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14th May , 2014

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Ministry of Commerce holds 450,000 ton rice auction for the public, hoping to sell it off quickly WTO chief to visit Korea over rice tariffs Vietnam's rice growers now rely on risky China: experts Rice import to rise fourfold this year India needs hybrid seeds to increase rice production: International Rice Research Institute Salinity may ruin vast tract of arable coastal land Slow water deliveries drag out rice planting season Warm weather helping late La rice crop Rice import to rise fourfold this year Disaster Relief Update:"It's just the meantime that is hard." SA Rice Leaders Attend World Market Price Meeting CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures Shinmei set to build $10M rice bun factory in West Sacramento Slow water deliveries drag out rice planting season Texas crop, weather: Rice two to three weeks behind in some Coastal Bend areas A bigger rice bowl

News Detail…

Ministry of Commerce holds 450,000 ton rice auction for the public, hoping to sell it off quickly Date : 14 พฤษภาคม 2557 BANGKOK, 14 May 2014 (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) opened a rice auction today with the goal of selling off 450,000 tons as quickly as possible, hopefully by the end of this week. The goal is for the MOC to earn enough money to pay the Ministry of Finance (MOF) by the end of the month. The auction was meant for domestic consumption

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and export, and since the morning, many rice mill entrepreneurs and members of the private sector have been offering bids. Tomorrow, a rice stock auction will open bidding through the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand, or AFET, for 220,000 tons of rice.

WTO chief to visit Korea over rice tariffs Roberto Azevedo, director-general of World Trade Organization, will visit Korea on Thursday and Friday, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Wednesday.On the invitation from Trade Minister Yoon Sang-jick, Korean Azevedo is expected to meet high-ranking officials who will determine how widely to open up the country’s rice market. ―Azevedo is expected to share his views on trade issues including ways to boost multilateral trade arrangements, negotiations for the Doha Development Agenda and others,‖ the ministry said.

Azevedo will lecture at Seoul National University and the Institute of Global Economics and meet with the speaker of the National Assembly. He will also meet with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Trade Minister Yoon and Agriculture Minister Lee Dong-phil.Trade and agricultural ministries are scheduled to decide on whether the country will eliminate all tariffs for the rice market from next year, or request another postponement or waiver.Under an agreement made at the Uruguay Round in 1994, Korea’s rice market was fully protected from 1995 to 2004. Then it implemented a 400,000-ton rice import quota from 2005 up to this year.

If Korea requests another postponement of the tariff elimination ― which would require extra approval by 159 WTO member states ― then the import quota would likely have to be raised, insiders say.The WTO was established in 1995 to supervise and liberalize international trade under its General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Korea joined the WTO in 1995. By Bae Ji-sook | The Korea Herald

Vietnam's rice growers now rely on risky China: experts Wednesday, May 14, 2014 19:45 Vietnam’s rice exports now mostly rely on Chinese buyers who accounted for 60 percent of exports in April, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

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China has remained the largest importer of Vietnamese rice since last year, raising concerns among local traders about price squeezing and sudden contract cancellations, experts say.Meanwhile, Vietnam has lost a significant amount of the global market share to Thailand, leaving it heavily reliant on China which took 60 percent of exports in April, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).China is forecast to remain Vietnam's biggest customer in the coming months due to its increasing demand for the grain. Local traders are boosting their exports northwards, mostly through unofficial cross-border channels as global contracts continue to get gobbled up by Thailand, the association said.―Rice shipments both through official and unofficial channels could help Vietnam boost exports and avoid further price decreases during this tough time,‖ Tran Thanh Hai, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Export-Import Department, said.Local traders find it easy to boost shipments to China as their cross-border buyers purchase huge volumes without the strict quality controls imposed on official exports.However, Hai warned traders to be cautious about shipping their products to China. Trading with Chinese companies always comes with a high risk of non-payment as their importers are willing to cancel contracts with Vietnamese exporters as soon as someone offers them a lower price.Pham Tat Thang from the Trade Research Institute said China is a market that every rice exporter wants to infiltrate.As a result it has a lot of options. Meanwhile, Vietnam finds it hard to increase its exports due to falling demand and rising local supply. Losing ground Between January and April, Vietnam saw a year-on-year drop of nearly 19 percent in its rice exports, as Thailand scooped up many of its traditional markets, according to the VFA.The association blamed the drop on its loss of many traditional markets in Africa – the country’s second largest rice export market – to Thailand.

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Malaysia has also stocked up on rice from Thailand to meet demand this year, while Indonesia, another important market for Vietnam, has yet to see demand for imported rice.Capitalizing on the situation, Chinese traders require contracts that stipulate payments be made only after delivery. Under this model, they can force Vietnamese sellers to accept a lower price after the product leaves their hands, Thang said.The traders often cancel contracts if the price of rice fluctuates, he added. Most of the cancelled export contracts (which accounted for 54 percent of all contracts last year) were bound for China, according to the VFA.Trinh Van Tien of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development said that given the lower transport costs, Vietnamese exporters have a lot to gain from selling rice to China.But he warned that such cross-border sales may prove dangerous for Vietnam. ―The Ministry of Industry and Trade cannot monitor the exact volume of exports under this model,‖ he said. If small traders start seeing large profits and increase rice purchases from farmers for cross-border exports that could cause difficulties for other traders in buying rice to fulfill their official export contracts. In this way, a rise in cross-border trading could destroy Vietnam’s official export system, he explained.According to the VFA, some Chinese traders could ask Vietnamese partners to mix low-quality white rice with jasmine and then resell the lot as jasmine rice to earn bigger profits. This could reduce the prestige of Vietnamese rice on the world market, it added.Tien said Vietnamese traders should more carefully consider contracts with Chinese partners to minimize risks to their businesses and the domestic industry as a whole.Last year, Vietnam sold nearly 2 million tons of rice to China, or 33.2 percent of its total export volume of the grain. Difficulties ahead VFA estimated that Vietnam will export some 6.2 million tons of rice this year, compared to 6.5-7 million forecast at the beginning of the year.Tien of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development said the world rice market is seeing an oversupply in the short term. Some countries which used to depend on rice imports are increasing their production of the grain to ensure food security. Indonesia and Malaysia used to import large quantities of rice, but have reduced imports since they've increased production.

Meanwhile, the global supply has increased. Thailand began hoarding rice in 2011 to keep export prices high, but the program failed. Today, Thailand’s inventory is estimated at some 15 million tons.The huge increase in supply has also been attributed to rising production and exports from India whose exports exceeded Vietnam’s in 2013. India's highly competitive low-quality rice pulled the average global price down to US$400 per ton late last year, from over $550 a year earlier.―If there nothing like a severe natural disaster affects global rice production, the market will see prices fall due to an oversupply, and importers will have more choices,‖ he said.

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Ngan Anh Thanh Nien News

Rice import to rise fourfold this year Star Business Report Bangladesh's rice import may rise fourfold to five lakh tonnes this year, compared to that in 2013, due to availability of low-priced Indian rice, the US Department of Agriculture said in its April prediction.However, the US agency had predicted in March that rice import might be three lakh tonnes this year.Rice production will be 3.55 crore tonnes in the current fiscal year due to increased plantation, against around 3.38 crore tonnes in the previous year, it said.Rice acreage area has increased year-on-year in Bangladesh, along with Brazil, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. ―Much of this area expansion is driven by higher government support prices," it said.The USDA also raised its global rice production forecast for 2013-14 to a record 47.56 crore tonnes, which is eight lakh tonnes higher from the agency's March forecast.South Asia and Southeast Asia are projected to produce record rice crops on a year-on-year basis, the USDA said.The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of Bangladesh also said production area of boro rice, the main cereal crop, increased to 48 lakh hectares this year, from 47.60 lakh hectares a year ago.The DAE expects a slightly higher boro production than its target of 1.89 crore tonnes set for the current boro season. The USDA said ending stocks will be higher in Bangladesh for 2013-14. Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2014

India needs hybrid seeds to increase rice production: International Rice Research Institute Taste is one of the main reasons Indian farmers are not taking to cultivation of high-yield hybrid rice varieties developed by scientists and research institutes across the globe, said experts.PATNA: Taste is one of the main reasons Indian farmers are not taking to cultivation of high-yield hybrid rice varieties developed by scientists and research institutes across the globe, experts said today. "One of the main reasons that Indian cultivators are not planting the latest hybrid rice varieties is they do not like the taste. The other reasons are lack of awareness and access to the better seed varieties," saidInternational Rice Research Institute (IRRI) senior scientist Takashi Yamano.

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Yamano was among several scientists from different countries who spoke at the inaugural session of the two-day 'Seed Summit on Enhancing the Seed Supply Chain in Eastern India', organised here by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA). The yield of rice is in the range of three tonnes per hectare in India. The yield of rice in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia is almost double in comparison to India, Yamano said. "Indian farmers are using hybrid seed varieties of rice generated 20 to 30 years ago, despite the fact that better varieties have been released over the last two decades. Cultivators of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Northeast India lag way behind other Indian states in the use of hybrid seeds.

This keeps productivity at a very low level," said Yamano. David J Spielman, Senior Research Fellow at USbased International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said taste and cooking quality proves to be a hindrance when it comes to adoption of hybrid varieties, but expressed the hope that the situation would improve in the coming years to help provide food security cover to a billion people in India. "We have the example of IR36, the hybrid rice variety which is widely planted across the globe. In the beginning, farmers in India resisted it in 1960s and 1970s on the grounds of taste, but it has become very popular now. We hope the latest high yield hybrids will also catch up in the same way," said Spielman. Speaking at the summit CSISA Hub Activities Coordinator R K Malik was all praise for Bihar as it was excelling in adoption of high-yield variety of hybrid seeds of maize and rice, which was leading to a rapid increase in productivity. "Maize productivity in Bihar has risen from 1.8 tonne per hectare to 2.7 tonne in the recent years due to very good adoption of hybrid seeds for the winter or Rabi maize crop. However there is much scope for improvement in the Kharif or summer maize crop as the use of hybrid seeds is still low," added Malik. The two-day summit will focus on prioritising hybrid seed breeding, increasing seed replacement, leveraging civil society organisations and government bodies to ensure better adoption of new varieties of seeds and ensuring continuous supply of seeds to farmers during the planting season.

Salinity may ruin vast tract of arable coastal land Abu Bakar Siddique

Climate change-triggered sea level rise boosting salinity well above what scientists can ever reach

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Environment alists have warned that vast stretches of coastal arable land in Bangladesh may become barren because of an alarming rise in salinitydue toa climate changetriggered rise in sea level.Researc hers say none of the existing varieties of salinity-tolerant rice can stand the level of salinity that has affected some of the coastal districts.In fact, the best salinity-tolerant variety that could be developed was nowhere near the level already reached, scientists said.

Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) have invented seven varieties of rice that can stand salinity of up to 8 deci Siemens per metre (dS/M).However, studies have shown that salinity in more than half of the arable lands in five coastal districts have gone well past that level.According to a study conducted by the Soil Resource Development Institute, the level of salinity in 79,000 hectares of affected land in the Khulna district was identified as S3 – meaning the salinity ranged from 8.1dS/M to 16dS/M.Similarly, 62,000 hectares in Patuakhali, 99,000 in Satkhira, 62,000 in Bagerhat and 38,000 hectares of salinity-affected lands in Barguna were also tagged S3.The study also showed that in 1973, some 8.33 lakh hectares of land in 19 coastal districts were salinity-affected. Now, the figure stands at 10.2 lakh hectares.Jiban Krishna Biswas, director general of BRRI, said paddy can be made tolerant to 12dS/M of salinity, at best. Moreover, the salinity-tolerant breeds developed by the BRRI and BINA have failed to gain popularity among the farmers because of their low productivity and high irrigation dependency.Agricultural Economist Prof Shamsul Alam, a member of the Planning Commission, said: ―Farmers opted for those varieties that were comfortable to produce and rejected those that were substandard in quality and lacked financial viability.

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‖He also said: ―BRRI 28 and BRRI 29 have been the most popular [non salinity-tolerant hybrid] varieties for the last 20 years because they were farmer-friendly and ensured more production for less irrigation.‖Jiban Krishna suggested that coastal growers should change their paddy farming habits and opt for crops such as soybean, maize, barley and sugarcane.The traditional varieties of most crops can withstand salinity of up to 0.7dS/M.Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, said current trends indicate that salinity is going to affect bigger stretches of coastal lands with higher degreesof intensity.

He said: ―Because of global warming, sea levels have been rising. Since Bangladesh is a delta, the salinity of sea water is pushing up the rivers, making the adjacent lands highly saline.‖The situation is nothing short of a disaster, said Atiq, who worked as a climate scientist with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).Specialists also said the situation in Bangladesh is unique. Other major rice-producers such as the Philippines are mostly affected by harsh weather conditions – another effect of the global climate change.

Slow water deliveries drag out rice planting season Rice growers in California are slogging away at planting as the slow pace of water deliveries has them off to a late start. While planting is usually nearly finished by now, some growers expect to be planting into June.WILLOWS, Calif. — The slow pace of water deliveries in California’s Sacramento Valley is making for a long, drawn-out rice planting season.While most growers would be finishing up by now in a normal year, many have only recently started planting and the work could continue into June, some farmers say.―Our ground work is going well but water availability is very poor,‖ said Larry Maben, a rice farmer here. ―Even though Glenn Colusa (Irrigation District) ended up with a 75 percent allocation we can’t get water to flood with down here. I should be two-thirds done but I’ve just started.‖Water is coming in a veritable trickle because exchange contractors along the river have agreed to shift their delivery schedules to maintain the right river temperatures for winter run salmon.Federal officials announced last month that the exchange contractors’ allocations would be boosted from 40 percent to 75 percent, but deliveries would wait until May so that more water could be left in Shasta Lake to be used later in temperature-controlled releases.Rice is typically planted between mid-April and mid-May, with harvests coming six months later. While some growers expected to leave some fields unplanted because of a lack of water, Maben said he intends to plant everything — eventually.

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―We’re going to be planting into June, and we really don’t want to be doing that,‖ he said. ―My original intention was to plant everything. I think I can still get it done, but it’s just going to be a long, slow process. The later you plant in springtime, the later your harvest in the fall.‖Leo LaGrande, a grower near Williams, Calif., said he expects to plant about 20 percent of his crop in June.―It’s difficult to get any water off the canal system,‖ he said. ―The pumping station is pumping at 50 or 60 percent of capacity right now until they’re able to ramp up … A lot of the fields are ready to go, but we’re just waiting for water delivery. Capacity is not happening yet.‖Rice is planted with airplanes that sprinkle the seed over fields flooded with a shallow layer of water. Growers want to plant quickly as water becomes available, so work is ramping up suddenly for area aviation services, including Hendrickson Air Service here.―What has happened is everyone’s getting backed up because they only release so much water at a time and everyone wants their water now,‖ pilot Mike Chaffee said. ―There’s a scramble for growers to get water on the fields.‖With the drought in its third year, the National Agricultural Statistics Service predicted rice acreage in California would drop by 20 percent this year, to 450,000 acres. Acreages for other field crops are also dramatically down, including for corn (28 percent), cotton (28 percent to 35 percent) and winter wheat (15 percent), according to NASS’ prospective plantings report.About two-fifths of the rice crop was sown by the end of last week, NASS reported. Charley Mathews, a grower near Marysville, Calif., said he’s about halfway done.―The weather has been good,‖ he said. ―Typically if you have good weather like this when you seed, it’ll increase your odds of a good crop. It’s really a factor of what the summer weather looks like.‖ Image: Tim Hearden/Capital Press Mike Chafee, a pilot for Hendrickson Air Service in Willows, Calif., checks the oil in his crop duster on May 12. Rice growers say slow water deliveries have made for a drawn-out planting season.

Warm weather helping late La rice crop THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BATON ROUGE, La. -- Warm weather is helping the 2014 Louisiana rice crop after a cold, wet spring that delayed planting for many farmers."In general, the crop is off to a pretty good start," said Steve Linscombe, rice breeder and director of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station. "It's probably a little bit later than average but not as late as last year, and last year we had the best crop we ever had," he said.Linscombe told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1uWuEKf) the state acreage may increase by 10,000 to 15,000 acres this year, compared with last year's total of 412,000 acres. Considerably more medium-grain rice is being grown in Louisiana, especially in north Louisiana, he said. "I've had several calls from producers planting medium-grain for the first time — or the first time in a long time."Water allocation reductions in California where a large amount of medium-grain rice is grown had increased medium-grain acreage in other rice-growing states, Linscombe said. Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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Rice import to rise fourfold this year Star Business Report Bangladesh's rice import may rise fourfold to five lakh tonnes this year, compared to that in 2013, due to availability of low-priced Indian rice, the US Department of Agriculture said in its April prediction.However, the US agency had predicted in March that rice import might be three lakh tonnes this year.Rice production will be 3.55 crore tonnes in the current fiscal year due to increased plantation, against around 3.38 crore tonnes in the previous year, it said.Rice acreage area has increased year-on-year in Bangladesh, along with Brazil, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. ―Much of this area expansion is driven by higher government support prices," it said.The USDA also raised its global rice production forecast for 2013-14 to a record 47.56 crore tonnes, which is eight lakh tonnes higher from the agency's March forecast.South Asia and Southeast Asia are projected to produce record rice crops on a year-on-year basis, the USDA said.The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of Bangladesh also said production area of boro rice, the main cereal crop, increased to 48 lakh hectares this year, from 47.60 lakh hectares a year ago.The DAE expects a slightly higher boro production than its target of 1.89 crore tonnes set for the current boro season.

The USDA said ending stocks will be higher in Bangladesh for 2013-14. Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Disaster Relief Update "It's just the meantime that is hard." Arkansas Rice Depot continues to respond to the areas affected by the April 27th storms. To date we've distributed nearly 50,000 pounds of food and supplies. We know that this is only the beginning of rebuilding the communities affected by April’s storms, but it is a meaningful first step. In Vilonia, Jennifer excitedly ran up to our one stop distribution site. We had our 18 wheeler parked and loaded with dry goods and frozen food boxes, school supply kits, personal health kits and buckets full of cleaning supplies. ―I’ve

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been waiting for y’all!‖ Jennifer exclaimed. Her home was badly affected three years ago and she remembers our presence specifically in the aftermath of that difficult season. This time her family sustained a total loss. In the wake of the tornado, ―life feels like endless errands. Trying to find help clearing the land, making insurance claims, taking phone calls, and a million other little things. But we know we’re the lucky ones. We have what we really need,‖ she says pulling her two elementary age boys into an embrace. ―And we will eventually get a lot of the stuff back. It’s just the meantime that is hard.‖ Our mission to end hunger in Arkansas has much more to do with hope than food. Hungry stomachs need food but maybe more importantly, hungry souls need hope. Your support allows us to help families like Jennifer’s through the meantime, until they are back on their feet. ―We’re just so grateful that people show up. We could not do this on our own.‖ Likewise, we simply cannot accomplish our mission without you. Though our efforts may become less visible in the coming days, we will continue to provide resources to our partner agencies in each community and respond to those in need. Thank you for your continued support that makes hope for the hurting possible. BATON ROUGE, LA -- Two bills, (HB 886 and HB 1045), funding vital research and promotion efforts for the state rice industry were unanimously approved by the Louisiana State Senate yesterday. The bills passed the House last month, and now head to Governor Jindal for his approval. The bills make changes to the Louisiana Rice Check-Off statutes introduced in response to the state Supreme Court's ruling late last year that elements of the statutes, created forty years ago, were unconstitutional.The newly minted legislation was the result of unprecedented unity from all segments of the $2 billion state industry and sets assessments at current levels, expands the size of the rice research and promotion boards by two seats each, and provides a refund provision for any growers who do not wish to support research or promotion activities funded by check-off dollars.

"The rice research and rice promotion programs are both key components to the success and sustainability of our Rice Industry today and for generations to come. I am glad we were able to come together collectively as a Rice Industry and pass this legislation," said Richard Fontenot, chairman of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Rice Advisory Committee."In 1972 our predecessors had the foresight to initiate grower-directed rice research and promotion check-off programs to ensure a viable industry for years to come," said John Owen, a rice farmer from Rayville, Louisiana and president of the Louisiana Rice Growers Association. "I greatly admire their forward thinking and I, along with every other grower in the state, am reaping the benefits of that vision today. I am pleased that all segments of the Louisiana rice industry came together to lead efforts to ensure that these critical check-off programs continue."

Contact: Randy Jemison, (337) 738-7009

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SA Rice Leaders Attend World Market Price Meeting Getting a global perspective on rice WASHINGTON, DC -- Members of the USA Rice Federation World Market Price Subcommittee met this morning with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Economic Research Service (ERS) to discuss a broad range U.S. rice industry issues. The discussion included perspectives on the March prospective plantings report, domestic rice stocks, NASS yield and price reporting issues, and a review of the world and U.S. supply/demand situation. The group focused closely on a number of rice trade issues, including policy updates regarding the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Market access issues in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan and the ongoing efforts of USDA to finalize a phytosanitary protocol with China for U.S. rice were discussed, along with a review of the global situation including Thailand, India, Vietnam, Brazil, and Iraq.The next subcommittee meeting with USDA is scheduled for October. Contact: Kristen Dayton, (703) 236-1464

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures CME Group (Preliminary): Closing Rough Rice Futures for May 14

Month

Price

Net Change

May 2014

$15.205

- $0.025

July 2014

$15.280

- $0.045

September 2014

$14.480

+ $0.065

November 2014

$14.605

+ $0.065

January 2015

$14.780

+ $0.060

March 2015

$14.875

+ $0.040

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May 2015

$14.875

+ $0.040

July 2015

$14.875

UNCH

May 14, 2014, 6:06am PDT

Shinmei set to build $10M rice bun factory in West Sacramento The $10 million Shinmei Co. Ltd. rice bun factory in West Sacramento begins construction this month. The Kobe, Japan-based company is building a 28,000-square-foot building on 6 acres in the Southport Business Park to make rice buns, a popular product in Japan and much of Asia. This factory is meant to expand the gluten-free rice bun product to the Americas.When it opens — now expected in February 2015 — the plant will have a capacity of making 6,000 buns per hour, or 40 million buns per year. Over the course of eight years, production could get up to 300 million buns per year.At a news conference in Octoberannouncing the plant, Japanese company officials said they wanted it open by this summer. That schedule turned out to be too aggressive.The factory will use state-of-the-art cooking and processing equipment never seen before in the United States. It is being imported from Shinmei in Japan.Sacramento builder Potter Taylor & Co. is developing the site and will build the plant as a fee developer. Shinmei will own the plant.

When it opens, the plant will employ 100 people, and it could eventually grow to 500 employees, making it one of the largest employers in West Sacramento.Last year, Japan’s Nippon Shokken opened a plant to make sauces for the global market in West Sacramento. The Shinmei plant will be next to the Nippon plant in Southport.The Sacramento Valley is a leading rice producing region, and West Sacramento has had a long string of success with food production companies such as Norway’s Tomra Sorting Solutions and Germany’s Bayer CropScience opening or building in West Sacramento. It also has been home to domestic food distribution and manufacturing, including Farm Fresh to You, Tony’s Fine Foods, Nor Cal Beverage, Raley’s and Farmers' Rice Cooperative.Mark Anderson covers technology, banking and finance, medtech and biotech, venture capital, energy, mining, hotels, restaurants and tourism for the Sacramento Business Journal.

Slow water deliveries drag out rice planting season Tim Hearden

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Published: May 13, 2014 10:59AM Rice growers in California are slogging away at planting as the slow pace of water deliveries has them off to a late start. While planting is usually nearly finished by now, some growers expect to be planting into June.WILLOWS, Calif. — The slow pace of water deliveries in California’s Sacramento Valley is making for a long, drawn-out rice planting season.While most growers would be finishing up by now in a normal year, many have only recently started planting and the work could continue into June, some farmers say.―Our ground work is going well but water availability is very poor,‖ said Larry Maben, a rice farmer here. ―Even though Glenn Colusa (Irrigation District) ended up with a 75 percent allocation … we can’t get water to flood with down here. I should be two-thirds done but I’ve just started.‖Water is coming in a veritable trickle because exchange contractors along the river have agreed to shift their delivery schedules to maintain the right river temperatures for winter run salmon.Federal officials announced last month that the exchange contractors’ allocations would be boosted from 40 percent to 75 percent, but deliveries would wait until May so that more water could be left in Shasta Lake to be used later in temperature-controlled releases.Rice is typically planted between mid-April and mid-May, with harvests coming six months later. While some growers expected to leave some fields unplanted because of a lack of water, Maben said he intends to plant everything — eventually.―We’re going to be planting into June, and we really don’t want to be doing that,‖ he said. ―My original intention was to plant everything. I think I can still get it done, but it’s just going to be a long, slow process. The later you plant in springtime, the later your harvest in the fall.‖Leo LaGrande, a grower near Williams, Calif., said he expects to plant about 20 percent of his crop in June.―It’s difficult to get any water off the canal system,‖ he said. ―The pumping station is pumping at 50 or 60 percent of capacity right now until they’re able to ramp up … A lot of the fields are ready to go, but we’re just waiting for water delivery. Capacity is not happening yet. ‖Rice is planted with airplanes that sprinkle the seed over fields flooded with a shallow layer of water. Growers want to plant quickly as water becomes available, so work is ramping up suddenly for area aviation services, including Hendrickson Air Service here.―What has happened is everyone’s getting backed up because they only release so much water at a time and everyone wants their water now,‖ pilot Mike Chaffee said. ―There’s a scramble for growers to get water on the fields.‖With the drought in its third year, the National Agricultural Statistics Service predicted rice acreage in California would drop by 20 percent this year, to 450,000 acres.

Acreages for other field crops are also dramatically down, including for corn (28 percent), cotton (28 percent to 35 percent) and winter wheat (15 percent), according to NASS’ prospective plantings report.About two-fifths of the rice crop was sown by the end of last week, NASS reported. Charley Mathews, a grower near Marysville, Calif., said he’s about halfway done.―The weather has been good,‖ he said. ―Typically if you have good weather like this when you seed, it’ll increase your odds of a good crop. It’s really a factor of what the summer weather looks like

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Texas crop, weather: Rice two to three weeks behind in some Coastal Bend areas By Robert Burns, Texas A&M May 14, 2014

COLLEGE STATION – Much of the state received much-needed rain May 12 -13 — torrential in some cases — greatly benefiting all crops, according to the National Weather Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.In the last week, east of Interstate 45, the state received from 3 to 6 inches of rain, according to the service. West of I-45, many areas received substantial rain too, more than 2 inches, but the Panhandle, parts of the South Plains and Far West regions remained largely dry. Rice, as it’s an irrigated crop, is not as dependent upon rain as other crops, but rain was still welcomed because it helps recharge the lakes and irrigation sources, said Tyler Fitzgerald, AgriLife Extension agent in Chambers County, east of Houston on the Coastal Bend.Chambers County remains one of the major rice producing counties in Texas. This year, as last year, an unseasonably cool spring and late freezes delayed planting and slowed growth, according to Fitzgerald. ―Rice is estimated right now to be in the neighborhood of 85 to 95 percent planted in the Chambers County area,‖ he said. ―I would estimate it’s about the same for rice in Jefferson County, as our counties have similar growing conditions.‖Though late freezes were a factor in delayed planting this year, a wet spring was the biggest hindrance, he said. Currently, the crop is about two to three weeks behind. This shouldn’t affect yields, but it may limit taking a postharvest regrowth crop, called a ratoon crop.―Though rain typically does not affect the growth of rice, it does affect guys being able to get in the fields and work,‖ Fitzgerald said. ―When it gets really dry, as it has been, rain helps dissolve clods and make it easier to plant. And we have hay producers who are certainly welcoming it as well.‖

This machine sitting in this rice field near Hankamer may look like something out of a Dr. Suess book, but rice farmers call it a "Daizig," according to Tyler Fitzgerald, Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine www.ricepluss.com News and R&D Section mujajhid.riceplus@gmail.com Cell # 92 321 369 2874


AgriLife Extension agent in Chambers County. These tractors are used for "puddling," making small channels in paddies to allow water to drain and rice to germinate. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/.AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:Central: Soil moisture was fair, as was the condition of rangeland and pastures. Livestock were in good condition. However, only irrigated small grains showed much promise. Most dryland small grains had been abandoned except for those that had enough growth to bale for hay. Bermuda grass that was not irrigated did not have enough moisture to recover from the April 15 frost, and many fields were still brown . Wheat crops were severely damaged by the freeze and lack of rain in many areas. Heavy rains midweek caused some mature wheat fields to lay over. The rain did help fill ponds and stock tanks and benefited corn, cotton, sorghum and forages. Coastal Bend: In most counties, the wheat harvest was well under way, and corn was tasseling. Grain sorghum and cotton looked good following much-needed rain late last week. Throughout the district, rainfall amounts ranged from 0.18 inch to 4 inches. The moisture was critical to crops due to the scarcity of rain during mid- to late-April, with virtually none during the first of May. Forecasts were calling for more rain the next few days, followed by another cool front and drying trend. Ponds were restored to capacity, and the last cutting of cool-season grasses for hay was nearly completed. Forage producers were applying herbicides and fertilizer to fields of warm-season grasses. East: Most counties received as much as 4 inches of much-needed rain. Producers were preparing for hay season; many were applying fertilizer while others were cleaning up fields, cutting ryegrass hay and applying weed controls. Winter forages such as ryegrass and clovers were in seed stage as warm-season forages finally came on strong. However, producers continued to bale winter forages due to hay shortages the past couple of years. Commercial onion, vegetable, corn and watermelon crops all looked good. Area row-crop farmers were seeing great growth in cultivated vegetables. Many of the crops were already starting to flower and produce. Henderson County producers continued evaluating the impact of the late frost in April. Cattle were in good condition. Wood County livestock producers continued to provide some supplemental feed. Spring calving was mostly completed except for late calves. Feral hogs were active. Far West: Winds above 50 mph coupled with dry conditions made for extremely high wildfire danger. Cooler temperatures earlier in the week gave way to highs topping 100 degrees. Some light and spotty precipitation was quickly dried out by the high winds. Farmers continued to prepare to plant cotton. Sunflower planting was expected to be completed soon. Landowners continued to provide supplemental feed for livestock and wildlife. They were also finishing shearing and expected to begin shipping animals soon. North: Topsoil moisture ranged from short to adequate after the region received 2 or more inches of rain. Highs were in the upper 80s, with wind speeds 20-25 mph. Windy weather during much of the month dried out soil moisture, so the rain

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was much needed. The higher day and night temperatures also caused winter pastures to decline. Producers were harvesting excess ryegrass for hay. Pastures were in fair condition. In Kaufman County, winter ryegrass and wheat headed out. Collin County reported that their wheat is about 75 to 80 percent headed out. Corn and sunflowers were in good condition throughout the region. Bermuda grass and bahia grass was actively growing. Livestock were in good condition. Camp and Kaufman counties reported feral hog damage. Titus County reported increased fly populations and lots of buttercup weeds. Panhandle: The region continued to be hot, dry and windy. Soil moisture was mostly very short. Producers were planting, irrigating and trying to stop soils from blowing. Wheat condition varied by county. In Deaf Smith County, wheat deteriorated further, with many fields being harvested as silage or hay. Other farmers continued to irrigate fields in an effort make a grain crop. Hansford County reported irrigated wheat was fair to good, while Wheeler County reported it as a loss. Farmers were planting corn at a rapid pace. Many producers were turning on center pivots immediately after planting to get the crop established. Growers were just starting to plant cotton as they finished planting corn. Rangeland was in very poor condition, and grazing was not an option for most. Supplemental feeding of cattle was ongoing. The danger of wildfire remained high. Rolling Plains: The drought worsened. Thunderstorms built up around the region but moved off quickly, bringing only wind, clouds and a trace of moisture. High temperatures climbed toward the triple digits, and topsoil was blown away and forages desiccated. Much of the winter wheat crop was baled for hay or grazed out. Wheat left to produce grain was in poor to fair condition. Estimated yields ranged from 4 to 20 bushels per acre. Livestock were in fair condition, but with pastures and wheat grazing playing out, producers were facing the inevitable: selling off what cattle they had left. Farmers were readying for planting, but without any soil moisture, they’ll just be wasting seed in the ground. As drought conditions persisted, area towns were facing water restrictions. South: The region had warm to hot days and persistently high winds. The region did have some rainfall, from light showers to as much as 4 inches in some areas. In the northern part of the region, oats were 100 percent headed and in excellent condition. Winter wheat, corn and sorghum were in fair condition, with harvesting beginning in some counties. Potato harvesting was in full swing, and peanut growers were preparing fields for planting. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued at a steady pace in McMullen County. Although recent rains helped, without more rain soon to improve grazing, McMullen County ranchers expected to have to liquidate herds. In the eastern part of the region, as much as 3 inches of rain was received in some areas. Rangeland and pasture conditions ranged from fair to poor. Soil moisture varied from 100 percent adequate to 40 percent short. Wheat was 100 percent headed and in fair condition .

All co rn had emerged, with 5 percent silking. Sorghum was in fair condition. In Kleberg and Kenedy counties, 15 percent of cotton was squaring. The western part of the region remained mostly dry. Soil moisture was mostly adequate throughout the area except for Dimmit County, where it was rated short. Rangeland and pastures remained in fair to poor condition. Farmers continued planting sorghum for forage and grain and cutting coastal Bermuda grass for hay. Wheat and oat harvesting was active. The spinach season ended. Onion harvesting began in the middle of the week, and corn and

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cotton under irrigation were progressing well. Pecan trees began setting nuts, and producers were scouting for the first generation of case bearers. In the southern part of the region, warm and windy weather continued, no rainfall was reported, except in Willacy County, which received 1 inch to 1.5 inches. Soil moisture conditions ranged from short to 70 percent adequate. Rangeland and pastures were in fai r condit ion, and supplemental feeding of livestock ceased due to good grazing. Irrigation was ongoing on corn and sorghum. In some areas, grain sorghum was changing color. Cotton and all vegetable crops were progressing well. In Starr County, onion harvesting continued as well as hay baling and buffel grass seed harvesting. In Willacy County, the majority of the sorghum crops had headed and began changing color. South Plains: The region had very warm temperatures, with highs in the upper 90s and gusty winds blowing dirt. Parts of Crosby County received isolated showers. A few cotton growers in Crosby County began planting. Cotton planting was expected to shift into high gear within a week. Garza County also received scattered showers midweek, from a trace to 0.2 inch. Wind and high temperatures dried out forages that were trying to grow with the snow moisture received a few months ago. Rangeland and pastures were declining. Some livestock producers were moving cattle to deferred pastures, or increasing supplemental feeding where that option was not available. Hockley County reported soil temperatures were high enough for cotton planting. However, some producers were waiting for more moisture before making cropping decisions. Cochran County producers began planting dryland cotton and peanuts even though subsoil and topsoil moi sture wa s very low. Winter wheat, pasture and range remained extremely dry. Floyd County producers began planting cotton and heavily irrigating. Scurry County received from 0.4 inch to 2 inches of rain, depending on the location. In Swisher County, wheat progressed enough with added irrigation to give some farmers a chance to have a grain crop. Others were cutting triticale for hay. Dryland wheat is considered to be at least a 70 percent loss in most cases. Southeast: Soil moisture throughout the region varied widely. In most counties it was adequate, though some counties reported it to be 100 percent very short. Rangeland and pasture ratings varied widely too, from very poor to excellent, with good to fair ratings being the most common. Much of the area remained dry, and as daytime temperatures increased, grazing and crops were likely to deteriorate. There were exceptions, however. Parts of Montgomery County received from 0.5 to nearly 2 inches of rain. Orange County also received scattered rains, which improved soil moisture and stimulated forage growth. Waller County producers took advantage of the dry conditions to harvest hay. Brazos County farmers started to irrigate corn, cotton, sorghum and soybeans. Small-grain fields there were fully headed and turning color. Cool-season grasses were being baled. Warm-season grasses had yet to come on. Southwest: Dry, warm and windy weather was the general rule for the area, with some scattered showers occurring in about 10 percent of the region. In most cases, the showers did not amount to much. Soils and rangeland were very dry, and grasses and field crops were showing signs of drought stress. Cotton and grain sorghum emerged only with the aid of irrigation. Livestock remained in good condition.

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A bigger rice bowl Another green revolution is stirring in the world’s paddy fields THAILAND | From the print edition

A SEED of rice that could transform the developing world saved Asha Ram Pal’s farm in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the summer of 2008. Mr Pal had planted rice on his small plot, not much bigger than a football field. Floods are an ever-present threat in the state, making it one of the poorest places in the world. And that year the monsoon was particularly heavy, remembers Bob Zeigler, director of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Mr Pal’s fields flooded for two weeks after he planted the rice seedlings; a few weeks later, they were inundated again. He thought his crop was lost.

His neighbours advised him to do what they have always done when the floods come: prepare for hunger.But this time Mr Pal had planted an experimental seed developed by scientists from IRRI in the Philippines. The seed has a genetic sequence bred into it which puts it into a sort of suspended animation when submerged. Instead of drowning, Mr Pal’s rice sprang back when the water receded. In a normal year he gets a tonne or so from his 1-hectare (2.5-acre) plot; in a bad year nothing. In that terrible flooded season, he harvested 4.5 tonnes—as good a yield as on any rain-fed paddy in the world.

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Flood-resistant rice is now spreading as fast as the waters themselves. Five years after the first field trials, 5m farmers across the world are planting more than a dozen varieties of rice with flood-resistant genes, collectively called ―Sub 1‖. They are proliferating even faster than new rice varieties during the heady early days of the first green revolution in the 1960s. ―And Sub 1 is the first of a new generation of seeds,‖ says Mr Zeigler. If all goes well, over the next few years plants that tolerate drought, salinity and extreme heat will revolutionise the cultivation of mankind’s most important source of calories. But that will depend on the technology working as promised and, in particular, on public policies that support a second green revolution. Neither is guaranteed.The first green revolution helped save the developing world from disaster. Two plant breeders, Norman Borlaug with wheat and M.S. Swaminathan with rice, persuaded governments in Asia and elsewhere to encourage the planting of higheryielding varieties, especially of rice; 3.5 billion people, half of mankind, get a fifth of their calories or more from the stuff. When the men started work in the early 1960s, China was suffering the famine of the Great Leap Forward. And India was widely thought to be on the brink of starvation.Today in Asia, famines are things of the past. One reason is the spread of democracy. Another is the green revolution, which has ensured that there is plenty of rice—India even exports it. And demand seems to be shrinking: the richest Asian countries, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, are eating less rice. This has led governments which once supported the green revolution to think that a new one would be unnecessary. Rice, they reason, is a problem that has been solved. Better to improve the diets that are causing obesity or change the intensive-farming practices that are damaging the environment.But it is not clear that the mission has been accomplished. In Asia as a whole, consumption per person is flat, not falling. The population is still growing, so demand for rice is rising on the continent where 90% of the crop is raised. In Africa, where a third of the population depends on rice, demand is rising by almost 20% a year. At that rate rice will surpass maize as Africa’s main source of calories within 20 years. Seeds of stagnation As a rule of thumb, if the world’s population grows by 1 billion, an extra 100m tonnes of rice is required to feed them. Given current world-population forecasts, total rice consumption, now under 450m tonnes, is likely to grow to 500m tonnes a year by 2020 and to 555m by 2035—an increase of 1.2-1.5% a year. That would be manageable if rice yields were also growing at that rate. But they are not.

They are rising at barely half that pace.The first green revolution almost doubled yields from 1.9 tonnes a hectare in 1950-64 to 3.5 tonnes in 1985-98. Even that was only enough to keep pace with population growth: yields and population rose at the same rate (1.75% a year) in the half century after the green revolution

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started.Now the gains seem to have levelled off. Plant breeders fear that, with current technology, ten tonnes a hectare for rice in intensive-farming systems may be the limit, though it is not clear why. What is clear is that, out in the fields, output per hectare is stalling, and in some places falling.

For 25 years, IRRI has been planting a field using its best seeds. The field itself has remained much the same: the bugs and microbes that live in the roots of the rice plant mean that soil fertility is maintained even if three crops are grown each year. But output from the plot has fallen from nine to ten tonnes a hectare in the early 1990s to seven to eight tonnes now, as pests and diseases have taken their toll. Rice yields were rising at 2.5% a year between 1962 and 1982. But between 1992 and 2012 growth fell to just 0.8% a year (see chart 1). The facts of rice Without new seeds, yields will decline further. Global warming will tend to push harvests down: higher night-time temperatures are associated with lower yields. The richest rice-growing areas in the world are the deltas of Asia’s great rivers, such as the Mekong, Brahmaputra and Irawaddy; they are vulnerable to rising sea levels and increased salinity, which kills rice. The plant uses two to three times as much water as other cereals (largely for levelling the paddies; the plant itself consumes no more than wheat or maize), but water is scarce everywhere. And each year the spread of Asian—especially Chinese—cities converts millions of acres of good rice-growing land into buildings and roads. The consequences could be momentous. Rice plays a role in Asian societies that is hard for outsiders to appreciate. (A small example: Toyota means ―bountiful rice field‖ and Honda means ―main rice field‖.) In the river basins that are the world’s rice bowls, nothing else will grow with the same productivity. It is rice or nothing, and if there are problems with rice, there are problems with everything. A rice shortage would have geopolitical implications. No Indian or Chinese government could contemplate the possibility with equanimity. They would do whatever it takes to ensure they have enough rice. If this pushes up world food prices, so be it. If they must twist the arms of exporting countries, they will. If Asia’s giants feel insecure, their neighbours will tremble. So a lot is riding on boosting rice yields. But how likely is it that a second green revolution will take off?

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The first was a relatively simple affair, technologically at least. Conventional rice varieties were long and leggy. If you gave them fertiliser, they grew too tall and fell over. That changed in 1962, when IRRI released a dwarf variety called IR8. Because its stem was short, it was able to absorb fertiliser without collapsing. So now farmers had a crop they could feed. And with stem growth restricted, more of the increase in plant size went into the head of seeds (called a panicle). IR8 spread from the Punjab to the Philippines, transforming farming wherever water could be controlled and fertiliser delivered. The second revolution will be different. Farmers will not adopt a single miracle variety. Instead, researchers will tailor seeds for particular environments (dry, flooded, salty and so on). And they are also trying to boost the nutritional quality of rice, not just the number of calories. As a result, the second revolution will be felt most profoundly in the poorest areas and among the poorest farmers. In contrast, the first had the biggest impact in the richest fields, with the most water and fertiliser. The flood-resistant trait that rescued Mr Pal’s crop was first identified in the 1980s, in a few old-fashioned varieties native to Odisha, another flood-prone state in eastern India. After more than a decade of false starts, plant scientists identified the genes that make the Odisha varieties flood-tolerant. They went back to IR8’s descendants, spliced these genes into them and bred from the result. Having spent years getting nowhere with traditional plant-breeding methods, scientists went from marking the genetic sequence to producing floodresistant seeds in four short years. Abdelbagi Ismail, IRRI’s principal scientist, hopes to do the same for other traits that have so far eluded breeders, such as drought resistance and heat tolerance. High temperatures during rice flowering can lead to sterility. If it is too hot, the anthers of the plant, which contain the pollen, do not open properly; the pollen is not released, the stigma are not pollinated and the crop is lost. The problem occurs during the hour or so when the plant flowers. It could be overcome if it were possible to encourage rice to flower in the cool of the early morning—as opposed to scorching midday, its usual hour. Tom Ishimaru, who works at IRRI and the Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences, has found a gene which codes for early-morning flowering, raising hopes of solving the problem. Such breeding programmes will not have the same dramatic impact that IR8 did. But developing miracle seeds is not the only way to boost yields. During the 1990s China did it by improving hybrids: crossing different lines to combine the advantages of both. This is the usual way of improving maize, but it is less common with rice. Unlike maize, rice breeds true in successive generations, so farmers can retain seeds from one harvest and plant them for the next. Farmers will switch if a new variety gives them a big one-off boost, but not just to get the small increments offered through hybrid improvements. Hence, it takes a long time to boost yields using

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hybrids—unless the government forces farmers to use new seeds. China’s rulers could do that; less authoritarian regimes cannot. Cereal killers China’s experience shows that a series of small improvements can add up to something large. This will be true of the second revolution on the poorest lands. The first green revolution had most impact on irrigated land and, thanks to it, the 80m hectares which are irrigated (an area equivalent to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia put together) now have yields of five to six tonnes a hectare; they produce three-quarters of the world’s rice. But there is nearly as much rice land which depends on rainwater. Yields there are far lower—between one and two and a half tonnes a hectare—and rain-fed lands produce only a quarter of the world’s rice. Yields are low because almost half this land is prone to drought and a third to floods. Most African paddies fall into this category, which is why the first green revolution passed Africa by. Drought- and flood-tolerant seeds could double yields from these areas. That would boost harvests from 110m tonnes to 220m, and push global output to 550m tonnes—enough to meet expected demand in 2035. In short, all the extra rice could come from rain-fed areas alone. Because yields on rain-fed lands are low, even a doubling would not increase total production by as much as the first green revolution did. But the impact on poverty would be greater. More than 500m of the absolute poor (those with $1.25 a day or less) depend on rice, far more than on any other food (see chart 2). A disproportionate number of them live in north-east India, Bangladesh and the Irrawaddy delta of Myanmar. In these areas the lowest castes and tribes have been forced onto the worst lands. Those are the very places where the second green revolution would make the biggest impact. Flood-resistant rice ―differentially benefits [India’s] scheduled castes and tribes‖, a recent study of one of the early field trials concludes. If these improvements were combined with another programme to boost the nutritional quality of rice—the so-called Golden Rice project which genetically modifies rice to include additional vitamin A—then the benefits to some of the poorest people in the world would be vast. The first green revolution did not improve people’s livelihoods just by providing technological fixes. It did so because the new seeds attracted new capital into farming, encouraged mechanisation, credit markets, new management techniques and so on. The second revolution will also do this. Already, rice farming is changing faster than for generations. Age-old habits of raising seedlings, transplanting them into the fields and threshing, drying and storing the plant are being rejected. Now, seeds are planted directly into the field by machine and everything from threshing to milling is done by specialist firms. For such changes to become more widespread, though, incentives and policies need to push in the right direction. Alas, they don’t all do so.

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Seeding the next revolution On the face of it, the second revolution is subsidised. Not only do governments finance the basic research. In many Asian countries, from rice importers such as Indonesia to exporters such as Thailand, they also pay farmers above the world price. Thailand’s scheme is so generous that it ran out of money this year. Such price distortions artificially boost demand for green-revolution seeds in the short run. But high domestic prices are also bad for the economy. They impose heavy costs on consumers. And they undermine incentives to export, making world prices more volatile and international markets thinner. This hurts farmers who stand to gain from the shift of comparative advantage in rice-growing towards India and Bangladesh thanks to the second green revolution. If world trade becomes even more marginal, any advantage those countries gain will be muted. High domestic prices also tend to drive up local wages, reducing the competitiveness of manufacturing and making rural labour dearer. And by making rice farming a safe bet, the policies blunt entrepreneurship in agriculture too, reducing farmers’ incentives to invest in new machinery and new ways of farming. On balance, therefore, artificially high rice prices make the new generation of seeds attractive, but by less than one might expect. Land-use policy is equally messed up. In America and Europe technological change has tended to make farms bigger. The bigger the operation, the greater the gains from technology. That has not happened in Asia. In the most productive irrigated areas, farms are often smaller than two hectares and, despite mass migration from the countryside, have been getting even smaller during the past three decades. Governments have intervened to prevent farm consolidation partly because they want to slow down urbanisation, fearing that it could drive up

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unemployment in cities. Such policies have only not done considerable harm because of an extraordinary proliferation of efficient rental markets (see article). The original green revolution transformed Asia from a continent stalked by hunger into one that could think and plan beyond the next harvest. It helped lay the foundation for the continent’s economic miracle and made possible Asia’s demographic transition from high fertility and high mortality to smaller, richer families. The second green revolution will not do that. But it should complete the first one, mainly by bringing benefits to the poorest, who missed out first time round. It will help mechanise and move more people off farms and into more productive labour. And it should prevent Asia slipping back under the shadow of hunger and all the political and social disruptions that such misery causes. Few other things can promise as much. From the print edition: Briefing

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