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19th feb.,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
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  • 1. 19th Feb. , 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 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
  • 2. 10000+ stakeholders of rice industry read & apply various ideas and analysis written by the authors. Be the part of Rice plus authors Visit: www.ricepluss.com,www.publishpk.net mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com riceplus@irp.edu.pk TOP Contents - Tailored for YOU Latest News Headlines…                 44 new rice varieties in Asia and Africa The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Who wins, who loses, why it matters " UPDATE 2-Thai court warns against using emergency powers to disperse protests Thai government sells 600,000 metric tons rice after special allocation Thai Rice to Flood Global Markets as Subsidy Ends Thai PM Yingluck to Face Graft Charges Over Botched Rice Scheme Commerce sets 3-prong plan to pay farmers Global rice rout expected to continue Poll: Further rice payment delays likely India's wheat, rice and corn exports may fall 29% in 2014-15 Microbattery Slightly Larger Than a Grain of Rice with Twice the Energy Three-point plan to help farmers Restriction on rice imports may spell trouble for PH Sierra Leone News: Rokupr Rice Research Center re-emerges as Center of Excellence USDA’s Ag Statistics Service to resume key reports Rice Rout Seen Extending as Thai Sales Quicken: Southeast Asia 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
  • 3. NEWS DETAILS: 44 new rice varieties in Asia and Africa Written by Lizbeth Edra. In 2013, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partners released 44 new and improved rice varieties, continuing the decades-long mission of using rice science to reduce hunger. Around half of the current global population—or about 3.5 billion people—relies on rice as a source of sustenance and livelihood.Resilience to climate change is a big thrust of IRRI‘s work in improving rice varieties that will help farmers produce more rice with the same, or declining, amount of resources. The 44 new types of rice released in 2013 include nine salt-tolerant varieties in the Philippines, three flood-tolerant varieties in South Asia, and six in sub-Saharan Africa. ―Overall, IRRI has released around a thousand improved rice varieties across 78 countries since its establishment in 1960,‖ said Eero Nissila, head of IRRI‘s breeding division. ―These are considered global public goods. Hence, our partners are free to release these for farmers‘ use or for more breeding work to suit local needs in their countries.‖ Of the 44 new and improved rice varieties released in 2013, 21 were in the Philippines, six in Bangladesh, five in Myanmar, three in Nigeria, two in Tanzania, two in India, and one each in Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mozambique, and Rwanda. Resilience to climate change is a big thrust of IRRI‘s work in improving rice varieties that will help farmers produce more rice with the same, or declining, amount of resources.―We are excited over these varieties, especially those released in Nigeria. These are the fruits of many years of collaboration that I have personally been a part of during my posting at the Africa Rice Center station in Nigeria,‖ said Glenn Gregorio, senior rice breeder at IRRI. ―IRRI worked hard and closely with national breeding programs, and we know that this will lead to more collaboration as demand for rice increases in sub-Saharan Africa.‖ Dr. Gregorio said. An independent assessment by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) found that Southeast Asian rice farmers in three countries are harvesting an extra US$1.46 billion worth of rice a year as a result of the research work done by IRRI and its partners. A 13% boost in yield gave returns of $127 per hectare in southern Vietnam, $76 per hectare in Indonesia, and $52 per hectare in the Philippines. Similarly, a study commissioned by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on the impact of investments in rice research suggested that a $12 million investment in rice research has returned more than 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
  • 4. $70 million in benefits to rice farmers and national economies in four Asian countries. The countries covered in the study were Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. More than 50 years ago, a new and improved rice variety held back the tide of impending starvation and protected the world‘s massive rice eating populations in Asia from the clutches of famine. IR8, later dubbed "miracle rice," was a key driver of the Green Revolution. It was the first of what would become a steady stream of improved rice varieties from IRRI, which continues to be headquartered in the Philippines. Today, the Institute has 16 country offices spread out worldwide. The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Who wins, who loses, why it matters " By Don Lee February 19, 2014, 10:57 a.m. As President Obama travels to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the one-day summit is expected to focus partly on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an ambitious 12-nation trade pact being negotiated between North American and Asian countries. Here is a primer on the talks: Q: What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership? A: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a free-trade pact being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim countries. The TPP is an ambitious effort to shape a comprehensive agreement that would not only reduce tariffs and other barriers to open markets, but establish standards on a range of issues affecting trade and international competition. For instance, negotiators are working to set up rules on intellectual property rights, government procurement and the role of the state in private enterprise. Q: Who is in the TPP, and who isn't? A: There are currently a dozen countries that in total account for almost 40% of the global economy. As the largest economy, the U.S. is seen as the leader of the negotiations. The other nations, in order of economic size, are Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, Vietnam and Brunei. South Korea has expressed interest in joining. Conspicuously absent from the talks is China, the world's second-biggest economy. Q: How did the TPP get started? A: The negotiations began in talks more than a decade ago among Singapore, Chile and New Zealand. An original agreement was reached by those three countries, plus Brunei, in 2005, and it became the model for the TPP and was extended to other nations. The U.S. announced that it would join the discussions in 2008. Q: What‘s in it for the U.S.? A: Many analysts generally see liberalizing trade as a benefit to the economy. The TPP has the potential to boost U.S. exports and investments by lowering tariffs and leveling the playing field in some large or rapidly growing markets. The White House has said the TPP could create more U.S. jobs and generate an additional $123.5 billion a year in U.S. exports by 2025. 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
  • 5. Beyond the commercial implications, many experts regard the TPP as a key part of American foreign policy. Amid the rise of China and its increasing exercise of political and military power in East Asia, the Obama administration has said it would turn its attention more to the East, the so-called pivot to Asia, in an effort to strengthen U.S influence in that region. Q: Why is the TPP controversial? A: The TPP is a major multilateral trade undertaking, the most significant for the U.S. since the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took effect 20 years ago. Labor unions and other critics of NAFTA say that the deal pushed American manufacturing operations overseas and has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests say the pact led to booming trade and commercial activity in North America. Beyond the general dispute over free-trade agreements, the TPP negotiations have been criticized by a number of organizations and lawmakers for not being transparent enough. Some groups are worried that the TPP will establish intellectual-property rules that could lead to restrictions on affordable generic medicines in developing countries. Others are concerned that the TPP won't set very high standards -- or the enforcement mechanisms needed -- to protect the environment and labor rights. Q: What are the major sticking points? A: Every country has some products that it is particularly sensitive about and wants to protect. The U.S. wants access to Japan's politically powerful farm sector, including rice. Japan and the U.S. also remain at odds over what both sides see as barriers to each other's car market. Australia and New Zealand, meanwhile, are seeking greater openings for their dairy goods, and Vietnam for its textile and footwear exports. Besides car companies, U.S. producers of sugar and textiles, among some others, are concerned that they will suffer from increased foreign competition. Q: When will negotiations be finished? A: TPP negotiators, including President Obama's top trade official, Michael Froman, had set a goal of reaching agreement by the end of last year. However, their last meeting in December in Singapore ended without a deal, and it appears they have lost some momentum. A new target for concluding talks hasn't been set, and though there are hopes that an agreement will be completed this year, the midterm elections in the U.S. could present more challenges as free trade has been a hot political issue in the past. Q: Will Congress approve it? A: Under the Constitution, treaties require the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. But the administration is seeking congressional approval for trade-promotion authority. Also called fast-track authority, it would give the president the power to negotiate a trade agreement that Congress can approve with a simple majority and with minimal debate and no amendments. Traditionally, Republican lawmakers have supported trade agreements, but it's unclear whether tea party or other conservative members of the GOP will back the TPP, especially as it is being negotiated by a Democratic White House. Perhaps more challenging for the administration is the reluctance by senior Democratic lawmakers to grant the president fast-track authority and throw their weight behind the TPP. A large bipartisan group in both chambers of Congress has pressed the administration to include a provision in the TPP that would prevent trading partners from engaging in currency "manipulation" -- a touchy subject that top U.S. trade officials have yet to bring to the TPP table. 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
  • 6. UPDATE 2-Thai court warns against using emergency powers to disperse protests Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:43pm IST * Court endorses emergency rule; warns against dispersing peaceful protests * About 3,000 protesters rally at prime minister's temporary HQ * Army spokesman urges both sides to avoid confrontation * Election Commission to try to re-run some disrupted polling on March 2 (Updates with court ruling, police comment, Election Commission) By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Apornrath Phoonphongphiphat BANGKOK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - A Thai court endorsed on Wednesday Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's declaration of a state of emergency, a day after five people were killed in gunbattles in Bangkok, but warned the government not to use it to disperse peaceful protesters.The country's police chief said the court ruling would not affect the security operation, but added that there were no plans to retake more protest sites after Tuesday's "Peace for Bangkok Mission" saw the deadliest clashes since anti-government demonstrations began in November.Yingluck, seen by opponents as a proxy for her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, has been working from a Defence Ministry compound in north Bangkok since the protests forced her to vacate her Government House offices. Protesters who want to drive her from office and eradicate Thaksin's influence surrounded the building on Wednesday, but there were no clashes with troops standing guard and Yingluck and other ministers stayed away.The Civil Court in Bangkok dismissed a case brought by protest leaders who wanted a 60-day state of emergency announced last month declared illegal, but added that the government was "not allowed to use clauses in the state of emergency to disperse the protests".The protests are the latest instalment of an eight-year political battle broadly pitting the Bangkok middle class and royalist establishment against the mostly rural supporters of Yingluck and Thaksin. Problems continue to mount for Yingluck, after an anti-corruption agency filed charges against her over a soured rice subsidy scheme that has stoked middle-class anger and left hundreds of thousands of farmers, her natural backers, unpaid.Shares in Thai property developer SC Asset Corp fell more than 4 percent after protesters said they would target assets linked to her wealthy family. The Shinawatra's own about 60 percent of SC Asset. 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
  • 7. STATE OF EMERGENCY The state of emergency, which covers Bangkok and surrounding provinces, allows security agencies to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare areas off-limits."This court ruling means we can't disperse protesters but we were never intending to anyway," national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew told Reuters."We are trying to arrest people who have arrest warrants, including leaders of the protest movement, and our strategy is to ask for protest sites back through negotiations. "A spokesman for the military, which has said it would intervene if police were unable to maintain security in the capital, appealed for both sides to avoid confrontation."Our strategy has not changed and is still to provide support to police," Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak told Reuters. "We have no intention of deploying extra troops. If the government needs extra help with security, it has to ask us and so far it has not asked for reinforcements."The military has remained aloof from the latest crisis, but has a long history of intervening in politics. VIOLENCE FLARED Violence flared on Tuesday as police made their most determined effort since the start of the protests to reclaim sites around government buildings occupied for weeks. One police officer and four protesters were killed by gunfire.Police said they came under attack from gunfire and grenades. Protest leaders accused police of opening fire on demonstrators.Tarit Pengdith, head of the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand's equivalent of the FBI, insisted on Wednesday that security forces had not used live ammunition."The pictures you saw of police holding guns, those guns are used to fire rubber bullets only," he told a news conference. News footage from the protests mostly showed police using shotguns that can fire rubber bullets. A few officers also carried military-style rifles, although it was unclear from footage whether these were fired.Thai politics has been gripped by growing paralysis since Yingluck called a snap election in December.Disruption by protesters meant voting could not be completed in the Feb. 2 poll, leaving Yingluck at the head of an enfeebled caretaker administration amid uncertainty over when a new government can be installed.The Election Commission said it would try to hold elections on March 2 in five provinces where voting was disrupted. The commission will ask the Constitutional Court to rule on what to do with 28 districts in the south where candidates were unable to register. 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
  • 8. Demonstrators accuse Yingluck's billionaire brother Thaksin of nepotism and corruption and say that, prior to being toppled in a 2006 coup, he used taxpayers' money for populist subsidies and easy loans that have bought him the loyalty of millions in the populous north and northeast. The protesters, who are still blocking major intersections in central Bangkok, want to suspend what they say is a fragile democracy under Thaksin's control and eliminate his influence by altering electoral arrangements.Adding to the crisis, a flagship rice programme that paid farmers way above the market rate has proved ruinously expensive and the caretaker government lacks the power to keep funding it.A state bank had to cancel a loan that might have helped prop up the scheme in the face of a revolt by depositors who began pulling their money out. Three Government Savings Bank branches in Bangkok contacted by Reuters on Wednesday morning said they were no longer seeing unusual numbers of customers withdrawing funds.Thailand's anti-corruption body began an investigation last month into the rice scheme and said on Tuesday it was filing charges against Yingluck. She was summoned to hear the charges on Feb. 27. (Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Alan Raybould and Robert Birsel) Thai government sells 600,000 metric tons rice after special allocation BY APORNRATH PHOONPHONGPHIPHAT BANGKOK Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:03am EST (Reuters) - The Thai government has sold 600,000 metric tons of rice from state stocks to 15 exporters, a higher than expected quantity after two exporters were allocated grain outside of last week's tender, a Commerce Ministry official said on Wednesday.The government had offered 400,000 metric tons in the tender. Theway the additional volume was allocated raised complaints from some exporters about the transparency of a controversial rice-buying program that has angered Bangkok's middle class and helped fuel months of antigovernment protests in the capital. "There were two leading exporters who had overseas orders and needed rice to be delivered immediately so we agreed to award an additional 200,000 metric tons to help support them," Surasak Riengkul, director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Foreign Trade Department, told Reuters.Surasak and other officials at the ministry declined to give the names of exporters involved or details about prices, saying only that they were in line with the market.The government has amassed huge stockpiles because of a buying program that offered farmers a price way above the market, making the grain uncompetitive on world markets.The scheme has run into funding problems, compounded by political unrest that has left a caretaker government with few options to raise money.It is trying to accelerate sales from the stockpiles to help pay farmers, some of whom have been waiting 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
  • 9. for up to four months and are protesting in Bangkok.The scheme has also been bedeviled by allegations of corruption and mismanagement, which the latest tender will have done nothing to dispel. "It's not really a fair tender if you can take up to 200,000 metric tons just because you tell the government you have orders and you really need rice to be delivered," said a Thai trader who asked not to be named.Traders and industry officials said the rice was believed to have been sold at 10,000-11,000 baht ($310-$340) per tonne.That is some way below the market price of around 13,500 baht."No one is going to buy from the government at market prices. They can't compete in the world market if they buy from the government at market prices and then need to offer at even higher prices due to their costs and logistics," said Charoen Laothamatas, head of the Thai Rice Exporters Association. The price suggested by traders is also far lower than what the government has been paying farmers under its rice-buying scheme, which has fuelled anti-government protests because of its cost to the taxpayer and alleged corruption.Under the scheme, the government pays farmers up to 15,000 baht a tonne for paddy, which would equate to around 24,000 baht ($740) per tonne for exportable rice after taking into account milling and storage costs.Thai 5 percent broken white rice was offered for export on Wednesday at $400-$420 a tonne, slightly higher than the same grade from Vietnam at $380-$395.The government has said it would open a tender to sell another 500,000 metric tons of rice this week.Despite what was described as healthy demand for the recent tender, traders said they expect fewer exporters to bid this time as global demand is not that strong and supply is plentiful. ($1 = 32.4550 Thai baht) (Editing by Alan Raybould and Muralikumar Anantharaman) Thai Rice to Flood Global Markets as Subsidy Ends Kittisak Ratanawarahal, chairman of the Northern Farmers Network, stands in warehouse of rotten rice abandoned ten years ago in Phichit province under price-support scheme by then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra Feb. 6, 2014. February 18, 2014 SINGAPORE — Millions of tons of Thai rice are set to flood into already oversupplied international markets when the government's controversial subsidy scheme grinds to a halt later this month.The country's caretaker government last week said it did not have the power to renew the program, which has paid farmers in one of the world's top exporters of rice nearly double market rates and is due to expire at month-end.That will force farmers to offload the March harvest into a market currently dominated by India and Vietnam. With Bangkok 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
  • 10. already shifting grain from record government stockpiles, the sales threaten to worsen a supply glut that has dragged on international prices. While many rice farmers are expected to remain loyal to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who swept to power in 2011 on the back of rural votes generated in part by the subsidies, a slump in prices that could be blamed on her leadership would erode her support base and be another blow for her embattled government.The bulk of the around 5 million tons of milled grain that is expected to be produced from next month's crop, equivalent to more than 10 percent of all rice traded globally last year, is likely to be sold to exporters as farmers and millers have limited capacity to hold back stocks."It's like farmers are being set adrift. We will have to sell rice to millers at prices lower than what we got in the past," said Boonserm Thongsook, a farmer in the province of Suphan Buri, around 40 km north of Bangkok."I may not vote for Yingluck again as she ignores us. The scheme is about to end and she does nothing to support us."The subsidy program has been mired in allegations of corruption and faced growing losses, becoming a target of a Bangkok-based protest movement bent on ousting Yingluck and the caretaker government she has led since December. Unrest is spreading to her party's natural supporters in the countryside, where many farmers have gone unpaid for their rice for months as the program scrambles for funding.Hundreds of unpaid Thai rice farmers this week swarmed around Yingluck's temporary office and threatened to storm the building.Any possible reintroduction of the rice-buying scheme would be off the cards until the completion of disrupted elections, which the country's Election Commission said was unlikely until late April.Most market participants expect some sort of program to re-emerge no matter who wins at the polls, though it is likely to be far less generous than the current scheme. Thailand has had different forms of rice support scheme for around three decades."From the world market's point of view, the end of the scheme could be bearish because it implies a potentially large boost to world export availability," said Darren Cooper, senior economist with trade body the International Grains Council in London. Global glut Traders and officials said Thai rice prices, which have already dropped 14 percent since January, won't fall much further as they are already cheaper than competing varieties."Exporters will not offer prices that are lower than their costs of production," said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters 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
  • 11. Association.Thai exporters said prices could fall to $350 ($1 = 32.4 baht) a ton for the benchmark 5-percent broken variety, the lowest in seven years, from $375 a ton currently offered on a free on board basis.That compares with $410 a ton being quoted for similar varieties in top exporter India and $400 a ton in No.2 seller Vietnam.Thailand paid farmers 15,000 baht ($463) per ton of paddy under the intervention scheme that started in October 2011, compared to the 8,000-9,000 baht per ton they can expect in the open market this year. Most Thai farmers live in poor and remote areas that lack access to large storage silos, meaning they have little opportunity to hold back rice in hope that prices will climb in future.As well as sales from the upcoming harvest, authorities will open a tender this week to sell 500,000 tons of rice from state warehouses, after a previous 400,000-ton offering attracted healthy interest.Extra supply from Thailand comes as India is looking to shrink reserves swollen after bountiful monsoon rains and Vietnam starts to harvest the highest-yielding of its three annual crops.The world's top rice buyers in Southeast Asia and Africa, who have stayed out of the market since January, are likely to make the most of their purchases from Thailand, hitting Indian and Vietnamese exports. "Demand in the start of the first quarter has been subdued but we expect buyers to be back in the market in March or April," said a Singapore-based trader, who declined to be named."They will any day prefer Thai rice over other origins even if the prices are at par."Thailand, which was the world's top exporter of rice until Yingluck's intervention scheme derailed shipments in 2011, is known for its high quality grains.Vietnam has said it expects its rice exports in January-March to decline by a quarter with African buyers switching to cheaper Thai cargoes. Thai PM Yingluck to Face Graft Charges Over Botched Rice Scheme Government body says embattled PM Yingluck Shinawatra could be charged with abuse of power, malfeasance over multi-billion dollar initiative.Rs National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Tuesday told embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that there is sufficient evidence to charge her with abuse of power and maleficence.The move is arguably the strongest challenge yet to her leadership, and comes just as clashes between antigovernment protesters and police claimed five lives and injured 66 on the streets of Bangkok.―[The NACC] have been very slow, very careful in trying to put evidence together,‖ said Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs at Thailand‘s Chiang Mai University. The charges stem from one of the Yingluck administration‘s landmark pieces of legislation that pledged to pay farmers significantly above market prices for their crop, regardless of quality. The policy has been a disaster economically for the country — losses are estimated at $6 billion annually since 2011 — and recently sapped support for her Pheu Thai Party, which relies on the massive electoral backing from rural provinces in the ricefarming north and northeast.Thailand‘s Bank of Agriculture and Agriculture Cooperatives has been unable to pay farmers since September, which has resulted in many heading to Bangkok to join the continuing protests against Yingluck‘s administration.During a speech on Tuesday, Yingluck said anti-government protesters were 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
  • 12. manipulating the farmers to join their ranks. ―The farmers are now in the middle of a political game being played by the protest leaders, who are refusing to follow the democratic and legal path,‖ said Thailand‘s first female prime minister, adding that she was ―very upset‖ by the delay to rice payments.Vicha Mahakhun, a member of the NACC, issued a statement Wednesday that cited Yingluck‘s obstinate backing of the scheme, despite a raft of objections, as evidence of ―her intention to cause losses to the government. ‖The People‘s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) first took to the streets to protest an amnesty bill that would have allowed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck‘s brother, to return to Thailand. Despite the legislation being shelved after widespread public outrage, the PDRC has refused to leave the streets until all traces of the Shinawatra clan are purged from politics and expelled from the country.―[The rice scheme] was really a blessing in disguise for people who hate Thaksin,‖ says Chambers, referring to how Yingluck‘s rural voting block has now been split. Following disrupted snap elections on Feb. 2, Thailand remains in limbo without a functioning legislative branch. Yingluck‘s caretaker government is unable to pass a budget or allocate appropriate funds to state programs. This includes the ill-fated rice scheme, which will now close on Feb. 28 as Yingluck lacks the authority to extend it further.After formally presenting the charges to Yingluck on Feb. 27, the prime minister must decide whether to fight the charges in court or negotiate some sort of deal to exit the political scene. If found guilty, she would be forced to resign and barred from politics for five years. Thaksin was charged under similar corruption statutes and sentenced to two years in prison in 2008; however, he had fled the country and currently resides in Dubai. The NACC is widely perceived as an elitist organ that favors traditional vestiges of power such as the the monarchy and military, and so, by extension, the PDRC.―It‘s hard to see Yingluck emerging from her current state of affairs, much less what they might look like tomorrow, in one piece politically — that is to say as Prime Minister,‖ Benjamin Zawacki, a lawyer and independent scholar based in Bangkok, tells TIME. ―I‘d say her days are numbered.‖ Commerce sets 3-prong plan to pay farmers PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI THE NATION February 20, 2014 1:00 am THE COMMERCE MINISTRY yesterday launched a plan to raise funds to pay growers under the rice-subsidy project after the recent fiasco over lending by a state-run bank.The Government Savings Bank suffered large withdrawals over consecutive days after it granted a loan last week to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). Customers wanted to show their opposition to GSB's alleged support for the controversial rice-pledging programme. Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said yesterday that a group of pro-government farmers, rice millers and the ministry would cooperate to encourage rice traders and others who wanted to help farmers withdraw their money from other banks to deposit at the BAAC. 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
  • 13. Once that happened, the BAAC should have sufficient revolving funds to assist the farmers who have not been paid for their pledged rice. However, Yanyong did not provide a clear opinion on whether this idea would be workable. Moreover, he said the ministry would set up a "Thai Rice Farmers Assistance Fund". Those who wanted to help the farmers could donate money to the fund at BAAC account number 020033119718. This measure was designed to assist the farmers in the short term. Liquidity for farmers For the long term, Yanyong said the ministry would establish a "Thai Rice Farmers Bank" to manage farmers' money and ensure that they have their own financial institution and more liquidity.He said the BAAC should have a method to transfer money from deposit accounts to pay farmers under the rice-pledging scheme to relieve their suffering.He added that he had withdrawn his own money from two commercial banks and deposited it in the BAAC to join the effort to help the farmers.Asked about the practicality of his measures and their possible effect on the banking sector, he said there should not be any legal prohibition preventing people from helping farmers, as the BAAC should have authority to manage the money they deposit and pay the rice growers what they are owed. However, according to the Bank of Thailand, payments to farmers under the pledging scheme should come from three sources: the national budget, the Finance Ministry's borrowing, and income from sales of rice from the state stockpiles. Yanyong said the proposed Thai Rice Farmers Assistance Fund would depend on donations and tax revenue paid by rice traders, which amounted to several billion baht.The fund should be able to serve needy farmers interest-free, he added.Wichian Phuanglamchiak, president of the Thai Agriculturist Association, said some farmer groups understood that the caretaker government could not meet its obligations under the pledging project as its normal sources of funds had been cut off. The Commerce Ministry's proposals should increase the government's ability to pay the farmers very soon.Meanwhile, a survey this week by the National Institute of Development Institution found that 47.81 per cent of respondents did not believe the government could come up with all of the Bt130 billion it owes farmers before the end of this month. About 16.76 per cent believed that the government could pay the farmers less than half that amount, while 16.23 per cent believed it could pay in full. Global rice rout expected to continue Published: 19 Feb 2014 at 19.40 Online news: HANOI — Global rice prices will extend declines as Thailand is forced to offload grain from record stockpiles accumulated under its state-buying programme, according to the Vietnam Food Association, the main shippers' group. 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
  • 14. A flock of pigeons fly over a pile of rice drying in a courtyard at the Sahakorn Kan Kasert rice mill in U Ya, Suphan Buri province on Feb 17, 2014. (Photo by Bloomberg) Exports to China and Africa from the second-largest shipper will drop this year on increased competition from Thailand as well as from India and Pakistan amid a global glut, said Truong Thanh Phong, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City-based group.While Thailand's reserves built up as the government paid farmers above-market prices since 2011, the programme is now short of funds and unpaid growers are demanding stockpile sales. The unrest by the growers adds to opposition targeting Yingluck Shinawatra's caretaker government, which has faced months of demonstrations. Mr Phong's comments reflect concern among exporters about the pace of sales from holdings that are large enough to cover 39% of annual world import demand."The rice market has seen fierce competition for the past two years due to the global surplus," said Mr Phong, who has been chairman of the group for 13 years. Global prices will decline this year because they're guided by Thai rates, he said.The price of new-crop Thai 5% broken white rice, a benchmark grade, tumbled 23% last year and was at $460 a tonne on Feb 12. The Vietnamese 5%-broken variety is about $395 a tonne, higher than $370 for old-harvest Thai grain, Mr Phong said, without giving price forecasts. Rough rice fell 0.3% to $15.81 per 100 pounds in Chicago today, paring losses this year to 0.7%. Rural Incomes Thailand spent 689 billion baht (US$21 billion) in the past two years buying from farmers to boost rural incomes. That spurred the buildup in the inventories to 14.7 million tonnes this year from 6.1 million tonnes in 2010, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The programme is set to lapse at the end of this month as Prime Minister Yingluck's caretaker government doesn't have the authority to extend it."Given the caretaker government's troubles in securing financing to pay farmers for their paddy pledged during the past wet-season crop, it seems likely that they will try to increase sales," said David Dawe, Bangkok-based senior economist at the Food & Agriculture Organisation. "If they are sold too soon and all at once, the global price will fall, but if they are sold too late then the quality will continue to deteriorate."Thai farmers blocked roads in the provinces and protested in Bangkok this month, urging a faster pace of sales from the stockpiles so that the government can make missed payments to growers. It may take about five years for the state stockpiles to be sold off and 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
  • 15. further slump in prices is possible as more of the grain is shipped out, Thai Rice Exporters Association president Chareon Laothamatas said on Feb 5. Planned sales Thailand plans to sell about 1 million tonnes a month from stockpiles during the first quarter, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan said on Feb 17. The government will clear all remaining payments to farmers within six to eight weeks using short-term borrowings, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the same day.Vietnam's exports are forecast at 6.5 million to 7 million tonnes this year, with shipments of 1.2 million tonnes seen this quarter and 3.5 million in the first half, Mr Phong said. The country shipped 6.68 million Mr tons in 2013, the lowest level in four years, according to VFA data.Official exports to China may drop 9.1% to 2 million tonnes this year, Mr Phong said on Feb 14, referring to trade tracked by customs. Unofficial shipments, not tracked by customs, may slide to 1 million tonnes to 1.1 million tonnes from a range of 1.4 million tonnes to 1.5 million last year, Mr Phong said. Biggest importer China, the world's largest buyer, will import 3.4 million tonnes in 2014, according to the USDA. Heilongjiang province halted a plan to buy 1.2 million tonnes, Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong said on Feb 4, citing the province's concerns about an anti-corruption probe into the programme.There's enough evidence to charge Yingluck with negligence for her role overseeing the policy that generated losses, the National Anti-Corruption Commission said yesterday. Ms Yingluck will have an opportunity to defend herself before the commission determines whether she will be indicted. The prime minister defended the programme in a national address yesterday.Vietnam's sales to Africa will drop as India and Pakistan offer cheaper prices, Mr Phong said. Shipments were 1.9 million tonnes last year, accounting for about 28% of the total. That will decline to 23% to 25% this year, he said.Shipments from India, the second-largest producer, will probably expand to a record 11 million tonnes in the 12 months through March, according to M.P. Jindal, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association. Exports from Pakistan may total 3.4 million tonnes in 2014 compared with 3.5 million tonnes last year, a USDA projection shows. Harvest forecast The global rice harvest expanded 0.8% to 469.5 million tonnes in 2013, outstripping demand of 467.1 million tonnes, according to the USDA. The surplus — together with record supplies of wheat, corn and soybeans — helped world food costs tracked by the Rome-based Food & Agriculture Organization to drop 15% from a record in February 2011.Vietnam's total output of unmilled rice this year will be similar to last year's 44 million tonnes, Mr Phong said. In 2015, the harvest may decline 2% to 3% as the government implements a plan to switch more land to other crops, he said. The switch away from rice is designed to boost farmers' incomes, with corn one of the alternatives, Pham Dong Quang, deputy head of the government's crop-production department, said in an interview in September. Any 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
  • 16. reduction in planting will be mainly in the north of the country as the Mekong Delta in the south will stick to rice, said the VFA's Phong."We will try to promote trade in China because it's our biggest buyer," said Mr Phong, who's been in the industry for almost four decades. "But China will definitely demand lower prices from us because of Thailand's selling pressure." Poll: Further rice payment delays likely More than half of people polled believe the caretaker government will be unable to pay farmers any more than 50% of the 130 billion baht owed in overdue rice payments by the end of February, Nida Poll said on Wednesday. Published: 19/02/2014 at 12:01 PM Newspaper section: news Between Feb 17 and 18, the pollster at the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) surveyed 1,253 people of all education levels and occupations on the government's ability to make overdue rice payments.Asked whether they believed the government is capable of making the 130 billion baht rice payments in February, 47.81 of respondents said no, while 16.76% said they thought the government might pay farmers less than 50% of the total amount owed, Nida Poll reported. However, 16.28% of people said they were confident the government would be able to make the overdue payments and 14.84% said at least half of the total amount owed would be paid. A further 4.31% were unsure, the pollster said. Asked about the pressing questions that they want government to provide answers on, 27.89% said they wanted to know the whereabouts of money made from selling rice under the state subsidy scheme, 21.17% asked why the caretaker government has no money to pay rice farmers and 19.40% wanted to know exactly when the 130 billion baht rice payments would be made. A further 10.53% said they had no questions on the issue because they were confident in the government‘s management of the rice scheme, 9.03% wanted to know whether the government would continue the rice scheme if it won another term in office, 7.04% made no comment and 1.72% asked who state rice had been sold to and how many tonnes of rice are currently in government stockpiles. The remaining 3.22% raised other related questions, including why the government isn't doing more to sell rice, why is the rice scheme failing and is there any corruption in the scheme. If the scheme is proven to be corrupt, people asked who is to blame, how the government would be held responsible for its failures and how it could resolve the problems.Others also asked for details of government-to-government rice purchasing deals and questioned why officials hadn't implemented a rice guarantee instead of the pledging programme. India's wheat, rice and corn exports may fall 29% in 2014-15 By PTI | 19 Feb, 2014, 03.38PM IST 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
  • 17. The combined shipments of wheat, rice and corn from India are estimated to touch 19 million tonnes in the ongoing 2013-14 marketing year.NEW DELHI: India's exports of wheat, rice and corn are expected to drop sharply by 29 per cent to 13.5 million tonnes in the 2014-15 marketing year due to sluggish global prices, according to a USDA report. The combined shipments of wheat, rice and corn from India are estimated to touch 19 million tonnes in the ongoing 2013-14 marketing year, it said. The marketing year for wheat runs from April to March; for rice, from October to September and for corn, from November to October. "Exports of wheat, rice and corn during the 2014-15 marketing year are forecast down from the year prior, due to softening global prices," the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its latest report. Out of 13.5 million tonnes of cereals, India is expected to ship 8 million tonnes of rice, 3 million tonnes of wheat and 2.5 million tonnes of corn in 2014-15, it said. According to USDA, wheat exports are forecast to halve to 3 million tonnes in 2014-15, most of which will be private exports and some spillover of government wheat from the existing current 2 million tonnes quota announced in August 2013. "With international prices expected to remain depressed during the upcoming marketing year, it will be very difficult for the government to export wheat at USD 260 per tonne floor price," the report said. On rice exports, the USDA said it has forecast it to be lower at 8 million tonnes (both Basmati and non-Basmati) for 2014-15 marketing year, as against 10 million tonnes this year, on expected weak international prices and expected lower import demand from Iran. Trade sources report that exports of long grain Basmati rice to Iran have slowed since October 2013 following the withdrawal of Iran sanctions by the US and five other nations, it added. On corn exports, the USDA said the shipments are likely to drop further to 2.5 million tonnes in 2014-15 from 3 million tonnes this year, on expected strong domestic demand. "Market sources report that Indian corn is barely competitive in the global market due to weak international prices," it said. Typically Indian corn is discounted for quality vis-a-vis other origins and export volumes largely depend on the price competitiveness of Indian corn in the global market, it said. Any significant improvement in international corn prices or weakening of the value of Indian rupee may improve the export prospects, it added. USDA expects India's rice production to be 103 million tonnes and wheat output at 92.46 million tonnes in the ongoing 2013-14 marketing year. 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
  • 18. PM charged over rice scheme corruption Published: 19 Feb 2014 at 01.31 Newspaper section: News Tensions are expected to flare further after the government yesterday launched a political offensive blaming protesters for playing games with the rice-pledging scheme.It came as police attempts to retake key protest sites erupted in violent clashes which left four people — including a police officer — dead and more than 60 injured.Shortly after caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra delivered a televised speech decrying what she said was the rice scheme becoming politicised, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) announced its decision to charge the premier for dereliction of duty.The commission said Ms Yingluck knew about alleged corruption in the rice scheme but failed to stop it. The NACC has ordered Ms Yingluck to answer the charge on Feb 27. The NACC decision immediately dealt the prime minister a blow as police moved in to retake the anti-government rally sites on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. The ensuing clashes between the protesters and riot police left four dead and 64 injured.Police, acting on the orders of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), successfully reclaimed the protest site at the Energy Ministry early yesterday. They also claimed part of the rally venue on Chaeng Watthana Road following negotiations later in the day.While the bloody clashes played out on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, runs on the Government Savings Bank (GSB) continued for a second day. At the same time, key figures in the government, their supporters, and some business groups rushed to deposit money at the bank to stem the financial bleeding. About 30 billion baht was withdrawn from GSB accounts on Monday by people who thought the inter-bank lending by the GSB to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) would be used to pay farmers facing long delays in payments for their pledged rice.Despite assurances from the GSB that its financial standing remained sound after the withdrawals, more people flocked to withdraw their money yesterday. Most of the withdrawals were made in Bangkok, surrounding provinces and the South, amounting to a further 40 billion baht yesterday.Key Pheu Thai Party politicians, including former premier Somchai Wongsawat and former deputy prime minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, went to the GSB and opened accounts to counter the deposit run.Panthongtae Shinawatra, the son of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, also dropped in to the bank and opened an account. He deposited 11.3 million baht he said he had pooled together from other banks which had ―turned their backs‖ on farmers.About 12 billion baht was deposited at all GSB branches yesterday. The figure includes new 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
  • 19. accounts and additional deposits made to existing accounts. Among the major depositors was Janya Sawangchit, a businesswoman and chief executive of P. Overseas Steel Co, who put in 200 million baht.With more customers leaving the GSB, the fate of the prime minister and the rice-pledging scheme took a turn for the worse yesterday. The NACC unanimously resolved to charge Ms Yingluck for dereliction of duty. She can remain in office until the commission decides whether to indict, a decision likely to be made by the middle of next month.Before the NACC announced the charge, Ms Yingluck spoke on national television accusing her political foes of obstructing the implementation of the rice-pledging scheme, which she insisted was beneficial to farmers and the economy. She reiterated the scheme was to improve the livelihood of rice farmers and boost the national economy. It has been successful in the more than two years since its launch, she said. ‗‘I am saddened and must apologise to the farmers as anti-government groups are holding rice growers hostage and blocking the government from effectively implementing the scheme,‖ Ms Yingluck added.Meanwhile, the BAAC‘s Chiang Rai office director Pichian Jompong told a gathering of about 200 local rice growers the bank‘s head office had not wired the money to pay farmers yesterday.He said the rice scheme may not exist for next rice crop because the new government may not be formed in time. Farmers may have to wait for the new government to sell its rice stock or borrow to pay them. GSB president quits over loan Government Savings Bank president Woravit Chailimpamontri tendered his resignation yesterday amid heavy pressure over his decision to lend 5 billion baht to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, which will apparently be used for rice-pledging payments.The bank has suffered a net 55-billion-baht run on deposits since Monday. His resignation will be considered by the board. Microbattery Slightly Larger Than a Grain of Rice with Twice the Energy Published on February 19, 2014 at 3:57 AM Scientists have created a microbattery that packs twice the energy compared to current microbatteries used to monitor the movements of salmon through rivers in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. The battery, a cylinder just slightly larger than a long grain of rice, is certainly not the world's smallest battery, as engineers have created batteries far tinier than the width of a human hair. But those smaller batteries don't hold enough energy to power acoustic fish tags. The new battery is small enough to be injected into an organism and holds much more energy than similar-sized batteries.Details of the battery, created by scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, were published online recently in Scientific 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
  • 20. Reports, a member of the Nature collection of journals. Research about the battery's materials was also featured last year in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. .For scientists tracking the movements of salmon, the lighter battery translates to a smaller transmitter which can be inserted into younger, smaller fish. That would allow scientists to track their welfare earlier in the life cycle, oftentimes in the small streams that are crucial to their beginnings. The new battery also can power signals over longer distances, allowing researchers to track fish further from shore or from dams, or deeper in the water."The invention of this battery essentially revolutionizes the biotelemetry world and opens up the study of earlier life stages of salmon in ways that have not been possible before," said M. Brad Eppard, a fisheries biologist with the Portland District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."For years the chief limiting factor to creating a smaller transmitter has been the battery size. That hurdle has now been overcome," added Eppard, who manages the Portland District's fisheries research program.The Corps and other agencies use the information from tags to chart the welfare of endangered fish and to help determine the optimal manner to operate dams. Three years ago the Corps turned to Z. Daniel Deng, a PNNL engineer, to create a smaller transmitter, one small enough to be injected, instead of surgically implanted, into fish. Injection is much less invasive and stressful for the fish, and it's a faster and less costly process."This was a major challenge which really consumed us these last three years," said Deng. "There's nothing like this available commercially, that can be injected. Either the batteries are too big, or they don't last long enough to be useful. That's why we had to design our own."Deng turned to materials science expert Jie Xiao to create the new battery design.To pack more energy into a small area, Xiao's team improved upon the "jellyroll" technique commonly used to make larger household cylindrical batteries. Xiao's team laid down layers of the battery materials one on top of the other in a process known as lamination, then rolled them up together, similar to how a jellyroll is created. The layers include a separating material sandwiched by a cathode made of carbon fluoride and an anode made of lithium.The technique allowed her team to increase the area of the electrodes without increasing their thickness or the overall size of the battery. The increased area addresses one of the chief problems when making such a small battery — keeping the impedance, which is a lot like resistance, from getting too high. High impedance occurs when so many electrons are packed into a small place that they don't flow easily or quickly along the routes required in a battery, instead getting in each other's way. The smaller the battery, the bigger the problem.Using the jellyroll technique allowed Xiao's team to create a larger area for the electrons to interact, reducing impedance so much that the capacity of the material is about double that of traditional microbatteries used in acoustic fish tags."It's a bit like flattening wads of Play-Doh, one layer at a time, and then rolling them up together, like a jelly roll," says Xiao. "This allows you to pack more of your active materials into a small space without increasing the resistance."The new battery is a little more than half the weight of batteries currently used in acoustic fish tags — just 70 milligrams, compared to about 135 milligrams — and measures six millimeters long by three millimeters wide. The battery has an energy density of about 240 watt hours per kilogram, compared to around 100 for commercially available silver oxide button microbatteries.The battery holds enough energy to send out an acoustic signal strong enough to be useful for fish-tracking studies even in noisy environments such as near large dams. The battery can power a 744-microsecond signal sent every three seconds for about three weeks, or about every five seconds for 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
  • 21. month. It's the smallest battery the researchers know of with enough energy capacity to maintain that level of signaling.The batteries also work better in cold water where salmon often live, sending clearer signals at low temperatures compared to current batteries. That's because their active ingredients are lithium and carbon fluoride, a chemistry that is promising for other applications but has not been common for microbatteries.Last summer in Xiao's laboratory, scientists Samuel Cartmell and Terence Lozano made by hand more than 1,000 of the rice-sized batteries. It's a painstaking process, cutting and forming tiny snippets of sophisticated materials, putting them through a flattening device that resembles a pasta maker, binding them together, and rolling them by hand into tiny capsules. Their skilled hands rival those of surgeons, working not with tissue but with sensitive electronic materials.A PNNL team led by Deng surgically implanted 700 of the tags into salmon in a field trial in the Snake River last summer. Preliminary results show that the tags performed extremely well. The results of that study and more details about the smaller, enhanced fish tags equipped with the new microbattery will come out in a forthcoming publication. Battelle, which operates PNNL, has applied for a patent on the technology.In addition to Xiao, Deng, Cartmell and Lozano, other authors of the paper include Honghao Chen, Qiang Wang, Huidong Xi, Xilin Chen, Yong Yuan, Mark Gross, and Thomas Carlson. Source: http://www.pnnl.gov/ Three-point plan to help farmers Published: 19 Feb 2014 at 17.31 Online news: Local News The Ministry of Commerce has proposed three measures to help rice growers suffering as a result of overdue rice payments, caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Puangraj said on Wednesday.Mr Yanyong made the announcement after a meeting of his ministry, rice millers and representatives of rice farmers.The meeting was intended to explore ways to help ease financial hardship for farmers who are yet to be paid for rice pledged several months ago under the government‘s rice subsidy scheme. Under the first measure, he said the government would encourage people who want to help farmers to deposit money in the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), to increase the liquidity of the stateowned institution.As part of the second, ministers will set up a fund for receiving donations from people willing to help farmers. Some tax revenue from rice traders will also be used start the fund, he added.The third measure will be a new farmers‘ bank, to be set up as a special financial institution responsible for providing financial assistance to farmers in the long-term, Mr Yanyong said. Restriction on rice imports may spell trouble for PH By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star Posted at 02/20/2014 3:23 AM | Updated as of 02/20/2014 3:23 AM 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
  • 22. MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines stands to fall into dispute with other member-nations of the World Trade Organization with its continuous imposition of quantitative restriction (QR) on rice imports, government corporate counsel Raoul Creencia has warned.In his letter to National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Orlan Calayag, Creencia warned of possible repercussions in not meeting the commitments of the government to the WTO – including sanctions – should it insist on its QR.Creencia explained the special treatment of rice for the Philippines of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade-WTO had already expired in June 2012.Without the QR, Creencia said the government-imposed quota on rice importation would not hold water under existing provisions of the WTO. ―Other WTO member-countries, which may be prejudiced by NFA and the country‘s action on rice imports, may file a dispute,‖ Creencia stressed.Because of this, Creencia advised the NFA to ―bring this to both the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Foreign Affairs‘ attention.‖Creencia cited ―the clash between the intended NFA action, i.e., prolong the regime of quantitative restriction on rice and the expiration of the GATT-WTO Agreement‘s special clause on rice for the Philippines.‖―Adverse decisions on such disputes may result in WTO sanctioned retaliation to the Philippines,‖ he said.The QR imposed a 40 percent duty on rice entering the country under the Minimum Access Volume.Imports outside of the 350,000 metric tons Minimum Access Volume are levied a higher tariff of 50 percent. The legal opinion on the QR was issued as the average retail price of a kilo of well-milled rice had hit the P40mark amid flaws in the rice importation policies of the NFA.The Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said that as of Feb. 11, well-milled rice now retails for P40.06 per kilogram.This was 13.58 percent higher than the same period last year.A kilo of regular-milled rice, on the other hand, now retails for P36.75, which is 14.74 percent higher than in February 2013.The country is poised to conduct further negotiations for the extension of the QR in March this year.Negotiations are ongoing with four countries – the United States, Canada, Australia, and Thailand – that have withheld support for the extension of the QR until tariff concessions are given on beef, chicken, swine and turkey.Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier admitted the Department of Justice was wary about providing a definitive opinion on the QR as it was carefully studying the issue.―It might jeopardize the ongoing negotiations if, for example, our final opinion is that the QR has been lifted,‖ De Lima said.―It would not be wise or prudent for me to publicly declare that opinion until we shall have thoroughly discussed it with the Solicitor General,‖ she added.Stakeholders in the rice industry have been waiting for the legal opinion from the DOJ on the issue, which they said would serve as a guide for the courts in resolving petitions for injunction filed by rice importers.The GATT allowed member-countries of the WTO to restrict the importation of sensitive agricultural products. The agreement, however, expired in June 2012.While the government has started renegotiating with membercountries on the extension of the pact, it continued to impose the QR.Rice importers questioned the policy, saying their importations should be allowed even without import permits as long as the corresponding taxes are paid now that the WTO-GATT has expired.The issue was further highlighted after the Bureau of Customs seized tons of rice shipments without permits, which were later released upon separate court orders.Two former chiefs of the NFA also pointed out that flawed government policy, not smuggling, poses the biggest threat to the nation‘s rice industry.Anthony Abad explained that smuggling is just one of the many symptoms of a flawed system of rice regulation.Lito Banayo, for his part, warned that government‘s continued monopoly of rice 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
  • 23. importation could cause NFA‘s debt to balloon to as much as P190 billion.Banayo had warned the NFA‘s continued monopoly over rice importation, through government-to-government transactions, is a virtual ―white elephant,‖ which would cost the country billions in public funds.Yesterday, Banayo went to the National Bureau of Investigation to explain his policies as former NFA chief.Banayo was invited by the NBI in the ongoing probe into the rice smuggling activities in the country. ―I was invited to shed light on the rice policy of the Aquino administration,‖ he said.Banayo was questioned for about two hours. He claimed that the meeting was limited to the NFA‘s policies during his stint. He served as NFA administrator during the first two years of the Aquino presidency.Banayo also said the problem of rice smuggling should be under the watch of Bureau of Customs.Banayo also said he is and was against the policy of the NFA council, allowing farmer cooperatives to bid for import permits. – With Aie Balagtas See Sierra Leone News: Rokupr Rice Research Center re-emerges as Center of Excellence The Rokupr Agriculture Research Center in Kambia was established in 1934 as an institute to research Mangrove Rice Seed Multiplication. During the eleven-year rebel war in the country, the center was devastated.However, recent funding from the Government of Japan amounting to US D 10m, through the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and the Rural and Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), the center has been rehabilitated and several agricultural research activities have since been undertaken, which has earned the center the accolade of Center of Excellence for Mangrove Rice Research in West Africa region.This was disclosed during a meeting with different stakeholders at the Research Center in Kambia during the visit of the World Bank and Food and Agricultural Organization to inspect the WAAPP and RDSDP projects since September 2013. The capacity building has seen the training of about fourteen young researchers both locally and internationally on new rice production methods, has two stationed researchers and an additional two, a researcher and a scientist have been sent to Nigeria and Ghana for further studies on mangrove rice. The center has also produced large quantities of rice varieties including Nerica L19, Rok 3 and Rok 5.The rehabilitation work done on the center includes, the construction of a drying floor, an experimental site, a breeding ground, storage facilities and six residences for the research staff all amounting to USD 75, 000 (seventy five thousand Dollars).About the Research Center, Berth Meertens, Coordinator for the Center and Africa Rice said the main target of the center is to build capacity on mangrove rice research and production for the sub region and to lift the institution‘s status from its immediate past decadent status.He said their main research focus is on rice but that sometimes, they do same on cassava. He revealed that during the last season they focused on implementing core research programmes with emphasis on mangrove rice. He maintained that the exercise is a sub regional programme since the WAAPP project has selected Rokpur as the center of excellence for mangrove rice research for the sub region.He said the impact of this research programme will ensure that more research activities at the center with more farmers benefiting 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
  • 24. through improved and increased yields. He went on to add that with more of these research activities will add impetus to practical agricultural work rather than relying on technologies explained in text books. He said making technical theories more practical makes the research farmer-friendly to ensure their successes.Senior Field Officer at the Farm Management Site, Abdulai Bapiayor Kamara, said they are mainly concerned with rice research and that they promote researched seedlings to farmers. He said they also advice farmers on the use of the variety of rice seeds available on site that includes, Rok 24, Rok 4, Rok 10 and Nerica L19. He maintained however that local farmers mostly go for the Rok 25, Rok 10 and Nerica L19 varieties. The Senior Site Manager explained that whenever they identify a new rice variety it is introduced to the farmers and that the farmers normally go for it. He noted that feedbacks from farmers indicate that the research activities have helped improve their production and yields greatly.However despite the successes, the team is faced with challenges which include lack of logistics, inadequate supply of seedlings and fertilizers as well as inadequate storage facilities.Speaking on the staff quarters, the Programme Coordinator for WAAPP and RPSDP, Peter Kaindeneh said the project is in two phases of 15 houses each to be fitted with electricity, pipe borne water. He said the rehabilitation work which lasts for six has already kicked off, with two already completed. He said the first phase will only see six staff quarters rehabilitated. He said junior scientists will understudy their senior colleagues in order not leave a vacuum whenever it may occur.The Programme Coordinator maintained that researches conducted at the center will not only benefit the country but the region as a whole, noting that countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast will come to the country to do research on Mangrove Rice. By Betty Milton Wednesday February 19, 2014 USDA’s Ag Statistics Service to resume key reports USA Rice's World Market Price Committee is a collection of millers, producers and merchant members of the Federation who meet three times per year with USDA officials to analyze industry data. By USA Rice Federation Posted Feb. 18, 2014 @ 4:27 pm ARLINGTON, Va. After almost a year, USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) has announced it will resume key statistical reports, including the June Rice Stocks Reports, that had been suspended as a result of sequestration."Losing this report was unfortunate, but we understand the budget pressures the agency was under," said Keith Glover, president and CEO of Producers Rice Mill and chairman of USA Rice Federation's World Market Price Committee. "It is important that all industry participants have consistent and reliable data on current rice stocks, and the June report is particularly timely given it is the final report before the start of the new marketing year on Aug. 1. 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
  • 25. "The Rice Stocks report is traditionally published in January, March, June, August and October, however the June 2013 report was never compiled or released. The next report is scheduled for March 31, which will be followed by a June 1 report. Subsequent reports are scheduled to be released on Aug. 27 and Oct. 29 this year. USA Rice's World Market Price Committee is a collection of millers, producers and merchant members of the Federation who meet three times per year with USDA officials to analyze industry data. The committee strongly advocated for the resumption of the June Rice Stock Report. Rice Rout Seen Extending as Thai Sales Quicken: Southeast Asia By Bloomberg News February 19, 2014 A worker walks up a pile of rice to be processed at the Sahakorn Kan Kasert rice mill in U Ya, Suphan Buri province, Thailand. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg Global rice prices will extend declines as Thailand is forced to offload grain from record stockpiles accumulated under a state-buying program, according to the Vietnam Food Association, the main shippers‘ group.Exports to China and Africa from the second-largest shipper will drop this year on increased competition from Thailand as 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
  • 26. well as from India and Pakistan amid a global glut, said Truong Thanh Phong, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City-based group.While Thailand‘s reserves built up as the government paid farmers above-market prices since 2011, the program is now short of funds and unpaid growers are demanding stockpile sales. The unrest by the growers adds to opposition targeting Yingluck Shinawatra‘s caretaker administration, which has faced months of demonstrations. Phong‘s comments reflect concern among exporters about the pace of sales from holdings that are large enough to cover 39 percent of annual world import demand. ―The rice market has seen fierce competition for the past two years due to the global surplus,‖ said Phong, who has been chairman of the group for 13 years. Global prices will decline this year because they‘re guided by Thai rates, he said.The price of new-crop Thai 5-percent broken white rice, a benchmark grade, tumbled 23 percent last year and was at $460 a metric ton on Feb. 12. The Vietnamese 5 percent-broken variety is about $395 a ton, higher than $370 for old-harvest Thai grain, Phong said, without giving price forecasts. Rough rice fell 0.3 percent to $15.81 per 100 pounds in Chicago today, paring losses this year to 0.7 percent. Rural Incomes Thailand spent 689 billion baht ($21 billion) in the past two years buying from farmers to boost rural incomes. That spurred the buildup in the inventories to 14.7 million tons this year from 6.1 million tons in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program is set to lapse at the end of this month as Prime Minister Yingluck‘s caretaker administration doesn‘t have the authority to extend it. ―Given the caretaker government‘s troubles in securing financing to pay farmers for their paddy pledged during the past wet-season crop, it seems likely that they will try to increase sales,‖ said David Dawe, Bangkok-based senior economist at the Food & Agriculture Organization. ―If they are sold too soon and all at once, the global price will fall, but if they are sold too late then the quality will continue to deteriorate.‖Thai farmers blocked roads in the provinces and protested in Bangkok this month, urging a faster pace of sales from the stockpiles so that the government can make missed payments to growers. It may take about five years for the state stockpiles to be sold off and a further slump in prices is possible as more of the grain is shipped out, Thai Rice Exporters Association President Chareon Laothamatas said on Feb. 5. 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
  • 27. Planned Sales Thailand plans to sell about 1 million tons a month from stockpiles during the first quarter, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan said on Feb. 17. The government will clear all remaining payments to farmers within six to eight weeks using short-term borrowings, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the same day.Vietnam‘s exports are forecast at 6.5 million to 7 million tons this year, with shipments of 1.2 million tons seen this quarter and 3.5 million in the first half, Phong said. The country shipped 6.68 million tons in 2013, the lowest level in four years, according to VFA data.Official exports to China may drop 9.1 percent to 2 million tons this year, Phong said on Feb. 14, referring to trade tracked by customs. Unofficial shipments, not tracked by customs, may slide to 1 million tons to 1.1 million tons from a range of 1.4 million tons to 1.5 million last year, Phong said. Biggest Importer China, the world‘s largest buyer, will import 3.4 million tons in 2014, according to the USDA. Heilongjiang province halted a plan to buy 1.2 million tons, Deputy Prime Minister Niwattumrong said on Feb. 4, citing the province‘s concerns about an anti-corruption probe into the program.There‘s enough evidence to charge Yingluck with negligence for her role overseeing the policy that generated losses, the National Anti-Corruption Commission said yesterday. Yingluck will have an opportunity to defend herself before the commission determines whether she will be indicted. The prime minister defended the program in a national address yesterday.Vietnam‘s sales to Africa will drop as India and Pakistan offer cheaper prices, Phong said. Shipments were 1.9 million tons last year, accounting for about 28 percent of the total. That‘ll decline to 23 percent to 25 percent this year, he said. 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

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