Vietnam cuts rice export price floor, eyes Manila tender
March 11, 2014
Vietnam has lowered its price floor for exports of low-grade rice for the second time
in a month, an industry source said, as the world's No 2 exporter of the grain looks to make its shipments more
attractive amid a global supply glut. The Southeast Asian nation from Monday cut the floor by nearly 3 percent to
$355 a tonne, said the source, who is familiar with the floor-setting mechanism used by the Vietnam Food
Association. He declined to be identified by name.
Early last month, the floor was lowered to $365 per tonne to help exporters compete with countries such as Thailand,
India and Pakistan, but Vietnam's rice exports in January and February still dropped 12 percent from a year ago to
702,000 tonnes. Low-grade rice has a broken grain content of between 25 and 100 percent. Meanwhile, the
Philippines is gearing up to issue a tender to buy 800,000 tonnes of rice, Vietnam's official Tuoi Tre (Youth)
newspaper quoted the VFA as saying.
"This is a record high level in a tender by the Philippines during their rice harvesting period, showing they are very
short of rice," the newspaper quoted the association's chairman, Truong Thanh Phong, as saying. Reuters could not
immediately reach Phong for comment. Manila has been expected to buy more rice overseas as it scrambles to refill
stockpiles it needs to help curb rising prices for the national staple, with speculation rife on the timing and size of any
But officials in the Philippines, where rice harvesting runs from mid-March until April, said that nothing had been
finalised. "There is a lot of speculation but we haven't really finalised anything at the moment," said Dennis Arpia, a
senior executive assistant at the country's National Food Authority. "But we have a mandate to boost and maintain a
healthy buffer stock." Increased purchases by the Philippines, one of the world's largest rice buyers, would help ease
global oversupply, with Vietnam and Thailand likely to bid aggressively for any new deal.
The US Department of Agriculture has already said it expects Philippine imports to hit 1.4 million tonnes in 2014,
which would be the highest in four years. The country has yet to confirm any purchases beyond 500,000 tonnes it
bought from Vietnam in a government-to-government deal in November.
In Vietnam, rice export quotations have eased in the past week as fresh supplies of the winter-spring crop from the
Mekong Delta food basket have been arriving in bulk. The harvest peaks from mid-March and ends in late April. Five-
percent broken rice has fallen to $370 a tonne on a free-on-board basis for loading in April, from $380-$400 a tonne
quoted in late February. "Foreign buyers are waiting for prices to fall in Vietnam and have yet to buy anything yet,"
said a trader at a foreign firm in Ho Chi Minh City.
Miriam: PH needs woman president in 2016
by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 03/11/2014 4:02 PM | Updated as of 03/11/2014 9:08 PM
Blames men for corruption in Congress
MANILA - To achieve higher standards of living, Filipino voters should pick a woman president
in 2016, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Tuesday.In a speech at the International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna, Santiago – who lost her battle for the
presidency in 1992 – said a woman president beginning 2016 will help ensure the United Nations
Millennium Development Goals for gender equality will be reached.“We should have a female
president in 2016. Research shows that when women are empowered as political leaders,
countries often experience higher standards of living with positive developments in education,
infrastructure, and health care,” she said.“We’ve had 13 male and only two female presidents so
far. The Philippines has had a total of 15 presidents. To achieve equality between males and
females, since we have had 13 males, the next 11 presidents should be female."The country has
had two female presidents: Corazon Aquino (1986 to 1992) and Gloria Arroyo (2001 to
2010).Santiago ran against Mrs. Aquino's handpicked candidate, Fidel V. Ramos, in 1992. She
lost but filed an electoral protest.She also urged voters to pick 6 female candidates for senator in
2016 to achieve gender equality in the upper house.
“The greater majority in both chambers of Congress has always been men. Possibly, this is one
reason why there is so much corruption in Congress,” she said.“Numerically, half of our high
government officials should be women, and half should be men. And yet the division between
the sexes is highly disproportionate in favor of men. In the Philippine Senate, in the 16th
Congress, of 24 senators, only six of us are women,” she said.She said the Civil Service
Commission has yet to reach its 50-50 target for representation of women and men in executive
posts in government.She said the commission found in 2011 that women occupy only less than
one-third of third-level positions in the government; more than one-third in government-owned
and -controlled corporations; less than twenty percent in local government units; and more than
one-third in the judiciary.Thus, the proportionate share is 1:2 in favor of men holding top posts in
the government, she said.She also expressed concern over feminization in agriculture, or the
increase of women in the agricultural sector.She said women in the sector are poorer, with their
plot sizes smaller and production resources lower.
Regional rice strategy set to boost production, livelihood of farmers
The Nation March 12, 2014 1:00 am
Faced with growing threats to rice production, countries in Asia and the Pacific are engaging in a
regional rice strategy, initiated by FAO last year at the request of member states, and further discussed
during a side event at the organisation's 32nd regional conference for Asia and the Pacific, held from
March 10 -14 , 2013.
"Rice is life," said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for Asia
and the Pacific. "More than 90 per cent of all rice in the world is produced in this region and 90 per cent
of rice is consumed in this region," Konuma pointed out.
Rice dominates much of the region's landscape and is an important source of livelihood for 140 million
rice-farming households, and for millions of rural poor who work on rice farms as additional hired
labour. "Rice is part of the agricultural landscape, livelihoods, history and traditions," of the region,
Rice is therefore a strategic commodity, closely connected with the overall economic growth and
political stability of the region, dependent on an adequate, affordable and stable supply of this staple
With the world's population projected to exceed nine billion by 2050, FAO has warned that food
production will need to increase by 60 per cent to meet the demands of a future hungry planet. In
developing countries, that figure jumps to 77 per cent.
According to the regional rice strategy, there is cause for concern about the feasibility of dramatically
increasing rice production because of a lack of water and/or arable land in many countries of the region.
Existing rice farms are also blamed for producing greenhouse gas emissions and degrading natural
resources. Rice production is "threatened by a decline in rice biodiversity, a loss of rice heritage, global
climate change and the changing composition of labour in rural areas," the strategy explains.
There is, however, cause for cautious optimism. The regional rice strategy notes that several new
opportunities exist. In the drive to end hunger, rice could play an important role in ensuring food
security by reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty. That's a strong incentive leading to
developments in science and technology which are helping the sector "making it possible to increase
rice productivity in a sustainable manner, add nutritive value to rice, reduce losses from drought and
flood, reduce the environmental footprint of rice production and make the rice production system
The strategy's vision for the rice sector is that of "food-secure, better-nourished and prosperous rice
farmers and consumers in the Asia-Pacific region who benefit equitably from a vibrant, innovative and
transformed rice sector that is more productive, efficient and environmentally sustainable by 2030."
"The main objective of the strategy," according to Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO assistant director-general and
regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, "is to provide evidence-based strategic guidelines and
options for FAO member states in the region to help them develop and adjust their own national rice
policy strategies in the light of broader regional and global trends as well as national priorities."
l Sustainably increase productivity and nutrition value of rice;
l Enhance the rice value chain by improving food quality, diversity and food safety while reducing post-
l Improve rice farming's capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change and improve farmers' capacity
to cope with risk;
l Minimise the environmental footprint of rice production and enhance the ecosystems functions of rice
landscapes, including the protection and promotion of rice heritage and culture;
l Improve the efficiency, reliability and fairness of domestic and international rice markets for stabilizing
rice price and supply, ensuring equitable access by the poor and promoting regional collaboration;
l Enhance the well-being and livelihoods of smallholders, women and the new generation of rice
producers by improving adjustments to long-term changes in demography, farm size and labour supply.
The Regional Rice Strategy also calls for increased investment in research and development "to further
technological innovations in all stages of the rice value chain for productivity and efficiency gains, better
quality and nutritional value, greater resilience and environmental protection." It recognises that policy
and institutional innovations are needed to promote rural income growth, the rapid spread of improved
technologies, and to develop a robust food security system that is stable and accessible to all.
Farmers must be looked upon as partners: Zeigler
t an international dialogue, scientists stressed the need for a second green revolution
The private sector would play a significant role in the next green revolution, said Robert S. Zeigler,
director general of the International Rice Research Institute.
Speaking at an international dialogue, ‘Take it to the Farmer’, commemorating the birth centenary of
Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) here on
Thursday, Dr. Zeigler said, “We now have the means to create a second green revolution. I am
absolutely convinced that we have created the platform for the next green revolution.”
He stressed the need for new varieties of rice resistant to flood, drought and salinity. “Eastern India
will be the granary of the nation in years to come. Four million farmers are already growing flood-
tolerant rice in India,” he said.
Planning Commission member K. Kasturi Rangan highlighted various measures taken by the Centre
to actively involve farmers in planning, knowledge transfer and the implementation of schemes.
“There is need to recognise farmers as producers of knowledge and this can be created through a
shared environment,” he said.
M.S. Swaminathan, chairman emeritus, MSSRF, emphasised the contribution of Norman Borlaug in
bringing about a change in the farming scenario at a crucial time when India was threatened by
famine and was dependent on external food aid.
“Working closely with Borlaug was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. He left his
footprints on the sands of time in the farming scenario of India,” said Prof. Swaminathan.
“Farmers must not be looked upon as beneficiaries, but as partners. Technology is important, but
what is even more critical is political commitment,” he said.
Keywords: Robert S. Zeigler, International Rice Research Institute, MSSRF, Norman Borlaug birth