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March 14,2011

Japan to impose traceability rules on farm imports in JulyRice exporters will need to adjust

TOKYO : Thai rice exporters to Japan should be aware of new traceability rules that will take effect on July 1 as part of improved food safety measures.

The Japanese government has required traceability of all domestically produced farm products back to their origin at the prefectural level since last July 1. The law will be extended to imported products starting this July, tracing back to the country of origin.

Rice exported from Thailand will have to be labelled with the country of origin and, possibly later, the province of harvest.

Japan has a tariff-free rice import quota of 770,000 tonnes under its commitment to the World Trade Organisation. The country has already imported 255,700 tonnes of rice from Thailand for the 2011 fiscal year that will end on March 31.

Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said the trend in the food business was toward stricter traceability with extended coverage.

Thai exporters should be prepared to comply with the new regulation and turn it into a strength as Japan grows more dependent on imported foods, she said.

The law was initiated after low-quality products intended for use in industries such as chemical and glue manufacturing found their way into the food industry and caused a spate of food poisoning cases.

Sakumoto Takeshi, president of the Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association and the honorary Thai consul in Okinawa prefecture, uses only imported Thai rice at his 600-year-old awamori distillery.

Awamori is an alcoholic beverage made from rice and indigenous to Okinawa.

Mr Takeshi would like to see Thailand ensure that only good quality rice is exported to Japan and wants guarantees it really is grown in the kingdom.

"It would be good if Thailand could identify the provinces of rice shipped to Japan," he said.

Rice is a sensitive issue for Japan. The import tariff for amounts exceeding the 770,000-tonne quota is a prohibitive 341 yen a kilogramme or about 100,000 baht a tonne.

The types and amount of rice imports are determined by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry's Food Agency, which surveys demand among the food industry such as by cracker and miso producers.

Japan also allows rice imports for public consumption. Last year, saw 664,395 tonnes imported for this purpose, down slightly from 670,000 tonnes in 2009.

Under this system, the US was the largest supplier at 48%, followed by Thailand at 44.5% and China at 6%.

Thailand's proportion totalled 295,398 tonnes, up by 7.4% from 2009.

Korbsook Iamsuri, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, foresees greater opportunities for Thai rice.

Exports are under an auction system, so the average price of 100% white rice exported to Japan is only about US$500 a tonne, she said.

Japan imports Thai rice mainly for miso, sake and cracker production, as it is cheaper than domestic rice.

However, a portion is held back by the government for national security purposes. After three years, the unused stocks are donated to poor countries such as North Korea and Laos. Japan produces 13 million tonnes of paddy each year, while domestic rice consumption is between 8 million and 8.3 million tonnes.

March 3,2011

Burma halts rice exports

Burma has halted rice exports to stockpile the staple, aiming to shield food costs at home from the possible impact of rising oil prices caused by Middle East unrest, an official said Wednesday.

"I think the authorities are just concerned about local consumption because of what has happened in Libya,'' an official of the Union of Burma Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He explained that an increase in oil prices might push up transportation costs and subsequently food prices.

"All commodity prices depend on transportation charges, not only rice,'' he added.

Firms were told last week to suspend shipments of rice and cancel all contracts for overseas supply, he said.

Burma may be particularly sensitive to the issue as protests against the rising cost of living in 2007 escalated into huge anti-government rallies that posed the biggest challenge to military rule in nearly two decades.

The country, army dominated for nearly 50 years, may wait until its new parliamentary system is established before restarting exports, the official said _ a sign its rulers may also be worried about political implications of the Middle East unrest.

"We hope to resume rice export again at the end of July after the political situation is stabilised with the formation of a new government,'' he said.

Anger at authoritarian Arab regimes in the Middle East and North Africa has raged from Algeria to Yemen and has spread to the previously unaffected Gulf states of Kuwait and Oman.

Protesters against Moamer Kadhafi's four-decade rule in Libya have seized control of most of the country despite a bloody fightback by his forces. Tripoli remains under his control, but key oil fields in the east have fallen to the opposition.

New York crude prices again breached $100 a barrel in Asian trade Wednesday and economists are concerned about the potential inflation risks.

Burma's 2007 demonstrations, led by crowds of monks whose striking attire saw the movement dubbed the "Saffron Revolution", were put down by security forces who killed at least 31 people and beat and detained hundreds.

The country has a new political system after holding elections last November, but opposition figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi was locked up and excluded from the vote and retired generals now dominate the parliament. Top military leader Senior General Than Shwe has said rice production in Burma has more than doubled since 1988, in a message published in the country's newspapers on Wednesday to mark a national Peasants' Day.

Burma was once one of the world's biggest rice exporters, but mismanagement by its leaders saw it fall far behind.

It now only has customers for its rice in North Korea and West African countries, where people are too poor to be choosy about the low quality of the product, the business official said.

"We cannot compete with rice exports from Vietnam and Thailand as their rice quality is better,'' he said.



February 24,2011

Price of export rice increased


HCM CITY—The Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) on Tuesday announced price increases for export rice, the fourth adjustment in prices in 2011.

Under the VFA decision, the export price for 5 per cent broken rice will increase by US$20 per tonne to $520, while 25 per cent broken rice will be sold for $490 per tonne, an increase of $10.

The change prices aimed to help Vietnamese rice prices catch up with changes in the global rice market, VFA announced.

Meanwhile, farmers in the Mekong province of An Giang's Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts said they were currently harvesting a bumper winter-spring crop.

Tran Phuoc Nghi, a farmer in Tinh Bien District's An Nong Commune, said local farmers were selling paddy directly from the fields for VND5,300 to VND6,400 (0.30) per kilogramme.

Nghi said he earned some VND20 million ($952) from his 1.5 ha paddy field this winter-spring crop.

An Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said the province had harvested 45 per cent of the total 223,000ha planted with winter-spring crop, with average yield of 6.5 to 7.2 tonnes of paddy per hectare.

The winter-spring crop harvest would end in early April, the department said.

According to VFA figures, Viet Nam has exported some 780,000 tonnes of rice for $384.3 million in earnings so far this year.

Rice prices in the Mekong Delta were on the rise after VFA told its members two weeks ago to buy 1 million tonnes of rice to hold in reserve. — VNS


Rice stockpile to be reduced

The government intends to reduce the volume of rice in domestic stockpiles to only 100,000 tonnes of white rice, which is already double the reserve for national food security, according to Deputy Prime Minister Trairong Suwankhiri.

The country currently has a stockpile of one million tonnes of white rice and the government plans to sell 900,000 tonnes.

Mr Trairong said only 50,000 tonnes of rice were sufficient as a reserve, and authorities were not worried about lowering the stockpile since the new paddy harvest will start soon.

The first crop of domestic paddy is projected at 22.17 million tonnes and the second crop at 9.15 million. Thailand is likely to export 10.73 million tonnes of the 2010-11 crop, up slightly from 10 million for 2009-10.

Dr Trairong said several countries had inquired about buying up to 1.4 million tonnes of rice, including Nigeria and Indonesia at 500,000 tonnes each, and Malaysia and Brunei at 200,000 tonnes each.

With only one million tonnes left in the government's stocks, world rice prices have increased.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association yesterday set its Asian benchmark price at a one-month high of $558 a tonne for 100% grade-B white rice. The price has risen 4.5% since Dec 29.

"I told the cabinet that the government shouldn't buy rice as massive stockpiles pressure the world price and the government has the burden to keep the stock," he said.

Each year, global rice trading volume is around 30 million tonnes so Thailand's previous stockpile of 5 million tonnes was quite high.

He insisted that the 4 million tonnes released at average prices between 13,000 and 14,000 baht per tonne were only 16% below market price, while previous governments sold rice at 33% below prevailing rates.


January 28,2011

Thai Import Rice Will Plug Holes in Domestic Supply

The government expects the next batch of imported rice to arrive by the end of March and help allay concerns of a shortage in the food supply, a minister said.

Citing traders in multiple countries, Reuters reported on Wednesday that the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) placed an order of 820,000 tons of imported Thai rice, more than four times higher than the initial order of 170,000 to 200,000 tons.
Sutarto Alimoeso, president director of Bulog, declined to confirm the amount.

State Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar said Bulog needed to import more rice to plug a hole in domestic supplies.
“The rice order is a carry-over from last year. The next shipment must come before March, because in March we will a big harvest here and that could disturb supply,” Sutarto said. Rice is the main staple food for Indonesia.

Local farmers have supplied 130 tons of rice this month, Sutarto said, in addition to the supply in Bulog’s warehouses

He declined to disclose the current level of stocks, only saying they were enough to last until March. Bulog is obligated to keep around 1.5 million tons of rice in its warehouses at all times.
Bulog bought 650,000 tons of 15 percent broken grade and 170,000 tons of 5 percent broken grade white rice from Thailand, according to Reuters.

The rice was sold for shipment in February and March at prices from $490 to $545 per ton on a cost, insurance and freight basis, the report said, citing exporters who were awarded deals.
Sutarto and Mustafa would not confirm the value of the imports.
A Jakarta Globe estimate indicated that the rice would cost $400 million to $450 million.

Mustafa said Bulog needed to import rice to steady food prices across the board.

“Rice is essential to Indonesia. An increase in rice prices will trigger rises in other prices, causing inflation to soar,” he said.
“Importing rice must be carried out to stabilize prices. Increasing rice prices is a sign of a shortage in supply.”

Harvests in some rice-producing districts have been hit hard by the La Nina weather phenomenon, which caused heavy downpours throughout the dry season, reducing yields and contributing to higher prices.

Despite agreeing to import rice from Thailand, Mustafa said Indonesia would continue to pursue food self-sufficiency.
The government’s efforts to control inflation have included possibly eliminating import taxes on staple foods.

Firmer prices on staple food is a concern to policy makers anxious to avoid of repeat of the riots triggered by price spikes in 1998, including those that saw former President Suharto step down fromhis position.


January 20,2011

Roadshows scheduled in potential new rice markets


The Commerce Ministry will conduct roadshows in potential rice-importing countries in a bid to tap new markets for Thai rice.

Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said yesterday that the roadshows would be organised in Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates as well as Maldives. The aim is to sell rice through government-to-government contracts, arrange meetings with rice importers and middlemen, and launch promotion campaigns for Thai hom mali rice (jasmine rice).
Bangladesh, one of the major rice-importing countries, plans to import 700,000 tonnes this year. The country is interested in importing parboiled rice from Thailand.

Earlier, Bangladesh's ambassador in Bangkok, Kazi Imtiaz Hossain, held talks with the ministry's Foreign Trade Department for the purchase 200,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from the government.

In addition, Thailand foresees the UAE as a distribution centre to re-export to other countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Porntiva said UAE imports of rice for re-export totalled 560,000 tonnes per year. Of the total, India controls the lion's share of 72 per cent followed by Pakistan at 21 per cent and Thailand 6 per cent.
"The UAE is reducing imports from India because of uncertainty over the country's export-ban policy.As a result, the UAE is considering importing from other sources," Porntiva said.

In addition, the ministry intends to boost exports to Maldives, which imports 40,000 tonnes of rice and wheat per year. Thai rice makes up 1,500 tonnes of the total import.

Porntiva pointed out that Maldives was one of the world's famous tourist destinations, attracting 700,000 premium travellers annually.


January 13,2011

Viet Nam to reduce rice exports in 2011

HA NOI — The Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) has estimated that the country would export a total of 6 million tonnes of rice this year, 750,000 tonnes less than last year.

The association planned to ship the largest volume accounting for 61.29 per cent to Asian countries and 29 per cent of the total to African countries.

It would monitor rice export activities carefully to maintain an export price similar to that of last year, said Truong Thanh Phong, VFA chairman.

Bui Ba Bong, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that this year, besides high-quality rice, exporters would focus on processing medium-quality rice for the African market where there was little demand for the more expensive variety. Meanwhile, VFA members would purchase 1 million tonnes of both the winter-spring and summer-autumn crops in a bid to stabilise the price.

With global demand for rice expected to rise, 2011 is likely to be a good year for Vietnamese rice exports although an opening up of the grain market in line with trade commitments will pose new challenges to exporters.

According to the association, world rice demand will rise from 29 million tonnes last year to 31 million tonnes this year, with many countries announcing plans to increase their imports.

Phong said the success of last year was a positive factor that would encourage exports this year, but warned that there would also be difficulties for rice exporters as Viet Nam had to open up its market to foreign traders under WTO commitments this year.
Foreign traders would be allowed to trade Vietnamese rice without entering into a joint venture with a domestic company, he said.
The change would benefit rice farmers but would be a challenge for exporters, he added.

To deal with the challenge, the Government issued Decree 109 to improve the competitiveness of the rice export industry so it could compete with foreign rivals.

Phong said only 30 out of 264 existing rice exporters met the regulations of the decree.
A glaring weakness in Vietnamese firms was their small size and limited funds compared to their foreign counterparts, he said.
It threw up the possibility that many Vietnamese exporters would be forced to turn into local suppliers for foreign partners, he added.

"Meanwhile, if they want to compete with foreign rivals, they must improve stock and processing technology, equipment, agricultural investment and co-operation with farmers," he said. Last year, Viet Nam exported 6.75 million tonnes of rice worth US$3.23 billion, a record high export volume, according to the VFA.
In 2010, the average export price of Vietnamese rice increased by $22 per tonne to $511 for 5 per cent broken rice. For 25 per cent broken rice, the price was $491. — VNS



January 7,2011

Export focus shifts to organic rice

Thailand is focusing on promoting organic rice in developed nations to capture more income and ensure export growth in those markets. Pranee Siriphand, deputy directorgeneral of the Commerce Ministry's Foreign Trade Department, said that although purchasing power in the European Union, the United States, Japan, and other developed nations was expected to drop because of the economic downturn, spending in the highend market would not be affected. Organic rice and other organic products are considered premium goods and are in high demand by healthconsciousness consumers.

Last year, exports of organic products, mostly rice, were valued at about Bt1.2 billion. The export value of organic products is still very small compared with the total. However, it has plenty of room to grow if Thailand can increase production to serve international demand.

"Farmers will be encouraged to produce more organic rice, as incomes can be doubled and tripled from the normal price," she said. "Consumers, particularly in the US and the EU, which are part of the developed world, as well as in some emerging nations will continue to buy organic products, because they are more concerned about health issues than they are about economic problems." It is mostly highend consumers who buy organic goods and they are willing to pay 10100 per cent more for quality organic food and nonfood products.

To promote organic rice and other products, the department has joined hands with restaurants and department stores overseas as channels to promote Thai organic rice directly to consumers.

The targeted markets are the United States, the EU, Hong Kong, Singapore, and mainland China.

Moreover, the department will promote more valueadded rice with geographical indication (GI) such as Pattalung's Sung Yod rice, Saraburi's Jeck Chuey Soa Hai rice, Chumphon's Leung Patew rice, and Kaowong Kalasin sticky rice, which offer high nutrition, as alternative choices for highend consumers


December 20,2010

Thailand works to raise productivity, cut cost of rice farmers


The Thai government is working on boosting productivity of rice farmers while cutting cost of their production, Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut said on Thursday.

Theera said though Thailand is the world's largest rice exporter, its farmers remain poor with most of them in heavy debts.

He added that while the average age of farmers is in their 50s, few young people, including children of current farmers, wanted to get into the occupation.

"If farmers have no security in their occupation, our nation will have no security in food," Theera said at a major national rice research conference at the state Kasetsart University.

In order to improve the livelihood of farmers, he said the government needed to raise their skills and knowledge.

Chairit Damrongkiat, deputy director general of Agriculture Ministry's Rice Department, told Xinhua that the ministry is spending 128 million baht (4.27 million U.S. dollars) to strengthen some of the existing community rice centers.

He said these centers, run by rice farmers themselves, would teach the farmers how to cut their cost of rice growing, use machinery in their plantations and make products from rice that would earn them higher income.

Pilot projects are being carried out in five provinces in key rice-growing plains in the northeast and central regions, Chairit said. He said these five centers would expand by setting up their networks of farmer groups.

On cutting production cost, Chairit said Thai farmers currently needed 30-40 kilograms of rice seeds per one rai (1,600 square meters) of their growing, and this should be cut to 15-20 kilograms.

He said currently it cost 3,500-4,500 baht (116-150 U.S. dollars) for Thai farmers to grow one rai of rice paddy while they earned 4,000-7,000 baht (133-233 dollars) per rai.

Theera said the vast majority of Thai farmers lived under the poverty line and at the current rate of their productivity, each farmer household would need to grow 35-40 rais of rice, while their average possession was only at 15 rais.
Prasit Boonchey, chairman of the Thai farmers association, told a panel discussion at the conference that farmers remained poor because the cost of their production was high while the productivity and prices were low.

He said rice research should also focus on the security of farmers' occupation, apart from the country's food security.

He pointed out that many of the research findings have not been turned into action as the government did not have the budget to do so.

Peeradet Tongumpai, deputy director of the state Thailand Research Fund, told Xinhua that one way to raise income of Thai farmers was to turn rice into other higher-value products, such as cosmetics.

He told Xinhua some of the cosmetics displayed at the conference that were partly funded by his agency, which included anti-aging serum and body cream.

He said further improvement was needed before these rice-based products could be aimed for exports.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said at the conference that the country needed to spend much more on research to raise productivity and quality of its rice to maintain the country as global leader of the produce.

A proposal to set up a rice research fund is being put forward, but it is likely to take some time before a bill for the purpose could take effect.


December 3,2010

Release of Thai stockpile to contribute to higher rice prices : FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Tuesday that important buying nations returning to the market and the stockpiles released by Thailand, Vietnam and India were key factors behind an expected further rise in rice prices over the coming months.

The Commerce Ministry now holds 2 million tonnes in its stockpile. It recently exported 50,000 tonnes of 15-per-cent white rice to Indonesia under a government-to-government contract, taking the total released this year to about 3 million tonnes. The remaining stock will be considered for government-to-government contracts.

Overall rice production in Thailand this year is now estimated at 31 million tonnes, which is 1 per cent below the 2009 harvest. The FAO forecasts next year's global rice trading to drop by 2 per cent to 30.5 million tonnes. This is because several major exporting nations are expected to face supply constraints. The UN agency cited Pakistan in particular, but also Cambodia, Egypt and Vietnam.

As for major importers, larger domestic supplies could enable Bangladesh, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines to reduce their imports next year.

The FAO All Rice Price Index averaged 260 points in November, up from a June value of 210.

Despite relatively low international quotations for rice during the first half of 2010, prices have continued to gain ground since June in all rice segments, but particularly for the lower-quality indica market. Key to further price developments over the next months will be the forceful return of important buyers to the market, and - on the export side - the release of government reserves in Thailand and policies in Vietnam and India, the FAO said.

Price developments in other cereal markets, mainly wheat and maize, will also need to be closely watched.

The outlook for Asia suggests an increase of 3 per cent above the poor 2009 harvest, reaching a record level of 631.4 million tonnes this year despite deteriorating prospects since the onset of the planting season.

Dramatic floods wiped out large tracks of maturing rice tracts in Pakistan in August, and production was trimmed for Cambodia, South Korea, Laos, Burma and Thailand, all of which faced setbacks.

The FAO report also said crops in many large producing countries had been affected by a series of problems. This has led the organisation to lower its forecasts for production, especially for India, Pakistan, China and South Korea.

In spite of the downward revisions, the FAO forecast of world paddy production for the 2010 season stands at 697.9 million tonnes, or 465.4 million tonnes on a milled basis, 2 per cent above the 2009 harvest and the highest rice harvest on record.

Asia accounts for much of the output growth, although the outlook is also favourable in Africa and North America.

Production growth is driven largely by an expansion in rice planting to 160.7 million hectares.

Production in Africa is projected at 24.6 million tonnes, 1 per cent more than in 2009, with significant gains in Western Africa, Madagascar and Tanzania. Production in Latin America and the Caribbean is forecast to contract by 6 per cent to 26.5 million tonnes.

Greater import demand from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam is behind much of the expected expansion in world rice trade to 31 million tonnes this year. This expansion in rice trade will be met by considerably larger exports by Vietnam and the US, while Thailand may keep rice exports close to last year's level, the FAO said. -



November 27,2010

Riceland Foods holds annual meeting in Brinkley

BRINKLEY ,Ark-Danny Kennedy, president and chief executive officer told farmers attending Riceland’s 90th annual membership meeting in Brinkley on Thursday that the focus for new growth will be value-added products in rice and specialty oils. Farmers should be fearless in pursuing growth goals to be successful in the new agriculture environment, according to Kennedy.

“Margins are better in these segments, and we need to be more involved in these products for our farmer-members,” Kennedy said.

He said that Riceland will continue to emphasize its core business of originating and storing grain, milling rice and processing soybeans, but agriculture is changing, especially with young farmers and Riceland will work to accommodate that change.

“The trend on the farm is toward bigger equipment to get the crop planted and out of the field faster, on-farm storage to keep the big combines rolling, efficient grain receiving locations so they don’t have to wait in a truck line, and self-pricing programs to market part of their crop,” he said.

Kennedy said Riceland has a competitive advantage in its core businesses due to state-of-the-art processing facilities, quality assurance, milling capacity, technical support and customer service.

“Riceland will become the co-op for the next generation by rethinking our operations to become more efficient in responding to their needs,” he said.

Nationwide, however, he said the rice industry is struggling with excess milling capacity — especially in California — an increase in rough rice exports and global pricing led by Southeast Asia.  

“We’ve done a good job of diversifying product sales evenly among all customer segments — retail, club stores, food service, ingredients and exports — which has benefited us,” he said.

Riceland’s seven rice mills located at Stuttgart, Waldenburg, Jonesboro and New Madrid, Mo., creates a competitive advantage by allowing access to a variety of markets from multiple mills.

The cooperative’s Stuttgart soybean processing plant provides support for soybean prices over the entire region, he said.  

“The big soybean processors are getting bigger, China is driving soybean demand, and South America continues to expand production.  Riceland’s soybean meal primarily goes to feed the region’s poultry industry, and its oil products go to food service and food manufacturing markets,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy is proud of Riceland’s revenue growth with sales topping the billion-dollar mark for the third consecutive year.  Sales during the 2009/2010 marketing year were $1.1 billion, down slightly from the previous year’s record due to lower market prices for rice and soybeans.

Riceland’s seasonal marketing pool for long grain rice returned an average of $6.18 per bushel which compared favorably with USDA’s average price received by farmers of $5.76 per bushel.  Medium grain rice returned an average of $6.94 per bushel.  

The 2009 soybean seasonal pool returned $9.62 per bushel, again, comparing favorably with the national average price of $9.59 per bushel.

Distributions to Riceland farmer-members totaled $695 million, the third highest on record.  Member equity stands at $201 million, up about $3 million from the previous year.

Scott Gower, Riceland vice president for commodity operations, reported that the cool, wet weather experienced during the 2009 growing season produced one of the highest quality rice crops in memory, and field yields were good for farmers who got the crop planted and harvested.

“However, 2010 was a very different story.  We had nice spring weather which allowed early and favorable plantings, and we expected a bountiful harvest,” he said.  “With a record acreage planted to rice in Arkansas and Missouri, it appeared we would have a major grain storage deficit during harvest.”

In July, Riceland personnel determined that an additional 15 million bushels of grain storage would be needed to handle the huge crop.  They leased warehouses, planned temporary PVC pods, and prepared to load rice on railcars and barges, in order to service their farmer-members.

“As rice harvest wore on, we began to see and hear disappointing field yields and quality.  It became obvious that the extreme summer heat had taken its toll.  The crop fell short of expectations, but it was still the fourth largest rice crop handled by the cooperative,” said Gower.

Not only was quantity affected, but so was quality.  Milling yields, the amount of rice remaining after husks are removed, were off 10 pounds.  The remarkable quality of the 2009 crop made the 2010 crop look terrible by comparison, he added.  

“To add insult to injury, the damage from stink bugs and disease was as bad as we have ever seen,” Gower said.

Carl Brothers, senior vice president for marketing and risk management, said this is the poorest milling crop that he could recall from his more than 45-year career at Riceland.  
“Comparing the excellent milling crop in 2009 to the poor results in 2010 reduces the value of the long grain rice crop by 57 cents per bushel and the medium grain crop by 67 cents per bushel.  Unfortunately, there is nothing you, or we can do to change the fact,” Brothers said.

Brothers said that the U.S. Department of Agriculture first recognized the reduced rice production from the extreme heat between its September and October supply/use reports.  USDA lowered field yields in Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi, from eight to eleven percent.  It dropped the Arkansas rice yield again in the November report to 140 bushels per acre.

Although the 2010 rice crop has been disappointing with respect to field yields, milling yields and kernel damage, Brothers said the adjustments USDA made to the supply/use reports have been friendly to market prices.

“In anticipation of a much larger crop, early export sales were strong through October with long grain sales up 45 percent and medium grain sales up 21 percent,” he said.  “Most sales were confirmed prior to recent price increases, and there are concerns that U.S. rice may be decoupling from world prices too early.”

He said that U.S. rice prices now exceed Thai prices by more than $100 per metric ton, making Thai rice attractive in world markets.  The weak U.S. dollar, however, will make U.S. rice more competitive in the export market.

The world rice stocks-to-use ratio remains relatively tight which suggests that world prices will be expected to react to weather issues in the major rice-producing countries, he said.



November 18,2010

First price index for rice industry launched

Kasikorn Research Centre has launched the country’s first rice index to reflect prevailing market conditions
The KR Price Index: Rice is a weighted calculation based on rice varieties, incorporating prices through the entire supply chain including growers, mills and exports, and comparative prices among rivals, including Vietnam and the United States.

KResearch manager Paka-on Tipayatanadaja said yesterday that 2005 was the index’s base year

Clearer world and domestic rice situations through these indices will allow the government to formulate its rice stock policy better, and millers and farmers to have clearer pictures of business and planting conditions, said Wiwan Tharahirunchote, KResearch’s executive chairman.

The indices for the selling price of growers and exports were at 193.55 and 143.79 in October, up 28 per cent and 12.5 per cent, respectively, from the same period last year. The rises came from limited world rice supplies and rising demand for rice after crop damages, due to volatile weather conditions, in the world’s two major rice producers, Pakistan and China, Paka-on said.

The index for the wholesale price at mills also rose 12.4 per cent to 171.22 in October, because of higher purchases by exporters.

In October, Vietnam’s rice was priced higher than Thailand’s after it increased minimum export prices by three times this year, Paka-on said.

The world and domestic rice prices could rise further during the rest of this year thanks to rising global demand and falling world production, due to fluctuating weather conditions, she said.

Prices of the country’s fragrant and glutinous rice could enjoy their upward trend throughout next year, while the white-rice price could continue to rise only in the first quarter, she said.
“We have to wait and see whether off-season rice production will adversely impact the domestic price of white rice, and if so, by how much.”



November 11,2010

Global rice demand may outstrip supply

HANOI (Nov 9, 2010): The world is likely to be short of rice in the next decade without new measures to increase production, experts at a global rice conference said Tuesday.

Rice production needs to rise 1.5% per year to keep up with demand, even as the available land for rice farming shrinks due to urbanisation and climate change, industry officials said.

"Projected demand for rice will outstrip supply in the near to medium term unless something is done to reverse current trends of slow productivity growth," said Robert Zeigler, director-general of the International Rice Research Institute.

Zeigler said several governments had reduced their forecasts for harvests in the upcoming year. Crops in Pakistan were hit by floods, while China has experienced both flood and drought.

"It does not look to be at a crisis level, but it's possible that supplies will tighten a little bit," Zeigler said.

Other speakers noted the increasing concerns over rice security since 2008, when forecasts of shortages triggered price surges that plunged 100 million people into poverty, the World Bank estimated.

Rice productivity surged from the 1960s through the 1990s, but productivity increases have since fallen to about 1% per year, according to the institute. That is not enough to keep pace with demand.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world's two largest rice exporters, but both are losing paddy area to urbanisation and increased salinity in delta regions linked to rising sea levels.

Zeigler said more investment in infrastructure and research is needed, as well as new hybrid and genetically modified strains.

"I'm convinced that if governments adopt enlightened policies, we will have enough rice," Zeigler said. "If we don't do anything, the world will suffer, of course."  — dpa





November 5, 2010

Vietnam Rice Price Could Reach $500/Tons

The benchmark price of Vietnamese rice is likely to be stable between $380 and $500 a tonne next year barring unforeseen natural disasters or poor weather, one of the country's top 10 exporters said on Wednesday.

The past three years have witnessed some of the most volatile commodities prices ever, rice included. Vietnamese rice soared to around $1,000 a tonne in May 2008 before slipping to around $350 a tonne in April this year.

Tran Thanh Van, deputy chief executive of the Mekong Delta-based exporter Gentraco Corp, estimated that major buyers had prepared 30 percent to 50 percent of their annual domestic demand, which would remove some of the urgency that exacerbated price movements in recent years.

"Major price movements will no longer be expected in the coming time because of these preparations," Van told Reuters in the river town of Thot Not, one of the Mekong Delta's main logistics points for rice transportation.

The Mekong Delta produces more than half of Vietnam's paddy rice output, expected to reach 39.1 million tonnes this year from 38.9 million tonnes in 2009. Grain from the delta's 12 provinces accounts for 90 percent of the country's total rice export.

Van said benchmark 5 percent broken rice stood at $475 a tonne, while 25 percent broken rice was $445 a tonne, and Gentraco was looking to raise the quotations by $10 a tonne, given low stocks.

The last time the 5-percent broken rice traded at $500 a tonne was during the first week of January 2010.

Vietnam carried over 1.4 million tonnes of milled rice from the previous harvest, but had already begun depleted it, and Van said the country's current stocks were about 1.1 million tonnes.

Gentraco was now holding 30,000 tonnes of rice in stock, or around 10 percent of its annual export target for 2010, Van said. Last year the company shipped 250,000 tonnes of rice.

Stocks are likely to continue to wane despite a minor harvest starting within the next three weeks.

Supply will pick up from late February when Mekong Delta farmers start harvesting the winter-spring rice crop, the country's largest crop mostly used for export.

Paddy output of the crop is expected to remain unchanged at around 10 million tonnes, as farmers stepped up using fertiliser to cope with the impact of low flooding this year, a leading rice industry researcher said on Tuesday.

The Vietnam Food Association, which is in charge of regulating the country's rice exports, has already stopped approving company-to-company contracts with shipment from November onwards.

The association has also tried to support prices by imposing an export price floor and then raising it in October.

Vietnam has secured deals for a record 6.8 million tonnes of rice so fare this year, 6.5 million tonnes of which would be shipped, which would be a record, industry officials said. The country exported 6 million tonnes of the grain last year.



Sep 30, 2010

Philippines remains Vietnam’s largest rice importer

Rice exported through Quy Nhon port.

The Philippines remains Vietnam’s largest rice importer which accounts for nearly 41% of the country’s total export value, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In the first nine months of this year, Vietnam shipped a record 5.55 million tonnes of rice worth US$2.56 billion, up nearly 12% in volume and 14.5% in value.

The price of Vietnamese rice in the first eight months reached US$470 per tonne, up 3% over the same period last year. The price hike was attributable to scanty supplies resulting from consecutive natural disasters in large rice consumers and exporters such as China, Thailand and Pakistan.

The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) forecast that Vietnam is likely to export 7.2 million tonnes of rice this year.

According to the MARD’s Cultivation Department, the country’s total rice output in 2010 is expected to exceed 39 million tonnes. Of which, around 1.5 million tonnes of rice will be reserved for exports.

At present, it is necessary to encourage rice exports as the domestic rice supplies are abundant, the department said. (VNA)



Sep 24, 2010

Lifting Ban on Rice Imports in Kenya

The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has demanded the government to approach the Kenyan government to lift a ban on the import of Pakistani rice as exporters were facing a serious problem due to the ban and rice exports would likely witness a decline.

REAP Vice Chairman Rafiq Suleman while talking to Daily Times said that as per Kenyan notification, all rice imported in Kenya would not be released from the port until laboratory analysis reports in respect to grading have been received in the station of clearance.

He further stated that despite issuance of the certificate issued by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs), which is the mandated testing authority in Kenya it is not being accepted by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Even any consignment imported and having supporting document of COC attached to that import is still not released without getting the lab test results after withdrawing the samples and getting the analysis report of that sample after its matching with the standards.

It is important to mention that Kenya is a huge market of Pakistani Long Grain Rice. Pakistan has exported 364,237 metric tonnes of Pakistani Long Grain Irri-6 Rice amounting to $134.1 million to Kenya in the last fiscal year during July 2009 to June 2010, which is a record in the history of rice export trade and REAP is hopeful to increase or maintain the trade between both the countries, Rafiq added.

More than 800 containers are held which are worth around $8 million and due to this critical issue, our members are facing huge financial losses on account of demurrages and they have to bear extra costs of around $300 to $500 per container. Additionally, due to this issue, they are also worried about their future orders.

In a high level meeting of REAP members Tuesday, they demanded prime minister and commerce minister to intervene and take-up the matter with the Kenyan government and resolve the problems of rice export industry, which earns more than $2 billion foreign exchange annually for the country.

He further said that Pakistan is one of the largest importers of tea from Kenya and trade relationship between Pakistan and Kenya is on a good note. The Pakistan Ministry of Commerce may use this trade (import of tea from Kenya) to handle the situation.

According to provisional statistics by the State Bank of Pakistan, country’s rice exports have registered an increase of 42.55 percent during July to August this year amid robust demand in the international market.

Rice exports soared to $360.74 million during the first two months of the fiscal year 2010-11. The export in the same months last year remained at $253 million.



Sep 16, 2010

Value of rice exports increases

HA NOI — Viet Nam exported 185,000 tonnes of rice during the first 10 days of the month, earning US$68.5 million, reported the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA).

The country has so far this yer exported 4.96 million tonnes of rice earning $2.11 billion, said the association.

The export volume was equal to last year's amount, however, the export value increased by $90 million. Export rice cost between VND4,800-5,400 per kilo ($246.1-277 per tonne) on the domestic market.

Pham Van Bay, VFA deputy chairman, said the price per tonne of Vietnamese export rice had increased by $20 this year.

Domestic rice exporters are expected to export about 1 million tonnes of rice by the end of the year.

The association has proposed to increase the country's export target for rice from 6.1 million to 6.5 million, but the Government disagreed with the proposal. Instead, the State has instructed exporters to focus on increasing exports in order to take advantage of the current high price.

Nguyen Thanh Bien, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, said the State expected the exporters to hit their annual target as planned. — VNS



Sep 7, 2010

Thai Rice May Gain About 10% on Demand, Apichart Says

Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Thai rice prices may gain about 10 percent after harvests were damaged in Pakistan and China, boosting demand for shipments from the world’s largest exporter, according to the nation’s Office of Agricultural Economics.

The price of 100 percent grade-B white rice, the benchmark for Asia, may advance $40 to $50 a metric ton from the current level, Apichart Jongskul, the office’s secretary-general, said by phone, without giving a timeframe. The price, set weekly by the Thai Rice Exporters’ Association, was $494 a ton on Sept. 1.

Rice shipments from Pakistan, the third-biggest supplier, may plunge after the deadliest floods in the nation’s history, the Rice Exporters’ Association of Pakistan said Sept. 1, while China has also warned of losses to crops. Higher rice prices would boost food costs across Asia.

The crop damage in China and Pakistan will continue to support prices as buyers may seek shipments from Thailand, said Apichart. Thailand’s output in the year from October would be little changed from this year as damage from an earlier drought may be offset by improved yields from wetter weather, he said.

Thai rice prices have rebounded from $458 a ton on July 21. The latest revision is due tomorrow. Apichart’s office helps to execute agricultural policy and planning, as well as conducting research and providing agriculture-related information.

La Nina Rains

Drought linked to the El Nino weather pattern affected a swathe of Asia in the first half, damaging crops from China to Southeast Asia. Thailand’s Meteorological Department said on Aug. 16 that a La Nina phenomenon, which brings wetter-than-normal weather, has developed and will probably intensify.

La Nina will improve water level in reservoirs, benefiting plantings in November and December, Apichart said. Unmilled rice output in the year from October will likely total 31.3 million tons, compared with this year’s 31.5 million tons, he said.

Rough-rice futures in Chicago have risen about 22 percent since June 30 as consumers and investors sought alternatives to wheat after heat and drought ruined some Northern Hemisphere crops, including Russia’s. The November contract traded at $11.625 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade at 4:54 p.m. in Singapore today after losing 0.8 percent.

Malik Jahangir, chairman of the Rice Exporters’ Association of Pakistan, said on Sept. 1 that exports may decline as much as 35 percent to 3 million tons in the year started July 1 because of the floods.

China’s mid-season and late-season rice crops face an increased threat from pests after floods made conditions ideal for insects to breed, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Aug. 17. The early-season harvest may drop 2.4 percent from last year because of floods, state-owned China National Grain & Oils Information Center forecast on Aug. 4.



Sep 3, 2010

Thailand Approves Rice Aid To Pakistan

Thailand's Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has announced that the Thai Cabinet has approved the proposal to send 20,000 MT of rice aid to help the flood-ravaged Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters in a press conference, the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that the Cabinet decided to give more humanitarian aid to Pakistan by sending the rice to the country.



August 26, 2010

Cambodia Rice Harvest To Drop Predicts FAO

According to United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, production of rice in Cambodia is likely to fall 22 % to 5.9 million unmilled MT this year compared with 7.8 million MT farmed in 2009.

Extreme heat due to lack of rains in the recent past threatens to cut rice harvest in Cambodia to levels unseen since 2006, FAO said.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture enterprise have said that the ongoing drought conditions are affecting only some parts of the country and were hoping that late rains could reverse the drought.



August 19, 2010

China Floods Boost Pests, Threaten Rice Crops, Agriculture Ministry Says

China’s mid-season and late-season rice crops face increasing threats from pests after widespread floods this summer made conditions ideal for insects to breed, the Ministry of Agriculture said today.

Twice the amount of pests as last year were detected among crops in provinces from southwestern Guizhou to eastern Zhejiang, the ministry said in a statement on its website. Delayed planting and hotter weather in August and September will also boost breeding, it said, without giving the extent of the damage.

China’s early-season rice harvest may decrease by 2.4 percent from last year, or 800,000 metric tons, because of floods, state-owned China National Grain & Oils Information forecast Aug. 4. Total output may still gain 0.8 percent to 196.6 million tons as mid-season and late-season crops are projected to more than offset the losses, it said.

The ministry has started a campaign to save crops after the State Council last week urged main farming areas to boost production, the statement said. The government allocated 155 million yuan ($23 million) in emergency funding to promote measures including the proper application of pesticide chemicals, the statement said.

Early, mid and late-season crops make up 16.5 percent, 65 percent and 18.5 percent of the harvest, respectively, according to the grain center report.

Traders in Vietnam, the second-biggest rice exporter, may have “unofficially” shipped about 600,000 tons to China this year across the nation’s northern border, according to the Vietnam Food Association.

Most of the shipments were made from April to July amid signs of increased demand from China, Huynh Minh Hue, general- secretary of the association, said Aug. 16 by phone. Through official channels, Vietnam has shipped less than 100,000 tons to China this year, Hue said.

China’s rice output may fall as much as 7 percent this year after floods, Li Qiang, managing director at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., said this month.



August 6, 2010

Pakistan floods head south after devastating trail

SUKKUR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan's biggest floods in 80 years threaten to inflict widespread suffering in after the unpopular government failed millions of people ravaged by the disaster in other parts of the country.

Raging waters have spread from the northwest to the Punjab agricultural heartland and then down to the , as Pakistanis watched villages collapse, thousands of people drown, and their president leave for state visits abroad at the height of the disaster. Officials in Sindh, home to Pakistan's biggest city and commercial hub , are scrambling to prevent heavy loss of life and more destruction to the mainstay agriculture industry.

Meteorologist Hazrat Mir said flood waters were moving swiftly in north Sindh province and would enter the town of Sukkur by Saturday.

So far, the floods have killed more than 1,600 people and officials said the toll was likely to climb. More than 4 million have also lost their livelihoods and homes.

"What we see is a sea of people in need," said , head of the Pakistan office of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"It is an evolving emergency. We are afraid it will get worse before it gets better," he added. Pakistan's seasonal monsoon rains normally continue through the month of August.

The government's lacklustre response has reinforced the view among Pakistanis that civilian administrations, perceived as corrupt and weak, are unable to handle big crises, leaving the army to step in. The military has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its turbulent history.

"There is nothing but just water all around us," said a Reuters cameraman who traveled for several miles by boat with army troops just southeast of the town of Sukkur.

Children, their homes swept away, helped parents to set up temporarily shelters of clothes and plastic sheeting on a roadside in Sukkar, bunkering down to wait for rescue, or aid. Elderly villagers puffed on traditional water pipes in an attempt to regain some normalcy.

"I've lost my house, food. We have nothing. Nobody has come to us," said villager Ali Nawaz. About 350,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas of the Indus river basin in Sindh.


President , already squeezed by a Taliban insurgency, chronic power cuts and many other critical issues, is on the political defensive once again after his decision to travel abroad during the catastrophe drew fierce criticism.

The United States wants Zardari's government to bring political and economic stability to Pakistan, an ally it believes can help ease a Taliban , where an American troop pullout starts next summer.

Unable to rely on authorities, Pakistanis must innovate to survive, using makeshift, hand-operated pulleys to move people on wooden planks above rivers where waters brought down bridges.

Others simply don't have the energy.

In Sanawa village in Punjab, a Pakistani soldier carried an elderly man to a helicopter. A big crowd waited around a nearby mosque, some waist-deep in muddy water, hoping for relief.

Authorities in Sindh said treacherous conditions were hampering evacuation efforts, but added that villagers were reluctant to leave their homes.

Determining the overall costs of the floods may not be possible until authorities survey vast areas where raging waters have swallowed up entire villages.

In a country that heavily relies on foreign aid, this disaster is likely to have a crippling effect on the economy.

At least 1.3 million acres of crops have been destroyed in the Punjab agricultural heartland alone, relief officials said.

Huge agriculture losses would mean Pakistan will have to spend more to import cotton for its crucial textile industry, as well as sugar, and will have less rice to export.

"The body of water going south is affecting a large area that is highly-densely populated. It is the food basket of Pakistan, so it will have long-term effects," said Oscar Butragueno of the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Source: Yahoo News


July 29, 2010

Thailand Rice Exports Facing Tough Competition

Rice exports from Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporting nation have plummeted more than 30 % in the first half of this year mainly due to stiff competition from cheaper Vietnamese jasmine rice.

According to Thai Rice Exporters Association "More buyers in Hong Kong are turning to Vietnamese rice as its jasmine rice is about $550 PMT while Thai jasmine rice is sold at $900 PMT".

Thailand's Department of Export Promotion reported that Vietnam sold $11 million worth of rice to Hong Kong and China in the first five months of this year. The amount is almost equal to Thailand's total rice exports to Hong Kong for an entire year.


July 15, 2010

Main rice crop to be delayed

The Agriculture Ministry is asking farmers to delay planting the 2010-11 main rice crop until the end of next month as water levels in the country's major dams remain critically low.

The ministry previously suggested that the cultivation of the grain, especially in irrigated areas such as the Central Plains and the lower North, begin sometime in mid-July.

But it revised the decision this week as the impacts of this year's drought are still keenly felt due to deficient rainfall and the rapid decrease of water in many reservoirs across the country.

Thailand's planting of the main crop paddy, which accounts for about 23-24 million tonnes of total paddy volume, depends largely on rainfall and the irrigation system.

Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut said that water levels in major and medium-sized dams have been low, at 13% of their capacities or 9,265 million cubic metres of usable water in total.

The usable water volumes at two major dams that irrigates rice farmlands in the Central region and the lower North have been small.The Bhumibol dam in Tak province now has only 264 million cubic metres of usable water, or 2% of its capacity, while the Sirikit dam in Uttaradit has 4% or 361 million cubic metres.

According to Mr Theera, the ministry will announce the postponement officially and send officials to inform the farmers as well as monitor the climate.

The planting-delay advisory is the second in a row after the ministry earlier warned the farmers to skip growing second rice crops since there would not be enough water to irrigate their farmlands.

The government has also forecast that the drought could decrease the yield per rai of the second-crop paddy, bringing the total production to 9.58 million tonnes, down from an earlier projection of 10.52 million tonnes.

The ministry, however, is confident the lower supplies and planting delays will not affect Thailand's rice exports, projected at between 8 million and 8.5 million tonnes this year.

Source: Bangkok Post


July 14, 2010

China Reduces Forecast for 2010 Rice Production, National Gain Center Says

China reduced the 2010 rice output forecast to 196.6 million metric tons from an estimate of 197.3 million tons made a month ago, the China National Grain & Oils Information Center said today in its July report.

The 2010 production forecasts for other crops were maintained at 168 million tons of corn, 115.1 million tons of wheat, 14.5 million tons of soybeans and 12.6 million tons of rapeseed, according to the report.



June 25, 2010

Possible lifting of Indian rice export

A rumoured withdrawal of India's ban on rice exports would directly affect Thai exporters by resulting in an overwhelming global supply.

However, no one has yet confirmed the rumour, and exporters are awaiting an official announcement from the Indian government.

Thai Rice Exporters Association president Korbsook Iamsuri cautioned against panicking over rumours in the absence of a formal announcement. Exporters are closely watching what India will do.

"If the export ban were lifted, rice prices would continue to decline this year, because there would be a greater supply in the world market amid sluggish demand," Korbsook said.

She said exports of Thai parboiled rice would be hardest hit, because India was a major rival for this kind of rice.

India is said to be mulling whether to lift its ban on exports of basmati rice this year, which would pull down global prices and affect Thai shipments.

The Elephant Group, a major rice importer in Nigeria, said the Indian government was prepared to allow exports of Basmati rice this year, to diminish its flourishing supply after plentiful rains.

Yesterday, the export price of Thai 100percent white rice was quoted at US$479 (Bt15,500) per tonne, up from $471 last week, due to lower supply. Fivepercent white rice rose from $448 a tonne to $450 and parboiled rice from $462 a tonne to $496.

Commerce Ministry permanent secretary Yanyong Phuangrach said Thai rice exports would not be seriously affected if India cancelled the ban.

India must still maintain large reserve stocks and would not export large volumes of rice during a time of drought, he said.

At a recent rice traders' meeting in Dubai, participants predicted global trading in the commodity would reach 30 million tonnes this year. Of that, India will supply 25.3 million tonnes, which is almost what the entire world consumes in a year.

However, Indian rice traders are worried. They say if the government does not cancel the export ban, the country will lose market share to Pakistan.

The Indian government announced the ban in 2008, to ensure a domestic supply. However, a rich supply and rising rice prices worldwide are pressuring India into revising the strategy.

Indian traders also point out too much rice production this year has directly put pressure on them, because they must carry over stocks from last year. Nonbasmati Indian rice was quoted at $500 a tonne previously but has been going for $400 this year, prompting traders to shoulder a loss.

The price will continue to decline, due to the rich supply.

Source: The Nation


June 17, 2010

Iraq To Buy 30,000 MT

Iraq's state grain board has issued an international tender to purchase at least 30,000 MT of rice. The bidding deadline is July 4 and offers must remain valid until July 11.

Volumes in Iraq's grain tenders are regarded as nominal and the country frequently buys more than the tender volumes.
Iraq's last rice purchase before that tender was on May 5 when it bought 90,000 MT from Vietnam and Thailand.

Iraq's annual rice consumption is usually slightly above 1 million MT and annual wheat consumption is typically around 4.5 million MT, according to the Iraqi government.



June 9, 2010

Indian Monsoon Likely To Be Delayed

Scientists at India's state-run India Meteorological Department have announced that India's summer-sown rice plantings are likely to lag by 7-10 days in some key growing states due to a possible delay in monsoon arrival.

Rice plantings usually start in the first week of June with the arrival of the monsoon in rain-dependent states such as West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Sowing starts a month earlier in Punjab and Haryana because the two northern states have better irrigation facilities.

The monsoon rains reached India's coast a day earlier than usual on May 31, but then paused due to the onset of Cyclone Phet last week. The cyclone has now weakened and the monsoon has advanced to the country's southern and western areas.

Heat wave conditions still prevail over parts of the eastern states of Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa and the central state of Chhattisgarh.

India's monsoon rains are crucial for summer-sown crops such as rice, oilseeds and sugarcane, as about 60% of the farmlands are rain fed.



June 2, 2010

Iraq Buys 90,000 MT From Vietnam

The Iraqi state-run Grain Board has bought 90,000 MT of high-quality rice from Vietnam for delivery in August and September this year. The deals were the result of a tender that closed May 17.

According to local media reports, the rice was purchased at around $295 PMT.

Iraq last bought rice earlier in May, with 60,000 MT of Thai rice and 30,000 MT of Vietnamese rice. Iraq consumes around 1.5 MT of rice every year. It isn't known how much Iraq's local rice harvest this year but usually it only meets a small portion of the country's needs.



May 13, 2010

Govt plans paddy production hike

Thailand plans to annually produce at least 30 million tonnes of rice paddy under the government's new strategic plan, which runs from 2011 to 2015.

This marks an increase from the current output of 29 million tonnes of paddy each year. The country would increase its national rice cultivation area to not more than 62 million rai from the 57.5 million set in the strategic plan which ends this year.

The Agriculture and Co-operatives Ministry, responsible for production policy, has drafted several programmes to help accelerate paddy production and farm income, said permanent agriculture secretary Yukol Limlaemthong.

The first programme would promote research and development into new rice strains that are resistant to plant diseases and insect infestations caused by climatic changes, he said.

Mr Yukol estimates 12 new rice varieties will be added over the next five years to the current 97 strains.

Production technologies will be improved to reduce the quantity of chemical fertilisers used for growing rice, which would in turn reduce farm production costs.

The ministry also aims to increase rice-paddy yields by at least 10% from an average 457 kilogramme per rai, up to 679 kg in the best-case scenario.

To reach that target farmers are being encouraged to apply new farming methods that comply with Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) and use water more efficiently.

Mr Yukol said that the ministry would operate rice community centres nationwide to help farmers conform with GAP rules. These methods should help farmers slash production costs by about 15% throughout the five-year programme.

Zoning will be applied to promote local premium-quality rice strains, such as fragrant Hom Mali rice in the Northeast, to strengthen the geographical identity of rice.

Mr. Yukol said that the Rice Department has been instructed to survey farmer incomes over past years so the government can help improve their future earnings.

Source: Bangkok Post


April 21

Rice Falls in Longest Slump Since 2002 on Slower Global Demand

Rice fell for the eighth straight session, the longest slump since 2002, on declining demand for supplies from the U.S. amid falling world prices.

World rough rice sells for about $10.65 per 100 pounds, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation said today in a report. That’s 15 percent below the futures price for May delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade.

“There’s no business being done right now,” said Dennis DeLaughter, the owner of Progressive Farm Marketing Inc. in Edna, Texas. “They talk about all this pent-up demand, but there’s none coming down the road. We feel U.S. prices are too high.”

Rice futures for May delivery fell 0.5 cent to $12.485 per 100 pounds on the CBOT. The price has dropped 5.3 percent since April 9, the day before the current skid began. The most-active contract has declined 16 percent this year, partly because of reduced demand.

Source: Bloomberg


April 6, 2010

State plans rice purchase; Wants up to 900,000 tonnes to raise prices

The government is preparing to buy as much as 900,000 tonnes of paddy from farmers in a move to raise prices in the Thai rice market. The measures will also include buying milled rice from millers.

After meeting with rice exporters and millers, Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said price pressure was expected to increase for rice, as an estimated 1.8 million tonnes of rice from the second-crop season are being released to the market.

To shore up paddy prices, the government has set up more than 40 units to buy new output from farmers. But the move has been called ineffectual as only a dozen mills out of 1,700 nationwide have participated in the buying scheme.

Millers claim their income, particularly from rice polishing, has tumbled since the government replaced the long-established paddy-pledging programme with a price insurance scheme this year.

They also complain of higher expenses from interest on loans for the funds they must place as collateral to the government to participate in the rice-buying programme. Traders and rice millers mostly prefer the pledging scheme, which provided revenue from rice polishing and renting out warehouses to store government rice.

Mrs Porntiva said the ministry was also drafting incentives for millers and exporters to buy more paddy from farmers to bolster domestic rice prices, which have fallen steadily in line with softening foreign demand.Rice exporters and millers who participate in the buying programme may be allowed to exchange new paddy bought from farmers with milled rice from government stocks.

Millers and exporters might also be permitted to sell the government milled rice processed from paddy they bought from farmers.

But the government will oblige rice millers and exporters to pay farmers more than the current market price for paddy. The rate should match the government's benchmark price, said the minister.

The government's benchmark price was set yesterday at 9,087 baht a tonne, while market prices for paddy are from 8,500 to 8,600 baht per tonne.

Mrs Porntiva said the incentives would last for about a month and are likely to raise domestic rice prices. But approval for the measures is required first from the national rice policy committee.

Source: Bangkok Post


April 1, 2010

China official denies cutting off water to SE Asia

BEIJING – China denied Wednesday it has "hijacked" water from the Mekong River, causing its lowest levels in 20 years for areas downstream in Southeast Asia.

Liu Ning, vice minister of water resources, suggested that China's dams and irrigation projects upstream have actually helped stave off some of the effects of drought _ though it was not clear whether he was referring just to parched areas of southwest China or the wider region.

The Mekong River, which originates in the Tibetan Plateau, is at its lowest level in nearly two decades, halting cargo traffic on the waterway that is the lifeblood for 65 million people in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, according to the Mekong River Commission.

Nongovernmental organizations have long blamed China for shrinking the Mekong and causing other ecological damage. China has built several dams on the upper reaches of the river and has more planned.

"We cannot say that China hijacked water resources and contributed to the drought," Liu told a news conference when asked about the effect of China's water projects on the water supply in Southeast Asia.

"If there were no irrigation facilities and reservoirs built in drought areas, the drought would have come earlier, the situation would have been more severe, and there would have been more people suffering from a lack of drinking water," Liu said.

He did not specify which areas he meant.

Liu emphasized the need to step up the construction of more water conservancy projects to insure adequate drinking water.

He said neighboring countries are aware of China's measures and China will discuss with groups like the Mekong River Commission, an intergovernmental organization that oversees the sustainable development of the river basin.

"The building and use of hydropower plants will only be done based on scientific evidence, and this process is very strict in China," said Liu, who is also secretary-general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Little rainfall since late last year in southwest China has left millions of residents facing water shortages in that region's worst drought in a century. About 24 million people, twice more than in the same period during normal years, face drinking water shortages, Liu said.

"We should prepare to fight a long drought ... to prepare for the worst-case scenario," he said.

Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guizhou regions have been the hardest hit by the drought despite teams of workers drilling for wells and transporting drinking water, Liu said.

Liu said the severity of this year's drought was due to a decline in rainfall, low river flows, higher temperatures, and inadequate water storage facilities and is likely to continue until mid- to late May, when the rainy season begins.

Source: AP Press


March 24, 2010

Low river levels threaten northern rice crops

Unusually warm weather has affected many hectares of rice in the northern provinces, which are also suffering from a lack of water for irrigation.

Higher than usual temperatures since December have caused water levels to recede in many Lao rivers, creating problems for farmers as the water shortage fails to meet their agricultural needs.

The government has recently approved funding to upgrade the irrigation systems in Vientiane and in Borikhamxay province to supply sufficient water for dry season rice. The Department of Irrigation has also asked farmers to take measures to save water until the rains arrive.

Many hectares of rice have been affected, though exact figures are still being calculated by provincial authorities.

But the provincial capital of Luang Namtha has been hit particularly hard, said the Deputy Head of the Provincial Agriculture Section, Ms Chanthone Duaysipaserth.

She said many irrigation systems in the province are failing and are unable to supply water to rice fields because river levels are too low.

Ms Chanthone said this dry season provincial authorities encouraged farmers to produce 1,450 hectares of rice. They planted over 2,000 hectares, but it is still not clear exactly how much of that will be salvaged.

She said she will work with the irrigation section and the agriculture and forestry extension division to table a report on the extent of the damage.

In the meantime, farmers in Luang Namtha face severe food security problems.

Young rice crops in Oudomxay and Bokeo provinces have also been affected by the same problem after farmers finished planting last month.

The amount of rice damaged will be confirmed next week.

Huaphan province has been fortunate and has not yet experienced any irrigation difficulties, said the provincial agriculture section Head, Mr Khamphao Banvidone.

He said most rice fields have been planted in areas where irrigation facilities are supplied and are still operational.

But he added that if the weather remained hot through to next month, the irrigation systems may not be able to supply any more water.



March 17, 2010

Philippines May Approve GM Rice Soon

The director general of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), has expressed concern that the Philippines may follow China as the next Asian country to approve widespread planting of genetically modified rice crops, possibly as early as 2011.

Golden Rice, a Vitamin A-enriched grain developed by the IRRI is being bred into local varieties as well in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Vietnam as part of testing to ensure safety, he said.

"There's some possibility that it would be the Philippines that will get approval next, for Golden Rice. Probably late 2011 or early 2012," Zeigler said.



March 11, 2010

The failed guaranteed-price scheme

The first one is that some politicians are behind the farmers' movements, encouraging the already-suffering farmers to protest against the current guaranteed-price scheme and call on the government to raise the rice prices.

The other is a problem that deals with the guaranteed-price scheme itself, which fails to pay compensation for the low prices within the prescribed period, as promised by the government.

As for the first case, if the government gets tough with these politicians, the problem should not be difficult to solve. This is because most of the farmers need not wait for the cue to make a move. They already sold their rice at the price well lower than the government’s guaranteed buying price.

However, the more important issue is how effective of the guaranteed-price scheme is, especially the payment of compensation.

The program will not work if the government is not capable of paying subsidies to all registered farmers in a timely manner.

Earlier, there were suggestions that in order for the program to deliver successfully, the government must pay great attention to three areas which include the registration of farmers, the output of crops, and fast and accurate compensation payment.

There have been so many cases that nicely-crafted policies don't work due to impracticality. Therefore, it is even more important for the government to make sure that things go as planned when it comes to grand projects which involve a large portion of the population.

And this will also prove the government’s capability.

Source: TANN


March 4, 2010

India To Export 45,000 MT

According to a recent statement released by the government of India, the government has allowed the export of 45,000 MT of non-basmati rice through two state-run agencies with immediate effect.

According to the statement, 20,000 MT of rice will be allowed for export to Sri Lanka by PEC Ltd., while the remaining 25,000 MT will be exported to Nepal by MMTC Ltd.

Currently, India doesn’t allow export of non-basmati rice and only exports on a government-to-government basis.



Feb 24, 2010

PM insists rice prices must be fair

The government has vowed to scrap a planned rice sale again if the prices offered by exporters are inappropriate and unacceptably low.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday the government would take into account investment cost, market price and quality of rice before accepting any bids from Monday's tender, the second attempt in two weeks to sell state rice stocks.

The government on Monday offered 350,000 tonnes of 5% broken white rice and 150,000 tonnes of Pathum Thani fragrant rice as part of its accelerated plan to sell its massive stockpile of up to 5.6 million tonnes of milled rice bought from farmers to support prices in the previous season.

The latest tender received bids from 11 companies to buy a total 815,529 tonnes: 659,454 tonnes of white rice and 156,074 tonnes for Pathum Thani worth a combined 12.44 billion baht.

The bidding prices for white rice range from 11,765 to 15,550 baht per tonne, with Pathum Thani fragrant rice at 15,500 to 18,500 baht a tonne.

The prices offered for white rice are much lower than in the previous bid last month, when they quoted 14,000 to 16,000 baht a tonne.

Vichak Visetnoi, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said that authorities would attempt today to bargain with exporters for higher prices before submitting the outcome to Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai for acknowledgement, and to the national rice policy committee chaired by the premier for final approval.

In related development, Mr Abhisit said that the cabinet yesterday directed the Commerce Ministry to investigate the release of information stating that the government would sell as many as 2 million tonnes of its rice stocks over the next few months, as such news would cause a price slump and affect the overall rice trading market.

Source: Bangkok Post


Feb 19, 2010

Rice bid for 500,000 tonnes due Monday

The government will open bids to sell 500,000 tonnes of rice from stockpiles to exporters next week as part of its accelerated plan to sell 1-2 million tonnes ahead of the new harvest of second-crop paddy to reduce costly stock.

Vichak Visetnoi, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the Commerce Ministry next Monday would offer 350,000 tonnes of 5% broken white rice and 150,000 tonnes of Pathum Thani fragrant rice to exporters.

"The timing is right during the next two months to release stocks as key exporters such as Vietnam and Burma have slowed their shipments while demand remains strong," he said.

Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said the ministry was also speeding auctions of 300,000 tonnes of milled rice with the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand. The government last year approved the sale of about 1 million tonnes of Hom Mali and 5% white rice through the futures market under a "basis auction" method in which AFET rice futures are used as the reference.

The market has conducted auctions for state stocks totalling 700,000 tonnes.

According to Mrs Porntiva, the National Rice Policy Committee recently directed the ministry to study a plan to sell another 1 million tonnes via the futures market this year.

Mr Vichak said the government was likely to sell as many as 700,000 tonnes under a government-to-government programme this year.

"There is a lot of demand for G-to-G rice deals now. Malaysia wants to buy about 100,000 tonnes, while Mauritius needs about 50,000 tonnes, Indonesia needs 100,000 tonnes, and the Philippines is preparing to open bids for 600,000 tonnes," he said.

The government estimates it is holding around 5.6 million tonnes of milled rice bought from farmers to support prices in the previous season.

Source: Bangkok post


Feb 15, 2010

Release of rice in small lots

The Commerce Ministry is planning to release of 1 million to 3 million tonnes from its rice stockpiles in small lots over the next few months, when many of the Kingdom's farmers suspend planting in a bid to solve a brown-planthopper infestation.

A senior source from the ministry yesterday said it would release small stocks to the market, as prices should be on the rise due to a lower supply of rice from the second-crop harvest.

Besides open bidding, the government will also consider releasing the stockpiles by other means in order to ensure the market price is not adversely affected.These include using the futures market and government-to-government contracts.

The source said the release of stockpiled rice via the latter method would not affect the market price, as it is a special instrument the government uses for favoured nations. The government has about 5 million tonnes of rice in its stockpiles. The ministry last month cancelled bidding for 370,000 tonnes as it foresaw prices rising.

Source : The Nation


FEB 5, 2010

South America to import more rice: Experts

Rice experts in the United States feel that rice purchases by Brazil, South America’s biggest grower, Venezuela and Colombia are most likely to jump this year after drought followed by heavy rains caused by El Nino curbed production.

Increased South American imports may drain global stockpiles forecast by the USDA to drop this year for the first time since 2006-2007, and support prices.

Brazil may start importing just as Vietnam, the largest exporter after Thailand, begins using its stockpiles to meet shipment commitments to the Philippines after winning tenders in November and December.

Source: Oryza


Feb 4, 2010

Indonesia Aims Production Target Of 75.7 Mil MT

Indonesia's agriculture ministry has revealed that the country is targeting annual rice output growth of 3.22 % per year over the next five years to reach an output of 75.7 million MT of unmilled rice in 2014.

The five-year rice output target is about 18 % up on 2009 output, which is forecast at 63.84 million MT of unmilled rice. The ministry has projected 2010's output at 66 million MT.

Indonesia, the world's number three rice consumer, which was still a major importer of rice in 2007, has become self sufficient over the past two years after ample domestic output, easing pressures on global demand.



Feb 4, 2010

South America To Import More Rice: Experts

Rice experts in the United States feel that rice purchases by Brazil, South America’s biggest grower, Venezuela and Colombia are most likely to jump this year after drought followed by heavy rains caused by El Nino curbed production.

Increased South American imports may drain global stockpiles forecast by the USDA to drop this year for the first time since 2006-2007, and support prices.

Brazil may start importing just as Vietnam, the largest exporter after Thailand, begins using its stockpiles to meet shipment commitments to the Philippines after winning tenders in November and December.



Feb 3, 2010

Philippines: El Nino To Cut Crop Yields

The government of Philippines has released a warning that a possible drought caused by the El Nino weather system is very likely to slash the country's rice yields this year.

Government models project 2010 rice harvests may be trimmed by up to 816,312 MT if the drought is very severe. The fall would be equivalent to 5% of last year’s entire yield while in case of a mild El Nino, the agriculture department estimates losses of about 265,000 MT of unmilled rice, about 174,000 MT of corn, 21,000 MT of fish and 3.17 million MT of other crops.

El Nino is an occasional seasonal warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that upsets normal weather patterns from the western seaboard of Latin America to east Africa, and potentially has a global impact on climate.



Jan 26, 2010

Thailand Cancels Sale of 375,000 Tons of Rice From Stockpiles

Thailand, the biggest rice exporter, canceled a plan to sell 375,000 metric tons from state reserves because of low offer prices, Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said today in Bangkok.

The ministry received bids from 22 companies to buy 1.02 million tons, the Department of Foreign Trade said last week.

The government had planned to sell 300,000 tons of white rice and 75,000 tons of glutinous rice.



Jan 19, 2010

Govt to release its rice stock

The Commerce Ministry will open bidding for its rice stockpile of 375,000 tonnes on Thursday to help ease the strain on the market. Of the stockpile, 300,000 tonnes is 5-per-cent white rice, while the remainder is sticky rice.

Vichak Visetnoi, director-general of Foreign Trade Department, said yesterday that domestic supply for rice was declining because the harvest season was late this year. The total crop produced was 21.2 million tonnes of paddy rice, of which 92.28 per cent has entered the market.

"There is a high demand now because both importing and exporting countries have suffered natural disasters," Vichak said.

Bidders are required to have 2 per cent collateral of their bid value. Winners are required to sign a contract with the department within 10 days after the bidding results are announced, and need to start exporting their stocks within 45 days.

The freight on board (FOB) price of jasmine rice is quoted at US$1,119 (Bt36,764) per tonne, increased from $1,116 per tonne on January 6. In addition, 100-per-cent rice is quoted $609, 5-per-cent rice is priced $577, while 10-per-cent sticky rice goes for $779 per tonne. Only 25-per-cent rice dropped from $508 to $505 per tonne.

Source: The Nation


Jan 19, 2010

Govt to get tough on off-season rice crops; Dams fall, raising fear of water shortages.

The government is looking at banning off-season rice farming after a campaign to discourage farmers from planting a second or third crop failed to meet its target.

The government wants to limit the amount of rice being grown because of the fear of a looming water crisis.

Irrigation Department chief Chalit Damrongsak said at the weekend irrigation offices had been told to step up their efforts to dissuade farmers from planting a third crop this year.

Many farmers were planting one crop after the other without giving their land the time necessary to recover.

Mr Chalit said his department would support irrigation offices that come up with their own initiatives to discourage over-planting.

One method adopted was the 12th Irrigation Office's helicopter drop of 500,000 leaflets warning farmers of the likelihood of a water shortage.

The office also gave out a gold award worth about 40,000 baht to the farmer who held the leaflet with the same number as the government's winning lottery number. The award was an incentive to farmers to look carefully at the leaflets.

"If the water shortage becomes even worse, the department might have to ban off-season rice farming," Mr Chalit said.

The irrigation chief said water levels in dams and natural sources had fallen sharply. The level in natural water sources was lower than usual this year because only one storm had passed over the country.

The situation is especially worrying in the Chao Phraya River basin, where the water level has fallen markedly. This is because the demand for water has soared in recent years following the increase in rice planting as a result of higher prices.

High prices have convinced farmers to plant a second crop soon after harvesting the first crop, Mr Chalit said.

A second crop is expected to be planted on an estimated 12 million rai this year, but the department only has plans to supply water for 9 million rai.

Mr Chalit said farmers in the central provinces were now planting whenever they wanted, not just during the rainy season.

The shortage of rainwater had seen the water levels in large dams such as Bhumibol and Sirikit to fall to about 70% of capacity. In other smaller dams, the levels have fallen to 50% to 60% of capacity. Drought is affecting about 30 provinces in the lower North and Northeast.

The Irrigation Department will implement measures to limit water consumption between now and July so there are enough supplies to last the dry season

Source: Bangkok Post


Jan 15, 2010

Drought hits rice harvests in Thailand, Philippines

EL NIÑO threatens to parch rice crops in the Philippines, the world’s biggest importer, and in Thailand, the largest exporter, according to officials in both countries.

“Between 20 and 30 percent of the areas planted to rice in provinces hit by El Niño are at risk of damage due to the dry spell,” Agriculture Undersecretary Emmanuel Paras said.

“That’s why we’re planning measures to counter the effects,” including spending P2 billion.’’

Thailand’s rice output might drop 15 percent to as low as 27 million metric tons in the year that began Oct. 1, from 31.65 million tons a year earlier, Apichart Jongskul, secretary general of the Office, said in Bangkok Thursday.

Lower output in Thailand may limit its capacity to boost shipments to meet additional purchases from importing countries including the Philippines, helping support global prices.

Rice futures rose to a record in April 2008 in Chicago, and the Asian benchmark export price reached its highest level a month later as the Philippines boosted imports and exporters including India and Vietnam curbed shipments, adding to concerns of food shortages that sparked protests from Haiti to Egypt.

While the US Department of Agriculture increased its estimate for this year’s global rice stockpiles, the extra supply was seen coming from India and China, which it did not forecast to increase exports.

“Unfortunately, most of these additional stocks, with the exception of Thailand, will not be available to the market in case prices start to rise,” an economist in Manila said.



Jan 7, 2010

Thailand sets rice export target of 9 million tons for 2010

The Department of Foreign Trade has set the rice export target for 2010 at nine million tons, a value of approximately 5.2 billion U.S. dollars.

The director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade, or DFT, Wichak Wisetnoi said his department has set the rice export target for 2010 at 9 million tons, which is worth about 5 to 5.2 billion U.S. dollars.

Last year, Thailand exported 8.57 million tons of rice, valued at five billion dollars.

Wichak expects rice prices to rise by another 20 to 30 percent. He said the average rice price at the end of 2009 was 584 dollars per ton.

According to the DFT director-general, Africa is the largest market, accounting for 55 percent of total rice exports from Thailand, followed by Asia, at 19 percent, the Middle East, with 11 percent, Europe, buying 7 percent, North America and Latin America combined import 6 percent of Thailand's total rice exports and Oceania, 2 percent.

The worldwide rice supply in 2010 is projected to be 432 million tons while the global consumption is estimated to increase by 0.31 percent to 436.84 million tons.

As for Thailand, 31.48 million tons of rice is expected to hit the local market this year. Of the total production, 23.4 million tons will be from in-season paddies and 8.24 million tons will come from off-season paddies.

Wichak observed that the global rice trade is expected to increase by 5.8 percent, or 30.35 million tons, due to the fact that many countries have increased their rice imports as a result of natural disasters and rising consumption.

Source: TANN


December 16, 2009

Guarantee price for PathumThani rice slammed

Thai rice exporters have spoken out against the government's decision to increase the guaranteed price for Pathum Thani fragrant rice by Bt1,000 a tonne next year, as it will send the wrong signal to farmers to grow more of the strain at the expense of highvalue Hom Mali rice.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, yesterday expressed concern that farmers would grow more Pathum Thani rice than Hom Mali due to higher returns under the guarantee scheme.

"Thai Hom Mali has faced problems over export quality as some importers have comฌbined Hom Mali, which is the highest premium grade of fragrant rice, with Pathum Thani rice, which is of lower quality. Farmers may shift to growing more Pathum Thani as they can get higher yields and better returns," said Chookiat.

The National Rice Policy Committee on Monday agreed to continue its incomeguarantee scheme for next year's crop by increasing the guarantee price from Bt10,000 a tonne to Bt11,000 for Pathum Thani rice.

The committee also agreed to increase the maximum volume of Pathum Thani rice for farmers participating in the guarantee project next year from 25 tonnes to 30 tonnes.

Other rice prices remain unchanged from this year's guarantee project: Bt10,000 a tonne for white rice, Bt9,500 for sticky rice and Bt14,300 for provincial fragrant rice.

Yanyong Phuangrach, permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, said the committee on Monday had also ordered the Foreign Trade Department to consider trading opportunities for rice in the governฌment's stockpiles through governmentto government contracts, the Agriculture Futures Exchange of Thailand and general bidding.

Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu has also ordered the ministry to stimulate exports next year by giving incentives to exporters, he said.

The ministry yesterday reported the govฌernment's reference prices for rice for December 1631: Bt10,212 a tonne for 5percent white rice, Bt12,072 for Pathum Thani rice, Bt11,533 for sticky rice, Bt14,895 a tonne for jasmine rice. The guarantee price for Hom Mali rice is quoted at Bt15,300 a tonne.

Source: The Nation


Dec 8, 2009

Govt to help by delaying release of stockpiles

The government will delay the release of its farm stockpiles to allow farmers to sell their product first, a decision that will likely prove expensive given the government's Bt342-million monthly stockpiling bill.

The government currently has on its hands 6 million tonnes of stockpiled rice; 1.76 million tonnes of tapioca chips; 407,426 tonnes of tapioca flour; and 348,000 tonnes of maize.

Under Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's administration, the government has held farm stockpiles for six months. The government has said it will take steps to ensure that farmers are not adversely affected by release of its stockpiles.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu said the government would select appropriate periods in which to release farm stockpiles, and that selling prices should be in accordance with the market price.

"Whenever the government releases a stockpile in a big lot, traders stop purchasing from farmers. It lowers prices," Korbsak said.

The Commerce Ministry recently negotiated the sale of some maize and tapioca stockpiles, but Korbsak refused to approve the deals, saying the selling price should have been higher given the high demand for the goods.

According to the Commerce Ministry, it is costing the government Bt342 million a month to stockpile rice, tapioca and maize.

It costs Bt216 million a month to stockpile rice, most of this going towards renting warehouses at a price of Bt36 per tonne.

Stockpiling maize costs Bt26 million a month (Bt60/tonne for warehousing and Bt15/tonne for fumigation).

It costs Bt90 million monthly to stockpile tapioca: Bt80 million for tapioca chips and Bt10 million for tapioca flour.

A source at the ministry said the government must consider carefully whether its policy to stock farm goods is worth the cost.

"[The stockpiled] farm goods are deteriorating in quality daily. If the government holds its stockpiles too long, it must shoulder high storage expenses each month even as the goods deteriorate to the point where they cannot be sold," said the source.

However, Korbsak said the government may have no choice but to continue shouldering the costs, as the government's aim is to ensure high prices for farmers.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the system had caused a slowdown in the country's rice-trading system.

"The rice price would increase dramatically if the government released its stockpiles, as importers have delayed placing rice orders in expectation that the government will have to release its stockpiles someday," said Chookiat.

He called on the government to release some of its stockpiles via the futures market, government-to-government projects, and direct sales to exporters.

However, stock releases should be done in small lots to minimise any impact on the market, Chookiat cautioned.

Source: The Nation


Dec 3, 2009

Commerce Min keeps watch on situations in Dubai, Vietnam

The permanent secretary for commerce affirms devaluation of the Vietnamese currency will not hurt Thai rice export as Vietnam's output scale is not as large as Thailand's.

He also pledges to keep a close watch on the Dubai World crisis fallout.

Permanent Secretary for Commerce Yanyong Puangrach admitted the debt crisis facing Dubai World must be kept under a close watch for its effects on Thailand's economic situation.

Yanyong noted the Dubai World fallout will have a slight impact on the export sector.

He expected oil price could slide down over possible increase in Dubai's oil output

He also said the devaluation of the Vietnamese currency may draw investments from Thailand and have negative impact on several export businesses, such as clothing, apparel, footwear and computers.

Yanyong, however, believes the Vietnamese dong's devaluation will post no big threat to Thailand's rice export as the supply from Vietnam is still not sufficient to compete with Thailand's.

Meanwhile, Kasikorn Research Center forecasts the country's rice export in 2010 will enjoy a significant growth as world rice output would decline due to climate change while India and the Philippines need to import more rice as they are still reeling under the effects of recent natural disasters.

The center expects the quantity of the 2010's rice export can reach as high as 10 million tons, a level achieved in 2008, or more.

However, the forecast is made on the assumption that the government and exporters can successfully penetrate into new markets.

In addition, the world price of rice is also expected to increase in line with global economic conditions.

Source: TANN







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