme since wheat production suffered from extreme heat waves in March.

    Official estimates suggest that rice sowing is down by 3.8 million hectares and the loss of production may be 10-12 million tonnes this year due to a variety of factors, including deficient rainfall.

  • Following Rice Export Ban, Over 20 Shipments Stuck At Ports: Report

  • Following Rice Export Ban, Over 20 Shipments Stuck At Ports: Report

    India exports rice to more than 150 countries (File)

    New Delhi: 

    At least 20 ships are waiting to load around 600,000 tonnes of rice at various ports as India's surprise export restrictions have trapped cargoes for nearly a fortnight, forcing sellers to pay demurrage charges, industry officials told Reuters.

    India banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent duty on exports of various other types on September 8, as it tries to boost local supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    The surprise move trapped cargo that was moved to the ports or was in transit before the government made the announcement, said BV Krishna Rao, president of The Rice Exporters Association (TREA).

    "We have requested the government to provide concession to this transitional cargo as we are paying hefty demurrage charges," he said.

    Apart from 600,000 tonnes rice that is waiting for the loading at berthed vessels, a further 400,000 tonnes of rice is stuck at port warehouses and container freight stations (CFS) even though contracts are backed by letters of credit (LCs), he said.

    Broken rice shipments are stuck because of the ban, while in the case of white rice buyers and sellers are not willing to pay the 20 per cent duty over the agreed price, dealers said.

    "When contracts were signed there wasn't any tax on the exports. Since exports now attract the tax, there is dispute who will pay the tax over the agreed price," said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trading firm.

    In similar circumstances, India has in the past provided exemptions for contracts backed by LCs, or payment guarantees, issued until the day the government made a policy change. But that has not happened this time.

    Stuck broken rice shipments were heading to China, Senegal, Senegal and Djibouti, while other grades of white rice were bought by buyers in Benin, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, exporters said.

    India exports rice to more than 150 countries and any reduction in shipments would increase upward pressure on food prices, which are already rising because of drought, heatwaves and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

  • Rice prices may increase by P4 per kilogram or higher, farmers group says

  • Prices of rice may go up by P4 per kilogram or higher, according to projections of the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperative.

    This is due to an increase in fuel prices, which adds to the delivery cost of rice, according to a report by Bam Alegre on GMA News' Unang Balita on Tuesday.

    The rising cost of fertilizer is also an added burden, the cooperative said.

    Last month, the cost of fertilizers increased by P12,000 to P15,000, thus driving up the rice production cost by P3 per kilo, the group said. This would lead to a profit margin of only P4 per kilo.

    Some rice vendors have already raised the product's prices since last month.

    However, due to consumer complaints, they could not maximize the price increase.

    Instead, vendors are just banking on the number of consumers who will buy the staple food.

    Local rice variants' prices currently range from P38 to P40 per kilogram. —Sherylin Untalan/KG, GMA News

  • Cambodia earns over 544 mln USD from exports of rubber, rice in first 8 months

  • PHNOM PENH, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia had made a total of 544.1 million U.S. dollars from the exports of dry rubber and milled rice during the first eight months of 2022, according to official reports on Tuesday.

    A report from the General Directorate of Rubber showed that the Southeast Asian nation exported 194,014 tons of dry rubber during the January-August period this year, a slight rise of 1 percent from the same period last year.

    The country earned 301.3 million dollars from the exports of the commodity in the first eight months of this year, down 6.4 percent year-on-year, the report said.

    "A ton of dry rubber averagely cost 1,553 U.S. dollars during the first eight months of 2022, about 119 dollars lower than that of the same period last year," Him Oun, director general of the General Directorate of Rubber, said in the report.

    Meanwhile, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) said the country exported a total of 389,000 tons of milled rice to 56 countries and regions during the first eight months of this year, up 13.2 percent year-on-year.

    The CRF said the kingdom made 242.8 million dollars in revenue from the exports of milled rice from January to August this year.

    Rubber and rice are among the kingdom's potential cash crops.

    Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's Undersecretary of State and Spokesman Penn Sovicheat said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, which took effect earlier this year, had contributed to this growth.

    "The RCEP trade deal has given and will continue to give a big boost to our export growth for the long term," he told Xinhua. "It has provided us larger market access, especially for our potential agricultural products."

  • Rice farmers urge restoration of NFA’s regulatory powers.

  • Rice farmers have pleaded to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to restore the regulatory powers of the National Food Authority to ensure ready market for their produce at higher rate while also assuring lower price for the poor.

    In a statement, the Mabandi Multi Purpose Cooperative (MPC) in Pulong Bayabas, San Miguel, Bulacan and the Federation of Central Luzon Farmers Cooperative (FCLFC) also asked the president to raise farmgate price of clean and dry palay (unmilled rice) to P23 per kilo.

    Palay buying direct from farmers used to be a major intervention of NFA prior to the of this function under the Rice Tariffication Law.

    While “ayuda” (financial assistance) is given in cash, the farmers insisted they prefer to be treated with fairness and in a more business-proper manner. Ayuda is only given arbitrarily.

    “Not everyone gets to receive ayuda. Only those that are close to those in power. But when palay price is raised to P23 per kilo at farmgate, that benefits all farmers,” said Atanacio Santos of the Mabandi MPC. Only 75 percent of farmers get to receive ayuda, said Santos.


    The Philippines’ food security problems can be significantly solved if government assures farmers of this palay market. Providing a stable farmers’ market is a function that has been practiced by countries with progressive and profitable agriculture sector.

    “Marcos should immediately implement the price increase, or ignoring farmers’ plea signals death of the rice sector. More farmers will be impoverished, and consumers will run out of food,” said Santos.

    The increase to P23 per kilo already covers all costs of production including those for seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, according to Simeon Sioson, FCLFC chairman. Farmgate price has dropped to P18 to P19 per kilo and even hit a very low level at P10 to 14 per kilo. This has caused huge losses on farmers and compelled many farmers to give up tilling the land.

    “The P23 per kilo farmgate price will cover all increases in costs in the market including those for the higher price of fertilizer now, diesel, and pesticides,” said Sioson.

    But aside from farmers, the government will also be a big beneficiary since government can collect additional value added tax (VAT). Such additional VAT may then be used to subsidize the cost of rice for consumers. Prior to the RTL, the poor used to depend on cheap NFA rice for their staple.

    “Now there is no more P27 per kilo NFA rice.”

    Trade liberalization advocates stress NFA’s rice subsidy function for consumers renders it bankrupt, dependent on huge loans, and incompliant to free market principles.

    But Danilo V. Fausto, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. president, said NFA is not supposed to be profit-making like private companies.

    “NFA’s purpose is not to make a profit (but intervene and assist rice sector),” said Fausto.

    But with the P23 per kilo farmgate price, government will even hit its targeted P20 per kilo price at consumers’ market– given government subsidizes rice price for all using the additional VAT it collects.

    Sioson said government should strictly monitor the Philippines’ rice shortfall. This will prevent any excess in domestic rice volume that causes further rice competition to farmers.

    “Importation only benefits farmers in Vietnam and Thailand. We should rather protect our farmers. Only the shortfall should be imported,” Sioson said.

    Even government’s buffer stocking function for the lean months, with inventory level required is at 30 days, will be addressed through higher production from incentivized farmers.

    Our rice sector will flourish. Everybody will be benefitted,” said Sioson.

    Mabandi MPC and FCLFC also said government should take into consideration the many climate disturbances adversely are affecting farming.

  • Rice imports as of Sept. 8 exceed 2021 volume

  • A total of 137 eligible rice importers brought in rice from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam from January 1 to September 8.

    The Philippines’s rice imports as of September 8 breached the 2.8-million metric ton (MMT) mark and surpassed last year’s volume of 2.771 MMT, the latest government data showed.

    Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data indicated that total rice imports from January 1 to September 8 reached 2.806 MMT, or 1.26 percent higher than the 2.771 MMT of rice imported by the country in 2021.

    BPI data showed that Vietnam accounted for 82.18 percent or about 2.306 MMT of the total volume of rice imported during the period. Vietnam was followed by Myanmar with 202,319.280 metric tons (MT) and Thailand with 140,171.375 MT.

    A total of 137 eligible rice importers brought in rice from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam from January 1 to September 8. The importers used a total of 3,155 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPS-IC), according to BPI data.

    BPI data showed that NAN Stu Agri Traders led all rice importers with a total import volume of 141,620 MT followed by Manus Dei Resources Ent. Inc. with 136,881 MT, and Lucky Buy and Sell with 127,483 MT.

    Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. President Danilo V. Fausto said the increase in rice imports may dampen local unmilled rice prices as the market is “overflowing with supply.”

    “Palay prices being harvested today and next month would be affected. Farm-gate prices will not go up,” Fausto told the BusinessMirror.

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier revised upward its total rice import forecast for the Philippines this year to a record level of 3.4 MMT, from an earlier estimate of 3.2 MMT.

    In its monthly global grain report, the USDA increased its total rice import forecast for the Philippines this year by 200,000 MT due to “large purchases from Vietnam.”

    The new import forecast for the Philippines, the world’s second-largest buyer of rice, is 15.25 percent higher than the 2.95 MMT of rice it imported last year, based on USDA data.

    If the forecast materializes, this would be the first time in the Philippines’s history that it would import more than 3 MMT of rice, according to historical USDA data.

    The Philippine Statistics Authority reported last month that the value of the country’s agricultural output in the first half contracted by 0.4 percent, mainly due to the anemic performance of the crops and fisheries subsectors.

    Data released by the PSA showed that the value of farm output in January to June (at constant 2018 prices) reached P853.087 billion, lower than last year’s P856.66 billion.

    In terms of volume, the country’s unmilled rice production contracted by 0.63 percent to 8.743 MMT in January to June, from last year’s 8.799 MMT. Corn output, however, rose by 1.1 percent year-on-year to 3.926 MMT. Palay and corn account for the bulk of the crops subsector’s output.

  • India’s rice export ban: The Asian countries set to be hit hard — and those that’ll profit

  • Rice production in India has fallen by 5.6% year on year as of September in light of below-average monsoon rainfall, which has affected harvest, Nomura said.

    India, the world’s largest rice exporter, has banned shipments of broken rice — a move that will reverberate across Asia, according to Nomura.

    In a bid to control domestic prices, the government banned exports of broken rice and slapped a 20% export tax on several varieties of rice starting Sept. 9. 

    Nomura said the impact on Asia will be uneven, and the Philippines and Indonesia will be most vulnerable to the ban. 

    India accounts for approximately 40% of global rice shipments, exporting to more than 150 countries.

    Exports reached 21.5 million tons in 2021. That’s more than the total shipment from the next four biggest exporters of the grain — Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States, Reuters reported. 

    But production has decreased by 5.6% year-on-year as of Sept 2. in light of below-average monsoon rainfall, which affected harvest, Nomura said.

    For India, July and August are the “most crucial” months for rainfall, as they determine how much rice is sown, said Sonal Varma, chief economist at the financial services firm. This year, uneven monsoon rain patterns during those months have reduced production, she added.

    Big rice-producing India states such as West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are receiving 30% to 40% less rainfall, Varma said. Although rainfall increased toward the end of August, “the more delayed the sowing [of rice] is, the greater is the risk that yield will be lower.” 

    Earlier this year, the South Asian nation curbed wheat and sugar exports to control rising local prices as the Russia-Ukraine war sent global food markets into turmoil.

    Most affected

    The Indian government recently announced that rice production during the Southwest monsoon season between June and October could fall by 10 to 12 million tons, which implies that crop yields could dip by as much as 7.7% year on year, Nomura said.

    “The impact of a rice export ban by India would be felt both directly by countries that import from India and also indirectly by all rice importers, because of its impact on global rice prices,” according to a report by Nomura released recently. 

    Findings from Nomura revealed that the cost of rice has remained high this year, with the increase in prices in retail markets hitting around 9.3% year on year in July, compared with 6.6% in 2022. Consumer price inflation (CPI) for rice also spiked 3.6% year-on-year as of July, up from 0.5% in 2022. 

    The Philippines, which imports more than 20% of its rice consumption needs, is the country in Asia most at risk of higher prices, Nomura said.

    As Asia’s biggest net importer of the commodity, rice and rice products account for a 25% share of the country’s food CPI basket, the highest share in the region, according to Statista.

    Inflation in the country was at 6.3% in August, data from the Philippines Statistics Authority showed — above the central bank’s target range of 2% to 4%. In light of that, India’s export ban would come as an additional blow to the Southeast Asian nation.

    Similarly, India’s rice export ban will be detrimental to Indonesia as well. Indonesia is likely to be the second-most affected country in Asia.

    Nomura reported that the country relies on imports for 2.1% of its rice consumption needs. And rice makes up about 15% of its food CPI basket, according to Statista.

    For some other Asian countries, however, the pain is likely to be minimal.

    Singapore imports all of its rice, with 28.07% of it coming from India in 2021, according to Trade Map. But the country isn’t as vulnerable as the Philippines and Indonesia as “the share of rice in the [country’s] CPI basket is quite small,” Varma noted. 

    Consumers in Singapore tend to spend “a greater chunk” of their expenses on services, which typically seems to be the case for higher-income countries, she said. Low- and middle-income countries, on the other hand, “tend to spend an even larger proportion of their expenses on food.” 

    “The vulnerability needs to be seen from the perspective of both the impact on expenditure for consumers and how dependent countries [are] on imported food items,” she added. 

    Countries that will benefit 

    On the flip side, some countries could be beneficiaries.

    Thailand and Vietnam will most likely to profit from India’s ban, Nomura said. That’s because they’re the world’s second- and third-largest exporters of rice, making them the most likely alternatives for countries looking to fill the gap.

    Vietnam’s total rice production was approximately 44 million tons in 2021, with exports bringing in $3.133 billion, according to a report published in July by research firm Global Information found.

    Data from Statista showed that Thailand produced 21.4 million tons of rice in 2021, an increase of 2.18 million tons from the previous year.

    With the increase in exports, and India’s ban placing an upward pressure on rice prices, the overall value of rice exports will increase and these two countries will benefit from it. 

    “Anybody who’s currently importing from India will be looking to import more from Thailand and Vietnam,” Varma said. 

  • China’s rice imports jump over 42% in Jan-Aug amid low prices

  • Aerial photo taken on Sep 15, 2022 shows rice fields in Gannan County of Qiqihar, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. Photo:Xinhua

    China's cumulative imports of rice showed rapid growth during the first eight months of this year, customs data showed on Sunday. The rise in rice imports, which are expected to be mainly used as feed grain, mainly reflected low global prices and does not reflect changes in domestic output due to drought, experts noted.

    China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) said that from January to August, total rice imports reached 4.56 million tons, up 42.5 percent year-on-year. 

    "China increased rice imports because global supplies were plentiful and prices were low compared with other grain crops such as wheat," Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

    According to the GAC, the average price of China's rice imports in July reached $400.86 per ton, down 11.76 percent year-on-year.

    In August, China imported 480,000 tons of rice, an increase of 34.8 percent year-on-year; while in July, imports rose 73.7 percent year-on-year to more than 499, 000 tons, customs data showed.

    A new survey by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs showed that more than 170 million mu (11.3 million hectares) of the nation's autumn grain crops have harvested, or 13.3 percent.

    "The rise in rice imports had nothing to do with natural disasters like drought this year, as China was already increasing imports of the grain from January this year," Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of industry news website cngrain.com, told the Global Times on Sunday, noting that the drought in the south this summer had limited impact on China's autumn harvest this year.

    Li noted that the main production area of rice in China is in the northeast, which had sufficient rainfall this year, while the south experienced drought, so China's output doesn't reflect the impact of the natural disaster.

    "The bulk of imported crops are expected to be used as feed grain. It's a sector where the country has seen expanding demand in recent years," Jiao said.

  • Eating rice will be expensive! Due to less sowing, the production of rice is expected to be less by about 60-70 lakh tonnes.

  • Kharif season Rice prices may increase amid fears that rice production will be lower by about 60-70 lakh tonnes due to less sowing of paddy. In such a situation, the inflationary pressure on the already sluggish economy will increase. Retail inflation, which has been showing a declining trend for three months, started rising again and reached 7 per cent in August as prices of all food items, including cereals, rose. Along with this, the wholesale inflation was also under pressure from the prices of food items including food grains. Experts and analysts expect inflation to remain at higher levels in the times to come. At the same time, due to erratic rains in June-September and the south-west monsoon yet to depart, concerns have increased regarding the paddy crop.

    Rice production stood at 1329 million tonnes

    India’s rice production stood at 132.29 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year, up from 1243.7 million tonnes a year earlier. The Food Ministry has estimated that rice production in this year’s Kharif season will be less by 60-7 million tonnes. The kharif season accounts for about 85 per cent of the country’s total rice production. However, according to some experts, the reduction in rice production is not a cause for concern as the stock already with India is sufficient to meet the demand of the Public Distribution System (PDS). Besides, the government’s decision to ban the export of broken rice and levy 20 per cent duty on non-basmati exports will help in handling the situation.

    Food price pressure rises

    An article published in a recent bulletin of the Reserve Bank of India said that despite relief in fuel and basic components prices, food prices have been under pressure due to rising food prices. A report by the Finance Ministry on Saturday underlined the need for efficient management of agricultural commodity stocks in view of the low crop sown area during the Kharif season. However, it added that one has to avoid being anxious on the inflation front. NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand said, “There is no immediate threat to domestic inflation due to rice. The increase in prices was due to increase in MSP and prices of other commodities like fertilizers and fuels. When the prices of which are increasing, there will definitely be some increase.

  • Explained | The ban on the export of broken rice

  • The lower the supply of a commodity, the higher would be its price. | Photo Credit: PTI

    How is the ethanol blending programme connected to the rice export ban?

    The story so far: On September 9, the Centre instituted a ban on the export of broken rice. Additionally, it mandated an export duty of 20% on rice in husk (paddy or rough), husked (brown rice) and semi-milled or wholly-milled rice. The measures do not affect export of basmati or parboiled rice. The Secretary at the Department of Food and Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey stated that the measures would ensure adequate availability of broken rice for consumption by the domestic poultry industry and for other animal feedstock. Additionally, it would sustain production of ethanol that would further assist the successful implementation of the Union government’s Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP). However, the measures may affect countries dependent on Indian food exports in the face of a lost ‘breadbasket’ in Ukraine owing to the Russian conflict.

    What does it have to do with inflation?

    The lower the supply of a commodity, the higher would be the price of a product, which results in inflationary pressures. The adequacy of rice stocks in the country would ensure that markets do not experience excess demand and thus, trigger an abrupt price rise. For seven consecutive months, inflation has been above the Reserve Bank of India’s 6% tolerability threshold. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), or retail-based inflation, stood at 7% in August this year with rural and urban inflation scaling 7.15% and 6.72% respectively. This was furthered by an uptick of 7.62% in food prices during the same period.

    The COVID-19 pandemic also had an impact on India’s previously held surplus. As a reaction to the distresses caused by the pandemic to the vulnerable sections the Union Cabinet had introduced a food security program, called the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) in March 2020. The scheme provisions an additional 5kg ration per person each month in addition to their normal quota of foodgrains under the National Food Security Act. In March, the scheme was extended for another six months until September 2022.

    The Hindu Businessline had reported this week that foodgrain stocks (including rice, wheat and unmilled paddy) in the Food Corporation of India (FCI)’s central pool had dropped 33.5% on a year-over-year basis to 60.11 million tonnes as of September 1 — prompting doubts on the continuation of the scheme. Research analysts at Nomura observe that on the whole, though rice stocks should remain above buffer levels, the current export restrictions may not necessarily improve the demand-supply situation materially, implying, that there remains an upside risk to the price of rice. “As such, we believe there is a risk that further curbs on rice exports could be imposed, particularly in categories still exempted,” it states.

    What happened to rice production?

    The major rice cultivation season in India is the Kharif season, that entails sowing the crop during June-July and harvesting them in November-December.

    It is imperative to note that rice is a water-intensive crop which also requires a hot and humid climate. Thus, it is best suited to regions which have high humidity, prolonged sunshine and an assured supply of water. It is for this reason that the eastern and southern regions of the country, with sustainable humidity and suitable mean temperatures are deemed favourable for the crop. While the two regions are able to grow paddy crops throughout the year, higher rainfall and temperature prompt the northern regions to grow only one crop of rice from May to November. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are among the rice producing States in India.

    A perusal of Indian Meteorological Dept’s data, between June 1 and September 14 illustrate that Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab and Bihar have experienced deficient rainfall. The latter refers to rainfall being 20-59% below normal in a particular region. Although West Bengal, the country’s largest producer, has overall experienced a normal rainfall, its major productivity areas such as Nadia, Burdwan and Birbhum have had deficient rainfall. This indicates a potentially lower produce this year.

    What are the concerns on ethanol blending?

    Ethanol is an agro-based product, mainly produced from molasses, which is a by-product of the sugar industry. The EBP endeavours to blend ethanol with vehicular fuels as a means to combat the use of fossil fuels and in turn, rising pollution. As per the government, sugar-based feed stocks alone would not be able to meet its stipulated target of 20% ethanol blending by 2025.

    In the 2018-19 Ethanol Supply Year (ESY), the government had allowed the FCI to sell surplus rice to ethanol plants for fuel production. The idea was to have in place an insurance scheme and an emergency provision for distillers.

    However, in the ongoing ESY, because of supply constraints there has been an uptick in the procurement of rice from the FCI. The total ethanol produced from rice lifted from the FCI stood at 26.64 crore litres whereas that from damaged food grains outside the FCI purview stood at 16.36 crore litres. This means that the production accruing from FCI rice has increased 10-fold from the 2.2 crore litres used in a full ESY. At the same time, production from damaged foodgrains stands at half.

    Thus, the export ban would endeavour to catch-up with this supply and additionally, unburden the FCI from provisioning to distillers.

    What are the likely after-effects of the ban?

    Geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine have unsettled global food supply chains. With trade disrupted in the Black Sea region, Bloomberg reported in March that prices of rice are surging because traders are betting it will be an alternative for wheat which is becoming prohibitively expensive.

    India accounted for 41% of the total rice exports in the world in 2021 larger than the next four exporters (Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and United States) combined.

    As for broken rice, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that India accounted for more than half of the commodity’s global exports in the first half of 2022. As per government figures, between April and August this year, broken rice’s share in the overall rice export mix (of India) was 22.78% compared to 18.89% in FY 2021.

    In descending order, China, Senegal, Vietnam, Djibouti and Indonesia are the biggest importers of India’s broken rice.

    Senior Executive Director at the All-India Rice Exporters Association Vinod Kumaar Kaul told The Hindu, “Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan would gain should we happen to lose this market. Once lost, regaining the market would be a task.”

    Mr. Kaul pegs the losses to the exporters from the ban to be around ₹5,600 crore for the full year.

  • Floods damage non-basmati rice crop

  • Total rice damage across Pakistan equals 1,155,000 tons on 860,000 acres

    Pakistan produces rice and sugar in surplus quantity, which is more than the domestic requirement. Photo: file

    KARACHI:

    A significant part of the non-basmati rice crop has been damaged owing to the recent floods. In contrast, the basmati rice crop is standing intact.

    “The rice sowing target for the current Kharif season was set on 1.8 million acres. During the months of April, May and till the mid of June, farmers in Sindh, in particular those in the rice belt, faced acute water shortage,” said Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) President, Miran Mohammed Shah.

    “Owing to the water shortage, the rice nurseries could not be prepared in most of the areas,” he added.

    The SCA president explained that “rice nurseries were prepared on a very small scale, only in those areas where water was available. By the end of June, rice was sown in only half of the targeted areas. The current rains started from the first week of July which continued till August 20, 2022. During those 50 plus rainy days, 65-70% of the rice nurseries were washed away in severely rain affected areas. In the remaining areas, 40-45% damage was done to the standing rice crops.”

    Bayer Agri Grower Marketing Lead, Azeem Khan Niazi stated that “the rice area in general was impacted more by the heat spell, water shortage and load shedding before the monsoons arrived, particularly in Sindh.”

    The SCA president noted that the “rice crop had been damaged by up to 55-60% across Sindh”.

    “Pakistan exports approximately $2 billion worth of rice, of which 70% is coarse variety (IRRI-6 and 8), and 80% of the IRRI-6 variety is sown in Sindh. Thus, Sindh is the major contributor to the big quantity of rice exported,” Shah added.

    “Due to the huge losses to the rice crop, the country will definitely not export the commodity at such a large scale as it used to do in previous years,” he further added.

    “The damage was due to monsoon, flow of water from Indus Tributaries and the Kabul River,” said Agriculture Republic Co-founder, Aamer Hayat Bhandara.

    “In Balochistan, rice is cultivated in the districts of Dera Bugti, Naseerabad and Jaffarabad. Approximately, 280,000 acres of land and 310,000 tons of rice have been damaged which is valued at Rs28 billion,” he further explained.

    In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Swat and Dera Ismail Khan, 150,000 acres and 175,000 tons of rice have been damaged which is valued at Rs12 billion. In Sindh, 24% of the rice is grown in Thatta and Badin while 60% is grown in Kashmore, Shikarpur, Larkana and Shahdad Kot. Likewise, 16% is grown on the left Bank of the Indus in Ghotki, Khairpur and Sanghar. Out of this, 5% area of lower Sindh and 27% area of Dadu and Shahdad Kot, an estimated 310,000 acres, has been damaged by floods. The loss of rice totals 560,000 tons, which is valued at Rs44 billion.

    The rice damage in total across Pakistan amounts to 860,000 acres and equals 1,155,000 tons. The total value of losses adds up to Rs 91 billion.

    “If there had been no floods, then the total production would have amounted to 9.2 million tons valued at Rs810 billion,” explained Bhandara. However, the expected rice production after the flood damages stands at 8.1 million tons, he added.

    “Domestic consumption is 4.2 million tons while the expected production loss stands at 1.1 million tons. Likewise, the expected export loss is 700,000 tons,” said Bhandara.

    “Despite the floods, we do not need to import rice at all. Even after the damages and fulfilling the domestic need of 4.2 million tons, we will have over four million tons to export,” exclaimed Bhandara.

  • India’s broken rice export ban criticised by the US, EU, Senegal at WTO

  • New Delhi argues that prohibition due to sharp increase in exports that affected domestic market

    India’s recent ban on export of broken rice and imposition of export duties on other non-basmati rice has been criticised at the WTO by members such as the US, the EU and Senegal, which raised questions on its adverse effect on an already fragile global market, a Geneva-based trade officialsaid.

    “New Delhi clarified that export prohibition was only on broken rice that is used in India’s poultry feed and it was in response to a sharp increase in its exports in the recent month which had put pressure in the domestic market,” the official said.

    Concerns on India’s export restrictions and prohibitions on rice, wheat and wheat flour were raised at the Committee on Agriculture meeting of the WTO on September 14 and 15.

    India banned the export of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent duty on export of all varieties of rice, except basmati and parboiled rice, with effect from September 9.

    Earlier, on May 13, it had banned export of wheat while orders prohibiting exports of wheat flour, maida, semolina and wholemeal aata were issued on August 27. The restrictions were imposed following concerns of domestic shortage and price rise due to the wheat crop getting affected by a strong heat wave.

    Posing uncertainities

    The Indian representative argued that members’ position on India’s food export was contradictory as one minute they raised concerns on India exporting too much while the next, they were upset about export prohibitions, the official pointed out.

    Washington complained that the constant changes in India’s export policy only posed uncertainties while the EU said that although India was entitled to impose export restriction, it also was bound by the duty to make a notification. 

    “Senegal, which is a significant importer of India’s broken rice and other rice products, said it was majorly affected by India’s export ban and urged the country to keep trade open to ensure food sufficiency,” the official said.

    India underlined that its export restrictions were necessitated by food security needs. It added that the government will consider the requests of other governments for exemptions as India was committed to support the needs of neighbouring and vulnerable countries adversely affected by sudden changes in the global market for wheat.

    While New Delhi said the measures were temporary in nature and under continuous monitoring, the official said that there was no mention of how long the ban will stay in place.

  • All, except farmers, profit from paddy farming

  • Paddy farmers in the northern districts have struggled to turn a profit for the past five years, as production costs have risen significantly but rice prices have not increased proportionally.

    Moreover, the recent hike in fertiliser and diesel prices has made it virtually impossible for marginal farmers to make any profits, said farmers from Bogura, Joypurhat, Gaibandha, and Dinajpur.

    Recently, the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) office, Bogura region, made estimates of the production cost of T-Aman paddy cultivated in Bogura, Joypurhat, Pabna, and Sirajganj districts.

    This document shows the cost of producing paddy per bigha (33 decimal) is Tk 18,607, which results in a yield of 617 kg (or roughly 15.5 maunds). From this venture, a farmer makes Tk 19,659 (including Tk 3,000 earned from selling paddy straws).

    The data also shows that farmers spend Tk 30 to produce one kg of paddy, despite the government's current price of Tk 27 per kg.

    Speaking to farmers in Bogura, Joypurhat, and Gaibandha, this correspondent found that the actual production cost was a little more in reality.

    They said almost never does the cultivation process go exactly as planned, so there are always extra costs associated with the means of production.

    Additionally, the costs of leasing land vary from region to region and depend on the land's capacity for yield and crop rotations, they added.

    Whereas in India, the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) estimates that it costs Rs 1,360 to produce one quintal (100 kg) of Aman paddy.

    Furthermore, in FY23, the Government of India set the minimum support price of paddy at Rs 2,040 per quintal, so farmers can make a profit of Tk 680 per quintal.

    Meanwhile, Bangladeshi farmers are set to incur a loss of Tk 300 per quintal as per the government's current price.

    Five years ago, the production costs per bigha for Aman, Boro, and Aus were Tk 11,500, Tk 13,250, and Tk 6,485, according to the DAE.

    Salim Sajjad, from Pashchim Palsha village in Dinajpur's Ghoraghat upazila, who cultivated Aman paddy on five acres this season, said, "All businesses related to paddy farming are profiting except the farmers."

    Farmers in the village said when landowners cultivate paddy, they can make some profit, but 30 to 40 percent of paddy farmers there worked on leased land and were unable to profit.

    Abdul Mozid, a farmer from Chokzora village in Bogura's Shahjahanpur upazila, said he now drives a CNG-run autorickshaw to support his six-member family.

    "Farmers have never spent so much money on Aman cultivation as they have this season. This year, it is uncertain whether they can make a profit," he said.

    Rashedul Islam, a farmer from Maltia village in Joypurhat's Kalai upazila, said, "After we harvest our crops this season, I'm afraid we have to sell all our crops in order to pay off our loans, which we took in the beginning of the season."

    "As a result, I'll have to buy rice from the market to feed my family and borrow money again to cultivate potatoes," he added.

    Md Nuruzzaman, deputy director of DAE, Dinajpur, said, "Paddy farming by itself does not produce a profit, so it is important for farmers to also cultivate other types of crops."

  • Govt to import another nine lakh tonnes of rice

  • The cabinet committee on economic affairs in a meeting on Wednesday agreed in principle to import 9,00,000 tonnes of more rice.

    Presided over by finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, the online meeting approved a proposal from the Directorate General of Food to import 4,00,000 tonnes under the direct purchase method and 5,00,000 tonnes through open tender.

    In a briefing, additional secretary Md Abdul Barik of the cabinet division said that the name of importing country would be informed later.

    With the latest decision taken in a fortnight’s time, the government is going to import 19,30,000 tonnes of rice and wheat.

    On September 7, a meeting of the cabinet committee on government purchase decided to import 2,00,000 tonnes of non-boiled rice from Myanmar.

    On August 21, the government decided to procure 5,00,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia and 3.30 lakh tonnes of rice from India and Vietnam.

    India will supply 1,00,000  tonnes of non-Basmati rice and  Vietnam 2,00,000 tonnes of non-Basmati rice and 30,000 tonnes of non-boiled rice.

    Officials at the Directorate General of Food said that they were directed to find out alternative sources of food import to maintain the country’s food security amid apprehension of food shortage in November.

  • Sri Lanka may halt rice imports to maintain farmgate paddy prices: Minister

  • ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will gradually reduce and halt imports of rice to maintain paddy (rough rice) prices amid complaints from farmers about lower than expected prices, Plantations Industries Minister Ramesh Pathirana said.

    “Due to fears that there will be a reduction in food stocks we imported some rice in the past,” Minister Pathirana said referring to a discussion at the cabinet of ministers.

    “We decided to progressively reduce it and halt imports.”

    “We have got a reasonable harvest in Yala for season. We expect to receive fertilizer for the Maha season. Given that backdrop we do not think there will be a food scarcity in the country.”

    Sri Lanka’s farmers are estimated to have grown 512,000 hectares of rice in the minor Yala cultivation season amid good rains and high paddy prices, which is a record.

    However the yield at some farms may be lower than usual due to the use of organic fertilizer and not getting chemical fertilizer in time. As a result the harvest may not be a record.

    Sri Lanka’s rice prices however are around double the previous year after the central bank printed money and the rupee collapsed from 182 to the 360 to the US dollar in a float failed by too low interest rates and a surrender requirement.

    Though there is no shortage foods is not unaffordable to lower income segments with inflation outpacing the value of salaries.

    Sri Lanka retail prices are now around 220 rupees which is higher than global prices.

    Farmers were expecting around 120 rupees a kilogram after the state Paddy Marketing Board promised to buy paddy at the price.

    “The farmer are complaining about the price,” Minister Pathirana said. “They are getting about 100 rupees per kilogram for paddy.

    “They are expecting a higher price than that. If we continue to import from other countries they will not get a good price.”

    Sri Lanka’s farmers do not grow internationally traded grades of rice unlike farmers in Pakistan and India. They have also been given years of import protection at the expense of the nutrition of the poorer sections of society.

    After the currency collapse, farming costs shot up. This season tractor hire to prepare fields went up from around 12,000 rupees an acre in the last season to 22,000 to 24,000 rupees an acre with a steep rise in diesel prices.

    Sri Lanka authorities promised farmers around 120 rupee a kilogram floor price through the state-run Paddy Marketing Board.

    However the state agency has not been able to buy rice at all locations and the private sector is buying around 100 rupees, farmers have said.

    The government is looking at boosting funds for the PMB, Minister Pathirana said.

    “The Paddy Marketing Board PMB has asked for more credit from banks to buy rice. But there is a problem of credit limits at banks,” Minister Pathirana said.

    “We will discuss this at the cabinet sub-committee on cost of living and find an early solution and solve the problems of farmers.”

  • The math behind the rice export ban

  • As on 9 September, aggregate sowing was nearly 5% less than the same time last year. Photo: Mint

    Last week, the Indian government imposed several restrictions on rice exports. It banned the export of 100% broken rice, which is predominantly used as cattle feed, and imposed a 20% export duty on several other grades of rice. This was seemingly in response to both a rise in domestic prices and decreased sowing in several key rice-producing states because of a sluggish monsoon.

  • India’s rice exports set to fall as duty makes shipments expensive

  • MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: India’s rice exports could fall by around a quarter this year as New Delhi’s restrictions force buyers to switch to rival suppliers which are offering the grain at a cheaper price, trade and industry officials said.

    Late last week, the world’s biggest exporter of the grain banned shipments of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other grades as the country tries to boost supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    “The duty has made Indian rice expensive. Exports would drop by at least 5 million tonnes,” B.V. Krishna Rao, president of The Rice Exporters Association (TREA), told Reuters.

    That would leave exports this year at around 16.2 million tonnes. Rice shipments reached a record 21.2 million tonnes in the 2021/22 fiscal year, more than the combined shipments of the world’s next four biggest exporters of the grain: Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States. New Delhi has imposed the duty only on white rice, which could prompt some buyers to switch to parboiled rice, which is exempted from export duties, Rao said.

    Rice exports had jumped to 9.36 million tonnes in the first five months of the current fiscal year that began on April 1, up from 8.36 million tonnes in the same period a year ago, according to government data.

    “A lot of rice has already been shipped out so far in the current fiscal year, but we expect shipments to fall sharply in the coming months due to the recent policy decisions,” said Dev Garg, the director of ViExport, a New Delhi-based exporter.

    Lower supplies from India have been prompting rival suppliers to raise prices and this would make Indian rice competitive in due course, said Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India’s rice business.

    Thailand, Vietnam and other suppliers have raised prices of white rice after India imposed curbs the last week. “India was the cheapest supplier of white rice. With the duty, Indian rice would be expensive or at par with the other suppliers,” said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India’s biggest rice exporter.

  • India’s rice exports set to fall 25% as levy make shipments expensive

  • MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: India’s rice exports could fall by around a quarter this year as New Delhi’s restrictions force buyers to switch to rival suppliers which are offering the grain at a cheaper price, trade and industry officials said.

    Late last week, the world’s biggest exporter of the grain banned shipments of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other grades as the country tries to boost supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting. “The duty has made Indian rice expensive. Exports would drop by at least 5 million tonnes,” B.V. Krishna Rao, president of The Rice Exporters Association (TREA), told Reuters.

    That would leave exports this year at around 16.2 million tonnes. Rice shipments reached a record 21.2 million tonnes in the 2021/22 fiscal year, more than the combined shipments of the world’s next four biggest exporters of the grain: Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States.

    New Delhi has imposed the duty only on white rice, which could prompt some buyers to switch to parboiled rice, which is exempted from export duties, Rao said.

    Rice exports had jumped to 9.36 million tonnes in the first five months of the current fiscal year that began on April 1, up from 8.36 million tonnes in the same period a year ago, according to government data.

    “A lot of rice has already been shipped out so far in the current fiscal year, but we expect shipments to fall sharply in the coming months due to the recent policy decisions,” said Dev Garg, the director of ViExport, a New Delhi-based exporter.

    Lower supplies from India have been prompting rival suppliers to raise prices and this would make Indian rice competitive in due course, said Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India’s rice business.

    Thailand, Vietnam and other suppliers have raised prices of white rice after India imposed curbs the last week. “India was the cheapest supplier of white rice.

    With the duty, Indian rice would be expensive or at par with the other suppliers,“ said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India’s biggest rice exporter.

  • Devastating floods in Pakistan to cause food security crisis.

  • Sindh accounts for 55% of the country's onion production, floods destroyed about 70% onion, 50% peach and 30% apple damaged in Baluchistan

    The Climate Smart Agriculture Experts on Tuesday claimed that the devastating monsoon floods have a big toll on the agriculture sector in Pakistan that would seriously affect food security and global supplies of agricultural commodities exported by the country.

    “While the country is already undergoing a shortage of 2.6 billion tonnes of wheat, this would seriously affect food security. Moreover, as Pakistan is the fifth-largest cotton producer, accounting for 5% of global output, the damage could further shrink the world’s cotton supply. It may even force Pakistan to increase cotton imports. Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest rice exporter. The hot and dry conditions early in the season and the recent floods have ravaged large swathes of rice lands so will slash rice yield again impacting the rice economy and food security, Climate Smart Agriculture Experts Dr. Pashupati Chaudhary and Dr Ishfaq Ahmad told APP while sharing their account of massive collateral, economic and human life losses during the unprecedented torrential rains that caused massive inundation in the north and south of the country. Dr Pashupati Chaudhry said climate change and increasingly erratic extreme weather events were causing a surge in natural disasters such as, inter alia, heat waves and floods across the world. “Flood is amongst the most frequently occurring disasters affecting several million people and impacting several hundred billion of the economy across the world. Due to climate change, mainly warming, and extreme events and flood-led disasters have increased in frequencies and magnitudes in recent decades. Southeast Asia and South Asia are the hotspots for natural disasters, in particular floods, with immense impacts on people’s livelihoods and economy at trans boundary level since the region is home to several transboundary rivers.”

    Dr Ashfaq Ahmad said Pakistan recently sustained one of the most devastating flood-led disasters in the history. “Record monsoon rains, glacier melting and severe heat waves have triggered floods since mid-June 2022 that have swept away houses, roads, railway tracks, bridges, livestock and crops, and killed more than 1,400 people.” “Growing crops such as cotton, rice, sugarcane, sesame, moong, fodder, orchards and vegetables like onions and tomatoes are damaged, inundated, or washed away. Floods have also caused land degradation, sand deposition, siltation, and prolonged inundation making the lands unfit for planting winter crops such as wheat, cotton, oilseed, and a large number of winter vegetables. In some cases, there will be a delay in planting time. While the country is already undergoing a shortage of 2.6 billion tons of wheat, this will seriously affect food security.

    Moreover, as Pakistan is the fifth-largest cotton producer, accounting for 5% of global output, the damage could further shrink the world’s cotton supply. It may even force Pakistan to increase cotton imports. Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest rice exporter. The hot and dry conditions early in the season and the recent floods have ravaged large swathes of rice lands so will slash rice yield again impacting the rice economy and food security.”

    The experts opined that Sindh and Balochistan were the hardest hit provinces. Sindh province accounts for 55% of the country’s onion production and it is estimated that the recent floods destroyed about 70% onion. In Balochistan, it is estimated through local researchers that the recent downpours and flash floods have damaged around 50% peach and 30% apple. Moreover, the damages to rural infrastructures such as irrigation canals, roads, markets, and warehouses will immensely impact agricultural production, marketing, and distribution particularly the cotton crop.

    “The federal government has estimated a loss of at least $10 billion caused by torrential rains and subsequent floods, with Sindh, in particular, suffering damages of over $1.6bn (Rs355bn). Pakistan must be prepared to increase food import to make up for smaller domestic harvests. The countries that generally rely on Pakistan’s exports, including rice and cotton, will need to find alternative sources, which will. put additional pressure on global commodity supplies,” they added. To address the situation, the experts mentioned that the government has taken multiple measures along with various national and international allies. Federal and provincial governments have evacuated people from the affected areas and distributed basic necessitates. But that is not adequate. Pakistan will require financial and technical resources which the country may lack. To materialize its promises, the country and development partners can follow a well-established disaster response mechanism that encompasses rescue and relief, recovery, and reconstruction. Rescue and Relief is about immediate actions such as food, clean water, medicine distribution, support in sheltering, setting up a community resilience centers and relocation of livestock. The current initiative in this is not the end solution. Some medium to long-term interventions are required to bring back a better future of the affected people as discussed below.

  • Cambodia’s rice exports up over 13% in eight months

  • Cambodia exported 389,000 tonnes of milled rice in the first eight months of 2022, netting more than 242.80 million USD, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation.

    Cambodia exports 389,000 tonnes of milled rice in the first eight months of 2022, netting more than 242.80 million USD. (Photo: khmertimeskh.com)

    Phnom Penh (VNA) - Cambodia exported 389,000 tonnes of milled rice in the first eight months of 2022, netting more than 242.80 million USD, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation.

    The total rice export increased over 13% compared to the same period last year.

    Of the Cambodian milled rice exported, 65.8% were fragrant rice of various types while white rice accounted for almost 30%, parboiled rice and organic rice for over 2% each.

    China remains Cambodia's biggest importer with 44%. It was followed by France with 15%, Malaysia with 6%, the Netherlands with 4%, Italy, Gabon, and Brunei with 3% each, and the rest 22% covered by 48 other countries./.

  • Soldiers dispatched to harvest rice in flooded areas

  • Soldiers harvesting rice from a flooded field. Nokorwat News Daily

    As farmers in Banteay Meanchey continue to suffer from heavy floods, more soldiers have been dispatched to help harvest the rice in Banteay Meanchey’s flooded rice fields.

    Brigadier General Sing Tum, Commander of the 51st Infantry Brigade located in Banteay Meanchey, ordered the soldiers to provide assistance today. The soldiers were instructed to harvest rice in the flooded fields at Makak Village, Makak Sangkat, Serei Saophoan City.

    The unit has helped farmers on several occasions as the province’s farmers continue to grapple with the negative effects of the severe flooding reported around the province. The soldiers were able to harvest rice from 1.5 hectares of rice fields.

    Cambodians were instructed to brace for more days of rain and possible flooding. The extended effect of the low-pressure area continues to affect the Kingdom’s weather. Several provinces have reported flooding in their rice fields and cultivations have slowed down due to the rain.

  • Rice jumps 5pc after Indian export curbs

  • MUMBAI: India’s restrictions on rice exports have paralysed trading in Asia, with buyers scouring for alternative supplies from Vietnam, Thailand and Mya­nmar where seller are holding off on deals as prices rise, industry officials said.

    India, the world’s biggest exporter of the grain, banned shipments of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent duty on exports of various other types on Thurs­day as the country tries to boost supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    Rice prices have jumped 5pc in Asia since India’s announcement and are expected to rise further this week keeping buyers and sellers on the sidelines.

    “Rice trading is paralysed across Asia. Traders don’t want to commit anything in a hurry,” said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India’s biggest rice exporter.

  • KRBL surges 17% in two days on heavy volumes; stock hits over 3-year high

  • Last week, the government imposed 20 per cent export duties on various grades of rice like non-basmati, unmilled, semi-milled or totally milled, and husked brown.

    Shares of KRBL hit over three-year high of Rs 355.60 on the BSE, as the stock soared 11 per cent in Tuesday’s intra-day trade, amid heavy volumes.

    The stock surpassed its previous high of Rs 337.45 that it had touched on October 14, 2021. It traded at its highest level since June 2019. Earlier, the stock had hit a record high of Rs 673 on December 21, 2017.

    In the past two trading days, the stock of the world's leading basmati rice producer surged 17 per cent. On the other hand, the stock price of KRBL zoomed nearly 70 per cent in three months, as against 14 per cent rise in the S&P BSE Sensex.

    At 11:50 am; KRBL traded 10 per cent higher at Rs 353.45, as compared to 0.67 per cent rise in the Sensex. The average trading volumes on the counter doubled as a combined 3.6 million equity shares changed hands on the NSE and BSE.

    KRBL is one of the largest exporters of Basmati rice from India. The company is known for globally renowned brands - ‘India Gate’, ‘Unity’ and ‘Nur Jahan’, which has marked its presence across the entire value-chain of the rice industry. Currently, KRBL’s flagship brand ‘India Gate’ is synonymous with the best quality Basmati rice in domestic as well as international market. Over the years, ‘India Gate’ has emerged as the most preferred packaged rice brand in many countries, including India.

    Last week, the government imposed 20 per cent export duties on various grades of rice like non-basmati, unmilled, semi-milled or totally milled, and husked brown. A blanket ban on broken rice, too, was imposed as domestic supplies dwindled, after below-average monsoon season. However, parboiled and basmati rice were exempted from export duties. 

    According to data published by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS), India registered 27 per cent growth in export of non-basmati rice to touch $6.12 billion in 2021-22, compared to $4.8 billion in 2020- 21, and $2.01 billion in 2019-20. Since 2013-14, India’s non-basmati rice exports have gone up by 109 per cent from $2.92 billion.

    However, the exports of Basmati rice saw fall over the previous year in value terms for the third consecutive year. In 2021-22, India exported $3.53 billion worth of Basmati rice, the lowest seen since 2019-20. According to experts, one of the key reasons for the decline is the loss of the traditional market of Iran because of the US sanctions.

    India is the main exporter of basmati rice to the international markets. India exports basmati rice across the world - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, the UK, Yemen Republic, USA, Canada, and Oman.

  • India Restricts Rice Exports

  • India has raised export tariffs on rice and shut off exports of broken rice entirely, in a move that will probably raise global rice prices.

    India, the world’s leading rice exporter, announced earlier this month that it will start charging a 20% duty on exported white and brown rice. In addition, exports of broken rice, a cheaper grade that is often used for commodities like rice flour, have been shut off entirely. Exports of basami and parboiled rice will be unaffected.

    India’s exports represent some 40% of the global rice trade, according to exporters cited by the Wall Street Journal. Authorities characterized the measure as a reaction to the prospect of poor rice crops due to heat and other weather problems, necessary to ensure the country’s domestic food supply.

    India restricted exports of wheat and sugar in May, citing similar concerns.

  • As Pakistan floods and India curbs rice exports, Africa braces for high prices

  • ISLAMABAD: The devastating floods in Pakistan, which plunged great swaths of agricultural land under water — coupled with India’s decision to curb its rice exports — risk exacerbating food insecurity in the African countries most dependent on imports from Asia.

    The war in Ukraine, which sparked soaring wheat and corn prices, has hit the continent of Africa hard over the past six months. Now, a new food crisis looms as the continent faces a likely rise in the price of rice, a staple on many African tables.

    The recent devastating floods in Pakistan plunged great swaths of paddy fields under water, decimating the standing monsoon harvest and threatening to disrupt the upcoming winter harvest.

    Last week, India — the world’s biggest rice exporter — banned shipments of broken rice (rice fragments broken in the field or during transport or milling) and imposed a 20 percent duty on exports of other types as the country tries to boost supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    Exports could plummet by 25 percent in the next few months, according to Himanshu Agarwal, executive director of Satyam Balajee, India’s biggest rice exporter. “The prices of all grains had been rising, except rice. Now it will join this trend,” said Agarwal in an interview with Reuters.

    Meanwhile, Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to raise rice prices to better remunerate their farmers.

    “There are going to be major strains on food security in many countries,” warned Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

    Africa’s rice dependency

    The recent floods in Pakistan are likely to lead to a spike in global rice prices, warned Nicolas Bricas, UNESCO Chair on World Food Systems, in an interview with FRANCE 24.

    “Pakistan is a major rice exporter. However, a third of the country is underwater and therefore there is a risk of an increase in the price of rice on the international market,” he said.

    Finally, an increased Chinese demand for broken rice to replace corn, which has become too expensive to feed livestock, has also driven up prices in recent months.

    This is more bad news on the food security front for sub-Saharan Africa, which depends heavily on rice imports from Asia. Africa this year could absorb 40 percent of the world rice trade, or a record 20 million tonnes, according to Radio France Internationale.

    “The problem of this dependence on rice imports is chronic and will continue,” explains Patricio Mendez del Villar, an economist at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development.

    “Local production cannot keep up with the demand curve, which is increasing with population growth and urban growth. In Africa, rice is preferred by urban dwellers because it is a ready-to-use product, unlike traditional cereals such as millet and sorghum, which require preparation.”

    New harvest could ease pressures

    Although food security in sub-Saharan Africa does not rely solely on rice, it remains the second-most-consumed cereal after corn. A surge in prices would be a further blow to populations already weakened by the rise in the price of foodstuffs.

    The situation is particularly critical in the Horn of Africa, which is experiencing a historic drought. More than 22 million people from southern Ethiopia to northern Kenya and Somalia are threatened by hunger, according to the UN.

    Despite these concerns, rice prices are not yet soaring and a price increase should remain “contained” and short-lived, according to Mendez del Villar.

    “The main harvest in the major producing and exporting countries (India, Thailand and Vietnam) will start in a few weeks. All this rice will be added to stocks that will be at their maximum, which will push these countries to sell the old crop to make storage room. This should ease the pressure on the market. If it were March or April, it would be much more problematic,” explained Mendez del Villar.

    As for Pakistan, it only exports 4 million tons of rice per year, compared to India’s 21 million tonnes. “The market should, therefore, be able to withstand the shock even if Pakistan limits its exports,” said Mendez del Villar.

  • Amid controversies, Centre asks states to organise awareness campaigns on fortified rice

  • Some reports state that iron-fortified rice may do more harm than good to Adivasis or indigenous populations

    Amid controversies and health concerns surrounding fortified rice, the Centre has directed states governments to organise awareness campaigns on benefits of the grain blended with micro-nutrients Iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12.

    Officials said in order to “promote the benefits of fortified rice while elucidating concerns among some sections of the population vulnerable to Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia,” the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) has asked states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Rajasthan and Kerala to organise workshops/seminar to sensitise tribal belts and districts with populations vulnerable to the disorders.

    “In a workshop organised by the Gujarat government, there was general consensus regarding the positive impact of fortified rice and its significant contribution to the country’s nutritional security strategy,” they said.

    To dispel “health risks” in indigenous population due to their consumption, the officials say “benefits of rice fortification far outweigh the harmful effects”.

    “Only 0.01% of the population may face health risk due to consumption of fortified rice, particularly those ailing with Thalassemia Major,” they said, quoting experts.

    However, there are reports of doctors, health workers and nutritionists sounding warnings that iron-fortified rice may do more harm than good to Adivasis, or indigenous populations, who suffer from the ailments or are genetically prone to them.

    “It is irresponsible of the Union Government to thrust the reckless scheme of rice fortification onto state governments,” said Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) and the Right to Food Campaign.

    An NGO had also written to the Odisha government demanding suspension of its distribution and to not go along with the “misadventure being attempted by the union government” following complaints of stomach pain among children in a village in the Bolangir district.

    The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India define fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.

    “Fortified rice helps in preventing Cretinism, Goiter, IIH (Thyrotoxicosis), brain damage, improvement in foetal and neonatal health and improvement in productivity of population. Therefore, the benefits of rice fortification intervention far outweigh the risks involved,” officials claim.

    Aiming to cover 291 districts aspirational and heavy burden districts by March 2023, the Centre plans to distribute fortified rice in a phased manner through all central government schemes by 2024 as also announced by the Prime Minister.  

  • India’s rice export curbs paralyse trade in Asia as prices rise

  • This file photo shows a woman spreading paddy crop for drying at a rice mill on the occasion in Agartala, India on March 8, 2018. — Reuters/File

    India’s restrictions on rice exports have paralysed trading in Asia, with buyers scouring for alternative supplies from Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar where seller are holding off on deals as prices rise, industry officials said.

    India, the world’s biggest exporter of the grain, banned shipments of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent duty on exports of various other types on Thursday as the country tries to boost supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    Rice is the latest in a string of commodities that have faced export curbs this year as governments struggled to raise supplies and fight inflation amid trade disruptions triggered by the Ukraine war.

    Rice prices have jumped 5pc in Asia since India’s announcement and are expected to rise further this week keeping buyers and sellers on the sidelines.

    “Rice trading is paralysed across Asia. Traders don’t want to commit anything in a hurry,” said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India’s biggest rice exporter.

    “India accounts for more than 40pc of global shipments. So, nobody is sure how much prices will rise in the coming months.”

    Rice is a staple for more than 3 billion people, and when India banned exports in 2007, global prices shot to record highs of around $1,000 per tonne.

    India’s rice exports reached a record 21.5m tonnes in 2021, more than the combined shipments of the world’s next four biggest exporters of the grain: Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States.

    Loadings halted

    Rice loading has stopped at Indian ports and nearly one million tonnes of grain are trapped there as buyers refuse to pay the government’s new 20pc export levy on top of the agreed contract price.

    Though there are some buyers ready to pay higher prices for new contracts, shippers are currently sorting out pending contracts, Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India’s rice business.

    As Indian exporters stopped signing new contracts, buyers are trying to secure supplies from rival Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, which have raised the price of 5pc broken white rice by around $20 per tonne in the past four days, dealers said.

    But even these suppliers are reluctant to rush for contracts as they are expecting prices to strengthen.

    “We expect prices to rise further over the coming weeks,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    Vietnam’s 5pc broken rice was offered at $410 per tonne on Monday, up from $390-$393 per tonne last week, traders said.

    China, the Philippines, Bangladesh and African countries such as Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Ghana are among leading importers of common grade rice, while Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia import premium grade basmati rice.

    Supply disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently the Russia-Ukraine war has jacked up the prices of grains but rice has largely bucked the trend due to bumper crops and ample inventories at exporters over the past two years.

    Buyers now fear India’s move could boost rice prices and make the staple expensive like wheat and corn, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.

  • Why India’s food bowl is struggling to abandon chemical farming

  • The transition will require a sea change in Punjab’s agricultural pattern.

    Sher Singh at his farm at Mirpur village in Jalandhar district on August 2. Singh is an organic farmer but faces several challenges when compared to farming using chemicals. | Gurdeep Dhaliwal via IndiaSpend.com

    When Ashok Kumar, 63, started doing organic farming on three acres of his farm in Sohangarh Rattewala village in Punjab’s western Ferozepur district in 2012, the benefits of good health and a cleaner environment were foremost on his mind.

    Besides growing food for his family, he was also able to sell the surplus to customers who sought organic produce. By 2016, he had decided to grow chemical-free fruit, vegetables, grains and oilseeds on his entire 16 acres, but the scaling up did not yield expected returns.

    “I opened a shop in [nearby] Muktsar town in collaboration with six other organic farmers. We also took our produce to a weekend organic market in Jalandhar [three-and-a-half hours away by road], but despite putting in so much effort and money, we continued to make losses,” he recalled. There just were not enough customers, he told IndiaSpend.

    “We had to shut down the shop and I eventually reduced the area under organic farming back to three acres, for my own family’s consumption. The rest of the land is now given on lease to another farmer, who uses chemical fertilisers and pesticides.”

    Kumar’s story is not reflective of all farmers who are trying to do chemical-free farming in Punjab, but many would relate to his predicament. Their passion for chemical-free, natural farming runs contrary to the longstanding farming culture of the state, our reporting found. The terms “organic” and “natural” farming are used interchangeably in India, with farmers using a mix of methods.

    In natural farming, if defined strictly, the focus is on the use of bio-inputs prepared from farm and local ecosystems, instead of purchasing these. Organic farming is defined more from a perspective of product certification and marketing (read more in IndiaSpend’s July 2022 explainer on natural farming). On the ground, these terms are used more fluidly.

    This is the second in our series on natural farming, and explores why it is hard for farmers in Punjab, the food bowl of India, to move to chemical-free farming, now being pushed by the Union government and through policy.

    “The whole [agricultural] ecosystem in Punjab is built around chemical farming, compared to other parts of India, because we were the frontrunner state during the green revolution. This model is supported both by the state and the market through research, extension services, machines, seeds and assured procurement of wheat and rice. So, it’s much easier and remunerative to do chemical farming here,” farmer Kamaljeet Hayer, who had partnered with Kumar in setting up the organic produce shop, told IndiaSpend. “Organic farming requires at least 10 times more effort than chemical farming because it’s labour-intensive and the returns are modest.”

    Among states outside of the northeast, the area under organic farming in Punjab is one of the lowest, official data show.

    Legacy of the green revolution

    Green Revolution” is the name given to the period in the 1960s-’70s when India imported new hybrid seed varieties to increase the production of wheat and rice, which could then be supplied at subsidised rates through the public distribution system.

    Punjab was chosen to be the first site to try new varieties because of higher water availability from its rivers and its fertile soil. The new seeds required adequate doses of chemical fertilisers and water to give the promised yields.

    The Indian government started subsidising the inputs, besides establishing the research and extension services to improve the new seeds and also take the practices to the people. The assured procurement for the public distribution system further enthused farmers to participate.

    Today, after around 60 years of intensive agriculture, Punjab has grown economically, but stares at an agro-ecological crisis. There is excessive use of agro-chemicals causing environmental toxicityhigh dependence on wheat-rice crop cycle impacting biodiversity and soil health, and costly machinery which made farming easier but also led to high indebtedness.

    Though the average farm income in Punjab remains one of the highest in the country, per the National Statistical Organisation’s Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land and Livestock Holdings of Households in Rural India (SAS) 2019 survey, its growth has slowed at a higher rate than the national average since 2013-’14, per government data. There is, however, no disruption yet in the way agriculture is practised, our reporting found.

    Punjab accounts for 4% of the country’s cropped area but for 8% of all chemical pesticides used. A 2005 study by the Centre for Science and Environment, referenced by a Parliamentary standing committee on agriculture report in 2016, found residues of six to 13 pesticides in the blood samples of Punjab villagers.

    Punjab also has one of the highest chemical fertiliser consumption rates in India at 213 kg per hectare, compared to the national average of 128 kg per hectare.

    Further, there is an imbalance in fertiliser use. Against the desirable ratio of 4:2:1 of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, Punjab’s ratio is as high as 31:8:1, the committee report said.

    “Inadequate use of micronutrient fertilisers is aggravating trace element deficiencies in soils in many areas. The crops grown on these soils are, generally, deficient in micronutrients. These deficiencies are linked with malnutrition and health disorders in humans and animals,” the report added.

    Excessive use of nitrogenous fertilisers in Punjab also lead to higher levels of nitrates in the state’s groundwater, which has been linked to cancer and blue baby syndrome (when haemoglobin in the blood loses its capacity to carry oxygen, resulting in asphyxia and death), a 2009 Greenpeace study had said.

    Around 20% of all sampled wells in three districts of Punjab had nitrate levels above the safety limit recommended by the World Health Organization, the study had found. This nitrate pollution was clearly linked with the usage of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers as the study found higher nitrate levels in farms which had higher application of fertilisers.

    The 2018 draft Punjab State Farmers’ Policy had proposed an annual reduction of 10% in use of agro chemicals.

    Kamaljit Hayer on his farm which integrates poultry and a herbal garden with crop cultivation and promotes farm tourism, in Sohangarh Rattewala village, Ferozepur district in Punjab on August 3. Credit: Gurdeep Dhaliwal via IndiaSpend.com

    Problems with transitioning

    The area certified under organic farming in India rose from about 345,000 hectares in 2011-’12 to 2.66 million hectares in 2020-’21. The practice, however, is not easy. Major problems are a drop in crop yield, infestation of weeds and paucity of farm labour, agriculturalists told us.

    “Despite several benefits to health and environment, organic farmers face multiple challenges. A land used to chemical fertilisers for decades would require at least three years to recover its fertility,” Umendra Dutt, executive director of Kheti Virasat Mission [KVM], a non-profit organisation based in Jaito, Faridkot district, campaigning for organic farming in Punjab, told IndiaSpend.

    “An organic farm would have a greater need for manual labour and the work is also very intensive. From treatment of seeds to preparation of green manure, optimum selection of crop pattern, regular monitoring, de-weeding, mulching, composting and careful harvesting are just some of the basic requirements for chemical-free farming. This [labour-intensive process] makes it difficult to find people who are willing to work in these fields.”

    Further, big machinery does not suit organic farms because these usually grow mixed crops while most machines are designed for mono-cropped wheat and rice fields. There is also a chance of contamination.

    “I can’t hire a combine harvester which has also harvested a crop from a chemical farm because grains from those farms can enter my fields. I have to maintain the purity of my seed,” said Rahul Sharma, an IT engineer-turned farmer who grows organic produce on 11 acres in Kapurthala and Patiala districts.

    “This means I have to hire manual labour because smaller, handheld power-operated machines are either not available or don’t enjoy the subsidies the big machines do.”

    Babban, a farm worker, de-weeding and preparing the soil at an organic farm in Chandigarh on August 13. Credit: Manu Moudgil via IndiaSpend.com

    Sher Singh of Mirpur village in Jalandhar district finds it difficult to manage weeds on his six-acre farm, especially during the rainy season.

    “I use sprinklers for irrigating my vegetables because that helps control the weeds but when it rains, the infestation grows many folds. Someone practising chemical farming would just throw some herbicide and get done with it while I have to hire manual labour. Organic farming is not only a slower process but also costlier,” he said. “This labour shortage can be met if the government allows workers under MGNREGA [the rural job guarantee programme] to assist on organic farms. We can pay the government a part of the daily wage of these workers.”

    Of the total workers in Punjab, only 35% are engaged in agriculture while the national average is 54.6%. One reason for this is heavy use of machines in the state; Punjab is home to nearly 450,000 tractors, one tractor for every nine hectares of cultivated land, compared with the national average of one per 62 hectares.

    Between 2000 and 2019, the number of harvester combines in Punjab nearly tripled to 800,000. The investment in big and costly machinery has, however, led to high indebtedness, per a 2014 study by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

    Farm households in Punjab are among the most heavily indebted in India, per the SAS 2019 survey. Around 54% of farming households are indebted in the state, with average debt of Rs 2.03 lakh.

    Loans taken for farm inputs like agrochemicals and machinery formed 52% of the total debt incurred by farmers, the Punjab Agricultural University study had found. For small farmers, the share went up to 68%, which reduced their borrowing capacity for other purposes like healthcare and social ceremonies.

    Unsustainable crops

    The “Green Revolution” also oriented Punjab towards wheat-rice crop rotation through assured procurement at minimum support price. Rice is neither a staple of Punjab’s diet nor suited to the agro climatic character of the region.

    India must shift rice growing east from Punjab and Haryana while encouraging wheat cultivation in the rice-growing regions of Punjab and Haryana, to help prevent an impending water crisis by 2030, IndiaSpend reported in June 2019.

    About 4,118 litres of water is required to grow one kilogram of rice in Punjab, compared to 2,169 litres in West Bengal, a natural habitat for the crop, estimates by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices show.

    In 1960-’61, 4.8% of the total cropped area in the state was under rice. By 2019-’20, the share of rice had increased nearly 10-fold to 40.1%, per Punjab Directorate of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare data, quoted in the Punjab Economic Survey 2020-’21.

    The area under wheat went from 27.3% to 45% in the same period. Thus, between them, rice and wheat accounted for 85% of the cropped area in the state at last count. This shift towards mono cropping was brought about by assured procurement and price support, and came at the cost of maize, millets, barley, pulses and oilseeds, said the survey.

    “Overemphasis on wheat-rice rotation has made our ecosystem unstable not only in terms of groundwater depletion…Diseases and pests can spread easily through swathes of mono cropped fields with no biological controls. Mixed cropping can prevent that,” Ramesh Arora, former professor of entomology at Punjab Agricultural University, told IndiaSpend.

    “Farmers should rotate crops on their fields every two-three years to prevent pests and pathogens becoming habitual to the land. Also plant more trees which provide habitat to birds who are the most effective biological controls against pests. Pesticides should be our last line of defence but sadly it has become the first priority.”

    Continuous cultivation without any crop rotation also depletes soil nutrients, resulting in weaker crops highly dependent on chemical fertilisers and pesticides. “Organic farmers know the importance of soil health and tend to rotate crops to maintain yields. They use natural methods of pest control and fertilise the soil regularly by growing green manure or nitrogen fixing crops,” Seema Jolly, an organic farmer and coordinator of an organic market near Chandigarh, told IndiaSpend.

    The state government has been promoting crop diversification, asking farmers to grow crops other than rice but with little success. Even after spending Rs 274 crore on a crop diversification programme during 2014-1’9, the sown area of rice increased by 7.18% in Punjab at the cost of other crops, found an audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

    This year, the Punjab government reportedly asked farmers to grow moong (green gram) as the third crop in the (summer) window between wheat harvesting and growing rice.

    The government promised to procure the produce at the minimum support price if the moong crop is followed by Basmati or PR 126 variety of rice, both of which take less time to grow and require less water compared to long duration rice. The announcement led to the cultivated area under moong rising by 77% over the previous season.

    While the announcement was mainly seen as a move to increase farmers’ income and to reduce the state’s dependence on import of pulses, it will also reduce use of fertilisers in the subsequent rice crop. Moong fixes nitrogen in the soil, thus reducing the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilisers. However, the harvesting of the moong crop saw rampant use of weedicides.

    Jagmohan Singh in Patiala town, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), one of the farm unions which participated in the 2020-’21 farmers protests against the three farm bills, feels crop diversification can be the first step towards sustainable agriculture.

    “Currently, most agro chemicals are used on wheat and rice. Once the government starts promoting alternate crops, the use of chemicals will reduce automatically. The crops which are introduced as replacement, however, should fetch the same profit as these two crops,” he told IndiaSpend.

    Organic farmers feel the state government needs to push for millets.

    “Millets would yield much greater benefits because they are known to be rich sources of nutrition, require less irrigation, grow without agro chemicals and leave no waste. Just shifting 10% of rice area to millets can bring a huge change,” said Rahul Sharma, the IT engineer-turned farmer.

    “The produce can be provided to children under the mid-day meal scheme. So with one move, you can solve problems of malnutrition, groundwater depletion, food toxicity, and straw burning, besides conserving biodiversity.”

    Government support

    One of the issues farmers face when they shift to organic is drop in crop yield.

    “I suggest new farmers start with small plots. If they stop using chemical fertilisers at one go, there will be a big loss of yield which will dishearten them,” said farmer Sher Singh. “After a few years of using green manure and bio-fertilisers, the soil regains its natural fertility and the production picks up while farmers get used to the new market.”

    Dutt, the social activist, feels the farmers not only need hand-holding but also financial assistance. “Besides the assured price and procurement of alternate crops, farmers need a transition package. If governments made them go for chemical farming during the Green Revolution, it’s their duty to get them out as well by supporting organic farmers.”

    Organic (and natural) farmers should also get assistance, which chemical farms get in the form of indirect subsidy on fertilisers and farm machines or research and extension services, he said.

    The all-India fertiliser subsidy is expected to touch Rs 2.15 lakh crore this year, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on May 21. This would be a 64% increase over fertiliser subsidy expenditure in 2020-’21.

    A transition package could also be linked to ecosystem services.

    “The government is currently supporting a system that’s harmful for everyone. On the other hand, our organic farming uses less water and power, causes no chemical pollution, no straw burning, promotes biodiversity, provides more nutrition while also sequestering more carbon in the soil thus mitigating climate crisis. We should be rewarded for providing all these ecosystem services,” said farmer Rahul Sharma.

    “Such incentives will also make organic food more affordable to poor and middle class families rather than being accessible only to the elite consumers.”

    Food and trade policy expert Devinder Sharma feels Punjab needs to breed new crop varieties that respond well to organic inputs rather than agro chemicals. “If Punjab could be the seat of the green revolution, it can also be the seat of the evergreen revolution but this would require a policy shift and research,” he told IndiaSpend.

    The existing infrastructure and marketing network needs to be reorientated towards organic, Sharma said, adding that the government can learn from Andhra Pradesh, where around 700,000 farmers have shifted to organic farming because of state government support, and research and extension services for them. [More in IndiaSpend’s next story on natural farming in Andhra Pradesh.]

    We requested a comment from the director of agriculture, Gurvinder Singh, on how the state is supporting organic farming. He asked us to contact Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Limited, the nodal government agency for organic farming in Punjab.

    Tarun Sen, a manager from Punjab Agro, said that they support farmers through training and awareness camps on organic farming. They also have a distribution channel for marketing of organic products.

    “Government of Punjab through Punjab Agri Export Corporation Limited [Pagrexco] is implementing the Organic Program by providing institutional support to the organic farmers of the State,” the general manager of Pagrexco, a subsidiary of Punjab Agro, said in an email response.

    They also train farmers for “Organic Farm Management as per organic certification standards and facilitating third-party certification”, as per the email.

    Pagrexco also buys organic produce directly from its certified organic farmers at remunerative prices and markets the produce for the domestic and foreign market. They also help farmers in getting a “dedicated space allocated in government marketing yards/offices in cities for organic produce”.

    Pagrexco is running an “Organic Hut” in Chandigarh, and that model will be replicated in other cities, the general manager wrote in the email.

    Markets and consumers

    An organic market at Kaimbwala village near Chandigarh on August 13. Credit: Gurdeep Dhaliwal via IndiaSpend.com

    In absence of substantial state support, farmers and concerned citizens have themselves tried to set up models of marketing and social support.

    They got together to organise weekly organic markets in which farmers brought their produce to central spots of major cities in Punjab for sale. This model worked well, but the pandemic and lockdown disrupted the whole set up.

    “I was taking my produce to a private school in Jalandhar where the organic market was held every Sunday. After the lockdown, however, the market did not pick up and we also suffered heavy losses because the produce was not sold,” said Sher Singh. “Now, I am just left with the 15-20 customers who are regulars for the last 12 years.”

    At the weekend organic farmers’ market organised for two hours at a football academy in Kaimbwala village near Chandigarh, organisers were worried about the low footfall.

    “We are just getting around 25 customers which is not promising. Before Covid lockdown, we would have around 100-150 buyers. Maybe people have just turned to the online medium and are buying branded organic,” said Seema Jolly, one of the coordinators of the market.

    “I think the government needs to step in and provide a space where the produce can be sold. We are trying to run this market since 2015 moving from one spot to another because there is no permanent place.”

    After making losses in the shop he opened in collaboration with other organic farmers, Kamaljeet Hayer has now taken to farm tourism. He has rabbits, parrots, ducks and hens besides a herbal garden, fruit trees and rooms made with traditional architecture which attract people from cities, who want to experience rural life.

    “I have also stopped dealing in vegetables and started processing perishable items to increase their shelf lives. The produce, including dry ration, oil and pickles, now gets picked up from the farm thus saving me the money on transportation. The farm has become profitable this year but it’s still not substantial and can’t sustain my family,” Hayer said.

    Rahul Sharma, who has built a steady customer base in and around Chandigarh, is keen on taking the business online.

    “Nobody has cracked the organic code yet. I am able to experiment because farming is not my main source of income. For an individual farmer to sell online, they need to set up a consistent production, processing and supply chain, get a GST [Goods and Services Tax] number, approval from FSSAI [the food safety and standards authority], prepare packaging material and negotiate other procedural hurdles,” he said.

    “Once that’s done, they will find that shipping heavy packages like a 10 kg wheat flour pack does not make economic sense. Those who are able to do it either have deep pockets or bulk orders. I have no choice but to focus on items that can be sent in small packets like dalia.”

    Ashok Kumar of Sohangarh Rattewala village is thinking of getting back to farming after buying farm equipment. “I had sold off all those machines because they were of no use in organic cultivation,” he said. “Will slowly procure them again and get back to the land. There is nothing else I know besides farming. But not organic this time.”

    This article was first published on IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

  • This Scheme Will Allow Distribution of Fortified Rice Under PDS

  • Fortification is described as "deliberately raising the quantity of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve nutritional quality of food and to give public health benefit with little danger to health" by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

    According to Tirkey, all of the mills will gradually install blending units.

    The Jharkhand government is about to launch a program to distribute fortified rice through PDS across 24 districts in an attempt to solve malnutrition and anaemia among women and children in the state, officials said on Sunday.

    Food rights activists, however, expressed worry about the "Rice Fortification Scheme (RFS)," claiming that the health impacts of consuming fortified rice, particularly on individuals who have sickle cell and thalassemia disorders, have not been adequately examined.

    State food and public distribution department head Dilip Tirkey told PTI that they are waiting for an official letter from the government to carry out the plan.

    Of the 65 rice mills in the state, blending units have been placed at 44 facilities, according to him. "It is a part of a national program. We are prepared to carry out the plan across 24 districts of Jharkhand," he added.

    According to Tirkey, all of the mills will gradually install blending units.

    Fortification is described as "deliberately raising the quantity of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve nutritional quality of food and to give public health benefit with little danger to health" by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

    On September 1, the Jharkhand cabinet authorized the program for distributing fortified rice through the public distribution system to participants in the national food security program. The fortified rice would be combined with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

    According to Tirkey, the program's primary goal is to fight anaemia and chronic malnutrition in the state.

    According to the national family health survey, 39.6% of children in Jharkhand under the age of five have stunted growth, which means they have been malnourished (NFHS-5).

    According to the poll, 67.5 percent of children aged six to 59 months and 65.3 percent of women in the age range of 15 to 49 are anemic.

    The department had taken up a pilot scheme last year in two blocks -Dhalbhumgarh and Chakulia - in East Singhbhum district nine months.

    Another official stated, "The trial project was effective in the two blocks, but food rights activists have expressed alarm over the scheme's execution.

    The department of food and public distribution has made the decision to organize a workshop in Jamshedpur on September 16 to address the problems brought up by the NGOs.

    In order to shed light on different concerns relating to fortified rice, a senior doctor from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, has also been invited to the workshop, according to Tirkey.

    On October 1st, 2015, the National Food Security Act (NFSA) went into effect in the state. Approximately 57 lakh families, or 2.63 crore people, or 80% of Jharkhand's population, have received rice under the scheme at the rate of Re 1 per kilogram.

    In addition, the state government launched the Jharkhand State Food Security Scheme, enrolling 15 lakh NFSA-eligible individuals.

  • India’s rice export curbs paralyse trade in Asia as prices rise

  • MUMBAI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - India's restrictions on rice exports have paralysed trading in Asia, with buyers scouring for alternative supplies from Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar where seller are holding off on deals as prices rise, industry officials said.

    India, the world's biggest exporter of the grain, banned shipments of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other types on Thursday as the country tries to boost supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting. 

    Rice is the latest in a string of commodities that have faced export curbs this year as governments struggled to raise supplies and fight inflation amid trade disruptions triggered by the Ukraine war. Rice prices have jumped 5% in Asia since India's announcement and are expected to rise further this week keeping buyers and sellers on the sidelines.

    "Rice trading is paralysed across Asia. Traders don't want to commit anything in a hurry," said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India's biggest rice exporter.

    "India accounts for more than 40% of global shipments. So, nobody is sure how much prices will rise in the coming months."

    Rice is a staple for more than 3 billion people, and when India banned exports in 2007, global prices shot to record highs of around $1,000 per tonne.

    India's rice exports reached a record 21.5 million tonnes in 2021, more than the combined shipments of the world's next four biggest exporters of the grain: Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States.

    LOADINGS HALTED

    Rice loading has stopped at Indian ports and nearly one million tonnes of grain are trapped there as buyers refuse to pay the government's new 20% export levy on top of the agreed contract price.

    Though there are some buyers ready to pay higher prices for new contracts, shippers are currently sorting out pending contracts, Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India's rice business.

    As Indian exporters stopped signing new contracts, buyers are trying to secure supplies from rival Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, which have raised the price of 5% broken white rice by around $20 per tonne in the past four days, dealers said.

    But even these suppliers are reluctant to rush for contracts as they are expecting prices to strengthen.

    "We expect prices to rise further over the coming weeks," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    Vietnam's 5% broken rice was offered at $410 per tonne on Monday, up from $390-$393 per tonne last week, traders said.

    China, the Philippines, Bangladesh and African countries such as Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Ghana are among leading importers of common grade rice, while Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia import premium grade basmati rice.

    Supply disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently the Russia-Ukraine war has jacked up the prices of grains but rice has largely bucked the trend due to bumper crops and ample inventories at exporters over the past two years.

    Buyers now fear India's move could boost rice prices and make the staple expensive like wheat and corn, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.

  • Centre pushes for higher agri exports to Qatar after rice export ban

  • The potential GI products for exports include basmati rice, mango, pomegranates, products of northeast region . (iStockphoto)

    This comes after India banned exports of broken rice and imposed 20% duty on certain varieties of rice excluding parboiled rice and basmati rice

    The Centre has organized a virtual networking meeting between exporters of India and importers of Qatar to boost agri and food GI products exports in Qatar, the ministry of commerce and industry said on Monday.

    This comes after India banned exports of broken rice and imposed 20% duty on certain varieties of rice excluding parboiled rice and basmati rice. Exporters said that the rice exports will decline sharply after the move.

    Rice is the largest exported agricultural product from India and contributed to more than 19% of the total agriculture export during the year 2021-22, as per India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).

    “More than 80 participants including exports, importers, representatives from Indian Business and Professionals Council (IBPC), officials of the Indian Embassy and Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) participated," the ministry said.

    M. Angamuthu, chairman of APEDA in his address emphasized on the government’s focus on promoting GI, organic and natural products. The attributes of Geographical Indication (GI) add value to the products exported.

    The exporters were informed about the potential GI products for exports such as basmati rice, mango, pomegranates, products of northeast region and several processed products.

    There are more than 400 registered Geographical Indications in India of which around 150 are agricultural and food products GI, the ministry said adding that over 100 registered GI products fall under the category of APEDA scheduled products.

  • How A Major Threat To Rice Crops Is Gaining Resilience

  • How often do you think about rice? Probably not very much. Rice usually flies under the radar; its inoffensive blandness belies its importance in sustaining life on our planet. According to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, rice is a complex carbohydrate that is the most significant source of energy for half of the people on the planet.

    That likely explains why rice is so exceptionally multifarious. There are, says USA Rice, over 120,000 varieties of rice found around the world, when taking into account flavor, aroma, starch content, and milling. Black japonica has a whole-grain nuttiness and can be found in porridges and Chinese cuisine. Short-grain rice offers starchy creaminess to dishes like risotto.

    But rice, like all crops, is not without its threats. Science News outlines how climate change and its associated extreme weather, such as droughts and floods, have wrought havoc on rice farmers' ability to plant and harvest crops. And recently, scientists have found that a threat — once thought to be kept well in check — is posing an increased risk to crops at home and abroad.

    Genetic revolution

    Weedy rice is an innocuous name for a close relative of cultivated rice, one that, upon gaining a toehold within a crop of rice, will compete with — and often dominate — its cousin, says California Weedy Rice, a University of California program aimed at rooting out this nefarious plant. Weedy rice has been kept in check for years using herbicides and herbicide-resistant strains of cultivated rice. But findings from a recent study published in Communications Biology have found that weedy rice is quickly evolving to become herbicide-resistant itself.

    This is due to a "genetic revolution," says the study's senior author and Washington University professor Kenneth Olsen, that has seen weedy rice transform "from being very genetically distinct from U.S. crop varieties to nowadays mostly being derived from crop-weed hybridization" (via Washington University in St.Louis). Essentially, as weedy rice has intermingled with cultivated rice in fields, it has taken on the very traits instilled in cultivated rice meant to protect it.

    In addition to weedy rice and climate change, rice production faces another threat, one that is exacerbated by climate change. A paper published in Nature Communications details the rise of arsenic concentrations in the soil of rice paddies in California. As rice paddies are irrigated with arsenic — a naturally-occurring, but toxic compound — concentrations grow in the soil. Climate change, and the resultant effect it will have on rice's growth characteristics, will likely increase this trend and lead to a significant decrease in the yield and quality of rice harvests.

  • Cambodia’s rice exports up over 13 percent in first eight months and more than $242.80 million in revenue

  • Cambodia exported 389,000 tonnes of milled rice from January to August 2022, netting more than $242.80 million.

    The update was shared yesterday by the Cambodia Rice Federation, stressing that the total milled rice export increased over 13 percent compared to the same period in 2021.

    Of the Cambodian milled rice exported, 65.8 percent were all kinds of fragrant rice, while white rice accounted for almost 30 percent, parboiled rice and organic rice for over 2 percent each.

    China remains the biggest market importing 44 percent, followed by France purchasing 15 percent, Malaysia 6 percent, the Netherlands 4 percent, Italy, Gabon, and Brunei at 3 percent each, and the rest 22 percent covered by 48 countries.

    During the period, Cambodia also shipped 2,269,210 tonnes of paddy rice to Vietnam. Phal Sophanith – AKP

  • J’khand govt to roll out scheme to distribute fortified rice under PDS; rights activists raise concern

  • Ranchi, Sep 11 (PTI) In a bid to deal with malnutrition and anaemia among women and children in the state, the Jharkhand government is all set to launch a programme to distribute fortified rice through PDS across 24 districts, officials said on Sunday.

    Food rights activists, however, raised concern over the ‘Rice Fortification Scheme (RFS)’, alleging that health impacts due to the consumption of fortified rice, particularly on those who are suffering from thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia diseases, have not been studied properly.

    State food and public distribution department director Dilip Tirkey told PTI that they are waiting for an official letter from the government to roll out the scheme.

    “It is part of a national programme. We are ready to roll out the scheme across 24 districts of Jharkhand. Of the 65 rice mills in the state, blending units have been installed at 44 facilities,” he said.

    Blending units will be set up at all the mills in a phased manner, Tirkey said.

    The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has defined fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”. The Jharkhand cabinet had on September 1 approved the programme for distribution of fortified rice, blended with iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, among beneficiaries enrolled under the national food security scheme through the public distribution system.

    “The main objective of the programme is to fight against chronic malnutrition and anaemia in the state,” Tirkey said.

    Around 39.6 per cent of children under the age of five years in Jharkhand are stunted, which indicates that they have been undernourished, as per the national family health survey (NFHS-5).

    Jharkhand’s 65.3 per cent of women in the age group of 15 to 49 years and 67.5 per cent of children between six and 59 months are anaemic, according to the survey.

    The department had taken up a pilot scheme last year in two blocks -Dhalbhumgarh and Chakulia – in East Singhbhum district for nine months.

    “The pilot project was successful in the two blocks but food rights activists have raised concern over the implementation of the scheme,” another official said.

    In a bid to find out the impact of fortified rice on people in the blocks, where the pilot project was implemented, two civil society organisations — Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA-Kisan Swaraj) and Right to Food Campaign — carried out a study and found “violation of government guidelines for distribution of fortified rice as the programme did not include officials of health department”, rights activists claimed.

    Right to Food Campaign member Balram told PTI, “The Centre’s regulations say that sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia patients must not consume iron-fortified food. But, we found that no separate arrangement was made for such beneficiaries in PDS stores.” PDS dealers, frontline functionaries and elected representatives in the two blocks were not aware of various aspects of fortified rice, he said, adding that several doctors expressed their concern over the implementation of the scheme.

    A fact-finding team urged the Jharkhand government to “reject rice fortification in food schemes as an approach to tackling malnutrition”.

    The food and public distribution department has decided to hold a workshop on issues raised by the NGOs on September 16 in Jamshedpur.

    “A senior doctor from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, has also been invited to the workshop to throw light on various issues related to fortified rice,” Tirkey said.

    The National Food Security Act (NFSA) was rolled out in the state on October 1, 2015. Around 57 lakh households covering 2.63 crore people, around 80 per cent of Jharkhand’s population, have been provided with rice at Re 1 per kg under the scheme.

    The state government had also rolled out the Jharkhand State Food Security Scheme under which 15 lakh people, deprived of NFSA, have been enrolled.

    The government has recently decided to add five lakh more beneficiaries under the state scheme. PTI SAN BDC BDC

    This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

  • World rice prices feared to soar as Indian exports capped’

  • SINGAPORE: India's decision to curb rice exports is expected to lift world prices of the staple and trigger a rally in rival wheat and corn markets, deepening concerns over food inflation.

    Rice prices in key exporters India, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar are set to rise, traders and analysts said, hitting food importers already suffering from higher costs due to adverse weather and the Russia-Ukraine war.

    India banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20 percent duty on exports of various grades of rice on Thursday as the world's biggest exporter of the grain tries to augment supplies and calm local prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

    "There is going to be substantial stresses on food security across many countries," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia

    Bank. "Global fundamentals could see further upside across the grains complex."

    Chicago wheat prices rose on Friday, poised for a third straight weekly gain, as India's move and talk about Russia's restrictions on Ukrainian grain shipments underpinned the market.

    "This is an inflationary move for food prices," said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney. "This could trigger a rally in wheat and corn prices."

    India accounts for more than 40 percent of global rice shipments and competes with Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Myanmar in the world market.

    "Myanmar prices should go up by $50 a tonne while suppliers in Thailand and Vietnam will be quoting higher prices," said one Singapore-based trader.

    Five percent broken rice in Myanmar was quoted around $390-$395 a tonne, free on board, before India's decision on export restrictions. In India, 5 percent broken white rice prices were quoted around $348 a tonne.

    The decision will impact trade flows as India's white rice prices of the variety are about $60-$70 per tonne cheaper than Thailand's, Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, told Reuters.

    "More orders will flow for Thai and Vietnamese rice," he said.

    "We have to wait and see how long this policy from India will go on for, if it is longer, it will increase demand for Thai rice exports..."

    The world's top rice importers China and the Philippines are likely to take an immediate hit with higher rice prices.

    China, one of the biggest importers of Indian broken rice for use in animal feed, is expected to shift to corn, traders said.

    "We expect import volumes will decrease with this ban...the new Chinese corn crop is coming to market soon and there are large volumes of other imported grains," said Rosa Wang, analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd.

    "In fact there is news already about an alliance of Thailand and Vietnam planning to increase export prices. We are analysing the possible impact of these possible moves," Mercedita Sombilla, undersecretary for policy, planning and regulations at the Philippines' Department of Agriculture, told Reuters.

    Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to cooperate on raising prices, a move aimed at increasing their leverage in the global market and boosting farmers' incomes. —News Desk

  • Global food supply faces turmoil with rice set to climb: Reports

  • The restrictions are threatening to ignite inflation for yet another key commodity, and may deprive some of the globe's poorest nations of a crucial element of their diet.

    Food supply, already squeezed by shortages in wheat, corn and cooking oils, is at risk of even more disruption, this time from the rice market.

    India is clamping down on exports of the staple for half the world’s population, with the market’s focus now turning to the capacity of other major producers including Thailand and Vietnam to fill the gap. The restrictions are threatening to ignite inflation for yet another key commodity, and may deprive some of the globe’s poorest nations of a crucial element of their diet.

    India is the single largest exporter with a 40 per cent share of global rice trade. The government has imposed a 20 per cent duty on shipments of white and brown rice, and banned broken rice sales abroad. Those varieties mainly go toward feeding Asia and Africa and affect roughly 60 per cent of India’s overall rice exports.

    “Such severe disruptions in global supplies, combined with a record level of consumption worldwide, should supercharge” prices and further fuel food inflation, said Sabrin Chowdhury, head of commodities at Fitch Solutions. When the war in Ukraine sent agricultural prices skyrocketing earlier this year, rice escaped the frenzy, keeping Asia and some Middle Eastern and African nations insulated from a bigger food crisis. The surge in corn and wheat encouraged some substitution away from these more expensive grains toward cheaper alternatives like rice. That may be about to change.

    India’s policy will drive up its export prices to levels similar to white rice grades from rivals Thailand and Vietnam, prompting buyers to shift toward those suppliers instead, according to Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

    When that happens, it will push up Thai and Vietnamese prices as well, dealing a blow to importing nations in Asia and Africa that consume the grain as a main staple, Chookiat said. “Imposing a 20 per cent levy is a big deal,” he said. “This move will cause global rice prices to rally.”

    Thailand’s benchmark 5 per cent white rice was quoted at $431 a ton this week by the exporters association, while the same grade from Vietnam was around $393-$397 a ton. India’s prices were well below that at around $338-$342.

    While Thailand and Vietnam recently agreed to cooperate on boosting prices, without providing details, Chookiat said Thailand is unlikely to restrict exports as the country has a surplus and there are no worries about local supplies.

    Thailand usually produces about 20 million tons of milled rice a year, of which 11 million is consumed and the rest exported.

    Chookiat said it’s impractical to curb overseas sales as the surplus, if left unsold, would hurt domestic prices and burden the government with storage costs and farmer subsidies. Back in 2007-08, a global food crisis was triggered when both India and Vietnam restricted exports of rice. Prices soared above $1,000 a ton, more than double the level now, amid a panic over supplies.

    Nguyen Nhu Cuong, head of Vietnam’s agriculture ministry’s crop production unit, declined to comment on whether the country would curb exports, but said domestic supply and national food security must be taken into consideration when mulling such a move. Vietnam is able to ship 7 million tons of rice this year, up from an earlier forecast of about 6.7 million tons, he said.

    Globally, output in several regions has been hit by bad weather. Besides India, which saw planting drop on lack of rain, China’s harvest is at risk from heat. Europe’s output is forecast to be the lowest since 1995-96 on severe drought in Italy and Spain, while a similar trend is seen in the US, Chowdhury said.

  • How Rice Afrika is using technology to increase rice yield

  • Anand Laishram
    We, in Manipur love rice. We greet people by asking if they had had rice. Most of the people in Manipur are farmers. Most of the farmers are involved in farming rice.We have our own unique types of rice. In short, rice is an indispensable part of life in Manipur.
    And yet, when it comes to rice production, we aren’t very good at it.
    According to statistics from the ICAR, Manipur’s rice production per hectare is about 2.5 metric tons, which is well below that of states like Punjab, with yields of about 4 metric tons per hectare.
    And that is just in India. Countries like China (6.5 metric tons/ hectare) and Vietnam (about 6 metric tons/ hectare), for instance, have achieved way higher yield.
    The lower yield points to the inefficiencies in the rice production system in Manipur.
    In this week’s article, we will look at one company in Nigeria, which is tackling the same problemof low rice yield, by employing an integrated, tech-enabled approach.
    Nigerians are also highly fond of rice and rice farming is a major occupation in that country.
    However, the rice yield per hectare is a meagre 2 metric tons/ hectare.
    The main cause for the lower yield is inefficiency, due to a lack of mechanization.
    Mechanization in the rice farming sector in Nigeria is a paltry 0.3 horsepower/ hectare. India’s is 2.6 hp/ha and China’s is 8.2 hp/ha.
    Due to lack of mechanization, manual harvesting is the only option left to farmers.
    It requires 100 to 150 person-hours to harvest one hectare of rice field.
    The reliance on manual harvesting also increases the cost of production.
    In Nigeria, the cost for harvesting 1 hectare of rice field is $100.
    In a country like Nigeria, where 90 percent of the population is below the poverty line and 60 percent of household income is spent on food, such a high cost of production is very problematic.
    By contrast, if combine harvesters are used instead, the results are drastically improved. Cost of production can be significantly brought down, which will create enormous value for the Nigerian public.
    A combine harvester is 60000% more efficient than manual harvesting.
    1 acre of land requires about 30 workers to work for 15 hours. 1 combine harvester can do the same job in less than 1 hour.
    The cost of harvesting 1 hectare falls down to $35 to $40 with a combine harvester.
    Mechanization, in short, can go a long way in boosting rice production yield and freeing up a lot of person-hours, which can be utilized in other productive avenues.
    In order to solve this issue, Rice Afrika Technologies was started in 2020.
    It employs a multi-pronged approach to solve the problem of lower rice production yield:
    1) Harvester hiring service
    It allows farmers to hire combine harvesters.
    The company sources the harvesters from manufacturers in China and Japan.

    They train local youth to operate and service these combine harvesters.
    This not only allows farmers to utilize the harvesters, thereby resulting in increased productivity, but also creates local jobs (such as harvester operators, harvester mechanics, harvester booking agents).
    2) Precision farming solutions for the farmers
    Rice Afrika provides farmers with services such as weather reports, soil analysis, climate analysis, IoT (Internet of Things) driven insights, informed crop management decisions, techniques for increasing yield etc.
    This helps farmers make better farming decisions and utilize better farming practices, which help them improve their yield.
    3) Guaranteed off-take of produce at the farm gate
    Rice Afrika purchases rice from the farmers they partner with.
    Their ability to aggregate demand from the farmers and understand supply better, allows them to offer the farmers a premium price for their rice.
    They then use the rice to sell their premium packaged brand of parboiled rice.
    People can buy this rice from Rice Afrika through their website or mobile app among others.
    Rice Afrika also employs a flexible payment mechanism, wherein farmers can pay for the company’s services with their rice produce, in case they aren’t able to pay money at the time.
    The company has also developed RiceID, a crop identification and management system, which allows customers to track the source of rice. This helps ensure that farmers and customers aren’t affected by counterfeiters.
    Rice Afrika is also developing a mobile agency banking system, in order to facilitate frictionless financial transactions among the stakeholders in the rice value chain, viz. the farmers, the buyers/ customers etc.
    Till date, Rice Afrika has hired out harvesters to more than 5000 farmers. Farmers who have worked with Rice Afrika have been able to increase productivity by 50% and decrease fertilizer usage by 40%.
    They have also processed more than 2000 metric tons of Rice.
    For their efforts, Rice Afrika recently won the World Economic Forum’s Circulars Accelerator Cohort 2022, which awards circular economy innovators.
    Their integrated approach, which goes beyond just purchasing farming machines and providing it to farmers, is a step in the right direction when it comes to solving food production issues and increasing production yield.
    We, in Manipur, may have an insight or two to pick up from them.

  • Hyderabad: Ministers slam Centre over rice export ban

  • Hyderabad: Stating that the food security in the country was at risk and there was lack of foresight in the policies of the Central government, TRS working president KT Rama Rao on Saturday demanded Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal to implement one nation and one food grain procurement policy. Rao further alleged that the current food grain crisis clearly indicates that the Modi government lacks a long-term plan for the country's food needs. "It is people's misfortune that the inefficient BJP government at the Center neither has any clue about the development and welfare of the people nor does it have a strategic long term plan," The Minister remarked.

    Lashing out at the Union government, Finance Minister T Harish Rao said that the Centre doesn't have any agriculture policy to run the country. Speaking at a programme in Sangareddy district on Saturday, Harish Rao said few months ago, the Union government asked the Telangana farmers not to cultivate paddy as the coun