21st April, 2014
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USA Rice Reaches Food Bloggers in Japan Reminder: USA Rice 2014 Farm Bill Education Meetings This Week in Texas Crop Progress: 2014 Crop 32 Percent Planted CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures World’s longest rice experiment seeks answers vs climate change NFA Zamboanga leads regional effort to reduce rice wastage DA, IRRI to develop new rice varieties TPP talks set sights on tariff-free imports Vietnam uses ecological engineering to save rice Sacramento River agencies get boost in federal water Exporters bargain rice away, farmers suffer Commerce Ministry to release more rice via AFET on April 23 Thailand upgrades quality of Hom Mali rice Rice likely to rule at current levels India, Bangladesh need cooperation in rice seed trade: Study Ensuring Good Quality Rice An Arduous Process Nagpur Foodgrain Prices - APMC & Open Market-April 21 Clock ticking for Thai PM as court verdict nears Kittiratt reports to NACC to defend rice pledging scheme Higher standard applied with Thai jasmine rice exports Citi FMs Easter Orphan Project today To Rice Milling Expo Rice scheme must go on hold, govt says Exporters upbeat about parboiled rice NACC set to rule on rice scheme fiasco
News Detail… USA Rice Reaches Food Bloggers in Japan TOKYO, JAPAN -- Earlier this month the USA Rice Federation hosted a blogger.taste-test event to generate buzz about U.S. rice on Japanese social networks. The selected bloggers are registered in "Recipe Blog," a
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popular portal site of cooking blogs.The four menus tested were developed by Chef Robert Marsh, a chef originally from San Francisco who has been living in Tokyo for seven years, teaching California cuisine cooking classes.For 2014, USA Rice is promoting a menu concept called "Cal-Bowl" to encourage consumer interest in a new usage of U.S.-grown rice. "Donburi" is a traditional Japanese one-plate style rice bowl menu, but "Cal-Bowl" can be more versatile incorporating fresh vegetables and adjusting the proportion of rice used for the menu.Thirty-four bloggers attended the event held in a local cooking school. They sampled four featured dishes and chose Oven-Roasted Herb Chicken Breast with Lemon-Thyme Butter and Saffron Rice as their favorite "Interacting with food bloggers is an effective way to introduce a new menu concept to the general public in Japan," said John Valpey, chairman of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee. "It has been very productive from a marketing perspective to focus on the unique qualities of U.S. rice and the food preparation techniques and recipes for which it is well adapted."Valpey added that USA Rice would be promoting the new menu via a chef cooking contest planned for this summer, and various foodservice promotions throughout the year. Contact: Bill Farmer, (832) 302-6710
Reminder: USA Rice 2014 Farm Bill Education Meetings This Week in Texas Following is the schedule of USA Rice Federation education briefings for producers, landowners, lenders, and other industry members in Texas on the 2014 Farm Bill. Also, please see the Farm Service Agency's March Fact Sheet on the Farm Bill. Wednesday, April 23 9:00 a.m. El Campo Civic Center 2350 N Mechanic Street El Campo, TX
Thursday, April 24 9:00 a.m. Winnie-Stowell Community Center 1301 Park Street Winnie, TX
Crop Progress: 2014 Crop 32 Percent Planted WASHINGTON, DC -- Thirty-two percent of the nation's 2014 rice acreage is planted, according to today's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report.
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Rice Planted, Selected States Week Ending April 20, 2013
April 13, 2014
April 120, 2014
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures CME Group (Preliminary): Closing Rough Rice Futures for April 21
World’s longest rice experiment seeks answers vs climate change Scientists at IRRI say changing climate is sort of a 'mixed blessings' as under more cloudy and rainy conditions yields are lower for rice farmers, but with more rains, more farmers can plant rice. Image: Shutterstock Clouds hung heavy over the rice fields at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna last April 15, seemingly auguring dark times ahead for the world’s longest-running rice experiment, which turned 52 on that day.―Mukhang uulan,‖ said Tony Lambino, IRRI’s Head of Communications, just as the celebrations for the Long-Term Continuous Cropping Experiment’s (LTCCE’s) anniversary were about to begin. World’s longest-running rice experiment
Since 1962, the LTCCE has been working to determine the impact of continuously growing irrigated rice on overall crop productivity and soil health.This year marks the 150th harvest taken from the same soil from the
same field in all those 52 years: each year, the field is harvested three times instead of the usual two. In a typical year, this amounts to 17 tonnes of rice per hectare. The main effect that we’re facing is the regular weather that a farmer is going to face, and that’s temperature, sunshine, etc. What’s happening in much of the world is that temperatures are changing. Sunshine is changing Dr. Roland Burech, scientist managing the Long-Term Continuous Cropping Experiment, IRRI So far, the experiment has proven that the judicious use of fertiliser, disease- and insect-resistant rice varieties, soil flooding, and the application of good management practices can result in an abundant annual yield.But climate change threatens to change all that. Declining yields
The potential maximum yield that rice varieties can achieve under certain climatic conditions has been declining over the years due climate cycles that produce more days like the cloudy, sunlight-deprived morning on the day of the anniversary.―If we take the weather data that comes from (IRRI’s) Meteorological Station, plug that into crop simulation models, and estimate the potential yield that’s driven by the germplasm and the climate, what we find is that the potential yield over the last 10 to 15 years has been declining,‖ Dr. Roland Burech, one of the scientists managing LTCCE, explained. From 1992 to 2012, the potential yield in the dry season each year (January - April) has been going down. In 1993, the highest annual potential yield in 10 years was recorded at a little over 11 t/ha (tonnes per hectare). That number erratically went up and down until 1997, and sloped to 9.25 hectares in 2001. By 2012, the potential yield had dropped to 8 t/ha.nes The culprit: Climate change
―This is because in the national cycles that are taking place in the climate, (we) see a tendency for more La Nina than El Nino events: more cloudiness, more (of the) weather that you’re seeing today, less solar radiation, and less sunshine. (This means) less yield.‖The LTCCE may be producing more rice in terms of tons per hectare compared to a regular farmer’s land, but the maximum potential yield it can produce has been dropping as well.―The main effect that we’re facing is the regular weather that a farmer is going to face, and that’s temperature, sunshine, etc. What’s happening in much of the world is that temperatures are changing. Sunshine is changing,‖ Burech said in a separate interview with the press.
A silver lining
This, however, may not necessarily be entirely a bad thing.―We in the Philippines have gone through a cycle heavily orientated towards La Nina, which means more cloudy conditions, more rainfall. Under more cloudy and rainy conditions, the yields are lower, but more farmers can plant rice because there’s more rainfall. So it’s sort of a mixed blessing. The yields might be a little lower, but the overall production doesn’t hurt in the country because more farmers can produce,‖ Burech said. The challenge now is to see how to sustain this intensive, high-yielding system in the face of a changing climate.―What we have here now is a tremendous opportunity in this experiment, where we have records through time, and the opportunities to really see how to sustain this system in a changing climate. So we have now before us, is not only the 50 years of history of sustainability, but the opportunity for this to be a benchmark on sustainability in the future with a changing climate,‖ Burech said.
NFA Zamboanga leads regional effort to reduce rice wastage ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The National Food Authority’s (NFA) advocacy to minimize rice wastage has gained support from members of ConsumerNet-9 made up of local representatives from national agencies.In n the regional group’s first meeting held here, NFA Regional Licensing Officer Silverio Bandiola said it has been observed that in fastfood outlets here, a significant number of customers leave with much unconsumed rice on their plates. ―Restaurants could help by allowing its customers to order half-cup servings of rice to minimize wastage,‖ Mr. Bandiola said.
The advocacy, he added, came on the heels of research done by the International Rice Research Institute that showed Filipino consumers throw away a staggering 308,000 metric tons of rice annually, mostly from leftovers.Jamir O. Abubakar of the regional Trade and Industry department’s consumer welfare and protection division noted that consumers should learn to conserve rice within their own households.―The children should be taught by the elders to be prudent when it comes to food,‖ Mr. Abubakar said in vernacular. ―Every grain of rice counts, nothing should be wasted,‖ he added.ConsumerNet is a government initiative institutionalized in all the regions in November 1996 by the Office of the President. It has a mandate to protect consumer rights and to be an advocate on consumer welfare and awareness. -- Karel B. Mellanes
DA, IRRI to develop new rice varieties Category: Agri-Commodities
20 Apr 2014 Written by Alladin S. Diega / Correspondent THE Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will collaborate to develop more advanced rice varieties out of the existing top-of-the-line cultivars, PhilRice said over the weekend.PhilRice, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), will work with the IRRI for the next five years, for the mutual protection of elite breeding lines of rice, which includes varietal improvement and the development of rice-based technologies to enhance rice productivity and profitability in the Philippines, IRRI said during the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOU) between the two agencies.
―Elite breeding lines are next-generation rice varieties that contribute to feeding half of the world’s population—more than 3.5 billion people and counting—who rely on rice as a source of sustenance and livelihood,‖ IRRI said in its statement.The international research agency also said ―these varieties, bred to help address the world’s most pressing food-security challenges, have desirable traits, such as high-yielding ability, disease resistance, flood, drought, heat, or salinity tolerance.‖PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio Rasco and IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler signed the agreement that maps out another five years of collaboration between the two institutes, earlier this month, at the headquarters of PhilRice in Nueva Ecija.―Without IRRI,‖ Rasco said, ―we could not have done our work in the past,‖ adding that his agency is looking forward ―to break new grounds of research with IRRI. ‖The two agencies will also continue to jointly develop personnel capacities through training and postgraduate studies support for their respective staff, the DA official said, adding that the agreement includes ―seminars on intellectual property, publications and exchange of breeding materials, as well as a business continuity plan that includes providing mutual back-up of elite breeding lines in off-site seed storage,‖In an interview, PhilRice said the agency is currently helping select groups of rice farmers throughout the country to develop rice seeds using their own existing improved varieties of rice, for improved yields.The skill will be taught eventually to all other interested rice farmers, as part of the DA’s effort to food-security program which will reduce rice importation, PhilRice said. 12:30 am, April 21, 2014
TPP talks set sights on tariff-free imports The Yomiuri ShimbunJapan’s tariff rate on rice imports will likely be maintained almost at the current level in negotiations with the United States in ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) multilateral free-trade talks. The next focus of attention will be on volumes of tariff-free imports of key five farm products to compensate for the compromise.Details still need to be ironed out, however, regarding the five categories of agricultural products,
for which the Japanese government seeks to maintain existing tariffs.One is: In how many years should tariff rates on beef and pork be lowered? The second is: By how much should tariff-free imports of rice, wheat and barley from the United States be increased? The third is: What conditions should be set on the triggering of safeguard measures, which raise tariff rates to original levels when imports increase too rapidly?. After Friday’s Japan-U.S. ministerial meeting regarding TPP, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a statement which expressed consideration to Japan’s key five farm products, but also added that the U.S. side pursues ―the overall objectives of achieving meaningful access to its [Japan’s] market.‖The USTR seems to be aiming for favorable conditions that will allow an increase of U.S. agricultural product exports to Japan in the upcoming talks. But the country is not receptive in giving such favorable conditions to the U.S. side to minimize negative impacts on domestic agriculture. Akira Amari, a minister in charge of TPP affairs, summed up the situation by stating, ―There are still gaps [between Japan and the United States].‖It is likely that rice will be a focal point in upcoming negotiations, given how imports of U.S.-made rice amounted to 360,000 tons in fiscal 2012. The U.S. side is positive toward allowing Japan to maintain its tariff on rice, if in exchange the Japanese government allows an increase of the volume of U.S. rice imports.For this purpose, the Japanese government is considering using a framework of the existing system of minimum access, in which certain quantities of foreign rice are imported with no imposed tariffs.There are fears however that a surge of lower-priced foreign rice imports will lead to a crash in domestic rice prices, giving way to the possibility that rice farmers and Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers representing the interests of the farming sector will voice strong opposition.It is likely that Acting U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, who will visit Japan on Monday, and Hiroshi Oe, Japan’s deputy chief TPP negotiator, will continue working-level negotiations just before Thursday’s Japan-U.S. summit meeting.The negotiations will likely be tough, as the two sides must work out points of compromise with little room for concessions.
Vietnam uses ecological engineering to save rice Inside 30 years Vietnam has gone from importing rice to becoming the world’s second largest rice exporter. Over-use of pesticides is damaging the environment, but farmers in the Mekong Delta say they've found a solution.
There is a hint of gold in the verdant rice fields that fill the horizon in Kien Giang province - a sign for the farmers here in the southwest of Vietnamâ€™s Mekong Delta that harvesting time is not far away. But along the paths between the paddies, known as bunds, there are also neat rows of speckled color - yellow, orange and purple nectar flowers - that are not part of the typical pastoral scene here.The floral borders are not for decoration though. They are part of an ecological engineering project aimed at encouraging the natural predators of harmful pests and thereby reducing the use of pesticides. In particular, the project targets the brown planthopper, a winged insect which devastates rice crops across Asia by sucking the sap until the plants shrivel and die, causing discolored patches on the field known as hopper burn.Nguyen Van Ray, a leathery-faced man in his 70s, and his wife Nguyen Thi Hai, grow just under half a hectare of rice in Trung Hoa village. lthough they still use fungicide, the couple donâ€™t spray pesticides any more."Before the project we used pesticides every week, 40 days after sowing we used the pesticide many times," Ray says. "We applied it every week by hand. We would irrigate the fields then spray the pesticide at the base of the plant."Itâ€™s not surprising. The couple have bitter experience of brown planthoppers, they say. Image :The tiny brown planthopper can destroy rice crops in quick time
"In 2009 and 2010 we lost everything to hopper burn. We invested money in fertilizer, seed, labour and when there was hopper burn it destroyed the crop so we lost everything," he says.
New projects sprouting up Ray and Hai are among 45 families in Kien Giang province who have taken part in the ecological engineering project since 2011, run by the Southern Regional Plant Protection Centre and the International Rice Research Institute.The concept was introduced in rice farming in China in 2008, and later on in Vietnam and Thailand. More recently, the Philippines also launched a project.To kick-start the process rice farmers are initially given seedlings, which they plant on the bund and irrigate together with the rice plants. Although many of the nectar flowers die during the dry season, enough survive and go to seed for the next rice growing cycle.
When the flowers are in bloom, a planthopper predator – like the tiny parasitoid wasp for instance – then lives off the pollen and honey from the flowering plant. After living in the nectar flower on the bund, they fly to find the insect nest and then lay their eggs inside the eggs of the insect nest. Soon after that, the insect numbers generally die off.So far, thanks to a publicity campaign involving billboards, leaflets and even a television series, more than 7,800 farmers now practice ecological engineering in Vietnam with demonstration sites being carried out in four provinces. According to the Southern Regional Plant Protection Centre, these farmers have "significantly reduced" pesticide use and no brown planthopper outbreaks have been reported from these sites since the project began.
When rice is big business Following institutional and economic reforms in the 1980s, Vietnam has recently evolved from being a chronic rice importer to become the world’s second biggest rice exporter, after India. The Mekong Delta region produces around half of the country’s rice.
Image : Le Quang Cuong stands beside an ecologicaly engineered rice field Like other countries in Asia, pesticide use has skyrocketed in recent decades too, propelled by aggressive marketing. Le Quang Cuong from the Southern Regional Plant Protection Centre, says that often when they are introducing farmers to the ecological engineering project in one village, in a neighboring village pesticide companies would be meeting residents to sell their products.But, slowly the project is taking effect nonetheless. One reason farmers are moving away from pesticides and towards flowering plants is due to the cost benefits. Using pesticides costs about 800,000 dong (27.30 euros, $18.80) per hectare per season. Buying the seeds for the right flowers comes in at just a fraction of that price.In December last year, the local plant protection center in An Giang
province, bordering Cambodia, decided to expand the project to include vegetable farmers. Official Dang Thanh Phong says that expanding the project to include vegetable farms was an obvious choice. Image: Farmers Nguyen Van Ray and Nguyen Thi Hai say the new project has saved their rice
"The pesticide usage level in vegetable growing is much higher than in rice production," he told DW. "They spray once every three or four days."Farmer Huynh Ngoc Dien, one of the vegetable farmers taking part in the pilot stage of the ecological engineering project, says he’s reduced the amount of pesticide he sprays by 20 percent."When I grow nectar flowers I am not worried, but some people in our village still spray pesticides, people inside and outside the project," he says. "It’s still the first time for them so they don’t know the benefits they can get if they just opt for flowers."
Sacramento River agencies get boost in federal water Tim Hearden Published:April 18, 2014 5:35PM
Settlement contractors along the Sacramento River in Northern California will see a boost in planned federal water deliveries to 75 percent of normal, officials announced. State contractors without senior water rights will get 5 percent of their allotments instead of zero, but deliveries won't be made until after Sept. 1.REDDING, Calif. — Farmers in some water districts along the Sacramento River will be the first to see a benefit from recent storms’ contributions to California’s meager snowpack and reservoir levels. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has increased water allocations to settlement contractors along the river from 40 percent to 75 percent of their normal amounts, its leaders announced April 18. Wildlife refuges north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta will see a similar increase.The roughly 145 water districts and individuals with 50-year-old contracts recognizing their senior water rights include the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, which covers 175,000 acres in the middle Sacramento Valley, and the Anderson Cottonwood Irrigation District between Redding and Red Bluff.The allocation boost should help many of Northern California’s most lucrative crops, including rice, which is normally planted in late April and early May. Industry leaders had expressed concerns that a lack of water could significantly reduce rice plantings this spring.Water districts said the shifts in delivery shouldn’t impat rice planting, asserted Ron Milligan, a Bureau of Reclamation operations manager in Sacramento.
―In dry years like 2014, we need every drop of water to be used in an efficient way to benefit both the economy and the environment,‖ GCID board president Don Bransford said in a statement. ―The operations along the Sacramento River this year will serve triple duty: the water will be used for salmon, for birds along the Pacific Flyway and for family farms in the region.‖The contractors agreed to shift their delivery schedules to maintain the right river temperatures for winter run salmon, officials said. Waiting until May to begin diversions has left 150,000 acre-feet in Shasta Lake to be used later in temperature-controlled releases.―The winter run is not yet out of the woods‖ in terms of impacts from drought, state Department of Fish and Wildlife director Charlton Bonham told reporters in a conference call. The announcement was one of several as state and federal water agencies were responding to February and March storms that impacted the water hydrology within their two water projects.As part of this, state Department of Water Resources director Mark Cowin said agricultural and other customers without senior water rights would receive 5 percent of their normal deliveries, an increase from the zero-water allocation the DWR imposed earlier this year. However, water won’t be made available until after Sept. 1 so it can be kept in the San Luis Reservoir to maintain water quality during the summer, officials said.―I don’t expect this to make a tremendous amount of difference to Californians,‖ Cowin said, adding that it may add some flexibility for water transfers. For agriculture, he expects it will result in a ―minor reduction in the amount of extraction from groundwater,‖ he said. While federal officials are continuing to examine the impact of late-season rain on the state’s water supply, they don’t expect to change their zero-water allocation to agricultural customers, at least this month, Milligan said.The latest announcements came about a week after state and federal agencies unveiled a multi-stage Drought Operations Plan that aims to ensure adequate water supply for basic needs like drinking water and firefighting while preventing saltwater from migrating into California’s water delivery system.Officials announced April 18 that runoff fueled by recent storms has enabled them to scrap a plan to build temporary rock structures in the Delta to keep saltwater out.
Exporters bargain rice away, farmers suffer VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese exporters have won the bid to provide 800,000 tons of rice to the Philippines, thanks to low bids. Vietnam’s rice price high or low? Nguyen Hung Linh, Chair of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), declined to provide information about the winning bid, but said it was a reasonable market price.Meanwhile,Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon has quoted its sources as saying that Vietnam obtained the right to sell rice to the Philippines for $439 per ton CIF (cost, insurance, freight). The price was lower than that of the next lowest bid by $30 per ton.
Cambodian exporters bid $469 per ton, with Thailand bidding $474.According to Nguyen Dinh Bich, a well-known rice analyst, Vietnamese rice exporters may have bid exceptionally low prices out of a fear of being undercut by Thailand, whom they’d heard was determined to win the bid to clear its excessive stocks.Bich noted that even if the Thai government had accepted selling rice to Thai businesses at low prices in order to support its farmers, the export prices would not be very low, because those businesses would have to tack on the costs of transportation, polishing and other expenses. Lam Anh Tuan, Director of Thinh Phat Company Ltd, which is a member of VFA, noted that the ―ability of the staff joining the bid for providing rice to the Philippines is limited‖.He stressed that the selling price could have been $30 per ton higher.Another rice exporter also thinks that Vietnam made a blunder when offering such a drastically low price. ―It seemed that winning the bid was the overriding priority for Vietnam,‖ he said.Meanwhile, an exporter disagreed with Tuan, saying that Vietnam needed to bid prices which allowed it to win the bid and ensure profits for enterprises. Farmers will suffer It will be the farmers, not the rice exporters, who suffer most from the low export prices.It can be expected that, in order to assure themselves of a profit, rice exporters will force the domestic rice price down. Farmers will have to sell their rice at low prices, making only small profits, or possibly even taking losses.Contrary to all predictions, the ongoing government-instituted program to purchase one million tons of rice from Vietnamese farmers for storage has not helped to boost domestic prices. Prices did climb during the first days of the rice buying campaign, but later declined. Dr Nguyen Ngoc Kinh, a farm produce expert, asserts that only merchants, who collect rice from farmers to sell to businesses, and rice exporters benefit from the rice production chain. Meanwhile, farmers’ profits are unstable because of their dependence on the market price fluctuations.Businesses refuse to provide capital and give support to farmers. They would rather inject money into agriculture materials, industrial products or real estate to make a profit.Kinh also states that farmers can make only a modest profit of VND50,000 per ―sao‖ (360 square meters) of rice field, a sum of money just enough for two bowls of pho (Vietnamese traditional dish – noodles served with beef or chicken). Dat Viet Tags:rice export,vietnam rice,rice market,
Commerce Ministry to release more rice via AFET on April 23 Date : 21 เมษายน 2557
BANGKOK, 21 April 2014 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry is set to release 200,000 tons of rice through the Agricultural Futures Exchange in Thailand (AFET) on April 23. The ministry said the past 8 rice auctions generated over 7 billion baht worth of revenue and a total of 550,000 tons of rice have been sold. Most of the 5 percent white rice stocks have been sold at up to 12 baht per kilogram. Thailand recently lost the latest contract to supply 800,000 tons of 15% broken well-milled white rice to Philippines, which opened tender last week to a Vietnamese company.
Thai white rice prices are expected to stay relatively low after the failure to win the Philippines contract. The ministry is expected to keep the price of domestic rice stable by selling the rice stocks at rates that are not too low, particularly during the period when the rice-pledging program is temporarily shelved.
Thailand upgrades quality of Hom Mali rice BANGKOK, April 19 – The Commerce Ministry has announced a new classification of Thai fragrant rice to tap high-end market abroad.Surasak Riangkrul, director general of the Foreign Trade Department, said high-quality Thai fragrant rice, widely known as Hom Mali, will from now on comprise two categories: Premium Quality Thai Hom Mali Rice with at least 98 per cent of fragrant rice, and Thai Hom Mali Rice with at least 92 per cent of fragrant rice. Thailand formerly has only one kind of Hom Mali rice while the new classification, effective as of February, will be promoted worldwide, he said.Besides Hom Mali, Thai rice consists of white rice and brown rice.There are eight kinds of white rice – 100% Grade 1, 100% Grade 2, 100% Grade 3, 5%, 10%, 15%, premium A-1 broken rice and A-1 broken rice.Brown rice is divided into six kinds – 100% Grade 1, 100% Grade 2, 100% Grade 3, 5%, 10% and 15%.Mr Surasak said exporters are required to clearly state the category of rice, especially Prime Quality Thai Hom Mali Rice and Thai Hom Mali Rice, to ensure the quality and standards of Thai agricultural produce.He said the new classification of Thai Hom Mali rice was to upgrade the standards of Thai fragrant rice in overseas market, especially in Hong Kong and China where consumers are willing to pay higher price for premium goods.He said Thailand exported 2.3 million tonnes of rice, at a value of over US$1.11.2 billion, since early this year.
Rice likely to rule at current levels OUR CORRESPONDENT
KARNAL, APRIL 21: Following steady domestic demand and ample stocks, the rice market may continue to witness a steady to range-bound movement in the coming days, said trade experts.In the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) sold at ₹9,400-9,500, while Pusa-1121 (sela) ruled at ₹8,350. Pure Basmati (raw) quoted at ₹12,500. Duplicate basmati (steam) sold at ₹7,600. Pusa-1121 (second wand) sold for ₹7,350, Tibar at ₹6,400 while Dubar at ₹5,400 a quintal. In the non-basmati section, Sharbati (steam) sold at ₹4,850 while Sharbati (sela) quoted at ₹4,300 . Permal (raw) sold at ₹2,350, Permal (sela) at ₹2,340, PR-11 (sela) sold at ₹2,725 while PR-11 (raw) at ₹2,700 . PR14 (steam) sold at ₹2,900 a quintal. With the trading being lukewarm, prices of aromatic and non-basmati rice varieties continued to rule around their previous quoted levels on Monday. Amit Chandna, proprietor of Hanuman Rice Trading Company, told Business Line that after witnessing some volatility in the recent past, a steady trend has prevailed in the market. The situation is likely to persist even in the coming days, he said. According to the trade experts, buyers are placing orders according to their necessity only. Any major fluctuation at this time of the year is unlikely and rice prices may continue to rule around current levels with nominal alterations, said experts. (This article was published on April 21, 2014)
India, Bangladesh need cooperation in rice seed trade: Study PTI Apr 20, 2014, 12.37PM IST
Tags:rice seeds|net worth|Insurability|India|Cuts International|Consumer Unity & Trust Society|Bangladesh (At present, farmers of both…)
NEW DELHI: Enhanced cooperation between India and Bangladesh on trade in rice seeds would help farmers of both the sides increase the yield of the commodity, a study by think-tank CUTS International has said.At present, farmers of both the sides are using smuggled seeds which are not of good quality, it said.Rice growing areas in Bangladesh and India, "where farmers make widespread use of smuggled seeds", can immensely gain from cooperation between the two countries, the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) study added."The gains could be in terms of market opportunity, improved crop yield and better livelihood," it said, adding "farmers in the neighbouring country plant seeds smuggled from India or grown and informally traded in Bangladesh".Similarly, farmers in India, like those in West Bengal and Assam, use rice seeds produced in Bangladesh, it said."Sourcing of seeds is through unregistered traders and middlemen. Informally traded seeds
are often found to be of low quality, impacting rice yields," the study said.It said that lack of formal trade and knowledge sharing between the two countries are further impacting the farmers of both the sides.The overall bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh stood at $ 5.78 billion in 2012-13.India's rice production is estimated at 106.19 million tonnes in 2013-14.
Ensuring Good Quality Rice An Arduous Process By Wan Shahara Ahmad Ghazali
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) - Rice is the main staple of some 70 percent of Malaysians.Around 145,000 paddy farmers work on approximately 300,000 hectares of paddy fields nationwide to cater to their needs.The process of rice production seems deceptively simple but it is actually a highly-detailed and complicated process.Today, more consumers are discerning on the type of rice they wish to consume, contributing to the demand of higher quality local rice.Rice factories nationwide are actively improving their grading process, likewise Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas), the nation's partner in domestic paddy and rice industry, too has taken steps to meet the changing tastes. According to Bernas Assistant Senior Manager, Abdul Razak Abdullah, the quality of rice accepted by the factories was not necessarily of the same quality recognised by Bernas, which sought out ripe and fully-formed grainsThe grading process will separate immature or destroyed grains, the husks and other impurities. Farmers will only be paid for the viable paddy grains.The media learned about the grading process during a trip to one of the Bernas factories in Sekinchan, Kuala Selangor, recently.The grading is carried out in a transparent manner, allowing farmers to witness the process themselves. THE BEST PADDY GRADE Abdul Razak said only some 81 percent of the paddy sent to the factories from the fields were viable. The rest might be destroyed grains that were prone to breakage during cooking, while immature grains can result in powdery and chewy rice.The paddy sent to the factories also typically contains heavy and light waste, impurities and other parts that cannot be processed such as rice stalks, weed, insects, rice straw, debris, sticks and soil.Rice grains with prematurely-shed hulls also has to be separated because it would contribute to broken rice content, contributing to an inferior end product."In short, we have to ensure that the rice that reaches consumers are of the best quality and desirable to consumers," he said. MOISTURE CONTENT
The grading process is split into three: by dimensions and weight, by moisture count and by the removal of broken grain, immature grain and foreign matter.To determine the dimension, a minimum of 50 viable grains are selected and measured for their length and width. To determine weight, 3,000 grains are selected and divided into three for weighing. The average weight of the sample is the final weight.In grading rice, two types are recognised as viable. The first is a length of 6.2mm or more per grain and less than 6.2mm in size with moisture content of not more than 14 percent.It is vital to determine moisture count as excessive moisture can damage processed rice grains if not removed within 24 hours.
"We need to reduce the moisture count to at least 14 percent. Failure to do so may attract a type of insect that likes to perforate the grains to suck out the moisture," said Abdul Razak.There are also insects that like to burrow into the grains with high moisture count and lay their eggs in there, subsequently ffecting the rice quality.The process to determine moisture count is repeated for five times using different analysis samples.The staff working on the rice samples use thongs during the entire process of analysis as they are prohibited from touching the rice grains. This is because the hands can release moisture and contaminate the samples.
SAMPLE ANALYSIS All the samples are then mixed and placed in one kilogramme containers."The samples are then analysed to determine the composition and quality of the rice bought by the factory," explained Abdul Razak.The samples are then subjected to a few more detailed and complicated processes before the results are weighed and recorded.Farmers are allowed to observe the entire process to ensure they are not being short-changed.In the peninsula, they are paid a uniform purchase price of RM1,200 per tonne. This is the price the government has set starting this year in the bid to be just to paddy farmers and eliminate middlemen.The farmers used to be subjected to irregular purchase prices of between RM1,000 and RM1,200.Paddy farmers in the east coast used to be paid the lowest while the farmers in Selangor enjoyed the highest purchase price per tonne, as their paddy were deemed of better quality.The quality of paddy from the northern, east coast and Selangor states are of different quality due to the climate, soil, susceptibility to diseases and a host of other factors.
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices - APMC & Open Market-April 21 Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:28pm IST Nagpur, Apr 21 (Reuters) - Gram and tuar prices in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) shot up again on renewed demand from local millers amid tight supply from producing regions. Reports about sharp decline in gram production in this season, fresh rise on
NCDEX in gram and weak overseas supply also helped to push up prices, according to sources. *
FOODGRAINS & PULSES GRAM * Gram varieties firmed up in open market on good buying support from local traders amid thin supply from producing belts. Reported demand from South-based traders also boosted prices. TUAR * Tuar varieties recovered strongly in open market on renewed marriage and festival season demand from traders amid thin supply from millers. * In Akola, Tuar - 3,900-4,100, Tuar dal - 6,100-6,300, Udid at 6,100-6,500, Udid Mogar (clean) - 7,200-7,700, Moong - 8,500-8,700, Moong Mogar (clean) 9,800-10,500, Gram - 2,600-2,800, Gram Super best bold - 3,600-4,000 for 100 kg. * Wheat, rice and other commodities remained steady in open market in thin trading activity, according to sources. Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close Gram Auction 2,450-2,820 2,400-2,710 Gram Pink Auction n.a. 2,100-2,600 Tuar Auction 3,975-4,360 3,900-4,300 Moong Auction n.a. 6,300-6,800 Udid Auction n.a. 4,300-4,500 Masoor Auction n.a. 2,600-2,800 Gram Super Best Bold 3,950-4,250 3,900-4,200 Gram Super Best n.a. Gram Medium Best 3,800-3,900 3,700-3,800 Gram Dal Medium n.a. n.a. Gram Mill Quality 3,500-3,700 3,450-3,600 Desi gram Raw 2,750-2,850 2,650-2,750 Gram Filter new 3,100-3,400 3,000-3,300 Gram Kabuli 8,900-10,800 8,900-10,800 Gram Pink 7,900-8,300 7,900-8,300 Tuar Fataka Best 6,700-6,900 6,500-6,600 Tuar Fataka Medium 6,500-6,600 6,200-6,300
Tuar Dal Best Phod 6,100-6,400 5,900-6,100 Tuar Dal Medium phod 5,900-6,100 5,700-5,900 Tuar Gavarani 4,400-4,500 4,350-4,450 Tuar Karnataka 4,600-4,700 4,550-4,650 Tuar Black 7,700-7,900 7,700-7,900 Masoor dal best 6,200-6,400 6,200-6,400 Masoor dal medium 5,900-6,150 5,900-6,150 Masoor n.a. n.a. Moong Mogar bold 10,800-11,000 10,800-11,000 Moong Mogar Medium best 10,100-10,500 10,100-10,500 Moong dal super best 9,500-9,800 9,500-9,800 Moong dal Chilka 9,000-9,250 9,000-9,250 Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a. Moong Chamki best 8,500-9,500 8,500-9,500 Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG) 7,500-7,700 7,500-7,700 Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,800-6,700 5,800-6,700 Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 5,000-5,300 5,000-5,300 Batri dal (100 INR/KG) 4,500-6,000 4,500-6,000 Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 3,050-3,100 3,050-3,100 Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 3,350-3,450 3,350-3,450 Watana White (100 INR/KG) 3,400-3,500 3,400-3,500 Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) 4,900-5,200 4,900-5,200 Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG) 1,600-1,800 1,600-1,800 Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,750 1,700-1,750 Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG) 1,600-1,800 1,600-1,800 Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG) 2,150-2,450 2,150-2,450 Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) 1,850-2,000 1,850-2,000 Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG) n.a. n.a. MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,700 3,000-3,700 MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG) 2,400-2,900 2,400-2,900 Wheat 147 (100 INR/KG) 1,600-1,700 1,600-1,700 Wheat Best (100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,750 1,700-1,750 Rice BPT new(100 INR/KG) 2,750-2,950 2,750-2,950 Rice BPT old (100 INR/KG) 3,200-3,600 3,200-3,600 Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,850 1,700-1,850 Rice Swarna old (100 INR/KG) 2,700-2,900 2,700-2,900 Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG) 2,300-2,500 2,300-2,500 Rice HMT new (100 INR/KG) 3,900-4,200 3,900-4,200 Rice HMT old (100 INR/KG) 4,400-4,700 4,400-4,700 Rice HMT Shriram (100 INR/KG) 5,000-5,500 5,000-5,500 Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 10,000-13,500 10,000-13,500 Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 6,500-8,500 6,500-8,500
Rice Chinnor (100 INR/KG) 5,600-6,000 5,600-6,000 Rice Chinnor new (100 INR/KG) 5,100-5,600 5,100-5,600 Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG) 1,400-1,600 1,400-1,600 Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG) 1,700-1,800 1,700-1,800 WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 38.4 degree Celsius (101.1 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp. 25.7 degree Celsius (78.3 degree Fahrenheit) Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a. Rainfall : nil FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Rains or thunder-showers likely toward evening or night. Maximum and Minimum temperature likely to be around 38 and 25 degree Celsius respectively. Note: n.a.--not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices.)
Clock ticking for Thai PM as court verdict nears BY AMY SAWITTA LEFEVRE BANGKOK Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:54am EDT
1 OF 6. Members of the ''Volunteers' Ward to protect the Nation's Democracy'' group take part during a march marking the end of their two days training at the stadium in Nakhon Ratchasima, Northeastern province of Thailand, April 21, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA
(Reuters) - A Thai court will decide this week whether to give embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra more time to defend herself against charges of abuse of power, accusations that could bring her down, or whether to move swiftly to a verdict.The fate of Yingluck and her government will determine the course of politics in Thailandwhich is polarized between the supporters of her and her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and supporters of the royalist establishment.The confrontation between the two sides, marked by occasional violence, has undermined growth in Southeast Asia's
second biggest economy.Yingluck's government has faced months of sometimes violent anti-government protests but it appeared to be weathering the storm until legal challenges against her began to mount in February.The charges Yingluck faces this week relate to the transfer of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri in 2011, which opponents say was done to benefit her party. The Constitutional Court will decide on Wednesday whether to grant her an extension to prepare her defense.If the court eventually finds her guilty, Yingluck will be forced to step down."If the court does not grant the prime minister an extension this week and there is enough evidence, then the next court date will be the verdict," Constitutional Court spokesman Pimon Thampitakphong told Reuters on Monday, adding that the verdict could come at the end of April.The prime minister has also been charged with dereliction of duty for overseeing a state rice-buying scheme critics say was riddled with corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Commission, which brought the charges against her, rejected a request by her lawyers last week to allow two more witnesses.The commission is expected to deliver its ruling in May. If found guilty, Yingluck could be removed from office and may get a five-year ban from politics. DANGEROUS CHAPTER Thailand has been in conflict since 2006 when then premier Thaksin was ousted by the army. The former telecoms tycoon turned populist politician lives in self-imposed exile but is hugely popular in the north and northeast.The crisis broadly pits the Bangkok-based middle class and conservative establishment, who see Thaksin as a corrupt crony capitalist and threat to their interests, against the mostly poorer supporters of Yingluck and Thaksin. Long-simmering tension erupted last November when the lower house of parliament passed an amnesty bill that critics said was designed to let Thaksin come home without facing jail time for a corruption conviction he said was politically motivated.That bill was eventually rejected by the Senate but the street movement against it spiraled into a full-blown attempt to remove Yingluck.The protesters disrupted a snap election she called for February 2, which was nullified by a court in March.Last week Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, an election commissioner, said a new election could be held at the earliest in July. The protesters, determined to rid the country of Thaksin's influence, want Yingluck to resign to make way for broad political and electoral reforms before a new election is held.Adding to the instability, "red shirt" supporters of the Shinawatras say they will resist attempts to force Yingluck from office."A day before the Constitutional Court hands down its verdict, we will hold a massive rally near Bangkok to support Yingluck," said Thanawut Wichaidit, a
spokesman for the pro-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship."Thailand is heading toward a dark and dangerous chapter so we must fight back, but with our voices only and not with weapons." (Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Alan Raybould and Robert Birsel)
Kittiratt reports to NACC to defend rice pledging scheme Date : 18 เมษายน 2557 BANGKOK, 18 April 2014 (NNT) – Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong has presented his testimony concerning the rice pledging program to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in the negligence case against the Prime Minister. As one of the witnesses defending Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from the charge of dereliction of duty, Mr Kittiratt today traveled to the office of the NACC to shed light on the government’s handling of the rice mortgage scheme. The minister submitted 90 pages of documents to the commission which mostly contained related resolutions made by the Cabinet and the National Rice Policy Committee as well as accounting figures. Mr Kittiratt also spent nearly five hours giving verbal clarifications to the anti-graft agency. He reported that the total rice stock was standing at 15-16 million tons, of which 5 million tons was awaiting delivery to trade partners and another 3 million was under the negotiation process. The minister affirmed that the budget of 100 billion baht allocated for the rice program on an annual basis was appropriate, considering that the amount could help raise the quality of life for 3.7 million households of Thai farmers. Even though he admitted that fraudulent activities could have taken place at the implementation level, he confirmed all the processes involved were open for scrutiny and had been carried out under strict control. Based on his testimony, the minister said he hoped the NACC would now understand the significance of the rice pledging scheme and would agree that Ms Yingluck had not neglected her duty.
Higher standard applied with Thai jasmine rice exports Date : 20 เมษายน 2557 BANGKOK, 20 April 2014 (NNT) - The Department of Foreign Trade has set a higher new standard for Thai jasmine "Hom Mali" rice exports in a bid to increase the premium rice's value. Director-General of the Department of International Trade Surasak Reingkhrua said the new standard required that exports of special Thai jasmine rice must contain at least 98% of Thai jasmine rice, compared with 92% in the old standard. Exporters were required to cleary indicate the standard of their rice on the package such as "Prime Quality Thai Hom Mali Rice" or "Thai Hom Mali Rice," said the official. All types of Thai jasmine rice exports must not
have moisture content of more than 14%. Despite its high price, good grade Thai jasmine rice is popular in many countries such as Hong Kong and China.
Citi FMs Easter Orphan Project today By citifmonline on 21 Apr 2014
Four Orphanages across the country will today benefit from Citi FMs Easter Orphan Project.The Project which is in its 9th year has over the years ensured these orphanages get enough supplies to last them a whole year.The orphanages include the Baptist School Complex (Trotor, Suhum), Jehovah Raffa (Suhum), Mama Ladi Orhanage (Bolgatanga) and Handivangelism (Haatso, Accra).Organizations, individuals and groups within the years have generously donated various items including sums of money, food items, confectionaries, toiletries, detergents, stationery and other non-perishables.
This year has been no different as the stations appeal to the public was once again honoured with generous donations.Since 2005,Citi FMand its listeners have offered assistance to the students at BASCO to make life more comfortable.This year, Citi FM is seeking to equip the Skills and Resource Training Centre constructed through donations at the Baptist School Complex.This is to equip the students with skills in fields such as masonry, hairdressing, carpentry, and plumbing among others.Staff of Citi FM and some volunteers will also spend the day with the children. By: citifmonline.com/Ghana
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Rice scheme must go on hold, govt says Further help for farmers in doubt Published: 21 Apr 2014 at 00.12 Newspaper section: News
The caretaker government cannot continue its rice-pledging scheme in the main harvest 2013-2014, as it no longer has the authority to oversee the scheme, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong says.Mr Kittiratt suggested the next government take care of the scheme to help farmers nationwide.The minister on Friday testified as the last witness in a hearing before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in Nonthaburi province.Mr Kittiratt insisted the scheme was accountable and transparent and that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as the chairwoman of the National Rice Policy Committee, had done everything by the book. The NACC is investigating whether she overlooked complaints of corruption.The chairman of the Thai Farmers Association, Wichian Puanglamjiak, has asked the government to withdraw an additional 40 billion baht from the central budget to cover farmers' overdue payments.Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Puangrat has agreed to Mr Wichian's proposal, though Mr Kittiratt insists cabinet has yet to discuss it.Earlier, the Election Commission (EC) approved the withdrawal of at least 20 billion baht from the central budget to pay the farmers.Caretaker Deputy Finance Minister Thanusak Lekuthai said he personally backed Mr Wichian's proposal, but agreed the caretaker government had no authority to approve the budget.Should the caretaker government be willing to consider the request, the matter would have to go to cabinet and be then submitted to the EC for approval, he said. Mr Thanusak said the government had yet to acquire 90 billion baht in loans to pay farmers who sold their paddy between December 2013 and January 2014. The period concerns the main rice harvest season, which ran from October 2013 to February 2014."If the caretaker government can really withdraw an extra 40 billion baht from the central budget, it will be a good thing. But the question is, how can we seek the other 50 billion baht to
pay farmers?'' he asked. Meanwhile, Northern Farmers Network chairman Kittisak Rattanawaraha said farmers in the North were complaining about payments by the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).Mr Kittisak said the BACC has offered a six-month debt moratorium for farmers affected by delayed rice payments, but some northern farmers claimed the bank has failed to abide by its offer. It deducted their debts from the amount of money allocated by the caretaker government to them through the bank. "Instead of receiving 200,000-300,000 baht from selling rice to the scheme, some farmers were left with only a few thousand baht after the bank deducted their debts. They told me the money they have left is not enough for them to pay off the loans they took out from loan sharks,'' he said. Mr Kittisak said many farmers are still struggling. If the government languishes in caretaker administration mode, some could end up in desperate straits.BACC's deputy managing director Somsak Kangtheerwat said the bank was deducting debts in some cases, but only with farmers' consent.The six-month debt moratorium offered by the bank can be applied only to farmers who have not yet received any money under the scheme. BACC staff had discussed the debt deduction proposal with farmers and they understood what was involved.
Exporters upbeat about parboiled rice Published: 21 Apr 2014 at 06.42 Newspaper section: Business
Thailand will focus more on parboiled rice after failing to win a tender to supply 800,000 tonnes of white rice to the Philippines."Thailand still has a chance to ship more parboiled rice as its prices are cheaper than those of India," said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of Thai Rice Exporters Association.The free-on-board (FOB) price of Thai parboiled rice is now quoted at US$405 a tonne, while Indian parboiled rice fetches $420 a tonne.In the first two months of this year, Thailand exported 322,441 tonnes of parboiled rice, up 70.98% over 188,574 tonnes from a year earlier. Thailand shipped 1.65 million tonnes of parboiled rice last year, with export value amounting to 26.42 billion baht. Main markets included Benin, Nigeria and South Africa.Vichai Sriparsert, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said high demand for parboiled rice should particularly come from Nigeria, which normally buys 3 million tonnes a year."Most traders started buying parboiled rice last September as they speculate that Nigeria will this year cut its import tariff from 110%," he said.Thailand lost the fight to Vietnam for the latest contract to supply 800,000 tonnes of 15% broken well-milled white rice to Philippines which opened tender last week. The tender is likely to be awarded to Vietnam's Vinafood II, which submitted the lowest bid.Vinafood II offered to supply rice in four separate batches of 200,000 tonnes from May to August at an average price of $438.69 per tonne, according to the Philippines National Food Authority.
The US Department of Agriculture expects Vietnam to export 7.5 million tonnes of rice this year, up about 10% from an estimated 6.8 million tonnes last year.Chockchai Sethiwan, executive director of Thai Hua (2511) Co, the only Thai firm that participated in the tender held by the Philippines, said Vinafood II's offered bid was more than $40 lower than his company's. Mr Chookiat said Thai white rice prices are expected to stay relatively low after the failure to win the Philippines contract. The FOB price of 5% white rice has weakened to $380-$385 a tonne from $396 on April 9."The buyers' market is now in a wait-and-see position," he said. Many traders still speculate that Thai rice prices may drop further given hasty attempts by the government to dispose of its rice to raise funds to pay farmers."About 1.4 million tonnes of Thai rice were shipped to overseas in the first two months this year up 40% year on year.Thailand's rice export is set to rise 13.5% to 7.5 million tonnes from 6.61 million last year while parboiled rice shipments are estimated to reach 2 million tonnes.
NACC set to rule on rice scheme fiasco Published: 19 Apr 2014 at 11. Newspaper section: News
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is expected to make its decision over caretaker prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's involvement in the rice-pledging scheme next month, NACC spokesman Sansern Poljieak said yesterday. TAWATCHAI KHEMGUMNERD The anti-graft agency had gathered all its evidence and is expected to conclude the case involving Yingluck Shinawatra in early May, he said.The anti-graft agency yesterday also rejected her plea to seek two more witnesses.Her lawyer Norawit Laleang sought the green light from the anti-graft agency on April 11 to allow Somchai Sujjapongse, director of the Fiscal Policy Office, and Ampon Kittiampon, secretary to the prime minister, to testify before the agency to complete the defence.The senior Finance Ministry official was added on grounds that he would counter statements made by whistleblower and finance deputy permanent-secretary Supa Piyajitti, on which the NACC's case was largely built, the lawyer said on April 11.
Mr Ampon would be able to testify that the cabinet had not ignored warnings in relation to the scheme, he added.But the NACC considered yesterday that the additional witnesses were unnecessary as it had obtained sufficient evidence to conclude the case.Ms Yingluck yesterday also called a meeting with Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong before the latter testified in the premier's defence in the rice-pledging probe against her.Ms Yingluck, also caretaker defence minister, yesterday arrived at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence at Muang Thong Thani.Shortly after her arrival, Ms Yingluck invited a legal team and Mr Kittiratt into a meeting to discuss details of testimony that the caretaker finance minister would present before the NACC in the afternoon.Ms Yingluck was charged with dereliction of duty by the NAAC in January for allegedly failing to deal with corruption in the subsidy scheme. At the NACC headquarters in Nonthaburi, Mr Kittiratt yesterday spent about four hours testifying before NACC commissioners.Mr Kittiratt insisted the government has done nothing wrong in the rice-pledging scheme as alleged by the NACC.Mr Kittiratt spoke as a witness in the case. He explained the 90-page document he brought over to defend the government's position.He also answered questions related to fiscal management and gave an update on the spending on the scheme.During 2012-2014, the government had never set aside a new budget for this scheme because it needed to support other ongoing projects, Mr Kittiratt said.He said the budget earmarked for the scheme was not excessively high as the NACC has stated, adding the government has subsidised the marketing cost for farmers which is not related to the rice pledging itself yet. To set up budget for the farmers is not an illegitimate practice because there are 3.7 million families of farmers across the country benefiting from this scheme, he said, adding the infrastructure and education projects require much more than this.When the prime minister announces policy in the parliament, she is obliged to follow her promises and strictly exercise financial discipline, he said.Mr Kittiratt admitted there could be fraudulent activities at the operational level, but affirmed the government's mechanisms are accountable and transparent "every step of the way". He hoped his testimony will help clarify any doubts the NACC has over this project, saying Ms Yingluck has never neglected her duties or enabled corruption in the project."My clarifications would help the commission to understand that it's the premier's duty to carry out this project," he said.Unfortunately, the caretaker government can't buy more rice from farmers now as it will be a violation of financial spending of the caretaker government, he said.The country still has seven million tonnes of rice to be sold, but every farmer will be paid, he assured.To date, the government has paid 90 billion baht under the project.Mr Kittiratt was the last witness in this case. Image: Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong arrives at the National AntiCorruption Commission to testify in the rice-pledging case yesterday
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