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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 
  • 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.

  • Crunching numbers. Rice procurement in Haryana climbs to 38 lakh tonnes …

  • Crunching numbers. Rice procurement in Haryana climbs to 38 lakh tonnes exceeding State’s target

    What is intriguing is where the rice has actually come from as basmati, having a 50% share in output, is not purchased at MSP

    Haryana’s production of rice in the current Kharif season has been estimated at 47.54 lt (including basmati) by the Union Agriculture Ministry (File Photo/REUTERS)

    Rice procurement in the largest rice-producing State of Haryana in the ongoing season has reached 38.6 lakh tonnes (lt) as of November 10, exceeding the State’s own target of 37 lt.

    The State’s production of rice in the current Kharif season has been estimated at 47.54 lt (including basmati) by the Union Agriculture Ministry.

    What is intriguing is where the rice has actually come from as basmati, having a 50 per cent share in output, is not purchased at MSP.

    Given that farmers do not sell basmati and other premium varieties to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) at a minimum support price of ₹2,040/quintal when they’re fetching a price of ₹3,000 in the mandis, these figures would mean that production of basmati and other premium non-basmati varieties is just 9 lt.

    But as per a crop survey of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), basmati rice production (including 1-2 premium non-basmati varieties) in Haryana is likely to be 29.32 lt this year, though some exporters have said that it could be even more at 31.2 lt.

    Procurement data

    If this data is to be believed, it leaves a scope of maximum (at 100 per cent of output) 18.22 lt for FCI procurement, which is less than half of the actual volume already bought.

    “It is not the first time it has happened, the procurement of rice used to be around 60 per cent of the State’s production or even lower until 2014-15 with a one-year exception, but suddenly it jumped to 69 per cent in 2015-16 and around 90 per cent of output in 2019-20,” said an official monitoring the procurement data. “That too output also includes basmati rice,” he added.

    Email questions sent to Haryana Chief Minister’s Office in October were not replied and persistent queries from his office subsequently have not yielded any response.

    Investigations in other States

    In neighbouring Punjab, such anomalies have led to instances of official investigations. The State’s Vigilance Department is probing the issue of higher procurement than the production of both basmati and non-basmati together, which started in 2015-16.

    Telangana is another State where the procurement was higher than production from 2019-20 onwards and there was a row between the Centre and State on the rice crop’s production estimate last year. Even the Food Ministry last year had sought the help of the Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre to find out the exact output.

    Errors in data?

    The arrival data show that mandis in Haryana had received 38.5 lt of non-basmati rice (in terms of rice, not paddy) and 23 lt of basmati rice in 2021-22, whereas the procurement of FCI from the State was 37 lt last year.

    The official said, “As Haryana also received paddy from neighbouring States, the arrival data itself points to a small surplus whereas farmers also keep some quantity as seed and for their own consumption.”

    He added, “The issue is bigger and there has to be a thorough investigation to know if there are data errors or rice is getting recycled, which was common before roll out of DBT, to pay farmers in their bank accounts.”

  • Lanka to learn from China new ways to increase rice production

  • By Sugeeswara Senadhira

    Colombo, November 14 (Ceylon Today): China concluded an important International Forum on Hybrid Rice Assistance and Global Food Security in Beijing last weekend, where the focus was on China’s hybrid rice varieties that could revolutionize global food production and ensure food security.

    Virtually addressing the Forum Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena expressed deep appreciation to the People’s Republic of China and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who chaired the Forum for the efforts taken on behalf of the people of the world who are affected by the food scarcity. Pointing out that, such forums go a long way to enhance efforts towards food security through coordinated action, he expressed confidence that the forum would come up with useful plans that would ensure global food security and speed up achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

    China’s partnership towards food security in Sri Lanka has a long history as Rubber-Rice Agreement between the two countries were signed way back in 1952, even before the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

    The Prime Minister recalled how the socialist leaders of Sri Lanka fought for the recognition of China, which was resisted by the pro-British government which ruled the country after independence in 1948. The socialist leaders used every available forum to highlight this demand.

    The leader of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) Phillip Gunawardena, who attended the Fourth Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Meeting for Asia and the Far East, held in Tokyo in 1959 as Minister of Agriculture and Food, urged the FAO to grant membership to China. He ridiculed the West-dominated FAO for denying membership to China. “This Conference is being held without China, the biggest producer of rice in the world. Considering that Ceylon earnestly proposes to FAO to have China as a full member”.

    As the ‘Lion of Boralugoda’ said in his thundering voice, it was meaningless to discuss food security without involving China, the biggest producer of rice and innovator of hybrid rice varieties to increase the global food production.

    Increasing rice yield is crucial for solving the food crisis, ensuring food security, and reducing poverty. Chinese scientists have succeeded in producing high-yielding varieties of rice and their introduction to other countries will definitely help those nations to reach self-sufficiency in rice, leading to food security.

    Addressing the Forum in Beijing on Saturday (12), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China would provide its hybrid rice technology and hybrid rice varieties to developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America so that they could increase rice production and achieve food security targets.

    Chinese scientists commenced experiments on hybrid rice in the mid- 1960s and a decade later, succeeded in creating new varieties of rice. It was estimated that the development of hybrid rice varieties, which have been reported to out-yield inbred rice varieties by about 10 per cent, is necessary for ensuring China’s food security. Hybrid rice helped China to increase rice production by 200 million metric tons from 1976 to 1991.

    It has been proved practically on a large scale that hybrid rice has a yield advantage of more than 30 percent over conventional rice varieties. Current research in China indicates that the yield potential of hybrid rice can be increased by improving breeding methodology and increasing the degree of heterosis.Existing hybrid rice varieties used commercially in China are inter-varietal hybrids produced by the cytoplasmic genetic male sterility (CMS) system. The CMS system is the most effective genetic tool in hybrid rice breeding.

    Chinese rice scientists have been exploring new technological approaches and the results are promising. Some of them out-yielded the best existing hybrids by 10-30 percent.

    However, the agricultural area where hybrid rice is grown has decreased by 25 percent (about 5 million ha) in China since 1995. It was found that the decreasing hybrid rice production area was caused not only by technological factors but also by socio-economic factors; and the decreased area under hybrid rice production does not lead to additional pressure on increasing crop yields from either hybrid or inbred rice production.

    Extensive research on and the development of hybrid rice in China have clearly demonstrated its usefulness in significantly increasing rice yields beyond the levels of improved semi-dwarf varieties. Hybrid rice is currently planted on a 9 million ha area in China. Several International Rice Research Institute-bred (IRRI) cultivars are used as male parents of commercial varieties. Research at IRRI and in several collaborating countries shows that hybrids have yields 15-20 percent higher than those of the best semi-dwarf varieties. Hybrid varieties suitable for other countries are still in the pipeline. In addition to higher yield, heterotic rice hybrids show higher productivity, adaptability to certain stress environments, and better utilization of applied nitrogen fertilizers.

    A number of cytoplasmic male sterile (CMS) lines developed and used in China are not adoptable outside China for lack of adequate disease and insect resistance and acceptable grain quality. Several CMS lines developed at IRRI are now being evaluated in collaborating countries. Both China and IRRI are involved in research to diversify CMS sources, to prevent genetic vulnerability problems in hybrid varieties.

    Use of hybrid rice developed by China in Sri Lanka will be another area of cooperation between the two countries. Today, with the speedy development and growth witnessed in China, the relationship have further enhanced between China and Sri Lanka in economic, trade, investment, cultural and social spheres as well as people-to-people friendship bonds.

    Prime Minister Gunawardena said in his video address, China’s success in eradication of poverty, rural upliftment and ensuring food security has been exemplary. “Sri Lanka wishes to thank your magnanimous contributions to the efforts of my country as well as other developing nations towards achieving food security,” he concluded.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Basmati exports jump 37% in first half of FY23

  • Chandigarh,

    India’s basmati exports have increased owing to high demand and rise in prices of commodities globally after the Russia-Ukraine war. The exports increased by 37.34% in six months of the current fiscal to $2, 280 million (Rs 17,897 crore). Also, the per-unit value realisation rose to $1,057 a tonne compared to $853 a tonne in the last fiscal.

    According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), basmati shipments increased to 21.57 lakh tonne during April-September (FY23) as compared to 19.45 lakh tonne during the corresponding period last year. The rise in exports has also resulted in increased earnings for farmers of Punjab and Haryana as they account for over 70-75% of basmati exports from the country.

    Oil-producing countries are major basmati importers. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, the UAE, the US, the UK, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman had a share of almost 80% in total basmati shipments from India in 2021-22.

    “The increase in demand is mainly because of increased exports to Iran, which is a major buyer for Indian basmati,” said Vijay Setia, former vice-president, All India Rice Exporters Association.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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)

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.   

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.”

  • 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

  • Food exports surge by 5.70% in Q1 FY23

  • * Exports of various food commodities recorded at $1,077.834mn during the period in 2022-23 as compared to the exports of $1,019.676mn during 2021-22

    Food group exports from the country witnessed an increase of 5.70 percent during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2022-23) as compared to the corresponding period of last year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported.

    The exports of various food commodities were recorded at $1,077.834 million during July-September (2022-23) as compared to the exports of $1,019.676 million in July-September (2021-22), according to PBS data.

    The food commodities that contribute in positive growth in trade included vegetables, the exports of which grew by 44.34 percent, from $50.082 million to $72.289 million.

    The other food commodities that contributed in positive growth included fish and fish preparations, the exports of which increased by 40.20 percent, from $56.959 million to $79.855 million whereas the exports of tobacco rose by 74.66 percent, from $7.900 million to $13.798 million.

    The exports of leguminous vegetables (pulses) increased by 100 percent, from zero exports to $0.047 million; meat and meat preparations by 21.68 percent, from $78.283 million to $95.254 million whereas the exports of all other food items increased by 26.75 percent, from $221.017 million to $280.136 million. The food commodities that contribute in negative growth in trade included rice, the exports of which decreased by 5.10 percent, from $423.192 million to $401.629 million.

    Among the rice commodities, the exports of Basmati rice went down from $153.671 million to $129.896 million, a decrease of 15.47 percent whereas fruits exports decreased by 30.76 percent from $114.373 million to $79.196 million.

    The exports of spices dipped by 18.74 percent, from $23.163 million to $18.823 million; oil seeds, nuts and kernals by 17.67 percent, from $44.707 million to $36.806 million.

    Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the exports of food commodities witnessed nominal decrease of 1.26 percent during the month of September 2022 as compared to the same month of last year.

    The food exports during September 2022 were recorded at $354.816 million against the exports of $359.331 million.

    On month-on-month basis, the exports of food commodities also decreased by 3.31 percent in September 2022 when compared to the exports of $366.945 million in August 2022, PBS reported.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Kandhamal residents irk over supply of substandard PDS rice

  • Expressing displeasure over the matter, the beneficiaries have alleged that though there is a provision to provide millet and rice separately, at Masedikia village, the grains are mixed and supplied to them.

    The residents of Raikia panchayat in Kandhamal district have alleged that they have been supplied with poor quality and adulterated rice under the Public Distribution System (PDS) scheme.

    Expressing displeasure over the matter, the beneficiaries have alleged that though there is a provision to provide millet and rice separately, at Masedikia village, the grains are mixed and supplied to them.

    Earlier, five kg of rice was supplied to each beneficiary. But since last month, the government has decided to provide 5 kg rice and millet. But the dealer is mixing the grains and providing the beneficiaries, complained the villagers.

    “I brought the rice and millet mix yesterday. It is becoming very difficult to separate the grains. When we questioned about mixing of both the items, the dealer said he has received mixture,” said Uttam Digal, a beneficiary.

    Expressing resentment Pranita Digal, another beneficiary said, “I asked the dealer to provide me a separate packet for rice and millet, but in vain.”

    Commenting on the development Sradhanjali Digal, supply assistant of Raikia panchayat said, “We are supplying what we are getting. The allegation of rice adulteration is baseless.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • WASDE Rice: Unchanged Domestic Use, Lower Exports

  • The outlook for 2022/23 U.S. rice this month is for slightly increased supplies, unchanged domestic use, lower exports, and larger ending stocks. Supplies are raised slightly as the NASS October 12 Crop Production report increased the all rice yield 13 pounds to 7,599 pounds per acre.

    The 2022/23 export forecast is lowered 2.0 million cwt to 75.0 million, all long-grain rice, as relatively higher U.S. prices contribute to a slow pace of sales this marketing year. If realized, this would be the lowest all rice export total since 1991/92.

    Ending stocks are raised 2.3 million cwt to 33.2 million, which would still be down more than 16 percent from the prior year. The season-average farm price for all rice is unchanged at $19.40 per cwt.

    The 2022/23 global rice outlook this month is for lower supplies, consumption, trade, and ending stocks. Supplies are lowered by 3.6 million tons to 689.3 million for 2022/23, primarily on decreases in production for India and Pakistan. India’s production is lowered 2.5 million tons to 124.0 million based on the government’s first estimate of the 2022/23 kharif crop.

    Production in Pakistan is lowered 1.0 million tons to 7.4 million as widespread and prolonged flooding, particularly in the Sindh province, reduced harvested area and yields. Global exports are lowered 0.4 million tons to 53.2 million as decreases for India and Pakistan are partly offset by increases for Vietnam, Thailand, and Brazil.

    Global 2022/23 ending stocks are lowered 2.4 million tons to 171.2 million, primarily due to a decrease for India, and would be the lowest level since 2017/18.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Rice shipment brings relief to shortage-hit Comoros

  • It's late in the evening in the Comorian capital of Moroni but the city's port is filled with eager faces.

    An 800-tonne rice shipment docked in the Indian Ocean archipelago and was offloaded on October 3, after three months of shortages that have sharpened hunger and stoked unrest.

    "We can officially declare the end to the rice shortage," Ben Abdallah Youssouf of Onicor said.

    Onicor is a state body that holds a monopoly on imports and trade in "ordinary" rice, the cheapest and most consumed variety.

    But many locals who have struggled to put food on the table in recent weeks said they were far from convinced.

    "They say there's enough rice for everyone, but I don't believe it anymore," said Ben Laden, who like many others had joined the crowd at the dock in the hope of getting his hands on a sack.

    Like the rest of the world, the Comoros, with a population of about 890,000 between Madagascar and the east coast of the African continent, has suffered from soaring grain prices and food supply shortages. 

    But in a few months, the rice crisis has reached a climax here and caused clashes in the small poor nation, which imports most of its consumption from India and Pakistan.

    The shortage of "white gold", as the cereal is known here, was first felt cruelly on the island of Anjouan, the most densely populated of the archipelago.

    Rationing was put in place, with one 25-kilo bag sometimes enough for six families. Over the weeks, the queues have grown longer in front of the distribution points. The wait often lasted for hours. Some put a brick to mark their place while they went about their business.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Adani Ports maintains annual cargo volume…

  • Adani Ports maintains annual cargo volume guidance despite ban on rice exports

    Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone said that it is well aligned to meet its annual cargo volume guidance of 350-360 metric million tonnes (MMT). The company has maintained its guidance despite an extended monsoon and the ban and higher duties on rice exports imposed in early-September.

    India's largest operator of commercial ports reported a 13 percent year-on-year growth in cargo volumes in September to 26.1 MMT.

    Last week, the government further extended the last date for the export of broken rice in transit to October 15, after extending it twice previously. It had banned the exports of broken rice on September 8. It also imposed a 20 percent export duty on non-basmati rice, except for parboiled rice to boost domestic supplies due to the fall in area under the paddy crop during the current kharif season.

    For the first six months of the current financial year, Adani Ports managed 177.5 MMT of Cargo, which is nearly half of its annual guidance. The first half cargo volumes is a growth of 11 percent over the corresponding period of last year.

    Cargo volumes on India's east coast increased 13 percent from last year, supported by Adani's recent acquisitions like Krishnapatnam (up 13 percent), and Gangavaram (up 9 percent). Port volumes from Kattupalli and Ennore together grew 51 percent year-on-year. The 10 percent growth in West Coast cargo volumes were supported by Mundra (up 65 percent), and Goa (up 22 percent).

    The company has been in the news last month after its unit, HDC Bulk Terminal, signed a concession agreement with Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata for the mechanisation of Berth 2 at Haldia Port. It had emerged as a successful bidder for the project in February this year.

    Jefferies had recently raised its price target on the stock to Rs 1,100, raising its earnings estimates by 3-7 percent for the next two years. Citi also expects the company's strong operating performance to drive a rerating going forward.

    Shares of Adani Ports are trading 1.4 percent higher at Rs 831.75. The stock is up 13 percent year-to-date.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • Indian rice exporters urge to extend export ban deadline to avoid losses

  • by Pankaj Yadav

    NEW DELHI, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- India's rice exporters are a disgruntled lot these days as their stocks are lying in queue at several ports, as uncertainty looms large as to whether they will be able to send their consignments amid a government ban on rice export.

    The exporters are of the opinion that the federal government should have given them ample time, allowing the export of those consignments which had already been booked from the agriculture fields and were lying in warehouses for shipment.

    Senior Executive Director of All India Rice Exporters Association Vinod Kaul said that the estimated losses to be suffered by rice exporters due to the export ban is around 60 billion Indian Rupees (736 million U.S. dollars).

    The ban that took effect on Sept. 9 on rice exports, particularly broken rice, is intended to address a shortage in the domestic market as less rice production is expected in the coming season.

    Initially the federal government had given the deadline of Sept. 15 for clearing all stocks of rice lying at the ports for export. On Sept. 21 the deadline was extended till the month's end.

    Rice exporters are of the view that the deadline should be further extended so that all the stocks lying at ports or in warehouses would be loaded onto vessels.

    Incessant rains in certain areas in the country this year, along with a lack of rains in some other areas, has led to a decrease in the sowing of rice crops. It is expected that the rice yield, particularly the broken rice output, will reduce, leading to a possible scarcity in domestic markets.

    Preliminary estimates indicate that rice would not be sown in nearly 13 percent of the paddy fields. "Area sown under rice was 30.98 million hectares as compared to 35.36 million hectares of the corresponding period of last year," the Crop Weather Watch Group (CWWG) under the federal agriculture ministry reported at its meeting held on Aug. 12.

    Official data showed India's broken rice exports increased by more than 43 times in the past four years. Prices of broken rice have risen significantly in the current year, and are expected to continue the uptrend amid the likelihood of a 6 percent shortfall in rice production this season in India.

    Kaul said consignments of around 3.9 million tonnes of broken rice had already been procured by exporters, and that most stocks were now lying at ports or in warehouses, including private warehouses.

    He further said that shipping bills in respect of most of these stocks had already been made, and the ban was imposed before they could be handed over to the customs department for export.

    According to Kaul, the whole process of procurement from farmers to exporters takes around two to four months. "This sudden ban on broken rice exports has put the exporters in a difficult situation. They are bound to suffer huge losses if the deadline of exporting (till Sept. 30) is not extended further. We have approached the Indian government to consider our request for extension of the deadline. The response is awaited," he said.

    Denying a possible shortage of rice in domestic markets, Narindra Miglani, a leading rice exporter in the northern state of Haryana, said that fresh crops of rice will be available soon, and the output could be sufficient to meet domestic demands.

    "We had procured stocks of rice for exports as per our contracts with importers overseas. Now, we have to return them back to the commission agents or the farmers. In such a situation we have no option but to compensate for their losses from our pockets. We can't leave them stranded. Hence, we, the exporters, are the net sufferers," he said.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Don’t go for blanket duty levy on non-basmati rice exports: FTCCI

  • FILE PHOTO: Rice samples are seen demonstrating for export at a rice processing factory. | Photo Credit: KHAM

    Exempt high-value non-basmati rice exports from duty levy; levy will make India uncompetitive in rice export

    The Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI) has appealed to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce Minister and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal to reconsider and withdraw the decision to levy duty on export of non-basmati rice.

    “With this duty, Indian rice shipments will become uncompetitive in the world market. Buyers will shift to Thailand and Vietnam” the association said in a memorandum submitted to the Union Ministers.

    A big family of rice species

    It argued that non-basmati is not one variant of rice but a very big family of rice species.

    “India’s agricultural biodiversity and heritage deserve recognition and respect. The blanket duty on non-basmati rice must be reversed. Otherwise, there will be a devastating impact on Indian exports,” Anil Agarwal, President of FTCCI, said in the memorandum.

    “There are several hundred varieties of non-basmati rice in India. Some of these sell for a much higher price than basmati rice. Some non-basmati variants sell for $700 up to $1,400 a tonne,” it pointed out.

    Levying a duty on these variants will prove very expensive and will have many adverse outcomes for India in the long term, it argued.

    Loss of market

    “If the blanket duty is imposed, Indian rice exporters will not be able to capture new markets in premium non-basmati segments. Lack of price competitiveness with exporters from other countries will destroy them,” it said.

    Also, farmers and exporters from rice surplus states will be affected severely due to loss of market for their competitors from other countries.

    “The decision comes at a time when the government is making serious efforts to promote Indian exports. We rely on the administration to make well-informed decisions. Exporters need their support and understanding,” it said.

    The association said the country was the world’s biggest rice exporter, touching 21.5 million tonnes in 2021. This was 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,” it pointed out.

    Incorrect data by DFPD

    “The reasoning given by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) is that the export price of non-basmati rice is ₹28-29 per kg, which is higher than the domestic price. We submit that this information is misleading and the duty is based on incorrect data,” it contended.

    The DFPD has assumed that all non-basmati rice variants put under a single HS Code (HS-10063090) sell for ₹28-29 per kg. But in reality, there are several non-basmati premium varieties that have a huge international market selling at 3-4 times higher than the variety quoted,” it observed.

    A blanket imposition of 20 per cent duty, not taking into account the variety, quality, standard, demand, and price, would cripple non-basmati exports from the country.

    “We, at FTCCI, appeal to you to look into the various aspects presented here and support the Indian rice exporters and protect the international market of India in rice for the benefit of farmers, exporters, government, and the country as a whole,” the association said.

    Solution

    The association comes out with a suggestion to tackle the challenge of likely non-availability of the commodity in the country.

    “Since the shortage is envisaged for varieties of rice that are meant for PDS and PMGKAY, we suggest imposing duty according to the export price of rice, and a blanket duty on all non-basmati rice variants must be avoided,” it suggested.

    A blanket duty will make it difficult for exporters to promote Sona Masoori, Wada kolam, Jeera Sambha fragrance rice, Ponni Rice, black rice, and red rice, which have a huge demand abroad.

    Suggested duty slabs

    Export price rangePercentage of duty
    $301-400 per MT20%
    $401-500 per MT10%
    $501-600 per MT5%
    Above $601 per MT0%
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hyderabad: FP shops selling only rice to cash in on growing demand

  •  FP shops selling only rice to cash in on growing demand 

    Rajendranagar: As the PDS rice is in high demand in the black market, the Fair Price Shops (FPS) dealers in Rajendranagar under Saroornagar section are procuring only rice, making light of the poor people who prefer wheat over rice as their staple food.

    It is said that most dealers in Rajendranagar are procuring only rice from the godowns every month which is being provided by the government for free and seldom rush to procure wheat as the grain is having no demand in black market.

    "We are having regular stocks of wheat alongside the rice but most of the dealers are asking only for rice while a handful of them go for wheat. Ninety per cent of them procuring only rice meant for free distribution," informed an official at a State-run Rice Godown.

    Procuring PDS rice, reportedly ensures the dealers a double return wherein the government pays them 75 paisa commission per quintal while the black market lends them a good price of the PDS rice. Though there is a provision of wheat supply from the government to ensure nutritional balance among the masses, the FP shop dealers largely avoid procuring the spelt, finding that the grain lacks a question in the murky trade.

    As most of the time only rice is being sold through the FPS, poor people are forced to sell the grain back to the agents for a paltry amount while the grain is being sold on upward prices in neighbouring States like Maharashtra, Karnataka etc, through a safe route. The smugglers involved in PDS rice smuggling generally use underage children from poor families to transport the grain and provide them old or obsolete vehicles to avoid police checks.

    Most of the illegal PDS transportation cases are from Rajendranagar areas where police often catch the illegal rice transporters mainly children from areas such as Hassannagar, Sulemannagar, Chiltelmet, Katedhan, Tatanagar, Attapur and Kishanbagh. There is an element of plausibility in poor people selling back the extra rice to the agents. Unable to put up with regular rice supply being provided to them for free from FP shops, the people often sell them back to the dealers and get the wheat from the retail market by paying the price they get from the dealers in return.

    However, some people who use wheat as well as rice to feed themselves, are now venting frustration over the government for providing only rice from FP shops without knowing that the grain is identically available along with the rice at the state run godowns. It is the agents who are not procuring wheat simply for their own benefit despite there is demand for the spelt in several areas. "We were fed up with the replies of the agent that there is no wheat this time from the government. As only rice is being supplied from the shops for free, what else can we do except to return it back to the dealer on a paltry return," said Laxhmamma, an old lady from Rajendranagr. Affirming the murky affair being prevalent in Rajendranagar, one of the official from assistant supply office saroor nagar section at Rajendranagar said, "Though we are receiving complaints that FPS agent are not providing wheat to the people, but this is how the case is."


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Govt imposes 20% export duty on non-basmati rice shipments, to hit overall rice exports in current fiscal

  • Rao said imposition of export tax will definitely reduce the volume of rice export this fiscal and make rice from India costlier.

    The government on Thursday imposed a 20% export duty on non-basmati ‘white’ rice exports which is expected to hit overall volume of exports in the current fiscal.

    According to a finance ministry notification, the export tax will be applicable from Friday.

    Exporters say that out of total non-basmati rice exports of 17 million tonne (mt) in 2021-22, share of white rice was around 60% and the rest of the shipments were par-boiled rice which has been exempted from export duty.

    “Our concern is whether this export duty will be applicable to around 2 mt white rice consignment in the transit,” V Krishna Rao, president, All India Rice Exporters Association, told FE.

    Rao said imposition of export tax will definitely reduce the volume of rice export this fiscal and make rice from India costlier.

    Currently, India is exporting non-basmati rice at around $360 a tonne.

    The finance ministry also imposed a 20% export duty on rice in husk (paddy)and husked brown rice.

    India has been the world’s largest rice exporter in the last decade — export earnings stood at $8.8 billion in 2020-21 and $9.6 billion in 2021-22.

    According to the commerce ministry data, India’s value of rice exports rose 12% to $2.6 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal compared to previous year.

    “It will make the exports costlier thereby ensuring affordability of rice to the common masses,” Saurab Agarwal, tax partner, EY said. Because of 5% decline in paddy sowing this kharif season because of deficient rainfall in key paddy growing areas of West Bengall, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, rice production is expected to decline 2022-23 crop year (July-June) from a record 130 mt achieved in 2021-22 crop year.

    The United States department of agriculture (USDA) in its rice outlook for August had stated that India’s rice exports are projected to increase to a record 22 MT in 2022-23. USDA has projected that country’s projected exports exceed the combined shipments of the next three-largest exporters — Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan.

    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.

  • India, the world’s top rice exporter, just slapped a 20% tax on some rice exports. It could further fuel food inflation

  • India — the world's top rice exporter — has slapped a 20% tax on shipments of some rice grades in a move that could worsen the food crisis.

    The new export tax that affects some rice grades will take effect Friday, according to an announcement from India's finance ministry on Thursday. India also banned the exports of 100% broken rice, which is mostly used for animal feed, Bloomberg and Reuters reported, citing government notices.

    The developments come as rice plantings in India have been impacted by a lack of rainfall in some areas this year, per the news agencies.

    India accounts for about 40% of global rice exports, according to the US Department of Agriculture, or USDA. The country's moves to levy a 20% tax on some rice grades while restricting broken rice are expected to push up prices of the staple grain amid a surge in food prices worldwide.

    China and the Philippines are the world's top two importers of the staple grain, according to the USDA.

    As the prices of wheat and corn rallied this year on the back of the Ukraine war, rice prices remained relatively stable, giving inflation-weary consumers some reprieve. But India's latest move may change that, and shift demand from India to its competitors.

    "With this duty, Indian rice shipments will become uncompetitive in the world market. Buyers will shift to Thailand and Vietnam," B.V. Krishna Rao, the president of the India Rice Exporters Association, told Reuters. The two Southeast Asian countries are the world's second- and third-largest rice exporters globally.

    After wheat and sugar, rice is now the third major agricultural commodity in India to face export restrictions this year. The wave of food protectionism comes amid supply concerns and inflation fears.

  • Climate change is hurting India’s rice crop

  • With extreme weather events affecting cropping patterns, growers need to be equipped with new farming methods.

    In parts of India, crops have been destroyed by both incessant rain and by the lack of it [File: Yirmiyan Arthur/AP Photo]

    In Haryana’s Bithmara, about 200 kilometres (124 miles) northwest of the capital New Delhi, 37-year-old Satish Jangra is distraught after seeing his paddy crops destroyed due to untimely and incessant rainfall in early August.

    “I am compelled to leave farming. The cost is much more than the output and I am falling into a debt trap,” he said.

    Each year, Jangra would till 3 hectares (8 acres) of his neighbour’s land in which he cultivated mostly paddy and other grains like wheat and millets. That has now been reduced to 1 hectare (3 acres). He is thinking of either changing the paddy field to another crop variety or stopping tilling the land altogether so that he does not have to worry about the losses each year.

    “You spend thousands on different fertilisers, diesel, water etc and when it’s time for output for paddy especially, you just get into losses,” he told Al Jazeera.

    Traders pay according to the quality of the rice, but over time farmers say, the quality has decreased.

    He still has to pay a $600 loan to the bank and for that, he is now looking for an alternative.

    “I have started working in a small furniture shop because I cannot be dependent on just farming,” he said.

    In eastern India’s Jamui Bihar village, farmer Rajkumar Yadav’s troubles are the opposite of Jangra’s as he waits for rainfall so that his paddy crops do not dry up.

    Each morning and evening, the 55-year-old’s family takes water from their well to sprinkle on the crops. He says his family can no longer rely on the monsoon.

    “In our area only 10 percent sowing of crops has happened so far because there is no rainfall. We all are dependent on the Tubewell [used to pump groundwater], which is also drying due to high temperatures,” he said.

    Researchers say that the production of rice in India is constrained by both droughts and heavy rains which can flood the fields.

    About 68 percent of the total cropping area in India is rainfed. Of the roughly 40 million hectares (100 million acres) of the rice-harvested area in India, 60 percent is irrigated leaving the rest dependent upon rainfall, and hence susceptible to drought.

    Aditi Mukherjee, principal researcher at International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a nonprofit research organisation, said overall, climate change has increased the probability of extreme events.

    While “impacts of droughts can be somewhat mitigated through access to irrigation, parts of India [such as eastern India which is a major rice basket], do not have adequate affordable irrigation, and depend mostly on expensive-to-operate diesel pumps,” she said.

    This year paddy sowing has been affected in key rice-producing states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, resulting in a 13 percent lag in area under paddy.

    A ban on rice exports?

    IWMI’s Mukherjee told Al Jazeera that it is going to be a hard year for farmers.

    “Heat waves, followed by drought-like conditions due to late arrival of monsoons, have impacted two main crops, wheat in the previous season, and now rice,” she said, adding that such late sowing of paddy is likely to affect yield, and also delay the next cropping cycle.

    And while it is not clear as yet what sort of shortage that will result in when the harvest finally comes, the United States Department of Agriculture has estimated that rice production may reduce by 0.9 per cent, the first decline since 2015. That leads experts to say they need to monitor the situation closely, especially if the government decides to ban or limit its exports as it did in May for wheat.

    Tavseef Mairaj Shah, who works in agroecology, warns that while a ban on rice exports would be catastrophic for the global food supply, such a move is not currently expected, although a rise in rice prices is not off the cards.

    The threat to India’s rice production also comes at a time when countries are already grappling with soaring food costs. The decline in production that farmers foresee could make India’s battle against inflation more difficult and lead to export restrictions.

    In India, rice is a staple food for more than half the population. Bangladesh, China, Nepal, and certain Middle Eastern nations are among some of its top clients, as India exports rice to more than 100 countries.

    “India has to take in consideration the domestic food security aspect. While we currently have grain stocks, we may have to buffer in case the Ukraine war continues,” said Srinath Sridhan, an independent markets commentator.

    Reimagine farming

    Congress party supporters shout anti-government slogans during a rally in New Delhi, India.
    Reimagine farming

    But eventually, to ensure food security, India needs to reimagine its agricultural practices, scientists say.

    “The unprecedented change in rainfall patterns, droughts and extreme heat is a stark reminder that India needs to uphold and promote a transition from mono to multi-cropping systems,” said Rohin Kumar, senior agriculture campaigner at Greenpeace India.

    Monoculture kills all the nutrients from the earth, weakening the soil, which in turn inhibits healthy plant growth.

    With the effects of climate change and the extreme weather expected to aggravate in coming years, India also needs to create adequate demand and supply of many local indigenous grains, vegetables and fruits, with urban communities stepping in to support farmers by directly buying from farmers, Kumar said.

    Agroecologist Shah agrees that there is an “urgent need” to transition to sustainable methods of rice cultivation to improve water use efficiency, farmers’ livelihoods, and make them capable of adapting to changing weather patterns and extreme weather events.

    While a government push to make any of these suggestions a reality is currently not on the table, farmers like rain-starved Yadav have already switched to cultivating different crops to make a living.

    “We have started cultivating coriander, and I think that that helps me a bit to sell it in my village,” he said.

    In Jamuai village, where Yadav lives, besides growing paddy and other crops, farmers have been doing organic farming, shunning the use of chemicals. And while they have been at it for half-a-dozen years, they are yet to find people willing to pay the premium prices that this process demands.

    “We have been trying to raise awareness about organic products but that is not happening much. When it comes to profit, no one thinks about the farmer,” he said.

  • Thailand targets higher rice exports of 7.5 mln tonnes this year

  • BANGKOK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Thailand is aiming for rice exports of 7.5 million tonnes this year, up from a previous target of 7 million tonnes, due to increased output and a weak baht amid global food insecurity, a government spokesperson said on Thursday.

    Thailand, the world's third-largest rice exporter after India and Vietnam, exported 4.09 million tonnes of rice in the January-July period, up 54% from a year earlier, Rachada Dhnadirek said in a statement.

    The country's favourable weather has boosted its rice production while a weak baht has kept Thai rice prices competitive, she said. The Thai currency was hovering near its weakest level in more than 15 years against the dollar.

    Thailand has seen higher demand for its rice as countries seek to ensure food security and replace wheat and corn in the animal feed industry, Rachada said.

    The agriculture ministry expected paddy rice output of 26.92 million tonnes in the 2022/23 crop year, up 2.09% from a year earlier, she said.

  • Top Rice Exporter India Curbs Shipments in Threat to Inflation

    • Government bans broken rice exports and taxes other varieties
    • Move will send shock waves through global agricultural market.

    Workers bag rice paddy at a wholesale market in New Delhi, India.Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

    India, the world’s biggest rice shipper, restricted exports of key varieties that mainly go toward feeding Asia and Africa, threatening to rattle global crop markets and exacerbate food inflation and hunger. 

    The government has imposed a 20% duty on shipments of white and brown rice, and banned broken rice sales abroad. The curbs apply to roughly 60% of India’s overall rice exports, according to Bloomberg calculations. 

    The moves by India, which accounts for 40% of the global rice trade, will put further pressure on countries that are struggling with worsening hunger and soaring food inflation. Rice is a staple food for about half of the world’s population, with Asia producing and consuming about 90% of global supply. 

    Rice is now the third major agricultural commodity in India to face restrictions on overseas sales this year. The South Asian nation has already curbed wheat and sugar exports, adding to a spate of food protectionism that’s exacerbated chaos in global food markets brought on by the war in Ukraine. 

    In contrast to the surge in wheat and corn prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rice has been subdued due to ample stockpiles, helping to ward off a bigger food crisis. With India’s latest move, that may be about to change.

    The restrictions apply to unmilled and husked brown varieties, the government said late Thursday. Semi-milled and wholly-milled rice -- or white rice -- will incur a similar duty. Parboiled and Basmati rice are excluded from the curbs. 

    The variety that now attracts the export tax accounts for about 60% of India’s non-basmati rice shipments, according to B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association. The restriction will benefit rival suppliers Thailand and Vietnam, he said, which are cooperating to shore up rice prices. 

    India Accounts for 40% of Global Rice Trade

    Rice exports for the year 2021-22

    Source: US Department of Agriculture

    “The government’s move will boost global rice prices,” Rao said, estimating that export prices of white rice may exceed $400 a ton from as much as $350 currently on a free-on-board basis. 

    Exporters will ask the government to waive taxes on about 2 million tons of rice that have been contracted but not yet shipped, he added. 

    Broken rice, which is banned for overseas sales, is mainly used for animal feed. Prices have jumped this year on increased export demand. Top buyers include China, which uses it for livestock feed, and some African countries that import it for food. It accounts for almost 20% of India’s shipments abroad. 

    India’s rice planting has shrunk 5.6% this season due to a lack of rainfall in some areas. Monsoon showers have been more than 25% lower than average in major growing states of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. Overall, the country has received 5% above normal precipitation during the period. 

    The trade restrictions will create supply concerns given that India is the single largest rice exporter, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Alvin Tai. “Definitely won’t help global food inflation but depends how long they keep it up.” 

    — With assistance by Anirban Nag

  • Pakistan’s rice paddies face ‘extreme’ heat stress risk by 2045: report

  • Countries growing 70% of world's food also set to suffer

    Blistering crop-withering temperatures that also risk the health of agricultural workers could threaten swathes of global food production by 2045 as the world warms, an industry analysis warned Thursday.

    Climate change is already stoking heatwaves and other extreme weather events across the world, with hot spells from India to Europe this year expected to hit crop yields.

    Temperature spikes are causing mounting concern for health, particularly for those working outside in sweltering conditions, which is especially dangerous when humidity levels are high.

    The latest assessment by risk company Verisk Maplecroft brings those two threats together to calculate that heat stress already poses an “extreme risk” to agriculture in 20 countries, including agricultural giant India.

    Pakistan, whcih is a major Asian rice producer along with Vietnam, makes the list of 20 locations where “agriculture faces extreme heat stress risks in current climate conditions.”

    Other countries to make the list include sub-Saharan African countries such as sesame producer Sudan and shea producer Burkina Faso – which account for 11 of the 20 locations where agriculture faces extreme heat stress.

    But the coming decades are expected to expand the threat to 64 nations by 2045 – representing 71% of current global food production – including major economies China, India, Brazil and the United States.

    “With the rise in global temperatures and rise in global heat stress, we’re going to see crops in more temperate countries as well start being affected by this,” said Will Nichols, head of climate and resilience at Verisk Maplecroft.

    Rice is particularly at risk, the assessment said, with other crops like cocoa and even tomatoes also singled out as of concern.

    Growing risk

    Maplecroft’s new heat stress dataset, using global temperature data from the UK Met Office, feeds into its wider risk assessments of countries around the world.

    It is based on a worst-case emissions scenario leading to around 2 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels as soon as 2045.

    However, the authors stress that in projections to mid-century, even scenarios that assume higher levels of carbon-cutting action could still result in temperatures nearing 2C.

    India – responsible for 12% of global food production in 2020 and heavily reliant on outdoor labour productivity – is already rated as at extreme risk, the only major agricultural nation in that category at current temperatures.

    “There’s a very real worry that people in rural areas, which are obviously highly dependent on agriculture, are going to be much more vulnerable to these kinds of heat events going forward,” Nichols told AFP.

    That could impact productivity and in turn exports – and have potentially “cascading” knock-on effects on issues such as the country’s credit rating and even political stability, he said.

    By 2045, the list grows much longer.

    Nine of the top ten countries affected in 2045 are in Africa, with the world’s second largest cocoa producer Ghana, as well as Togo and Central African Republic receiving the worst possible risk score.

    The top 20 at-risk countries in the coming decades include key Southeast Asian rice exporters Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, the authors said, noting that rice farmers in central Vietnam have already taken to working at night to avoid the high temperatures.

    The assessment highlights that major economies like the US and China could also see extreme risk to agriculture in 2045, although in these large countries the impacts vary by region.

    Meanwhile, Europe accounts for seven of the 10 countries set to see the largest increase in risk by 2045.

    “I think what it reinforces is that, even though a lot of us are sort of sitting in sort of Western countries, where we might think we’re a bit more insulated from some of these threats, actually we are not necessarily,” Nichols said.

    “Both in terms of the sort of physical risks that we’re facing, but also in terms of the kind of knock on effects down the supply chain.

  • North Korea Turns to India for Rice Amid Food Shortages

  • FILE - Parched rice plants on a farm field on the outskirts of Chonqing, China, Aug. 21, 2022.

    WASHINGTON — 

    Pyongyang appears to be seeking rice donations from India as the regime of Kim Jong Un alerted the nation to prevent flood damage to farmlands from a typhoon passing across its eastern coast.

    The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday that cities and counties in North Hwanghae province, south of Pyongyang, took measures "to minimize the damage to crops nearing harvest" as Typhoon Hinnamnor approached North Korea's eastern coast after making the landfall in South Korea on Tuesday

    The same day, Kim held a meeting calling for efforts "to prevent disaster" and protect "the prosperity and development of the state."

    How the typhoon will affect North Korea's unharvested crops is unclear. But food shortages are expected to grow worse due to the flooding of farmlands in August and Pyongyang's strict COVID-19-related border closings.

    "With flooding again destroying crops, similar to last year, and North Korea's continued border restrictions, there are reasons to believe the access to food is tighter than prior to the pandemic," said Troy Stangarone, senior director at the Korea Economic Institute.

    Seeking help from India

    VOA's Korean Service has learned that Pyongyang has turned to India for rice, its staple food, which it usually imports from China.

    Manpreet Singh, executive president of the Indian Chamber of International Business, an organization that helps small to midsize Indian companies expand globally, told the Korean Service in an August 30 email that North Korean Embassy officials visited the organization in New Delhi.

    "We have been approached by the Embassy to look at possibilities for donations of rice" as "floods destroyed most of the crop," said Singh.

    North Korea's U.N. Mission in New York City did not respond to VOA Korean Service's questions about its food situation and whether it is seeking outside aid. North Korea has dismissed South Korea's offer of economic aid in exchange for its denuclearization, a deal outlined in South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's "audacious initiative," introduced August 15.

    Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of the North Korea's leader, responded on August 19, saying, "No one barters its destiny for corn cake."

    Bradley Babson, a former World Bank adviser and current advisory council member of the Korea Economic Institute of America, said Pyongyang sought out the Indian business group instead of humanitarian organizations because, for health or political reasons, it probably wants to avoid requirements for accepting aid workers into the country to monitor aid distribution.

    "It might get a few thousand tons from a country like India or Vietnam that won't insist on monitoring requirements," Babson said.

    VOA's Korean Service also learned on August 26 about an ad seeking a vessel to transport 10,000 tons of rice from Vizag Port in eastern India to North Korea's Nampo Port between September 25 and 30. The ad is circulating via email in the global shipping industry.

    A source with knowledge of the ad told the Korean Service that the party exporting the rice wanted to ship the long-grain variety commonly grown in India, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. North Korea grows and consumes short-grain rice.

    Whether Pyongyang's inquiry to the Indian Chamber of International Business about rice donations and the Indian exporter's attempt to ship rice to North Korea are related remains to be seen.

    "The 10,000 tons of rice is not a lot of rice" considering North Korea's food deficit, Babson said. "I see these as largely symbolic and not really a solution to [its] food problem, which I think is extremely severe this year."

    'WFP remains committed'

    According to a 2021 report by the U.N.'s World Food Program, North Korea suffers from "chronic food insecurity and malnutrition" despite "the government's efforts to mitigate the effect of food deficits."

    Kun Li, spokesperson for WFP's Asia and Pacific regional office in Bangkok, told the Korean Service on Wednesday that WFP and other international humanitarian organizations that left North Korea at the beginning of the pandemic cannot return to resume aid operations because of its border closures.

    "WFP remains committed to the people of DPRK who need assistance and looks forward to being able to resume operations as soon as borders reopen to international personnel and cargo," Li said.

    North Korea needs about 5.7 million tons of food for its population of about 26 million people, according to the Seoul-based Korea Development Institute. In 2021, the country was about 860,000 tons of food short, according to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization.

    Stangarone said Pyongyang might be importing rice from India because "North Korea does not want to become too dependent on China for its imports." However, he added, "India may soon restrict rice exports due to some areas of India seeing less rain. It potentially faces its own shortages as rice planting is down 13%."

  • UP govt seeks report  on shortfall in sowing  of paddy, other crops

  • The Uttar Pradesh government has sought reports from all the 75 district magistrates about the rainfall deficiency leading to shortfall in paddy sowing and other crops during the current kharif season. The government maintains only a 10 per cent shortfall in sowing of kharif crops, which also includes paddy, while as per the estimates of the state agriculture universities, the shortfall in paddy sowing is above 60%.

    “I admit that there is rainfall deficiency. We hope there will be sufficient rainfall in the remaining days of this month (September). The state government has sought reports from all the 75 district magistrates and after studying the report, appropriate decision will be taken as per rules and standards,’’ Finance Minister Suresh Khanna said here on Monday.

    According to IMD, the pan-India rainfall is above normal so far but there is a deficit in eastern India and northeast. 

    Rainfall deficiency in UP is as high as 44%, Uttarakhand 11%, Bihar 38%, West Bengal 18% and Jharkhand 26%. The rainfall deficiency in these states has hit paddy sowing and may impact kharif production. As per IMD data, central India and south peninsula have received more than normal rainfall so far. IMD has predicted above normal rainfall pan-India but below normal in east and northeast.

    The rainfall deficiency in Uttar Pradesh and other eastern states, which account for one-third of India’s total rice production, has forced changes in the sowing patterns, leading to a decline in paddy cultivation. Less rains will also impact livestock and take a heavy toll on farmers’ livelihoods.

    UP had achieved record paddy production in 2021. With acreage under paddy increasing to 60 lakh hectares in 2021 against 58.92 lakh hectares in 2020, the total paddy production was estimated to be 2.5 crore MT.

    The rainfall deficiency is likely to cause loss of close to 30 lakh MT in the production of paddy this year.

    An official of UP’s Agriculture department said: “Uttar Pradesh will have massive problems with its kharif crop, forcing the farmers to begin sowing other crops. In the areas of Bundelkhand, it would mean the sowing of dalhan (pulses) crops.”

    Kharif crops are sown before the beginning of the monsoon season — around May-end to early June — and harvested after the monsoon ends in October. Rice, maize, pulses such as urad, moong dal and millets are among the key kharif crops.

    The agriculture sector in India employs almost half of the labour force of the country. India is also the world’s second-largest producer of rice, of which a substantial amount is grown under rain-fed conditions during the kharif season. Thus, the deficiency in rainfall and resultant changes in rice cultivation patterns are likely to substantially affect farmers’ livelihoods and have considerable social impact. The paddy deficiency stands at about 8% today and the overall acreage is down by 5-6%.

  • Ample world rice supplies to cushion impact of Pakistan, China crop losses

  • A farmer tends to his rice field in the village of Yangchao in Liping County, Guizhou province, China, June 11, 2021. Picture taken June 11, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

    SINGAPORE, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Abundant rice supplies in key exporters may largely offset an expected drop in output after floods in Pakistan and severe heatwave in China damaged crops, capping any gains in prices from steady Asian demand.

    Pakistan, the world's fourth-largest rice exporter, suffered extensive damage to agriculture, including rice, as floods ravaged large swathes of its farmland, while extremely high temperatures in parts of China at the end of August have taken a toll on rice output in the world's biggest importer of the staple.

    However, global rice stockpiles are pretty comfortable and an improving Indian crop outlook should quell any supply concerns and limit any price increases from recent strong demand that has emerged from Bangladesh, said a Singapore-based trader at one of the world's top rice trading companies.

    Pakistan is forecast to have lost around 10% of its 2022 estimated rice production of around 8.7 million tonnes, while China has suffered some damage, although the extent of crop losses is not clear, traders said.

    Food prices have soared in markets across Pakistan as devastating rains ruin crops and disrupt supplies, an early sign of how the worst floods in decades are creating food shortages at a time of financial crisis.

    "Pakistan's rice output has been really good over recent seasons," Peter Clubb, a market analyst at the International Grains Council said. "While any large production loss is obviously bad, that improvement in production over recent seasons gives a bit of leeway."

    China's Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian expressed concern that high temperatures and drought have hit rice production in the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui.

    "It is too early to say exactly how poor yields (in China) may be," Clubb said. "A general point, stocks in China are still very ample."

    MONSOON BOOSTS INDIAN CROP PROSPECTS

    Monsoon rains, which were delayed in parts of India's northern and eastern rice producing regions, have improved over the last couple of weeks, boosting crop prospects in the world's largest rice supplier, traders said.

    India had earlier been examining a need to restrict exports of 100% broken rice mainly used for feed purposes. 

    But an improvement in rainfall over Indian rice growing areas has ended any discussion of government restrictions on exports, said a second trader in Singapore who sells Indian rice to buyers in Asia and Africa.

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's world price index fell for a fifth month in August, after hitting a record in March after Russia invaded Ukraine, as a resumption of grain exports from Ukrainian ports contributed to improved supply prospects.

    However, strong demand from Bangladesh has underpinned rice prices in recent weeks.

    Bangladesh plans to import around 1.2 million tonnes of rice over the next few months to shore up reserves and cool high domestic prices.

    A senior Bangladeshi food ministry official said the country is buying 530,000 tonnes of rice from India, Vietnam and Myanmar under government-to-government deals and is in talks with major producers India, Vietnam and Thailand.

    Indian rice prices last week climbed to their highest in more than a year at around $383 per tonne , although the market is well below the 2021 high of $405 and 2020 peak of $427.50.

    Thailand and Vietnam, the world's second- and third-largest rice exporters respectively, have agreed to cooperate on raising prices, a move aimed at increasing leverage in the global market and boosting farmers' incomes.

  • Prices of rice and pulses increase in Peshawar

  • Traders halt transport of goods fearing attacks by looters 

    ISLAMABAD: The prices of rice and pulse prices in Peshawar have skyrocketed within a span of three months and are expected to rise further as the effects of the floods become more clear. 

    Speaking with Profit, Traders on Ashraf Road, Peshawar’s main commodity market, said that people in the province are already bearing the high cost of flour and will now also have to pay higher prices for other dietary staples.  

    They informed this scribe that a bag of 24.50 kg rice which was available for Rs4,500 three months ago  has risen by Rs1,750 in three months, taking the price in Peshawar to Rs6,250. Similarly, a 45 kg bag of matta rice which was available for Rs2,500 has increased to Rs4,000 while a bag of 49 kg super fine rice which used to be for Rs3,000, is now being sold for Rs5,000.

    Informing that beans are imported from Tajikistan in Peshawar, they said the price of a 50kg bag of beans which was Rs8,000 in January, has increased to Rs13,000. Similarly, masoor dal which was available for Rs7,000 per 49 kg bag in January, has now increased to Rs14,000.

    Gram is imported from Vietnam and Sudan. In January, a 49 kg bag of 10 mm gram was available for Rs8,000 which has now increased to Rs15,000.

    The traders said that since trucks carrying relief goods for flood victims are being looted, most of them have stopped transporting goods from other parts of the country, due to which there is a risk that the prices of food commodities will see a further hike within the next few weeks.

    They said that over the course of a year, prices of most commodities have increased by 100 per cent whereas the devastating floods are also likely to negatively influence the prices.  

  • Capacity building in modern rice cultivation for Katsina farmers

  • As a way of boosting local rice production, another set of 70 rice farmers participated in a three-day training programme on modern ways of cultivating the commodity on a large scale in Katsina State.

    The participants are part of about 32,000 farmers being trained in batches, on effective ways of cultivating the produce for optimal harvest, and economic gain. 

    The training, held for the selected farmers from Raddawa community, Matazu Local Council, was organised by a South Korean foundation, Saemaul Undong, in collaboration with the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), and Katsina State Government. 

    The word ‘Saemaul’ stands for ‘New Village Movement’ that is guided by over 50 years of experience is present in 16 countries, and aims at rural development by examining their weaknesses and strengths in a bid to improve their productivity and self-reliance.

    The training on modern rice farming method first entails the cultivation of quality rice product in a nursery, then transplanting same on farmlands. 

    According to experts, the process is believed to boost commodity yield, and is the same system the Republic of Korea has been using and achieving outstanding rice production output. 

    The Director, Seamaul Undong foundation, Mr. Lee Kyungbok said the training would not just improve rice production, but would also improve their economic wellbeing as well. 

    Kyungbok said the foundation’s aim is to increase the income revenue of the farmers, and create a better life system for them and their family members.

    He said the foundation has been partnering with the state government for the past three years, even as he called on participants to give attention to what they were taught so that they can effectively replicate it on their farmlands.

    Before now, two batches of famers numbering over 70, have been trained in similar modern rice farming methods, and they have gone to cultivate large farmlands of the commodity in their various communities. 

    The state government, in collaborating with the foundation, had donated 100 hectares of land to the previously trained farmers, to cultivate the produce on a large scale. 

    Of the 100 hectares, 60 hectares was given to trained farmers at Makera village, in Dutsinma council area, and rest 40 hectares to farmers at Raddawa community, in Matazu council. 

  • Valuable crops of rice, cotton, vegetables destroyed, says Memon

  • Damage to crops causes loss in exports, fear of food shortage

    According to the finance ministry, assessment of crop damages is in progress by provinces, however, significant losses can be witnessed. photo: file

    KARACHI:

    Sindh Minister for Information, Sharjeel Inam Memon has said that crops spread on 4,420,484 acres have been destroyed by recent rains and floods in the province. The valuable crops of cotton, rice, vegetables have been destroyed 100%, which will cause a huge loss in exports and there is a fear of food shortage in the future.

    He said that 100% of the date crop has been affected. If the water situation remains same for the next one month, mango and orchards will also be affected. A mango tree takes eight years to give fruit.

    At a press conference, he said that in the current situation the nation needs unity. The minister has emphasised on mutual communication between the philanthropists, NGOs and the government of Sindh and has appealed that the philanthropists and non-governmental organisations should stay in touch with PDMA to deliver aid to every affected person so that the aid can reach people in remote areas.

    Sharjeel said that so far 559 people have lost their lives and 21,891 are injured. Also, 1,465,941 houses have been affected by the floods, of which 556,120 have been completely destroyed, while the rest have been partially damaged. He further said that 9,788,969 people of 1,675,817 families have been affected, 6,278,007 are homeless.

    In addition, 6,278,007 people have been shifted to relief camps, where they are being provided standard cooked meals and health facilities.

    Memon said that people living in villages have lost 103,066 cattle. He said that the Sindh government has also started vaccination to protect cattle from diseases. The provincial information minister said that the first priority of the Sindh government is to save the lives of the people in the affected areas and in the second phase, complete rehabilitation of the victims will be started.

  • India May Limit Rice Exports. Bad Idea.

  • A few months ago, when India restricted wheat exports following a heatwave, rumbles ran through the world’s food markets. Still, while India is a giant consumer of wheat, it’s not as big an exporter. The real fear was that New Delhi might cut off rice shipments as well: India is the world’s largest exporter by far.

    Fortunately, rice prices in India hit a five-year low around then, depressed by ample global supply and a weak rupee. Things are very different today. First, Indian rice crops have been struck by a mystery “stunting” disease caused by a virus first observed in China in 2001. Even worse, rainfall in three major rice-producing states in the country’s north and east has been low or erratic.

    There’s talk that Indian officials — worried about shrinking supplies and domestic inflation — are now considering restricting rice exports, too. A wholesale ban of the sort that New Delhi usually imposes would be a dire mistake — for the world and for Indian farmers.

    The last time India blocked grain exports, in 2007 and 2008, the decision precipitated a years-long food-security crisis. Repeating that ban would be both irresponsible and unproductive. Irresponsible, because higher rice prices globally would hit developing nations — already struggling as the Ukraine war has driven up costs for food, fuel and fertilizer — when they can least afford it. An India that aspires to lead the developing world cannot deliberately harm those for whom it claims to speak.

    Nor would an export ban lower inflation at home or meaningfully improve India’s food security. In August, the government had 28 million metric tons of rice in its warehouses (well above its mandated buffer stock of 11 metric tons), so we’re not running out any time soon. Meanwhile, the agricultural economists Ashok Gulati and Ritika Juneja have pointed out that inflation in India is mainly being driven by the prices of fuel and vegetables; rice prices accounted for than 2% of the rise in the consumer price index last month.

    Moreover, export bans are not just bad for other poor countries; they’re bad for India’s own farmers, who are missing out on high prices overseas. While officials from New Delhi have often torpedoed consensus at global summits in the name of defending India’s millions of marginal farmers, their actions when it comes to agricultural trade policy show that they’re more concerned about urban food prices, not farm profits. Farmers in India are accustomed to a one-sided bet: They are exposed to the downside when global prices crater and don’t benefit when they rise, if the government blocks exports.

    Some of the sustained criticism India received after the wheat export ban seemed designed to prevent a repeat of that mistake with rice. If so, it may have had some effect. The government seems to be focusing for now on limiting exports of “100% broken” rice, a low-quality grade often used for animal feed and exported especially to China.

    In that case, the main impact would be on margins for Chinese pig farmers. This isn’t a negligible concern: Low margins have already pushed many of them out of the business, causing China’s pig herd to shrink. That’s sent pork prices up by over 20%, driving overall consumer inflation in China to a two-year high.

    But that’s nothing compared to the chaos that a full-scale rice ban would cause. If India shuts down exports, Vietnam and Thailand, the second- and third-largest exporters, might well do the same. Hopefully the Indian government will retain its newfound sense of responsibility until the current crisis is past.

    It should also look closely, however, at what this rice crisis means for India’s agricultural sector. Simply put, while India may be the world’s rice bowl, it’s also remarkably unproductive.

    Rice in particular still depends far too much upon the monsoon. West Bengal, Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh — the regions where rainfall and therefore rice production is below par — are also the same parts of the country that have failed to develop proper irrigation systems. As a result, farmers in those states struggle to produce consistent crops.

    A lack of irrigation, together with poor agricultural practices, has resulted in yields that are stunningly low. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, India’s paddy yield in 2020 was under four tons per hectare; it was nearly six tons a hectare in Vietnam. Even Bangladesh manages 4.8 tons a hectare, which is about the Asian average.

    The biggest step that India could take for the world’s food security — and its own — would be to grow rice more efficiently. That’s where the government’s energies should be focused, not on making life more difficult for India’s friends and farmers.

    More From Other Writers at Bloomberg Opinion:

    • To Tackle Hunger, We Need to Fix Food Subsidies: David Fickling

    • Three Lessons on Food Security From the Ukraine War: Amanda Little

    • The Worst Way to Respond to a Global Food Crisis: Editorial

    This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    Mihir Sharma is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. A senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, he is author of “Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy.”

  • Steps being taken to distribute single boiled rice: Puducherry Minister.

  • The government intends to distribute rice to ration card holders instead of remitting money to the accounts of beneficiary

    Steps are being taken to start distribution of single boiled rice through Public Distribution Outlets instead of remitting money to the account of beneficiaries, Puducherry Minister for Civil Supplies A. K. Sai J. Saravanan Kumar has said.

    A statement from his office said the government intended to distribute rice to ration card holders instead of remitting money to the accounts of beneficiary. 

    “The government is keen on distributing rice instead of following the existing Direct Beneficiary Transfer mode for free rice scheme. The government is consulting the Union Government on reversing the implementation process of the scheme,” the Minister said.

    The government has also decided to issue more red ration cards to eligible persons belonging to the Below Poverty Line category.

    The Civil Supplies Department would also start distribution of green colour ration cards to economically well off persons . Branch offices of Civil Supplies would be established at Villianur and Embalem.

    Steps would be taken to address the grievances of legislators related to ration cards. On the second of every month, a meeting would be organised at the Civil Supplies Department to hear to the grievances of legislators, he said.

    Steps were being taken to revive the functioning of Puducherry Agro Products, Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Limited, the Minister said.

    The budget for 2022-23 has set aside provision to fill vacancies in the Fire Service Department. Several vacancies are to be filled in the department for about 15 years,

    For better operational requirement, the government has decided to create three Additional Divisional Fire officer’s posts in the Union Territory. More gadgets used for firefighting would be procured to equip the force to deal with major accidents, he said.

    The budget has also set aside sufficient amount to provide revolving fund of 5 lakh each to 50 self-help groups, the Minister said.

  • Subsidised rice for 1.5cr poor

  • Sale under OMS, Food Friendly Programme begins today; Govt okays import of 8.3 lakh tonnes of grains

    The government today starts selling rice at subsidised prices in an effort to give respite to the poor and low-income earners and bring stability to the volatile rice market.

    The food ministry plans to sell 7.65 lakh tonnes of rice to more than 1.5 crore people in three months.

    Of the beneficiaries, one crore will get the staple for Tk 30 a kg under the Open Market Sale (OMS) and 50 lakh special cardholders for Tk 15 per kg under the Food Friendly Programme (FFP).

    Yesterday, the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase approved the import of five lakh tonnes of wheat from Russia and 3.3 lakh tonnes of rice from Vietnam and India at a total cost of $378 million (Tk 3,590 crore) under G2G arrangements.

    Besides, Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Myanmar for importing another two lakh tonnes of rice.

    "We now have a huge stock of rice. But a large portion of it will be sold in the next three months under the OMS and the Food Friendly Programme … The government is importing rice to replenish the stock," Shakhawat Hossain, director general at the Directorate General of Food, said yesterday.

    According to the food ministry, the government had stocks of 17.5 lakh tonnes of rice and 1.4 lakh tonnes of wheat till August 30.

    The move comes at a time when the poor and low-income earners are struggling to cope with the soaring prices of essentials.

    In the middle of last month, the prices of all varieties of rice rose by Tk 2-5 per kg. The prices began to fall after the government reduced import duty on rice to 15.25 percent from 25 percent on August 28.

    According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), fine rice was sold for Tk 75 per kg yesterday, semi-coarse rice for Tk 60 a kg and coarse rice for Tk 56 per kg.

    A week ago, the price of per kg fine rice was Tk 80, semi-coarse rice Tk 60 and coarse rice Tk 58.

    WHEAT, RICE IMPORT

    Yesterday, the cabinet committee approved the import of five lakh tonnes of wheat from Russia for $214.94 million (Tk 2,042.5 crore). The import cost of wheat will be Tk 40.85 per kg.

    A food ministry official said one lakh tonnes of wheat will be brought by ships every month from September to January next year.

    The government will also import 3.3 lakh tonnes of rice -- 2.3 lakh tonnes from Vietnam and one lakh tonnes from India -- for $162.94 million (Tk 1,548 crore).

    The average import cost of per kg rice will be Tk 42.13.

    Officials said the government is considering importing another one to two lakh tonnes of rice from India.

    SALE UNDER OMS, FFP

    Shakhawat Hossain said the government will sell rice under the OMS and the FFP to protect the poor and low-income earners from price shock and bring stability to the rice market.

    "There will be two separate queues for TCB cardholders and general customers … The TCB cardholders will get priority," he said, adding that each cardholder will be allowed to buy 5 kg rice at a time for Tk 30 a kg.

    A cardholder will be able to buy up to a maximum of 10 kg rice a month, he mentioned.

    A total of 3.15 lakh tonnes of rice will be sold at 2,363 OMS centres in three months. However, there will be no sales at weekends.

    Asked whether poor people without TCB cards will be deprived of the benefit, Shakhawat said anyone can buy rice from OMS centres by showing National Identity (NID) card.

    Contacted, TCB Chairman Brig Gen Ariful Hassan said there are more than one crore TCB cardholders in the country.

    "They will be able to buy rice at the subsidised price of Tk 30 per kg from the OMS centres. Apart from this, sale of oil, sugar, onion and lentil by the TCB will continue simultaneously," he said.

    Under the FFP, 50 lakh special cardholders will be able to buy 30 kg rice for Tk 15 a kg per month from 10,110 dealers across the country.

    The food ministry will provide 4.50 lakh tonnes of rice for the FPP for three months. 

  • Lack of finance prevents Bangladesh farmers from diversifying their rice crops

    • About 15 million farmers in Bangladesh grow just five to six rice varieties, despite the availability of more than 130 different rice varieties, giving rise to an effective monoculture that leaves farmers at higher risk from pests and diminishing yields.
    • Observers attribute this to a lack of support from the government to help farmers explore other rice varieties, which typically have lower yields and fetch lower prices than the most popular varieties.
    • Lack of financial support means many farmers have to take out high-interest microcredit loans for their operational expenses, which in turn compels them to grow the most profitable rice varieties, locking them in a vicious cycle.
    • Observers have called on the government to do more to incentivize farmers to diversity their rice crops, pointing to long-term benefits in the form of improved soil health and resilience to pest attacks

    Bangladesh is home to more than 130 different rice varieties, but a lack of economic incentives means farmers here grow only a handful of the higher-yielding types. This has given rise to a virtual monocrop system, which farmers and experts say threatens both long-run production and soil quality.

    Most farmers, meanwhile, blame a vicious cycle of dependence on high interest micro-credit for agro-input, which leaves them overdependent on high yield varieties, and little room to experiment with other varieties.

    Abdur Razzak,a 48-year-old farmer in the northern district of Dinajpur, has for the past 15 years grown the most popular varieties — known as BRRI-28 and BRRI-29 — which yield around 6 metric tons of rice per hectare of land, or about 2.7 short tons per acre.

    “A couple of years back we tried BRRI-35,” he says. “[We] dropped it the next year as it yielded only about 3 [metric] tons per hectare,” or 1.3 short tons an acre. Making matters worse, the market price of BRRI-35 and other lesser-known varieties is lower than that of the popular varieties because of the lack of demand.

    Like Razzak, some 15 million farmers in Bangladesh depend just on five to six rice varieties in an effort to maximize their output, cultivating them on 8.6 million hectares (21.3 million acres) of land. That’s made Bangladesh the fourth-highest rice-producing country in the world, churning out 36 million metric tons of rice annually to feed its 170 million people.

    A paddy field in Bangladesh.
    A paddy field in Bangladesh. A cycle of dependence on high interest micro-credit for agro-input leaves farmers overdependent on high yield rice varieties, and little room to experiment with other varieties. Image by Abu Siddique/Mongabay.

    Other popular varieties are BRRI-58, 50, 63 and 74, all named after the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute that developed them. But it’s BRRI-28 and 29 that dominate, accounting for around 50% of all the rice grown in the country, because of their better yields and market price.

    Both farmers and researchers say the return on investment is the main reason for this practice, which has given rise to an effective monoculture. The high cost of production — ranging from irrigation and labor to fertilizers and pesticides — as well uncompetitive prices mean farmers have no incentive to explore beyond the dominant varieties.

    Lack of access to affordable financing

    In a country where agriculture is a mainstay of the economy and farmers play the chief role in ensuring food security, farmers have little formal access to low-cost financing for their operational needs.

    Generally, there are three sources of financial support available to Bangladeshi farmers. First, there are dadon, local lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates on loans that must be paid back in weekly installments. Then there are nongovernmental organizations that provide microcredit loans, followed by state-owned banks.

    Although the latter, with their lower interest rates, would be the ideal option for farmers, most shy away from banks because of the convoluted bureaucracy. The government established the Bangladesh Krishi Bank in 1973 with the aim of supporting farmers, but even today it hasn’t gained much traction.

    “Unfortunately, bureaucratic tangles, involvement of third parties in the loan disbursement process, and political intervention has made the bank ineffective,” said Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, deputy managing director of the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF).

    Between the dadon and the NGOs, farmers tend toward the latter. But even here, the loans aren’t cheap: the average annual interest rate is 31%.

    “We are forced to sell the paddy at a low price immediately after harvest to repay our loans,” said Dilip Kumar, a 40-year-old farmer from another northern district, Lalmonirhat. “If we wait to sell it, the interest on our loan will go up.”

    The high cost of production — ranging from irrigation and labor to fertilizers and pesticides — as well uncompetitive prices mean farmers have no incentive to explore beyond the dominant varieties. Image by Abu Siddique/Mongabay.

    Risks of monocrop culture

    “If farmers cannot get a fair price for their produce and cannot access finance to meet their [production] needs on time, they will definitely go for varieties that have the best yield,” said Ahsan Uddin Ahmed, a researcher on environment and climate change issues.

    He said that makes the predominance of monoculture the fault of the government, as it has failed to address the farmers’ interests by making it feasible for them to explore other rice varieties.

    A 2019 study suggested that adopting alternative varieties of rice could help Bangladeshi farmers avoid risks such as pest attacks and low yields in the long run — risks that grow the greater the overdependence on a few varieties.

    Repeated monocropping also degrades soil health, which Ahsan Uddin, who is a member of the Green Climate Fund’s Independent Technical Advisory Panel of the Green Climate Fund, also blamed on the government.

    “The farmers are not liable for the damage to soil health. It’s the state’s responsibility to ensure availability of technology, finance and cultivable varieties. The government has failed in this regard,” he said.

    “The government should introduce a mechanism so that farmers get a fair price for their production,” said  Jibon Krisna Biswas, a former director-general of the BRRI. “Otherwise, they will continue to grow varieties like BRRI-28 and BRRI-29. This is leading to the monocrop culture, which will bring ecological ruin in the long run.”

  • Centre has no plans as of now to curb rice exports, says report

  • The government has no plans as of now to impose any restrictions on exports of rice and there are adequate buffer stocks to meet the domestic requirements, according to an official source.

    The government has no plans as of now to impose any restrictions on exports of rice and there are adequate buffer stocks to meet the domestic requirements, according to an official source.

    There were some discussions on imposing curbs on rice exports but no decision has been taken yet. The government is unlikely to put in any place restrictions, the source said.

    India, the world's second largest rice producer after China, commands 40 per cent share in the global trade.

    The country exported 21.2 million tonnes of rice in 2021-22 fiscal year, of which 3.94 million tonnes were basmati rice. It exported non-basmati rice worth USD 6.11 billion in the same period, as per official data.

    The country exported non-basmati rice to more than 150 countries in 2021-22.

    With area under coverage for paddy down by 6 per cent to 367.55 lakh hectares so far this kharif sowing season due to less rains in some states, there are concerns that production of rice may fall in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June).

    Traders fear that the current situation might force the Centre to impose some restrictions on exports of rice as is now the case with wheat.

    Till August 26 of the current kharif season, less paddy area has been mainly reported from Jharkhand 10.51 lakh hectares (ha), West Bengal (4.62 lakh ha), Chhattisgarh (3.45 lakh ha), Uttar Pradesh (2.63 lakh ha), Bihar (2.40 lakh ha), and Odisha (2.24 lakh ha).

    Paddy is the main kharif crop, sowing of which begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon from June and harvesting starts from October onwards.

    Rice production rose to record 130.29 million tonnes in the last crop year as against 124.37 million tonnes in 2020-21.

    On the back of bumper production and high procurement in the last few years, the Centre is sitting on a stock of 47 million tonnes of rice, including rice equivalent of unmilled paddy, as on July 1. The buffer stock requirement is to have 13.5 million tonnes of rice as on July 1.

    Already, the Centre is supplying more rice instead of wheat through ration shops as its procurement of wheat fell sharply to 19 million tonnes this marketing year compared to 43 million tonnes in the year-ago period.

    Wheat marketing year is from April to March but almost the entire quantity of the grain is procured by the end of June.

    Currently, the government is providing wheat and rice for Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kilogram, respectively, under the National Food Security Law (NFSA). These food grains are provided free of cost under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to around 80 crore people.

    The Centre is providing 5 kg of food grains (wheat and rice) per person per month under the NFSA and another 5 kg per person per month under the PMGKAY.

    The PMGKAY scheme is valid till September and the government is yet to take a decision on whether to extend the welfare programme amid the tight stock situation with respect to wheat and likely fall in rice output.

    (Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

  • Centre has no plans as of now to curb rice exports, says report

  • The government has no plans as of now to impose any restrictions on exports of rice and there are adequate buffer stocks to meet the domestic requirements, according to an official source.

    The government has no plans as of now to impose any restrictions on exports of rice and there are adequate buffer stocks to meet the domestic requirements, according to an official source.

    There were some discussions on imposing curbs on rice exports but no decision has been taken yet. The government is unlikely to put in any place restrictions, the source said.

    India, the world's second largest rice producer after China, commands 40 per cent share in the global trade.

    The country exported 21.2 million tonnes of rice in 2021-22 fiscal year, of which 3.94 million tonnes were basmati rice. It exported non-basmati rice worth USD 6.11 billion in the same period, as per official data.

    The country exported non-basmati rice to more than 150 countries in 2021-22.

    With area under coverage for paddy down by 6 per cent to 367.55 lakh hectares so far this kharif sowing season due to less rains in some states, there are concerns that production of rice may fall in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June).

    traders fear that the current situation might force the Centre to impose some restrictions on exports of rice as is now the case with wheat.

    Till August 26 of the current kharif season, less paddy area has been mainly reported from Jharkhand 10.51 lakh hectares (ha), West Bengal (4.62 lakh ha), Chhattisgarh (3.45 lakh ha), Uttar Pradesh (2.63 lakh ha), Bihar (2.40 lakh ha), and Odisha (2.24 lakh ha).

    Paddy is the main kharif crop, sowing of which begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon from June and harvesting starts from October onwards.

    Rice production rose to record 130.29 million tonnes in the last crop year as against 124.37 million tonnes in 2020-21.

    On the back of bumper production and high procurement in the last few years, the Centre is sitting on a stock of 47 million tonnes of rice, including rice equivalent of unmilled paddy, as on July 1. The buffer stock requirement is to have 13.5 million tonnes of rice as on July 1.

    Already, the Centre is supplying more rice instead of wheat through ration shops as its procurement of wheat fell sharply to 19 million tonnes this marketing year compared to 43 million tonnes in the year-ago period.

    Wheat marketing year is from April to March but almost the entire quantity of the grain is procured by the end of June.

    Currently, the government is providing wheat and rice for Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kilogram, respectively, under the National Food Security Law (NFSA). These food grains are provided free of cost under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to around 80 crore people.

    The Centre is providing 5 kg of food grains (wheat and rice) per person per month under the NFSA and another 5 kg per person per month under the PMGKAY.

    The PMGKAY scheme is valid till September and the government is yet to take a decision on whether to extend the welfare programme amid the tight stock situation with respect to wheat and likely fall in rice output.

    (Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

  • N. Korea to buy 10,000 tons of rice from India

  • North Korea is allegedly planning to import 10,000 tons of rice from India. While publicly criticizing the Yoon Suk-yeol administration for its ‘audacious plan’ containing a measure to provide massive food aid to the North, North Korea is now moving to buy rice from India after China last month. Some analyze that COVID-19 and floods in North Korea may have deepened the economic difficulties, causing a severe food shortage in the country.

    Voice of America (VOA) reported on Monday that it recently attained the ‘ship arrangement guide’ released to the delivery industry, according to which North Korea is now moving to ship 10,000 tons of rice from Visakhapatnam Port, the Eastern side of India to its Nampo Port. The guide introduced the desired departure date to be between Sept. 25 and 30. The guide is sort of a notice that contains the type of freight, departure and arrival locations, offered by a freight owner to find a vessel to ship its freight. An insider of the shipping industry told VOA, “It seems that North Korea wants to import ‘long grain’ produced in India, Pakistan and Thailand rather than ‘short grain’ that it commonly consumes.”

    VOA pointed out that the guide didn’t include the supporting organization’s name, which is commonly presented in the case of humanitarian food aid from international organizations. It shows the possibility of North Korea coming out itself to import rice from India apart from humanitarian aid. Rice was out of the list of items sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council’s resolution against North Korea, as it is categorized as a humanitarian one.

    During his remarks to commemorate National Liberation Day, South Korean President Yoon revealed his plan of providing food support to North Korea in exchange for the North’s mineral resources in case North Korea comes to the negotiating table for denuclearization. Against this, Kim Yo Jong, vice director of the North Korean Workers’ Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, criticized Yoon’s offer saying it is nothing but a ‘hollow dream.’

    In the report ‘International Food Security Assessment,’ the Economic Research Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture noted that some 16.3 million people in North Korea, or 63.1 percent of the nation’s total population, are identified to be suffering from food shortage. Some voiced concerns that the food crisis may even worsen due to the pandemic that went widespread around June, the rice-planting season, and a series of flood damages. North Korea imported about 10,000 tons of rice from China last month.

  • Bangladesh to import rice from Vietnam and India to replenish reserves

  • DHAKA: Bangladesh is finalising deals with Vietnam and India to import a total of 330,000 tonnes of rice as it races to replenish reserves and cool domestic prices, two officials with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

    Soaring prices of the staple grain for the country’s 165 million people pose a problem for the government, which plans to expand cut-price rice sales to help people hard-hit by high costs.

    The south Asian country will buy 100,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from an Indian public sector firm and 200,000 tonnes of parboiled rice and 30,000 tonnes of white rice from Vietnam, the government officials said.

    The price for the parboiled rice from Vietnam will be $521 a tonne and white rice $494 a tonne, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deals have not been made public.

    The price for rice from neighbouring India will be $443.50 per tonne via seaports and $428.50 per tonne via railways, the officials said. All the prices included freight, insurance and unloading costs, they said.

    “Preparations are underway to sign the deals soon,” one of the officials said, adding the rice would be delivered within two to three months after the signing.

    The Bangladesh government is also holding talks with Myanmar to import rice, the officials said, putting aside a rift over the Rohingya refugee crisis.

    Bangladesh this week slashed import duty on rice to 15% from 25%, cutting it for the second time since July in a bid to boost private imports.

    Its private rice import plan, however, faces a setback with only 36,000 tonnes bought since July, after the government allowed private traders to import nearly 1 million tonnes of the staple grain after slashing duty to 25.0% from 62.5%.

    The government will begin selling rice at a cheaper rate for 5 million poor families and expand such sales from September, in an effort to rein in surging domestic prices, which saw yet another uptick after it hiked domestic oil prices early this month.

    Bangladesh, traditionally the world’s third-biggest rice producer with around 35 million tonnes annually, uses almost all its production to feed its people. It still often requires imports to cope with shortages caused by floods or droughts.

  • What’s behind rice stunting in India? Researchers pin down virus first found in China 21 yrs ago

  • Stunting is being caused by Southern Rice Black-streaked Dwarf virus, which has previously led to yield losses in China, Vietnam & Japan, finds Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

    New Delhi: A research team from the premier Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Delhi, has found that the severe stunting that’s being reported in rice crops in India’s Green Revolution bowl was caused by a virus that was discovered in China over 20 years ago. 

    First reported in Guangdong, China, in 2001, the Southern Rice Black-streaked Dwarf virus has led to yield losses in Asian countries including China, Vietnam, and Japan. 

    Typical symptoms include pronounced stunting, darkening of leaves, and white waxy or black-streaked swellings along the veins on stems of rice plants, according to a research paper published in the journal Plant Pathology.

    However, the IARI report has found a limited incidence of the disease in the areas surveyed during its field investigation in northwestern India. 

    “On an average, there was around 1 per cent incidence of stunt disease in rice across the surveyed locations… in the affected fields, the disease incidence varied from 2-10 percent,” a summary of the investigation report seen by ThePrint said.

    The stunting is severe, with the affected plants reaching up to a quarter of the height of a normal plant.

    The stunting is severe, with the affected plants reaching up to a quarter of the height of a normal plant.

    “We have confirmed beyond doubt that the Southern Rice Black-streaked Dwarf virus is the cause of stunting. The vector (which transmits the virus) is the white-backed planthopper,” A.K. Singh, the director of IARI, told ThePrint.

    Planthoppers are a group of small jumping insects that feed on a wide variety of plants. 

    “Farmers have been advised to use insecticides to effectively control planthoppers… Milky grains from infected plants were also subjected to tests which ruled out the possibility of seed transmission,” Singh added.

    How the virus was found

    The IARI conducted a survey of the affected fields in Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Ambala, and Yamunanagar districts in Haryana.

    Researchers found that the diseased plants have poorly-developed root systems, which affect nutrient delivery from soils. 

    The IARI has advised farmers and seed growers against using the infected crop to sow seeds for next season’s crops. State governments have also been advised not to allow infected plots for seed certification purposes.

    According to the IARI report, a comprehensive investigation using three independent methods — transmission electron microscopy, RT-PCR, and real-time RT-PCR — was carried out to help detect the virus.

    The infection was confirmed in 12 different varieties of both basmati and non-basmati rice. These include PB1962, PB1121, PB1509, PR114, PR136, PR130, PR131, Pioneer Hybrid, Swift Gold (manufactured by Bayer), and CSR 30.

    “This is conclusive evidence of the association of Southern Rice Black-streaked Dwarf virus with rice stunt disease and its presence in white-backed planthopper vectors. Further, the absence of virus in seeds of infected plants revealed that it is not seed-transmitted,” IARI said in the summary report of the investigation.

    According to the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, the stunting disease was first reported mid-July across several districts in Punjab — including Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, and Mohali.

    The university has advised farmers to inspect fields and spray insecticides to kill planthoppers that could transmit the virus to healthy plants.

  • Drones are reshaping how rice is farmed in Vietnam

  • Vietnam is the world’s second-largest rice exporter, and XAG says its agricultural drones have become the “new favorite” of farmers that grow the crop.

    The drone manufacturer, which has been actively pushing out its products in the Southeast Asian nation since the start of the monsoon, said drones have found takers even among those farmers who have been growing rice in the traditional way for over 40 years.

    Lê Thành Nguyên, at 62 years old, is one of the early adopters of agricultural drones in Vietnam. This year, he used drones on his seven-hectare rice farm for crop spraying, fertilization, and direct seeding by ordering the service from a local pilot team.

    Nguyên says he was driven to try out the new technology because he has been having difficulties hiring labor for manual jobs. The labor shortage has also led to an increase in costs, with the price of hiring agricultural workers reportedly jumping as much as 40% in just three years.

    “The drone eases the burden and greatly improves the efficiency,” Nguyên said. “In the past, I had to pay four workers to carry and spread one ton of fertilizers on my field from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and they were exhausted. The drone has the benefits of large-volume, uniform distribution, and high spray penetration, which can help me with better pest control and nutrition management.”

    The agriculturist also points out that when feeding nutrients to the rice seeds sown, 100% absorption is achieved by drone spraying, whereas only six or seven seeds out of 10 were able to take in the nutrition when sprayed manually.

    Meanwhile, according to XAG’s local distributor DigiDrone, agricultural drones can spray crops four times faster than manual labor while improving yield by 14% compared to traditional farming.

    XAG is confident that the number of farmers using drones for autonomous operations will only increase in the future. “Drones designed for agricultural use can reduce seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers without affecting crop yields through precise, effortless operation,” the company said.

  • India In-Focus — India considers curbs on exports of 100% broken rice; Talks with Russia over LNG supply resumption

  • India is in talks with Russia to resume gas supplies under the long-term import deal between Gazprom and GAIL India Ltd. (Shutterstock)

    RIYADH: India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, is considering whether to restrict exports of 100 percent broken rice, government and industry officials said on Friday, after paddy areas reduced due to a lack of rainfall.

    The potential export curbs could see rice prices rising globally because India accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s rice shipments. It could also hit a few poor African countries that import 100 percent broken rice for human consumption, though broken rice, rice grains that are damaged during harvesting, milling or transportation. is mainly used for feed purposes.

    “We have been discussing whether we need some sort of curbs on 100 percent broken rice exports,” said a senior government official involved in the decision process.

    India is more than comfortable in terms of both private and government rice stocks, so there is no point considering any curb on overall rice exports, the official said, adding that the discussions are confined to broken rice.

    The state-run Food Corporation of India held 41 million tons of milled and rice paddy stocks as of Aug. 1, far above the government’s requirement of 13.5 million tons by July 1.

    Below-average rainfall in key rice-producing states such as West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh prompted the latest discussions in a country that has already banned wheat exports and restricted sugar shipments this year.

    India in talks with Russia over LNG supply resumption, GAIL says

    India is in talks with Russia to resume gas supplies under the long-term import deal between Gazprom and GAIL India Ltd., the state-run Indian company’s chairman said at an annual shareholder meeting on Friday.

    GAIL, India’s largest gas distributor and operator of pipelines, has not received the agreed imports since May and has had to cut supplies to clients as a result. 

    “There are some immediate issues which we are trying to tackle both at the company level and also at G2G (government to government) level,” said GAIL Chairman Manoj Jain, adding that supplies under the Gazprom deal have been hit by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

    Volumes under the deal were about a fifth of GAIL’s overall overseas gas portfolio of 14 million tons a year, including supplies from the United States, Qatar and Australia, Jain said.

    “So overall it is not affecting us in a significant way. The only effect is to the extent of 10-15 percent,” he added, pointing out that the addition of domestic gas reduces the impact on local supplies to about 7-8 percent.

    He said GAIL is scouting for more long-term gas import deals to prepare for “such eventualities in future.”

    (With input from Reuters)

  • Paddy acreage deficit goes down from 15% to 6% in a span of 14 days

  • The saving grace is that unlike wheat, rice stocks in the central pool are much higher than required

    A strong pick up in paddy acreage might also have an impact on any move to impose export restrictions

    The shortfall in the area under paddy cultivation for the week ended August 26 over the same period last year has narrowed to 5.99 per cent from 8.25 per cent in the previous week due to a pick-up in rain in West Bengal and Jharkhand.

    This could ease some concern about a big drop in final output. However, a final analysis on output will be possible only when the harvest starts because much of the sowing in eastern India is happening after the ideal planting time, market participants said.

    According to the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture, during the week ended August 26, paddy was sown in around 36.75 million hectares as against 39.09 million hectares during the same period last year.

    Till last week, paddy acreage across the country was 34.37 million hectares. Up to July 29, sowing was completed in just around 58.31 per cent of the normal area. This had risen to 92.5 per cent by August 26.

    “Normal area” is the average covered in the last five years -- 39.70 million hectares.

    The narrowing of the deficit could have an impact on prices, which have risen by 5.5-12 per cent between July 1 and August 15 for some common varieties in select markets of the country. It could also influence the decisions of a meeting -- scheduled for next week -- of a high-powered panel of officials of the Central and state governments.

    The meeting will take stock of the progress in sowing and price situation in order to finalise the procurement strategy for the next crop season, which will start on October 1, 2022. A strong pickup in acreage might also have an impact on any move to impose export restrictions.

    India, the world’s second-largest producer and top exporter of rice, commands a 40 per cent share in the global rice trade. The country exported 21.2 million tonnes in 2021-22. Of that 3.94 million tonnes was basmati.

    A Reuters report though said the government might consider imposing some restrictions on export of 100 per cent broken rice, which is less than 20 per cent of the country's total annual rice export.

    Meanwhile, the data showed that the kharif coverage of all crops also went up during the week ended August 26 and around 104.51 million hectares has been brought under cultivation -- just 1.58 per cent less than in the same period last year.

    In Gangetic West Bengal, the data sourced from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) shows that the cumulative monsoon deficit between June 1 and August 26 has narrowed to 27 per cent from a high of 46 per cent between June 1 and July 29.

    In Gangetic West Bengal, the data sourced from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) shows that the cumulative monsoon deficit between June 1 and August 26 has narrowed to 27 per cent from a high of 46 per cent between June 1 and July 29.

    The latest data shows till August 26, the major states that showed a deficit in paddy sowing over last year are Jharkhand (-1.05 million hectares), West Bengal (-0.46 million hectares), Chhattisgarh (-0.34 million hectares), Uttar Pradesh (-0.26 million hectares), Bihar (-0.24 million hectares), and Odisha (-0.22 million hectares).

    “Rainfall levels remain broadly normal, with no material shift in the regional distribution. Still, a potential shortfall in paddy crop sowing and output may create concern, especially for countries importing rice from India,” said Rahul Bajoria, managing director and chief India economist at Barclays in a note.

    The saving grace is that unlike wheat, rice stocks in the central pool are much higher than required. As on July 1, 2022, rice stocks in the Central pool are almost 134 per cent more than the buffer and strategic requirement.

  • “Drought, Watchword of the Week,” While India May Curb Some Rice Exports, and Black Sea Exports Continue

  • Kirk Maltais reported today at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “The worst drought in a decade is posing fresh challenges to farmers in the Corn Belt who already are struggling with surging costs, the dark side of a post-Covid commodities boom.

    Crop damage from South Dakota and Nebraska to Iowa and Illinois was evident this week in surveys by this year’s Professional Farmers of America Inc. Midwest Crop Tour, in which farmers, traders and others in agricultural industries evaluated corn and soybeans growing in fields across seven states.

    “Pro Farmer this month cut its outlook for corn yields by 13% in Nebraska and 22% in South Dakota, relative to levels in its survey last year. The reductions helped fuel a rebound in the prices of many grains this past week, adding to the volatility in futures trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.”

    U.S. Agriculture in Drought. USDA- Office of the Chief Economist (August 25, 2022).

    The Journal article noted that, “The Plains drought is only the latest weather-related hit farmers have suffered this year. A string of hailstorms hammered Nebraska crops in June, with hail coverage claims ranking among the most ever seen by crop insurer Rural Community Insurance Services, said Jason Meador, head of the insurer, which is a division of Zurich North America.

    “In Nebraska, projected crop yields dropped even in fields with irrigation systems, an unusual turn of events that reflects just how hot and dry the weather has been this summer in the Midwest.”

    Maltais explained that, “The implications are global. Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Bunge Ltd. forecast last month that Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and poor weather in South America, the EU and China would keep world grain supplies tight.”

    The Journal article indicated that, “To be sure, the news from the farm isn’t all bad. Crop stress in the western Corn Belt is being balanced in part by wetter crops in the east. In its most recent supply and demand report this month, the U.S. Agriculture Department said that it expects domestic corn production to total 14.4 billion bushels—down only slightly from its projection in July.

    “Additionally, the agency revised its soybean-production projections higher in its August report, to 4.5 billion bushels. ”

    And yesterday, Bloomberg writers Tarso Veloso Ribeiro and Kim Chipman reported that, “Drought was the watchword of the week: dry soils plagued the [Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour] participants throughout the western crop belt. Even in the east, where plants received more rain, yields were still looking a bit mediocre. Some evidence of crop disease and pest infestations also added to the woes.”

    More broadly, Christian Shepherd and Ian Livingston reported in today’s Washington Post that, “The unprecedented heat wave that has engulfed China this summer has dried up rivers, wilted crops and sparked forest fires. It has grounded ships, caused hydropower shortages and forced major cities to dim lights. Receding waters have revealed long-submerged ancient bridges and Buddhist statues.”

    The Washington Post (Page A8 – August 26, 2022).

    “At 73 days and counting, the heat wave has easily surpassed China’s record of 62 days in 2013. All-time highs are being broken, often only to be re-broken days later,” the Post article said.

    Elsewhere, Bloomberg writer Pratik Parija reported today that,

    India, the world’s biggest rice shipper, will likely restrict some exports as domestic supply is under threat, according to people with knowledge of the matter, a move that risks adding to the chaos in global food markets.

    “The government is discussing curbs on broken rice exports, which account for almost 20% of India’s shipments abroad, as local prices have soared, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Talks are in advanced stages and a decision may be announced soon, the people said.”

    The Bloomberg article explained that, “Unlike wheat and corn prices, which surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rice has been subdued due to ample stockpiles, warding off a bigger food crisis. Back in 2008, prices soared above $1,000 a ton, more than double the level now, as India and Vietnam banned exports, causing panic over supplies.
    Broken rice is mainly used for animal feed or to produce ethanol in India. Prices have jumped this year on increased export demand. Top buyers include China, which uses it mostly for livestock feed, and some African countries, which import the grain for food.”
    And Reuters News reported today that, “India, the world’s biggest exporter of rice, is examining whether there is a need to restrict exports of 100% broken rice mainly used for feed purposes, government and industry officials told Reuters on Friday.
    “The curbs on exports by India could lift rice prices in the world as the south Asian country accounts for more than 40% of global rice shipments.”
    Also today, Reuters .News reported that, “Germany’s grain and rapeseed harvest is better than expected after a heatwave and drought but damage is expected to maize (corn) and sugar beet crops, the German agriculture ministry estimated on Friday.”
    Europe is facing its worst drought in about 500 years, with crops in several countries suffering, especially maize,” the Reuters article said.
    In other news, Bloomberg writer Michael Hirtzer reported yesterday that, “Merchant vessels have a new route to reach three ports in war-torn Ukraine, a move that could further boost shipments of food out of the Black Sea where disruptions earlier this year sent wheat prices to a record.
    The new 320-nautical-mile route connects Ukraine’s ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi/Yuzhny with inspection areas inside Turkey’s territorial waters, according to a press release Thursday from the Joint Coordination Centre. The group includes representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations with a mission to ensure the safe transportation of food and fertilizer.”

  • India considers curbs on exports of 100% broken rice

  • MUMBAI, Aug 26 (Reuters) - India, the world's biggest rice exporter, is considering whether to restrict exports of 100% broken rice, government and industry officials told Reuters on Friday, after the paddy area has been reduced by a lack of rainfall.

    The potential export curbs could lift rice prices globally because India accounts for more than 40% of the world's rice shipments. It could also hit a few poor African countries that import 100% broken rice for human consumption, though that variety is mainly used for feed purposes.

    "We have been discussing whether we need some sort of curbs on 100% broken rice exports," said a senior government official involved in the decision process.

    India is more than comfortable in terms of both private and government rice stocks, so there is no point considering any curb on overall rice exports, the official said, adding that the discussions are confined to broken rice.

    The state-run Food Corporation of India held 41 million tonnes of milled and rice paddy stocks as of Aug. 1, far above the government's requirement of 13.5 million tonnes by July 1.

    Below-average rainfall in key rice-producing states such as West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh prompted the latest discussions in a country that has already banned wheat exports and restricted sugar shipments this year. 

    India's farmers have planted paddy on 34.37 million hectares, down 8.3% from a year ago, farm ministry data showed last week.

    India usually exports 5% and 25% broken rice, but demand for 100% broken rice has risen sharply in recent months, particularly from drought-hit China, exporters said.

    "The local cattle feed industry has been demanding a restriction on exports of 100% brokens so they can have more supplies," said one exporter based in Andhra Pradesh.

    In 2021 India exported 21.5 million tonnes of rice, including 3.6 million tonnes of broken rice.

    China was the biggest buyer of broken rice, with purchases of 1.1 million tonnes in 2021, while African countries such as Senegal and Djibouti bought brokens for human consumption.

    "Instead of banning, the government should impose duty on the exports. This will help India keep a presence in the market and allow African countries to import,” said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association.

    The price difference between 100% broken and 5% broken has dropped to $15 a tonne from more than $70 a year ago, exporters said.

    India's 5% broken white rice was quoted around $340 a tonne this week, against $325 for 100% broken white rice, they said.

  • Reducing ASEAN’s food import dependency

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the Russia–Ukraine conflict have exacerbated global food insecurity. The current crisis has highlighted the reliance of many ASEAN states on staple food and animal feed imports, as well as ASEAN’s lack of coordinated strategy for food production. ASEAN needs to reduce import dependency to minimise the impact of global market fluctuations on regional food security.

    While ASEAN’s staple food is rice, there has been increased demand for wheat, soybean and maize over the past decade — an increase that ASEAN production cannot meet. Soybean and maize have become particularly important as animal feeds needed to support an exponential growth in livestock demand. Meeting this demand requires large imports from outside ASEAN.

    Food insecurity has highlighted ASEAN’s vulnerability to disruptions in the importation of foodstuffs. Several states are now prioritising localised production and shorter, more reliable supply chains. The ASEAN Secretariat estimated that ASEAN imported US$61 billion worth of agricultural commodities from outside ASEAN in 2020. ASEAN states are among the world’s largest importers of wheat and import significant amounts of soybean and maize.

    This reflects ASEAN’s insufficient production of the region’s main foodstuffs. ASEAN member states differ widely in their production capacities of rice, wheat, soybean, maize, vegetable oil and livestock. In 2020, ASEAN produced an underwhelming 46 million tonnes of maize, 735,000 tonnes of soybean and 113,400 tonnes of wheat. ASEAN maize production meets about 75 per cent of the region’s needs because of the relatively low production compared to the major maize exporting countries in North America, South America and Europe.

    ASEAN produces less than a tenth of its soybean needs. ASEAN soybean production is concentrated in Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Between 2018 and 2019, ASEAN member states imported about 7.5 million tonnes of soybean for animal feed and food. Soybeans have the largest dollar value of any ASEAN food import and imports exceed local production by a ratio of 10:1.

    ASEAN accounted for 15 per cent of global wheat imports in 2021. Wheat imports exceed production in ASEAN by a whopping ratio of 244:1. The majority of imported wheat is from Ukraine, so the Russia–Ukraine war has unsurprisingly disrupted the export of wheat to Southeast Asia and caused prices to spike.

    Indonesia is the biggest wheat importer in ASEAN. In 2021, Indonesia imported US$3.5 billion worth of wheat. Wheat imports are used to produce Indonesia’s staple foods, including noodles, bread and baked goods. The country has total reliance on wheat imports for its food and animal feed.

    Rice is the only staple food that ASEAN produces a surplus of. In 2020, ASEAN grew 48 million hectares of paddy rice, which harvested 191 million tonnes of rice. Rice production takes up about 66 per cent of the total arable land area in ASEAN. But many ASEAN states are still net rice importers, with Indonesia and the Philippines importing the most.

    In 2020, ASEAN states imported 76.5 per cent of their rice from other ASEAN member states. ASEAN countries clearly need to work together and to develop a coordinated strategy to reduce the region’s dependency on food imports. Increasing rice production may enable the region to become a net exporter of rice, strengthening its position in the face of another food security crisis.

    Increasing rice production will require a combination of technological innovations. This includes transitioning to biotechnology-improved rice, increasing on-farm yields of preferred rice varieties, infrastructural improvements, input financing and improved smallholder farmer management skills.

    But the large area taken up by rice production and the need to increase rice production raise concerns about its environmental impact. Rice crop lands are the largest contributors to ASEAN’s methane emissions. Policymakers must balance the need to reduce global warming with increased rice production.

    Soybean and wheat crop lands are still relatively scarce in ASEAN, making the gap between imports and production very large. Increasing crop lands and yields will require a coordinated strategy. There must be significant investment in the tropical soybean and wheat agronomy, including breeding and crop pest management. New soybean and wheat varieties need to be made available expeditiously by implementing innovative breeding technology and improving pest management.

    A well-resourced, ASEAN-wide initiative may increase the region’s wheat, soybean and maize supply resilience. This will enable ASEAN to capitalise on its biodiversity and under-utilised native plants to reduce its reliance on imported staple food and feed crops.

    Paul Teng is Adjunct Senior Fellow and Food Security Adviser at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.

    A version of this article was first published here in the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies Commentary.

  • Nepal’s rice farmers brace for loss over lack of rains, fertilisers

  • A senior government meteorologist says it’s still too early to link the lateness of the monsoon to climate change

    The fertile plains in southern Nepal is known as the country’s rice bowl. Thousands of farmers here are currently facing a double whammy of a fertiliser shortage and inadequate monsoon rains.

    This is likely to affect production of the country’s staple grain, which also contributes around a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product and provides employment of at least six months for a large proportion of the population.

    “Paddy has been planted only in around 75% of the fields as of end of July,” said Suma Karki, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture. “Last year this time, the figure was around 88%.”

    The monsoon clouds, which originate in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, are obstructed by the Himalayan mountain range when they try to move north. They then form a low-pressure band, shedding their moisture in the form of rain in the foothills of the mountains as well as the Gangetic plain that runs through Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The band, known as the monsoon trough, moves between the foothills of mountains in the north and the Indian plains in the south bringing rain wherever it goes.

    “This monsoon season, the trough has remained in the Indian plains for a longer period than we’d expect it to,” said senior government meteorologist Indira Kandel. This is why Nepal’s southern plains haven’t received adequate rains for rice farmers this year, she added.

    The monsoon rains account for 60-90% of Nepal’s total annual precipitation, and are crucial for the farmers who grow rice on around 1.4 million hectares (3.5 million acres) of land, 75% of which lie in the southern Terai plains. Most of the farmers are dependent on the rains as the irrigation system in the country can’t cater to all their needs.

    “Due to lack of adequate rain, the rice fields have developed cracks and the plants have dried up,” said Ranju Sharma, a farmer from the rural municipality of Katahari in Nepal’s Morang district, near the border with India.

    Farmers such as Sharma are already under stress as large numbers of Nepali workers seek jobs abroad in India and the Middle East. This makes it difficult to plant rice on time as the traditional cultivation practices are labour intensive. In addition, unexpected issues pop up virtually every year that forces the farmers to bear huge losses.

    Farmers work at a paddy field in Nepal.

    This year, the farmers had anticipated that the main challenge would be a shortage of chemical fertilisers. The government, which used to supply fertiliser to farmers ahead of the monsoon season, failed to do so this year as the fertiliser couldn’t be imported in time. But the lack of rainfall has created more trouble.

    “We were already worried that the output would go down this year due to lack of fertiliser, now the rainfall problem has added to our woes,” Sharma said.

    The change in rainfall patterns in Nepal’s plains come as record heat waves, attributed to climate change, recently engulfed much of the Northern Hemisphere, including India. “It would be too early to say that the heat waves had anything to do with the behaviour of the monsoon trough. But we can’t rule out that possibility,” Kandel said.

    What is known is that a changing climate has changed the long-term precipitation patterns in Nepal. A report by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology suggests that although the volume of total rainfall hasn’t changed much, the intensity has. This means rainfall patterns have become hard to forecast, and the chances of flash floods have increased.

    Many farmers say they still remember all too well the flash floods during last year’s monsoon, just as they were preparing for what they thought would be a good harvest. The monsoon, which typically leaves Nepal in late September, stayed longer last year, bringing unexpected rains in the second week of October. According to government figures, which usually underestimate damages, farmers suffered losses amounting to Rs. 11.87 billion rupees ($93 million).

    As the monsoon trough moves north again, farmers say they hope it brings adequate rain this time before it heads back south again. “The rains should stop when they are supposed to stop,” Sharma said. “If it doesn’t, we might have to abandon rice farming altogether as we can’t take losses year after year.”

    Nepal’s import-dependent economy, which is already under huge pressure due to rising fuel prices, could take another hit if rice production takes yet another major hit this year. The country, which only has sufficient foreign currency reserves to finance around seven months of imports, could face severe problems if the food import bill also rises, economists warn.

  • T. Narsipura farmer to display rice varieties at Delhi expo

  • Srinivas of Siddanahundi in T. Narsipura taluk of Mysuru district cultivates different varieties of rice in his field. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

    Srinivas, who won the Gene Saviour award for 2016-17 in recognition of his work, has over 250 varieties of rice in his collection and has created a ‘gene bank’.

    A farmer and rice breeder from Siddanahundi in T. Narsipura taluk will represent Mysuru district at a national-level exhibition that will showcase different varieties of rice conserved by farmers from across the country.

    Mr. Srinivas, who won the Gene Saviour award for 2016-17 in recognition of his work, has over 250 varieties of rice in his collection and has created a ‘gene bank’.  This includes about 240 varieties from different parts of India and 10 varieties from other countries.

    Some of the exotic varieties which Mr. Srinivas has conserved and grows exclusively include Rajamudi, Ratnachudi, Jeerige Sanna, Gandhasale, Sidda Sanna etc. from Karnataka; Burma Black from Myanmar, Jasmine from Thailand, Lanka 1 and Lanka 2 from Sri Lanka from other countries.

    Among his exotic collection of rice varieties from other States are Jugal from West Bengal and JP 11 developed by a farmer from Varanasi.

    Mr. Srinivas said that he toured different parts of the country including Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, etc., and met like-minded farmers who too were conserving indigenous varieties of rice. This interaction helped him to procure small quantities of different varieties of rice which he cultivated – not for consumption – but to sell it to fellow farmers who were keen to preserve and propagate the rare varieties by cultivating it on a large scale.

    ‘’Most of the rice varieties are on the verge of extinction and are not cultivated as the market prefers the polished and hybrid white rice. If the indigenous varieties are not conserved they will become extinct and with it we will lose a slice of our agricultural heritage,” said Mr. Srinivas.

    Though he had a large swathe of land till recently, the agricultural plot had to be divided among his brothers and so Mr. Srinivas is now left with just 1 acre. But this has not dissuaded him from taking up rice conservation. ‘’I cultivate on a portion of the land and grow crops and vegetables for domestic consumption and the rest is meant to grow different varieties of rice for distribution to other farmers,” he said.

    All 250 varieties cannot be cultivated at one go given the small size of plot. So Mr. Srinivas takes about 30 varieties each year and cultivates them on a rotation basis. ‘’There is great demand for different varieties from like-minded farmers and hence income is also assured,” he added.

  • RPT-ASIA RICE-SUPPLY CONCERNS LIFT INDIAN RATES;

  • RPT-ASIA RICE-SUPPLY CONCERNS LIFT INDIAN RATES; VIETNAM LOSES OUT TO COMPETITION

    * Thailand prices slip to $416-$420/t

    * China, Philippines have cut rice purchases from Vietnam - trader

    By Bharat Gautam

    Aug 19 (Reuters) - Indian rates for rice exports rose this week as lower planting fuelled concerns over supplies from the new season, while Vietnamese prices and quality of the grain lagged peers.

    Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted at $365-$371 per tonne, up from last week's $360-$366.

    "Weather is not supporting crop in eastern and northern India. Traders have started quoting higher prices for paddy assuming lower production from the new crop," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Neighbouring Bangladesh will begin selling rice at a cheaper rate for 5 million poor families and expand such sales from September, in a bid to rein in soaring domestic prices, which saw yet another uptick after the government hiked domestic oil prices.

    "I hope domestic rice markets will be stable after the beginning of the sales," Bangladesh Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said, adding that the country has adequate stock.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam's 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> were unchanged from the previous week at $390-$393 per tonne on Thursday.

    Vietnamese prices are lower than Thailand's due to weak demand and strong supplies from the summer-autumn harvest, a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

    The country's two key export markets, China and the Philippines, have reduced purchases, with buyers from the Philippines more interested in low-priced rice, the trader said.

    Prices have also fallen behind because the quality of rice from the summer-autumn harvest was not better than the grain from competitors, traders said.

    Thailand's 5% broken rice prices <RI-THBKN5-P1> dipped to $416-$420 per tonne from $420-428 last week. Despite declining shipping costs, there haven't been large orders, a trader said.

    Internal trade has kept domestic prices supported, another trader said, adding that there has been trading activity between the Middle East and Europe through Thailand, with continuous supply due to good rain and favourable weather. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok and Ruma Paul in Dhaka; editing by Uttaresh.V)

  • Asia rice: Supply concerns lift Indian rates

  • MUMBAI/HANOI/BANGKOK/DHAKA: Indian rates for rice exports rose this week as lower planting fuelled concerns over supplies from the new season, while Vietnamese prices and quality of the grain lagged peers.

    Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $365-$371 per tonne, up from last week’s $360-$366.

    “Weather is not supporting crop in eastern and northern India. Traders have started quoting higher prices for paddy assuming lower production from the new crop,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Neighbouring Bangladesh will begin selling rice at a cheaper rate for 5 million poor families and expand such sales from September, in a bid to rein in soaring domestic prices, which saw yet another uptick after the government hiked domestic oil prices.

    “I hope domestic rice markets will be stable after the beginning of the sales,” Bangladesh Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said, adding that the country has adequate stock.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were unchanged from the previous week at $390-$393 per tonne on Thursday.

    Vietnamese prices are lower than Thailand’s due to weak demand and strong supplies from the summer-autumn harvest, a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

    The country’s two key export markets, China and the Philippines, have reduced purchases, with buyers from the Philippines more interested in low-priced rice, the trader said. Prices have also fallen behind because the quality of rice from the summer-autumn harvest was not better than the grain from competitors, traders said.

  • Centre projects record production of rice

  • While the estimate of foodgrains production is 315.72 million tonnes, the production of rice is expected at 130.29 million tonnes. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

    Maize, gram, pulses, rapeseed and sugarcane could also witness high yields, says Agriculture Ministry

    The Union Agriculture Ministry released on August 17 the fourth advance estimates of production of major agricultural crops for 2021-22. The Ministry said the production of foodgrains in the country is estimated at 315.72 million tonnes which is higher by 4.98 million tonnes than 2020-21.

    A government release said the production during 2021-22 is higher by 25 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2016-17 to 2020-21) average production of foodgrains. "Record production is estimated of rice, maize, gram, pulses, rapeseed and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane," it said. Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the record production of so many crops is the result of the farmer-friendly policies of the Centre and the hard work of the farmers and the diligence of the scientists.

    While the estimate of foodgrains production is 315.72 million tonnes, the production of rice is expected at 130.29 million tonnes, which, according to the Centre, is a record. Wheat production could touch 106.84 million tonnes and for nutri/coarse cereals it could be 50.90 million tonnes.

    "Total production of Rice during 2021-22 is estimated at record 130.29 million tonnes. It is higher by 13.85 million tonnes than the last five years’ average production of 116.44 million tonnes. Production of Wheat during 2021-22 is estimated at 106.84 million tonnes. It is higher by 2.96 million tonnes than the last five years’ average wheat production of 103.88 million tonnes," the release said.

    “The assessment of production of various crops is based on the data received from States and validated with information available from other sources,” the Ministry said.

  • Rice might pricier as erratic rains hold back sowing across states

  • Rice may get even more expensive in the times to come as low rainfall has impacted paddy sowing in key rice producing Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.

    According to a recent report by Yes Bank, paddy sowing in India is now down by 13%. This could have global implications too as India is the second largest exporter of rice in the world. Overall, only 866 lakh hectares of field has been sown this kharif season, representing a dip of 4 lakh hectares from last year.

    “Even as production trends in India and the globe need to be monitored, we do not think it is of a huge concern immediately and the government need not have to immediately consider clamping down on the exports of rice as they had done for wheat,” said Yes Bank.

    Kharif CropsArea sown as of August 5, 2021Area sown as of August 5, 2022
    Rice267 lakh hectares232 lakh hectares
    Pulses119 lakh hectares116 lakh hectares
    Coarse Cereals154 lakh hectares160 lakh hectares
    Oilseeds174 lakh hectares175 lakh hectares
    Sugarcane54 lakh hectares55 lakh hectares
    Jute & Mesta7 lakh hectares7 lakh hectares
    Cotton114 lakh hectares121 lakh hectares
    Grand Total890 lakh hectares866 lakh hectares

    Source: PIB, CEIC, Yes Bank Economics Research

    There has been a global shortage of rice right now too due to adverse weather conditions across top rice suppliers in Asia. If the production of rice is impacted in India, it would lead to a limited export capacity for the country especially amid the supply chain disruptions caused by Russia-Ukraine war and climate change.

    To draw a parallel, India had to stop all exports of the wheat staple this May to address shortages in the country. The ban reduced the price of wheat in India by at least 5% in the first 10 days, compared to the record high it reached at the start of May before the ban.

    However, the ban did leave large importers of wheat like Bangladesh and UAE in a lurch.

    Bangladesh decided to learn from the past and made some policy changes in the month of June to prevent this situation from happening again with another staple, rice. The country reduced its import duty and tariff to 25%, from the previous 62.5%, in June 2022 when India witnessed its first dip in paddy sowing. It also allowed the import of non-basmati rice till October 31.

    The revised import policy had prompted more Indian traders to export rice out of India to clock in more income, which led to a 10% jump in rice prices in the first five days of the announcement.

    According to media reports, rice prices in India have increased 30% since June. Now it is too

    early to say whether rice can see the same trajectory as wheat, but their situation needs to be closely monitored.

    “At the current juncture, procurements are proceeding smoothly while the FCI stocks are largely comfortable when compared to the buffer norms. Though not of an immediate concern, the evolving situation needs to be watched carefully,” Yes Bank said in its recent report.

    It is important to note that 10 countries account for nearly 85% of the world’s rice production, with China and India being the top two producers. China has already witnessed a decline in rice yield due to pest issues, whereas other rice producing countries like Thailand and Vietnam have reported a decline in crop yields too along with increased cost of production.

    “The shortfall in kharif sowing of paddy, however, needs to be watched closely, although buffer stocks are quite large. Household inflation expectations have eased, but they still remain elevated,” Shaktikanta Das, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said earlier this month in his credit policy statement.

  • Rice exported from Guyana free of pesticides – Agri Minister asserts amid EU concerns

  • Amid worry over pesticide residue in rice, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha says the product is monitored by food seevral bodies locally to ensure safety standards are met.

    The concerns over the safety of exported rice were raised after an analysis by the European Union (EU) was conducted in 2020. Among the findings was that several foods, including brown rice, have traces of pesticide residue.

    The EU is currently Guyana’s largest export market for rice with a 48 per cent rate recorded in 2021.

    For the year thus far, the rate has already exceeded last year at 52 per cent. Portugal is one of the main destinations of Guyana’s rice for EU countries, bringing in US$32.3 million.

    Rice cultivation in Guyana

    Since the EU’s report, farmers have raised concerns about the quality of fertilizer being supplied locally.

    The Agriculture Minister was contacted by the News Room on Tuesday; during the telephone interview he said that the rice exported from Guyana is monitored by several bodies to ensure it is safe for consumption.

    “Our rice does not have pesticides, we don’t do that,” the Agriculture Minister said.

    He further ensured, “we take a lot of caution in ensuring that the pesticide and toxic chemicals control work closely with the GRDB [Guyana Rice Development Board].”

    According to the EU, in 2020, analyses samples randomly collected from 12 food products, including brown rice, were found with pesticide residue. As a response to this finding, the GRDB last month held a conference on “Pesticide residue in rice’, when Plant Pathologist, Dr. Rajendra Persaud said the EU has been clamping down with legislation on safety limits of agrochemicals (pesticides) in rice and other imported food products.

    Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha

    As such the GRDB said it is conducting a study of paddy bugs to reduce their impact on rice cultivation here. Dr. Persaud explained that the study is being done on the paddy bug because it is the most important rice pest. Rice farmers utilise insecticide to control pests.

    But with the use of insecticide, pesticide residue or the trace of pesticide compound remains on the crop, water, soil, and air. This can pose serious constrain to a person’s health and the environment.

    As such the EU have taken steps to put regulations in place to limit the use of pesticide.

    However, the GRDB has said a National Monitoring and Surveillance Strategy was established here. It is also evaluating new insecticides.

    Additionally, it must be noted that samples of rice were sent to the CABI Center of Agriculture and Bioscience International in the United Kingdom for a detailed analysis. The report from that analysis found the samples were discoloured as a result of several fungal and bacterial microorganisms.

    However, the samples were taken from “illegal” varieties of rice being cultivated in Regions Two, Three, and Five.

  • Indonesia’s rice reserves secured until year’s end

  • Indonesia is no longer importing rice for consumption due to an abundant supply of rice, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.

    Jakarta (VNA) — Indonesia is no longer importing rice for consumption due to an abundant supply of rice, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.

    With current rice consumption, Indonesia's rice stock will be secured until the end of this year, said Kuntoro Boga Andri, head of the ministry's Public Relations and Information Bureau.

    Results of the 2022 national rice reserve survey showed that the country’s rice stock reached 9.11 million tonnes by the end of March.

    Indonesia has stopped importing rice for domestic consumption, namely medium-type rice, Kuntoro said, citing data from the Central Bureau of Statics (BPS). However, the country still imports rice for industrial purposes.

    Indonesia imported 444,510 tonnes, 356,290 tonnes and 407 tonnes of rice in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Up to 99% of imported rice is in the form of broken rice as industrial raw materials.

    Previously, BPS Deputy for Production Statistics M Habibullah said the country's rice reserve hit 9.71 million tonnes as of June 2022.

    “Our rice stock is sufficient and will continue to grow along with the monthly harvest until the end of December 2022,” Habibullah was quoted by Antara news agency.

    He said rice stock in June 2022 was mostly in household institutions which reached 6.6 million tonnes, then 1.04 million tonnes in traders, 1.2 million tonnes in Bulog warehouses, and 0.69 million tonnes in mills and in hospitality.

  • New rice variety released to farmers

  • Deputy Director of Ambalantota Rice Research Institute Harshini Siriwardena said that the Institute has taken steps to release the A T 378 Sudu Kekulu new rice variety to the farmers.

    A potential yield of 180 bushels per acre can be obtained through this new variety of rice which can be harvested in three and a half months. She also mentioned that the weight of a bushel of paddy is almost 21 kilograms. After a trial period of 13 years, this new rice variety has been cultivated by farmers in the Hambantota, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Matara, Galle, Ratnapura Districts and is suitable for cultivation in any region of the country.

    As this type of paddy plant is strong and does not fall during natural calamities. Cooked rice is very tasty and rice-based products can also be prepared from this variety of rice.

  • Boiled rice delivery permitted from Telangana

  • Sonepat: Labourers stacking bags of wheat at an open FCI godown at Sonepat in Haryana on Sunday. PTI Photo by Vijay Verma(PTI5_9_2010_000080B) | Photo Credit: cueapi

    In some relief to the State which is grappling with huge stocks of paddy at rice mills and given the Food Corporation of India’s reluctance to procure boiled rice that was generally produced in rabi, the Centre has agreed to lift eight lakh tonnes of boiled rice. 

    The State had a production of 50.39 lakh tonnes of paddy in rabi of 2021-22 and, at 67% recovery of rice, the yield of rice was expected to be 33 lakh tonnes. But, the Centre had insisted that the State that it deliver the entire 33 lakh tonnes as raw rice. However, the State government expressed helplessness because the yield of raw rice out of paddy of rabi was not expected to be more than 55% per quintal. Due to the presence of a large quantity of broken rice, the State government wanted to deliver only boiled rice.  

    The latest decision of the Centre to procure eight lakh tonnes of boiled rice will be in addition to another 6.05 lakh tonnes of boiled rice and about three lakh tonnes of boiled fortified rice permitted earlier out of the stock of 50.39 lakh tonnes pertaining to rabi of 2021-22. The fortification of rice was allowed for paddy that was damaged due to exposure of stocks at rice mills to rain.  

  • Non-basmati rice sown on 96% area under paddy cultivation in Ludhiana district

  • Less than 3% basmati, 1% direct seeding of rice technique in 2.59 lakh-hectare cultivated area

    A whopping 96 per cent of the total area put under paddy in Ludhiana district was cultivated with non-basmati rice as the current Kharif sowing season 2022-23 concluded here on Wednesday, the administration has confirmed.

    While less than 3 per cent of the cultivated area was sown with basmati rice, little over 1 per cent of the total 2.59 lakh hectares, which was maximum area put under paddy cultivation in the state, was cultivated through the direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique, in which seeds are sown in the field rather than by transplanting seedlings from the nursery, the official figures have revealed.

    Deputy Commissioner Surabhi Malik told The Tribune here on Wednesday that a total of 2,58,600 hectares area was put under paddy cultivation in the district, of which 2,48,253 hectares were sown with non-basmati rice, which accounted for 96 per cent, 7,550 hectares with basmati, accounting for 2.92 per cent, and 2,797 hectares of area was cultivated through the DSR technique, which was 1.08 per cent of the total area.

    She said the district administration ran an extensive awareness and education drive to motivate farmers to opt for the DSR, for which Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had given a clarion call to save water and natural resources in the agrarian state.

    Divulging block-wise paddy sowing figures, Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Amanjit Singh said the Sidhwan Bet block had topped the district, with the maximum of 33,294 hectares of area put under paddy cultivation while the Ludhiana block has witnessed the minimum paddy sowing in 13,701 hectares.

    He said the Sidhwan Bet block had cultivated 32,800 hectares with non-basmati rice, 200 hectares with basmati, and 294 hectares of area was sown through the DSR.

    Among other blocks, Ludhiana has cultivated 13,300 hectares with non-basmati rice, 200 hectares with basmati, and 201 with the DSR, Mangat with 31,000 hectares non-basmati, 103 hectares basmati, 331 hectares DSR, Pakhowal 22,100 hectares non-basmati, 100 hectares basmati, 243 DSR, Sudhar 28,145 hectares non-basmati, 650 hectares basmati, 312 hectares DSR, Jagraon 27,900 hectares non-basmati, 3,280 hectares basmati, 457 hectares DSR, Dehlon 20,040 hectares non-basmati, 126 hectares basmati, 171 hectares DSR, Doraha 18,789 hectares non-basmati, 91 hectares basmati, 153 hectares DSR, Khanna 18,439 non-basmati, 1,050 hectares basmati, 129 hectares DSR, Samrala 12,940 hectares non-basmati, 850 hectares basmati, 182 hectares DSR, and Machhiwara block has put 22,800 hectares under non-basmati, 900 hectares basmati, and 324 hectares was sown with the DSR technique.

    Of the total DSR paddy cultivation in 2,797 hectares, 2,751 hectares, which accounted for 98.36 per cent, were sown with non-basmati rice and 46 hectares, accounting for 1.64 per cent per cent, was put under basmati variety.

    The CAO added that 1,264 farmers have cultivated their land with the DSR technique and their applications were being verified for releasing them financial assistance of Rs 1,500 per acre as announced by the state government.

    He said Manpreet Singh of Talwara village in Sidhwan Bet and Lakhvir Singh of Gobindgarh village in Sudhar had sown 35 acres each through the DSR, followed by Mahinder Singh of Bhairomuna village 34 acres, Shingara Singh of Swaddi Khurd village 31 acres, Sukhwinder Singh of Uchai Daud village 27 acres, Lakhwinder Singh of Sehjomajra village and Balvir Singh of Goansgarh village 25 acres each, Jarnail Singh of Hans Kalan village and Sukhwinder Singh of Ismailpur village 20 acres each, and Jagdeep Singh of Jhamat village in the Ludhiana block has put his 18 acres under the DSR cultivation.

  • Impending Food Crisis? Rice Acreage Down 13% This Kharif Season

  • India's export accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the world's rice granary. Therefore, any deficiency in rice production in India, the world's largest exporter, is going to adversely affect the world work.


    New Delhi: Rice sowing in the current kharif season has come down by 13% till August 5 due to rainfall deficiency in main paddy-producing states. This crisis is even more concerning as it’s happening in a year when wheat output has fallen and the government’s own procurement of the cereal has dropped drastically.Also Read - West Bengal Likely To Face Famine-Like Situation As Rainfall Deficit Recorded Above 45%
    According to data released by agriculture ministry on Monday, the area covered under paddy stood at 274.30 lakh hectare as on August 5, against 314.14 lakh hectare in the corresponding period last year. This decreased paddy acreage is reported in large paddy-producing states such as West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana. Also Read - Basmati rice exports up 11.54% in Apr-Oct this fiscal: Comm Min

    According to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), western Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a rainfall deficiency of 36% as on August 8, eastern UP has a deficiency of 43%. Bihar and Jharkhand have rainfall deficiency of 38% and 45% respectively. It also says the Gangetic West Bengal has witnessed 46% less rainfall. Also Read - Can't procure groundnut from Guj this Kharif season: NAFED

    India, which is the largest exporter of rice, commands a 40% share in the global market. If the situation goes bad and there’s a shortfall in rice production, it will affect worldwide trade, especially in a year when wheat production has dropped.

    Rice output stood at a record 129.66 million tonne in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June). India exported 21.2 million tonne of rice in 2021-22 fiscal year. The Centre has a stock of 47 million tonne of rice as on July 1 as against the buffer norm of 13.5 million tonne.

  • India Reassures Gulf Countries of Rice Availability

  • Rice is one of the most consumed food commodities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

    Riyadh - Bandar al-Mosalam

    The head of the National Committee for Food Supply in the Federation of Saudi Chambers said Indian rice producers have conveyed a message of reassurance that Basmati rice - the most sought-after variety in the region – would not be affected by drought and lack of rainfall, currently affecting India and threatening its agricultural crop season.

    Abdullah Balsharaf told Asharq Al-Awsat that Basmati rice farms are located in areas that have seen normal rain levels, pointing to an abundance of stocks in the Saudi market.

    Consumers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have expressed fear over the possibility of a decrease in rice stocks in the region due to weak production levels in India, which could lead to a rise in prices.

    But Balsharaf stressed that the areas where the Basmati rice is grown have not seen drought, ruling out any significant impact on the stock.

    He revealed that there were 800,000 metric tons of rice stock in the Saudi market, according to figures released by the relevant authorities.

    Moreover, he explained that producers in India were expected to start the season at low prices due to the lack of high demand from competing countries, such as Iran and Iraq, and Europe.

    According to a recent report by the World Bank, Saudi Arabia ranked fifth among the largest importers of rice globally, as the average consumption per capita increased by 30 percent from 33 to 43 kilograms.

    It imported about 1.5 million tons of rice in 2021, compared to 1.6 million tons in 2020, bringing the average per capita consumption to about 43 kilograms.

    Saudi Arabia’s food security authorities recently began implementing the government support approved by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to deal with the effects of the global price hike, allocating about SR9.5 billion (USD2.5 billion) to support strategic stocks of wheat and barley.

  • Agricultural and processed food products exports raised by 31%

  • A slowdown in India’s rural economy deepened in January, reflecting a crunch on spending by agricultural workers.

    Exports of agricultural and processed food products rose by 31% in the first three months of the current fiscal on a year-on-year basis.

    The overall export of agri products have increased to $7.408 billion in April-June 2022 from $5.663 billion over the same period of the last fiscal, according to the commerce department data. It also exceeded the export target for April-June 2022-23 at $5.890 billion.

    “The initiatives taken by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) that works under the ministry of commerce and industry have helped the country in achieving 31% of the total export target in the first quarter of the current fiscal," the department of commerce said in a release.

    For the year 2022-23, an export target of $23.56 billion has been fixed by APEDA for the agricultural and processed food products basket.

    As per the data, fresh fruits & vegetables registered a 4% growth, while processed fruits and vegetables recorded a significant growth of 59.71% in Q1 compared to corresponding months of the previous year.

    Also, processed food products like cereals and miscellaneous processed items reported a growth of 37.66% in Q1.

    Basmati Rice exports witnessed a growth of 25.54% in the first three months of FY 2022-23 ,while the export of non-Basmati rice registered a growth of 5% in Q1 of current fiscal

    “We continue to provide technical and financial assistance to various stakeholders in the agricultural goods value chains for boosting exports of unique products from the country," said APEDA chairman M. Angamuthu.

    India’s agri products exports had grown by 19.92% during 2021-22 to touch $50.21 billion, higher than 17.66% growth achieved in 2020-21, “despite unprecedented logistical challenges in the form of high freight rates and container shortages, etc.," said the department of commerce.

    “Through creating a necessary eco-system of exports along with collaboration with key stakeholders in the agri-exports value chains, we are aiming to sustain the growth in India’s agricultural and processed food exports in the current fiscal as well," Angamuthu said.

  • How India’s Droughts Could Affect Rice Across The Globe

  • Climate change has directly impacted the production of some of the world's most popular crops — from coffee beans to wine grapes (via New York Times) and now rice. Not long after the first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the country, signifying a breakthrough in the global food crisis, rain shortages in India are impacting the production of what is arguably the world's most important crop. As a staple food for more than half of the global population, The New Humanitarian says that the availability of rice is congruent with food security and political stability, particularly in the Eastern world.

    In India, a country that provides 40% of the world's global rice supply to more than 100 different countries (via Bloomberg), farmers depend on the summer monsoon season. According to The Washington Post, temperatures ordinarily cool during the late spring as winds bring in moisture, leading up to the monsoon season. In the four months between then and September, India receives nearly 70% of its annual rainfall (via Reuters), but last month, India received its lowest recorded rainfall in more than 120 years, kicking off the season with 44% less rain than usual (via Down to Earth).

    The consequences
    As a result, Bloomberg says that the lack of rainfall has caused farmers in India to plant less rice — decreasing the amount of the country's rice-planted land by 13% and fueling the inflation of some rice varieties by 30% since June. Some farmers are optimistic they'll make up for it with higher crop yields in the coming months, when Reuters says rainfall is predicted to return to average. However, experts aren't quite as confident. While rice stockpiles have kept a world food crisis at bay, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University told Bloomberg, "Rarely any sowing happens after mid-July, so the hope that it will recover is unlikely to be the case."

    Today, the planting area of rice in India is the smallest it has been in three years and traders are concerned that the drop in production could trigger export restrictions — a move that could threaten the 3.5 billion people around the world who depend on rice as a food staple (via National Geographic). For now, India's public rice reserves are ample enough to fulfill distribution, but the decision to place limitations on exports is dependent on the weather. Bloomberg says that if rainfall doesn't return to average rates in the final months of the monsoon season, prices could jump, and export restrictions will most likely come, potentially spurring other rice-producing countries to do the same.

  • Rain shortage may dampen India’s battle against inflation – here’s why

  • India's ability to produce rice is in danger. Photo: AFP 

    In the past two weeks, prices of several varieties of rice have increased by more than 10% in important rice-growing states including West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

    India, by far the world's largest exporter, has had a lack of rain in some areas. As a result, planting fields for rice have shrunk to their smallest size in almost three years. This could provide a new challenge for the world's food supply.

    At a time when nations are struggling with skyrocketing food prices and rife inflation, India's ability to produce rice is in danger. Due to a shortage of rainfall in some areas, particularly West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, which account for a quarter of India's output, the total area planted with rice has decreased by 13% thus far this season.

    With Bangladesh, China, Nepal, and certain Middle Eastern countries among its top clients, India exports rice to more than 100 countries. In the upcoming weeks, the US is expected to produce a bountiful harvest of wheat, and Ukraine has sent its first grain shipment since Russia's invasion.

    Traders are concerned that a decline in rice production could make India's battle against inflation more difficult and lead to export restrictions. For the billions of people who depend on the food staple, such a decision will have significant ramifications. In order to protect food security and maintain local prices, the government has already restricted wheat and sugar exports from India, which accounts for 40% of the world's rice trade.

    Meanwhile, India's rice prices have increased, which reflects worries over production. Due to insufficient rain and increased demand from Bangladesh, prices of some types have jumped by more than 10% in the past two weeks in major growing states like West Bengal, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh, according to Mukesh Jain, a director of rice shipper Sponge Enterprises Pvt. According to him, free-on-board export pricing could increase to $400 per tonne by September from as much as $365 at the moment.

    Asia produces and consumes the majority of the world's rice, making it essential for the region's political and economic stability. Rice prices have been moderated as a result of plentiful production and stockpiles, in contrast to the spike in wheat and corn prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has helped prevent a worsening of the food crisis.

    The success of the monsoon and the Indian rice crop will have a significant impact. According to some agricultural specialists, there is still time to plant more crops and make up part of the gap. August through September are expected to have typical rainfall, which could increase crop production.

    Farmers are less upbeat. Rajesh Kumar Singh, 54, a grower in Uttar Pradesh, said he planted rice on only half of his seven acres (2.8 hectares) of land due to a lack of rain in June and July. “The situation is really precarious," he said.

    Rice prices are feeling the pressure, said Himanshu, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, who goes by only one name. “Rarely any sowing happens after mid-July, so the hope that it will recover is unlikely to be the case," he said, adding that a drop in output is a risk to inflation.

    Rice may provide a new obstacle in India's fight against inflation. This year, consumer prices continued to exceed the Reserve Bank of India's tolerance level of 6 percent, which caused a dramatic increase in interest rates. As the impact of declining commodity prices, such as those for fuel and vegetable oils, is somewhat countered by a weakening rupee this week, the central bank may raise borrowing costs further.

    If geographic disparities in rainfall persist, it could have a detrimental impact on crop production, negatively impacting economic growth and inflation, according to Sonal Varma, an economist at Nomura Holdings Inc.

    With India’s paddy output poised to decline in several states, the government should consider reviewing its policy of allocating rice for ethanol production, according to Siraj Hussain, a former secretary of India’s agriculture ministry.

    India seeks to boost ethanol production using surplus sugar and rice as part of efforts to cut its fuel costs. Surging food prices following the war in Ukraine have increased the risk of hunger and sparked a “food versus fuel" debate.

    “At this point of time, it is difficult to estimate the exact level of production loss," Hussain said. But at current prices, there’s hardly any justification in allocating rice for ethanol output, he added.

  • India’s faltering rice output can cause a new food crisis

  • Threat to the output of the world’s biggest rice exporter comes when food costs are soaring, inflation rampant globally.

    A shortage of rain in parts of India has caused the rice planting area to shrink [File: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg]

    Rice could emerge as the next challenge for global food supply as a shortage of rain in parts of India, by far the world’s biggest exporter, has caused planting area to shrink to the smallest in about three years.

    The threat to India’s rice production comes at a time when countries are grappling with soaring food costs and rampant inflation. Total rice planted area has declined 13% so far this season due to a lack of rainfall in some areas, including West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, which account for a quarter of India’s output.

    Traders are worried that a drop in rice production will complicate India’s inflation fight and trigger restrictions on exports. Such a move will have far-reaching implications for the billions of people that depend on the staple. India accounts for 40% of global rice trade, and the government has already curbed wheat and sugar exports to safeguard food security and control local prices.

    The jump in India’s rice prices reflect concern about output. Prices of some varieties have soared more than 10% in the past two weeks in major growing states such as West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh due to deficient rain and increased demand from Bangladesh, said Mukesh Jain, a director at Sponge Enterprises Pvt., a rice shipper. Export prices may climb to $400 a ton by September from as much as $365 now on a free-on-board basis, he said.

    Most of the world’s rice is grown and consumed in Asia, making it vital for political and economic stability in the region. In contrast to the surge in wheat and corn prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rice has been subdued due to ample production and stockpiles, helping to ward off a bigger food crisis.

    Much is riding on the rice crop in India and the monsoon’s progress. Some agricultural scientists are optimistic that there’s still time to continue planting and make up for some of the shortfall. Rain is forecast to be normal for August to September, which may improve crop output.

    Farmers are less upbeat. Rajesh Kumar Singh, 54, a grower in Uttar Pradesh, said he planted rice on only half of his seven acres (2.8 hectares) of land due to a lack of rain in June and July. “The situation is really precarious,” he said.

    Rice prices are feeling the pressure, said Himanshu, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, who goes by only one name. “Rarely any sowing happens after mid-July, so the hope that it will recover is unlikely to be the case,” he said, adding that a drop in output is a risk to inflation.

    Rice could present a fresh challenge to India’s inflation fight. Consumer prices have maintained above the Reserve Bank of India’s tolerance limit of 6% this year, prompting a sharp rise in interest rates. The central bank may increase borrowing costs further this week as a weakening rupee offsets the impact of falling commodity prices such as fuel and vegetable oils.

    If geographic disparities in rainfall persist, it could have a detrimental impact on crop production, negatively impacting economic growth and inflation, according to Sonal Varma, an economist at Nomura Holdings Inc.

    Top Customers

    India supplies rice to more than 100 countries, with Bangladesh, China, Nepal and some Middle Eastern nations among its largest customers. For the world at large, there are some bright spots when it comes to food security. The US is poised to deliver a bumper wheat crop in the coming weeks, while Ukraine made its first grain shipment since Russia’s invasion.

    With India’s paddy output poised to decline in several states, the government should consider reviewing its policy of allocating rice for ethanol production, according to Siraj Hussain, a former secretary of India’s agriculture ministry.

    India seeks to boost ethanol production using surplus sugar and rice as part of efforts to cut its fuel costs. Surging food prices following the war in Ukraine have increased the risk of hunger and sparked a “food versus fuel” debate.

    “At this point of time, it is difficult to estimate the exact level of production loss,” Hussain said. But at current prices, there’s hardly any justification in allocating rice for ethanol output, he added.

  • Traditional Thai buffalo race kicks off rice growing season

  • Thai farmers raced their water buffaloes at a muddy annual race on Sunday to mark the beginning of the new rice growing season at the start of the monsoon weather, in a tradition dating back to the 1800s which celebrates the beasts of burden. Scores of spectators watched the racing on a 200 meter-long dirt track in the seaside province of Chonburi, some 80 km (50 miles) southeast of the capital, Bangkok. The race, which sometimes takes place at the end of the monsoon, was paused during the coronavirus pandemic but returned last year. Most Thai farmers no longer use water buffalo for farming but many are still keen to keep the animals. “Today, it doesn’t matter for for me if I win or lose. I wanted to preserve this tradition,” said Somchai Kamchab, 58, who owns a buffalo competing in the race.

  • Demand for India’s rice likely to shoot up in global market as floods hit crop in Southeast Asian nations

  • Demand for Indian rice is expected to increase amid heavy flooding in countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, which have been dominant players for this staple grain in the global export market. The heavy floods along the Mekong River belt have caused severe damage to crops in the two Southeast Asian countries. The paddy fields have been particularly washed away giving rise to concerns over food security amid surging global food prices driven by the Russia-Ukraine war.

    Even as sowing of the grain in India this year is estimated to be 17 per cent lower due to inadequate rains in states such as Bihar and Orissa, analysts said that there is no cause for any worry as the country is sitting on adequate stocks from last year.  However they maintained that New Delhi must refrain from taking any "sudden decisions."

    "Such adhoc and knee jerk reaction and banning of outbound shipment create problems for Indian exporters, they find it difficult to get orders in the future,"  Anil Ghanwat, senior leader of Shetkari Sangathana, a Maharashtra based farmers union earlier told India Narrative.

    India accounts for about 40 per cent of the global rice supply.

    “India's rice #exports to benefit & rise to ~$10-12 bn as key competitors ie Thailand & Vietnam suffer from loss in yields & cost surge. #India likey to #export 22 out of the 53 MT #rice demanded globally with market share of 40% in 2022,” Sachchidanand Shukla, Chief Economist, Mahindra Group said in a tweet.

    Indian rice is also less expensive compared to the grain sold by Thailand and Vietnam.

    According to World Grain, an analysis website, shrinking the price spread with Thailand and Vietnam, Pakistani quotes rose $40 to $420 per tonne amid steady demand from China. “Indian quotes rose minimally by $5 to $350 per tonne and remain the lowest globally with large supplies,” it said.

    Even as the price of Thai rice fell amid the uncertainties, it was more than the Indian rate.

    The problem of flooding is not specific to Southeast Asia. Even Bangladesh and parts of India – especially the northeast have been in the grip of floods. But at the same time there are states which have received less rain.

    “Sowing of paddy has been lower this year but a 17 per cent less sowing is nothing to cause any alarm. We have ample stocks, left from the last year’s yields…in fact due to large stocks, many farmers in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are also considering whether or not to sow paddy as then there will be problems related to storing. Our stocks are more than enough to feed our own people and export,” Ghanwat said.

    Meanwhile, news organisation , Vietnam Plus as the Mekong River water level is rising steadily and people living along its two banks in Thailand have been warned to be ready for dealing with floods that can happen at any time.

    The Mekong River belt is crucial for multiple crops. Besides paddy, beans, leafy vegetables, watermelon, chilies, various herbs, and many other varieties of vegetables are grown.

  • Basmati Rice is under Threat in Export Market due to EU’s Stricter Pesticide Residue Standards

  • The basmati industry is also concerned that the proposed FSSAI MRL standards, which are even stricter than the Codex standards that are normally followed globally, will halt basmati exports. The All-India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) has urged the government not to implement the proposed rice MRL.

    Basmati rice varieties, including the world's longest grain developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), are under threat in the export market after countries such as Qatar and Jordan began adhering to the European Union's maximum residue limit (MRL) standards.

    However, IARI's new disease-resistant varieties and FSSAI's proposed domestic standards may help India offer the world's safest aromatic rice.

    The basmati industry is also concerned that the proposed FSSAI MRL standards, which are even stricter than the Codex standards that are normally followed globally, will halt basmati exports. The All-India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) has urged the government not to implement the proposed rice MRL.

    Due to quality restrictions, basmati rice exports to the European Union fell 35% to 2.2 lakh tonne (lt) in 2021-22 from the previous year, while overall aromatic rice exports to all countries fell 15% to 39.5 lt. Though exports to the UAE and Lebanon increased in the last fiscal year, they remain lower than previous highs. According to sources, three main varieties — Pusa Basmati (PB) 1121 (the world's first most elongated rice after cooking), PB 1509, and PB 1401 — account for roughly 90% of basmati exports.

    For example, exports to the UAE were approximately 2.6 lt last year, compared to approximately 3 lt in 2018-19. Similarly, exports to Lebanon fell by a quarter in 2020-21, but increased marginally last year to around 9,300 tonnes. Despite industry concerns about Egypt, which has begun to follow EU MRL standards, it has been increasing every year for the last five years. Last year, the UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, and the EU together accounted for 16% of India's total Basmati export.

    The FSSAI MRL norms were first notified in December 2018, and a draught notification was published in August 2020, in which MRLs for some pesticides were made extremely stringent. FSSAI has proposed changing MRLs for 18 pesticides used in the paddy crop (including Basmati). According to sources, Acephate and Chlorpyriphos are two of the nine pesticides that have raised concerns in the EU.

    According to the 2018 FSSAI notification, the MRL for carbendazim and cypermethrin is 2 (mg/kg), which has been proposed to be reduced to 0.05 and 0.01, respectively. "We are unable to meet even the FSSAI's 2018 standards." If the revised 2020 notification is implemented, pesticide residue standards will become more stringent, resulting in a much higher drop in future exports," said an industry representative to the government.

    "If the 2020 notification is implemented, not a single grain of Basmati rice produced will be compliant with norms," an exporter explained. "Residue problems have plagued Indian Basmati since 2012." Ad hoc approaches to residue issues in the past have jeopardized exports," said S Chandrasekaran, a trade policy analyst.

    Chandrasekaran suggested that exporters work with specific backward linkages systems until individual farmers are the solution and that the government should release varieties after appropriate scrutiny in accordance with emerging SPS standards. He also stated that the draught FSSAI standards may be the impetus for finding a permanent solution to this problem.

    However, AK Singh, director of IARI and inventor of PB 1509, stated, "It is not that the problem has arisen as a result of PB 1121 or PB 1509." (both of which are grown in 6 lakh hectare area, each). The earlier varieties were also susceptible to disease. The disease appears over time as an area under a particular variety grows, which is a natural phenomenon.”

    Singh stated that IARI has developed three improved varieties to combat bacterial blight and blast diseases: PB 1509 will be replaced with PB 1847, PB 1401 will be replaced with PB 1886, and PB 1121 will be replaced with PB 1885.

    During the most recent kisan mela in March, IARI distributed 20 quintals of these seeds to 2,000 farmers for multiplication (1 kg can produce 2 quintal seeds) in this kharif season, Singh said, adding that in 2-3 years, these would be able to address some concerns, particularly about Tricyclazole. "Right now, we're working on developing some varieties to combat the Brown planthopper, another common pest in paddy," Singh explained.

  • Rice import from India resumes after 10 months

  • A total of 512 metric tonnes of rice entered Bangladesh on Thursday and Sunday

    Rice being sold at market Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

    Rice import from India resumed at Benapole land port after 10 months, following a ban from Bangladesh government to ensure fair prices at domestic markets. 

    A total of two consignments, consisting of 512 metric tonnes of Rice entered Bangladesh on Thursday and Sunday. 

    Each tonne of rice is being imported at Tk30,650 ($340). For every kilogram of rice, Importers are paying Tk9.90 at 27.5% import duty.

    Imported parboiled Swarna rice is said to be sold at Tk47-48 per kg in the domestic market.

    Md Matiar Rahman, director of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce said on August 31 last year, Bangladesh barred rice imports from India to ensure better market price for locally produced products.

    “Nevertheless, as domestic crops were drastically damaged by the floods in the country's northern regions, the food ministry allowed 95 importers to import 4,09,000 tonnes of rice from India on June 30,” he added.

    He further mentioned that 379,000 metric tonnes of boiled rice and 30,000 metric tonnes of Atap rice are among the imported products. “The ministry also has directed to complete marketing of the imported rice by August 11.”

    Mamun Kabir Tarafdar, deputy director (Traffic) of Benapole Port, said rice would be released within 24 hours so traders can clear the rice quickly from the port. 

    On the other hand, a request has also been made to ensure that the trucks are not stuck at the Indian border for a long time, he added.

    Meanwhile, buyers have complained that the price of imported rice is high. 

    Mintu Mia told the Bangla Tribune: “Swarna coarse rice is being sold at Tk45 per kg. I was hoping that when Indian rice imports start, the prices will drop in the domestic market.”

  • India’s rice exports to surge on global crunch

  • Key competitors Thailand and Vietnam facing cost pressures, robust kharif crops also to boost shipments

    The decline in rice crop yields in Thailand and Vietnam and their increased costs of production may turn out to be bonanza for India’s rice exports in the current fiscal year, trade sources said. India is exporting rice at around $360 a tonne to key markets at present while Thailand and Vietnam are offering the grain at around $ 420 a tonne. The gap, according to the sources, is expected to widen in the coming months. Besides, prospects of a reasonably strong kharif crop could enable Indian exporters to fetch higher realisations. Even in volume terms, India’s rice exports in the current year could match or slightly exceed last year’s record level of 21 million tonne, according to V Krishna Rao, president, All India Rice Exporters Association.

    The prospects of another record in rice shipments come at a time when the country has imposed strict curbs on export of wheat due to depleting domestic stocks.
    According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rice outlook report released in June, the global rice trade in 2022 calendar year are projected at a record 54.3 mt. “India’s exports are projected to a record 22 mt and account for almost 41% of global shipments,” said the report. The USDA also stated that India’s projected rice exports are likely to exceed the combined shipments of the next three-largest exporters—Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan this year.

    Trade sources said major rice producers such as Vietnam, China and Thailand have been raising the issue of high production and freight costs which would make their rice much costlier than what India offers. Exports in value terms this year could be $10-12 billion, an all-time high.

    India has been the world’s largest rice exporter in the last decade — export earnings stood at $ 8.8 billion in 2020-21 and $9.6 billion in 2021-22.

    According to commerce ministry data, India’s value of rice exports rose by 12% to $ 2.6 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal.

    “We will sustain the momentum in rice exports in the current fiscal through shipment of quality rice,” M Angamuthu, Chairman, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) said.

    The Food Corporation of India (FCI) as of July 1, 2022, had rice stocks of more than 31.7 MT against the buffer norm of 13.54 mt. However, this stock excludes 15 mt of rice yet to be received from the millers by FCI.

    An agriculture ministry official said widespread monsoon rains especially in the key rice growing states since the beginning of the month is expected to give a boost to rice production which is predominantly a kharif crop. The official said rice sowing, which was lagging behind by more than 22% last week compared to last year, has picked up pace and rice sowing will reach normal levels soon.

    “India is in a position to cater to the world market in a big way and exports are expected to pick up pace after two months, currently earlier orders for shipments are being executed,” Vijay Setia, former president of All India Rice Exporters Association and an exporter, said.

    As per DGCIS data, India exported rice to over 150 countries in 2021-22. “It indicates the diversification of India’s rice export over the years,” a commerce ministry official said.

    Out of 21 MT of rice shipment in FY22, 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.

    As per third advance estimates for 2021-22 crop year (July-June), the rice production is estimated at a record 129.66 mt against the last five years’ average production of 116 mt.

  • Asia Rice: Strong demand props up India export rates

  • Indian rice export prices rose this week buoyed by strong demand as the rupee weakened, while Bangladesh allowed traders to import 700,000 tonnes of rice.

    India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $361 to $366 per tonne, up from the last week’s $355 to $360.

    Indian rice is trading at a hefty discount compared to Thai rice because of depreciation in the rupee, which has increased traders’ margin from overseas sales, said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    India’s rice farmers have planted 4.3 million hectares with the grain so far this season, government data showed, down 27% from the same period last year.

    Bangladesh will be importing most of the rice from India due to competitive prices and proximity, traders said.

    Last month, the government slashed import duty to 25% from 62.5% amid a spike in rice prices in Bangladesh after widespread destruction of crops due to flooding.

    While Bangladesh is the world’s third-biggest rice producer, it often requires imports to cope with shortages due to natural disasters.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $415-$420 per tonne, unchanged from last week.

    “Domestic supplies continue to build up as farmers in the Mekong Delta have harvested around 30% of the summer-autumn crop,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    “However, traders are slowing down their purchases of paddy from farmers, waiting for domestic prices to ease because logistics costs remain very high for us.”

    Meanwhile, traders said global demand for Vietnamese rice is expected to remain strong during the rest of the year due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

    Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices rose to about $420 per tonne from $412-$415 last week.

    “Demand and price have been stable even though the currency has been weak. This is because Thai rice is priced higher than India and Vietnam,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

  • Humble rice bran becomes hot commodity as India scours for edible oils

  • Rice bran oil is the nutritional oil extracted from the bran of the rice kernel. It is naturally rich in vitamin E – a mix spectrum of tocopherol and tocotrienol.

    MUMBAI:Rice bran has become a sought-after commodity in India as the world's biggest importer of vegetable oils tries to overcome an edible oil shortage caused by global supply disruptions.

    A by-product in rice milling, rice bran has been traditionally used for cattle and poultry feed. In recent years, oil mills have started extracting rice oil, which is popular among health-conscious consumers but historically more expensive than rival oils.

    Rice bran oil accounts for a small portion of overall vegoil consumption in India but is one of the fastest-growing among edible oils, industry officials say, and production and imports are set to increase to meet the demand.

    The recent rally in global edible oil prices fuelled by Indonesia's restrictions on palm oil exports and disruptions to sunflower oil shipments from Ukraine has wiped out rice bran oil's traditional premium over rival oils. That has triggered a surge in demand for bran oil which has similar taste properties to sunflower oil.

    As sunflower oil imports plunged from Ukraine, consumers started replacing it with rice bran oil, said B.V. Mehta, secretary general of the International Association of Rice Bran Oil (IARBO). India usually fulfills more than two-thirds of its sunflower oil requirements through imports from Ukraine.

    "Because of COVID-19, I was looking for healthier food options. I first used rice bran oil for health benefits six months ago and since then I've been using it," said Aditi Sharma, a Mumbai-based homemaker, who switched to rice bran oil from sunflower oil.

    "It tastes good and is good for health as well," Sharma said, referring to the oil's cholestrol-lowering and anti-oxidative properties.

    In India, rice bran oil is now trading at 147,000 Indian rupees ($1,879) per tonne compared with sunflower oil at 170,000 rupees.

    Rice bran oil usually commands around a 25% premium over other oils, but in recent months has been cheaper than imported vegetable oils, making it more affordable for the masses, according to data compiled by Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA).

    Competitive prices boosted rice bran oil consumption since March and has encouraged companies to extract more oil.

    Sharma said that even if premiums returned, she would still buy rice bran oil for her family of four.

    FROM BY-PRODUCT TO MAIN

    The demand for rice bran oil has become so strong that it has flipped the economics for rice millers, who are now prioritising bran oil output.

    "For rice mills, instead of by-product, now rice bran has become a main product," said Puneet Goyal, chief executive officer at Ricela Group, the country's biggest producer of rice bran oil.

    To meet rising demand Ricela is planning to increase oil refining capacity to 750 tonnes per day in the next two months from 600 tonnes, Goyal said.

    With a vegetable oil shortage, oil mills are ready to pay record high prices for bran, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association.

    Rice bran prices have jumped to 30,000 rupees to 36,000 rupees per tonne compared with paddy prices of around 19,000 rupees, which is milled for rice extraction.

    However, a shortage of oil processors in all rice milling areas remains a key limiting factor on bran oil supply, as rice bran must be processed into oil within 48 hours of being separated from chaff in order to be fit for human consumption.

    Only 55% of bran is currently processed, with the remainder going to the lower priced feed market.

    Even so, with several oil processors maximising output, the country is on course for record bran oil production of 1.05 million tonnes this year, up from around 950,000 tonnes in 2021, which should help India reduce imports of rival oils.

    GROWING DEMAND

    Edible oil consumption in India trebled over the past two decades as the population rose, incomes increased and people started to eat out more.

    The country consumes around 23 million tonnes of vegetable oil per annum, with nearly 13 million tonnes coming from imports. Locally-produced bran oil can meet about 5% of overall vegoil consumption.

    Companies such as Adani Wilmar ADAW.NS, Emami EMAM.NS and Cargill's Indian unit have launched their own rice bran oil brands to meet rising urban demand.

    Rice bran oil brands have become popular and consumer acceptance has been rising, said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India's biggest rice exporter.

    "This new segment is just growing," Agarwal said, adding that companies previously offering mainly palm, soybean, sunflower and rapeseed oils were now launching rice bran oil products.

    Even institutional buyers such as PepsiCo PEP.O and Haldirams are increasing use of bran oil for frying, said Goyal of Ricela.

    But local supplies are not enough to cater to rising demand.

    "A few companies are importing rice bran oil from Bangladesh, but even Bangladesh has limited surplus for the exports," said IARBO's Mehta.

    ($1 = 78.2320 Indian rupees)- Reuters

  • Ninety three lakh tonnes of paddy lying idle at rice mills

  • Refusal of Food Corporation of India to lift stocks

    Custom milling of 93.5 lakh lakh tonnes of paddy had stopped abruptly at rice mills after two months of uninterrupted operations since June 7 due to the refusal of the Food Corporation of India to lift stocks primarily because the State government has not implemented the sixth phase of Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme of free supply of rice to poor due to COVID from April.

    The sixth phase was spread over April to September this year but the government drew its quota of free rice from the FCI promptly in April and May and did not supply. It began the distribution only this month with the assurance to extend the same till November to make up for the loss of initial two months. However, the Centre was not convinced not only about free rice but figures about storage of rice at mills, paddy procurement audit and failure of mills to cooperate with physical verification of stocks by the FCI. 

    As a result of suspension of milling for the last eighteen days, the paddy stocks at mills were exposed to damage due to rain and sprouting of weeds from within gunny sacks.   

    There was no response from Centre to repeated pleas of State government to resume the procurement of custom milled rice as it had committed to extend the distribution of free rice under PMGKAY by two months. A recent enquiry from the Centre whether the distribution had indeed started this month had given a glimmer of hope to the State of positive tidings. In this backdrop, the government had decided to wait till Tuesday before taking further action.  

    In the event of continued reluctance of Centre to buy rice from the State, the government was said to have considered a few alternatives like e-tendering by letting millers buy the stocks at their own mills at reduced prices to compensate for damage. If so, what should be the basic price?. The government was reportedly considering a selling price of ₹1,700 to 1,750 per quintal though it procured at the minimum support price of ₹1.960 a quintal which went up to ₹ 2,200 a quintal factoring in transportation, cost of gunny sacks and commissions. 

    The government had procured 50.12 lakh tonnes of paddy in rabi of 2021-22 which was yet to be milled and awaiting custom milling of pending 38 lakh tonnes pertaining to kharif of the same year and 5.5 lakh tonnes of rabi in 2020-21. With a yield of 67 kg of rice per quintal of paddy, the FCI was supposed to lift 33.58 lakh tonnes for rabi of 2021-22 alone and 62.2 lakh tonnes of rice on the whole for three seasons. The value of the stocks was worth about ₹19,904 crore. 

    On the other hand, the government had taken a loan of ₹22,000 crore to procure paddy in kharif and rabi of 2021-22 at an interest of ₹110 crore per month. Therefore, it was felt the FCI’s purchase of stocks to the tune of ₹19,904 crore would bail out the State government to a large extent. But, the Centre had given no indication of this. Ministers T. Harish Rao and G. Kamalakar and Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar discussed the issue elaborately on Friday and decided to wait for the next move till a final word from the Chief Minister next week.   

  • Asia rice: India rates dip on rupee plunge, floods destroy BD crop

  • HANOI/BANGKOK/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Indian rice export prices fell this week despite robust demand as the rupee hit a record low, while widespread flooding laid waste to crops in Bangladesh.

    Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $355-$360 per tonne, compared with last week’s $357-$362. On Wednesday, the rupee touched a record low of 78.39 against the dollar, increasing exporters’ margin from overseas sales.

    But demand for Indian rice, especially for the broken white variety, is strong as prices are more competitive than rival exporters, said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

    India’s surprise ban on wheat exports last month has prompted rice traders to increase purchases and place unusual orders for longer-dated deliveries, fearing further curbs.

    Meanwhile, deadly floods have damaged 75,000 hectares of paddy in Bangladesh, agriculture ministry official Humayun Kabir said. “The devastation is huge. More crops could be damaged as new areas are being flooded.”

    Bangladesh, traditionally the world’s third biggest rice producer, relies on imports to cope with shortages caused by natural disasters. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices eased to $420-$425 per tonne from $430-$440 last week due to weakness in the baht, trading near a five-and-a-half year low against the dollar on Thursday, and pressure from rising oil prices.

    “Prices dropped because the baht was weaker while demand is not exciting,” a Bangkok-based trader said, adding higher oil prices have increased transportation costs.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice also slipped to $418-$423 per tonne from last week’s $420-$425. “Supply is building up but demand is not as strong as a week ago,” said a trader in the Mekong Delta.

    “Customers are now approaching just to update prices, not to seal the deal. Some already stocked up enough from the winter-spring crop,” the trader said, adding China and the Philippines were still the biggest markets for Vietnamese rice.

  • RPT-ASIA RICE-INDIA RATES DIP ON RUPEE PLUNGE, FLOODS DESTROY BANGLADESH CROP

  • June 23 (Reuters) - Indian rice export prices fell this week despite robust demand as the rupee hit a record low, while widespread flooding laid waste to crops in Bangladesh.

    Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted at $355-$360 per tonne, compared with last week's $357-$362.

    On Wednesday, the rupee touched a record low of 78.39 against the dollar, increasing exporters' margin from overseas sales.

    But demand for Indian rice, especially for the broken white variety, is strong as prices are more competitive than rival exporters, said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

    India's surprise ban on wheat exports last month has prompted rice traders to increase purchases and place unusual orders for longer-dated deliveries, fearing further curbs.

    Meanwhile, deadly floods have damaged 75,000 hectares of paddy in Bangladesh, agriculture ministry official Humayun Kabir said. "The devastation is huge. More crops could be damaged as new areas are being flooded."

    Bangladesh, traditionally the world's third biggest rice producer, relies on imports to cope with shortages caused by natural disasters.

    Thailand's 5% broken rice prices <RI-THBKN5-P1> eased to $420-$425 per tonne from $430-$440 last week due to weakness in the baht, trading near a five-and-a-half year low against the dollar on Thursday, and pressure from rising oil prices.

    "Prices dropped because the baht was weaker while demand is not exciting," a Bangkok-based trader said, adding higher oil prices have increased transportation costs.

    Vietnam's 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> also slipped to $418-$423 per tonne from last week's $420-$425.

    "Supply is building up but demand is not as strong as a week ago," said a trader in the Mekong Delta.

    "Customers are now approaching just to update prices, not to seal the deal. Some already stocked up enough from the winter-spring crop," the trader said, adding China and the Philippines were still the biggest markets for Vietnamese rice.

    (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi, Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

  • Sri Lanka import 50,000 Mt rice under Indian credit line: Wickremesinghe

  • Crisis-hit Sri Lanka has decided to import 50,000 metric tonnes of rice under the Indian credit line to curb an abnormal rise in rice prices, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday

    Crisis-hit Sri Lanka has decided to import 50,000 metric tonnes of rice under the Indian credit line to curb an abnormal rise in rice prices, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday, as the island nation is grappling with an impending food shortage.

    The decision was taken after a discussion held at the Prime Minister's Office to allocate funds to the State Trading Corporation under the Indian loan assistance programme, news portal EconomyNext reported.

    This is expected to avert a possible rice shortage in the future and to curb the abnormal rise in rice prices, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Thursday.

    In March, India extended a USD 1 billion credit line to the cash-strapped Sri Lankan government to tide over the current economic turmoil as well as in dealing with the food shortage.

    After an agreement to extend the line of credit was inked, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India has always stood with the people of Sri Lanka and will continue to extend all possible support to the country.

    In April 2021, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced a ban on chemical fertilisers, which led to a crippling blow to the production of rice and other essential food items.

    Prior to the fertiliser ban, Sri Lanka was self-sufficient in rice production.

    The situation was exacerbated by an acute scarcity of foreign exchange reserves, which meant that the Sri Lankan economy would head into a tailspin.

    The UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy had said that nearly 4.9 million are currently in need of food assistance, making up for nearly 25 per cent of the country's population.

    With Sri Lanka in the throes of an impending food shortage, Wickremesinghe has invited David Beasley, the Executive Director at the United Nations World Food Programme to visit Sri Lanka.

    The nearly bankrupt country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026.

    Sri Lanka's total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion.

    (Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

  • India holds ample rice stocks, no plans to curb exports

  • NEW DELHI: India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, has ample stocks of rice and there is no plan to restrict exports, the top official at the food ministry said on Monday.

    India banned wheat exports in a surprise move last month.

    Asia rice: India rates rise as fears of export curb accelerate demand

    “We have more than sufficient stocks of rice, so there is no plan to consider this,” Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said responding to a question whether India would consider any curb on rice exports.

  • Why India holds the key to global rice market outlook

  • MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: India’s surprise decision to ban wheat exports has raised concerns about potential curbs on rice exports as well, prompting rice traders to step up purchases and place atypical orders for longer-dated deliveries.

    Government and trade officials have said India, the world’s biggest exporter of rice, does not plan to curb shipments for now, as local prices remain low and state warehouses hold ample supplies.

    That’s a relief for import-dependent countries already grappling with surging food costs, but most of India’s rice growing season lies ahead and any change in prospects for the harvest could alter its stance on exports of the staple grain.

    Monsoon rains determine the size of India’s rice crop, and plentiful rains this year would help it maintain its pre-eminent position in the global rice trade.

    Patchy monsoon rains, however, would stunt the crop and cut yields and that might lead to a drawdown in state inventories that would trigger export curbs to ensure sufficient supplies for the country’s 1.4 billion people.

    WHY IS INDIA SO CRUCIAL FOR GLOBAL RICE SUPPLIES? India’s rice exports touched 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.

    India, the world’s biggest rice consumer after China, has a market share of more than 40% of the global rice trade. High domestic stocks and low local prices allowed India to offer rice at deep discounts over the past two years, helping poorer nations, many in Asia and Africa, grapple with soaring wheat prices.

    India exports rice to more than 150 countries, and any reduction in its shipments would fuel food inflation. The grain is a staple for more than 3 billion people, and when India banned exports in 2007, global prices shot to new peaks.

    WHO WILL SUFFER THE MOST IF INDIA RESTRICTS RICE EXPORTS?

    Any move to restrict exports from India would hit almost every rice importing country. It would also allow rival suppliers Thailand and Vietnam to raise prices that are already more than 30% above Indian shipments.

    Other than serving Asian buyers like China, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines, India supplies rice to countries such as Togo, Benin, Senegal and Cameroon.

    WHAT’S THE ROLE OF INDIA’S MONSOON?

    India’s summer-sown rice accounts for more than 85% of the country’s annual production, which jumped to a record 129.66 million tonnes in the crop year to June 2022.

    Millions of farmers start planting summer rice in June, when the monsoon lashes India. The monsoon, which delivers about 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is crucial for water-thirsty rice. Indian farmers rely on monsoon rains to water half of the country’s farmland that lacks irrigation. In 2022, India is forecast to receive an average amount of rainfall.

    But since June 1, when the four-month monsoon season began, rains are 41% below average. The rains are expected pick up by mid-June and spur the sowing of rice. Three years of average or above-average rains, and new, modern farming practices have ramped-up rice output.

    SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT WORRY ABOUT RICE SUPPLIES?

    India at present has more than sufficient stocks of rice, and local prices are lower than the state-set prices at which the government buys paddy rice from farmers.

    Rice export prices are also trading near the lowest in more than five years. Meanwhile, milled and paddy rice stocks at government granaries of 57.82 million tonnes are more than quadruple a target of 13.54 million tonnes. Unlike for wheat, India did not see a surge in rice exports after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, as the Black Sea region is not a major producer or consumer of rice.

  • Philippines keeps Indian rice import tariffs at 35%: Here’s why

  • Move aimed at curbing inflation, cushioning low yields, possible price hike

    • The Philippines is one of the world's biggest importers of rice.
    • Rice is a staple in the Asian country, which has seen spikes in inflation. 
    • The tariff cuts to 35% (from 50%) for rice imports from India extended till end-2022.

    Manila: Why is the Philippines extending the 35% tariff level for rice imports from India (from the original 50%) until end-2022?

    The move was made through an executive order that lowers the tariff rate for rice imported from outside Southeast Asia.

    What triggered the move? A number of reasons, but primarily three: inflation, lower yields, impending price hikes.

    Price of rise has been steadily rising

    In the last two decades, the FAO Rice Price Index (a measure of the monthly change in international rice prices), doubled between the year 2000 and 2020.

    Recently, Philippine inflation spiked to 3-year high as the country’s central bank reported that it accelerated to 5.4 per cent in May — the highest since December 2018 — owing to higher transport cost.

    Lower yields due to climate, economic and geopolitical factors also form part of the reason. Rice is the daily staple of the country’s more than 109.6 million inhabitants (and also of about 3.5 billion people globally).

    As for cartelisation, Thailand and Vietnam have both announced plans to set up a rice supplier group. On May 30, Thailand’s government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, said Bangkok and Hanoi planned to hike the prices of the grain to double farmers’ income and obtain bargaining power in the international market.

    Thanakorn said that one reasons behind the plan is that food grain prices have been flat for almost 2 decades now even as the production cost has increased.

    Southeast Asia accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s rice exports.

    More affordable rice from India

    Indian rice stays highly competitive in the global market — its 25% broken white rice was quotes at $342 per tonne over the weekend, according to the International Grains Council (IGC).

    The price slid further to $327/tonne on June 8. On the other hand, Vietnam quotes $421 for its 5% broken white rice and Thailand $449 for the same grade.

    Booming rice exports

    The move to keep the tariff cuts could give Philippine consumers a breather from rising inflation.

    This also gives Indian producers a good chance to boost exports.

    M Madan Prakash, President of Agri Commodity Exporters Association was quoted as saying: “Rice exports from India are booming now. We are quoting at least $100 a tonne less than Vietnam and Thailand. China, Vietnam, and the Philippines are purchasing good volumes.”

    He added: “The government in Manila is looking for government-to-government exports since private traders importing rice are selling it at a higher price.”

    Ricebowl status

    Rice is the main food crop in Asia — which includes the world’s two largest producers, China and India, and the three largest exporters, [India, Vietnam and Thailand].

    But as rising demand of the tiny seed hangs in the balance amid environmental challenges, Asean’s rice bowl economy faces new challenges.

    Among the world’s food staples, the amount of rice available for export trade is among the lowest — typically under 10 per cent of global production each year.

    The reason: rice is mostly consumed where it is produced, according to Paul Teng, senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. A shortfall in production could affect the rice security of millions.

    Rice
    The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that rice production must increase by 5 million tonnes per year to keep up with demand from increasing populations.

    Underinvestment, climate, low yield

    The Philippines suffers from underinvestment in agriculture and is frequented by strong typhoons, making it vulnerable to supply shortfalls.

    In April, with record rainfall, flood alerts were up in at least 6 Philippine regions comprising more than 20 provinces, due to a low-pressure area (LPA) at the tail-end of the so-called “La Niña” phenomenon, which dumped heavy rains on several regions in the country’s east and south-east.

    A March report in the journal Nature warned that Southeast Asia’s “rice bowl” status is under “severe threat”.

    The yield gaps are increasing when farmers are only able to obtain about half the yields they should get from their seeds, the journal reported.

    To narrow yield gaps, the study warns of the urgency for Southeast Asia rice producers to take action “now”, in order for the region remain a major rice bowl for import-dependent countries like Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

    Is there enough rice for everyone?

    Then there’s the bigger picture: the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that rice production must increase by 5 million tonnes per year to keep up with demand from increasing populations.

    This poses a challenge due to continuing reduction of rice lands, industrial and urbanisation use, declining freshwater resources and farm labour pose hurdles.

    India: the largest rice exporter

    India is the world’s largest rice exporter, accounting for about 40 per cent of global exports. In 2021, rice shipments from the India topped 21.3 million tonnes, including Basmati rice.

    The Philippines imposes a 50 percent duty on rice imports from non-Asean countries, thus giving a most preferred nation (MFN) status to its two Asean neighbours. Given Manila’s recent move, this preferential treatment won't holding for now, at least till the end of the year.

  • Here’s why world’s largest basmati rice exporter has its eyes on non-basmati space

  • KRBL, world's largest basmati rice exporter, is focusing on enhancing its presence in the non-basmati space with its plans to set up three plants in Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Of these, the plant in Karnataka would exclusively produce non-basmati rice.

    “The idea behind this is that the India Gate brand and the overall India Gate platform offer significant benefits to consumers, which we now want to sort of port onto the non-basmati space,” said Ashish Jain, CFO at KRBL, in an interview with CNBC-TV18.

    Jain added that while Gujarat and Karnataka plants would be operational by FY24, the Madhya Pradesh plant would be ready by FY25.

    Data released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS) in April showed that export of non-basmati rice was the top forex earner across all agri-commodities during the last financial year. India exported non-basmati rice worth $6,115 million in 2021-22, up 27.4 percent against $4,799 million recorded in the previous year.

    While the Indian rice market is primarily dominated by unorganized players, the organized sector – which targets the Tier 1 and 2 cities – is primarily run by KRBL, LT Foods, Kohinoor Foods, Adani Wilmar, Amir Chand Jagdish Kumar, among others. The leading packed rice brands are India Gate, Dawaat, and Kohinoor.

    According to a report by KRBL, world's largest rice miller and exporter, the company’s volume market share in the basmati space stood at 35 percent, compared to 19 percent of LT Food, 5 percent of Adani Wilmar and 3 percent each of Aroma and Shree Jaina in Q3FY22. Non-basmati rice market is mainly controlled by localised players.

    KRBL had last week reported a weak set of numbers for the fourth quarter of financial year 2022 with its gross margin falling to 31 percent against 32.8 percent last year. Revenue rose slightly by 1.38 percent at Rs 987 crore against the Rs 974 crore for the same period last year.

    EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization stood at Rs 163 crore, down from last year’s Rs 209 crore while net profit was at Rs 109 crore against the Rs 138 crore last year.

    The numbers were weak for the full year as well with gross margins down to 28 percent against 31.3 percent, EBITDA down to Rs 705 crore against Rs 846 crore and net profit down to Rs 460 crore from Rs 560 crore. Revenue was up by 5 percent to Rs 4,211 crore.

    The company’s rice realization increase — 22 percent over Q4FY21 — was offset by 25 percent increase in input cost, impacting gross margins while the inventory was lower as paddy purchase went down in the third quarter.

    However, Jain says that the company looks forward to a positive FY23 as the domestic demand remains strong and the challenges no longer remain in exports.

    Speculations had risen in the last two weeks that the government was looking to ban rice export like wheat and sugar exports. However, reports now say that the Centre has started pushing rice export with no expectations of restrictions anytime soon owing to a large domestic harvest and relatively lower global demand.

    According to Jain, the three principal drivers of performance in the rice space are volume, sales mix and efficiency in buying. Distribution is only a short term variable, he says.

    “The first is, of course, your volume sales. That's critical to sort of keep a steady pace on because rice is an inventory based business… The second key area to keep in mind is the sales mix, which determines the overall realization… And the third, of course, is the efficiency in buying,” said Jain.

    India is the second-largest producer of milled rice after China. It is the largest shipper of rice globally with 35.8 percent of world’s total rice exports, as per data from Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

    In 2020, India exported rice worth $8.21 billion, followed by Thailand ($3.88B), Vietnam ($2.74B), Pakistan ($2.14B), and United States ($1.92B).

  • Centre has no plans to ban or curb exports of basmati, non-basmati rice

  • India exported non-basmati rice to more than 150 nations in 2021-22.

    This comes amid reports of regulating overseas sale of rice after India banned wheat exports and capped shipment of sugar at 10 million tonnes in the ongoing 2021-22 marketing year (October-September) as a precautionary step to check local prices

    The Central Government has no plans to ban or impose curbs on export of either basmati or non-basmati rice as India has sufficient supplies and prices are under control.

    This comes amid reports of regulating overseas sale of rice after India banned wheat exports and capped shipment of sugar at 10 million tonnes in the ongoing 2021-22 marketing year (October-September) as a precautionary step to check local prices.

    "There is no move to regulate export of any kind of rice. There is enough supply in our godowns and even with private traders. Domestic prices are also under control as of now," a senior government official told PTI on Tuesday.

    Earlier today, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has directed regional authorities to physically verify all documents of applicants for the export of wheat before issuing registration certificates (RCs).

    In order to plug the loophole, it has been decided that the regional authorities will do a physical verification of all Letters of Credit, whether already approved or under process. Wherever necessary, the help of a professional agency may be taken for such verification, the ministry said in a statement.

    India has also received requests for the supply of over 1.5 million tonnes of wheat from several countries that need the staple to overcome shortages triggered by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

    "More than half a dozen countries have approached India for more than 1.5 million tonnes of wheat and we will see how to go about these requests," said a government official.

    "India is keen to help vulnerable countries and anyone who needs wheat," said the official involved in decision making.

    India, the world's second largest rice producer after China, had exported non-basmati rice worth $6.11 billion in 2021-22, up from $4.8 billion in 2020-21, official data reports.

    India exported non-basmati rice to more than 150 nations in 2021-22.

  • The Global Food Crunch: Will Rice Be Next?

  • A scientist shows "Golden Rice" (R) and ordinary rice at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Laguna. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

    In the most recent Capital Letter I have written about how disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine were triggering export bans by some food-producing nations (and risked triggering more), something made more dangerous by the way that, in a era of global food markets, the aim of self-sufficiency had been replaced by specialization. That works very well until it doesn’t.

    Rice may be India’s next food protectionism target after it restricted wheat and sugar exports, analysts say, a move that could have a devastating impact on global food security as it’s an important staple.

    India’s curbs on wheat and sugar exports sent shock waves through global markets as it marked an escalation in food protectionism that’s seen countries choke off flows of locally-grown supplies to the world. A similar move on rice by the No. 1 exporter at a time when crops like wheat and corn are soaring would threaten to plunge millions more into hunger and boost inflation risks.

    India is the world’s largest exporter of rice (accounting for about 40 percent of global trade).

    An export ban still seems unlikely, at least for now  There’s plenty of rice in the country, but it seems that the government will also be watching carefully what happens to the rice price (inflation has risen sharply in India, and is running at an eight-year high). Price appears to have been a major factor in India’s decision to introduce export restrictions on wheat (where a heatwave is hitting output, adding domestic to international pressure).

    If India does restrict exports, it will add to the growing global food crunch.

    Rice has been the one staple grain that’s helping to keep the world food crisis from getting worse. Unlike wheat and corn, which have seen prices skyrocket as the war in Ukraine disrupts supplies from a major breadbasket, rice prices have remained subdued due to ample production and existing stockpiles.

    That outlook can change if India decides to curb rice exports. It may spur other countries to follow a similar playbook, as it did during the 2008 food crisis, when Vietnam also restricted rice shipments.

    Thailand and Vietnam should jointly raise rice prices to boost their bargaining power in the global market, according to Thai premier Prayuth Chan-Ocha, a move that threatens higher food costs for consumers worldwide.

    Such a step will benefit millions of rice farmers in the two countries who have struggled with rising costs while prices of the grain have remained subdued, Prayuth’s spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said in a statement. Vietnam’s Deputy Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Tran Thanh Nam met with Thai officials Thursday to discuss a framework for cooperation.

    For now, there is enough rice in the market to suggest that, even if the two countries try to increase prices in a coordinated move, they are likely to struggle, but that, of course, would change if India changed its position.

  • Weak rupee, plentiful stocks drag Indian rice prices to over 5-year low

  • HANOI/MUMBAI/BANGKOK/DHAKA: Indian rice export prices extended losses to their lowest in more than five years this week, hurt by a depreciation in local currency and as supply in top exporting nations remained abundant. India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $350 to $354 per tonne, down from last week’s $351 to $356 per tonne.

    “Demand is there but supplies are also ample. Many buyers are looking for 100% broken rice to replace expensive corn in animal feed,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The Indian rupee plunged to a record last week against the dollar, increasing exporters’ margin from overseas sales.

    Rice prices in neighboring Bangladesh rose again this week, despite good stocks, which traders blame on the rise in global markets. “We’re hearing India could restrict rice exports. Prices will go up again if they do so,” a Dhaka-based trader said.

    Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $450 per tonne, up from $430-$445 last week, on strengthening of the domestic currency and rising cost of production.

    “Supply remains ample, but rice prices have gone up due to higher prices of fertilizers,” a Bangkok-based trader said. Demand has been muted in the past several weeks as higher prices have deterred potential buyers, another trader said.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $415-$420 per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from a week ago.

    “The Philippines will continue to be Vietnam’s largest export market, but shipments to the European Union are expected to witness the fastest growth backed by the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    Preliminary shipping data showed 369,882 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port from May 1 to May 28, with most of the rice heading to the Philippines, Africa and Cuba.

  • ASIA RICE-INDIA’S EXPORT PRICES DIP ON RUPEE DIVE, AMPLE DOMESTIC SUPPLY

  • * India rates at $351-$356 per tonne vs $357-$361 last week

    * Bangladesh has no plan to import rice this year - official

    By Roshan Abraham

    May 19 (Reuters) - Rice prices from top exporter India extended losses this week, pressured by ample domestic supplies and the rupee's dive to record lows.

    India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted at $351 to $356 per tonne, down from last week's $357- $361 range, as the rupee hit an all-time low at 77.79 versus the dollar this week.

    "The government is releasing more and more rice to feed poor people. The release has been putting pressure on the local prices," said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

    A weaker rupee increases traders' margins from overseas sales, allowing them to cut export rates.

    Neighboring Bangladesh, traditionally the world's third biggest producer, which often resorts to imports to cope with shortages caused by natural disasters, has no plan to import rice this year, a food ministry official said, despite a rise in domestic prices again this week.

    "We have good stocks and good crops this time and we expect that our local procurement target will be fulfilled. There is no plan to import rice," the official said.

    Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices <RI-VNBKN5-P1> were unchanged at $415-$420 per tonne.

    "Domestic supplies are running low while trading activity remains weak," a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

    Preliminary shipping data showed 306,870 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port from May 1 to May 24, with most of it heading to the Philippines, Africa and Cuba.

    Meanwhile, Thailand's 5% broken rice prices <RI-THBKN5-P1> slipped to $430-$445 per tonne from $450 last week.

    Bangkok-based traders said markets have largely been muted since last week and the weak baht has made export prices attractive.

    The country exported 1.74 million tonnes between January and March, up 48.5% from the same period last year, according to data from Thailand's commerce ministry released earlier this week. (Reporting by Roshan Abraham in Bengaluru, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok and Ruma Paul in Dhaka Editing by Mark Potter)

  • A bowl of organic rice a day to keep the doc at bay

  • Speaking to DT Next, she gives us a lowdown on lesser-known rice varieties rich in nutrients required for the body.

    CHENNAI: We are the bridge that connects farmers and consumers. We are the middlemen so to speak,” Dr. Vijayalakshmi, Director of Sempulam Sustainable Solutions laughs.

    Sempulam Sustainable Solutions is a 30-year-old company that offers consultancy services to individuals keen on embarking upon sustainable and organic farming, at any scale.

    Vijayalakshmi is backed by a team of researchers, scientists, and farmers aiming to produce healthy and organic rice varieties.

    Speaking to DT Next, she gives us a lowdown on lesser-known rice varieties rich in nutrients required for the body.

    Arbutham Kuruvai:

    This rice variety is a short-term variety of rice that is cultivated in 60-70 days and hence the name. Arbutham Kuruvai is normally cultivated during the period Dec 15 to Mar 15 (Navarai and Kuruvai). This rice variety is rich in proteins, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. Dishes like idli, dosa, idiyappam, puttu, porridge, and kozhukattai can be made with this rice variety. Since each variety has different cooking points, the method to cook this rice is a 1:2 rice to water ratio with three whistles on a pressure cooker.

    Raktashali:

    It is dark red in colour with normal texture. Other than it being used for cooking, this rice variety has medicinal properties and is considered nearly an extinct variety of medicinal rice. Ayurveda uses this rice to cure bodily imbalances, purify the blood, and also act as an immunity booster because of the high zinc content. This rice is recommended for lactating mothers. To cook this rice, it is recommended to soak the rice for a couple of hours and use the same water for cooking.

    Anandanoor Sanna:

    This rice gets its name from the region, Anandanoor where it is grown. Sanna which means fine and thin in Tamil indicates the quality of rice. It is generally cultivated from July 15 to January 14 (Samba) since the preferred soil for cultivation must be clayey in texture. The rice to water ratio is 1:2 with four whistles on the pressure cooker. It is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and protein.

    Iravai Pandi:

    This rice variety is named after a king. It is usually cultivated from July 15 to January 14 (Samba) and needs sandy clay soil. This rice variety is most suitable for South Indian dishes. Soak the rice five hours before cooking. The rice to water ratio is 1:3 with four whistles. It is rich in calcium, potassium, and zinc.

    Karuthakaar:

    This rice variety is cultivated during Samba and is used by people with diabetes. It majorly helps the body build immunity to jaundice. It can be used to make idli, dosa, and other meals. Soak the rice four hours before cooking. The rice to ratio is 1:3 with four whistles. The texture of the cooked rice is coarse.

  • Prices of fertilizer soar, threatening Asian rice output

  • From India to Vietnam, cutbacks in nutrients could lead to food crisis 

    Freshly harvested rice in the Philippines, on April 10. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Veejay Villafranca.

    Soaring fertilizer costs have rice farmers across Asia scaling back their use, a move that threatens harvests of a staple that feeds half of humanity and could lead to a full-blown food crisis if prices aren't curbed.

    From India to Vietnam and the Philippines, prices of crop nutrients crucial to boosting food production have doubled or tripled in the past year alone. Lower fertilizer use may mean a smaller crop. The International Rice Research Institute predicts that yields could drop 10% in the next season, translating to a loss of 36 million tons of rice, or the equivalent of feeding 500 million people.

    That's a "very conservative estimate," said Humnath Bhandari, a senior agricultural economist at the institute, adding that the impact could be far more severe should the war in Ukraine continue.

    Fertilizer prices have been rising globally due to supply snags and production woes. More recently. the war has disrupted trade with Russia, a big supplier of every major type of crop nutrient. The surge in fertilizer costs is threatening to stoke food inflation if farmers continue to cut back and crop yields suffer. If that happens, global supply chains are likely to take a major hit: Practically every plate of food makes it to the dinner table with the help of fertilizers.

    Rice farmers are particularly vulnerable. Unlike wheat and corn, which have seen prices skyrocket as the war jeopardizes one of the world's major breadbaskets, rice prices have been subdued due to ample production and existing stockpiles. That means rice growers are having to deal with inflated costs while also not getting more money for their grains.

    Nguyen Binh Phong, the owner of a fertilizer and pesticide store in Vietnam's Kien Giang province, said the cost of a 110 pound sack of urea -- a form of nitrogen fertilizer -- has jumped three-fold over the past year. He said some farmers have slashed fertilizer use by 10% to 20% because of soaring prices, leading to a lower output.

    "When the farmers cut fertilizer use, they accept that they will get lower profit," he said.

    Governments in Asia, where much of the world's rice is harvested, are keen to avoid this scenario. Keeping prices under control is important for politicians, given rice's importance as a staple for hundreds of millions of people, especially lower income groups. Many nations provide fertilizer subsidies to increase yields of improved varieties of cereal crops.

    The fertilizer rally is increasing their fiscal burden. India, which relies heavily on fertilizer imports, is set to spend about $20 billion to shield farmers from higher prices, up from about $14 billion budgeted in February. The South Asian nation is the world's second-biggest producer of rice and exports to countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nepal and Bangladesh.

    Somashekhar Rao, 57, a farmer who grows rice on a 25-acre plot in Telangana, in southern India, said he's struggling with the increased cost of fertilizer. He expects yields to fall by 5-10% for his winter-sown crop because of the delay in securing enough supplies. Fertilizer is most effective when used on plants at their peak growing cycle.

    The crunch is not all bad. Overuse of chemical fertilizers is rife in the region. The surge in prices is encouraging farmers to use resources more efficiently, according to the International Rice Research Institute, which is working with growers to achieve optimal results. Solutions include utilizing a combination of chemical and organic inputs to maintain yields while improving soil health.

    Still, these steps will take time to implement. And as the war in Ukraine continues to disrupt economies across the world, farmers and the rice institute say the hardest days are perhaps yet to come.

    "If this continues, then it's inevitable" that prices will go up, Bhandari said. "It has to be reflected somewhere."

  • 40,000 MT of rice from India to reach SL

  • 40,000 MT of rice from India to reach SL COLOMBO (News 1st); The Ministry of Trade said that another 40,000 MT of rice imported via the Indian Line of Credit will reach Sri Lanka on Monday (11). The secretary to the Ministry of Trades, Bhadrani Jayawardena stated that the stock will be sold through Sathosa outlets as soon as it is received. 1kg of Nadu and Kekulu rice is sold at Rs.110/- and 1kg of Samba is sold at Rs.130/- through Sathosa. Meanwhile, the Association of Importers of Essential Commodities said that all essential commodities required by the people during the New Year season have been distributed throughout the island. The spokesman of the Association of Importers of Essential Commodities, Nihal Seneviratne said that there could be a slight shortage of milk powder. He also said that the prices of essential commodities will be reduced in the future.
     
     
     
     
  • India’s agri exports cross $50 bn in Covid-hit year; rice is top forex earner

  • According to the DGCI&S data, the export of wheat touched an all-time high at $2,118 million in 2021-22, growing 273% from the previous fiscal’s $567 million. agricultural reforms, Essential Commodities Act, farmers, agriculture sector India’s agricultural exports increased by about 20% to cross $50 billion for the year 2021-22, despite logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of high freight rates, and container shortages, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which works under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has scripted history by exporting agricultural and processed food products to the tune of $25.6 billion, which is 51% of India’s total agriculture exports of $50 billion, the ministry said. It has also surpassed its own export target of $23.7 billion for the financial year 2021-22 by registering shipments of $25.6 billion. Major exporting destinations were Bangladesh, UAE, Vietnam, USA, Nepal, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, and Egypt. “The rise in export of agricultural and processed food products has been largely due to the various initiatives taken by Centre through APEDA such as organising B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets through product-specific and general marketing campaigns with the active involvement of Indian Embassies,” the ministry said. As per the ministry statement, the government organised more than 300 outreach programmes in collaboration with state governments for enhancing the exports of agricultural produce. “We have also created a products matrix for 50 agricultural products which have good scope for expanding our exports portfolios,” said Dr. M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA. As per the provisional figures released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), the agricultural exports have grown by 19.92% during 2021-22 to touch $50.21 billion. The growth rate is over and above the growth of 17.66% at $41.87 billion achieved in 2020-21. The cereal sector in APEDA exports contributes more than 52% share in 2021-22. Livestock products and other processed foods contribute 17 and 15% to APEDA export respectively in 2021-22.
    Source: Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    According to the DGCI&S data, the export of rice was the top forex earner at $9,654 million during 2021-22, growing 9.35% from the previous year when it was $8,829 million. The export of wheat touched an all-time high at $2,118 million in 2021-22, growing 273% from the previous fiscal’s $567 million, while other cereals registered a growth of 53% by fetching $1,083 million in 2021-22 compared to the previous financial year when it was $705 million. Export of pulses reported a growth of 34% touching $358 million in 2021-22 from $265 million in 2020-21. Dairy products grew by 96% standing at $634 million in 2021-22 from $323 million in 2020-21, while buffalo meat registered a growth of just 4% as export of bovine meat increased from $3,171 million in 2020-21 to $3,303 million in 2021-22. Export of poultry products rose to $71 million in 2021-22 from $58 million in the previous year and sheep/goat meat export was up by 34% to $60 million in 2021-22 from $44 million in the previous year. Fruits and vegetables exports were up by 12% to touch $1,676 million in 2021-22 against $1,492 million in 2020-21, while processed fruits and vegetable exports were up by 7% to reach $1,202 million in 2021-22 against $1,120 million in the previous year. Exports of other processed food items grew by 34% during 2021-22 to touch $1,164 million against $866 million in 2020-21. The cashew exports also grew by 7% to $452 million in 2021-22 from $420 million in the previous year. Floriculture products reported a rise of 33% when they touched $103 million in 2021-22 from $77 million in 2020-21.
  • Nearly 25% increase in rice export bring relief to Haryana farmers, exporters

  • After heavy slump in export of rice in past about one and half years due to epidemic outbreak now farmers as well as rice exporters in Haryana state are having relief due to nearly 25% increase in rice export in past few weeks due to worldwide unrest as a result of war between Ukraine and Russia causing increase in demand of Indian rice. Information reveals, during year 2020-21nearly 16% drop in export of rice to various countries was witnessed. Farmers in Haryana grain markets are selling 1121 variety rice at the rate of Rs 4400 per quintal, Basmati rice at the rate Rs 4000 per quintal and 1509 variety rice at the rate ranging between Es 1600-1700 per quintal which is being sold at the rate ranging between Rs 3200-3300 per quintal at present. President of India Rice Exporters Association Vijay Setia told that Haryana state had export between 16 to 17 lakh ton rice of value worth Rs 16000 crore last year since there was nearly 16% drop in export due to unavoidable circumstances, whereas 25% growth in export has now been identified. Setia said in case Haryana state government had reduced market fee from 4% to 1% similar to being charged in Ghaziabad and Narela grain markets the export of rice would have increased to 20000 ton this year. Chairman of Haryana Rice Millers Association Jwail Singh told that demand of Basmati, 1121 and 1509 varieties rice has suddenly increased all over in the world due to present Ukraine-Russia war. Districts situated on G.T. Road belt which including Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat and Sonipat districts in Haryana are famous for production of paddy crop in the state in which Kuruksetra and Karnal districts are producing maximum quantity of Basmati, 1121 and 1509 variety rice being exported to large number of countries across the world including Saudi Arab, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Muscat, Dubai, Africa and Australia. Singla told that Saudi Arab is biggest buyer of all types of rice from our country. He said, the prices of Basmati being sold earlier at the rate Rs 3300-3500 per quintal is now being sold at the rate Rs 4400 per quintal, whereas 1121 variety rice earlier sold at the rate Rs 3500-3700 per quintal  presently being sold at the rate Rs 4100 per quintal. Similarly, 1509 variety rice earlier sold at the rate Rs 2500-2700 per quintal is available at the rate Rs Rs 4200 per quintal at present. In view of fast declining water level in underground in Haryana state government is offering beneficial schemes in case of change of crop pattern from paddy requires huge quantity to alternate crops consuming less quantity of water offering incentive of Rs 7000 each acre area.  
  • Rice Market Update: Uncertainty Remains Key Factor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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