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29th October , 2013

TOP Contents - Tailored for YOU Latest News Headlines…  Rice acreage reduction policy may be scrapped in light of TPP  Japan mulls abolishing rice production adjustment program by 2018  Rice bun maker Shinmei coming to West Sacramento  TABLE-India Grain Prices-Delhi-Oct 28  Heavy rains hit aquaculture, paddy, horticulture  Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open-Oct 28  Syria hunts again for rice and sugar in govt tenders  50% jump in basmati paddy rates  Rice farmers losing out on production profits  Rice self-sufficiency target in sight  On the Boil: Thailand’s Government Rice Subsidy  Agri Buzz : Thailand Rice Exports Down 32% During January1October 20, 2013

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 Vietnamese firm to guarantee market for Lao rice growers  Thailand’s finance minister defends rice subsidy scheme Farmers band together to save rice Up To 80% Of Rice Produced In Southeast Asia Wasted: Report Dems ramp up rice scheme opposition Farmers band together to save rice CP boss says slash rice crop by 30%

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Rice acreage reduction policy may be scrapped in light of TPP October 27, 2013

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe government and ruling parties have started considering ending the current rice production adjustment policy based on acreage reductions, with a grace period of about 10 years to be set, according to government sources.The move is part of government efforts to fundamentally reform its agricultural policy in anticipation of an agreement on the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations. The government and ruling parties began discussing the option to abolish the rice acreage reduction policy Thursday.Abolishing the long-standing program would mark a shift in the focus of the agricultural policy from protection of small, part-time farming households to strengthening the domestic agricultural sector.Scrapping the program will likely be complemented by a plan to reform the farm subsidy system. The new policy is expected to treat large-scale farmers more generously when it comes to agricultural subsidies, the sources said.To compete with lower-priced foreign agricultural products, an increasing number of agricultural experts believe it is necessary for large-scale farmers and agricultural corporations to produce rice as a staple food based on their own management decisions. However, if the rice acreage reduction policy is abolished immediately, rice harvests could increase, resulting in a rapid fall in prices. If this happens, the larger the scale of production among farmers, the more damage they will incur.While the government and ruling parties plan to discuss the length of the moratorium period, some ruling party members are cautious toward the policy change, so it is likely that negotiations will be difficult.Currently, each farmer participating in the rice acreage reduction program is eligible to receive a fixed subsidy of 짜15,000 per 1,000 square meters. The government and ruling parties will re-examine this system from next fiscal year.Some officials in the government and ruling parties have proposed an option of significantly cutting the subsidy and limited recipients to mainly large-scale farmers.

Japan mulls abolishing rice production adjustment program by 2018 The government and ruling bloc are considering abolishing Japan's rice production adjustment program by 2018, officials said Sunday.The move, which would also limit subsidies under the government-led program to large-scale farmers from fiscal 2014, is being considered to prepare the Japanese farm sector for a potential influx of cheap imports under the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, the officials said.

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The changes, which would mark the first major shift in Japanese agricultural policy in 50 years, are expected to be reflected in the country's agriculture vitalization package to be drawn up in November, the officials said.The production adjustment program was launched in 1970 to prevent rice prices from plunging amid a decline in consumption. Rice farmers taking part in the program have been receiving subsidies.But abolition of the program could be put off for around 10 years to minimize the impact on farmers, the officials said.The government and ruling bloc are considering setting the minimum rice acreage requirement for subsidy recipients at 10 hectares in Hokkaido and 4 hectares elsewhere, the officials said.

Rice bun maker Shinmei coming to West Sacramento View Slideshow

Mark Anderson | Sacramento Business Journal Shinmei Co. Ltd. president Mitsuzo Fugio talks about the production capacity of the rice bun factory planned for West Sacramento.Shinmei Co. Ltd. of Kobe, Japan, is on a fast track to build a $10 million factory to make rice buns in West Sacramento.It’s a natural fit. The Sacramento Valley is a leading rice producing region, and West Sacramento has had a long string of success with food production and distribution companies.At a news conference Friday at West Sacramento’s City Hall, city manager Martin Tuttle said this is another step toward West Sacramento being noted as a great food hub.The company will build a 28,000-square-foot building on 6 acres in the Southport Business Park.When it opens, the plant will employ 100 people, and it could grow to 500 employees, making it one of the largest employers in West Sacramento, said MayorChristopher Cabaldon.Rice buns are a popular product in Japan and in much of Asia. This plant will help to introduce the nutritious and gluten-free product to America.When it opens, the plant in West Sacramento 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, said Mitsuzo Fugio, president of Shinmei.The factory here will use state-of-the-art cooking and processing equipment never seen before in the United States, he said. Sacramento builder Potter Taylor & Co. will develop the site and build the plant as a fee developer. The Shinmei will own the plant.The team hopes to get plans into the city of West Sacramento by Nov. 4 for a plan check and to be under construction early next year. The plant is supposed to be open in the summer of next year.It is an ambitious time frame, and it can be done with coordination, said Tim Taylor, president of Potter Taylor & Co. He said he will hire a bilingual project manager to coordinate the installation of the Japanese cooking and processing equipment with the city.

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TABLE-India Grain Prices-Delhi-Oct 28 Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:33pm IST Rates by Asian News International, New Delhi Tel: 011 2619 1464 Indicative Grains

Previous

opening

close

(in rupees per 100 kg unless stated) ---------------------------------------------------------Wheat Desi

2,200-2,500

2,200-2,500.

Wheat Dara

1,670-1,770

1,650-1,750.

Atta Chakki (per 10 Kg) Roller Mill (per bag)

Rice Basmati(Common)

I.R.-8 Gram

1,850-1,950.

1,850-1,950

Rice Basmati(Lal Quila)

Rice Sela

1,700-1,800.

1,900-2,000

Rice Basmati(Sri Lal Mahal)

Rice Permal

210-235.

1,725-1,825

Maida (per bag) Sooji (per bag)

210-235

1,850-1,950.

12,000 11,000

11,000.

7,400-8,000

2,450-2,550 3,120-3,250 2,245-2,345 3,400-3,500

12,000.

7,300-7,900.

2,450-2,550. 3,120-3,250. 2,245-2,345. 3,300-3,400.

Peas Green

3,200-3,350

3,200-3,350.

Peas White

2,500-2,600

2,500-2,600.

Bajra

3,170-3,270

3,170-3,270.

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Jowar white

2,470-2,680

2,470-2,680.

Maize

1,500-1,580

1,500-1,580.

Barley

1,320-1,450

1,320-1,450.

Guwar

3,300-3,900

3,300-3,900.

Source: Delhi grain market traders.

Heavy rains hit aquaculture, paddy, horticulture Aquaculture in Konaseema, and paddy, horticulture in the entire East Godavari district were damaged due to heavy rains for the last six days.The farmers who ventured into Vanami variety prawn culture for the last one year in coastal belt, particularly from Uppada, Kakinada Rural, Tallarevu, I. Polavaram, Katrenikona, Uppalaguptam, Allavaram, Mamidikuduru, Malikipuram and Sakhinetipalli, have lost hopes about their seed which is growing fast till last week.Prawn culture is being cultivated in about 30,000 acres in these mandals. Ponds inundated

As a result of incessant rains, all the saltwater ponds were inundated by sweet water and prawns in ponds started dying or getting infected. ―We are expecting a very good yield this year but rains played havoc on prawn culture this time and we are going to lose almost 50 per cent of the crop,‖ said Devisetti Suribabu of Allavaram, who is cultivating prawn in 25 acres of land which was agriculture land in the past. There are another 50,000 acres in the above mandals where fresh water small fish is being cultivated.―As a result of merging of saline water with fresh water, the growth of small fish will come down drastically,‖ said a senior official in Fisheries department. Paddy, horticulture

Paddy and horticulture crops to the tune of 67,216 hectares are damaged in the East Godavari due to heavy rains in the last six days.Banana and other horticulture gardens were damaged in Kothapeta, Ravulapalem areas and vegetable fields in Seethanagaram, Diwancheruvu, Korukonda and Rajanagaram mandals were completely inundated. Water flows on runway

Flight services from Rajahmundry Airport were cancelled as runway was partially inundated due to heavy rains on Sunday. Jet Airways cancelled its services to Hyderabad and Chennai whereas Spice et cancelled its flight to Hyderabad.Earlier, flight of Jet Airways which came to Rajahmundry airport from Hyderabad had to return after making rounds in the air as Airport authorities did not give clearance as runway was inundated partially.

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Keywords: AP rains, Andhra Pradesh flood, East Godavari district, prawn culture, crop damage, Rajahmundry farmers, damage by rain

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open-Oct 28 Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:41pm IST Nagpur, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Gram and tuar prices in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) firmed up on increased festival season demand from local millers amid weak supply from producing belts. Weak overseas supply and strong rally on NCDEX also helped to push up prices, according to sources.

*

*

*

*

FOODGRAINS & PULSES GRAM * Gram varieties reported strong in open market on renewed Diwali festival demand from local traders amid tight supply from producing regions. Healthy rise in Madhya Pradesh gram prices also boosted sentiment.

TUAR * Tuar varieties zoomed up in open market on good buying support from local traders amid weak supply from millers. Reports about weak overseas supply also fuelled prices.

* Moong and Udid varieties shot up in open market on increased festival season demand

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from local traders amid tight supply from producing regions. Damage crop reports because of unseasonal rains also activated stockists.

* In Akola, Tuar - 4,300-4,450, Tuar dal - 6,500-6,700, Udid at 4,800-5,100, Udid Mogar (clean) - 5,700-6,000, Moong - 6,200-6,600, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,400-7,600, Gram - 3,300-3,500, Gram Super best bold - 4,400-4,600 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

Gram Auction

2,450-2,750

Gram Pink Auction Tuar Auction

n.a.

2,400-2,750 2,100-2,600

3,940-4,150

Moong Auction

3,900-4,100

n.a.

Udid Auction

n.a.

Masoor Auction Gram Super Best Bold

Gram Medium Best Gram Dal Medium

4,200-4,400 4,300-4,500

n.a.

Gram Super Best

Previous close

2,600-2,800 4,500-4,800

4,400-4,800

n.a. 4,000-4,350 n.a.

3,950-4,300

n.a.

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Gram Mill Quality

3,950-4,100

3,850-4,050

Desi gram Raw

3,600-3,700

3,500-3,600

Gram Filter Yellow

n.a.

Gram Kabuli

n.a.

7,600-9,800

Gram Pink

7,600-9,800

7,600-8,000

Tuar Fataka Best

7,600-8,000

6,800-7,000

Tuar Fataka Medium

6,700-6,850

6,600-6,800

Tuar Dal Best Phod

6,500-6,600

6,300-6,400

Tuar Dal Medium phod

6,100-6,200

5,900-6,100

5,700-5,800

Tuar Gavarani

4,400-4,550

4,200-4,350

Tuar Karnataka

4,500-4,600

4,300-4,400

Tuar Black

7,100-7,200

Masoor dal best

7,100-7,200

5,100-5,300

Masoor dal medium Masoor

4,700-4,900

n.a.

Moong Mogar bold

Moong dal Chilka

4,700-4,900

n.a. 7,800-8,100

Moong Mogar Medium best Moong dal super best

5,100-5,300

7,500-7,800

7,200-7,600

6,700-6,900

6,600-6,900

6,200-6,600

6,100-6,400

Moong Mill quality

n.a.

Moong Chamki best

6,600-7,300

n.a.

Udid Mogar Super best (100 INR/KG) Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)

7,100-7,200

6,600-7,300 6,000-6,200

5,200-5,700

5,000-5,200

5,800-6,000 5,000-5,500

4,800-5,000

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Batri dal (100 INR/KG)

3,600-3,700

Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)

2,900-3,000 3,350-3,450

Watana White (100 INR/KG)

3,350-3,400 3,250-3,400

7,900-8,400

1,600-1,700

Wheat Mill quality(100 INR/KG) Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)

2,900-3,000

3,300-3,400

Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)

3,600-3,700

7,900-8,100

1,600-1,700

1,600-1,650

1,600-1,650

1,600-1,800

Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)

1,850-2,300

Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)

1,600-1,800 1,850-2,300

1,700-1,900

n.a.

n.a.

MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,100-3,600 MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)

1,700-1,900

3,100-3,600

2,600-2,900

2,600-2,900

Wheat 147 (100 INR/KG)

1,400-1,500

1,400-1,500

Wheat Best (100 INR/KG)

1,500-1,600

1,500-1,600

Rice BPT (100 INR/KG) Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG)

2,700-3,400 2,200-2,500

2,700-3,400 2,200-2,500

Rice Swarna Best (100 INR/KG) 2,300-2,500 Rice Swarna Medium (100 INR/KG) Rice HMT (100 INR/KG)

2,100-2,300

4,000-4,400

Rice HMT Shriram (100 INR/KG)

2,300-2,500

4,000-4,400

4,400-4,800

4,400-4,800

Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 10,000-12,500 Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) Rice Chinnor (100 INR/KG)

10,000-12,500

6,200-7,500

5,000-5,500

2,100-2,300

6,200-7,500

5,000-5,500

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Rice Chinnor Medium (100 INR/KG) Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG) Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)

4,400-4,800

1,500-1,650 1,800-1,900

4,400-4,800 1,500-1,650

1,800-1,900

WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 31.5 degree Celsius (88.7 degree Fahrenheit), minimum temp. 19.6 degree Celsius (67.3 degree Fahrenheit) Humidity: Highest - n.a., lowest - n.a. Rainfall : nil FORECAST: Generally cloudy sky. Rains or thundershowers likely. Maximum and Minimum temperature likely to be around 33 and 19 degree Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available

(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices.)

Syria hunts again for rice and sugar in govt tenders ABU DHABI | Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:08pm GMT

(Reuters) - A Syrian state agency re-issued two tenders on Monday, seeking quantities of rice and sugar it has repeatedly tried and failed to obtain since June.The General Foreign Trade Organisation (GFTO) said it was seeking to buy 276,000 tonnes of white sugar and 135,000 tonnes of white short grain rice in two separate tenders citing extreme urgency.The deadline for sugar offers is November 27, while that for rice was November 26, according to tender documents. "These are the same tenders that we have announced before, the only thing that is different are the dates but the conditions remain the same," a GFTO official told Reuters."No purchases were made in the previous ones," he said.This is the fourth time Syria is asking for the same amount of sugar and rice with the same conditions.Traders have said Syria should relax its tender terms in light of the risk involved in doing businesswith a country embroiled in civil war, particularly the requirement to place a one million euro ($1.4 million) bid bond.A bid bond is a form of guarantee which tender participants must give to ensure they will deliver under the terms of their offer.Both tenders state payment can be arranged using Syrian funds frozen

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abroad. Traders have said they were uncertain whether they would become liable to pay the bid bond if there were problems with arranging finance from funds in the frozen bank accounts. Despite Syria's struggle in past months to buy food through government tenders seeking rice, sugar, flour and wheat, some deals struck through middlemen outside of the tender process have been successful in securing food for the country.The Syrian state grain agency Hoboob said earlier this month it concluded a deal to import 500,000 tonnes of wheat of which around 150,000 tonnes had arrived in Syria.The wheat deliveries are a signal that some bank accounts abroad are being freed up, with grain traders detecting a willingness from European governments to allow deals to go ahead on humanitarian grounds.The European Union, United States and other Western countries have imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's government over his crackdown on the revolt in the country.While sanctions do not target food, a financing freeze has hindered Syria's ability to import food including grains and sugar. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan and Oliver Holmes; editing by Veronica Brown and Keiron Henderson)

50% jump in basmati paddy rates Basmati farmers are getting better returns despite there being some loss in quality and yield due to untimely rains.

CHANDIGARH, OCT 28: In contrast to paddy farmers getting lower rates due to discoloration, basmati growers have witnessed over 50 per cent jump in price for their produce in the ongoing kharif marketing season in Punjab and Haryana.Aromatic varieties of basmati paddy are fetching Rs 3,200 to 3,900 per quintal as against Rs 2,200 to Rs 2,500 per quintal last year, traders said.―This season, farmers are getting better returns for basmati crop despite there being some loss in quality and yield due to untimely rains,‖ rice exporter Vijay Setia, Director, Chaman Lal Setia Export Limited said today. ―There is an upswing in prices of all kinds of basmati varieties this year on the back of strong demand,‖ he said.Popular basmati varieties like Pusa 1121 and 1509 are commanding price between Rs 3,600 to Rs 3,900 per quintal as against rate of Rs 2,400-2,500 per quintal that prevailed last year.Pusa 1121 variety of paddy constitutes almost 70-80 per cent of area under cultivation in basmati growing areas of Punjab and Haryana because of its rising export demand in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Europe etc.Both Punjab and Haryana account for over 60 per cent in country’s basmati exports. Paddy growers especially in Punjab during this season claimed to have suffered losses as they were forced to sell ordinary varieties of crop at lesser rate than MSP due to high moisture content and crop discoloration.As part of crop diversification programme, area under basmati this season rose in Punjab and Haryana.To boost basmati cultivation, the Punjab government has even decided to waive off Rural Development Fee (RDF) and

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market fee on basmati variety of paddy in the state.Exporters said outbound shipment of basmati this fiscal is likely to touch 4 million tonnes as against 3.6 million tonnes achieved last fiscal. (This article was published on October 28, 2013)

Keywords: 50% jump, basmati paddy, paddy farmers, basmati growers, kharif season, aromatic varieties

Rice farmers losing out on production profits VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam exports large amounts of rice, yet millions of rice farmers do not profit from their hard work, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said.

He was speaking at a recent conference reviewing the implementation of the Party Central Committee's resolution on developing agriculture, farmers and rural areas over the past five years.Total rice production reached 43.7 million tonnes this year, according to the ministry, an increase of 5.1 million tonnes over the past five years. Rice exports brought in more than US$3 billion, making Viet Nam one of the world's top three exporters.But the low profits that rice farming offers are driving many to abandon their fields, Phat said.The country has about 18 millions hectares of land for cultivation, forestry and aquaculture production. The total turnover of the sector was VND9.4 trillion (US$441 million) last year, while the turnover of each hectare was VND50 million ($2,350)."There are about five to six households sharing each hectare on average. How could they live on such a low income?" former Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Cong Tan said. Tan said the country should aim to increase farmers' incomes instead of rice exports. This could be done by reducing rice production to enough for domestic consumption and an extra 20 per cent for export and switching to other crops that would bring farmers higher profits.Aquaculture production and the agriculture-forestryaquaculture processing industry are also seeing high annual growth rates, about 5.6 per cent and 18.3 per cent respectively. But while agricultural exports are high, they also tend to be low value."We have mainly exported raw materials. Something must be done to avoid reducing the value of agricultural products in the international market," Tan said.Dang Kim Son, head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that individuals should be able to invest in agricultural machines to improve the value of agricultural products. Source: VNS 

Tags:Rice farmers,production profits,rice exports,aquaculture production,

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In Snap: Workers build a rural road in Thach My Commune, Loc Ha District, Ha Tinh Province. Farmers still see few benefits from agricultural achievement even though Viet Nam is one of the world's top three rice exporters.

Rice self-sufficiency target in sight By Ronnel W. Domingo:Philippine Daily Inquirer 6:53 pm | Sunday, October 27th, 2013 The damage typhoons wrought on palay farms in the past year was not enough to significantly affect the country’s rice stock, according to the Department of Agriculture.Agriculture Undersecretary Dante S. Delima said in a recent interview that palay lost to bad weather amounted to just about 300,000 metric tons (MT), or half the 600,000 MT that the government prepared for this year.Even then, Delima said, the country may miss its target of becoming self-sufficient in rice by the end of the year.He projected that the country would only be 98 percent self-sufficient by year’s end. Still, the figure is a vast improvement from the officially accepted 87 percent.―By self-sufficiency, we mean covering domestic demand plus a buffer stock that should last at least 90 days,‖ he explained.Filipinos across the country consume 34,000 MT of rice daily, which puts the buffer stock at 3.06 million MT. ―By yearend, we expect to have a … stock of 2.4 million MT that is good for 74 days,‖ Delima said.The DA expects 19 million MT in total rice output this year.Delima added that the National Food Authority (NFA) Council is set to evaluate the domestic supply situation in January.―By considering the ending inventory and the production outlook for the first semester of 2014, the NFA Council will decide on whether we need to import rice and, if yes, by how much,‖ he explained.The National Economic and Development Authority, which previously recommended to President Aquino the immediate importation of 500,000 MT of rice, said no new rice purchase would be made this year, Delima said.Last week, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said this new consensus ―would go by the President’s pronouncement that, if ever we import, it is because we need to.‖Alcala explained that since the country’s main harvest occurs in the second half of the year—accounting for 60 percent of the year’s output—decisions on whether to import, and how much, are usually finalized at the start of the succeeding year.

On the Boil: Thailand’s Government Rice Subsidy By MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR / THE IRRAWADDY| Monday, October 28, 2013 |

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In Snap:A worker carries a bag of milled rice at a mill in Suphan Buri Province, about 105 km north of Bangkok on Feb. 6, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

BAAN NON SOMBOON, Thailand – On a sun-drenched afternoon, a tractor pulling a flatbed trailer piled with large bags of unmilled paddy arrives at the home of Sa-ngaim Khampakdee, a rice farmer. The 69-year-old inspects the off-white bags with his thick, calloused hands and then requests his son-in-law, the driver, to unload the contents. Thirty minutes later, there is a mound of 25 sacks near the entrance to Sa-ngaim’s house in this village in northeast Thailand.Similar scenes play out in villages across the Khorat Plateau in Isaan, a rice bowl of Thailand. Farmers like Sa-ngaim have just begun to harvest this year’s monsoon crop. Even before hauling the unhusked grain to the closest miller, the farmers have a rough estimate how much their main annual crop will fetch. ―It is much better now; so easy to calculate how much we would get when we sell our paddy,‖ admits Sa-ngaim. ―That is how it was for me during the last two seasons; no uncertainty.‖ Such a sense of security is the product of the ―rice pledging scheme‖ introduced by the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. October marked the third year that this lifeline to the farmers is being implemented. Under it, market forces have been given a short shrift. In vogue is the pledge that Yingluck’s Phue Thai (For Thais) Party campaigned on for the July 2011 general elections, and delivered on the back of a thumping polls victory—direct government intervention in the rice trade.The state has promised to buy ―every grain of rice‖ up for sale at rates far above the market price. So, a ton of unmilled white rice earns farmers like Sa-ngaim 15,000 baht (US$484), while the fragrant, long-grained jasmine rice is lapped up by the government at 20,000 baht ($643) per ton. These prices are nearly 35 per cent to 40 per cent above the estimated market price, since the current international price for milled white rice is $400 per ton. That is $335 cheaper than what the Thai government is paying locally for the same polished grain—$775 per ton. It explains why an estimated 4 million rice farmers registered for this scheme in October 2011, the first year it was unveiled, according to agriculture officials. They were drawn to the windfall from this pro-poor policy aimed to tap the farmers’ vote, the largest constituency in the country. It offered farmers in Baan Non Somboon an answer to the perennial costs of paddy production. The latter ranged from the spike in fertiliser and pesticides to oil.Yingluck’s rice policy is in step with the raft of unprecedented pro-poor policies that were implemented during the five years that her twice-elected elder brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, governed, till he was ousted in a September 2006 military coup. That first incarnation of populism assured a 1 million baht village fund for small loans, imposed a debt moratorium and unveiled a universal health care scheme. ―The current government and the Thaksin government embraced the ideology that the farmers are the backbone of Thailand,‖ says Thanet Aphornsuvan, a historian at Bangkok’s Thammasat University. ―And they have been rewarded at the polls by implementing programmes that help the farmers.‖This twist by the Shinawatras is a departure from the previous trends that has shaped the politics of rice. That took root after Thailand broke away

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from decades of military dictatorships and took its first steps towards democracy in the 1970s. ―Some of the previous interventions favoured the rice traders, while the farmers were left as poor peasants,‖ Thanet explained. ―That has changed since Thaksin started intervening to strengthen the rural, grassroots economy.‖But Yingluck’s efforts to cosy up to the farmers have given rise to a fault line. The divide pits a satisfied rural constituency against an irate chorus of economists in Bangkok. The latter are troubled by the mounting costs the country has to shoulder, in addition to Thailand being dethroned from its place as the world’s leading exporter of the Asian staple. In 2012, Thailand was replaced by Vietnam and India in the global rice market, exporting a reported 7 million tons of rice for $4.8 billion, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association. In 2011, by contrast, this Southeast Asian kingdom shipped nearly 11 million tons as the world’s top exporter, bringing in $6.4 billion to the national coffers. Some critics of the rice-pledging policy are buttressing their arguments with revelations that came to light in July. The losses arising from corruption and the exaggerated production figures from the rice policy over three years of harvests could reach 220 billion baht ($7 billion) a year, said Supa Piyajitti, a senior official at the finance ministry, during an inquiry conducted that month by the Senate.Pridiyathorn Devakula, a former finance minister, painted an equally damning picture. The losses for the first two years of the rice-pledging scheme could hit 425 billion baht, he revealed during a mid-October press conference. This scheme, in his view, is ―the biggest loss-incurring project ever conceived.‖A swift rebuttal by the government—the losses could be ―80 to 100 million baht’’—has done little to detract from another glaring fact: the ―rice mountains‖ that have emerged in the country. The prohibitive price that Thai rice is being flogged in the international market has posed a challenge to the government. It is struggling to dispose of the over 26 million tons it bought during the first two years of the program. And government-to-government deals, couched in secrecy, have not eased the pressure on the brimming silos.But the Yingluck administration’s political capital is still intact. Farmers’ incomes have been boosted by 115 billion baht annually since late 2011, according to official estimates. No wonder a survey conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in September found that 63.7 percent of 1,228 farmers questioned affirmed that the rice-pledging scheme has ―helped raise [their] quality of life.‖ Government largesse has also meant momentary relief to the troubles over household debt.Yet, such an endorsement places the government in a quandary. It coincides with revelations by senior ministers that plans are afoot to scale down the state’s monopoly of the rice market for the second rice harvest in early 2014. The hint of such a rollback has prompted threats of rural resistance.Rice farmers from central Thailand, a fertile stretch that is part of the 13 million hectares under paddy cultivation, have announced mass protests in Bangkok. ―We will coordinate our protest with rice farmers groups in 10 provinces of the Chao Phraya River basin,‖ a spokesman from a farmers’ council has told the local media.

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Agri Buzz : Thailand Rice Exports Down 32% During January1-October 20, 2013 Capital Markets 09:38:00, Oct 28, 2013 As per the latest release from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the unofficial rice exports (excluding premium white and fragrant rice) for October 14-20, 2013 totaled 55,625 metric tons, down 10,725 metric tons from the previous week, and down 16,937 metric tons from the four- week moving average of 72,561 metric tons. Exports of white and parboiled rice from January 1 through October 20, 2013 totaled 2,686,455 metric tons, down 32 percent from 3,973,765 metric tons in the same period last year as Thai rice prices remain uncompetitive, particularly with Vietnamese and Indian rice.Total rice exports (including premium white and fragrant rice) from January 1 through September 30, 2013 amounted to approximately 4.6 million metric tons, down 8 percent from the same period last year.

Vietnamese firm to guarantee market for Lao rice growers Business Desk Vientiane Times Publication Date : 26 -10-2013 Champassak provincial authorities have confirmed that a Vietnamese company will invest in rice cultivation in the province this coming dry season.The company intends to grow rice for processing into powder for export after it completes the construction of a rice milling complex over the coming months.The authorities thought the company might begin the project this wet season but they were unable to as the rice mill is not fully installed yet, provincial agriculture section Head Mr Somlith Viravong told Vientiane Times last week.The company will seek to obtain land concessions for additional rice cultivation in the districts of Soukhouma, Sanasomboun and Khong in the first year before expanding to other districts if the venture is successful in these target areas, he said. The company will provide incentives for farmers by supplying rice seed, fertiliser and technical assistance. When the crops are mature the company will purchase them from farmers, Somchith said.This scheme will help to guarantee a market for farmers' rice and will give them expertise in growing better quality rice for greater profit, he explained.As the price of rice remained low last year, many farming families have shifted from rice to other crops to earn more money.The low rice price has made it hard for Champassak province to encourage farmers to produce sufficient rice to fulfil the strategic plan, but the company initiative will go some way to addressing this, he said.The province has about 200,000 hectares of rice fields but this wet season farmers only planted around 111,700 hectares of rice.

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Farmers produced a rice surplus but were unable to sell the crop because it was of poor quality.Lacking the know-how to grow good quality rice, they are still growing the crop using traditional methods.The use of poor quality rice seed prevents farmers from getting a decent price for their crop, not only in Laos but also in other countries.Farmers grow almost any kind of rice for family consumption but if they want to produce crops for domestic or export sale, they should be using a standard, higher grade of seed.Mr Somlith believes the new scheme will mean farmers no longer face this problem and they will be able to earn a higher income from their crops. ―We have now opened the door to domestic and foreign agri-business operators to promote rice production and purchase rice from farmers. This should enable us to shift from producing rice solely for consumption and grow the crop on a larger scale for sale and export,‖ he said.Champassak province has been able to produce an annual rice crop of about 400,000 tonnes in recent years, including some for export to overseas through private domestic companies. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a4e72604-3ed5-11e3-9657-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2j60dT0Fm

Thailand’s finance minister defends rice subsidy scheme By Pan Kwan Yuk in New York and Michael Peel in Bangkok

Thailand’s finance minister has mounted a strong defence of a much-criticised official rice subsidy scheme, saying it can continue indefinitely even though its multibillion-dollar annual cost is widely seen as undermining confidence in the country’s economy.Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the two-year-old rice-buying programme – which has just been renewed for another year – was a small price to pay to ensure millions of poor farmers and their dependants ―live a decent life‖. The scheme is one of several subsidies and tax breaks that have come under fire from many independent observers, who say the economy needs restructuring if it is to revitalise its historic export-led growth and insulate itself from possible external shocks such as the end of the US’ international bond-buying programme.―If you have to suffer budget-wise to help 4.5m families to live a decent life then I think it’s fair,‖

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Mr Kittiratt said in an interview. ―Rather than waiting until this group of people suffer to the level that would cause them to come out on to the street, it’s the government’s job to take care of them. ‖Mr Kittiratt dismissed critics who say the policy of deploying almost 700bn baht over the past two years to pay farmers between 40 and 50 per cent above market rates has been inefficient and wasteful. There has been a build-up of big rice stockpiles that will have to be sold at a loss because international prices fell almost a fifth during the first three quarters of this year.The price of benchmark 5-percent broken Thai white rice will decline a further 12 per cent to $390 a ton by April – a five-year low – according to an analysis of trader and analyst estimates compiled this month by Bloomberg, the financial information provider. Mr Kittiratt said the government was losing 120bn baht a year on the rice scheme, but added that it had the ―fiscal space‖ to keep the subsidy going ―forever‖ – or until official efforts to help rice farmers diversify into other crops such as sugarcane and tapioca had yielded results.―I think it is all right to keep [the rice buying programme] because the switching process will take some time,‖ he said. The dispute over Thai government subsidies goes to the heart of a long-running political struggle in the country, with rice farming communities in the north of the country forming one of the heartlands of the Puea Thai party of Yingluck Shinawatra, prime minister. The government in September doubled financial support to rubber growers in the traditionally opposition Democrat south, after a wave of strikes and disruption by farmers complaining that rice producers were getting preferential treatment.Mr Kittiratt hit back at attacks on the Yingluck government’s approach of expanding subsidies and other financial handouts, such as tax breaks for people buying their first cars. Asked about a thinly veiled warning last month by Prasarn Trairatvorakul, central bank governor, over an economic strategy that ―borders on the realm of populism‖, Mr Kittiratt said: ―I haven’t heard from him directly. And I don’t believe in things that I read from the newspaper. I have to hear him for myself.‖ The minister also played down fears the eventual end of the US Federal Reserve’s massive bond-buying programme known as quantitative easing – and the resulting tide of cheap money that has helped buoy the Thai economy – could seriously hurt the country.While Thailand is not in the first rank of Asian emerging markets seen as vulnerable to a reduction – or tapering – of QE, some analysts say the US policy has helped mask problems such as slowing economic growth and rising consumer debt.But Mr Kittiratt said Thailand had suffered rather than benefit from US spending, because capital inflows had driven up the baht to ―unnecessarily strong‖ levels and hurt exporters.―The end of QE and even the possibility of tapering [would] benefit Thailand, because it will help bring the baht back to the level that we can manage,‖ he said.

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Farmers band together to save rice Published: 28 Oct 2013 at 15.30:Online news:

SURIN – Farmers in flood-hit areas of Surin are banding together to jointly harvest still ripening rice crops in river-flooded paddy fields for fear they will lose everything if the situation worsens.The Mun River has burst its banks and inundated large areas of three districts - Chumphon Buri, Tha Tum and Rattanaburi. Several thousand rai of rice fields are threatened.Elsewhere in flooded areas of Isan, farmers also face the same dilemna. Although the green grain will fetch a low price, their hopes rest on what they can salvage of their crops before the plants wilt and the heads sink into the floodwater and rot. The fields should be drying out at this time of year, prior to the harvest. About 20 farmers in flooded tambon Thung Kula of Tha Tum district gathered together on Monday to save what they could of their harvest, even though the grain has not fully ripened.Farmers in other areas, particularly in Ban Taklang of tambon Krapo, of Tha Tum district are also hurrying to harvest their rice.This tambon is the merging point of water running off from Phanom Dongrak mountain into the Chi River and the Mun River, and carry water flowing from Nakhon Ratchasima and Buri Ram. The heads are still above the water, and the plants have not yet begun rotting, so the farmers are still able to harvest the rice and earn some income from their crops. The flood has also closed the road connecting Ban Yang Bo Pirom of tambon Na Nongpai in Chumpon Buri district to Ban Taklang of tambon Krapo in Tha Tum district Farmers hurry to harvest their rice in Surin's Tha Tum district, fearing the flood will worsen and they will lose their entire crop.

Up To 80% Of Rice Produced In Southeast Asia Wasted: Report By Amrutha Gayathri on October 26 2013 12:27 PM

The owner of Kirana, a mom-and-pop grocery store, arranges a rice sack in Kolkata, India, on Oct. 24, 2013. Reuters

As much as 80 percent of all the rice produced in developing countries in Southeast Asia -- totaling about 180 million tons -- is wasted annually, representing not only a loss of food, but also the waste of land, energy and water resources, even as food security continues to be a distant goal for several countries in the region, a report published on Friday by a U.K.-based group said.The staggering level of wasted food in Southeast Asia is much

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higher than the worldwide level of wasted food -- up to 50 percent of the 4 billion tons of food produced worlwide every year goes to waste, according to the report by Institution of Mechanical Engineers, an energy and environmental NGO, or nongovernmental organization. The report noted that, globally, there is the potential to provide 60 percent to 100 percent more food by eliminating waste, apart from conserving land, energy and water resources.―The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through sales promotion offers,‖ Tim Fox, head of Energy and Environment at the organization, said in a statement. Depending on the extent of development in the Southeast Asian countries, losses of rice range from 37 percent to 80 percent of the production. In China, which has been relatively successful in attaining food security compared to the rest of the region, about 45 percent of rice is wasted, while in less-developed Vietnam, about 80 percent of rice is lost.In India, about 20 million tons of wheat is wasted annually, and up to 40 percent of the country’s fruit and vegetable production is lost due to lack of cold storage and refrigerated trucks, and poor roads. In affluent nations about 30 percent to 50 percent of food purchased by the consumer goes into the garbage, the report said.Currently, the global human population uses about 3.8 trillion cubic meters of water a year, and about 70 percent of this goes into the agriculture sector, of which about 550 billion cubic meters of water is wasted in growing crops that never not make it to the consumer, the report noted.With the global population growing rapidly, demand for water will continue to rise over the coming decades, and depending on agricultural methods, humans may need 10–13 trillion cubic meters of water annually by 2050.The report urged governments in developing countries to improve their transportation and storage infrastructure to eliminate food wastage, while developed countries need to implement policies to alter consumer expectations: ―These [goals] should discourage retailers from wasteful practices that lead to the rejection of food on the basis of cosmetic characteristics, and losses in the home due to excessive purchasing by consumers.‖

Dems ramp up rice scheme opposition Published: 28 Oct 2013 :Newspaper section: News

The Democrat Party is gearing up to grill the government on its rice-pledging scheme, saying the programme is still rife with graft.Democrat list-MP Ongart Klampaiboon said Sunday the scheme is still plagued with corruption despite attempts by ministers and state officials to handle the issue.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as chairwoman of the National Rice Policy Committee, must boost efforts to stop graft, or else she would learn about the scheme's problems through no-confidence motions, he said.Mr Ongart said evidence of fraud has been found in how rice moisture and weight are measured, referring to the first step when farmers deliver their produce to rice mills.

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Even those who are not farmers were found to have exploited the scheme, he said.At the second stage of the process, when rice is stored, the Democrat MP said some people were able to dip into budgets for expenses concerning checks on rice quality, fumigation and insurance management.Concerning the rice release process, Mr Ongart said the Democrats discovered some purported government-to-government purchase deals did not in fact exist. Some nominees were set up to benefit from the government's rice releases, he added.Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Noppparit yesterday denied claims by Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva that the rice scheme had lost 400 billion baht. He asked Mr Abhisit to heed the views of Thai Agriculturist Association president Wichien Phuanglamjiak, who said farmers are satisfied with the rice pledging scheme. Mr Prompong challenged the opposition to file a no-confidence motion against the government or lodge a request with watchdogs for an inquiry, if they thought their evidence of fraud was so convincing.Referring to fresh protests by a network of rubber and oil palm growers in Prachuap Khiri Khan yesterday, Mr Prompong said he understood two politicians were behind the movement.He has heard the group of rubber farmers could expand their protest to include the amnesty bill and the ruling on the Preah Vihear temple dispute

Farmers band together to save rice Published: 28 Oct 2013 at 15.30:Online news:

SURIN – Farmers in flood-hit areas of Surin are banding together to jointly harvest still ripening rice crops in river-flooded paddy fields for fear they will lose everything if the situation worsens.The Mun River has burst its banks and inundated large areas of three districts - Chumphon Buri, Tha Tum and Rattanaburi. Several thousand rai of rice fields are threatened.Elsewhere in flooded areas of Isan, farmers also face the same dilemna. Although the green grain will fetch a low price, their hopes rest on what they can salvage of their crops before the plants wilt and the heads sink into the floodwater and rot. The fields should be drying out at this time of year, prior to the harvest.About 20 farmers in flooded tambon Thung Kula of Tha Tum district gathered together on Monday to save what they could of their harvest, even though the grain has not fully ripened. Farmers in other areas, particularly in Ban Taklang of tambon Krapo, of Tha Tum district are also hurrying to harvest their rice.This tambon is the merging point of water running off from Phanom Dongrak mountain into the Chi River and the Mun River, and carry water flowing from Nakhon Ratchasima and Buri Ram. The heads are still above the water, and the plants have not yet begun rotting, so the farmers are still able to harvest the rice and earn some income from their crops. The flood has also closed the road connecting Ban Yang Bo Pirom of tambon Na Nongpai in Chumpon Buri district to Ban Taklang of tambon

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Krapo in Tha Tum district .Farmers hurry to harvest their rice in Surin's Tha Tum district, fearing the flood will worsen and they will lose their entire crop.

CP boss says slash rice crop by 30% FARMERS ENCOURAGED TO DIVERSIFY Published: 27 Oct 2013 :Newspaper section: News

The head of the country's largest food group has condemned the government's rice policy, saying crops should be reduced by a third.Dhanin Chearavanont, chairman and chief executive of agro-industrial conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, said Saturday the government had failed to keep up with the changing global rice market, leading to excessive rice stocks and massive financial losses.To turn the situation around, he said the government needed to encourage farmers to reduce their rice plantations by 30%, especially in low productivity areas, and offer compensation. Mr Dhanin said the government had not reacted fast enough to the changing rice market, making Thai grain uncompetitive. According to Mr Dhanin, stocks of rice in India and Vietnam had increased after bountiful harvests while their currencies have depreciated. Meanwhile, the price of Thai rice had gone up because of the rice-pledging policy, while the baht had strengthened.He suggested the government urge farmers to cut down their rice planting and grow other crops by offering a subsidy of 1,500 baht per rai. Supply would shrink and that should drive up prices.Based on the Agriculture Ministry's records, rice farming covers 70 million rai. Of this, only 43 million rai is suitable for growing rice, but some farmers still attempt to grow on unsuitable land. He said rice farmers should switch to cash crops like rubber, palm, sugarcane and coconut.Mr Dhanin warned the government against exporting broken rice as that would only drive prices down. Broken rice should be used in animal feed production, which would help boost prices."The government needs to release its stocks by selling to countries with high demand, such as China, which also uses rice in ethanol production. If China buys more Thai rice, prices will go up," he said.Mr Dhanin expressed confidence that China would buy one million tonnes of rice per year from Thailand, as claimed by the government, because talks on the matter had been conducted between the leaders of the two countries. The CP boss also gave his backing to the 2-trillion-baht investment scheme and urged the parliament to pass the borrowing bill. He said a high-speed train _ part of the investment plan _ would bring prosperity to the country's economy."There is no country that has gone bust because of a [high-speed] train project. Thailand will get back several times more than the investment cost of 2 trillion baht."Meanwhile, newly-appointed finance permanent secretary Rungson Sriworasat said he would review the rice-pledging scheme loss figures calculated by a Finance Ministry sub-committee headed by deputy permanent secretary Supa Piyajitti. Mr Rungson did not believe 200 billion baht was being lost each year, as the sub-committee reported."I haven't seen the accounts and the loss figures proposed by Ms Supa and approved by the former permanent secretary [Areepong Bhoocha-oom]. It needs to be reviewed as to whether annual losses of 200 billion baht loss are true," he said.

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"As an experienced accountant and a director at the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives for eight years, I think the losses should not be as much."Ms Supa recently suggested the government had lost 200 billion baht a year through the scheme over the past two harvest years. The Commerce Ministry rejected the Finance Ministry's accounting procedures and said the losses could be less than 100 billion baht per harvest year.Mr Rungson gave a rough estimate of 36 billion baht in losses, assuming that the government could sell 12 million tonnes of rice at 12,000 baht per tonne.Should the price of rice in the stockpile be appraised correctly, the estimated loss could be lower than suggested by Ms Supa's panel, he said, adding that the government should hire middle parties to conduct an appraisal.The government's rice-pledging scheme was a good programme, but tighter procedures were needed to ensure that money went directly to farmers, he said.

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