17th february,2014 daily global rice e newsletter by riceplus magazine
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17th february,2014 daily global rice e newsletter by riceplus magazine

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Daily Rice Global Rice e-Newsletter shared by Riceplus Magazine ...

Daily Rice Global Rice e-Newsletter shared by Riceplus Magazine
Riceplus Magazine shares daily International RICE News for global Rice Community. We publish daily two newsletters namely Global Rice News & ORYZA EXCLUSIVE News for readers .You can share any development news with us for Global readers.
Dear all guests/Commentators/Researchers/Experts ,You are humbly requested to share One/Two pages write up with Riceplus Magazine .
For more information visit (www.ricepluss.com + http://publishpk.net/index.php/riceplus).
Share /contribute your rice and agriculture related research write up with Riceplus Magazine to riceplus@irp.edu.pk , mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com
For Advertisement & Specs mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com

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17th february,2014 daily global rice e newsletter by riceplus magazine 17th february,2014 daily global rice e newsletter by riceplus magazine Document Transcript

  • 17th February, 2014 Share developments in RICE and allied sectors, Promote the Concept of Knowledge Economy Dear Sir/Madam, YOUR IDEA has a great worth---JUST share it through RICE PLUS 10000+ stakeholders of rice industry read & apply various ideas and analysis written by the authors. Be the part of Rice plus authors Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Visit: www.ricepluss.com,www.publishpk.net mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com ,riceplus@irp.edu.pk TOP Contents - Tailored for YOU Latest News Headlines… Thai government to end rice subsidy Thai government admits lack of power to renew troubled rice subsidy Thai government bank loan not enough to pay off rice program debt Paddy rice prices climb on exports Ang Thong farmers delighted after receiving rice pledging payments. Slack buying pounds rice Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Feb 17 Paddy rice prices climb on exports Commerce Ministry: Proceeds of rice sales will reach THB 12 billion in Feb Govt to start paying farmers for rice scheme on Monday Thailand to end rice subsidy scheme Thai PM under siege, lengthy protests take toll on economy Farmers association urges investigation into rising rice prices NFA monopoly threatens rice industry Record Harvest of Cambodia 2013/14 Main Season Paddy Crop Anticipated Exporters of rice now subject to origin test Rice farmers besiege Thai PM's office as protesters surround government HQ GSB in south packed with nervous customers over rice-pledging scheme Run on Thai Bank Linked to Rice Subsidy Points to Strain on Economy Thai government bank loan not enough to pay off rice program debt Myanmar rice trade faces growing pains Thailand reaping what it sowed Oryza Shares Press Release - Cambodia Annouces New Code of Conduct to Address EU Concerns Happy President's Day from Oryza! Stakeholders Urge FG to Implement Agreed Duty on Rice Multilayered control fails to prevent misuse of rice imports Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Rice import restrictions a 'hanging issue,' says De Lima Seeds of change Unisame lauds Sindh for setting up agri business fund Thai government to end rice subsidy By Tom Peters 15 February 2014 Thailand‘s Commerce Ministry announced on Wednesday that a rice subsidy scheme for farmers would expire at the end of February. The government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, which is in caretaker mode, has no power to continue to fund its ―flagship‖ policy, which has bought rice from farmers for up to 50 percent above market rates since 2011. Almost four million families reportedly depend on the scheme—a crucial social base for Yingluck‘s Puea Thai Party.The announcement comes amid ongoing anti-government protests led by the so-called People‘s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which disrupted the February 2 election, preventing some six million people from voting. Hundreds of rice farmers have also protested in Bangkok in recent weeks over the government‘s failure to pay $3.7 billion owed for their recent harvest.On Friday, police dismantled two protest rally sites outside Government House, which have been occupied since November by groups allied to the PDRC. Police previously refused to intervene to stop protesters disrupting the election. Despite 130,000 officers being deployed on February 2, polling booths were shut down by protesters in 11 percent of the country.Make-up rounds of voting will not be organised by the Electoral Commission until late April, and it is likely to be months before results are finalised and a new government can take office. Meanwhile, the caretaker Puea Thai Party government‘s hold on power remains tenuous.Yingluck dissolved parliament in December and called an early election in an attempt to shore up her rule, after the opposition Democrat Party resigned en masse from parliament to join the PDRC‘s campaign.The three-month long protests reflect deep divisions within the Thai ruling elite. The PDRC and Democrats draw their support mainly from Bangkok‘s middle class, as well as southern Democrat strongholds. They represent the interests of the traditional elite, including monarchists, military commanders and sections of the state bureaucracy, who are deeply hostile to Yingluck and her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.The PDRC has called for the government to be replaced by an unelected ―people‘s council‖—essentially a front for a military junta—which would scrap the Yingluck government‘s ―populist‖ policies, including the rice subsidy and cheap healthcare. Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong reportedly told farmers‘ groups last week that the government had tried to borrow money to pay them but had been refused by several commercial banks.The rice scheme, which has accumulated losses of about $2 billion per year, has been heavily criticised in business circles, including by the International Monetary Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Fund. Last June, Yingluck‘s cabinet tried to appease business by cutting the subsidy by 20 percent, but backed down after a backlash from farmers. Powerful sections of big business are aiding this anti-democratic campaign. The media this week published a list of alleged funders of the PDRC—apparently leaked by the government. These include several hotels; Pramon Suteewong, president of Toyota in Thailand; and the Saha Group, the country‘s largest consumer products conglomerate. Pramon and a spokesman for Saha denied any involvement.While attendance at the PDRC‘s protests is reportedly dwindling, the government faces threats to its rule on several legal fronts. The Democrats boycotted the election and have appealed to the Constitution Court to nullify it. On Wednesday the court rejected the Democrats‘ petition but party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said their legal action would continue.Democrat lawyer Wiratana Kalayasiri told the Nation that the ballot could still be challenged on the grounds that millions of people could not vote and candidate registration was disrupted—as a result of the PDRC‘s protests, which the Democrats supported. An election in 2006 was nullified for similar reasons, paving the way for the army to overthrow Thaksin‘s government.According to a poll published yesterday in the Bangkok Post, 49 percent of state officials support the PDRC‘s protests and 57 percent want Yingluck to step down in favour of a ―neutral‖ administration. The opposition‘s backers include sections of the judiciary. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) announced on Tuesday that it expected to lay charges against Yingluck later this month for ―dereliction of duty‖ over the failure to prevent losses linked to the rice subsidy scheme. If the NACC decides to indict Yingluck and take the case to court she would be required to stand down from politics.The NACC has also accused hundreds of Puea Thai Party lawmakers of breaking the law by attempting to change the constitution to make the Senate a fully elected body.While the government‘s Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order has issued arrest warrants for 19 PDRC leaders, so far only one has been arrested: Sonthiyarn Chuenruethai-naitham, owner and director of T-news agency. TheNew York Times reported that Sonthiyarn ―has been described by the Thai media as an adviser to the Crown Property Bureau, the agency that manages the massive royal fortune.‖Sonthiyarn was held for only three days before a court ordered his release on Thursday. On the same day, the Criminal Court refused to issue arrest warrants for three gunmen who police allegedly fired on pro-government Red Shirt protesters in Lak Si the day before the election. Police had reportedly supplied photos which identified the suspects, including two security guards working for the PDRC.Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha stated on Thursday that the army would remain ―neutral‖ but he again told reporters: ―If any side uses weapons and the other side reacts, violence will increase and security forces will have to intervene.‖ Prayuth refused to publicly support the election, and the military high command clearly sympathises with the PDRC.Underlying the political deadlock is a rapidly deteriorating economy. On Monday, the Nation reported that several banks and financial agencies have predicted the country‘s growth for 2014 Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • could drop below 3 percent—compared to 6.5 percent in 2012—if the impasse is not resolved. The Yingluck government and opposition, notwithstanding their mutual hostility, are united in their desire to impose the economic crisis on the working class and rural poor through austerity measures. Thai government admits lack of power to renew troubled rice subsidy Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra faces new protests from unpaid farmers over controversial rice buy-up scheme PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 4:52pm Thailand‘s caretaker government said on Tuesday it did not have the power to renew a rice subsidy scheme when it expires at the end of the month, risking further alienating farmers angry over late payments for their current crop.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, assailed since November by a largely urban, middle-class protest movement bent on driving her from office, is now facing unrest among her Puea Thai Party‘s natural supporters in the countryside, where many farmers have gone unpaid for their rice for months.Yingluck has led a caretaker administration since December, when she dissolved parliament and called a snap election in an attempt to end the anti-government street protests. As a result, the government‘s spending and borrowing powers are heavily curtailed.―We are just a caretaker government, which has no power to extend any policy. The rice-buying scheme will end automatically on February 28,‖ Varathep Rattanakorn, a minister in the prime minister‘s office, told reporters.The rice programme was one of the populist policies associated with Yingluck‘s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister central to a stubborn conflict that has divided Thais since he was toppled by the military in 2006.The pledge to pay farmers a price way above world rice benchmarks helped sweep Yingluck to power in 2011, but the scheme has become mired in allegations of corruption and growing losses that are making it increasingly hard to fund.Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Photo: EPA In recent weeks, big banks have refused to extend bridging loans to help fund the programme, unconvinced the government has the authority to seek them, while China has cancelled a government-to-government rice deal due to a corruption probe.More than 1,000 farmers protested outside the government‘s temporary base in northern Bangkok on Monday and said they would continue their campaign after a meeting between their representatives and ministers broke up without agreement.Finance Minister Kittirat Na Ranong said on Tuesday the Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • farmers would ultimately get paid and appealed for more time to arrange bank financing.―The government believes it could complete the rice loan in a few days‘ time,‖ he told reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting. ―We need to reassure financial institutions that the rice loan will not breach the law.After the meeting, Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan said the cabinet had approved taking 712 million baht (HK$168 million) from the state budget to pay some farmers but that it needed Election Commission approval first.―We expect the Election Commission will approve it very soon because it‘s a problem for farmers,‖ he told reporters.The farmers have kept their protests separate from the anti-government demonstrations that have been blocking parts of Bangkok for the past three months.Those protesters, mainly drawn from Bangkok and the south, say former telecoms tycoon Thaksin has subverted a fragile democracy with populist policies such as subsidies, cheap loans and healthcare to woo poorer voters in the rural but populous north and northeast and guarantee victory for his parties in every election since 2001.A February 2 election that the government hoped would end the crisis was disrupted in several parts of the country, and a new administration cannot be installed until voting is completed. Thai government bank loan not enough to pay off rice program debt BY PANARAT THEPGUMPANAT AND APORNRATH PHOONPHONGPHIPHAT BANGKOK Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:25am EST Workers at the Udon Permsin rice mill pile up sacks full of rice to for storage in the northeast province of Udon Thani, Thailand January 21, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS (Reuters) - A loan given to the government bank operating a controversial and expensive rice program could temporarily ease pressure on Thailand's prime minister, but it is a fraction of the sum needed to settle a 130 billion baht ($3.99 billion) debt owed to up to a million farmers.Thailand's Government Savings Bank said on Sunday it loaned 5 billion baht ($153.42 million) to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), but stopped short of confirming whether the money would even be used to pay farmers for rice bought under the scheme.The program was operated through the state-owned BAAC and paid farmers well above the market rate for their rice, making it uncompetitive on world markets.As a result, the government has struggled to sell enough rice to fund the scheme, prompting thousands of farmers, many of whom have been waiting for their money for months, to take to the streets in protest. Thailand's anti-graft body said it may also file corruption charges related to the program. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • "The Government Savings Bank has lent 5 billion baht to the BAAC, but we have no idea what the BAAC will use the money for. This is a normal interbank loan," Worawit Chailimpamontri, president of the Government Savings Bank, told reporters, adding that the loan might raise concerns among the bank's clients if used to fund the struggling program.Thai government officials and representatives from the BAAC were not available to comment.Hundreds of farmers continued to rally at the commerce ministry in Bangkok on Sunday. The unrest has added to increasing pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who has been facing off against a Bangkok-based protest movement seeking to drive her from office for more than three months.In a further blow to the scheme and her party's stability, Thailand's anti-corruption agency is investigating the money-guzzling subsidy program. Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said last week it expects to file formal charges later this month against Yingluck for her role in the rice scheme while an NACC panel has already brought formal corruption charges against 15 people involved in government-to-government rice deals.Those allegations prompted China to cancel a deal to buy 1.2 million tons of Thai rice.The rice program was a signature policy of Yingluck, who swept to power in 2011 with the help of millions of rural votes, but it could prove to be her government's undoing.The government opened a tender to sell 400,000 tons of rice from state warehouses last week in an attempt to pay farmers. Eighteen exporters submitted bids to buy up to 460,000 tons, prompting the government to announce it would sell a further 500,000 tons from state warehouses next week due to over subscription.In sign of the enormity of the rice problem, traders told Reuters the two sales combined are unlikely to raise around 20 billion baht, a fraction of the 130 billion baht needed to pay farmers. The rice intervention scheme has helped fuel anti-government protests in Bangkok that began in November. The protests, which are still blocking parts of the city, have found much of their support from middle-class, urban taxpayers outraged at what they see as waste and corruption in the rice scheme.The commerce ministry said last week that it did not have the authority to extend the scheme beyond February as the caretaker government of Yingluck has been left with limited policy-making powers pending the outcome of a February 2 election.Varathep Rattanakorn, a minister to the prime minister's office, asked anti-government demonstrators to stop trying to make common cause with farmers who are protesting in Bangkok, although separately from the political demonstrations, and allow the government to try to resolve payment issues."We must make a distinction between the pressing needs of farmers and the National Anti-Corruption Commission investigation into the rice pledging scheme," said Varathep. ($1 = 32.59 Thai baht) (Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Matt Driskill) Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Paddy rice prices climb on exports The Myanmar Times Summary A increasing demand for rice from abroad has led the price of paddy rice in Myanmar to grow 25.84 percent over the past year as recently acquired duty-free access in other countries is expected to drive exports further in 2014, experts said. "The current price of paddy is the best since Cyclone Nargis [in 2008]. We will be able to pay the debts that built up in previous years," he said, adding that the land used to cultivate rice could grow as much as 20pc for the coming summer crop. Get Veooz 360 for Paddy Rice, Percent Ang Thong farmers delighted after receiving rice pledging payments Date : 17 2557 BANGKOK, 17 February 2014 (NNT) — Ang Thong farmers are delighted to finally be receiving the rice payments from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). Ang Thong BAAC Head, Mr. Amnuay Rakchat revealed that the Ang Thong BAAC has received a total of 2 million baht from the government to be distributed as payments under the rice pledging scheme. The sum is broken down into 800,000 baht for farmers in Muang district, another 800,000 baht for Chaiyo district, and 400,000 baht for Pa Mok District. The BAAC of Ang Thong today started giving out the rice pledging payments to 8 farmers worth approximately 52,000 baht. Mr. Amnuay went on to say that the BAAC will continue to pay the rice pledging payments to farmers once the government transfers the necessary capital to the bank — adding that payments can be immediately made as the required documents by the farmers have been readily prepared. Slack buying pounds rice OUR CORRESPONDENT KARNAL, FEBRUARY 17: The rice market may rule around current levels without much alteration this week, said market sources. Lack of buying interest pulled aromatic and non-basmati rice down by ₹50 300 a quintal on Monday.Absence of bulk buying pulled rice prices down, said Amit Chandna, proprietor of Hanuman Rice Trading Company. Despite a fall, rice prices are still ruling on the higher side, he said. However, a Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • few experts see this fall as a temporary phase and expect that market may recover in coming weeks.In the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) dropped by ₹200 to ₹9,00050, while Pusa-1121 (sela) quoted at ₹7,900 8,000, down ₹150. Pure Basmati (Raw) dropped by ₹300 to ₹12,200. Du plicate basmati (steam) sold at ₹7,000 a quintal, down ₹50 . Pusa-1121 (second wand) was at ₹7,100, Tibar at ₹6,150 while Dubar at ₹5,000. In the non-basmati section, Sharbati (Steam) sold at ₹5,000, while Sharbati (Sela) eased by ₹200 to ₹4,600. Permal (raw) sold at ₹2,320 and Permal (sela) at ₹2,340. Prices of PR (Sela) and PR-11 (Steam) varieties went down by -11 ₹200 each, PR (sela) sold at ₹2,700 while PR (Raw) at ₹2,600, respectively. -11 -11 PR14 (steam) sold at ₹2,950, ₹300 down. Paddy Arrivals About 4,000 bags of Pusa-1121 arrived and went for ₹4,250 a quintal. (This article was published on February 17, 2014) Keywords: Rice market, much alteration, buying interest, aromatic rice, non-basmati rice Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Feb 17 Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:26pm IST Nagpur, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Gram and tuar prices in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) showed weak tendency on poor buying support from local millers amid poor quality arrival. Downward trend in gram on NCDEX and weak condition in Madhya Pradesh gram prices also affected sentiment, according to sources. * * * * FOODGRAINS & PULSES GRAM * Gram varieties moved down in open market in absence of buyers amid increased supply from producing regions. TUAR * Tuar varieties recovered in open market on renewed demand from local traders amid weak supply from millers. Reports about weak overseas arrival also pushed up prices. * Masoor varieties reported higher in open market on increased demand from local traders amid thin arrival from producing regions. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • * In Akola, Tuar - 3,900-4,000, Tuar dal - 6,000-6,200, Udid at 6,000-6,300, Udid Mogar (clean) - 7,000-6,200, Moong - 8,000-8,200, Moong Mogar (clean) 9,400-9,600, Gram - 2,600-2,700, Gram Super best bold - 3,500-3,700 for 100 kg. * Wheat, rice and other commodities remained steady in open market in thin trading activity, according to sources. Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close Gram Auction 2,700-2,850 2,760-2,920 Gram Pink Auction n.a. 2,100-2,600 Tuar Auction 3,900-4,050 4,000-4,100 Moong Auction n.a. 6,100-6,300 Udid Auction n.a. 4,300-4,500 Masoor Auction n.a. 2,600-2,800 Gram Super Best Bold 3,800-4,000 3,800-4,200 Gram Super Best n.a. Gram Medium Best 3,400-3,600 3,600-3,750 Gram Dal Medium n.a. n.a. Gram Mill Quality 3,200-3,300 3,200-3,400 Desi gram Raw 2,900-2,950 2,950-3,050 Gram Filter new 3,200-3,500 3,300-3,600 Gram Kabuli 7,900-10,300 7,900-10,300 Gram Pink 7,700-8,100 7,700-8,100 Tuar Fataka Best 6,400-6,600 6,300-6,500 Tuar Fataka Medium 6,100-6,200 6,000-6,200 Tuar Dal Best Phod 6,000-6,150 5,800-6,000 Tuar Dal Medium phod 5,500-5,700 5,400-5,700 Tuar Gavarani 4,250-4,300 4,100-4,200 Tuar Karnataka 4,400-4,500 4,300-4,400 Tuar Black 7,100-7,300 7,000-7,200 Masoor dal best 5,400-5,500 5,300-5,400 Masoor dal medium 5,100-5,300 5,000-5,200 Masoor n.a. n.a. Moong Mogar bold 8,700-9,950 8,700-9,950 Moong Mogar Medium best 8,800-9,200 8,800-9,200 Moong dal super best 8,500-8,800 8,500-8,800 Moong dal Chilka 7,900-8,200 7,900-8,200 Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Moong Chamki best 8,000-8,500 8,000-8,500 Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG) 7,200-7,600 7,200-7,600 Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,800-6,600 5,800-6,600 Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 4,700-5,000 4,700-5,000 Batri dal (100 INR/KG) 4,000-5,000 4,000-5,000 Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 3,000-3,100 3,000-3,100 Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 3,100-3,200 3,100-3,200 Watana White (100 INR/KG) 3,200-3,300 3,100-3,200 Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) 4,200-4,500 4,200-4,500 Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,800 1,700-1,800 Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG) 1,825-1,875 1,825-1,875 Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG) 1,650-1,850 1,650-1,850 Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG) 2,400-2,500 2,400-2,500 Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) 2,000-2,200 2,050-2,200 Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG) n.a. n.a. MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,600 3,000-3,600 MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG) 2,400-2,900 2,400-2,900 Wheat 147 (100 INR/KG) 1,600-1,700 1,600-1,700 Wheat Best (100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,750 1,700-1,750 Rice BPT new(100 INR/KG) 2,800-3,200 2,800-3,200 Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,850 1,700-1,850 Rice Swarna old (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,750 2,500-2,750 Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG) 2,300-2,400 2,300-2,400 Rice HMT new (100 INR/KG) 3,700-4,200 3,700-4,200 Rice HMT Shriram (100 INR/KG) 4,700-4,900 4,700-4,900 Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 11,000-13,500 11,000-13,500 Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 6,300-7,600 6,300-7,600 Rice Chinnor (100 INR/KG) 5,500-5,800 5,500-5,800 Rice Chinnor new (100 INR/KG) 5,100-5,500 5,100-5,500 Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG) 1,400-1,600 1,400-1,600 Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,800 1,700-1,800 WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 27.2 degree Celsius (81.0 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp. 13.0 degree Celsius (55.4 degree Fahrenheit) Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a. Rainfall : nil FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and Minimum temperature likely to be around 28 and 12 degree Celsius respectively. Note: n.a.--not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices.) Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Paddy rice prices climb on exports By Zaw Htike | Monday, 17 February 2014 A increasing demand for rice from abroad has led the price of paddy rice in Myanmar to grow 25.84 percent over the past year as recently acquired duty-free access in other countries is expected to drive exports further in 2014, experts said. The price of emahta white rice, which makes up better than 90 pc of the country‘s rice production, is currently selling for US$488 per 100 baskets (or 2.05 tonnes) on the markets, up from $356 per 100 baskets sold one year ago, farmers said.―The high price is the result of demand for rice from China and this year the EU‘s demand for rice from Myanmar is going up because the country entered the generalised system of preferences agreement, so the price is not likely to go down in the short term,‖ said U Lu Maw Myint Maung, joint general secretary of the Myanmar Rice Federation.Paddy rice prices usually fall early in the season and bounce back mid-season after most of the harvest has been sold, sapping farmers‘ profits. But last November-December, prices reached an early-season record of $377 per 100 baskets and continued increasing to its current price levels.U Kyi Aye, chair of the Myanmar Farmers‘ Association (MFA) of Dedaye township, Ayeyarwaddy Region, said that high prices are driving farmers to switch out other crops in favour of rice as profits are allowing others to pay off debts accrued from years of low prices and heavy flooding.―The current price of paddy is the best since Cyclone Nargis [in 2008]. We will be able to pay the debts that built up in previous years,‖ he said, adding that the land used to cultivate rice could grow as much as 20pc for the coming summer crop. MFA chair U Soe Tun said that even though the land available for summer crop was less than a quarter of the land available for rainy-season crop, it represents one-third of Myanmar‘s estimated annual rice production of 14 million tonnes.―The current record prices are likely to stay high because of Chinese demand. I think farmers will profit, though many still worry about falling prices and bad weather,‖ he said.In addition, some experts are worried that the market is unsustainable as prices are mainly being driven by illicit trading on the Chinese side of the border. Rice producers are currently withholding stock from traditional trading partners in an attempt to secure more favourable prices from China, where traders are able to offer a higher price from dodging local taxes.While such illicit traders are able to offer a better premium on imports than those who use the legal channels, they tend to not honour contacts and pay significantly less than promised, offsetting market gains while creating an unhealthy bottleneck for exports. As a result of the bottleneck, government officials have said that total exports for processed rice will likely fall to less than half of the government target of 3 million tonnes in the 2013-14 fiscal year.―We know that the government is trying to deal with the Chinese regional government to make this market legal, though there has not been seen any tangible result from it yet, so this is something we need to worry about,‖ said U Soe Tun, adding that a shift in Myanmar‘s trade policy with China could upset the entire market.According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, 1.6 million hectares (4 million acres) of land are currently available for the summer crop, though indebted farmers have been unable to harvest some of it. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Commerce Ministry: Proceeds of rice sales will reach THB 12 billion in Feb Sunday, 16 February 2014By NNT BANGKOK, 14 February 2014 Another huge stock of rice from the government‘s rice subsidy scheme will be distributed this month, with more to be put up for sale in the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand (AFET).Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn said the government had received orders for more than 600,000 tons of rice from foreign countries and 400,000 tons more would be sold after the ministry held an auction for the scheme‘s rice inventory. The rice was from the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 crop years, he said.More 200,000 tons were expected to be sold in the AFET to rice traders, said the minister. He added that the government would be able to sell around one million tons of rice worth 12 billion baht in February alone which was equal to the amount of rice sold last month. Govt to start paying farmers for rice scheme on Monday Monday, 17 February 2014By MCOT BANGKOK, Feb 16 - Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn today reaffirmed that the government tomorrow will begin distributing Bt4 billion per day to farmers for the overdue payment on the rice pledging scheme.Mr Niwatthamrong, also commerce minister, said that the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will start paying the overdue rice payments to farmers who participated in the first round of the rice pledging scheme for 2013-2014.He said the government has collected more than ten billion baht from several financial sources including loans and rice sales themselves.He said every BAAC branch will make payments through the farmers' bank accounts, adding that those who joined the rice pledging scheme first will receive payment first.The minister said the BAAC will be able to distribute the overdue payment at about Bt4 billion per day, and urged farmers not to come to demonstrate in Bangkok.Mr Niwatthamrong added that the ministry expects to sell all 460,000 tonnes of rice from the subsidy scheme after it Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • opened the auction last week.He said almost 200,000 tonnes of rice will be additionally sold to foreign buyers who have made direct purchase orders with the ministry.Overall, the ministry will make about Bt7 billion of income, plus another 220,000 tonnes sold in the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand last Thursday.He said the announcement of all rice purchases is expected to be revealed on Monday. Thailand to end rice subsidy scheme By Michael Peel in Bangkok Thailand is to scrap a contentious rice subsidy scheme that has cost billions of dollars and stoked the country‘s deepening political crisis, the government said on Tuesday.The crisis-hit programme, which hassparked protests from unpaid farmers, will end this month because the nation‘s caretaker administration has no authority to extend it, ministers said. The sudden announcement raises the stakes in the battle for political control of Thailand, although the government refused to rule out reviving an ailing scheme that is central to its appeal to its rural electoral heartland.The rice programme officially eats up at least $4bn a year but is gripped by a funding crisis, with the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra, prime minister, unable to raise money from banks or bonds to settle debts with farmers dating as far back as September. Prof Kevin Hewison, director of the Asia Research Centre at Australia's Murdoch University, said the subsidy‘s scrapping was probably required by law but was also ―convenient‖ for embattled ministers.―Yingluck‘s government will no doubt be able to breathe a bit easier if the scheme can be let go or significantly revamped for next year,‖ he said. ―The political cost of the scheme may have turned from positive to negative for them, if the problem of unpaid farmers extends.‖Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, deputy prime minister, said the rice scheme would finish until further notice at the end of the rice season on February 28, as the caretaker government‘s limited powers to raise and spend money meant it could not prolong the subsidy.Anti-government protesters‘ sabotage of February 2 elections has made it impossible to declare a result and has left the Yingluck administration limping along with limited powers to raise and spend money. Mr Niwatthamrong said any fresh rice subsidy programme would have to be ―considered carefully‖ and might need to be sanctioned by the national election commission, which many government supporters see as proopposition.Unpaid farmers who once benefited from the Yingluck administration's largesse have mounted roadblocks and protests inside and outside Bangkok since the start of February, spurring opposition protest leaders to try to woo them. Demonstrators have collected money for farmers and given them a platform on rally Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • stages to speak about their problems.But the farmer protester numbers are still relatively small and some of those demonstrating are historically not supporters of Ms Yingluck. While rice-growers loyal to the government have been getting angrier about the payment delays, some also blame the opposition‘s blockade of ministries and disruption of the elections.Farmers attracted by a rice subsidy that paid well above world market rates formed a crucial plank of Ms Yingluck‘s 2011 landslide election victory, along with other popular policies such as $1-a-time medical treatment.But the government‘s plan to buy rice and sell it on a rising world market has backfired, with international prices falling and Thailand losing its crown as the world‘s top rice exporter amid sharp criticism from the International Monetary Fund and others.The government has for months been trying to secure bridging funding for a scheme costing more than $7bn a year by some estimates, but bond issues have been patchily supported and banks, which Yingluck supporters say are part of the traditional elite at the opposition‘s heart, have refused to make loans. Thai PM under siege, lengthy protests take toll on economy BY AMY SAWITTA LEFEVRE (Reuters) - Protesters seeking to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra surrounded Thai government headquarters on Monday in response to police efforts to clear them from the streets, as farmers besieged her temporary office to demand payment for rice.Thailand has been in crisis since November, when Bangkok's middle class and the royalist establishment started a protest aimed at eradicating the influence of Yingluck's brother Thaksin, a populist former premier ousted by the army in 2006 who is seen as the power behind her government.Data published on Monday showed the economy grew just 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the third and, with the country likely to be without a fully functioning government for months, the state planning board slashed its forecast for 2014.About 10,000 anti-government demonstrators surrounded Government House in Bangkok, taking back control of a road the police had cleared them from on Friday in the first real sign of a pushback by the authorities after months of protests. These protesters view Yingluck as a proxy for Thaksin, who has lived in exile since 2008 rather than face a jail term for abuse of power handed down in absentia that year."We will use quick-dry cement to close the gates of Government House so that the cabinet cannot go in to work," said Nittitorn Lamrue of the Network of Students and People for Thailand's Reform, aligned with the main protest movement.It was a symbolic gesture, Yingluck Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • having been forced to work elsewhere since January.The separate protests by rice farmers could turn out to be more damaging for Yingluck.Rural voters swept her to power in 2011, when her Puea Thai Party pledged to pay rice farmers way above market prices for their harvest. But the program has run into funding problems and some farmers have not been paid for months. "END OF OUR TETHER" Television showed farmers climbing over barbed wire fences and barriers at a Defense Ministry compound where Yingluck has set up temporary offices. They pushed back riot police, who retreated from confrontation, but did not enter the building."The prime minister is well off but we are not. How are we going to feed our children? I want her to think about us," said one protesting farmer. "Farmers are tough people, they wouldn't normally speak out but they are at the end of their tether."Farmers' representatives later met ministers, but when Finance Minister Kittirat Na Ranong came out to speak to the crowd he was pelted with plastic bottles. The government hopes to sell about 1 million tons of rice through tenders this month to replenish its rice fund and is also seeking bank loans to help it pay the farmers.The Government Savings Bank said on Sunday it had lent 5 billion baht ($153 million) to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), which runs the rice scheme.It did not say what the money would be used for, but some depositors, apparently hearing on social media that it would be used for the rice payments and would therefore help the government, took their money from the bank on Monday."Today the bank's clients took out around 30 billion baht. Most clients who withdrew were in Bangkok and the south. Around 10 billion baht was deposited. This doesn't impact the stability of the bank," Worawit Chalimpamontri, president of the savings bank, told a televised news conference.He said there would be no more interbank lending to the BAAC because the loan was "misused". He did not elaborate.The 30 billion baht withdrawn represents about 1.6 percent of total deposits, according to Reuters calculations. DISRUPTED ELECTION Yingluck called a snap election in December and has since led a caretaker administration with only limited powers.The election took place on February 2 but it was disrupted in parts of Bangkok and the south, the powerbase of the opposition, and it may be many months before there is a quorum in parliament to elect a new prime minister. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • The Election Commission has set April 27 as the date to re-run voting that was disrupted but the government said on Monday it wanted the much earlier date of March 2."According to the law, the House of Representatives must convene 30 days after a general election," Pongthep Thepkanjana, a deputy prime minister, said after a meeting between the commission and government. That date seems improbable, especially as the commission and government can't agree on procedures for fresh voting and the Constitutional Court may be asked to rule.The anti-government protesters, who are aligned with the main opposition Democrat Party, want electoral rules changed to limit Thaksin's influence before an election is held, although their precise demands remain vague.They accuse Thaksin of nepotism and corruption and say he used taxpayers' money for generous subsidies and easy loans that have bought him the loyalty of millions of poorer voters in the north and northeast.Consumer confidence sank in January to its lowest level in more than two years and, with big infrastructure projects on hold because of the political vacuum, the planning agency cut its forecast for economic growth in 2014 to between 3.0 and 4.0 percent from 4.0-5.0 percent seen in November."Confidence is low and private sector demand in the domestic economy remains weak given the political deadlock," said Gundy Cahyadi, an economist with DBS Bank in Singapore. ($1 = 32.5900 baht) (Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat, Athit Perawongmetha and Orathai Sriring; Writing by Alan Raybould; Editing by Alex Richardson and Robert Birsel) Image: 1 OF 4. Soldiers stands guard at the temporary office of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during a protest in Bangkok February 17, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/CHAIWAT SUBPRASOM Farmers association urges investigation into rising rice prices 2014/02/16 18:19:09 Taipei, Feb.16 (CNA) In the face of rising prices for rice, the Changhua County Farmers' Association urged the central government Sunday to investigate and prevent high prices from hurting both farmers and consumers.The prices for indica rice and japonica rice in the central agriculture-based county have surged to record highs of NT$41.43 (US$1.38) per kilogram and NT$40.62 per kg, respectively, said Liao Chen-hsien, an executive at the association, citing statistics from the Council of Agriculture.Prices have been driven up by a falling harvest caused by typhoons and plant diseases last year, said Liao, who has toured the county's major rice production Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • hub of Tianjhong Township to get to the bottom of the issue."Although prices have gone up, farmers are not making money but rather losing it because the rice output has been too low," he said.While urging authorities in Taipei to look into whether distributors are hoarding the grain, he also called for a release of rice stocks to deflate prices. (By Wu Jhe-hao and Flor Wang) enditem/WH NFA monopoly threatens rice industry By Rey E. Requejo | Feb. 17, 2014 at 12:01am While the country‘s leaders continue to be obsessed with the hunt for ―illegal rice importers,‖ two former heads of the National Food Authority were in agreement that flawed government policy, not smuggling, poses the biggest threat to the nation‘s rice industry.Anthony Abad explained that smuggling was just one of the many symptoms of a flawed system of rice regulation while Lito Banayo warned that government‘s continued monopoly of rice importation could cause NFA‘s debt to balloon to as much as P190 billion. A total of 404,000 bags of rice from Vietnam imported by National Food Authority are being unloaded in a private wharf in Davao City in this file photo. Loaded in two vessels, the rice will be stored in NFA Davao City warehouses of which some of the stocks will be transferred to other provincial offices to ensure that reserves are within ideal level. RENE B. LUMAWAG ―Rice smuggling occurs because there is an unmet demand of a hungry population. Smuggling and the illicit importation of rice simply reflect a deficit in supply,‖ said Abad, a lawyer and international trade expert.At the Senate hearings, so-called ―illegal importations‖ were attributed to the absence of a definitive policy on the World Trade Organization (WTO)-granted ―special privilege‖ of quantitative restrictions (QR) on the importation of rice that had expired in June 2012.During the hearings, the Department of Agriculture maintained that despite its expiration, importation quotas on rice will remain in place until 2017, even as the Philippines has yet to succeed in negotiating an extension with fellow WTO member countries.But Abad believes otherwise: ―When you have an agreement that is time-bound, the ―special treatment clause‖ expires upon the deadline. The Philippines is the only country left that maintains a QR.‖The DA and attached agency NFA have been criticized by some sectors for supposedly using QR and the issuance of import permits to maintain a ―monopoly‖ over rice trade.Abad, who was NFA administrator from 2000 to 2002, agreed that the ―outdated QR system and government rice monopoly, only lead to high prices, inefficiency, corruption, and smuggling. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • ‖In a television interview, Banayo, for his part expressed astonishment at how the agency has come to monopolize rice trade over the last year.―In the third year of this Aquino administration, 2013, I was surprised to read in the papers that it was only the NFA doing the importing, without participation from the private sector,‖ he said in the vernacular.Supposedly, under the 2010 Food Staples Self-sufficiency Program (FSSP), the country‘s rice self-sufficiency roadmap, importation should primarily be the role of the private sector.―The private sector should be the one to import. The NFA should, little by little, remove itself from rice importation and concentrate on local procurement, which we followed for two years,‖ Banayo, who was administrator during the first two years of the Aquino presidency, described the agency‘s thrust under his watch.Moreover, he warned that the NFA‘s continued monopoly over rice importation, through government-to-government transactions, is a virtual ―white elephant,‖ costing the country billions in public funds. Record Harvest of Cambodia 2013/14 Main Season Paddy Crop Anticipated 17.02.2014 Harvesting of the 2013/14 main wet season paddy crop began in early December and will continue in some areas up to February.The preliminary official estimates put the 2013 main season paddy crop at a record level of 7.3 million tonnes, up 1.7 per cent on last year‘s bumper output of the same season, reports FAO.The increase is mainly attributed to an estimated 3.3 per cent expansion in plantings. However, heavy monsoon rains during September and October 2013 resulted in localised flooding across northern parts of the Mekong River Basin. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) the floods are estimated to have damaged close to 128 000 hectares of paddy crop (or 5 per cent of the total cropped area for the main season), particularly in Battambang, Banteay Meanchay and Siem Reap, important rice growing provinces. Planting of the 2013/14 secondary dry season (irrigated) paddy crop is nearing completion. A preliminary official estimates, as of end-December, indicate that 472 483 have been planted under rice crop, some 4.6 per cent below the area planted at the same period in 2013.The decrease in planted area is mainly a result of below average rains in December 2013. Official reports indicate adequate provision of seeds and yield promoting inputs which are expected to assist crop productivity.The aggregate 2013/14 rice output, including the ongoing main and secondary seasons, is officially forecast at a record level of 9.3 million tonnes, slightly above last year‘s bumper level.Harvesting of the 2013 maize crop was completed by October 2013.Latest official estimates point to a harvest of 911 127 tonnes, some 4 per cent below last year‘s level. The decrease in production is mainly attributed to a 6 per cent decline in the planted area, as a result of farmers switching to rice crop. There is a decrease in area planted to maize for the third consecutive year in row.Overall, the cereal output for 2013 is estimated at 10.3 million tonnes. Exporters of rice now subject to origin test Mon, 17 February 2014 Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Daniel de Carteret and Chan Muy Hong Stringent rules to prove that rice exported from Cambodia is actually from Cambodia will be detailed today, according to a copy of a joint agreement between the Ministry of Commerce and industry associations.The Code of Conduct seeks to reassure the European Union that rice is local and not mixed with grain from Vietnam in an attempt to boost exports. The allegation first emerged in industry publication Oryza about two months ago.The EU‘s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme gives developing countries like Cambodia duty-free access to European markets. Adding rice from any other country to exports would make the product ineligible for the special treatment.―This COC is to prove that we are clean, honest and we do not cheat in our business,‖ said Kim Savuth, president of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters, a co-signatory to the Code of Conduct.Exporters requesting a certificate of origin from the Ministry of Commerce will be required to show proof through invoices and receipts that the rice is local.An audit committee consisting of both industry and non-industry representatives is tasked with investigating claims of fraud.Penalties include the permanent revocation of an exporter‘s certificate of origin, which strips the business of duty-free access to Cambodia‘s largest market.The Code of Conduct goes into effect a month from today on March 17. Contact authors: Daniel de Carteret and Chan Muy Hong Rice farmers besiege Thai PM's office as protesters surround government HQ BY AMY SAWITTA LEFEVRE BANGKOK Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:13pm IST (Reuters) - Hundreds of unpaid Thai rice farmers swarmed around the temporary office of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday, threatening to storm the building if the beleaguered premier did not come out and speak to them.The escalation of the protest by farmers, who have not been paid for crops sold to the government under a state rice-buying scheme that helped sweep Yingluck's Puea Thai Party to power, came as thousands of demonstrators seeking to unseat the prime minister surrounded the government's headquarters.Live television pictures showed farmers climbing over barbed wire fences and barriers at the Defence Ministry compound in north Bangkok where Yingluck has set up temporary offices. They pushed back a line of riot police, who retreated from confrontation, but did not enter the building."The prime minister is well-off but we are not. How are we going to feed our children? I want her to think about us," said one protesting farmer. "Farmers are tough people, they wouldn't normally speak out but they are at the end of their tether," she added.The farmers have mostly kept apart from a broader anti-government protest movement, about 10,000 of whose members surrounded the prime minister's main Government House offices in central Bangkok early on Monday.Those protesters view Yingluck as a proxy for her elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a self-exiled former prime minister who clashed with the establishment before he was overthrown by the army in 2006."We will use quick-dry cement to close the gates of Government House so that the cabinet cannot go in to work," Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Nittitorn Lamrue, leader of the Network of Students and People for Thailand's Reform, a group aligned with the main protest group, told reporters. The disturbances came as gross domestic product (GDP) data showed growth slowed sharply in the final quarter of 2013, as the political paralysis caused by months of unrest and a disrupted election began to take its toll on Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.Protesters moved concrete barriers to block entrances of Government House and poured cement over the barriers in what they said was a "symbolic gesture" to show the building was closed. Yingluck has been forced to work from the temporary offices since January. NOT USING FORCE "There are enough soldiers and police inside Government House to protect the building and the grounds," National Security Council Chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr told Reuters. "The protesters said they will not come inside so we aren't expecting a confrontation."Bluesky TV, the protest movement's television channel, showed demonstrators spilling into the grounds of the nearby Ministry of Education. Protest leaders asked officials working there to leave the ministry, or join their movement.Broadly, the political crisis pits the Bangkok middle class and royalist establishment against supporters of Yingluck and her billionaire brother Thaksin, who has lived abroad since 2008 to avoid a jail sentence for a graft conviction he says was political motivated. Demonstrators accuse Thaksin of nepotism and corruption and say he used taxpayers' money for generous subsidies and easy loans that have bought him loyalty from millions of working-class voters in the north and northeast.An election on February 2 failed to heal the deepening crisis. Protesters disrupted polls in a fifth of constituencies, a result that left parliament without a quorum to approve a new government leaving Thailand in political limbo under a caretaker administration with limited powers.Hundreds of riot police began an operation on Friday to reclaim protest sites and reopen roads and state offices, some of which have been blocked for more than three months.Labour minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who is in charge of the security operation, said police would press ahead with a plan to reclaim protest sites near government buildings.The protesters, led by firebrand former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban, have vowed to remain on the streets until they topple Yingluck's government and usher in political reforms before an election. Security forces put up little resistance when protesters move to occupy ministries and key intersections over the past few months.The government, haunted by memories of a bloody 2010 crackdown by a previous administration that killed dozens of pro-Thaksin "red shirt" activists, has largely tried to avoid confrontation.Despite that cautious approach, 11 people have been killed and hundreds hurt in sporadic violence Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • between protesters, security forces and government supporters.The protest movement has seen numbers dwindle but has experienced a second wind by trying to align itself with the protesting rice farmers.The country's anticorruption agency is investigating allegations that Yingluck, who is head of the national rice committee, was negligent in her role overseeing the programme.(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Athit Perawongmetha; Editing by Alex Richardson and Robert Birsel) GSB in south packed with nervous customers over rice-pledging scheme February 17, 2014 3:20 pm Branches of the Government Saving Bank in two southern provinces were crowded on Monday with people seeking to verify reports that the bank will lend money to the government to repay rice farmers in debt under rice-pledging scheme.Some of them were seen withdrawing their savings out of fear their money will be used to help pay the debts to the farmers.Their officials wore black in protest at the bank's decision to be part of the government‘s struggling efforts to repay the Bt130 billion its owes to the rice farmers.In Satun, the bank's administration hung a banner on the front which read, "The bank will not use customers‘ savings to repay the rice-pledging scheme". Pun Sripat, 48, said that she monitored news reports about the issue but was not sure if the reports were accurate. However, she said the report was later confirmed so she, along with relatives and neighbours came to the bank to withdraw their savings.However, some customers have confidence that the bank will not use their savings to repay the debts. Some of them were seen depositing money into their accounts.The bank‘s manager Sompob Panthong meanwhile said the bank has earlier assured customers that the bank would not use their savings. "The customers understand the situation," he said.The bank‘s Krabi branch saw many customers withdrew the money from their accounts out of fear that the bank will use their savings to help fund the scheme. Chatchawan Ritthirueng, 56, said he and his wife believe that the bank would give their savings to help the government repay the debts. "So we came here to withdraw most of the money from the account and leave just Bt500.The branch‘s manager Patcharee Narawisut said that many customers today came to withdraw their savings. "All I can do is to tell them not to be panic. I did not know yet the total amount of money withdrawn. I already informed the provincial bank‘s administration," she said.The numbers of people withdrawing money today are relatively higher than before, she said. Run on Thai Bank Linked to Rice Subsidy Points to Strain on Economy Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Government Says Protests Will Cause Economy to Slow in Months to Come By WARANGKANA CHOMCHUEN and NOPPARAT CHAICHALEARMMONGKOL Updated Feb. 17, 2014 12:03 p.m. ET BANGKOK—Depositors have withdrawn nearly $1 billion from a bank linked to a foundering rice-subsidy program, the bank said Monday, in one of the first signs that Thailand's months-old political stalemate is starting to affect the economy.Adding to the pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a government agency Monday forecast economic growth rates would slow in the months to come because of the unrest. The prime minister has faced street protests since November calling on her to resign.Woravit Chailimpamontri, chief executive at Government Savings Bank, said that depositors withdrew 30 billion baht, or $930 million, over the past three days after the bank extended a 5 billion-baht loan to a financial cooperative involved in a state-subsidy program. The cooperative, which buys rice from farmers at up to 50% above market prices, has been singled out by the antigovernment protesters as representative of the kind of damaging populist policies pursued by the prime minister to build rural support, which has translated into large parliamentary majorities.As the withdrawals at Government Savings Bank worsened, Mr. Woravit said it wouldn't extend any further loans to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, which manages the rice subsidy program. In recent weeks, the Yingluck administration has struggled to secure loans from commercial banks to pay the rice farmers, who are demanding payment for grain they already handed over to the government.After dissolving parliament in December in a bid to ease tensions, Ms. Yingluck now governs in a caretaker capacity without any power to make major spending decisions. Protests and blockades of voting centers prevented Ms. Yingluck from forming a new government after national elections on Feb. 2, and a fresh round to complete the ballot isn't set until April.The political pressure on Ms. Yingluck continues despite government efforts to clear protesters from some sites in the capital. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy premier, on Monday urged his supporters to continue a blockade at the main government office in downtown Bangkok."Yingluck Shinawatra will not have a chance to return to work at the Government House, in this life or next," Mr. Suthep said. His supporters set up concrete barriers in front of some of the gates and sealed them with cement in their latest bid to force Ms. Yingluck to step down.Chalerm Yubamrung, chief of the government's special security center, said the police will launch another operation to reclaim government buildings from the protesters on Tuesday.Thailand's economy has until recently largely withstood the turmoil that followed the military's ouster of former leaderThaksin Shinawatra, the current prime minister's brother, eight years ago.While it has struggled, along with peers such as Malaysia and Indonesia, to regain the growth rates it saw in the 1980s and 1990s, Thailand largely has managed to continue attracting large amounts of foreign investment, especially in the automotive industry. In the past few weeks, though, consumer confidence has sagged badly, clouding the longer-term outlook for Southeast Asia's linchpin economy.The National Economic and Social Development Board, a government agency, said Monday that the months of protests will limit growth in the first half of this year.The board forecast growth in full-year GDP to tick back up to between 3% and 4%, as reviving Western demand boosts exports. The figure also assumed the tourism industry, which grew at a record 20% last year, will weather the political unrest. The unrest has dented consumer confidence, though, and affected spending, according to the agency. Private consumption contracted 4.5% in the fourth quarter, a level not seen since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, according to Rahul Bajoria, a regional economist with Barclays."Overall, the domestic economy still remains a matter of big concern," he said. "At this point, there is no end—it's hard to say when the political uncertainty will disappear."Major investors such as Toyota Motor Corp. have warned that future investments could be jeopardized if the economic effect of the monthslong protests against the government and Ms. Yingluck worsen.The board reported that the country's gross domestic product expanded 0.6% on year in the fourth quarter compared with 2.7% growth in the third quarter, with the economy growing 2.9% in 2013 compared with 6.5% in 2012. Image: Thai farmers battle with soldiers in a protest over rice-subsidy payments. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Corrections & Amplifications Suthep Thaugsuban is a former deputy prime minister of Thailand. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said he was formerly a prime minister of the country. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Write to Warangkana Chomchuen at warangkana.chomchuen@wsj.com and Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol at nopparat.chaichalearmmongkol@wsj.com Thai government bank loan not enough to pay off rice program debt BY PANARAT THEPGUMPANAT AND APORNRATH PHOONPHONGPHIPHAT BANGKOK Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:25am EST Workers at the Udon Permsin rice mill pile up sacks full of rice to for storage in the northeast province of Udon Thani, Thailand January 21, 2014. (Reuters) - A loan given to the government bank operating a controversial and expensive rice program could temporarily ease pressure on Thailand's prime minister, but it is a fraction of the sum needed to settle a 130 billion baht ($3.99 billion) debt owed to up to a million farmers.Thailand's Government Savings Bank said on Sunday it loaned 5 billion baht ($153.42 million) to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), but stopped short of confirming whether the money would even be used to pay farmers for rice bought under the scheme.The program was operated through the state-owned BAAC and paid farmers well above the market rate for their rice, making it uncompetitive on world markets. As a result, the government has struggled to sell enough rice to fund the scheme, prompting thousands of farmers, many of whom have been waiting for their money for months, to take to the streets in protest. Thailand's anti-graft body said it may also file corruption charges related to the program."The Government Savings Bank has lent 5 billion baht to the BAAC, but we have no idea what the BAAC will use the money for. This is a normal interbank loan," Worawit Chailimpamontri, president of the Government Savings Bank, told reporters, adding that the loan might raise concerns among the bank's clients if used to fund the struggling program.Thai government officials and representatives from the BAAC were not available to comment. Hundreds of farmers continued to rally at the commerce ministry in Bangkok on Sunday. The unrest has added to increasing pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who has been facing off against a Bangkokbased protest movement seeking to drive her from office for more than three months.In a further blow to the scheme and her party's stability, Thailand's anti-corruption agency is investigating the money-guzzling subsidy Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • program.Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said last week it expects to file formal charges later this month against Yingluck for her role in the rice scheme while an NACC panel has already brought formal corruption charges against 15 people involved in government-to-government rice deals.Those allegations prompted China to cancel a deal to buy 1.2 million tons of Thai rice. The rice program was a signature policy of Yingluck, who swept to power in 2011 with the help of millions of rural votes, but it could prove to be her government's undoing.The government opened a tender to sell 400,000 tons of rice from state warehouses last week in an attempt to pay farmers. Eighteen exporters submitted bids to buy up to 460,000 tons, prompting the government to announce it would sell a further 500,000 tons from state warehouses next week due to over subscription.In sign of the enormity of the rice problem, traders told Reuters the two sales combined are unlikely to raise around 20 billion baht, a fraction of the 130 billion baht needed to pay farmers.The rice intervention scheme has helped fuel anti-government protests in Bangkok that began in November. The protests, which are still blocking parts of the city, have found much of their support from middle-class, urban taxpayers outraged at what they see as waste and corruption in the rice scheme. The commerce ministry said last week that it did not have the authority to extend the scheme beyond February as the caretaker government of Yingluck has been left with limited policy-making powers pending the outcome of a February 2 election.Varathep Rattanakorn, a minister to the prime minister's office, asked anti-government demonstrators to stop trying to make common cause with farmers who are protesting in Bangkok, although separately from the political demonstrations, and allow the government to try to resolve payment issues."We must make a distinction between the pressing needs of farmers and the National Anti-Corruption Commission investigation into the rice pledging scheme," said Varathep. ($1 = 32.59 Thai baht) (Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Matt Driskill) Myanmar rice trade faces growing pains The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has stressed a need for tangible rice policies to keep abreast with industries in neighbouring countries. Published: 17/02/2014 at 08:01 PM Newspaper section: breakingnews Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Farmers plant rice seedlings in Dala township near Yangon in August 2013. (Photo by AP) A longstanding ban on private rice exports was scrapped in 2010 under the former military junta, but the modernisation needs of Myanmar‘s agricultural sector remain vast. The world‘s largest rice exporter from 1961 to 1963, Myanmar‘s output today lags vastly behind that of its neighbours. And unlike those neighbours — countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India and China — Myanmar lacks a comprehensive set of rules governing foreign investment in agriculture and the export of the country‘s most important crop, according to Democratic Voice of Burma.Ye Min Aung, general-secretary of the MRF, said adopting more comprehensive rice policies will allow foreign investors to make their own decisions freely on which areas to invest — such as seed production, rice milling or industrial farming. "The policy, to ensure sufficient domestic production and export the surplus, is rather too general and we rice millers need more precise and strategic policies specifying roles of rice millers, traders, companies and farmers as well as the insurance system and many more," said Ye Min Aung. He said the MRF will cooperate with the government, international organisations and civil society groups to work out new rice policies."A plan has been underway to draft new rice policies under supervision of the MRF which will be presented to the President and the public, as well as political parties and civil society organisations for their input and advice," he said.India — currently the world‘s largest rice exporter – shipped Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • an estimated 10.15 million tonnes abroad in fiscal year 2012-13. Myanmar can barely keep up with domestic demand, producing an estimated 12.7 million tonnes over the same period, with consumption hovering at around 11.7 million tonnes.Soe Tun, chairman of the Farmers Association, said the new policies need to be inclusive and represent everyone in the rice sector in order to be successful."We see that having the policy will contribute to development of the rice industry as we will be able to gauge where to focus knowing who‘s going where, and we would like to urge for the inclusion of representatives from all sectors and organisations in making a draft of the policy," said Soe Tun.In the short term, Myanmar rice exports face a competitive challenge from an old foe – Thailand. In October 2011, the Thai government, under current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, launched a controversial rice-pledging scheme to raise rural incomes and win votes, offering farmers as much as 50% more than market rates for their crops.While agriculture subsidies are common across Southeast Asia, the Thai rice-pledging scheme came with a twist: in an effort to leverage the country‘s position at the time as the world‘s biggest rice exporter, Bangkok sought to limit exports and put the bulk of the country's production into strategic reserves. The policy was premised on the notion that the global price of rice would increase drastically without a steady supply of Thailand‘s finest, allowing the country to reap a windfall later on.It didn‘t work. Competing producer nations filled in the gap, keeping prices relatively stable. Thailand‘s pledging scheme is scheduled to expire next month, but owing to the election recently held and the Thai government's current "caretaker" status, it cannot finance the debts owed to farmers under the scheme by further borrowing.In an effort to recoup some of the estimated $4.4 billion in losses incurred by the scheme, Bangkok is likely to dump excess stores on the international market in the near future, undercutting competitors and causing the global price of rice to plummet. While Ms Yingluck enjoys widespread support in the country's agrarian heartland, the failure of the rice-pledging scheme may fatally weaken her embattled government if it fails to compensate farmers at agreed-upon rates.For Myanmar's rice industry, the pledging scheme has been a mixed blessing. Anti-government protesters have claimed that low-quality rice from Myanmar and Cambodia has been smuggled across borders into Thailand in an effort to cash in on the subsidies. Smugglers along the Thai-Burmese border have benefited as well, earning a premium in Myanmar for rice siphoned from official stores in Thailand. The Asean Economic Community (AEC) is scheduled to go into effect in 2015, marking the first tenuous steps to create an Asean-wide common market. Agriculture has historically been among the most protected sectors in the region, so it is unlikely that Myanmar‘s farmers will be overwhelmed by foreign producers right away.In 2008, the Shinawatra-linked prime minister of Thailand, Samak Sundaravej, proposed forming an Asean-wide "rice cartel", allowing Southeast Asian producers to demand better and more uniform prices for their rice on the international market. Such a scheme may eventually be incorporated into the AEC as efforts to remove barriers to regional trade progress. Thailand reaping what it sowed Published: 17 Feb 2014 at 13.58 Newspaper section: Asia focus Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Rice cultivation is deeply rooted in Thai culture but we are seeing fewer and fewer young people pursuing the career that has sustained some of their families for generations.Farmers‘ protests, which had been almost invisible in the past decade, are back in vogue in the Thai capital. Emboldened by the success of the antigovernment movement, the disgruntled farmers are demanding immediate payment for their pledged rice at the guaranteed prices promised half a year ago by the Yingluck Shinawatra government.The delay in payments due, which have ballooned to some 120 billion baht, is a consequence of the legal constraints on spending by the caretaker government. It also reflects the unwillingness of banks to risk lending to the government to pay suffering farmers. The populist rice scheme has long been criticised by economists locally and internationally for distorting the market, sucking huge sums out of the national budget and being prone to corruption. Still, all governments, including the current lame-duck administration and its predecessors, have resorted to politically juicy subsidy programmes.Thailand is certainly not the only country to give subsidies to farmers. It is a very common practice in Asia as well as in most developed economies of Europe and North America.But Thailand‘s rice-price support scheme is perhaps unique as the country was the world‘s largest rice exporter. Stockpiling rice in hopes of exporting at a higher price clearly seemed like a good idea to some politicians.Viroj Na Ranong, a Thailand Development Research Institute research director, had warned for years that the government was lousy at the rice business, and monopolising the trade completely by buying every grain of rice at 40% above market prices only made the situation worse.Now the government‘s failure to sell rice has resulted in Thai rice losing market share and left farmers unpaid. Apart from helping to secure a resounding election win for the Pheu Thai Party in 2011, the pricey rice scheme reflects the inflated ambitions of Premier Yingluck‘s brother, the exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He once tried to persuade Thailand‘s neighbours to form a rice cartel, an Opec of rice if you like, that could dictate world prices.But each country in the region has a different rice strategy as some are lowincome, some are middle-income and some are high-income. Some import rice, others export rice.The rice industry is also getting more competitive. Stockpiling is risky as rice is perishable, unlike oil.If we think of a regional rice strategy for the sake of food security, it would be a noble idea. And if we think of other support programmes, such as price insurance that would pay farmers the average of historical market prices in the event that prices fall too low (not a guaranteed higher price than the market), that also might do more good than harm. One can take a look at India; it has the capacity to stockpile rice for certain years, but for the sake of food security due to its huge population. This year, India is also expected to remain the world‘s largest exporter of 10 million tonnes, followed by Thailand (8.5 million), Vietnam (7.5 million), Pakistan (3.4 million) and the United States (3.35 million).Premium rice from India (fragrant and basmati) also has been fetching higher prices, around $1,500 a tonne, compared with $1,000 for Thailand‘s top grades, according to the Thai Rice Exporters‘ Association.More trouble looms for Thailand‘s rice industry. Domestic prices are stagnant and export orders are not picking up. China has cancelled a small import deal because of concern about risk, while a bigger government-to-government deal has been exposed as a fiction.But China was not the largest importer of Thai rice in 2013. That title goes to Benin (919,041 tonnes), followed by Iraq (703,869 tonnes), South Africa (419,373), and the United States (386,844). Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • China imported only 327,559 tonnes, according to the Commerce Ministry and the Customs Department.A bigger long-term challenge for Thailand is improving rice quality to maintain the country‘s global appeal.If any lesson can be learned from Thailand by politicians from other countries, it is that karma is real. You reap what you sow. Populist policies might make you a winner at the polls but if the management of those policies lacks integrity and is poorly thought out, it will come back to bite you.All countries that use subsidies eventually face trouble if their policies are not well thought through. In the meantime, Thailand might be wise to seek some allies inside and outside the region to offer a helping hand by buying some of its rice stockpile to ease the current problem. Oryza Shares Press Release - Cambodia Annouces New Code of Conduct to Address EU Concerns Feb 17, 2014 Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Cambodia released a new Code of Conduct (CoC) designed to resolve EU origin concerns since Cambodian rice exports enjoy duty-free status to the EU as a Less Developed Country (LDC) under the Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Tags: Cambodia rice exports Happy President's Day from Oryza! Feb 17, 2014 Oryza editorial team is working limited hours today will be back in full force Tuesday. Global rice export quotes will be updated daily. Tags: president's day Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Stakeholders Urge FG to Implement Agreed Duty on Rice Category: Business News Published: Monday, 17 February 2014 09:32 Written by naomi_maris Bags of riceThe Rice Millers Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (RiMIDAN) has appealed to the federal government to urgently implement the $190 duty per metric tonne of rice to save the businesses of legitimate operators of the rice sector in Nigeria from collapse. Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos at the weekend, the Secretary-General of RiMIDAN, Alhaji Shaibu Mohammed, expressed regrets over the current poor handling of the duty process, stressing that not less than 20 vessels carrying rice are stuck in high seas as a result.He said it was as a result of federal government‘s breach of the agreement reached with the association in November 2013 that the present inefficiency persists.According to him, only recently, the federal government through the inter-ministerial committee on dutiable rate held a stakeholders meeting with the dealers in Abuja towards promptly arresting the rate of smuggled rice entering the country through the republic of Benin.He said that the federal government had called a meeting of stakeholders to address the situation before the last Christmas season, which accounts for the highest point of rice consumption annually. This was with a view to ensure that the Christmas imports were done legally through the Nigerian ports by lowering the Nigerian dutiable price to match that of Benin Republic currently $200.At the meeting, the Inter-ministerial Committee approved the reduction of the duty from $570 to $190 per metric tonne as a benchmark for imported rice within the stipulated time of two months.The inter-ministerial committee is composed of the presidential committee on trade malpractices, customs and ministry of agriculture.The association has however expressed regret that the new dutiable price for legally imported rice has not yet been implemented by the government, lamenting that before now almost all the agreements reached by the committee concerning duty and benchmark were always implemented immediately. `The new dutiable for legal import was not implemented by government, even though it would have saved the industry and boosted the FG revenue by N50 billion,‘‘ Shaibu said.He said they were so shocked that after the federal government gave the go ahead to bring in rice, most of their members swung into action and ordered rice that is now stuck in the high seas of the nation‘s territorial waters."The waiting game has been on for over two months because certain government agencies are yet to receive some directives."He appealed to the national assembly and the president to save the from the colossal loss adding that the Benin Republic parliament had since passed a motion, which drastically reduced duty on rice, which has further made it easier for smugglers to smuggle rice into Nigeria.He noted that the inaction of government to quickly implement the dutiable rate of $190 had increased the spate of rice smuggling into Nigeria.The association noted that last year alone, about three million tonnes of parboiled rice was smuggled into Nigeria through Benin Republic which has caused a lost of N300 billion and gain of over N200 billion to the neighbouring countries that facilitated the smuggling.He said that less that 100,000 tonnes of rice was legally imported into Nigeria in 2013. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Multilayered control fails to prevent misuse of rice imports Vincent Lingga, Jakarta | Opinion | Tue, February 18 2014, 11:00 AM Since rice is classified as one of the nation‘s strategic commodities, its import is severely restricted and subject to multiple layers of control under the regulations of several ministriesThe import of medium-quality rice for domestic price stabilization can be made only by the state-owned State Logistics Agency (Bulog) and the imports are based on the volume set annually by an inter-ministerial rice task force chaired by the chief economics minister. Only rice of premium quality and for special purposes can be imported by private companies (non-Bulog). But imports of both medium-quality and premium-quality rice can be made only by companies that have both general import licenses and special rice-importer licenses. Imports should be endorsed by a letter of recommendation from the Agriculture Ministry which clearly stipulates details on the quantity and the quality of rice, the countries of origin and the seaports of unloading in Indonesia. The Trade Ministry (directorate general of foreign trade) can issue import licenses only on the basis of the letter of recommendation from the Agriculture Ministry and the import specifications must also conform to those stipulated by the latter.Copies of rice-import licenses are sent to 11 parties, including senior officials at the customs offices at the designated seaports of unloading in Indonesia (mainly Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak, Tanjung Emas and Belawan), to the Agriculture Ministry, the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister and the trade office of the Jakarta municipal administration.Before imports can be realized, importers must notify state-owned surveyor companies, either PT Sucofindo or PT Surveyor Indonesia, in Jakarta about their import plans, complete with technical specifications. This surveyor company will inspect the technical specifications of the rice at the seaports of loading overseas or the warehouses of the rice suppliers overseas.Rice imports can be cleared by the customs service in Indonesia only if they are supported by a surveyor‘s verification report certifying that the imported rice fully conforms to the specifications as stipulated in the import license.Importers also must have a Rice Import Control Card which must be filled out by the local customs service each time imports are realized stipulating such details as the volume and classification of imported rice. And importers must report to the Trade Ministry the import realization, supplemented with the Rice Import Control Card bearing the signature and stamp of the local customs service.The question is then why after all this elaborate bureaucratic procedure and multilayer supervision, misuse of rice import license still takes place? Furor broke out over the past two weeks after it was discovered that more than 17,000 tons of medium-quality rice had been brought in by private (non-Bulog) importers by manipulating their quality and their harmonized-system (HS) tariff codes.Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi cried foul, pointing out that if the rice was medium-quality it would have entered the country illegally, because his ministry issued import licenses to private importers only for premiumquality rice and only on the basis of letters of recommendation from the Agriculture Ministry.This started a heated blame game. The Agriculture Ministry vehemently defended its position, stressing it never recommended imports of medium-quality rice to private importers. Likewise, the customs service, seemingly ―burned‖ by Krisnamurthi‘s tirade, said it only cleared rice imports supported with approved documents from the ministries of trade and Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • agriculture.The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), the customs service and the ministries of trade and agriculture are still digging into the alleged rice-import scandal. The manipulation of the quality of the imported rice did not cause any state losses because all grades of rice are subject to a fixed, specific import duty of Rp 450 (4 US cents) per kilogram and the impact was negligible as the volume involved was a mere 0.0005 percent of the national rice production. But the controversy conveyed a strong warning. These rather blurred tariff classifications seem to open loopholes for manipulation by importers. _____________________ The government is acutely short of adequate technical competence and integrity in managing such trade-protectionist measures through the distribution of import quotas of basic commodities. Just look at the recent wave of sugar- and beef-import scandals. Such import irregularities never happened between 1985-1997 when Indonesian imports were subjected by then president Soeharto to pre-shipment inspection at the countries of origin by the global surveyor company, Geneva-based Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS).Part of the problem should be blamed on the vague HS classification of tariff codes for rice in place since 2012. First of all, the import-tariff book does not mention such terms as medium or premium quality for rice but classifies this commodity only using 10-digit codes for its specific characteristics. When the government changed the import-tariff book in 2012, medium-quality rice, which under the old tariff regime had been under a separate HS tariff code (1006.30.90.00), was classified in the same tariff code (1006.30.99.00) together with such premium-quality rice as Basmati and Japonica. Thai Hom Mali rice was moved from the 1006.30.15.00 to the 1006.30.40.00 code.Futher complicating the matter, such rice trademarks as Japonica (formerly Japan), Basmati (India) and Thai Hom Mali (Thailand) can currently be imported from anywhere, as these rice varieties are now grown outside their native countries. Just like Thailand‘s Munthong durian, which is now planted in Bogor. These rather blurred tariff classifications seem to open loopholes for manipulation by importers who exploit the inadequate technical competence of officials or in collusion with corrupt officials. The clearest and loudest warning from this controversy is that the government should improve its institutional capacity and the internal control of officials directly involved in managing import-restrictive measures, especially as regard to such basic commodities as rice, sugar, beef and horticultural products.The future challenges are even tougher because the new Trade Law which was enacted last week vests ever broader authority in the government to control the import or export of certain commodities considered vitally important to the basic needs of the people. This means the government will be involved directly in the trading of many more commodities through the distribution of quotas, special import licenses and other restrictive measures. A corrupt bureaucratic and political Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • system crowded by greedy businesspeople could ―creatively‖ exploit and turn such import-restrictive measures into cash cows. _________________ The writer is senior editor at The Jakarta Post. Rice import restrictions a 'hanging issue,' says De Lima By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star Posted at 02/18/2014 3:38 AM | Updated as of 02/18/2014 3:38 AM MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima believes the National Food Authority (NFA) might have some problem in imposing the quantitative restrictions on rice importation if the expiration of government‘s commitment to the World Trade Organization-General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (WTOGATT) is strictly read.In an interview, De Lima said a legal team from the Department of Justice (DOJ) has come up with an initial position, although her legal opinion has yet to be released.―If we go by the strict legal sense of the issue, I‘m afraid we have some problem there,‖ she said.―Because as we very well know, the WTOGATT is a commitment. That forms part of the law, the maxim pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be kept).‖However, De Lima said the DOJ is considering views contrary to this interpretation.―The international law was ratified by the President and concurred by the Senate, and has since become part of our body of laws,‖ she said. ―What should be answered now is the question: which should prevail, the WTO agreement or the domestic law?‖De Lima said this is a ―hanging issue‖ emanating from the varying interpretations on the rice import quota that the government has imposed.―We are currently studying the matter and we are looking at varying interpretations,‖ she said.De Lima said the DOJ and the Office of the Solicitor General would still have to weigh the conflicting views before issuing a definitive legal opinion.―I have also ordered a thorough study into the legislative intent of the Agriculture Tariffication Law,‖ she said.Stakeholders in the rice industry have been waiting for the DOJ legal opinion to guide the courts in resolving petitions for injunction filed by rice importers.The GATT has allowed WTO member-countries to restrict the importation of sensitive agricultural products.However, the agreement expired in June 2012.While renegotiating with member-countries on the extension of the pact, the government has continued to impose the quantitative restrictions.In questioning the policy, rice importers said their importations should be allowed even without import permits as long as the corresponding taxes are paid, now that the WTO-GATT has already expired. BOC dealing with smuggling At the Bureau of Customs, public information officer Charo Logarta-Lagamon said they have initiated a multipronged approach to deal with the problem of smuggling of agricultural commodities.―I think everybody knows that we are not denying that smuggling is still a concern even for the new leadership of the bureau... (But) we Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • are doing a multi-pronged approach to keep smuggling to a minimum,‖ she said.The smuggling of agricultural commodities cannot be stopped overnight, Lagamon said.New Customs Commissioner John Sevilla has given priority to transparency in transactions at the BOC.Details of every importation could now be seen through the BOC‘s website.Stringent measures have also been imposed to prevent unscrupulous people from entering BOC premises and acting as fixers for firms transacting business.Lagamon said since assuming office last Dec. 9, Sevilla has initiated systemic reforms at the BOC because smugglers would just change company name and resume their activities if authorities would only concentrate on running after them.―The commissioner is now addressing the problem... at the core of the system to mitigate and eventually eradicate smuggling,‖ she said.The BOC has issued several alert orders for shipments, and some smugglers have reportedly stopped operating.Lagamon said the BOC has tied up with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to check the registration of importers. ―The BIR checks if they have a record of the importer, and if proper taxes were paid,‖ she said.―By doing so they weed out the fictitious companies and identifies those that have the capacity and legitimacy to import.‖Many of the cargoes passing through the ―green lane‖ belong to multinational companies, Lagamon said in response to allegations that it is being used as an avenue for smuggling.Even if smugglers manage to slip their shipment through the green lane, they would still be caught by the Post Entry Audit Group under the Department of Finance-Fiscal Intelligence Unit, she added. – With Evelyn Macairan Seeds of change Given the agro-climatic variation, Nepal needs to be breeding seeds; not depending on global corporations.Over the ages, farmers have selected from among the variations produced by sexual reproduction or by mutation so that our generation now inherits a staggering number of varieties of the few plants that we have selected for farming from among the millions of species available. In the past, planting materials were saved from previous crops or accessed from other farmers through barter or sale. Now of course the seed industry is a major part of modern agriculture and the cost of seeds bought commercially represent an important input cost for farmers. In the last century, research to develop new varieties and the expenses incurred in their promotion were mainly borne by the public sector—both government agencies and publicly funded organisations like the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. The dwarf wheat RR 21 developed by CIMMYT and the dwarf rice IR 8 developed by IRRI have perhaps fed the largest number of human beings ever. Patents and products Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation in his work to develop disease resistant high yield dwarf varieties in Mexico. Borlaug worked for a public institution and neither he nor his backers (CIMMYT or the Rockefeller Foundation) patented the varieties of ‗miracle wheat‘ or even the concept of dwarf varieties that can respond economically to much higher inputs. This was in the fifties and sixties, a different age indeed. Unfortunately, this present age is one of the private sector and this Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • space of publicly funded research for the good of mankind has increasingly been vacated to private institutions that charge an arm and more for the use of technology in their push for profits. Thus, farmers‘ ability to save planting materials from previous crops has been seen as the bane of seed industries and much has been done to take this ability away, using both legal tools, like patent laws, and technical tools, like hybrid seeds and more recently, genetically-modified (GM) plants.Planting materials consisting of vegetative parts present little opportunity for seed companies. The high costs involved in the purchase of bulky vegetative planting materials have been a major deterrent to farmers‘ purchase of new planting materials and hence, poor representation of seed companies in this sector. Crops that are planted through seeds represent the greatest opportunity for seed companies. Cereals like rice and wheat, which reproduce through inbreeding, presented a major headache for seed companies. Once a farmer bought a kilo of the miracle rice IR 8 or the dwarf wheat RR21, they did not have to buy seeds again and neither did their neighbours, as the crops produced seeds that varied little from one generation to the next and these non-patented seeds were encouraged to be shared. Cross-pollinated crops like maize produce seeds with more genetic variety but it has been possible for farmers to use their own maize and other cross-pollinated crops provided they followed simple steps to avoid contamination from different varieties. It has been the introduction of two tools that has really opened the seed market: patent laws that covered seeds and the technology of hybrid seeds. Hybrids and GMs Hybrids are produced by crossing different strains of crop. The parent lines have been produced after years of research and must be carefully and expensively maintained. The first generation of the cross, or F1, is sold as seeds. But subsequent generations of the F1 crop would not be like the original in terms of yield or flavour or other economic features. So farmers would have to rely on the original F1 each planting season. And as the parent lines and the F1 seed are patented, seed companies that hold the patents have a captive market for their produce.GM crops are slightly different. They need not be hybrid seeds. They have genes from different species incorporated into their chromosomes, a feature very rare in nature. Famous examples are the introduction of the bacterial gene for the production of toxin Bt in maize (for insect resistance) and the introduction of genes conferring herbicide resistance to maize and soybean, thus promoting the use of herbicide. If the GM seeds are hybrid, then the farmers cannot replant the seeds in the coming generations. If the GM seeds are not hybrid, the seed company must rely on patent laws alone to make the farmers buy seeds each year. Seed companies breed seeds for markets that are large and profitable. Countries where such markets are present normally have some level of accountability, enforced by laws, so seed companies are held accountable for bad seeds or poor performance. The farmers too are educated and well informed.It is a different story in countries like Nepal. Given the extreme variation in the agro-climate of this vertical country, the market for any variety is small and not at all profitable if a tailor-made variety has to be developed just for a particular Nepali agroclimate. The low literacy among the farmers also makes the dissemination of relevant information difficult. Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • In the past, the government agency, the National Agriculture Research Council (NARC), developed and released varieties of important crops for different agro-climatic zones in Nepal. There was sizable help from the government and from foreign donor agencies. Varieties of rice and wheat released by NARC were popular among the farmers (that is, when and if they managed to get hold of the seeds). The government has released close to 300 varieties of over 45 crops since 1960, all of them after years of research and trials to match each variety to the suitable agro-climatic zone in Nepal. Of particular success has been the development of wheat varieties resistant to U99 fungus, a new rust fungus that can cause huge damage to all present commercial wheat varieties. This has been the result of the dedication of Nepali wheat breeders, supported over the years in wheat research by public funds, from both government and public agencies. Homegrown seeds and accountability This dynamism in NARC is unfortunately a thing of the past and the rot within is so widespread that they cannot even fill the empty vacancies that they advertise for. And now, the vegetable seed market is almost completely taken over by foreign brands—hybrid maize and increasingly, hybrid d rice is what rules the shelves of agrovets selling seeds. Bringing in foreign seeds is one thing; ensuring that they are suitable is another. And given the huge agro-climatic variation in Nepal, this is a quite a task. Unfortunately, the lack of accountability among authorities is worrying. No action was taken against suppliers of hybrid maize seeds in the eastern Tarai, which resulted in a spectacular crop failure a few years back. Last year, Chinese hybrid paddy seeds were sold in hilly areas when they were recommended by NARC for the Tarai only. Predictably, the rice crop failed. An INGO provided paddy seeds of varieties bred for the Tarai to rice farmers in the hilly areas of the Far West, promising better harvests. Again, there was complete crop failure. It is easy for policymakers to make policies that promote the private sector at the cost of the public sector when they do not have to be responsible for the tragedies that may result. Given our place in the political evolution of the country, it is difficult to make significant changes in accountability. But this needs to happen. NARC needs to be funded at a much higher level to provide us with better seeds and better agro-technology. Hoping that Monsanto or Syngentas of the western world will cater to our needs is foolish. We have to look to our own needs and opportunities and breed seeds ourselves to meet our requirements.Pradhan holds a degree in agriculture and animal husbandry and manages his family farm near Butwal Posted on: 2014-02-17 08:30 Unisame lauds Sindh for setting up agri business fund February 17, 2014 Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874
  • Karachi - The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (Unisame) has appreciated the initiative and thanked the Sindh government for the Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) which has been established to promote agri-business value addition in the province. SEDF primarily provides interest rate subsidies for credit obtained from bank to set up agro based value addition projects. Mehboob ul Haq the chief executive officer (CEO) of SEDF said the Balancing, Modernisation and Replacement (BMR) Scheme for rice millers in Sindh is sponsored by Government of Sindh under the patronage of State Bank of Pakistan. (SBP) The scheme offers subsidised mark up of 2.75pc on loans up to Rs 10 million for up-gradation and modernisation of rice mills in Sindh province.nisame president Zulfiqar Thaver said SME rice millers can benefit from this initiative of Sindh government under the SEDF scheme and replace their orthodox system with modern plants and also make steamed rice.He invited the acting chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chelaram KK to use his good office in promoting BMR in Sindh and uplift the parboiling units of Sindh.Unisame has offered help to SME rice millers in filing their application without any obligation and emphasised the need for the parboiling plants to modernise their units to meet global challenges. Parboiled and steamed rice are in great demand in Gulf and Middle East countries and over the last few years due to high cost of production the millers in Sindh have discontinued the parboiling of rice and switched over to white rice but now with subsidised finance from SEDF the parboiling units would again be feasible. For Advertising SPECS & RATES Contact: Advertising Department Mujahid Ali mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com +92 321 369 2874 Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874