Monthly Archives: March 2015

Vietnam Rice Sellers Increase Some of Their Quotes; Pakistan Rice Sellers Lower Some of Their Quotes Today

Vietnam rice sellers increased their quotes for 5% broken rice and 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton each to around $365 – $375 per ton and $310 – $320 per ton respectively today. Pakistan rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken , 25% broken rice and 100% broken rice by about $15 per ton, $10 per ton and $5 per ton to around $350 – $360 per ton, $320 – $330 per ton and $280 – $290 per ton, respectively, today. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.

5% Broken Rice

Thailand 5% rice is indicated at around $385 – $395 per ton, about a $20 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $365 – $375 per ton, up about $5 per ton from Friday. India 5% rice is indicated at around $375 – $385 per ton, about a $25 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $350 – $360 per ton, down about $15 per ton from Friday.

25% Broken Rice

Thailand 25% rice is shown at around $370 – $380 per ton, about a $30 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $340- $350 per ton. India 25% rice is indicated at around $340 – $350, about a $20 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $320 – $330 per ton, down about $10 per ton from Friday.

Parboiled Rice

Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $385 – $395 per ton. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $370 – $380 per ton, about a $15 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice shown at around $385 – $395 per ton.

100% Broken Rice

Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is indicated at around $320 – $330 per ton, about a $10 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $310 – $320 per ton, up about $5 per ton from Friday. India’s 100% broken rice is shown at around $275 – $285 per ton, about a $5 per ton discount to Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $280 – $290 per ton, down about $5 per ton from Friday.

Thailand Develops Pest and Cold Resistant Rice Variety

Rice HQ

Thailand’s Pathum Thani Rice Research Center has developed a new rice variety – called Thani 200 or Kor. Khor.57 – that can withstand colder climates as well as resistant to pests, according to local sources.
The Director of the Rice Center, a unit of the Rice Department, noted that the new rice variety is a hybrid of the popular Suphanburi 1 and IR 64 strains. He added that the researchers of the Rice Center have taken more than a decade to develop this variety.
He also noted that the new hybrid variety is resistant to brown planthopper and is suitable for growing in provinces with colder climatic conditions. The Director said the new variety is also suitable for making by-products such as rice flour. He noted that the Department is planning to produce the new variety as rice seed before distributing it to farmers.
According to the Director, the Rice Department currently faces a shortage of rice seeds by about 500,000 tons annually and fills the demand from private companies. He noted that the introduction of the new variety also may not reduce the problem of seed shortfalls. The Rice Department currently spends about 5 baht per kilogram (around $153 per ton) for Hom Mali rice seed, 16-17 baht per kilogram (around $491-$522 per ton) for white rice seed and 22 baht per kilogram (around $675 per ton) for glutinous rice seed.

Rice stockpiling likely to reach target in Mekong Delta

Businesses have bought about 760,000 tons out of one million tons under the Government’s rice stockpiling program this year as of March 29, reported the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

Rice HQ

This is considered to be a great effort by the businesses because the purchase was very slow early March. With this momentum, they have to plan to buy all one million tons by April 15 when the program ends.

VFA is said to have assisted some companies to access bank loans to purchase rice for stockpiling.

Vietnamese businesses have signed contracts to export two million tons of rice this year. Of this number, they have delivered 540,000 tons.

Vietnam rice boom pressures environment

Rice farmer Nguyen Hien Thien is so busy growing his crops that he has never even visited Can Tho, a town only a few miles from his farm in the southern Mekong Delta.

“When I was a child, we grew one crop of rice per year — now it’s three. It’s a lot of work,” 60-year-old Thien, who has been farming since he was a child, told AFP on the edge of his small paddy field.

Experts say Vietnam’s drive to become one of the world’s leading rice exporters is pushing farmers in the fertile delta region to the brink, with mounting costs to the environment.

The communist country is already the world’s second largest exporter of the staple grain. But intensive rice cultivation, particularly the shift to producing three crops per year, is taking its toll on farmers and the ecosystem.

“Politicians want to be the world’s number one or two rice exporter. As a scientist, I want to see more being done to protect farmers and the environment,” said Vietnamese rice expert Vo Tong Xuan.

A major famine in 1945 and food shortages in the post-war years led to the government adopting a “rice first” policy.

This now generates far more of the crop than needed to feed Vietnam’s 90 million population and has catalysed a thriving export industry.

Rice yields have nearly quadrupled since the 1970s, official figures show, thanks to high-yield strains and the construction of a network of dykes that today allow farmers to grow up to three crops per year.

The amount of land under cultivation in the Mekong Delta has also expanded and quotas are in place to prevent farmers from switching to other crops.

But experts are questioning who really benefits.

According to Xuan, farmers don’t reap the rewards of the three crop system — the rice is low quality and they spend more on pesticides and fertilisers, which become less effective year by year.

Exporter says unaffected by its partner’s debt woes

Rice exporter Cambodia-Vietnam Food Company said joint venture partner and Vietnamese state-owned Vinafood 2’s possible bankruptcy over $40 million of debt will not hurt its business prospects in the Kingdom.

Cavifoods is a joint venture between state-owned Green Trade Company and Vietnamese companies Southern Food Company, or Vinafood 2, and the Cambodian Investment and Development Company, and exports rice grown by Cambodian farmers.

Thon Virak, former director general of Cambodia’s state-owned Green Trade and currently senior official with the Ministry of Commerce, said he was not aware of the development and said Cavifoods was unaffected by Vinafood’s financial troubles.

“Cavifoods is operating very well – keeping up export of milled rice for foreign countries every year.”

However, he said, there may be some changes if one of the joint-partner is facing financial trouble.

“Sure, there will have some effect [Cavifoods]. But, we [Green Trade] will not get any effect due to under the venture; we provide them only the land for the milling and warehouses.”

Virak said that while he didn’t have any details currently, he would contact Vinafood in Ho Chi Minh City to get an update on the situation.

According to VietNamNet, 19 of Vinafood’s 44 subsidiaries reported losses in 2014, with Tra Vinh Food Company and TRAVIFACO posting losses of $7.67 million and $6.27 million, respectively.

Vinafood 2 is facing bankruptcy over $40 million debt it undertook as a result of inefficiencies in the operations of its subsidiaries.

Vinafood 2 posted $432 million in losses last year due to the breeding, processing and exporting tra fish, as well as losses from inter-subsidiary lending arrangements.

The company had to bear a loss of $4.66 million because a few of its subsidiaries defaulted on bank loans.

According to Tran Bac Ha, chairman of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, who spoke during the company’s launch in early April 2012, the company targets exporting 250,000 tonnes per year by 2015.

As of last year, Cavifoods had exported around 6,000 tonnes of milled rice, ranking 20th out of more than 50 milled rice exporters, according to ministry of agriculture.

Pakistan Farmers Challenge GI tag for Basmati rice

Rice HQ

The Intellectual Properties Appellate Board (IPAB), Chennai, has adjourned to July 8 the hearing on an application filed by a Pakistan-based farmers organisation challenging the grant of geographical indication (GI) tag for Basmati rice to certain Indian areas in the himalayan foothills spread between Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

The Basmati Growers Association from Lahore has challenged the GI tag secured by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA), an autonomous body under the Commerce Ministry, for the himalayan foothill areas located in India. The GI tag would mean that rice produced in any other areas cannot be marketed as Basmati, as per international trade treaties.

While the appeal was dismissed by Assistant Registrar, GI, on December 31, 2013, it has now filed the appeal in the board at Chennai. In its petition, the BGA contended that Basmati was name for slender, aromatic and long grain variety of rice grown in specific geographical areas in the foothills of Himalayas in Pakistan. These parts of Indo-Gangetic plain are traditional Basmati rice yielding areas.

The organisation referred to Punjab poet Syed Waris Shah’s master piece ‘Heer’ in which he mentions about Basmati grown in Punjab those days, whose areas now fall within the jurisdiction of Pakistan. The petition said Basmati is protected under section 24 (9) of Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

BGA has contended that the GI tag for Indian areas would affect farmers in Pakistan, who are the legitimate cultivators of Basmati traditionally. Shafiullah Khan of Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, had filed the petition on behalf of BGA. When the case came up for hearing in February last week, the IPAB bench comprising the board’s chairman Justice K N Basha adjourned the matter to July 8.

Rice Shipments tipped to slip in next quarter amid slowdown

Thai rice shipments will continue falling into next quarter due to tougher competition, while importing countries are facing a sluggish economy and volatile exchange rates, causing Thailand to lose its crown to India as the world’s largest rice exporter, according to industry reports.

Chareon Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said Thai rice shipments in March would amount to 750,000-800,000 tonnes, down from the third month of last year due to some countries turning to other suppliers that are cheaper.

Orders this month will come from the government-to-government contracts issued by the Philippines. Thailand won about 250,000 tonnes, and received orders from African countries for parboiled rice and white rice.

However, orders from African countries would not be as much as last year because most African countries trade in the euro. Currency volatility has caused trouble for them to quote prices, so importers would only place orders for a short period.

Some importers in Africa have turned to buying rice from India and Pakistan due to cheaper prices. With the impending rice harvest in Vietnam, more rice would hit the market and the price of Vietnamese rice would be lower than Thai rice.

With the uncertainty over supply and fluctuating currencies, rice-buying nations have delayed importing rice, or will only order “hand to mouth” for a short period out of fear of losses on huge stocks.

The Commerce Ministry has reported Thai rice shipments in the first two months dropped by 4.7 per cent in volume and 7.1 per cent in value to 1.34 million tonnes worth Bt22.85 billion.

Thailand took over as the world’s second largest rice exporter after India’s exports surged 57 per cent to 1.48 million tonnes from January to February.

Pakistan is the world’s third largest exporter at 970,000 tonnes, followed by Vietnam at 800,000 tonnes and the US at 540,000 tonnes.

Facing many problems over rice stocks and sales, the Rice Policy and Management Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, has recently instructed the Commerce Ministry to set up a committee to probe the rice-selling contracts of previous governments to ensure transparency.

Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary of the ministry, said with fear of illegal rice sales, while facing many problems with rice in the government’s stocks, the committee will make an in-depth investigation into rice selling contracts to see whether they are transparent and legal.

The panel will investigate rice-selling contracts from 2008 to last year.

Impeachment of rice scheme trio to be debated

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) is scheduled to consider an impeachment motion against former ministers in the previous government in the coming week, in connection with the controversial rice-pledging scheme.

NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai has called a meeting on Thursday and Friday for the assembly to debate the motion. The NLA will consider a request by the National Anti-Corruption Commission to impeach former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, former deputy commerce minister Poom Sarapol, and former Department of International Trade chief Manat Soiploy for alleged malfeasance in connection with the rice scheme.

The date of opening statements in the impeachment case will be confirmed in this NLA meeting. The impeachment of the three former officials complies with Article 6 of the interim constitution, and Article 64 of the Corruption Prevention and Suppression Act.

Vietnam Revisits Benefits of Floating Rice Cultivation

Rice HQ

Vietnam, world’s third largest rice exporter and fifth largest rice producer, is embracing older rice farming techniques such as floating rice or deep water rice. The concept, which was given up gradually over the last five decades is again gaining popularity due to the ecological, social and economic benefits associated with it.
Before 1975, floating rice cultivation was very prevalent in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. It accounted for nearly 500,000 hectares of Vietnam’s rice area. However, it’s proportion gradually declined reaching some tens of hectares by 2012. Introduction of high-yielding varieties and agricultural intensification are said to be main reasons for a decline in floating rice cultivation area.
However, the government as well as the environmentalists have recognized that the novel methods of rice farming have led to water scarcity, agro-chemical pollution and soil infertility in the Mekong Delta. So, they have decided to re-expand the area under floating rice cultivation.
Under this type of cultivation, rice is first grown on rainwater until flooding occurs in mid-August. The stalks of the rice plants grow along with the level of flood water. When the water level begin to recede in November, the rice plants lie flat on the ground, flower and produce grain and be ready for harvest by December. The average yield from this type of cultivation was about 2.5 tons per hectare. During flooding season, farmers also harvest wild fish inside the flooded fields gaining double income. The floating rice area also provides an important habitat for birds also
his type of rice cultivation requires no pesticides and a very small amount of chemical fertilizer would suffice, and soil fertility is naturally maintained through the deposition of rice stalks as floods recede. It is also known to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon as farmers do not burn the straw.
In the dry season, farmers grow several upland crops cassava, Chinese onion, egg plants, pumpkin and chillies. Income from floating rice system is much higher, say farmers.
With the disappearance of floating rice system, wild fish also disappeared thereby reducing an income source for farmers. They say though the modern systems of rice farming have increased yields, a lot of health concerns due fertilizer and pesticide residues have also increased. Therefore authorities are again planning to increase acreage under this system.

Low Vietnamese rice export in Q1

Vietnam shipped 536,570 tonnes of rice worth US$ 236 million abroad during the first quarter of this year, marking the lowest Q1 figures since 2009, announced Huynh The Nang, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

He said the reasons for the drop include low demand and exporters’ limited access to loans.

Nang added that the world rice market presented a number of challenges due to low demand and high supply from Thailand, India, Pakistan and Myanmar.

According to the VFA, rice exports will continue facing difficulties as African countries purchase considerable amounts of cheap and low-quality rice from Thailand.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s key markets, such as China and Southeast Asia, have lowered their demand.

In 2014, Vietnam exported 6.32 million tonnes of rice and earned US$ 2.8 million, becoming the third largest rice exporter in the world after Thailand and India, according to the association.