Monthly Archives: July 2016

Odisha to showcase rice varieties in Thailand

Odisha is likely to put up a stall at the international meet on rice at Thailand next year to provide worldwide exposure to rice varieties, particularly the local aromatic varieties as there is a huge export potential, said Dr Samarendra Mohanty, head of social science division, IRRI, Philippines.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a India Rice Conclave organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here recently, Dr Mohanty said there were several areas where he was working with the Odisha government, Orissa University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) and others.
“We are working on multi-resistant varieties which would withstand both drought and floods,” he said.
Satellite based real time tracking of crops so that loss can be assessed and insurance for crop loss gets paid within a fortnights time is another area , he informed.
He also spoke of steps to encourage use of mobile phones by farmers to get information on fertilizer use, market rates etc.
“Some of these proposals will be initiated in six districts on a pilot basis,” he said.
He pointed out that the focus has now turned to reducing production risks like crop insurance, crop diversification, risk reducing technology, creating opportunities for non- farm income , land consolidation etc.
“Acknowledging that paddy cultivation is considered as a sustenance level crop and not a income generating one,” he said.
“One way to enhance the income of the farmer is to reduce the production risks and with improved varieties which are short duration and high yield ones, the farmer can grow other crops like pulses after harvesting paddy,” he added.
Other experts including the vice chancellor of OUAT Surendranath Pasupalak pointed out that in Odisha there is very little scope of reducing the area under paddy cultivation as the low lying land has no choice but to grow paddy and over 90 per cent of the medium land also grows paddy.
He noted that there is no rain gauge system in place at the panchayat level. The Indian chamber of commerce (ICC) will prepare a vision document for paddy in Odisha.
It will contain all challenges of state’s farmer, rice mills and exporters are facing now-a-days.

Pakistan, India key Saarc partners

Pakistan and India are major partners of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and have great responsibility to maintain peace in the region.

These views were expressed by LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Vice President Nasir Saeed, while talking to Indian Deputy High Commissioner of India JP Singh at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Friday.

The LCCI senior vice president said that there are many issues prevailing between the two countries, but “we believe that people –to-people contacts can play an effective role in dispelling wrong perceptions about each other”.

These issues sometimes hinder the trade and commercial relations, he said. Saeed emphasised on separating trade with politics and to encourage more people-to-people contacts to improve the deteriorating trade volume between the two countries.

The Pakistani businessmen are keen to strengthen business relations with the Indian counterparts and for that reason; they should be facilitated by the Indian High Commission in Pakistan in terms of provision of timely visas on relaxed terms and conditions.

It should be a matter of concern for the two countries that imports and exports between Pakistan and India are declining, he said. The LCCI vice president said that the private sectors of the two countries need to put in more efforts to further enhance bilateral trade and for that there is a need to innovate the existing ways of making business deals.

TDAP holds food festival in Qatar

By our correspondent

KARACHI: The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has organised food festival to showcase Pakistani products in Qatari markets, a statement said on Friday.

The purpose of the event was to introduce three premium Pakistani product groups, rice, mangoes and red meat to the Qatari market.

During the festival, importers showed great interest in mangoes, rice and red meat, according to the statement.

The TDAP organised agro food trade delegation to Qatar from July 27-30. On the occasion, the Embassy of Pakistan, Doha arranged Pakistani food festival in Doha, Qatar on July 27, 2016.

The event was attended by diplomats from more than 60 countries, government officials concerned, officials of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local importers of food products and chief executives and other managements of big retail companies and outlets such as Lulu Hyper Markets, Al Meera Hyper Marts, Hassad Foods, Widam, Family Food centers etc.

Mohammed Bin Ahmed Tawar Al Kuwari, vice chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce was the chief guest of the occasion, the statement said.

Further, from July 28-29, 2016, Pakistan-Qatar Business Forum (PQBF) organised Pakistan Food Festival in Ezdan Mall, Gharafa, Qatar. The shopping mall is located in the center of Doha and attracted big crowd of people.

Infinix launches new phone

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Infinix Mobility has officially launched Hot S smartphone and noise cancelling earphones in Pakistan through an event held at a local hotel on Thursday evening.

With the launch of the new smartphone, Infinix has introduced many new features for the first time in the company’s history. The phone is equipped with an 8 MP front shooter, which is capable of taking wide 120 degree selfies as well as offering low light photography.

The company also listened to the customer feedback and added a fingerprint scanner to protect the data and privacy of the consumers. This feature was the most sought after by the Infinix fans since its launch in Pakistan last year. The Phone offers a 5.2 inch HD display coupled with a 3000 mAH battery.

LG honoured

News Desk

KARACHI: LG Electronics received its third consecutive Intersolar Award for its new innovative NeON™ 2 BiFacial solar module at Intersolar Europe this week in Munich, Germany, a statement said on Friday.

LG first received the award with the Mono X NeON™ in 2014 and again in 2015 for the NeON™ 2. The NeON™ 2 BiFacial is the company’s most efficient premium solar module to-date, it said.

While conventional solar modules limit solar cells to the front panel, the NeON™ 2 BiFacial features transparent solar cells on both the sides. This allows the panel to collect light reflected from the ground and greatly boosts overall efficiency.

The panel’s front side alone is capable of generating 310W and under optimal conditions, the energy gathering capabilities of the rear panel increase power generation by an additional 30 percent. The total power generated by each panel puts the NeON™ 2 BiFacial in the same range as 400W high generation modules, it added.

Automatic refund mechanism urged

By our correspondent

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Businessmen Forum (APBF) has asked the government to consider automatic refund mechanism which will reduce complaints, ensure transparency and boost exports.

Government should consider automating the refund system which would allay concerns of the business community, and reduce the load on the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi said in his statement issued Friday.

He said that automatic refunds would end delay in payments and trigger exports which were going down for some years due to international recession. The government could install software to process the refund claims and transfer money in the account of the exporter within seven days of export.

Spanish output grows 0.7 percent

MADRID: Spain´s gross domestic product expanded by 0.7 percent between April and June from a quarter earlier, a slight slowdown from the 0.8 percent growth recorded in the first three months of the year, preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed on Friday.

The reading was in line with economists´ forecasts.

Though INE gave no details of what factors had propelled growth in the second quarter, strong consumer spending has so far helped Spain largely weather a period of political uncertainty. While the pace of growth slowed, it is still one of the highest in the euro zone. On an annual basis the economy grew by 3.2 percent, down from 3.4 percent in the previous quarter but slightly above a Reuters poll forecast of 3.1 percent.

Sharp posts smaller Q1 loss

TOKYO: Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp reported a smaller first-quarter loss helped by restructuring and cost cuts, although overall revenue suffered a steep decline.

Sharp said its April-June operating loss was 2.5 billion yen ($24 million) compared with a loss of 28.76 billion yen a year earlier. That was roughly in line with a Thomson Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate of a 2.1 billion yen loss drawn from four analysts. Revenue fell 32 percent in the quarter. The company has not released an earning forecast for the current business year due to its impending acquisition by Taiwan’s Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry.

Pakistan exports rice worth $1.86 billion in 2015/16

The country earned $1.860 billion by exporting rice during the financial year 2015/16 as compared to the exports in the corresponding period of the last year.

Around 4,262,216 metric tons of rice was exported during the period from July-June 2015/16, according the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

However, rice exports witnessed decrease of 8.60 percent during the financial year 2015/16, as its exports were recorded at 3,861,406 metric tons, valuing $2.035 billion during the financial year 2014/15.

During the period under review, 503,037 metric tons of basmati worth $455.249 million was exported as compared to the export of 523.450 metric tons, valuing $601.268 million during the same period of the last year.

Meanwhile, besides basmati, around 3,759,179 metric tons of rice costing $1.405 billion was exported during the financial year 2015/16 as compared to the exports of 3,337,956 metric tons worth $1.433 billion during the financial year 2014/15.

At the same time, exports of spices from the country were recorded at $76.160 million during July-June (2015/16) as compared to the exports of $66.216 million in July-June (2014/15).

In terms of quantity, the exports increased by 8.29 percent by going up from 6,713 metric tons to 20,281 metric tons.

In June 2016, the total exports of spices were recorded at 4.551 million as compared to the exports of 6.276 million in June 2015.

The overall food exports from the country during FY16 decreased by 12.56 percent as compared to FY15. The food exports during FY16 were recorded at $3.990 billion as compared to the exports of $4.563 billion in FY15.

Sikh farmers flatten ravines to grow basmati

Sikh farmers who migrated from Punjab and Haryana to the drought-hit tribal district of Sheopur are growing basmati rice in what was once a bald patch in the ravines. They have revolutionized the way agriculture was done in the dust bowls by flattening ravines and irrigating land with high-power pumps.
“Every time, these migrant farmers switch on pumps, the water table dips by almost 40 feet, triggering water crisis in Sheopur. Villagers too have also taken cue and have begun sowing paddy,” said S K Mohor, deputy director agriculture of Sheopur.
Last year, 93,198 tonne of paddy was cultivated in Sheopur, with Sikh farmers accounting for more than 90% of the produce. The yield is taken to Kota mandi in neighbouring Rajasthan where they get a good price.

Singapore: market, gateway for Thai rice

SINGAPOREAN traders are ready to import more Thai rice, including for re-export to third countries, as long as its quality is good, its prices are stable, and the Thai government does not implement any more farmer-subsidy programmes, according to Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn.

After leading a mission to promote Thai rice in Singapore this week, she said the island republic could be a strategic partner as a major market for Thailand’s Hom Mali (jasmine) rice and speciality rice grains. Singaporean consumers have good purchasing power and prefer healthy food like Thailand’s brown rice, red rice, Riceberry and unpolished rice.

Moreover, as Singapore is a centre of regional trading, it could help Thailand distribute its rice to third countries.

For all these reasons, the ministry will continue to promote rice exports to this market, she said.

Each year, Singapore imports about 420,000 tonnes of rice for domestic consumption, of which Thailand is a major supplier, exporting about 130,000 tonnes to the country each year. Singapore also has many international traders, shipping about 10 million tonnes of rice to many countries, mostly in Africa and the Middle East.

Apiradi said that after hearing opinions from Singaporean traders, she found that they wanted the Thai government to ensure good-quality rice for export and not return to a subsidy project that would damage the market mechanism and make the rice harder to sell.

She said her ministry would cooperate with exporters to promote the sale of Thai rice in Singapore, focusing on Hom Mali and speciality rice grains and value-added products made from rice.

In an attempt to increase the value of rice export, the government has a strategy to promote rice in various markets. Singapore is one of the targeted markets for increasing sales of Thai rice as it is a main staple there, while its consumers have high purchasing power.

During the mission, Apiradi met with seven key rice traders in Singapore, while also surveying modern traders and restaurants in the country on the feasibility of getting them to sell Thai rice.

Besides Hom Mali rice, Thailand is promoting other speciality grains such as Riceberry, Sung Yod rice (which is a geographical-indication product) and organic brown rice.

Products made from rice have also been promoted, such as cooked rice for senior people, vitamin-added rice for children, cosmetics, snacks and supplements.

In 2014, Thailand exported 162,977 tonnes of rice to Singapore worth Bt4.3 billion. The volume dropped to 128,941 tonnes worth Bt3.63 billion last year. In the first five months of this year, export volume dropped 7.9 per cent to 51,194 tonnes, while value dropped 11 per cent to Bt1.34 billion.

Thailand is expected to export about 130,000 tonnes of rice to Singapore this year.

Ho Siang Ow, manager of Wee Tiong, a major Singaporean rice-trading company, said traders wanted Thai rice to be stable in quality and price so that they could continue to sell it in the home market as well as to other countries.

He said that as Myanmar and Vietnam have fragrant rice and very competitive prices, if the price of Thai rice fluctuated and its quality were not stable, traders might not be able to sell it in the future. Moreover, Thailand should no longer subsidise the rice price as that interferes with the market price and causes low-quality production as farmers are concerned only with yield.

He added that Singaporeans now favoured healthy foods. Thai rice could serve that demand, but promoting new varieties could take time, and quality needed to be maintained.

Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said Singapore was a high-potential market for high-quality rice because of its citizens’ high purchasing power, while it has more than 30 modern traders to help distribute Thai rice to consumers.

Exporters need to promote Thai rice under brands that are already trusted by consumers, he said.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the association, said exporters foresaw Asia as an increasingly bright market as consumers’ purchasing power rises while they favour rice as a main food.

Thailand’s rice shipments to Asian markets could surge from 20 per cent of the total export volume of between 9 million and 10 million tonnes to 30 per cent in the near future, he said.

Currently, Africa is a major export market for Thai rice.

Chookiat called for the government to continue promoting rice in Asian, European and Middle Eastern countries, while ensuring stable prices and good production quality.

Rice basmati remain weak on muted demand, adequate stocks

Rice basmati remained weak for the second straight day and prices fell further by Rs 200 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on sluggish demand from retailers against ample stocks position.

However, bajra and maize traded higher on pick up in demand from consuming indusutries.

Traders said tepid demand from retailers against adequate stocks position on increased supplies from producing belts mainly kept pressure on rice basmati prices.

In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa-1121 variety fell by Rs 200 each to Rs 5,400-5,600 and Rs 4,300-5,200 per quintal respectively.

On the other hand, bajra and maize settled higher at Rs 1,625-1,630 and Rs 1,635-1,640 from previous levels of Rs 1,550-1,560 and Rs 1,570-1,580 per quintal respectively.

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

Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,300-2,850, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,775-1,780, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,785-1,790, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 275, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 275, Roller flour mill Rs 940-970 (50 kg), Maida Rs 1,000-1,010 (50 kg) and Sooji Rs 1,070-1,080 (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 5,400-5,600, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 4,300-5,200, Permal raw Rs 2,000-2,050, Permal wand Rs 2,175-2,250, Sela Rs 2,850-2,900 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,840-1,850, Bajra Rs 1,625-1,630, Jowar yellow Rs 2,000-2,075, white Rs 3,600-3,700, Maize Rs 1,635-1,640, Barley Rs 1,540-1,545.

Doors always open to Pakistani traders: Kuwari

akistan Embassy in collaboration with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan has hosted senior officials from Qatar Chamber, ambassadors and local businessmen to introduce Pakistani food products during the event “Tasting of delicious Pakistani Cuisine” held yesterday at Intercontinental Doha City.

The event was all about testing the new Pakistani trader’s products – rice, red meat and different varieties of mangoes.

“We set up several stalls to introduce Pakistani traditional dishes made of rice and meat imported from Pakistan, said Ambassador of Pakistan,” Shahzad Ahmad. “A separate stall for Pakistan mangoes, the king of the fruits is also available. People at the stations will introduce products to the gusts and take feedback,” he added. Vice-Chairman, Qatar Chamber Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Towar Al Kuwari opined that Pakistani cuisine is similar to Arabian cuisine.

“We, the chamber look forward to the quality products from Pakistan. Our doors are always open for the Pakistani traders, companies and business. We assist the Embassy. This event will enhance the relation between Qatar and Pakistan and gave a better look towards the food and tradition of Pakistan”, said Al Kuwari. Many ambassadors were present. A delegation from Pakistan was also present and it was was headed by Mehmood Arshad- Chairman Pak- Qatar business council. We have been exporting vegetables and fruits to Qatar far 15-years. We exported four tons of vegetables and three tons of fruits, said Saeed Khan, Vice Chairman of Pakistan fruit and vegetable exporters, importers and merchants Association.

Volume of trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan growing, minister tells Senate

The volume of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is growing, the Senate was informed on Tuesday.

During the question-hour, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan told the House that the current volume of trade between the two countries stood at $2.28 billion annually.

The minister said state-of-the-art dry ports were being established at Torkham, Chaman and Wahga borders to expedite trade.

To a question, Dastgir said a number of food exhibitions had been organised across the world to introduce Pakistani products at the international level and enhance the country’s exports.

He said Indonesia had agreed to import 100,000 metric tonnes of rice from Pakistan during the next four years, adding that the Philippines had also shown interest to import Pakistani rice.

The minister said serious efforts were being made to establish full banking relations with Iran to facilitate rice exports to Tehran.

Dastgir, to a question, said incentives for the development of mines and minerals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, FATA and other less-developed areas of the country had been announced to increase value addition. He said a fund of Rs 6 billion had been sanctioned for this purpose.

The minister urged the companies working in the sector to avail funding and other facilities being offered by the Ministry of Commerce.

The minister ruled out any extra duty on Pakistani imports after Britain’s exit from the European Union, and said the United Kingdom had shown interest in signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan.

He said Pakistani exports to the EU had witnessed eight per cent growth during the first three months of the current year.

To another query, Minister for Parliamentary Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House that the new Islamabad International Airport would be fully operational by June next year.

ICC to prepare vision document on rice for Odisha

Industry body Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) will prepare a vision document on rice for Odisha, as it has done for the state of West Bengal.

“The vision document will contain all challenges the state’s farmers, rice mills and exporters are facing nowadays and the solutions for these challenges. It may also provide actual solutions that are achievable,” said Madhuparna Bhowmick, additional director of ICC at the India Rice Conclave 2016 here.

The document will suggest means for improving the remuneration of farmers for their produce, reduction of wastage at the mills and enhancement of exports.

“We are taking technical inputs from the stakeholders. Last year we had prepared a vision document for West Bengal. Now we are planning similar document for Odisha. Preparation of report for Odisha has already started and will be ready within two months. Thereafter, we will submit the document to the Odisha government”, she added.

After that ICC will prepare a vision document for Andhra Pradesh next year. Odisha produces eight million tonnes of paddy per year, of which 4.5 million tonnes is processed. Three districts — Bargarh, Sambalpur and Kalahandi — account for 50 per cent of rice production. About 95 per cent of the processed paddy in Odisha is used for par-boiled rice and five per cent is used for raw rice.

“Most of the rice processing in Odisha are in MSME sector. More than 95 rice mills are located in Bargarh district. The state government is now giving more emphasis on establishing rice mill clusters and mega food processing parks. India stands top in Basmati rice export. But for non-basmati rice to compete with countries like Thailand, USA, Philippines, Vietnam and UK, our R&D (research and development) institutes like CRRI (Central Rice Research Institute ), Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) and CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute) should take innovative steps”, said Yogendra Behera, Odisha MSME minister at the event.

It may be noted that Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh are well-positioned to export rice to neighbouring countires like Nepal, Bhutan and other ASEAN nations. As per USDA, India is the second largest rice producing country in the world after China. Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) has estimated India’s rice production at 105 million metric tonnes, with an export quantum of 6.7 million metric tonnes.

Tapan Kumar Adhya, professor of bio-tech department of KIIT University, Samarendra Mohanty, head of social science division of IRRI, Philippines, Surendranath Pasupalak, vice chancellor, OUAT and D D Patra, vice chancellor of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, West Bengal also spoke on the occasion.

Kharif crops output likely to be better than 2015

The country’s overall production of kharif crops like paddy is likely to be better than 2015 if southwest monsoon rainfall continues to be favourable in the next two months, the government said on Friday.
The sowing of kharif crops has begun with the start of the soutwest monsoon from June. Several parts of the country have received good rains, boosting the planting operations.
“In view of better progress of sowing of kharif crops, if rainfall conditions during the remaining period of current monsoon season continues to be favourable as per prediction of IMD, this year’s production scenario of kharif crops should be better than the last year,” Minister of State for Agriculture Sudarshan Bhagat said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
Till last week, total area sown to kharif crops was higher by 11.38 lakh hectares when compared to the year-ago period, he said.
He also said that it is too early to have firm assessment of the kharif production for this year as the initial estimates are normally released in September.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has projected better than normal rains after two drought years.
In a separate reply, Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said the central schemes on agriculture are implemented for all farmers including SCs and STs.
About 8 per cent and 15-16.2 per cent of the total funds allocated to the ministry are earmarked for tribal sub-plan and scheduled caste sub plan, respectively, during the current 2016-17 fiscal, he added.