Monthly Archives: February 2016

Vietnam rice exporters plead for market info

Vietnamese rice exporters are in dire need of market information, especially about new markets, and government agencies, including Vietnamese trade counsellors abroad, should focus more on providing them such information, a seminar heard in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, deputy director of the Long An Department of Industry and Trade, said his province and its rice exporters needed information related to export markets.China has large demand for rice, but its policies change frequently, and businesses need information about its rice-import regulations, quotas, rice-inventory policies and others, he said. – Viet Nam News

Khong district forecasts 500,000 tourist arrivals

Authorities in Khong district of Laos’ Champasak province are prioritising the improvement of services in the tourism sector in a bid to boost the number of domestic and international tourist arrivals in the coming years.

“Improvements to services, especially in regards to tour operations, accommodation and restaurants, are key elements to boosting the number of visitors to our district,” district Governor Sanan Siphaphommachan told Vientiane Times last week.

He said Khong district had many tourist attractions in the wider area generally known as Si Phan Done, or “the 4,000 islands”

Top Indian rice exporter aims to boost operations in GCC

KRBL Limited, among the world’s largest rice millers and Basmati rice exporters, has planned to boost its operations across the Middle East region, particularly in the GCC.

The company, owners of the flagship brand India Gate basmati rice, aims to achieve its goals by focusing on strengthening ties with local partners and expanding its distributor network, said the statement.

KRBL Limited recorded a total export revenue of $203.48 million for the year 2014-15, said its long-term business strategy is to grow this business by 75 per cent over the next five years, it added.

Rice consumption in the Middle East is continuously increasing, thus enabling expansion of the rice market, especially the Basmati rice segment, it said.

Priyanka Mittal, director of KRBL Limited, said: “The total consumption in the Middle East is about 3 million metric tonnes, and KRBL is targeting around 25 per cent of this volume owning to its large milling capacity of 1.2 million metric tonnes.”

“The Gulfood exhibition is an important trade fair for KRBL with Middle East being our biggest market outside India. Today, 85 per cent of our total export revenue comes from the Middle East,” she said.

“With a truly global population and changing demographics, this region offers a huge potential for growth, and we want to capitalise on this opportunity. At KRBL, we have the capacity and the infrastructure to support this growth. Our marketing strategy towards achieving this is to offer a product basket that caters to all consumer levels,” she added.

KRBL adopts a basket approach to brand introduction; new products are launched after due diligence, feedback from market distributors and an in-depth understanding of consumer needs. The company recently forayed into the value segment by introducing the Bab Al Hind brand in UAE, and launching the Nurjahan brand in Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

“While Indian basmati rice continues to enjoy robust growth in Arab markets, we are committed to rolling out other brands depending on the size of the opportunity and our ability to cater to demand,” Mittal added.

With a distributor network well-positioned to deliver on current growth targets, the company’s long-term business goals focus on new conversions and spurring brand growth through trail generation.

KRBL future plans include tapping into potential markets such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Yemen, to name a few, it added.

Rice basmati edges up on scattered support

Rice basmati prices firmed up by Rs 100 per quintal in an otherwise steady wholesale grains market today on scattered buying support from stockists and retailers.

Other grains, after moving in a tight range in limited deals, settled at last levels.

Traders said some buying by stockists and retailers against restricted supplies from producing regions led to rise in rice basmati prices.

In the national capital, rice basmati common edged up by Rs 100 to Rs 5,400-5,500 per quintal.

Following are today’s quotations (in Rs per quintal):

Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,050-2,650, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,750-1,755, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,760-1,765, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 230, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 230, Roller flour mill Rs 890-900 (50 kg), Maida Rs 960-970 (50 kg) and Sooji Rs 1,000-1,005 (50 kg).

Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,700, Basmati common new Rs 5,400-5,500, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 4,100-5,000, Permal raw Rs 1,900-1,950, Permal wand Rs 2,125-2,175, Sela Rs 2,400-2,500 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,700-1,720, Bajra Rs 1,510-1,515, Jowar yellow Rs 1,750-1,850, white Rs 3,300-3,400, Maize Rs 1,660-1,665, Barley Rs 1,430-1,440.

THAILAND AIMS TO EXPORT 9.5MN T OF RICE IN 2016

Thailand has set its rice export target at 9.5 million tonnes for this year, down from about 10 million tonnes in 2015, due to the anticipated impact of drought on production, a senior commerce ministry official said on Wednesday.

Lower supply this year from Thailand, the world’s second biggest rice exporter after India, could drive up prices for the Thai grain, said Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the ministry’s foreign trade department.

Twelve Thai provinces have been seriously affected by drought, according to the interior ministry.

“Our export goal for this year is 9.5 million tonnes, as we believe drought will cut crops,” Duangporn told reporters.

“The overall decrease in production could lead to higher rice prices.”

The country’s commerce and agriculture ministries have also prepared 10 billion baht ($278 million) worth of measures to stabilise prices, said the ministry’s permanent secretary, Chutima Bunyapraphasara.

That would involve buying rice to take it off the market and storing it temporarily, she said, without elaborating further.

The Thai government last week held two auctions to sell 397,639 tonnes of rice from state stockpiles to private companies for human consumption and industrial use.

The rice management committee has since approved the sale of 362,000 tonnes of the rice on offer in the auctions, Duangporn said.

When it took power in 2014, Thailand’s military government inherited about 18 million tonnes of rice in state stockpiles, amassed as a result of a generous subsidy scheme under which the previous civilian government bought rice from farmers at higher-than-market prices.

Since then, the junta has auctioned 5 million tonnes of rice through several tenders, with sales worth about $1.5 billion.

Thailand now holds about 12 million tonnes of rice in its state stockpiles.

ASIA RICE PRICES RISE IN VIETNAM, STABLE IN THAILAND

Export prices of Vietnamese rice picked up this week on demand from China, Indonesia and the Philippines and due to damage from dry weather, while ample supply put pressure on Thai rice prices, traders said on Wednesday.

The price rise in Vietnam however could be short-lived, as harvesting of the winter-spring crop, Vietnam’s biggest, is expected to peak in the Mekong Delta food basket in coming weeks, traders said.

Prices of 5-percent broken rice rose to $355-$365 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Saigon Port, from $350-$360 a week ago, and the 25-percent broken rice prices advanced to $340-$350 a tonne, from $330-$335 last week.

“The volume of newly harvested rice has not picked up yet, while domestic prices are firming after some forecasts of a serious dryness in the Mekong Delta, pulling up export prices,” a trader at a foreign firm in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Salination has become a serious issue in several Mekong Delta provinces, damaging 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres), or 6 percent of the winter-spring crop, the government said on its news website on Wednesday. (www.baochinhphu.vn)

Loading for Indonesia and the Philippines under contracts signed last year, and fresh enquiries from China, Vietnam’s top rice buyer, also lifted prices, traders said.

“But prices could weaken from mid-March at the peak of the harvest,” a Vietnamese exporter in Ho Chi Minh City said.

All winter-spring paddy now being harvested could be fully bought, keeping prices stable, a report on a government website quoted the Vietnam Food Association as saying.

The association will not seek government-backed rice purchases for stockpiling, the report added.

Last year, China’s imports of Vietnamese rice rose 32.7 percent from 2014 to 1.79 million tonnes, making the southern neighbour its biggest grain seller, followed by Thailand with 931,000 tonnes, based on Customs of China data.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world’s second- and third-largest rice exporters after India.

In Thailand, ample supply from the government and an ongoing harvest extended pressure on prices, traders said.

“The government sold rice directly to private firms, so they didn’t have to buy from rice millers,” a senior trader said, referring to a government auction last week, at which more than 152,000 tonnes were sold.

Quotations of Thai 5-percent broken rice narrowed to $373-$375 a tonne, FOB basis, from $370-$375 last Wednesday.

Thailand expects to export 9.5 million tonnes of rice this year, focusing on markets in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, a senior commerce ministry official said on Wednesday.

Rice Exports Down as Fiscal Year Nears End

Due to the lingering effects of torrential flooding and El Niño, Burma’s rice export volume is expected to dip in the 2015-16 fiscal year, industry experts said.

With just one month left in the fiscal year, which began in April 2015, rice export volume has reached only 1 million tons, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce.

Myint Cho, director of the Ministry of Commerce, said that he expects rice exports to fall short by more than 200,000 tons, with the exact figure currently at 1.037 million tons, compared to the 1.255 tons that had been exported over the same period last year.

“We won’t match last year’s record, with the major reasons being the floods last year [in July and August] and the fact that some rice exporters and traders are concerned about not having rice for the summer [because of El Niño], so they’re storing rice,” Myint Cho said.

“Rice prices increased last year because of these floods, so traders are preparing for prices to remain the same this time. There’s also less production here,” he added.

By the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year, Burma exported a total of 1.84 million tons of rice, including broken rice. Of this, 1.3 million tons went to China. Besides China, Burma also exports rice to Germany, Indonesia, Poland, Singapore and Thailand.

In recent weeks the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has been urging the government to prepare rice reserves for a potentially extreme El Niño period in the months ahead.

Ye Min Aung, MRF secretary, said that the public sector should also prepare rice reserves because of the potentially severe weather on the horizon.

“I’m not concerned about summer paddies but about rain paddies, because it [El Niño] may delay rain for the harvest season later. We should keep an eye on this,” Ye Min Aung said.

“We’ll also have to be careful about market speculation, because if some traders try to speculate how the market will move, the price of rice could increase.”

Despite an official Chinese ban on Burmese rice imports, traders in Burma have recently been focusing on trade across the Sino-Burmese border. Moreover, domestic prices have increased compared to normal trade prices in the world market, Myint Cho explained.

“The world price is less than US$400 per ton, while the Chinese price is over $400, so most [of Burma’s] rice is going to China,” he said.

Ministry figures estimate that Burma produced more than 13 million tons of rice over 23 million acres of paddy during the fiscal year 2014-15. At least 9 million tons were used for local consumption, while about 1.8 million tons went to the export market.

Pakistan exports to UAE slated for growth

Pakistani exports to the UAE and Mena region are set to increase within the next few years, especially in the meat, fruits and vegetables segment, experts at Gulfood 2016 have revealed.

Pakistan is participating at the exhibition with more than 92 companies;64 of which are participating under the banner of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDPA), Khaleej Times reported.

According to the report, “the growth in the number of participating companies this year is around 40 per cent and expected this number to continue growing as more Pakistani companies look for opportunities, not just in the UAE, but across the Mena region.”

“We have been exhibiting here consecutively for a number of years now and our presence has grown over the years. As far as business is concerned, we had an impressive turnover,” said S.M. Munir, chief executive of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

“We crossed our export target this year and had $1.3 billion worth of exports in 2015. Our imports are worth $1.7 billion for the same year. Our food exports have grown by more than 27 per cent, which is roughly $0.5 billion. Our rice exports stand at around $200 million, but the sector we are currently focusing on is meat,” he said.

Currently, more than 12 meat plants have been approved by UAE authorities in Pakistan, and there are 10 more in the pipeline for approval, he added. Exports in the meat segment are also set to rise in the coming years. The exports of food and vegetables in 2015 was worth around $20 million.

“This year, we sold a lot of fresh fruits, especially in the citrus segment. We also expect an increase in demand for oranges, guavas and our world-famous mangoes, which drew in around $18 million. Exports of processed foods, including frozen chicken, were recorded at $20 million. We are working with the government to allow us to export chicken meat. We expect to receive the approval soon. Saudi Arabia has given us the necessary approvals. We are confident that other countries in the region will follow suit,” Munir said.

Authorities act to reduce risk for export of rice

After analyzing the actual rice export situation in 2015 and rice export potentiality in 2016, Mr. Huynh The Nang, chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), said that China remains the main rice export market this year with 54 percent of total rice exports; the rest will be exported to Europe, the US, Japan, South Korea, Middle East, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Rice HQ

However, with China still accounting for high proportion in rice export structure, rice export potential this year is expected to be great but contains high risks. Chinese businesses usually imported Vietnamese rice that looks like Chinese rice variety then polish, pack, and distribute to the market under Chinese businesses’ brand names. This seriously affects the brand name of Vietnamese rice as well as devalues Vietnamese rice. Vietnamese businesses also lack of information of their Chinese partners, therefore, many of them were swindled when exporting rice to China.

As for new market, such as America, Europe, South Korea, Japan, and Middle East, Vietnamese rice exporters have to face strict technical barriers. However, there has not been a quality testing center of international standards in Vietnam that Vietnamese businesses have to rely on foreign testing centers so risks are high.

The VFA had proposed the ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development to warn farmers against using banned chemicals during rice cultivation. Until now, this problem has not been solved yet as authorities are short of testing equipment. There are harmful chemicals that authorities even do not know of. In fact, rice of some businesses was returned because of these harmful chemicals in 2015.

In order to lessen risks for rice exporters as well as increase sustainability of market, Mr. Tran Tuan Anh, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, ordered commercial counselors to coordinate with the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, Multilateral Trade Policy Department, and Department of Import and Export to gather information of rice importers. Of which, they have to evaluate and compare the advantages of Vietnamese rice over that of competitors and propose solutions to improve export effectiveness and add more value to rice products. Local authorities have to restructure agriculture, ensure quality of rice, build solution to develop Vietnamese rice’s brand name, stabilize cultivation area, and connect farmers with rice exporters. The VFA should quickly complete strategy to develop brand name of Vietnamese rice in order to help Vietnamese rice to infiltrate into distribution network of rice importers.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will carry out a project to improve business ability of rice exporters in terms of human resources, marketing activities, and international commercial dispute to create most favorable conditions for them to enhance internal force and diversify export market.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade on February 22 held a conference to appraise rice export situation in 2016.

Vietnamese rice nowhere to be found in Chinese malls

While China has traditionally been the main market for Vietnam’s rice exports, retail outlets across that country fail to sell the Vietnamese produce, an official said on Monday.
Although over half of its rice exports were to China last year, it remains a highly competitive market amongst other rice exporters, namely Thailand, Pakistan, and Cambodia, said Bui Huy Hoang, Vietnam’s commercial counselor in China.
The produce is nowhere to be seen in supermarkets or other retailers in China, Hoang said in a conference about the rice market development organized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Trade and Industry in Ho Chi Minh City.
In the meantime, Vietnam’s rice export competitors like Thailand, Pakistan, and Cambodia have gradually improved their standings in the Chinese market thanks to a high quality product.
“We should improve the quality of our rice to regain our standing in China; otherwise Cambodia will pass us sooner or later,” Hoang noted.
The amount of rice for export could hover at about 6.5 million metric tons for 2016, Huynh The Nang, chairman of the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA), said on January 14.
In the Jan-Oct period, the country’s rice export reached 5.03 million metric tons, according to the VFA.
In the last two months of 2015, 1.5 million metric tons of rice was exported, which took total rice exports to 6.7 million metric tons for the year, according to the VFA
This represented a three percent decline in total rice export value compared to that of 2014, the organization noted.
Vietnam has recently yielded huge profits from exporting its ‘herbal variety,’ which offers a high nutrition content, to the European market, fetching up to US$800 per metric ton.
Although the Southeast Asian country has joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, many Vietnamese experts are skeptical about the economic potential of exporting rice as it could become uncompetitive when pitted against other countries.
Despite Vietnam being among the world’s top rice exporters, many local consumers in southern markets now prefer several types of Cambodian rice to the domestically grown produce.

India Gate’s 550kg rice bag enters Guinness World Record

Rice HQ

DUBAI — Gulfood – the world’s largest annual food and hospitality trade show – has broken a Guinness World Record for the globe’s heaviest bag of rice.

KRBL Limited, the world’s largest rice millers and Basmati rice exporters, has successfully entered the Guinness record books with a bag of rice from its acclaimed India Gate Classic Basmati Rice brand weighing 550kgs – a combined weight of two adult Royal Bengal Tigers.

The new record was achieved when the bag was filled in a single day by a dedicated team at KRBL DMCC’s Al Quoz warehouse before being driven on a truck to Gulfood, which runs at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) on Feb. 21-25.

“Guinness Book of Record assessors were on site to verify the entire process,” said Priyanka Mittal, member of the Board of Directors at KRBL Limited.

Following the feat, Guinness Book of Records accreditors presented KRBL Limited management with an honorary certificate on the second day of Gulfood.

“After the show we plan to display the bag for a few days at a major retail store or a shopping mall before cooking it for distribution to laborers,” added Mittal.

KRBL Limited, which owns India Gate Basmati rice brand, is also one of the recipients of World’s Greatest Brands and Leaders 2015 – Asia & GCC Awards. The company is participating at Gulfood to connect with its worldwide distributors, forge new alliances and expand its country basket.

The record has been welcomed by DWTC which has signed up more than 5,000 exhibitors from over 120 countries for Gulfood 2016 – the largest in the show’s history.

“The new Guinness World Record is a colorful and engaging addition to this year’s show. Dubai is well known for its record-breaking exploits and we’re very happy that Gulfood has got in on the act,” said Mark Napier, Exhibition Director of Gulfood.

Gulfood 2016 is hosting the show’s largest contingent to date of national and industry pavilions having lined up a total of 117 – five more than last year – with first-time group participation from Russia, Costa Rica, Belarus, Mauritius and New Zealand returning after a six-year break.