Reform Bulog, not rice imports

  • Workers carry rice at Cipinang Market in East Jakarta on March 15, 2021. (JP/Yulianto Catur Nugroho)

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    Given Indonesia’s abundant production and surpluses of rice in the past few years, there should be no urgency in importing rice this year. The fact that State Logistics Agency (Bulog) lacks stock for price stabilization is primarily a result of the government’s rigid bureaucracy. Imports can be justified in the event of a deficit in the supply of a particular commodity, as is happening with sugar and garlic. Against the rulebook, however, the government has once again announced a plan to import rice. This time around, the rice imports will amount to 2 million tonnes, the highest during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo's 10-year tenure. The previous record came in 2017 with 1.8 million tonnes.

    The government said the upcoming imports would be needed to substitute the diminishing government rice reserves (CBP), a special state-owned stock entrusted to Bulog to stabilize the price, which has been dangerously low. Indeed, rice demand used to go up during Ramadan and ahead of Idul Fitri, but fulfilling CBP with imported rice is both unnecessary and avoidable in the Indonesian case. Bulog’s low stock stemmed from the soaring farmgate price that exceeded the government purchase price (HPP) reference in the first place. Due to the low government ceiling price, Bulog was unable to absorb as much rice as it could during harvest season last year to fill up CBP as farmers were reluctant to sell their products to Bulog. Rice farmers in East and Central Java told The Jakarta Post they had long refrained from selling rice grain to Bulog as the agency’s price was far lower than they could anticipate.

    The farmers said the farmgate price had hovered between Rp 5,600 (37 US cents) and Rp 6,600 per kilogram, whereas the latest HPP was set at Rp 5,000 per kg, which was already revised twice from Rp 4,000 per kg based on a 2020 regulation. When farmers ask for a higher price, it does not mean they are greedy or looking for a big margin. They demand a better price to cover production costs, which have skyrocketed following the soaring fuel prices. Fertilizer prices have also ballooned due to limited supply. The import policy will only put farmers at risk of losing the appropriate amount of farmgate they deserve. The government’s latest HPP price showed its willingness to help the farmers, but the move came too little too late. As long as the government’s ceiling price cannot match the farmgate price, Bulog will be unable to effectively replenish its national stock from farmers. Bulog cannot force farmers to sell their rice to the agency at whatever price, as practiced during the New Order. The government should have realized the problem was rooted in the obscure design of Bulog in the first place. The state wants Bulog to act as its public service obligation (PSO) arm to stabilize rice prices, but the agency took the form of a commercial entity. Being a commercial entity, Bulog can only play its role effectively if the market conditions meet its parameter. The HPP, for example, should be able to compete with the farmgate price.  Furthermore, to absorb rice from farmers, Bulog does not receive a state budget allocation, but relies on banks for financing along with its interest burden. It is just a completely bad idea for such an important job to stabilize the price of rice, which is the most potent inflation contributor in the country. In the past, experts and the government itself were aware of the need to redesign Bulog to become a full state agency focusing on price stabilization. This would mean Bulog would operate with full support from the state budget to stabilize prices without fear of financing risk. It could easily adapt to changes in the market, even outpacing middlemen, traders and rent seekers who had been benefiting the most during Bulog’s absence. It is time to reform Bulog to empower it as an effective buffer of the national stock of such a strategic commodity as rice, which will keep the government from the import option.

  • Indonesia may import another 500,000 tonnes of rice in 2023

  • Indonesia may procure another 500,000 tonnes of rice from abroad this year to fill up the diminishing government rice reserves, the Trade Ministry has said.

    Jakarta (VNA) - Indonesia may procure another 500,000 tonnes of rice from abroad this year to fill up the diminishing government rice reserves, the Trade Ministry has said.

    The announcement came despite the government having imported 500,000 tonnes of rice from countries including Vietnam, Thailand, and Pakistan starting last December.

    Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan said the government had agreed to offer the option, arguing that the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) only had around a quarter of the required minimum reserves of 1.2 million tonnes.

    They decided at a meeting with the President that whenever necessary, they can import again as many as 500,000 tonnes, the minister told a recent session with Commission VI of the Indonesian House of Representatives.

    However, he noted, the government will not import rice in the near future as the harvest season is coming and the import of foreign rice may affect domestic prices.

    Rice prices has kept rising in Indonesia since the year’s beginning despite the rice import since late 2022 and recent market interventions by Bulog.

    Head of Bulog Budi Waseso said this agency has distributed about 230,000 tonnes, or nearly half of the imported 500,000 tonnes to stabilise prices.

    He pledged continued distribution to meet demand of retailers and traditional markets, affirming that import is licensed only in emergency cases./.


  • 133K metric tons of imported rice arrive

  • AT least 132,798 metric tons of imported rice have arrived amid the increasing retail prices of the staple food in the country.

    Based on the data from BPI, as of Jan. 19, 2023, the bulk of the rice imports came from Vietnam with 110,686 MT; followed by Thailand, 10,225 MT; Myanmar, 10,920 MT; Pakistan, 1,067 MT; and India, 80 MT.

    The BPI added that fresh rice imports were covered by the 152 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs).

    According to the BPI, at least 39 accredited importers brought the grains.

    Based on the monitoring of the Department of Agriculture in the local markets, the retail prices of local regular milled rice ranged from P34 to P40 per kilo; local well-milled rice, P38 to P44 per kilo; local premium rice, P42 to P49 per kilo; and local special rice, P48 to P60 per kilo.

    The DA added that the imported regular milled rice was pegged between P37 and P38 per kilo; imported well-milled rice, P40 to P45 per kilo; imported premium rice, P43 to P52 per kilo; and imported special rice, P46 to P55 per kilo.

    Farmers' group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) President Rosendo So has said that the retail prices of rice have increased.

    So added that the upward trend is expected to continue this year.

  • Rice export: REAP initiates talks with Azerbaijani importers

  • LAHORE: Following exemption announced by the Azerbaijan government on rice imports from Pakistan, the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has initiated dialogues with the Azerbaijani importers to grab its share in the market of $33.93 million per annum.

    Currently, India is the largest exporter to Azerbaijan having a 73% market share worth $24 million whereas Pakistan stands in the fourth position as a rice exporter to Azerbaijan with a market share of 4.63% worth $1.57 million.

    “Pakistan has the potential to boost rice export to Azerbaijan as the tax waiver is an opportunity for the Pakistani exporters to compete with regional rice exporting countries and grab their share in the Azerbaijan market.

    The decision will not only help in enhancing rice exports but will also increase the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries,” said REAP Senior Vice Chairman Haseeb Khan while talking to Business Recorder on Tuesday.

    The REAP sent a trade delegation recently led by Haseeb which held meetings with different rice importers and the investment promotion agency of Azerbaijan (AZPROMO).

    The embassy of Pakistan in Baku facilitated the delegation and Bilal Hayee at the embassy briefed the delegation about this opportunity. Head of export (AZPROMO) Yusif Abdullayev, showing interest in rice import from Pakistan, said his government has exempted the import of Pakistani rice from customs duty for five years.

    The decision would expand the export of rice from Pakistan to Azerbaijan and open new opportunities for Pakistani exporters. The REAP delegation leader Haseeb Ali Khan said that different types of rice can be exported from Pakistan to Azerbaijan. He hoped the opportunity would be helpful for both countries and the people of Azerbaijan would be able to use better and higher quality rice from Pakistan.

    Haseeb said they also exchanged rice samples with the importers in a bid to grab the market in future. Replying to a query, he said that as the buying season in Azerbaijan was over, they hope that result of the exemption of duty and B2B contacts between Pakistani and Azerbaijani traders would bear fruit from the next season.

  • Slowdown in issuance of spsics stays as tool to manage rice imports

  • THE Philippines will continue its practice of “managing” the entry of rice imports by slowing down the issuance of pertinent import documents during harvest seasons as authorities “balance” local production and foreign supplies.

    However, high-ranking agriculture officials hinted that they may issue fewer sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) that would cover import arrivals in the first half should official figures indicate abundant supply.

    Senior Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban revealed that due to sufficient stocks, the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Bureau of Plant Industry, is not yet “on the verge” of issuing SPSICs for rice imports that would arrive in the first quarter of next year.

    Panganiban explained that the department continues to review the country’s rice supply situation, including production figures to manage the volume of imports that will arrive in the country.

    “Importation has been going on without SPSICs. There has been no SPSICs issued by the BPI. So we shall not import anymore,” he said at a press briefing on Monday.

    Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla emphasized that the BPI’s current practice of slowing down on SPSICs, when local harvest season is nearing, shall remain in place.

    “The review of SPSIC applications does not stop. But what is happening actually now is that during the peak harvest season, the BPI’s approval of SPSICs becomes very slow because again we are balancing production and the import arrivals,” Sombilla explained.

    The country’s rice imports has reached a record-level of over 3.5 million metric tons (MMT) as of early December, which Sombilla described as a “blessing in disguise” since it compensated the reduction in local output due to higher production costs driven by expensive fertilizer and fuel.

    Since the rice trade liberalization law took effect in 2019, authorities have been looking for ways to manage the arrival of rice imports to avert an oversupply that would depress farm-gate prices of local palay.

    One of the ways the government limits the entry of rice imports especially during harvest seasons is by slowing down on the issuance of SPSICs.

    The last time the BPI issued SPSICs for rice imports was June 6, with a corresponding volume of a little over 625,000 MT.

    The BPI, an attached agency of the DA, is mandated under Republic Act 11203 or the RTL law to oversee rice importation through issuance of SPSIC. The SPSIC is a required import document that certifies an imported good or product is safe for human consumption and health and does not bring in any threats to the local agriculture sector such as plants and animals.

    Nonetheless, the agriculture officials assured the public that the country will not face a rice shortage next year. The worst scenario, they pointed out, would be smaller than average beginning rice stocks at the start of 2023.

    “There will be no shortage of rice next year. In fact, we are hoping to maintain the level of production from last year to this year,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel V. De Mesa said. The country’s palay output last year reached a record high of 19.96 MMT.

    The Philippines’s habit of using SPSICs as a mechanism to manage the entry of food imports has been questioned by its trade-partners, especially the United States, at the level of the World Trade Organization.

  • Rice Import Plan Exposes Bulog’s Lack of Management, Says Farmers Union

  • TEMPO.COJakarta - The Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI) in a written statement on Monday argues that the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) has exposed its weak management of national food reserves and food production cooperation as the agency remains to be open to importing rice at the end of this year. 

    Henry Saragih, the Chairperson of SPI wrote: “Bulog is an agency that is tasked to manage national food reserves and shows its weaknesses in planning and conducting its role.”

    This week, the Indonesian government imported a total of 10,000 tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand which will arrive until February of next year until it reaches its goal of 500,000 tons. This decision was taken following two meetings with President Joko Widodo. 

    The government believes this is a crucial step in adding to the government rice reserves that have continued to deplete. Bulog argues the slimming of reserves is because it did not purchase unhulled rice from local farmers during the months of March up to June this year when farmers undergo grand harvest. 

    Adding to worsening the situation is the fact that Bulog issued its rice and grain reserves as local farmers were undergoing their grand harvest. Currently, the number of harvests in December is far less than in the middle of the year and reaches prices that tend to exceed the price Bulog is able to afford. 

    Citing data from Statistics Indonesia, he said the rice production from local farmers this year is more than enough to fulfill the national need for rice. 

  • Senegal struggles to break dependence on imported rice

  • Around the village of Dak in central Senegal, women cut rice stalks with sickles and knives, singing and dancing. In this West African country, which is a major consumer of the cereal, the current harvest will not cover all needs.

    "This production is for self-consumption. We don't want to buy imported rice anymore, which is very expensive," says Diétéo Diouf, head of a women's association, in the middle of the rice fields.

    The global food crisis and inflation caused by the war in Ukraine and the rise in cereal and energy prices have made the search for food self-sufficiency in Africa a pressing issue.

    Rice, one of the staples of the African diet, is particularly affected as India, the world's second largest producer, announced restrictions on its exports in September, raising fears of a shortage in Africa, where more than 280 million people were already undernourished by 2020 according to the UN.

    The Asian giant banned the export of broken rice (rice with lower prices and accidental or unintentional fractures) and introduced a 20% tax on exports of high-quality rice to improve domestic supplies after a major drought in the main producing regions.

    To combat speculation, Senegal recently set a price of 325 CFA francs per kilo (about 0.5 euros) for Indian broken rice, one of the cheapest and most widely consumed types of rice, and virtually the only one imported into the country, according to the coordinator of the national rice self-sufficiency programme, Waly Diouf.

    Rice is essential for the preparation of ceebu jën, rice with fish and the most popular dish in Senegal.

    Panic and tension

    Africa accounts for 32% of the world's rice imports for 13% of the world's population, according to Africa Rice, a research centre in Abidjan with 28 member countries.

    "Local rice production covers only about 60% of current demand in sub-Saharan Africa," the centre said.

    India's decision to limit its exports has created panic in several African countries where rice is an essential commodity.

    In the Comoros, an archipelago of 890,000 inhabitants where more than a quarter of the population lives on less than two euros a day, the soaring price of rice caused clashes at the end of September.

    In Liberia, queues formed in front of wholesalers amid rumours of a shortage. Prices reached the equivalent of 23 euros per 25kg bag, compared to the usual 13 euros.

    "The threat (of shortages) is real in Senegal" when India says it will not export any more, Diouf said. The country experienced "hunger riots" in 2008 due to a sharp increase in the price of basic foods.

    Over the past two years, "Senegal has produced some 840,000 tonnes of rice each time, or nine months' consumption, a quantity that is increasing," Diouf said.

    The country "imports an average of 900,000 tonnes of rice every year. This exceeds the country's needs, but importing makes it possible to guarantee the availability of the product and to avoid speculation," he explained.

    Producing locally

    The aim is to reduce this dependence. "By 2030, consumption in Senegal should reach 1.5 million tonnes of rice per year. We have worked on a strategy to move towards self-sufficiency," says Waly Diouf. He estimates the financial effort needed to achieve self-sufficiency at 1,371 billion CFA francs (about two billion euros).

    "We need more rice fields, credit, combine harvesters and a new irrigation system," says Mouhamadou Moustapha Diack, president of a farmers' union in Boundoum (north). There, the dykes and irrigation channels between the rice fields are worn out, dotted with eucalyptus and water lilies.

    Beyond the quantity, the supposedly poorer quality of rice produced in Senegal has long turned consumers away. "That has changed," Birame Diouf, head of a rice mill in Ross Béthio (north), a factory that removes impurities such as small gravels, told AFP. The grains are swallowed up in huge vats, where they are husked, cleaned and processed into whole or broken rice.

    Senegal hopes to follow the example of Côte d'Ivoire where 'the quantities imported from India have fallen by 24% from 2021 to 2022. There has been a clear shift towards Ivorian rice and secondarily towards other origins," Régina Adea, communications officer for the Agency for the Development of the Rice Sector in Côte d'Ivoire (Aderiz), told AFP.

  • Rice import: Minister-secretary return home without no headway

  • Rice samples are seen demonstrating for export at a rice processing factory in Vietnam's southern Mekong delta, Vietnam on 6 July 2017. 
    Reuters file photo

    A high-level delegation led by food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder returned home after visiting Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand where they held discussions with officials of those countries on the import of rice.

    However, no deal or memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with any of these countries on rice import during their trip.

    According to food ministry sources, the government is emphasising strengthening relations with countries exporting rice other than India fearing global rice price may rise further next year.

    The trip to three countries was made as part of a special approval on rice import by prime minister’s office.

    The six-member delegation took part in the minister-level talks in Vietnam and Cambodia and held meetings with government agencies exporting rice and traders in Thailand.

    Speaking to Porthom Alo, food secretary Md Ismail Hossain said, “We have already started importing rice from Vietnam and talks were held for import of more rice.”

    “Cambodia wants to export 20-30 thousand tonnes of parboiled rice, but we do not need this rice now. Thailand is not interested in government-to-government deal to export rice for now, but private sector can import rice from this country,” he added.

    Breakdown of rice export

    Like in the past, India will export the highest amount of rice this year. However, rice production dropped in the country due to drought. The country exported 21.5 million tonnes of rice last year and will export 17 million tonnes of rice this year. India has imposed ban and increased tariff on rice export since September this year.

    India is the main destination of Bangladesh for rice import. In 2007, Bangladesh singed a deal with India to import 500,000 tonnes of rice, but Bangladesh did not receive the entire amount. This time, when talks on rice import began India restricted export and Bangladesh took an initiative to import rice from other countries.

    Speaking to Prothom Alo, former agriculture secretary AMM Shawkat Ali said rice should be imported from any country if price is cheap.

    When a high-level government delegation visits any country, they will get assurance on rice export from the respective country and officials of food departments are enough to improve relations and hold talks in rice import, he added.

    From neighbor to East

    The government looked to East Asian countries to import rice after trouble arises in India. Thailand has decided to export 7.5 million tonnes of rice this year. Bangladesh is interested in government-to-government (G2G) deal to export rice, but Thailand did not give a positive response. As private sector is strong in Thailand, its government is not interested in G2G deal on rice export.

    According to the delegation sources, China, world’s largest importer of rice, has already singed a deal with Thailand with advance payment to procure rice. Indonesia and several Meddle East countries also paid Thailand in advance. Amid this situation, import of rice is not possible from Thailand other than private sector deal

    The delegation sources further said the five-year MoU on import of rice between the governments of Bangladesh and Vietnam would end this December and both countries agreed to renew it.

    The Food ministry has started working to finalise the MoU by this month. However, Vietnam wants to export sunned rice, but Bangladesh does not procure it now. There is no progress on Vietnam now other than renewing the MoU.

    Cambodia also wants to export 20-30 thousand tonnes of sunned rice, but Bangladesh needs parboiled rice. So, no rice will be import from Cambodia for now. However, its government called Bangladesh to invest in paddy cultivation and setting up parboiled rice mills in the country.

    Led by food minister and secretary, the delegation visited Cambodia on 22-24 November, Vietnam on 24-27 November and Thailand on 27-31 November and returned home on 1 December.

    Sources at food ministry said a G2G deal was signed with Vietnam in September last to import 230,000 tonnes of rice. Besides, 100,000 tonnes of rice are being procured from India and 200,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar. Parboiled and sunned rice is being procured from Vietnam at a price of $521and $494 a tonne respectively.

    This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna

  • Unprocessed rice imports from Cambodia eyed by Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Marcos is the concurrent Agriculture Secretary of the Philippines.

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • Govt to import another nine lakh tonnes of rice

  • The cabinet committee on economic affairs in a meeting on Wednesday agreed in principle to import 9,00,000 tonnes of more rice.

    Presided over by finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, the online meeting approved a proposal from the Directorate General of Food to import 4,00,000 tonnes under the direct purchase method and 5,00,000 tonnes through open tender.

    In a briefing, additional secretary Md Abdul Barik of the cabinet division said that the name of importing country would be informed later.

    With the latest decision taken in a fortnight’s time, the government is going to import 19,30,000 tonnes of rice and wheat.

    On September 7, a meeting of the cabinet committee on government purchase decided to import 2,00,000 tonnes of non-boiled rice from Myanmar.

    On August 21, the government decided to procure 5,00,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia and 3.30 lakh tonnes of rice from India and Vietnam.

    India will supply 1,00,000  tonnes of non-Basmati rice and  Vietnam 2,00,000 tonnes of non-Basmati rice and 30,000 tonnes of non-boiled rice.

    Officials at the Directorate General of Food said that they were directed to find out alternative sources of food import to maintain the country’s food security amid apprehension of food shortage in November.

  • Shipment from Vietnam aboveboard – rice importer

  • ONE of the importers/consignees of the rice shipment that reached Iloilo claimed to have all the supporting importation documents to prove that duties and taxes were paid.

    Famint Corp. strongly objected to its inclusion in the list of importer/consignees that were implicated in the alleged anomalous importation of 38,400 metric tons of Vietnam rice worth more than P1 billion.

    "Famint has valid sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances from the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Department of Agriculture for all its rice importations, and has duly declared all these importations with the Bureau of Customs, and paid all the applicable customs, tariffs and taxes," it said in a statement.

    "At all times, Farmint ensures and upholds compliance to all laws and regulations of the Philippines, particularly relevant government agencies, in relation to its rice importation," it added.

    The Port of Iloilo earlier acknowledged the unloading of rice but claimed that the shipments were properly documented.

    It said that the rice shipments on board MV Hai Ha 58, MV Hoa Binh 54 and MV Hai Dang 168 were covered with clearances and permits issued by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry and that P83,322,586.68 in customs duties and taxes were paid.

    MV Royal 18, which was also carrying rice, is at the anchorage area and waiting for berthing space.

  • PHL seen to import record 3.2-MMT rice in ’22

  • THE Philippines, the world’s second-biggest buyer of rice, may import a record 3.2 million metric tons (MMT) this year, driven by higher-than-expected purchases abroad, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

    In its monthly global grains situation report, the USDA revised upward its rice import forecast for the Philippines in 2022 by 100,000 MT from an earlier estimate of 3.1 MMT.

    Based on its latest projections, the USDA said the Philippines’s total rice imports this year would be 8.47 percent higher than last year’s 2.95 MMT recorded import volume.

    The USDA explained that it revised upwards its rice import projection for the Philippines because of the “strong” pace of imports this year.

    The Philippines’s rice imports from January to July rose by 62 percent to 2.325 MMT from last year’s 1.432 MMT, based on latest data released by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

    BPI data showed that 81.72 percent or about 1.9 MMT of the rice imported during the 7-month period came from Vietnam.

    BPI data also showed that it issued 448 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPS-ICs) to 47 eligible rice importers with a total corresponding import volume of 625,743.6 MT. The 448 SPS-ICs were all issued by BPI in June.

    The USDA kept its local rice production projection for the Philippines at 12.6 MMT, or 1.44 percent higher than last year’s 12.42 MMT.

    Per USDA data, total area planted with rice this year would reach 4.8 million hectares, slightly higher than last year’s 4.76 million hectares. The Philippines’s average rice yield is projected to inch up to 4.17 MT per hectare from 4.14 MT per hectare, based on USDA data.

    The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier reported that the country’s total rice inventory as of June declined by 12.3 percent to 2.22 MMT from last year’s 2.53 MMT.

    The PSA said about 47.3 percent or some 1.049 MMT of rice were stored by households while 44.8 percent or 995,230 MT were held by commercial entities (warehouses, wholesalers and retailers). The PSA added that rice stocks in the National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses as of June 1 reached 175,490 MT, accounting for 7.9 percent of total inventory during the reference period.

    “Rice stocks inventory in all sectors decreased compared with their levels in the previous year. Stocks in the households dropped by -7.3 percent, in commercial warehouses/wholesalers/retailers by -15.2 percent, and in NFA depositories by -22.0 percent,” it said.

  • Deadline extended for opening LCs for rice import

  • Farmers of most upazilas of Bogura have started preparing their land for Aman paddy transplantation. The photo was taken in Khamarkandi area of Bogura’s Sherpur upazila on Saturday. Photo: Mostafa Shabuj

    The food ministry has extended the deadline for private firms to open letters of credit (LCs) for importing rice until August 21 this year.

    The move comes as traders have been shy in opening LCs amid the increasing dollar cost and uncertainty whether they would be able to make profit by bringing in the staple grain.

    By the end of June, the government started allowing private firms to import rice to curb the spiralling domestic prices by increasing supply in local markets.

    Until now, the food ministry has granted permission for businesses to import around 10 lakh tonnes of rice at reduced duty and they have since received clearance to bring 600,000 tonnes, said a senior official of the food ministry.

    However, between July 1 and July 27, private traders imported just 5,500 tonnes of rice, according to food ministry data.

    Officials said a number of firms that are yet to open LCs to import rice had urged the government to the extend the deadline that ended yesterday.

    "Our objective is to facilitate imports and that would not be possible if we did not extend the deadline," he added.

    Chitta Majumder, managing director of Majumder Group of Industries, which operates rice mills and also imports the grain, said banks are not showing interest to open LCs amid the dollar scarcity. In addition, they are asking for a higher rate -- Tk 107 per dollar -- in case of payments above $100,000.

    "Rice prices are high in India and in this situation, many are not showing interest to import the grain assuming they would not be able to make profit," he added.

    Majumder got permission to import 50,000 tonnes of rice and his firm has imported around 2,000 tonnes so far.

    Over the last one month, rice prices declined for the government move to facilitate imports by slashing import tariff to 25 per cent from 62.5 per cent until October 31.

    Yesterday, prices of the coarse grain stood at Tk 48 to Tk 50 per kilogramme in Dhaka, down 2 per cent from a month ago, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.

  • South Korea tenders to buy ‭‭about 92,100 tonnes rice – traders

  • South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 92,100 tonnes of rice to be sourced from the United States, China and other origins, European traders said on Monday.

    The deadline for registration to participate in the tender is Aug. 3.

    Non-glutinous brown rice is sought, with some 58,800 tonnes of medium grain to be sourced from the United States. The rest is short and long grain rice with about 22,200 tonnes to be sourced from China and the rest from optional origins.

    The rice is sought for arrival in South Korea in 2023 between February and April, they said.
    Source: Reuters (Reporting by Michael Hogan)

  • Pricier dollar discourages rice import

  • Bangladesh fears its rice production may decline this year due to natural calamities

    A pricier US dollar jeopardises the government's plan to cool off the local rice market through imports as traders are not showing any interest in bringing in the food staple from the international market.

    Rice traders say imported rice would cost at least Tk5 more per kg than the local produce thanks to a strong greenback and high import duty.

    Neighbouring India accounts for 80% of Bangladesh's rice imports through private channels. According to importers, the price of the crop has not gone up in the Indian market though the Russia-Ukraine war triggered a record price surge in the global food market.

    "Rice prices in India did not spiral, but rather dropped slightly as the dollar went up. This will not hurt exporters, but it appears to be an issue for those who import," Shahidur Rahman Patwari, an importer and vice-president of the Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners Association, told The Business Standard.

    In the first week of July, Shahidur obtained government approval to import 7,000 tonnes of rice. But he is yet to open a letter of credit for it.

    "The dollar is now at Tk98 – it was Tk84-85 last year – causing rice import to cost around Tk6 more per kg," the importer said on 6 July.

    According to importers, the price of BR-28, a medium-fine rice variety, is at $430-435 or Tk42,630 per tonne in India. There is a 25% import duty plus additional import processing charges. Ultimately, the price of the rice in the local market will stand at Tk54 per kg, while the locally produced variety is now selling for Tk48-Tk49 at mill gates.

    Similarly, imported coarse rice costs Tk48 per kg while locally produced varieties are at Tk43 a kg.

    Traders say besides India they can source rice from Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan. But these alternatives cost even more.

    Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman, senior assistant secretary (External Procurement) at the Ministry of Food, told TBS that some 218 private importers have been permitted to import 6.55 lakh tonnes of rice as of 6 July.

    Millers say many of them obtained the permission, and rice can be imported from India within a week. But no one is stepping up for fear of losses.

    According to the food stock report of the food ministry, no rice was imported from 1 July 2022 to 5 July 2022. However, import permissions have been issued since the last week of June.

    The authorities issued permissions to 415 importers to bring in around 17 lakh tonnes of rice in late 2021. But only 3.31 lakh tonnes of the crop were imported as costs had been ticking up.

    Food Secretary Md Ismiel Hossain said the government would allow 10 lakh tonnes of rice import initially. After verifying the impact on the local market, another 7 lakh tonnes might be allowed to be imported later.

    "Our main objective is to increase supply. That is why we have to import," he added.

    Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder expressed concern that rice production may decline this year due to natural calamities. However, the agriculture ministry claims that production will surpass the previous year's 1.98 lakh tonne rice yield.

    The government is now purchasing paddy and rice at the grassroots level to boost its food stock. However, procurement of paddy, parboiled and sun-dried rice is still far below the annual target.

    At a food ministry meeting around a month ago, worries that procurement might miss the targets this year were voiced.


  • * Thai prices at $412-$415/t vs $420-$425/t last week

    * Thai farmers under pressure from rising fertilizer prices-trader

    * Vietnam rates at $415-$420/t vs $418-$423/t last week

    By Eileen Soreng

    July 1 (Reuters) - Demand for Indian rice was robust this week as a weaker rupee made the staple more attractive than that from Thailand and Vietnam, while Bangladesh cut its import duty to cool surging domestic prices.

    Bangladesh has cut the import duty on rice to 25% from 62.5%, with traders saying a huge volume will come from neighbouring India.

    Deadly floods have damaged large areas of crop and have caused domestic prices to spike, even though it is peak harvesting season for the country's biggest rice crop.

    While Bangladesh is the world's third-biggest rice producer, it often requires imports to cope with shortages due to natural disasters such as cyclones and floods.

    Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted at $355 to $360 per tonne, unchanged from last week.

    "Buyers have been giving preference to Indian rice because of lower prices. Demand is robust for 25% and 100% broken white rice," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Thailand's 5% broken rice prices <RI-THBKN5-P1> fell to $412-$415 per tonne from $420-$425 last week.

    "Demand is coming in, but not in large amounts. The market is quiet - India rice prices are lower than that of Thailand," a Bangkok-based trader said.

    While the farmers are expecting a good yield this year, they are under pressure from rising costs of fertilizer, the trader added.

    Vietnam's 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> was offered at $415-$420 per tonne on Thursday, compared with $418-$423 a week ago.

    "Domestic supplies are building up with more output from the ongoing harvest of the summer-autumn crop," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    Data on Wednesday showed that Vietnam's rice exports in January-June were estimated to have risen 16.2% from a year earlier to 3.5 million tonnes, with revenue from rice exports up 4.6%.

    (Reporting by Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

  • ‘New government must spend ₧160B for cheap rice’

  • A worker at the National Food Authority sweeps the rice grains at their warehouse in FTI, Taguig City in this BusinessMirror file photo.

    The incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. must shell out over P160 billion in the next six years for a proposed program that would allow poor Filipinos to buy rice at P20 per kilogram.

    Outgoing Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the president-elect, who has designated himself as the next agriculture chief, must issue an executive order (EO) that would mandate the National Food Authority (NFA) to boost its current buffer rice stock level.

    “I would like to believe that within the 100 days an executive order can be issued by the president mandating the NFA to increase buffer stock from the present level that they have which is good for only 7 days because of the limited budget of P7 billion,” Dar said in a televised interview.

    Dar said the budget of the NFA must be hiked annually starting this year until 2027 to improve the state-run food agency’s capacity of buying and selling rice to the public.

    “Our proposal (is) for the NFA to be given (an) additional budget. For example this year, (set aside) P4 billion to prop up their procurement,” he said. “So, this is on top of the P7 billion so there will now be P11 billion to procure palay that will bring them up to the level of about nine-day buffer stock.”

    Dar said the budget of the NFA must be increased to the following amounts: P33.5 billion in 2024, P36.5 billion in 2025, P37 billion in 2026 and P37.5 billion in 2027.

    “Say now the NFA will have a 9-day buffer stock this year (and this will go up) to say 15 day by mid-year of next year. And by the end of next year, 30-day buffer stock will be managed by NFA,” he said.

    “The NFA will have more exposure now in the procurement of palay, that it can maintain good prices of palay, at the same time whatever they bring out to the market in terms of rice, they can now sell it P20 to the 4Ps [Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program]. So, little by little, you are able to give priority to focus groups or targeted groups like the 4Ps, who can buy P20 per kg of NFA rice.”

    Latest data from the Department of Social Welfare and development showed that about 4.2 million Filipino households or some 16 million Filipinos benefit from the 4Ps program today.

    The reduction in the price of the staple to P20 per kg is one of the campaign promises of Marcos Jr. He later clarified that it is an “aspiration” of his administration.

    Dar also disclosed that he has crafted a plan that will slash the retail price of rice to P27.50 per kg. This will be done via the programs dubbed Masagana 150 and Masagana 200, which were patterned after the Masagana 99 program of the president-elect’s father, the strongman Ferdinand Sr.

    Masagana 150 is an inbred rice program that would increase the average yield of farmers to 150 cavans per hectare or about 7.5 metric tons (MT) per hectare while Masagana 200, which is a hybrid rice program, would boost farmers’ average yield to 200 cavans per hectare or about 10 MT per hectare.

    “[These are] new [programs] that will be simultaneously implemented towards that level of P27.50 [per kg]. Over a period of time, we can go to the level of P27.50 [per kg] as this is the overll price now for the public market,” said Dar.

    “So eventually you continue to maintain that 30-day buffer stocking of NFA and of course you have to pay for that. While you’re making sure that the new programs are going to be properly implemented, with all the components necessary and interventions, then we increase productivity, we lower the cost of production.”

  • 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.)

  • Panama to import rice to guarantee supply to the population

  • Panama City, Jun 7 (Prensa Latina) The government of Panama decided to import some 60 thousand tons of rice to guarantee the consumption of one of the country’s main products.

    According to the most recent decision taken by the Rice Agro-Food Chain, the acquisition of rice will allow the supply to the population until the deliveries of the current harvest have been regulated.

    The measure was adopted following over five hours of debate between representatives of the producer unions, millers, food distributors, regulatory entities and consumers.

    According to the Minister of Agricultural Development, Augusto Valderrama, the decision was taken based on reports presented on the supply calculations, prepared by officials of the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition and technicians the entity.

    In his opinion, the agreement will help guarantee the food security of Panamanians, amid problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise in supply costs.

    For his part, the president of the Rice Chain, Alexander Araúz, explained that after analyzing the statistics, as well as the progress of sowing, it was found that there is enough rice in the country until next September.

    He added that 60 thousand tons of rice will be imported, to begin on begin on August 1st, so as to further strengthen supply.

  • Bangladesh to import rice privately amid rising prices, says food minister

  • The government has decided to import rice privately to keep the market stable, says Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder.

    The decision came at a meeting of the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee on Monday amid the soaring prices of rice in the country despite the harvest season.

    The meeting resolution will soon be sent to the prime minister before determining the steps to follow, the minister said.

    “We’ve discussed importing the rice duty-free. We’ll ensure that the farmers, market and others related [to the rice trade] don’t face losses. The prime minister will give the final decision on the matter,” Sadhan said after the virtual meeting.

    On the ongoing crackdown, he said the consumers are benefiting from the success of the drives. These operations to identify illegal rice hoarders will continue.

    The spike in prices amid the Boro paddy harvest season prompted the government to initiate a crackdown on unauthorised hoarding by traders.

    Rice prices fall when the products of the Boro season arrive in the market, but this time the staple is getting costlier.

    Wholesalers say the mills have raised prices. The mill owners have blamed a rise in the prices of paddy this season for the spike in rice prices.

    Speaking at a meeting on the collection of paddy during the Boro season at the end of last month, Sadhan had brushed aside the mill owners’ claim, alleging that they were engaged in an “evil competition”.

    He had said mill owners are hoarding newly produced paddy of this Boro season and releasing rice from old stocks.

    At another meeting on market monitoring last month, the minister had said the government will encourage rice imports by lowering taxes if it was necessary to ease the consumers’ suffering.

    Meanwhile, India's surprise ban on wheat exports prompted rice traders to increase purchases and place unusual orders for longer-dated deliveries, fearing the world's top rice exporter may restrict those shipments as well.

    In the last two weeks, traders have signed contracts to export 1 million tonnes of rice for shipments from June through September and are opening letters of credit or LCs quickly after signing deals to ensure the contracted quantity will be sent even if India restricts exports, Reuters reported.

    Those forward purchases come on top of roughly 9.6 million tonnes of rice already shipped out of India this year - in line with record 2021 shipments - and may reduce the amount of grain available for other buyers during the coming months as loading schedules fill.

    "International traders pre-booked for the next three to four months and everybody opened LCs to ensure business continuity," said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India's biggest rice exporter.

    Overseas buyers are looking for Indian rice because it is far cheaper than rivals, said BV Krishna Rao, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association.

    Indian 5% broken white rice is offered between $330 to $340 per tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, significantly lower than Thailand's $455 to $460 a tonne and Vietnam's $420 to $425, dealers said.

    Thailand and Vietnam are not able to compete with India and they are trying to explore ways to support prices, Thailand's government has said.

    If India restricts exports, global prices could jump sharply, said a New-Delhi-based dealer with a global trading house.

    "Indian rice is more than 30% cheaper than other destinations. Poor buyers in Asia and Africa would be forced to pay very high prices if India restricts exports. That's why there is a rush to buy Indian rice," the dealer said.

    India exported a record 21.5 million tonnes of rice in 2021, compared with combined exports of 12.4 million tonnes by Vietnam and Thailand.

  • ‘PHL to import more rice as output to stay flat’

  • The Philippines could retain its status as the world’s second largest buyer of rice for the fourth consecutive year in 2023, when total import volume is projected to reach 3 million metric tons (MMT).

    In its monthly global grain report, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the Philippines’s rice imports this year and next year would hit the 3-MMT level.

    This is the first trade projection made by the USDA for calendar year 2023. The agency said China, which is expected to purchase 6 MMT, will remain as the world’s top buyer of rice.

    The international agency said it expects local rice production in the Philippines to stay flat next year and this will provide opportunities for higher imports to meet the growing demand for the staple.

    “Flat production and ample stocks keep imports steady even as consumption grows,” the USDA said in its report released recently.

    The USDA projected that the Philippines’s rice output next year would slightly decline to 12.411 MMT from a projected record of 12.474 MMT this year.

    The country’s total rice production this year would be 58,000 MT higher than the 12.416 MMT recorded output last year, based on USDA data.

    The USDA said the Philippines’s total rice consumption would increase as consumers shift to the staple from more expensive wheat-based products, which are affected by the spike in raw material prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    “Consumption is also up in the Philippines as the high price of wheat is expected to raise consumption of rice for food,” it said.

    USDA data showed that the country’s total rice consumption next year would expand by 150,000 metric tons (MT) to 15.35 MMT from an estimated total requirement of 15.2 MMT this year. Likewise, the USDA projected that total rice consumption of the Philippines this year would be 5 percent higher than last year’s 14.45 MMT.

    The country’s rice imports in the first quarter surged by almost 70 percent year-on-year to 985,139.995 MT as importers brought in more staple food in anticipation of tighter world supply and lower domestic output.

    Latest Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data showed that rice imports during the January-to-March period were 404,057.065 MT higher than the 581,082.93 MT recorded last year.

    In March alone, about 414,243.005 MT of rice entered the country.

    Historical BPI data showed that the 985,139.995 MT of rice imports from January to March is the highest first-quarter import volume recorded by the country since the implementation of rice trade liberalization law in 2019.

    Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Research Fermin D. Adriano cited two possible reasons for the rise in imports: the importers’ expectation of tighter global staple supply and the projected lower domestic rice output.

    Adriano said some wheat-eating countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East are projected to shift to rice due to global supply problems caused by the Ukraine-Russia war.

    He also said the expected decline in local palay production due to the reduction in fertilizer use had prompted importers to bring in more rice from abroad.

    An industry group told the BusinessMirror earlier that the election season had contributed to the need for more rice imports given the demand for low-cost rice.

    “The election campaigns and relief operations, however, created the demand for low-priced rice in the market that can be supplied by some countries like Myanmar,” multisector industry group Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement (Prism) said.

    The group said the current government “can ill afford” a repeat of the 2018 rice price crisis when prices of palay and milled rice skyrocketed and caused inflation to accelerate.

    “Panic buying and long queuing for rice can be disastrous for public image during election.”

  • Rice favorable pricing boosts china’s import demand

  • With global rice supplies plentiful, rice prices have escaped the volatility besetting most other grains. While rice futures are up nearly 6% so far this year, wheat, for example, has gained more than 40%, and corn is up 33%.

    The price differentials are boosting demand for rice as a substitute for other grains, including in animal feed. China’s rice imports are currently forecasted to be at their highest levels since 2018. Much of China’s imports are of broken rice, which is cheaper than whole grain rice. 

    China’s increased rice imports could in turn reduce its need to import higher-priced corn. So far this season China’s corn imports are down year over year. China has recently turned to the US for corn imports as shipments from Ukraine, its second-largest supplier of corn imports, are halted. 

    China is the world’s largest producer of rice, but domestic rice prices don’t usually favor its use in animal feed because the rice first needs to be dehulled, which can add some 30% to its final cost. 

    Rice is the primary staple for more than half the world's population. Strong production in major exporting countries, including India, Thailand, and Vietnam, has bolstered global rice inventories. Rice stocks-to-use ratio, a key measure of supply availability, is at 27% for the major exporters, the highest in recent history. By contrast, wheat stocks-to-use are at their lowest level since 2013.  

    India had a bumper rice harvest last year, boosting exports to record levels in 2021/22, especially to Africa and neighboring countries in Asia. India’s next rice crop will be planted in June-July and production prospects will depend to a great extent on the monsoon rains. 

    India, the world’s largest exporter of rice, had stellar production last year. Monsoon conditions will determine this year’s output. The darker green areas on this map indicate India’s districts with greater concentration of rice production.

    Since the monsoon’s impact can vary across the country, the Gro Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture provides growing conditions at the state level, including this display showing West Bengal, India’s largest rice-growing state, and this one showing Odisha, another big rice-producing state.

    Rice planting in Thailand starts in May, the beginning of the rainy season. Thailand is currently seeing above average rains, which is necessary for planting, and soil moisture remains high.  Cumulative precipitation is the highest in at least 20 years, according to Gro's Climate Risk Navigator.

  • Pakistan Asks China to Enhance Rice Quota to 2 Million Tons

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

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

  • Will host trade summit exclusively for Pakistani companies in Almaty photo file ISLAMABAD: Kazakhstan is interested in importing rice directly from Pakistan, said the Central Asian republic Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin. In a meeting with Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Friday, the Kazakhstan envoy said that his country was buying the commodity from Russia. He pointed out that Kazakhstan was hosting a trade summit exclusively for Pakistan in Almaty in May 2022 to give Pakistani companies an opportunity to showcase their products before the Kazakh business community. “Over 60 Pakistani companies from various sectors of the economy will participate in the exhibition,” he said, adding that the firms specialising in agricultural machinery, agricultural products, sports goods, surgical instruments, handicrafts and confectionery would display their products. He expressed keen interest in enhancing bilateral ties with Pakistan and recalled that during the 10th session of Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan, both nations agreed to increase the turnover of agricultural products. The meeting took place in November 2021. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam emphasised that Pakistan was producing surplus rice and potato, which could be exported to Kazakhstan. “Pakistan looks forward to strengthening its relationship with Kazakhstan and taking it to the next level,” he remarked. “Although Pakistan’s trade with Kazakhstan is the highest among all Central Asian countries, it is still below the true potential.” Imam highlighted that Pakistan and Kazakhstan needed to take advantage of the opportunities at hand and ensure maximum cooperation. He was of the view that deepening bilateral cooperation could benefit both sides immensely. The two dignitaries discussed the memorandum of understanding signed between the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research on cooperation in the field of agriculture. Imam stressed the need for enhancing cooperation in livestock breeding and plant cultivation, trade in agricultural products, quarantine and plant protection, veterinary medicines and agricultural research. “Collaboration in scientific research can prove to be the cornerstone in trade relations between the two countries,” he said. “Pakistan’s food security faces a number of challenges but with the right policy interventions, the agriculture sector can be transformed.” Local agriculture has been depending on the traditional farming techniques but it is time that the country begins to look at the future and goes for modernisation, the minister said. Both sides agreed to hold an online meeting in April 2022 between the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to further enhance cooperation.
  • Asia rice: Vietnam prices hit 3-month peak on firm demand

  • BENGALURU/BANGKOK/HANOI/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Export prices of rice from Vietnam climbed to a three-and-a-half-month high this week on steady demand and elevated shipping costs, which dissuaded some traders from signing new contracts. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $415-$420 per tonne on Thursday, compared with $410-$415 a week ago. “Demand is stable, but traders are hesitant to sign new contracts due to high shipping costs,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding outbound shipping costs have risen significantly since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia crisis. “We are hearing the Philippines may soon lift its limit on rice imports from Vietnam,” another trader said. Philippines, Vietnam’s largest rice buyer, in November took steps to temporarily limit imports of the grain from Vietnam amid a big harvest at home. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices fell slightly to $410-$428 per tonne from $415-$428 a week ago, their highest since late June. “The baht has weakened and domestic prices are seen easing in the coming weeks due to new supply,” one trader said. There is still strong demand for low-quality rice from domestic feed mills, which are looking to use more rice in their animal feed mix as prices of wheat and corn rally, traders said. However, foreign demand remained largely muted, except for exporting activities to Iraq, they said. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $371 to $378 per tonne, unchanged from the last week, as demand remained strong for broken grades for feed purposes. “Broken rice is in demand. Feed makers are replacing corn with 25% and 100% broken rice,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

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

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

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